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Palmyra

Palmyra

Overview
Palmyra was an ancient city in Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

. In the age of antiquity, it was an important city of central Syria, located in an oasis
Oasis
In geography, an oasis or cienega is an isolated area of vegetation in a desert, typically surrounding a spring or similar water source...

 215 km northeast of Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

 and 180 km southwest of the Euphrates
Euphrates
The Euphrates is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia...

 at Deir ez-Zor. It had long been a vital caravan city for travellers crossing the Syrian desert
Syrian Desert
The Syrian Desert , also known as the Syro-Arabian desert is a combination of steppe and true desert that is located in the northern Arabian Peninsula covering 200,000 square miles . also the desert is very rocky and flat...

 and was known as the Bride of the Desert. The earliest documented reference to the city by its Semitic name Tadmor, Tadmur or Tudmur (which means "the town that repels" in Amorite and "the indomitable town" in Aramaic) is recorded in Babylonian tablets found in Mari
Mari, Syria
Mari was an ancient Sumerian and Amorite city, located 11 kilometers north-west of the modern town of Abu Kamal on the western bank of Euphrates river, some 120 km southeast of Deir ez-Zor, Syria...

.

Though the ancient site fell into disuse after the 16th century, it is still known as Tadmor in Arabic (aka Tedmor), and there is a newer town next to the ruins of the same name.
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Encyclopedia
Palmyra was an ancient city in Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

. In the age of antiquity, it was an important city of central Syria, located in an oasis
Oasis
In geography, an oasis or cienega is an isolated area of vegetation in a desert, typically surrounding a spring or similar water source...

 215 km northeast of Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

 and 180 km southwest of the Euphrates
Euphrates
The Euphrates is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia...

 at Deir ez-Zor. It had long been a vital caravan city for travellers crossing the Syrian desert
Syrian Desert
The Syrian Desert , also known as the Syro-Arabian desert is a combination of steppe and true desert that is located in the northern Arabian Peninsula covering 200,000 square miles . also the desert is very rocky and flat...

 and was known as the Bride of the Desert. The earliest documented reference to the city by its Semitic name Tadmor, Tadmur or Tudmur (which means "the town that repels" in Amorite and "the indomitable town" in Aramaic) is recorded in Babylonian tablets found in Mari
Mari, Syria
Mari was an ancient Sumerian and Amorite city, located 11 kilometers north-west of the modern town of Abu Kamal on the western bank of Euphrates river, some 120 km southeast of Deir ez-Zor, Syria...

.

Though the ancient site fell into disuse after the 16th century, it is still known as Tadmor in Arabic (aka Tedmor), and there is a newer town next to the ruins of the same name. The Palmyrenes constructed a series of large-scale monuments containing funerary art
Funerary art
Funerary art is any work of art forming, or placed in, a repository for the remains of the dead. Tomb is a general term for the repository, while grave goods are objects—other than the primary human remains—which have been placed inside...

 such as limestone slabs with human busts representing the deceased.

Culture


Palmyrans were originally of Aramean descent; they bore Aramaic names, and worshipped a variety of deities from Mesopotamia (Marduk
Marduk
Marduk was the Babylonian name of a late-generation god from ancient Mesopotamia and patron deity of the city of Babylon, who, when Babylon became the political center of the Euphrates valley in the time of Hammurabi , started to...

 and Ruda
Ruda (deity)
Ruda is a deity that was of paramount importance in the Arab pantheon of gods worshipped by the North Arabian tribes of pre-Islamic Arabia. The etymology of his name gives the meaning "well disposed" an indication of his function as a protective deity. The oldest reference to Ruda is found in the...

), Syria (Hadad
Hadad
Haddad was a northwest Semitic storm and rain god, cognate in name and origin with the Akkadian god Adad. Hadad was often called simply Ba‘al , but this title was also used for other gods. The bull was the symbolic animal of Hadad. He appeared as a bearded deity, often shown as holding a club and...

, Baʿal
Baʿal
Baʿal is a Northwest Semitic title and honorific meaning "master" or "lord" that is used for various gods who were patrons of cities in the Levant and Asia Minor, cognate to Akkadian Bēlu...

, Astarte
Astarte
Astarte is the Greek name of a goddess known throughout the Eastern Mediterranean from the Bronze Age to Classical times...

), Arabia (Allāt
Allāt
' or ' was a Pre-Islamic Arabian goddess who was one of the three chief goddesses of Mecca. She is mentioned in the Qur'an , which indicates that pre-Islamic Arabs considered her as one of the daughters of Allah along with Manāt and al-‘Uzzá....

) and Greece (Athena
Athena
In Greek mythology, Athena, Athenê, or Athene , also referred to as Pallas Athena/Athene , is the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, warfare, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, justice, and skill. Minerva, Athena's Roman incarnation, embodies similar attributes. Athena is...

).Palmyrans were originally speakers of Aramaic language but later shifted from Aramaic into Greek language
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

. In the time of the Islamic conquests Palmyra was inhabited by several Arab tribes, primarily Qada'ah and Kalb, among others.

Ancient


The exact etymology of the name "Palmyra" is unknown, although some scholars believe it was related to the palm trees in the area. Others, however, believe it may have come out of an incorrect translation of the name "Tadmor" (cf. Colledge, Seyrig, Starcky, and others). The city was first mentioned in the archives of Mari
Mari, Syria
Mari was an ancient Sumerian and Amorite city, located 11 kilometers north-west of the modern town of Abu Kamal on the western bank of Euphrates river, some 120 km southeast of Deir ez-Zor, Syria...

 in the second millennium BC. It was another trading city in the extensive trade network that linked Mesopotamia and northern Syria. Tadmor is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

 (Second Book of Chronicles
Books of Chronicles
The Books of Chronicles are part of the Hebrew Bible. In the Masoretic Text, it appears as the first or last book of the Ketuvim . Chronicles largely parallels the Davidic narratives in the Books of Samuel and the Books of Kings...

 8:4) as a desert city built (or fortified) by the King Solomon
Solomon
Solomon , according to the Book of Kings and the Book of Chronicles, a King of Israel and according to the Talmud one of the 48 prophets, is identified as the son of David, also called Jedidiah in 2 Samuel 12:25, and is described as the third king of the United Monarchy, and the final king before...

 of Judea
Judea
Judea or Judæa was the name of the mountainous southern part of the historic Land of Israel from the 8th century BCE to the 2nd century CE, when Roman Judea was renamed Syria Palaestina following the Jewish Bar Kokhba revolt.-Etymology:The...

:
Flavius Josephus also attributes the founding of Tadmor to Solomon in his Antiquities of the Jews (Book VIII), along with the Greek name of Palmyra, although this must be a confusion with biblical "Tamara". Several citations in the tractates
Tract (literature)
A tract is a literary work, and in current usage, usually religious in nature. The notion of what constitutes a tract has changed over time. By the early part of the 21st century, these meant small pamphlets used for religious and political purposes, though far more often the former. They are...

 of the Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

 and of the Midrash
Midrash
The Hebrew term Midrash is a homiletic method of biblical exegesis. The term also refers to the whole compilation of homiletic teachings on the Bible....

 also refer to the city in the Syrian desert (sometimes interchanging the letters "d" and "t" - "Tatmor" instead of "Tadmor").

Greco-Roman periods




When the Seleucids took control of Syria in 323 BC, the city was left to itself and it became independent. The city flourished as a caravan halt in the 1st century BC. In 41 BCE, Mark Antony
Mark Antony
Marcus Antonius , known in English as Mark Antony, was a Roman politician and general. As a military commander and administrator, he was an important supporter and loyal friend of his mother's cousin Julius Caesar...

 sent a raiding party to Palmyra, but the Palmyrans had received intelligence of their approach and escaped to the other side of the Euphrates, demonstrating that at that time Palmyra was still a nomadic settlement and its valuables could be removed at short notice.

In the mid 1st century AD, Palmyra, a wealthy and elegant city located along the caravan routes linking Persia with the Mediterranean ports of Roman Syria and Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

, came under Roman control. During the following period of great prosperity.

Jones and Erieira note that Palmyran merchants owned ships in Italian waters and controlled the Indian silk trade. "Palmyra became one of the richest cities of the Near East." "The Palmyrans had really pulled off a great trick, they were the only people who managed to live alongside Rome without being Romanized. They simply pretended to be Romans."

Palmyra was made part of the Roman province
Roman province
In Ancient Rome, a province was the basic, and, until the Tetrarchy , largest territorial and administrative unit of the empire's territorial possessions outside of Italy...

 of Syria
Syria (Roman province)
Syria was a Roman province, annexed in 64 BC by Pompey, as a consequence of his military presence after pursuing victory in the Third Mithridatic War. It remained under Roman, and subsequently Byzantine, rule for seven centuries, until 637 when it fell to the Islamic conquests.- Principate :The...

 during the reign of Tiberius
Tiberius
Tiberius , was Roman Emperor from 14 AD to 37 AD. Tiberius was by birth a Claudian, son of Tiberius Claudius Nero and Livia Drusilla. His mother divorced Nero and married Augustus in 39 BC, making him a step-son of Octavian...

 (14–37 AD). It steadily grew in importance as a trade route linking Persia, India, China, and the Roman empire. In 129, Hadrian
Hadrian
Hadrian , was Roman Emperor from 117 to 138. He is best known for building Hadrian's Wall, which marked the northern limit of Roman Britain. In Rome, he re-built the Pantheon and constructed the Temple of Venus and Roma. In addition to being emperor, Hadrian was a humanist and was philhellene in...

 visited the city and was so enthralled by it that he proclaimed it a free city and renamed it Palmyra Hadriana.

Beginning in 212, Palmyra's trade diminished as the Sassanids occupied the mouth of the Tigris
Tigris
The Tigris River is the eastern member of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia, the other being the Euphrates. The river flows south from the mountains of southeastern Turkey through Iraq.-Geography:...

 and the Euphrates
Euphrates
The Euphrates is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia...

. Septimius Odaenathus
Odaenathus
Lucius Septimius Odaenathus, Odenathus or Odenatus , the Latinized form of the Syriac Odainath, was a ruler of Palmyra, Syria and later of the short lived Palmyrene Empire, in the second half of the 3rd century, who succeeded in recovering the Roman East from the Persians and restoring it to the...

, a Prince of Palmyra, was appointed by Valerian
Valerian (emperor)
Valerian , also known as Valerian the Elder, was Roman Emperor from 253 to 260. He was taken captive by Persian king Shapur I after the Battle of Edessa, becoming the only Roman Emperor who was captured as a prisoner of war, resulting in wide-ranging instability across the Empire.-Origins and rise...

 as the governor of the province of Syria. After Valerian was captured by the Sassanids and died in captivity in Bishapur
Bishapur
thumb|Irano-Roman floor mosaic detail from the palace of [[Shapur I]] at BishapurBishapur is an ancient city situated south of modern Faliyan, Iran on the ancient road between Persis and Elam. The road linked the Sassanid capitals Istakhr and Ctesiphon...

, Odaenathus
Odaenathus
Lucius Septimius Odaenathus, Odenathus or Odenatus , the Latinized form of the Syriac Odainath, was a ruler of Palmyra, Syria and later of the short lived Palmyrene Empire, in the second half of the 3rd century, who succeeded in recovering the Roman East from the Persians and restoring it to the...

 campaigned as far as Ctesiphon
Ctesiphon
Ctesiphon, the imperial capital of the Parthian Arsacids and of the Persian Sassanids, was one of the great cities of ancient Mesopotamia.The ruins of the city are located on the east bank of the Tigris, across the river from the Hellenistic city of Seleucia...

 (near modern-day Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

) for revenge, invading the city twice. When Odaenathus was assassinated by his nephew Maconius, his wife Septimia Zenobia
Zenobia
Zenobia was a 3rd-century Queen of the Palmyrene Empire in Roman Syria. She led a famous revolt against the Roman Empire. The second wife of King Septimius Odaenathus, Zenobia became queen of the Palmyrene Empire following Odaenathus' death in 267...

 took power, ruling Palmyra on the behalf of her son, Vabalathus.

Zenobia rebelled against Roman authority with the help of Cassius Longinus and took over Bosra
Bosra
Bosra , also known as Bostra, Busrana, Bozrah, Bozra, Busra Eski Şam, Busra ash-Sham, and Nova Trajana Bostra, is an ancient city administratively belonging to the Daraa Governorate in southern Syria...

 and lands as far to the west as Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, establishing the short-lived Palmyrene Empire
Palmyrene Empire
The Palmyrene Empire was a splinter empire, that broke off of the Roman Empire during the Crisis of the Third Century. It encompassed the Roman provinces of Syria Palaestina, Egypt and large parts of Asia Minor....

. Next, she took Antioch
Antioch
Antioch on the Orontes was an ancient city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. It is near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey.Founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the...

 and large sections of Asia Minor to the north. In 272, the Roman Emperor Aurelian
Aurelian
Aurelian , was Roman Emperor from 270 to 275. During his reign, he defeated the Alamanni after a devastating war. He also defeated the Goths, Vandals, Juthungi, Sarmatians, and Carpi. Aurelian restored the Empire's eastern provinces after his conquest of the Palmyrene Empire in 273. The following...

 finally restored Roman control and Palmyra was besieged and sacked, never to recover her former glory. Aurelian captured Zenobia, bringing her back to Rome. He paraded her in golden chains in the presence of the senator Marcellus Petrus Nutenus, but allowed her to retire to a villa in Tibur
Tivoli, Italy
Tivoli , the classical Tibur, is an ancient Italian town in Lazio, about 30 km east-north-east of Rome, at the falls of the Aniene river where it issues from the Sabine hills...

, where she took an active part in society for years. A legionary fortress was established in Palmyra and although no longer an important trade center, it nevertheless remained an important junction of Roman roads in the Syrian desert.

Diocletian
Diocletian
Diocletian |latinized]] upon his accession to Diocletian . c. 22 December 244  – 3 December 311), was a Roman Emperor from 284 to 305....

 expanded it to harbor even more legions and walled it in to try and save it from the Sassanid threat. The Byzantine
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 period following the Roman Empire only resulted in the building of a few churches; much of the city turned to ruin.

Islamic rule


The city was captured by the Muslim Arabs under Khalid ibn al-Walid
Khalid ibn al-Walid
Khālid ibn al-Walīd also known as Sayf Allāh al-Maslūl , was a companion of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He is noted for his military tactics and prowess, commanding the forces of Medina and those of his immediate successors of the Rashidun Caliphate; Abu Bakr and Umar...

 in 634. Palmyra was kept intact. After the year 800 and the civil wars that followed the fall of the Umayyad
Umayyad
The Umayyad Caliphate was the second of the four major Arab caliphates established after the death of Muhammad. It was ruled by the Umayyad dynasty, whose name derives from Umayya ibn Abd Shams, the great-grandfather of the first Umayyad caliph. Although the Umayyad family originally came from the...

 caliphs, people started abandoning the city. At the time of the Crusades
Crusades
The Crusades were a series of religious wars, blessed by the Pope and the Catholic Church with the main goal of restoring Christian access to the holy places in and near Jerusalem...

, Palmyra was under the Burid
Burid dynasty
The Burid dynasty was a Turkish dynasty which ruled over Damascus in the early 12th century. The first Burid ruler, Toghtekin, began as a servant to the Seljuk ruler of Damascus, Duqaq. Following Duqaq's death in 1104, he seized the city for himself. The Burids gained recognition from the...

 emirs of Damascus, then under Toghtekin
Toghtekin
Zahir ad-Din Toghtekin was a Turkic military leader, who was atabeg of Damascus from 1104 to 1128. He was the founder of the Burid dynasty of Damascus.-Biography:...

, Mohammed the son of Shirkuh
Shirkuh
Asad ad-Din Shirkuh bin Shadhi , also known as Shêrko or "Shêrgo" was an important Kurdish military commander, and uncle of Saladin....

, and finally under the emirs of Homs
Homs
Homs , previously known as Emesa , is a city in western Syria and the capital of the Homs Governorate. It is above sea level and is located north of Damascus...

. In 1132 the Burids had the Temple of Ba'al turned into a fortress. In the 13th century the city was handed over to the Mamluk sultan Baybars. In 1401, it was sacked by Timur
Timur
Timur , historically known as Tamerlane in English , was a 14th-century conqueror of West, South and Central Asia, and the founder of the Timurid dynasty in Central Asia, and great-great-grandfather of Babur, the founder of the Mughal Dynasty, which survived as the Mughal Empire in India until...

, but it recovered quickly, so that in the 15th century it was described as boasting "vast gardens, flourishing trades and bizarre monuments" by Ibn Fadlallah al-Omari.

In the 16th century, Qala'at ibn Maan castle
Fakhreddin Almaani Castle
Fakhr-al-Din al-Ma'ani Castle or Palmyra Castle is a castle on a high hill overlooking the site of Palmyra, and named for the Druze emir Fakhr-al-Din II, who extended the Druze domains to the region of Palmyra during the 16th century....

 was built on top of a mountain overlooking the oasis by Fakhr ad-Din al-Maan II
Fakhr-al-Din II
Emir Fakhr-al-Din ibn Maan was the 1st prince of the State of Lebanon which has self-governed under the Ottoman Empire between the 17th and 19th centuries. Son of Prince Qorqmaz ibn Maan and Sit Nasab of the Tanukhi family, he was given the title "Emir" or Prince in Arabic because the Maan...

, a Lebanese prince who tried to control the Syrian Desert. The castle was surrounded by a moat, with access only available through a drawbridge. It is possible that earlier fortifications existed on the hill well before then.

The city declined under Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 rule, reducing to no more than an oasis village with a small garrison. In the 17th century its location was rediscovered by western travellers, beginning to be studied by European and American archaeologists starting from the 19th centuries. The villagers who had settled in the Temple of Ba'al were dislodged in 1929 by the French authority.

Main sights




City remains


The most striking building in Palmyra is the huge temple of Ba'al, considered "the most important religious building of the first century AD in the Middle East". It originated as a Hellenistic temple, of which only fragments of stones survive. The central shrine (cella) was added in the early 1st century AD, followed by a large double colonnaded portico in Corinthian style. The west portico and the entrance (propylaeum) date from the 2nd century. The temple measures 205 x 210 m.

Starting from the temple, a colonnaded street, corresponding to the ancient decumanus, leads to the rest of the ancient city. It has a monumental arch (dating to reign of Septimius Severus
Septimius Severus
Septimius Severus , also known as Severus, was Roman Emperor from 193 to 211. Severus was born in Leptis Magna in the province of Africa. As a young man he advanced through the customary succession of offices under the reigns of Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. Severus seized power after the death of...

, early 3rd century AD) with rich decorations. Next were a temple of Nabu
Nabu
Nabu is the Assyrian and Babylonian god of wisdom and writing, worshipped by Babylonians as the son of Marduk and his consort, Sarpanitum, and as the grandson of Ea. Nabu's consort was Tashmetum....

, of which little remains today apart from the podium, and the so-called baths of Diocletian
Diocletian
Diocletian |latinized]] upon his accession to Diocletian . c. 22 December 244  – 3 December 311), was a Roman Emperor from 284 to 305....

.

The second most noteworthy remain in Palmyra is the theater, today having nine rows of seating, but most likely having up to twelve with the addition of wooden structures. It has been dated to the early 1st century AD. Behind the theater were a small Senate, where the local nobility discussed laws and political decisions, and the so-called "Tariff Court", which an inscription led to think to be a custom for caravans' payments. Nearby is the large agora
Agora
The Agora was an open "place of assembly" in ancient Greek city-states. Early in Greek history , free-born male land-owners who were citizens would gather in the Agora for military duty or to hear statements of the ruling king or council. Later, the Agora also served as a marketplace where...

(measuring 48 x 71 m), with remains of a banquet room (triclinium
Triclinium
A triclinium is a formal dining room in a Roman building. The word is adopted from the Greek τρικλίνιον, triklinion, from τρι-, tri-, "three", and κλίνη, klinē, a sort of "couch" or rather chaise longue...

); the agora's entrance was decorated with statues of Septimius Severus and his family.

The first section of the excavations ends with a largely restored tetrapylon ("Four columns"), a platform with four sets each with four columns (only one of the originals in Egyptian granite still visible). A transverse streets leads to the Diocletian's Camp, built by the Governor of Syria Sosianus Hierocles, with the remains of the large central principia (Hall housing the legions' standards). Nearby are the Temple of the Syrian goddess Allāt
Allāt
' or ' was a Pre-Islamic Arabian goddess who was one of the three chief goddesses of Mecca. She is mentioned in the Qur'an , which indicates that pre-Islamic Arabs considered her as one of the daughters of Allah along with Manāt and al-‘Uzzá....

 (2nd century AD), the Damascus Gate and the Temple of Ba'al-Shamin, erected in AD 17 and later expanded under the reign of Odenathus. Remains include a notable portico leading to the cella.

Funerary art



Outside the ancient walls, the Palmyrenes constructed a series of large-scale funerary monuments, which now form the so-called Valley of the Tombs, a 1 km long necropolis
Necropolis
A necropolis is a large cemetery or burial ground, usually including structural tombs. The word comes from the Greek νεκρόπολις - nekropolis, literally meaning "city of the dead"...

, with a series of large structures with rich decorations. These tombs, some of which were below ground, had interior walls that were cut away or constructed to form burial compartments in which the deceased, extended at full length, were placed. Limestone slabs with human busts in high relief sealed the rectangular openings of the compartments.

These reliefs represented the "personality" or "soul" of the person interred and formed part of the wall decoration inside the tomb chamber. A banquet scene as depicted on this relief would have been displayed in a family tomb rather than that of an individual.

Further excavations


Archaeological teams from various countries have been working on-and-off on different parts of the site. In May 2005, a Polish team excavating at the Lat temple discovered a highly-detailed stone statue of the winged goddess of victory Nike
Nike (mythology)
In Greek mythology, Nike was a goddess who personified victory, also known as the Winged Goddess of Victory. The Roman equivalent was Victoria. Depending upon the time of various myths, she was described as the daughter of Pallas and Styx and the sister of Kratos , Bia , and Zelus...

.

Recently, archaeologists in central Syria have unearthed the remnants of a 1,200-year-old church believed to be the largest ever discovered in Syria, at an excavation site in the ancient town of Palmyra. The church is the fourth to be discovered in Palmyra. Officials described the church as the biggest of its kind to be found so far — its base measuring an impressive 51 by 30 yards. The church columns were estimated to be 20 feet tall, with the height of the wooden ceiling more than 49 feet. A small amphitheater was found in the church's courtyard where the experts believe some Christian rituals were practiced.
In November 2010 Austrian media manager Helmut Thoma admitted the looting of an Palmyrian grave, where he has stolen architectural pieces, today presented in his private living room. German and Austrian archaeologists protested against this crime.


Climate



See also



  • Tadmor Prison
    Tadmor Prison
    Tadmor prison is located in Palmyra in the deserts of eastern Syria approximately 200 kilometers northeast of Damascus ....

  • Palmyrene Empire
    Palmyrene Empire
    The Palmyrene Empire was a splinter empire, that broke off of the Roman Empire during the Crisis of the Third Century. It encompassed the Roman provinces of Syria Palaestina, Egypt and large parts of Asia Minor....

  • Palmyra, Pennsylvania
    Palmyra, Pennsylvania
    Palmyra is a borough in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, United States. It is part of the Lebanon, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 7,096 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Palmyra is located at ....


External links