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books about Tadmur (Syria)
Palmyra: An Irreplaceable Treasure
University of Chicago Press, 2017
Library of Congress DS99.P17V4913 2017 | Dewey Decimal 939.432
Located northeast of Damascus, in an oasis surrounded by palms and two mountain ranges, the ancient city of Palmyra has the aura of myth. According to the Bible, the city was built by Solomon. Regardless of its actual origins, it was an influential city, serving for centuries as a caravan stop for those crossing the Syrian Desert. It became a Roman province under Tiberius and served as the most powerful commercial center in the Middle East between the first and the third centuries CE. But when the citizens of Palmyra tried to break away from Rome, they were defeated, marking the end of the city’s prosperity. The magnificent monuments from that earlier era of wealth, a resplendent blend of Greco-Roman architecture and local influences, stretched over miles and were among the most significant buildings of the ancient world—until the arrival of ISIS. In 2015, ISIS fought to gain control of the area because it was home to a prison where many members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood had been held, and ISIS went on to systematically destroy the city and murder many of its inhabitants, including the archaeologist Khaled al-Asaad, the antiquities director of Palmyra.
In this concise and elegiac book, Paul Veyne, one of Palmyra’s most important experts, offers a beautiful and moving look at the history of this significant lost city and why it was—and still is—important. Today, we can appreciate the majesty of Palmyra only through its pictures and stories, and this book offers a beautifully illustrated memorial that also serves as a lasting guide to a cultural treasure.
Palmyra and Its Empire: Zenobia's Revolt against Rome
University of Michigan Press, 1995
Library of Congress DS99.P17S86 1992 | Dewey Decimal 939.43
In the twilight of the third century C.E., the unity of the Western world was threatened by financial crisis, invasion, and plague. The Syrian city Palmyra had long protected Rome against Persian invasion, but under its queen Zenobia, Palmyra broke away from Roman hegemony. The Roman Empire had never been closer to disintegration, nor had it suffered so much before at the hands of a woman.
This volume is the first comprehensive historical treatment in any language of Roman Syria, the revolt of Zenobia, and the city of Palmyra. Drawing on discoveries in archaeology, the history of the Silk Road, numismatics, and Roman and Persian history, Richard Stoneman has assembled a rich collage of knowledge about this intriguing period. As he tells the story of this major revolt and its leader, the author surveys the history of the spice trade in antiquity, the religious ferment of third- century Syria, early modern travelers to Palmyra, and in particular Zenobia's changing image through the ages.
The lucid text and numerous illustrations will attract all who are intrigued by the third- century Roman Empire and its frontiers, by pre-Islamic Arab culture, by Roman Syria and Palmyra itself, and by the fascinating Queen Zenobia.
". . . an excellent synthesis of current knowledge and a sound introduction to the third cen-tury, especially in the East. . . ."--Journal of Military History
". . . Stoneman provides an excellent and readable introduction to what is known about Palmyra, and particularly the astonishing period in the mid-third century A.D. . . . [He] marshalls recent reinterpretations of the politics of the eastern frontier by both historians and archaeologists, as well as the inspiration of his own visits to Syria, to underline Palmyra's unique commercial position and the ability over the centuries of Roman rule of its ethnically and religiously highly heterogeneous ruling class to exploit the caravan trade from East and South Asia to their economic and political advantage."--Greece & Rome
Richard Stoneman has published numerous books on the ancient world and on travel in the Eastern Mediterranean. He is Senior Editor at Routledge.