Palmyra: An Irreplaceable Treasure

Hardcover | May 10, 2017

byPaul VeyneTranslated byTeresa Lavender Fagan

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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 Palymra.

 In this concise and elegiac book, Paul Veyne, one of Palymra’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.

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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 b...

Paul Veyne is a French archaeologist and historian and an honorary professor at the Collège de France. He is the author of several books in French as well as Did the Greeks Believe in Their Myths?, also published by the University of Chicago Press. Teresa Lavender Fagan is a freelance translator living in Chicago; she has translated nu...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:128 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.98 inPublished:May 10, 2017Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022642782X

ISBN - 13:9780226427829

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“Veyne, the most eminent living historian of Rome, has written an elegiac lament on the meaning for world history of this looted city. His short book describes how Palmyra, an oasis on the route across the north Syrian desert, around the turn of the common era became immensely wealthy as a staging post in the trade route from the Roman Empire to the Parthian Kingdom and the lands beyond as far as India and China. . . . Veyne’s account offers an excellent survey of the relationship between the city and the wider Roman Empire.”