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(pălmī`rə), ancient city of central Syria. A small modern village known as Tudmor or Tadmor (the Syrian Arabic name of Palmyra) is nearby; residents were relocated from the ancient site in the early 1930s. An oasis N of the Syrian Desert, 130 mi (209 km) NE of Damascus, Palmyra was important in Syrian-Babylonian trade by the 1st cent. B.C. Palmyra became of true importance only after Roman control was established (c.A.D. 30). Local tribes vied for control, which fell to the Septimii by the 3d cent. A.D. Septimius OdenathusOdenathus, Septimius
, d. 267, king of Palmyra. His family (the Septimii) had dominated Palmyra for many years, and Odenathus by his policy of cooperation with Rome raised his state to its zenith.
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 built Palmyra into a strong autonomous state that practically embraced the Eastern Empire, including Syria, NW Mesopotamia, and W Armenia. After his death his widow, ZenobiaZenobia
, d. after 272, queen of Palmyra. She was of Arab stock and was the wife of Septimius Odenathus. He was murdered, probably through her contrivance, and she obtained rule of his lands in the name of her son.
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, briefly expanded the territory, but her ambition brought on (A.D. 272) an attack by AurelianAurelian
(Lucius Domitius Aurelianus) , c.212–275, Roman emperor (270–75). Rising in the ranks, he became consul under Valerian. He succeeded Claudius II, whose victory over the Goths had begun the territorial rehabilitation of the empire.
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, who was victorious and partly destroyed (273) the city. In decline, Palmyra was taken by the Arabs and sacked by TimurTimur
or Tamerlane
, c.1336–1405, Mongol conqueror, b. Kesh, near Samarkand. He is also called Timur Leng [Timur the lame]. He was the son of a tribal leader, and he claimed (apparently for the first time in 1370) to be a descendant of Jenghiz Khan.
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. It fell into ruins. The ruins were forgotten until the 17th cent., but those of the great temple dedicated to Baal, or Bel, and other remains show the ancient splendor of Palmyra at its prime. The temple of Baalshamin, one of the better preserved remains; part of the temple of Baal; and other ruins were destroyed during the Syrian civil war by the Islamic StateIslamic State
(IS), Sunni Islamic militant group committed to the establishment of an Islamic caliphate that would unite Muslims in a transnational, strict-fundamentalist Islamic state.
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 when they held (2015–16, 2016–17) the area.


atoll (2 sq mi/5.2 sq km), central Pacific, one of the Line IslandsLine Islands
or Equatorial Islands,
coral group, 43 sq mi (111 sq km), central and S Pacific. Once valuable for their guano deposits, the islands now have coconut groves, airfields, and meteorological stations.
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, c.1,100 mi (1,770 km) SW of Honolulu. Palmyra has no permanent inhabitants. First visited by Americans in 1802, and later claimed by the Hawaiian kingdom (1862) and Great Britain (1889), it was annexed by the United States in 1898. Palmyra was under the jurisdiction of Honolulu until Hawaii was granted statehood in 1959. The atoll is now administered by the U.S. Dept. of the Interior. Since 2009 it has been part of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National MonumentPacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument,
c.490,000 sq mi (1,260,000 sq km), central Pacific Ocean; est. 2009. The monument comprises the waters and reefs surrounding seven islands and atolls, and in most cases the island lands are managed as wildlife refuges as well.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



an ancient city in northeastern Syria (near present-day Tadmor), an important center of crafts and the caravan trade. Palmyra is first mentioned in Cappadocian tablets and Mari documents dating from the first half of the second millennium B.C. Destroyed by the Assyrians at the end of the second millennium B.C., it was rebuilt in the tenth century B.C. by the Israeli king Solomon.

Palmyra was at its apogee during the first to third centuries A.D., when its merchants maintained trade relations with the cities of southern Mesopotamia, Scythia, Middle Asia, and southern Arabia. As part of the Roman province of Syria, formed in 64 B.C., Palmyra enjoyed autonomy. It gained virtual independence around A.D. 260 under the ruler Odenanthus. Odenanthus’ wife and successor, Queen Zenobia (ruled 266/267–272), instigated an anti-Roman uprising and took possession of western Asia and Egypt; but in 272, her troops were routed by the Roman emperor Aurelian. In 273, after the suppression of an anti-Roman rebellion, Palmyra was destroyed by the Romans and lost its earlier importance.

The architectural ensembles of Palmyra were distinguished by their monumental scale, splendor of form, and abundant sculptural embellishment. Systematic excavations were begun in 1900. They uncovered part of the ruins of the ancient classical city, which had regularly planned streets lined with impressive Corinthian colonnades. Architectural monuments include a triple-spanned monumental arch at the head of the great colonnade of the principal street (second to third century); the Temple of Bel, or Baal, centrally situated on a high platform (first century); an agora and theater (third century); a small rectangular temple to Bel-shamin (second century); part of the city wall (second half of the third century, restored in the mid-sixth century); and the complex called Diocletian’s Camp (late third to early fourth century), northwest of the city, with the Temple of Banners. Outside the city walls is a necropolis with three types of tombs: tower tombs, subterranean tombs, and mausoleums in the form of houses with atria. Numerous statues, reliefs, mosaics, and paintings have been found and are now in the National Museum of Damascus and other collections. There is a museum exhibiting archaeological finds and folk art in Tadmor.


Shifman, I. Sh. “Imushchestvennye i zemel’nye otnosheniia v Pal’mire v I—III vv. n. e. po epigraficheskim dannym.” In Palestinskii sbornik. Moscow-Leningrad, 1965, issue 3.
Michalowski, K. Pal’mira (album). Warsaw, 1968.




(Borassus flabellifer), a plant of the family Palmae. The plant reaches a height of 18–20 m (sometimes 30 m). The leaves are flabellate. Palmyras, which are native to tropical Asia, have been cultivated since ancient times in southern India and Sri Lanka. The juice of the inflorescences is used to make sugar, toddy, alcohol, and vinegar. The fruit is edible. The leaves are used in the manufacture of paper and roofing; the split leaves are used for weaving mats, pads, baskets, and similar articles. Fibers from the leaves are made into brushes, ropes, and fabrics. The wood of the trunk is a durable building material, which is resistant to the effects of seawater.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. an ancient city in central Syria: said to have been built by Solomon
2. an island in the central Pacific, in the Line Islands: under US administration
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
The ancient remains of Palmyra, Syria, which are now under the control of Islamic State militants
WASHINGTON, May 21 (KUNA) - - The US expressed deep concern on Thursday after ISIL attack and took control of Palmyra, Syria and noted the towns status as a world heritage site, White House Spokesperson Josh Earnest stressed to reporters.
Campisi in Pology's October issue--one of Schwartz's favorites, he says--tells of the experience speaking with a young boy selling a pack of postcards outside a temple in Palmyra, Syria. Writers for Pology--who currently are not paid, but may be soon--range from experienced journalists who have worked for the San Francisco Chronicle, the Boston Globe and NPR to previously unpublished writers who simply submitted their work.
The ancient ruins of Palmyra, Syria, have passed from the Islamic State group to the Syrian army for the second time this year after two months of battle led by Russian warplanes. The latest victory comes after Syrian and Iranian forces began operations inside Palmyra Thursday, prompting ISIS to flee the city known for its Unesco World Heritage Site.
This picture released yesterday by the website of Islamic State militants, shows a tank with Islamic State group fighters clashing with Syrian government <B forces on a road between Homs and Palmyra, Syria
Militants with the Islamic State group, which started pillaging the famed ancient Roman ruins in Palmyra, Syria, when taking control of the city in 2015, won't stop doing so until all of its historical treasures are&nbsp;reduced to rubble, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement Monday.