Palmyra(redirected from palmyras)
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Palmyra, ancient city, Syria
Palmyra, atoll, Pacific Ocean
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.
REFERENCESShifman, 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.
I. SH. SHIFMAN
(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.