How Ancient Palmyra, Now in ISIS’s Grip, Grew Rich and Powerful
A distinctly multicultural trading center grew rich on trade between east and west, until it rebelled against its most powerful customer.
Picture of Palmyra
Palmyra grew fabulously wealthy as a middleman for trade between the Mediterranean and Mesopotamia, and its citizens donated generously to massive building campaigns.
TAP – the small kingdom which included Palmyra, sat between the Roman and Persian Empires, trading tax-free between the two of them, until the Romans decided to intervene in the growing wealth and power of the kingdom. That same kingdom was inherited by Izas, or Jesus as we know him, who had ambitions on the Roman Empire, starting a war (The Nazarene Revolt) which he ultimately lost betrayed by some of his followers (Notably Josephus Flavius (St Paul) who acted as a Roman spy), and overpowered by Rome’s might in AD70 commanded by Vespasian.
PHOTOGRAPH BY PAULE SEUX, HEMIS/CORBIS
By Kristin Romey, National Geographic
PUBLISHED AUGUST 26, 2015
In Palmyra, history is literally written on the walls: across temples and above doorways, encircling funerary monuments and snaking up the towering limestone columns that rise above the Syrian desert some 134 miles (215 km) northeast of Damascus.
These inscriptions were often written both in Greek and Palmyrene Aramaic, a bilingual phenomenon unique to Palmyra. The site is a UNESCO World Heritage site that has been a focus of international attention since May, when the Islamic State (ISIS) seized the territory around the ancient ruins.
One example: an inscription from around 130 A.D., in which the Senate of Palmyra honored a citizen named Male Agrippa for building a temple dedicated to Baal Shamin, the Semitic god of the heavens, to commemorate an earlier visit by the Roman emperor Hadrian. The bilingual dedication was inscribed at the entrance to the temple, which featured a unique mix of Roman and Near Eastern architectural styles.
Male Agrippa’s gift to his city, the Temple of Baal Shamin, was destroyed by the Islamic State last weekend.
Forces from ISIS, allegedly planted improvised explosive devices (IEDs) across the entire site in late June. “I am seeing Palmyra being destroyed in front of my eyes,” says Syria’s Director of Antiquities Maamoun Abdulkarim. “God help us in the days to come.” (Learn more about the Islamic State’s campaign against archaeological sites.)
Picture of Isis allegedly blowing up part of Palmyra
A photo depicts the recent destruction of the ancient Baal Shamin temple in Palmyra, built by a local citizen to honor the visit of a Roman emperor.
In addition to the destruction of the Baal Shamin temple, the Islamic State is responsible for the recent torture and murder of Khaled Asaad, the 82-year-old former director of antiquities at Palmyra. He is survived by 11 children, including a daughter, Zenobia, named after the city’s legendary queen.
TAP – Why has the West not heard a dickie bird about Palmyra in any media reporting previous to its being blown up by ISIS? The reason is that this is the kingdom, which Izas (Jesus) was king of. From Palmyra he tried to take control of Judaea from the Romans and lost the war in AD70, after which he was exiled to Britain and held captive in Chester. The Catholic Church cannot allow the people of the world to discover the real truth of who Jesus was, when he lived, and what he actually did, otherwise the fairytale of Christianity will be undone. Ralph Ellis’s King Jesus trilogy explains the journey of discovery Ellis went through over twenty five years unravelling the deceptions. Luckily he visited Palmyra and managed to photograph key statues of figures representing either Jesus himself or his close relatives.
He also collected the coins of the kingdom of which Palmyra was the richest city, showing Jesus’ father, his ancestors and relatives. ISIS can and will blow it all up, and a beautiful city will be lost to the world, but the truth of what lies behind all the Abrahamic religions, Judaeism, Christianity and Islam cannot be hidden from an internet-savvy generation. You need to read Ralph Ellis if you want to understand the true history. Palmyra is a key part of the untold story.
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