Photographs of Palmyra
December 15, 2011 10:17 AM   Subscribe

Photographs and more photographs of the ancient city of Palmyra, seat of the Palmyrene Empire and home to Queen Zenobia.
posted by Rumple (13 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
These are beautiful! Thanks, Rumple!
posted by pointystick at 10:18 AM on December 15, 2011


BTW, the History of Rome podcast that was on Mefi a while back is great stuff, and covers Zenobia baout, oh, somewhere between 100 and 500 hours in. :-)
posted by Artw at 10:35 AM on December 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

Yes, I also learned about Palmyra and Queen Zenobia from Mike Duncan. Man that was one crazy queen, what did she think she was doing butting heads with the roman empire?
posted by rebent at 10:41 AM on December 15, 2011

Beautiful stuff, thanks for posting this (and how in the hell did I that awesome post back in July??)
posted by jquinby at 10:43 AM on December 15, 2011

If there was a post of the year competition that one would get my vote.
posted by Artw at 10:56 AM on December 15, 2011

When I visited Palmyra it was the first time I'd ever ridden a camel. I rode down the grand collonade from the oasis at the new city, through the valley of the monuments and up to the Mamluk citadel. It was 130 degrees (no fooling) in the sun so the camel drovers placed me in a keffiyeh, after a long argument, the drovers decided which tribal style turban I would have my keffiyeh tied. When we stopped at one of the tower tombs, I rolled a rather large stone near the entryway with my foot and its shadow erupted with scarab beetles.

Such a neat place, such a neat country, such a sad state of affairs!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:00 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've been there too. To cast a tiny downer, it's disappointing that a fair proportion of the ruins are actually modern concrete reconstructions, poorly daubed with that "wash effect" paint to make them look marbled.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:21 AM on December 15, 2011

Thanks to The History of Rome I now know that Celopatra, who was pretty much the template for Zenobia, was in fact Greek. Possibly this is a hole in my education but her not being Egyptian was news to me.
posted by Artw at 11:22 AM on December 15, 2011

Yeah, Alexander conquered Egypt in 332BC and installed the Ptolemaic dynasty, who were a bunch of Greeks who ruled until 30AD, apparently refusing to learn or speak Egyptian, with Cleopatra as the sole exception who bothered to learn the local language. Their capital was, unsurprisingly, Alexandria, and the Greek influence there was why it attracted so many great scholars & established itself as an intellectual powerhouse of the ancient world, including such leading lights as Euclid, Ptolemy (the astronomer, unrelated to the dynasty) and Eratosthenes.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:38 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Saskatoon is in the room
Poulsbo is in the room
Bennettsville is in the room
Palmyra is in the room
posted by kcds at 2:05 PM on December 15, 2011

You, Andrew Marvell

And here face down beneath the sun
And here upon earth's noonward height
To feel the always coming on
The always rising of the night:

To feel creep up the curving east
The earthy chill of dusk and slow
Upon those under lands the vast
And ever climbing shadow grow

And strange at Ecbatan the trees
Take leaf by leaf the evening strange
The flooding dark about their knees
The mountains over Persia change

And now at Kermanshah the gate
Dark empty and the withered grass
And through the twilight now the late
Few travelers in the westward pass

And Baghdad darken and the bridge
Across the silent river gone
And through Arabia the edge
Of evening widen and steal on

And deepen on Palmyra's street
The wheel rut in the ruined stone
And Lebanon fade out and Crete
high through the clouds and overblown

And over Sicily the air
Still flashing with the landward gulls
And loom and slowly disappear
The sails above the shadowy hulls

And Spain go under and the shore
Of Africa the gilded sand
And evening vanish and no more
The low pale light across that land

Nor now the long light on the sea:

And here face downward in the sun
To feel how swift how secretly
The shadow of the night comes on . . .

-- Archibald MacLeish

emphasis mine
posted by Slithy_Tove at 6:40 PM on December 15, 2011

On the subject of poetry, people often remark that there's something so very Ozymandian about the ruins there in the sand, and as it turns out, a poet called Thomas Love Peacock wrote a poem about, and named, Palmyra.

He was a close friend of P.B. Shelley (and even became his literary executor after the latter's death) so there's an argument that Ozymandias was a response to the poem, Palmyra*.

* Mary A. Quinn, "'Ozymandias' as Shelley's Rejoinder to Peacock's 'Palmyra.'" English Language Notes 24 (1984): 48-56.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:38 PM on December 15, 2011

I visited Palmyra back in 2008. It was an amazing place, and one of many astonishing highlights of Syria. I've put up a handful of photos on flickr: Palmyra.

Just as impressive were the ruins at Apamea and the ghost city of Resafa.
posted by MykReeve at 3:39 AM on December 16, 2011

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