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Saturday, July 2, 2022

Culture | Syria’s Palmyra: The miracle kingdom

It cannot be conceived how much the archaeologists belittled and denied the lofty position among the civilizations of the iconic World Heritage site called Palmyra in Syria. 

Indeed, they failed to include the very reason for its emergence in this particular location from their accounts and contented themselves with expanding their scientific research by focusing solely on the prosperous civilization that arose later due to the Silk Road that ran through Palmyra.

Credit: George Tuma

The name Palmyra appeared in the Babylonian manuscripts found in the Kingdom of Mari in eastern Syria. Its name means ‘the country of the resisters’ in the Amorite language, which is one of the dialects of the Aramaic language in which Palmyra means ‘the invincible country.’ Moreover, in the ancient Syriac language Palmyra is translated as ‘the miracle.’

The question arises: Was the power that defied the Empire of Rome not indicative of earlier development of human awareness that arose beginning with the Paleolithic era (1.5 million – about 20,000 years ago) continuing through the Mesolithic era (23,000 – 11,600 years ago) and eventually in the villages formed during the Neolithic era (10,000 – 4,500 BC)?

The lack of meticulous investigation of the remnants of ancient civilizations in the area of Palmyra compared to what took place in the neighboring archaeological areas, especially Jordan and Palestine, was the result of geopolitical motives that accompanied the Zionist activity. Consequently, the main focus of the investigative efforts being made at the time was to find archaeological evidence that supported their project of establishing a homeland for the Jewish diaspora in the Promised Land, according to what is stated in the Old Testament text. In spite of their best archaeological efforts, they were unable to find any trace of Solomon’s temple or of the ancient kings and prophets of the Jews.

It is worth mentioning that the documented historical events refute what is purported by some to have been stated in the Jewish sacred texts, which claim that God commanded the Jewish King Solomon, “Get up in the wilderness… and the jinn that I have authorized them to build Palmyra with openness and pillars.” 

These false allegations only serve to undermine the right of the ancient Syrians who built a kingdom on that ​​land, which is considered to be a cosmic star-gate. This location was suitable for building temples to their gods and exploiting its fertility due to the power of the cosmic celestial energy and the underground energy vortex. It deserved to be called The Miracle by other Canaanites living next to it. 

The Palmyrenes were purely commercial people but they did not abandon religion. On the contrary, their passion for building temples and tombs was great. Their variety of deities was nearly thirty, and their supreme idol was Bel (aka Baal) who appears alone in many carvings but is often presented in Palmyra as a part of a popular trio with his fellow deities; the sun god Yerhibl and the lunar god Aglibol’.

The Temple of Bel is considered one of the largest and most famous religious temples in the ancient East. Since the construction of the main structure in first century AD, additional structures continued to be built expanding the complex until the end of the Palmyra era by which time it had become huge in dimensions (220 x 205 meters). Its walls were surrounded by 375 columns, each of which is more than 18 meters long, and seven of them still stand in the main facade. As for burials, this was an area in which the Palmyrenes highlighted their remarkable ingenuity. Moreover, the burial site was far from being just tombs as it was decorated with roses and places to sit, so much so that they called it the house of eternity. Since the second century, the cemetery has become more like a one-story house accommodating up to eighty tombs, with its walls carefully and ingeniously carved.

Nevertheless, the first mention of the city in the Roman references was when Mark Antony tried unsuccessfully to seize its spoils (42-41 BC). The oldest inscription in the city dates back to the year 9 BC, an important period for trade between the Roman and Parthian states.

Credit: George Tuma

By the way, when someone writes the Palmyra archive he must mention:

  • The Straight Street: The most significant street lined with columns and extending for a distance of several kilometers surrounded by columns. 
  • Palmyra Theater: the Archaeological Theater. 
  • The Agora: The historical market. 
  • Triumphal Arch: The great gate is the Arch of Triumph or Hadrian’s Arch.
  • Temple of Baalshamin.
  • Valley of the Graves.
  • Zenobia Tomb. 
  • Tetrabel.
  • Ibn Maan Castle. 
  • Afqi Archaeological Spring, and Water Nymphs Path
  • The Senate House.
  • The Baths. 
  • The Camp of Diocletian.
  • The wall.
  •  The Temple of Baal. 
  • Hundreds of carvings, Statues, Pots, Huge archaeological tombs, administrative buildings, and others. 

Even though The Kingdom of Palmyra is considered one of the most critical archaeological cities globally, many archaeologists have wrongly underestimated this civilization. By failing to undertake any real in-depth archaeological exploration in Palmyra, this ancient Miracle Kingdom has been robbed of its rightful place in history.

George Tuma
George Tuma
George Tuma is the publisher and chief editor of Medical & Cosmetic Arts Magazine; specialist in Spirituality, Health, and Healing; an Instructor of Electro Cosmetic, Therapy and a Practioner of Holistic Medicine, (Complementary and Alternative). He has published several articles in scientific journals.

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