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Title / Description: Monumental archCommentary: Palmyra is located in the southeastern area of modern Syria, about 150 miles from Damascus and 30 miles west of the Euphrates River. Although there is evidence for Stone Age settlement in the area as far back as 75,000 years ago, Palmyra is not mentioned textually until the 19th century BCE. As a result of its proximity to trade routes, Palmyra became rather prosperous. With the rise of the Romans, Palmyra took on the role of the middleman between the Romans and the territories east of the Roman Empire, such as Parthia. Although Palmyra remained independent for a time following the Roman incorporation of Syria, the city was finally incorporated into the Empire during the 1st century CE. During the 1st and 2nd centuries CE Palmyra flourished, becoming very wealthy and achieving a formidable size of approximately seven miles in diameter. The third century CE was a time of political turmoil for Palmyra, as it lost some of its dominance over the local trade routes and also revolted against Rome in the latter part of the century. Palmyra's fortunes waxed and waned over the next several centuries; at times the city was quite prosperous, and at other times it was rather neglected. This picture shows the city's monumental archway. The archway led into the Great Colonnade, an important artery of the city which was over one kilometer in length. One end of the street terminated at the monumental Temple of Bel, the other end now leads towards the Q'laat ibn Maan castle built by the emir Ibn Ma'an Fakhr al-Din, who lived during the 16th and 17th centuries CE. The archway consists of three different portals, and is adorned with half columns and engaged Corinthian columns.
Provenance: Palmyra, Syria
Object Type: image - architecture
Date: 220 CE
The Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land;
The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East, vol. 4
Author of Commentary: Adam Mendelson
Source: Cutts, Edward L.