Hadrian ankommer til Palmyra

Hadrian ankommer til Palmyra


Palmyra

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Palmyra, også kaldet Tadmur, Tadmor, eller Tudmur, gammel by i det sydlige centrale Syrien, 210 miles (210 km) nordøst for Damaskus. Navnet Palmyra, der betyder "palmetræsby", blev tildelt byen af ​​dens romerske herskere i det 1. århundrede ce Tadmur, Tadmor eller Tudmur, stedets præ-semitiske navn, er også stadig i brug. Byen er nævnt i tabletter, der stammer fra så tidligt som det 19. århundrede fvt. Den blev fremtrædende i det 3. århundrede fvt., Da en vej igennem den blev en af ​​de vigtigste ruter for øst-vest-handel. Palmyra blev bygget på en oase, der lå omtrent halvvejs mellem Middelhavet (vest) og Eufratfloden (øst), og det hjalp med at forbinde den romerske verden med Mesopotamien og øst.

Selv om det var autonomt i store dele af sin historie, kom Palmyra under romersk kontrol på tidspunktet for kejser Tiberius (regerede 14–37 e.Kr.). Efter at have besøgt byen (c. 129), erklærede kejseren Hadrian det a civitas libera ("Fri by"), og den blev senere givet af kejser Caracalla titlen på colonia, med skattefritagelse.

Byen blomstrede således, og 2. og 3. århundrede e.Kr. var Palmyras store alder og dens omfattende handelsaktiviteter, på trods af forhindringer, der afbrød campingvognhandel med Østen, og også i lyset af ustabilitet omkring det romersk-kontrollerede Middelhav. Da Sāsānians fortrængte partherne i Persien og det sydlige Mesopotamien (227), blev vejen til Den Persiske Golf hurtigt lukket for handel med Palmyrene. Disse vanskeligheder fik romerne til at oprette det personlige styre for familien til Septimius Odaenathus i Palmyra. Han blev udnævnt til guvernør i Syrien Phoenice af kejser Valerian (regerede 253–260), men det var tilsyneladende hans søn, kejser Gallienus, der gav Odaenathus titlen korrektor totius Orientis ("Guvernør i hele Østen"). Både Odaenathus og hans ældste søn, arvingen, blev myrdet, men efter sigende på kommando af Odaenathus 'anden kone, Zenobia, der overtog kontrollen over byen og blev en effektiv leder. Under hendes styre erobrede Palmyras hære det meste af Anatolien (Lilleasien) i 270, og byen erklærede sin uafhængighed fra Rom. Den romerske kejser Aurelian genvandt imidlertid Anatolien i 272 og jævnede Palmyra året efter.

Byen forblev hovedstationen på strata Diocletiana, en asfalteret vej, der forbandt Damaskus med Eufrat, men i 634 blev den indtaget af Khālid ibn al-Walīd i navnet på den første muslimske kalif, Abū Bakr. Derefter faldt dets betydning som handelscenter gradvist.

Sproget i Palmyra var arameisk, dets to skrivesystemer - et monumentalt skrift og et mesopotamisk kursiv - afspejler byens position mellem øst og vest. Den store tosprogede indskrift kendt som Tariff of Palmyra og inskriptionerne hugget under statuerne af de store campingvognledere afslører oplysninger om organisationen og arten af ​​Palmyras handel. Palmyrenerne udvekslede varer med Indien via Den Persiske Golfrute og også med byer som Coptos ved Nilen, Rom og Doura-Europus i Syrien.

Hovedguddommen for aramæerne i Palmyra var Bol (sandsynligvis en ækvivalent med Baal). Bol blev hurtigt kendt som Bel ved assimilation til den babylonske gud Bel-Marduk. Begge guder præsiderede over stjernernes bevægelser. Palmyrenerne forbandt Bel med henholdsvis sol- og måneguderne, Yarhibol og Aglibol. En anden himmelsk triade dannede sig omkring den fønikiske gud Baal Shamen, "himmelens herre", mere eller mindre identisk med Hadad. En monoteistisk tendens opstod i det 2. århundrede med kulten af ​​en ikke navngivet gud, "ham hvis navn er velsignet for evigt, den barmhjertige og gode."

Ruinerne ved Palmyra afslører klart den gamle bys netværksplan. Langs hovedgaden øst-vest, der hedder Grand Colonnade af arkæologer, er en dobbeltportik dekoreret med tre nymphaea. Mod syd er agoraen, Senathuset og teatret. Andre ruiner omfatter et stort kompleks kaldet Diocletians lejr og den øverste Palmyrene -helligdom, dedikeret til Bel, Yarhibol og Aglibol, en række betydningsfulde gamle kristne kirker er også blevet afdækket. I arkitekturen markerer den korintiske orden næsten alle monumenter, men Mesopotamias og Irans indflydelse er også tydeligt tydelig. Desuden afspejler kunst fundet på monumenter og grave indflydelsen fra de omkringliggende romerske og persiske imperier. Ruinerne af den gamle by Palmyra blev i 1980 udpeget som UNESCOs verdensarvsliste.

I maj 2015 overtog den ekstremistiske gruppe kendt som Islamisk Stat i Irak og Levanten (ISIL) kontrollen over Palmyra. Fordi ISIL tidligere havde revet og plyndret arkæologiske steder under dets kontrol, var der stor frygt for, at monumenter i Palmyra også ville blive ødelagt. I august 2015 udgav ISIL en række fotos, der syntes at vise Baal Shamans tempel blive revet ned med sprængstof. I begyndelsen af ​​september offentliggjorde FN satellitbilleder, der viste, at Palmyras hovedtempel, Bel -templet, også var blevet revet ned. I marts 2016 overtog den syriske hær Palmyra fra ISIL med støtte fra russiske og iranske styrker.

Palmyra faldt tilbage til ISILs kontrol i december 2016, mens syriske regeringsstyrker og deres allierede var optaget af at bekæmpe oprørere i Aleppo. Igen ødelagde ISIL -krigere monumenter luftfotografier i januar 2017 viste, at teatret var blevet betydeligt beskadiget, og Tetrapylon - et firkantet monument på Grand Colonnade bestående af fire grupper på fire søjler hver - var blevet revet ned.

Denne artikel blev senest revideret og opdateret af Noah Tesch, associeret redaktør.


Tag: Palmyra

Den seneste udvikling i Mellemøsten har tiltrukket verdens opmærksomhed på de storslåede ruiner af den gamle by Palmyra. Dens imponerende rester blev belyst af rejsende, først i 1678 og af arkæologer i nyere tid. Lige så imponerende er de mange repræsentationer af byens indbyggere i form af begravelseskulpturer i den karakteristiske Palmyrene -stil.

Fra det 1. århundrede f.Kr. voksede byen i både rigdom og befolkning med navnet Palmyra (palmernes by), der kom til at erstatte den ældre Tadmor. Det blomstrede som en campingvognoase på handelsruten, der forbinder Middelhavet med Vest- og Centralasien (Silkevejen). Det blev inkorporeret i Romerriget i de tidlige år af Tiberius 'regeringstid og blev en metropol med "fri" status (civitas libera) under Hadrian, der besøgte byen i 129 e.Kr. og omdøbte den til "Hadriana Palmyra". Caracalla erklærede Palmyra for en romersk koloni i 212 e.Kr. og fritog byen for at betale skat af luksusartikler.


Hadrians rejser

Hadrian var ikke typen af ​​kejser, der låste sig inde i Rom, langt fra sine undersåtter og ventede på, at verden skulle komme til ham. Han herskede over, hvad der muligvis dengang var det største imperium i historien, og han var fast på at se det - jagte løver i Nordafrika, opsuge kulturen i Athen og undersøge Storbritanniens frigid nordlige forpost. Men, siger Alison Cooley, Hadrians rejser var ikke bare resultatet af en nydelsessøgende vandretur. Her var en mand fast besluttet på at minde sine provinser om, hvem der havde ansvaret.

Denne konkurrence er nu lukket

Udgivet: 17. april 2016 kl. 7:00

Heldigvis for historikere i den romerske verden kunne kejser Hadrian og hans hoffolk ikke modstå impulsen til at indgravere deres navne sammen med digte om deres rejser på Egyptens store monumenter. Det var, man kan sige, den ældgamle ækvivalent til en selfie.

Som et resultat heraf har vi en øjenvidneberetning om en tur til Colossi of Memnon, som Hadrian og hans kone Sabina lavede 20. november e.Kr. 130. Kongeparret fik selskab af deres hoffolk, herunder Julia Balbilla, der komponerede følgende digt:

“Af Julia Balbilla, da Hadrian Augustus hørte Memnon: Jeg havde fået at vide, at egypteren Memnon, opvarmet af solstrålen, talte fra sin Thebanske sten. Og da han så Hadrian, konge af alle, før solens stråler, hilste han på ham så godt han kunne ... Så bød herren Hadrian selv også rigelig hilsen til Memnon og på monumentet til venstre for eftertiden, der markerede alt det, han havde set og alt, hvad han havde hørt. Og det blev gjort klart for alle, at guderne elskede ham. ”

Formålet med Hadrians besøg var at undre sig over et af vidunderne i det gamle Egypten - en kolossal statue, der ’sang’, mens solens stråler ramte den hver morgen. Statuen skildrede faktisk Farao Amenhotep III, uden for hans tempel nær Luxor, men romerne mente, at det var den mytiske helt Memnon, Dawn's søn, der hilste sin guddommelige mor. Ligesom besøgende nu flokkes til de store pyramider i Giza, så var romerske turister for 2000 år siden ivrige efter at høre dette fantastiske fænomen.

Det var et tegn på Hadrians gunst fra guderne, at han hørte statuen synge ikke en gang, men tre gange. Andre var ikke så heldige. Og hvis du nu har lyst til at følge i Hadrians fodspor for at høre statuen synge, vær advaret: efter reparationer nogle år efter Hadrians besøg blev statuen stille for evigt.

Mens han var i Nordafrika, foretog Hadrian en udflugt i ørkenen sammen med sin elsker, Antinous, for at deltage i den mest kongelige forfølgelse, løvejagt. Det dramatiske øjeblik, da en løve, der var anklaget for dem to, blev udødeliggjort af Pancrates, en digter fra Alexandria, hvis vers i episk stil tilfældigvis er blevet bevaret på en papyrus fundet i Oxyrhynchus: ”Lige strømmede han hen over dem begge og piskede med sine hale, hans stød og sider, mens hans øjne, under hans øjenbryn, blinkede frygtelig ild og fra hans ravende kæber skumlede skummet til jorden, mens hans tænder gnisslede indeni. ” Men imellem dem to sendte Hadrian og Antinous sammen dyret, og deres tapre gerning levede videre i vers.

Fra disse to små bevisstykker - en indskrift udskåret på en gammel statue og et fragment af papyrus - får vi et levende indtryk af en kejser i fritiden og drager fordel af et besøg i flere måneder i Egypten for at se seværdighederne.

Der er ingen tvivl om, at Hadrian, der regerede fra 117 til 138 e.Kr., rejste rundt i sit imperium i langt større grad end de fleste andre kejsere. Ifølge en gammel biograf kan han endda have fremkaldt nogle af de landskaber, han så på sine rejser ved designet af sin villa i Tivoli ('Villa Adriana'): "Hans villa i Tibur blev forunderligt konstrueret, og han gav faktisk til dele af den navnene på provinser og steder med den største berømmelse og kalder dem f.eks. Lyceum, Academia, Prytaneum, Canopus, Poecile og Tempe. ”

Uanset om det faktisk er sandt eller ej, afspejler dette en opfattelse af, at Hadrian var usædvanligt påvirket af provinserne, og tanken om, at han bevidst fremkaldte deres landskaber i sin villa, lever stadig på den måde, som villaen præsenteres for turister i dag.

Øverstkommanderende

Men Hadrian var ikke bare en lystssøgende kejser. Hans rejser tillod ham også at komme i kontakt med sine tropper ved indsættelse i provinserne, og som øverstkommanderende for den romerske hær interesserede han sig aktivt for at inspicere sine soldater og opmuntre dem til at opretholde deres uddannelse til de højeste standarder .

Under et besøg på hovedkvarteret for III Augustan Legion i Lambaesis i Nordafrika, overvåger Hadrian omhyggeligt deres træningsøvelser og fortsatte derefter med at holde en tale, hvor han efterfølgende talte til alle de forskellige enheder med observationer om de kvaliteter og mangler, som de havde vist ham. Til en gruppe mænd tilbød han opmuntrende rosende ord: ”Du har bygget en lang mur, der var lavet som til permanente vinterkvarterer, på næsten lige så kort tid som om den var bygget af græs, der blev skåret i lige stykker, let bæres og håndteres og lægges uden besvær, er naturligt glatte og flade. Du byggede med store, tunge, ujævne sten, som ingen kan bære, løfte eller lægge, uden at deres ujævnheder bliver tydelige. ”

Tropperne værdsatte tydeligt kejserens ord, da selve talen var indskrevet på en monumental søjle, der var opsat i deres paradeplads. Dette minder os om, at den romerske hærs magt ikke kun lå i dens kampevne, men også i dens tekniske resultater, hvoraf den ene - Hadrians mur i det nordlige England - stadig er så synlig i dag.

Athen genfødt

Fra 124–32 e.Kr. tilbragte Hadrian meget af sin tid i Athen og boede der længere end nogen anden by bortset fra Rom. På dette tidspunkt havde Athen længe mistet den dominans, den havde vundet i Perikles dage. Hvor den engang havde været leder af en liga med græske byer, var den nu kun en af ​​mange byer i provinsen Achaea, fuldstændig afhængig af Rom. Det var heller ikke engang hovedstaden i denne provins: denne position blev nu besat af Korinth, som var blevet ødelagt af romerne i 146 f.Kr., men genopbyggede som en romersk koloni 100 år senere.

På trods af dette forblev en fornemmelse af Athens tidligere betydning. Unge romere som Ciceros søn eller digteren Horace kunne stadig blive sendt dertil for at forbedre deres uddannelse, og nogle romere forblev bevidste om en kulturel gæld til Athen. Plinius den Yngre formanede en ven om at tiltræde en stilling i den græske by:

“Husk, at du er blevet sendt til provinsen Achaea, til det rene og ægte Grækenland, hvor civilisation og litteratur og også landbruget menes at have stammer ... Vær opmærksom på deres antikviteter, deres heroiske gerninger og legender om deres fortid ... husk altid, at dette er landet, der gav os retfærdighed og gav os love, ikke efter at have erobret os, men efter vores anmodning om, at det er Athen, du tager til, og Sparta du hersker. ”

Hadrians forlængede besøg i Athen havde en anden karakter end hans egyptiske ekspedition. Han greb ind i byens politik, kultur, religiøse liv og økonomi for at genetablere Athen som det prestigefyldte centrum i den græske verden. Han udstedte et dekret, der tog det personlige ansvar for at øge indtægterne for byen fra produktion af olivenolie i det omkringliggende område Attika. Han greb ind i en tvist om lederskab inden for den filosofiske skole Epicurus. Han byggede flere helt nye storslåede strukturer, herunder et bibliotek, pantheon, gymnastiksal og akvædukt. Han færdiggjorde og indviede templet for den olympiske Zeus, som var blevet startet omkring seks århundreder tidligere, men var forblevet uafsluttet trods sporadiske indgreb fra hellenistiske og romerske klientkonger.

Med en vis berettigelse blev Hadrian altså repræsenteret som en ny grundlægger for byen og erstattede dens mytologiske helt, Theseus. Hans præstation blev proklameret på en bue bygget nær Temple of Olympian Zeus. På den ene side af buen var der skrevet en indskrift: "Dette er Athen, den tidligere by Theseus", hvortil en indskrift på den anden side svarede: "Dette er byen Hadrian, ikke Theseus."

Hadrian oprettede en ny byforening, Panhellenion, og etablerede Athen som hovedkvarter. Denne liga omfattede byer fra mindst fem forskellige romerske provinser og skabte en følelse af fælles slægtskab blandt dem. Dets medlemmer omfattede byer på fastlandet Grækenland, der er velkendte for os for deres fremtrædende karakter i den klassiske periode - Athen, Sparta, Argos og Korinth - men omfattede også fjerntliggende byer som Phrygian Synnada i det centrale Anatolien (moderne Suhut, i Tyrkiet) og Libyske Cyrene.

Figuren af ​​Hadrian selv var central for Panhellenion: ikke kun etablerede den en ny kult af Hadrian Panhellenios, men medlemsbyerne kunne nu slå sig sammen for at sende ambassader til kejseren med forskellige anmodninger og garanteres en gunstig modtagelse.

Derudover blev der oprettet tre nye festivaler-Panhellenia, Hadrianeia og Olympieia-sammen med den længe etablerede festival i Athen, Panathenaia. Som følge heraf var Athen nu den eneste græske by, der havde en vigtig festival hvert eneste år og tiltrak de bedste atleter, digtere og talere til at konkurrere om præmier. Dette må have afsluttet forvandlingen af ​​Athen fra en lille provinsby til en kosmopolitisk storby, da konkurrenter og publikum kom ned over byen fra alle hjørner af den romerske verden. (Forestil dig, at OL i London 2012 er en årlig begivenhed!)

Berømte sidste ord

Hadrians interesse for det intellektuelle liv i det klassiske Grækenland strakte sig langt ud over selve Athen. Som hersker over den romerske verden var han den ultimative voldgiftsmand i bilæggelse af lokale tvister, og byer sendte ham konstant andragender og bad ham om hjælp. Nyligt udgivet er de sidste ord, der vides at have været udsendt af Hadrian, sandsynligvis i begyndelsen af ​​138 e.Kr., kort før han døde, i et brev til den lille by Naryka i Locris (Grækenland), som var indskrevet på en bronzetavle. I dette brev reagerede Hadrian på en tvist om, hvorvidt Naryka kunne betragte sig selv som en by. Ved begrundelsen af ​​Narykas bystatus hentydede Hadrian til dens rolle i Panhellenion, han havde etableret.

Det faktum, at Naryka var repræsenteret ikke kun i andre lokale ligaer, men også inden for det overregionale Panhellenion, var en klar grund til at bekræfte dets status. Hadrian nævnte også som bevis til fordel for bystatus de politiske strukturer, der var der-dets råd, magistrater, præster og stammer. Mest markant er imidlertid Hadrians påstand om, at "Du er også blevet nævnt af nogle af de mest berømte digtere, både romerske og græske, som 'narykianere', og de kalder også visse af heltene for at være startet fra din polis." Dette afspejler, hvordan den mytiske fortid i det klassiske Grækenland havde genklang gennem århundrederne for at blive vigtig i øjnene af verdens hersker.

At rejse rundt i imperiet var ikke en nødvendighed for en romersk kejser, hvis hans undersåtter ønskede hjælp, det var op til dem at tage af sted for at søge publikum med ham. Hadrian blev dog kaldt "den rastløse kejser".

Dette fremhæver det faktum, at han synes at have haft en usædvanlig proaktiv holdning - at besøge mange dele af imperiet for at bilægge tvister, gennemgå hans tropper og fungere som velgører over for mange provinsbyer. Hvem kan bebrejde ham, hvis han i løbet af sine rejser tog sig lidt tid til at se seværdighederne?

Professor Alison Cooley er en klassiker baseret på University of Warwick. Hendes bøger inkluderer Pompeji og Herculaneum (Routledge, 2013).

Hadrians rejser

Fem af de steder, som den globaltravende kejser besøgte-for pligt og fornøjelse-i løbet af hans 21-årige regeringstid

1) Athen, romerske provins Achaea (Grækenland)

Hadrian forvandlede det fysiske stof i Athen såvel som dets økonomiske og kulturelle miljø, finansierede grandiose monumenter og oprettede en liga af byer kendt som Panhellenion. Han tilbragte mange måneder der flere gange og genindførte Athen som kulturel og intellektuel hovedstad i den græske verden. Ikke underligt, at han efter sigende fik tilnavnet Graeculus ('Greekling').

2) Antiokia ved Orontes, den romerske provins Syrien (Tyrkiet)

På det tidspunkt, hvor han blev kejser i 117 e.Kr., var Hadrian guvernør i Syrien, baseret i Antiokia. Hadrian opgav kejser Trajans erobringer langs floderne Eufrat og Tigris - selvom det rygtes, at Trajans kone, Plotina (billedet), konstruerede hans arv.

3) Tibur, moderne Tivoli (Italien)

Hadrian byggede sig en storslået landejendom ved Tibur, cirka 20 miles øst for Rom. Arkitekturen i Hadrians Villa er påfaldende både for dets innovative design og luksuriøse flerfarvede marmor. Det var et sted, hvor Hadrian kunne trække sig tilbage for privatlivets fred, men også hvor han kunne underholde gæster i overdådig skala eller handle officielle forretninger.

I 128 e.Kr. inspicerede Hadrian tropperne fra III Augustan Legion på deres militære hovedkvarter i Lambaesis. Hans tale, der opfordrede dem til at fortsætte med at træne hårdt, og hans ros for de øvelser, han havde gennemgået, er bevaret som en indskrift på en monumental kolonne, der er opstillet i deres paradeplads.

5) Palmyra, moderne Syrien

Hadrian besøgte i 129 e.Kr., for at fejre Palmyrenerne navnet Adrianoi. Dette ville have taget kejseren ind i et karakteristisk kulturmiljø, hvor aramæisk var det lokale sprog, og hvor tydeligt ikke-romerske guder, såsom Baal Shamin, blev tilbedt. Under sit besøg leverede en fremtrædende lokal borger olivenolie til besøgende og Palmyrenes og bidrog til vedligeholdelsen af ​​soldaterne, formodentlig i Hadrians følge.


Syriologi

Skrevet af Charles O. Cecil

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Engang en station for soldater og vagter lokker de udgravede ruiner af milecastle 39 nu vandrere omtrent halvvejs langs Hadrians mur i Northumberland, England. Fra begyndelsen af ​​andet århundrede adskilte øst-til-vest-muren romersk Britannia fra piktiske stammer i Caledonien (i nutidens Skotland) mod nord. Ikke kun sten gjorde arbejdet: Op til 8.000 mand fra alle dele af Romerriget bevogtede og vedligeholdt befæstningen langs dens 118 kilometer lange længde. De omfattede syrere, som det fremgår af de tosprogede indskrifter - på latin og palmyrene - ved bunden af ​​gravstenen fundet nær South Shields, under, en minde om den 30-årige Regina, fra det centrale Britannia, af hendes efterladte mand, Barates, fra Palmyra.

TIL DE AFSTEDES ÅNDER [OG TIL]
REGINA, HANS FREKVINDE OG Hustru

BARATES OF PALMYRA [OPRETTET DETTE]

[HUN] EN CATUVELLAUNIAN [AF TRIBE], ALDER 30

REGINA, BARATENS FRIKVINDE, ALAS

Udstillet i Arbeia Roman Fort og Museum i kystbyen South Shields, ved mundingen af ​​floden Tyne, omkring 300 kilometer nord for Manchester, England, er en gravstenrelief, der viser en siddende, klædt kvinde, hendes ansigt slidt eller mejslet væk. Damen blev opdaget i 1878 og dateret til slutningen af ​​det andet århundrede, og synes at være voksen i sin tid: hendes kappe er lang og fin, og hun er prydet med en halskæde og armbånd. I skødet holder hun en spindel af uld, og ved hendes side sidder garnskugler. Hendes højre hånd åbner en smykkeskrin. På næsten en meter høj var det en dyr memento mori. Under hendes billede er en formel latinsk indskrift, der bruger almindelige forkortelser. Og så, hvis man ser godt efter, er der mere. Helt i bunden, næsten som et efterskrift, vises en række fint indskårne bogstaver: RGYN ’BT HRY BR’T’ HBL. Disse er ikke latin. Det kræver faktisk en specialist i det vest-aramæisk-baserede manuskript i Palmyra, Syrien, at oversætte det: ”Regina, frihedskvinden i Barates, ak.

Judith Weingarten, en arkæolog og forsker i Palmyrene historie og kultur ved British School i Athen, bemærker: "Dette er en typisk Palmyran -formel for de døde: navn + afstamning eller beskrivelse + klagesang." På Reginas sten, påpeger hun, er Palmyrene -scriptet mere grammatisk og fagligt udskåret end latin. Dette og monumentets generelt Palmyrene -stil antyder, at billedhuggeren kan have været en syrer. Men hvem troede Barates ville læse den?

Hadrians mur bælter Britannia mellem det, der nu er South Shields og Carlisle, den senere Antonine -mur var omkring halvdelen af ​​længden af ​​Hadrians. Syriske bueskytter tjente ved begge.

På det tidspunkt, hvor han bestilte Reginas gravsten, var der omkring 500 bueskytter fra Hama, Syrien, der betjente den romerske hær i det nordlige Britannia, mindre end 80 kilometer fra Reginas hvilested. Det romerske fort ved South Shields - dengang kaldet Lugudunum - bevogtede den primære indgangshavn for mænd og forsyninger på vej til netværket af forter og vagttårne ​​langs Hadrians mur, der definerede de nordlige kanter af romersk styre. Det er således ganske muligt, at syriske bueskytter passerede denne vej undervejs til og fra deres vagtposter langs væggen.

David Devine, forfatter til Hadrians mur: Roms nordvestlige grænse (1995), kalder muren "det største monument, der overlevede for Roms militærmagt." Efter først at have erobret Storbritannien - Britannia på latin - i 43 e.Kr. forlængede Rom sin kontrol mod nord. Næsten et århundrede senere i 122 e.Kr. kom kejser Hadrian for at inspicere disse nordlige besiddelser. Hadrian var mere konsoliderende end ekspansionist og var bekymret for, at imperiet blev overudvidet i nogle områder og som et resultat af sit besøg i det nordlige Britannia beordrede en mur til at bygge fra kyst til kyst for at afgrænse imperiets nordlige rækkevidde.

Stenbarrikaden tog seks år at bygge, og den strakte sig 118 kilometer fra nær nutidens Newcastle upon Tyne vest til Carlisle. Flere romerske forter eksisterede allerede langs denne rute, og muren passerede nær dem eller i nogle tilfælde skærede dem. "Milecastles" - små vagtstationer med en afstand på 1,48 km fra hinanden - befæstede muren, og to vagttårne ​​eller tårne ​​blev bygget på mellemliggende punkter mellem hver. Muren steg fire og en halv meter, og en dyb grøft langs dens nordside gjorde angreb endnu vanskeligere.

Romerne designede imidlertid ikke muren så meget til forsvar som til overvågning. Gangbroen langs toppen var ikke bred nok til at fungere som en effektiv kampplatform, men den gav et udsigtspunkt, hvorfra man kunne se potentielt fjendtlige kræfter i det fjerne. Denne tidlige advarsel tillod romerske styrker at passere gennem portene i muren for at engagere fjender i henhold til præferencer fra romersk militærlære: i det åbne felt. I centrale dele langs ruten, hvor selv terrænet ville gøre angreb næsten umuligt, fortsatte muren ikke desto mindre uafbrudt, nogle gange på kanterne af høje skrænter. Det var således mere en politisk end en militær erklæring: ”Her stopper romersk styre. Nord for dette punkt har vi intet ansvar. ” Muren tjente naturligvis også til at kontrollere strømmen af ​​mennesker såvel som værdifuld - afgiftspligtig - handel.

Mærkeligt nok findes der i Rom ingen samtidige skriftlige henvisninger til væggen. Den eneste kendte henvisning til Hadrians beslutning om at bygge den er en enkelt sætning i et værk af den romerske historiker Spartianus. Historikeren udtalte om Hadrians besøg i Storbritannien mere end halvandet århundrede efter at det fandt sted, og skrev: ”Han var den første til at bygge en mur, 80 kilometer lang, som skulle adskille barbarerne fra romerne. ”

I dag kommer det meste af det, vi ved om væggen, fra arkæologi. Et sådant fund omfatter de tidligste beviser for en syrisk tilstedeværelse i regionen: et "diplom" eller decharge fra militærtjeneste, dateret 17. juli, 122 e.Kr., der gav modtageren ret til romersk statsborgerskab. Et andet eksamensbevis blev fundet dateret november 124, og et andet dateret i 132. Begge blev skrevet til mænd, der tjente i enheden af ​​syriske bueskytter. Endnu mere imponerende er en gravsten, der er bevaret i Great North Museum: Hancock i Newcastle upon Tyne, der viser en syrisk bueskytte, bøje ved hans side.

I denne kunstners opfattelse af et romersk fort, der bestrider Hadrians mur langs floden Tyne, antyder marker og kornmagasiner uden for garnisonen, hvordan romere og lokale kan have blandet sig.

Disse syrere tjente sammen med så mange som 8.000 romerske soldater fra forskellige dele af imperiet, alle adskilt i særlige enheder (numeri). At fodre dem alle var en logistisk udfordring, og bueskytter, der var i stand til ekspertjagt, ville have hjulpet.

Feltarkæologen Mike Bishop hævder imidlertid, at alle jagtede, og den primære værdi for de syriske bueskytter var taktisk - på slagmarken. Deres buer, forklarer han, var sammensatte buer (også kaldet "recurved"), der kunne række længere end almindelige langbuer. "Korrekt og effektiv brug af den sammensatte bue," tilføjede Bishop, "tog et helt liv at mestre, så østlige rekrutter var afgørende."

Efter at Hadrian døde i 138, forsøgte Rom kortvarigt at udvide sin kontrol mod nord. Hadrians efterfølger, kejser Antoninus Pius, befalede konstruktionen af ​​en ny mur, "Antonine -muren", cirka 150 kilometer nord for Hadrians mur. Stort set af jorden på et stenfundament, der var omkring fire meter bredt og kun tre meter højt, krævede det lige så meget støtte som Hadrians - op til 8.000 romerske soldater.

Andre udgravede gravsten fra bosættelser langs Hadrians mur fremkalder de syriske bueskytter, der blev værdsat for deres færdigheder med den sammensatte (eller recurved) bue, der vises i denne begravelsesrelief nederst til højre. Kompositbuer skyder længere end konventionelle langbuer, og de er mere kompakte.

Arkæologiske beviser fra et fort ved Bar Hill, et vigtigt fort langs Antonine -muren, viser, at fra cirka 142 til 158 e.Kr. udførte syriske bueskytter også pligter langs denne mur. I 1895 uden for Bar Hill fortet blev der opdaget et alter, bygget til Silvanus, en romersk gud for skove og marker, dedikeret af Caristianius Iustianus, en præfekt for den første kohorte af hamianere. En gravsten, der blev fundet nær Bar Hill i 1603, nu tabt, bar påskriften: "Til ånderne til de afgåede (og) af Gaius Julius Marcellinus, præfekt for den første kohorte af hamianere." Disse artefakter afslører, at syrere ikke kun tjente i Britannia, men også i Caledonien, nu Skotland. I 158, da ordren kom fra kejseren om at trække sig tilbage fra Caledonien, opgav den romerske hær den nordlige mur og flyttede tilbage langs Hadrians mur.

Syrere, der betjente Rom i Britannien, måtte ikke medbringe deres koner og familier, og det var faktisk ikke før kejser Septimius Severus 'regeringstid (193–211), at selv romerske soldater fik lov at gifte sig. Selv efter det var det kun officerer, der måtte have deres koner til at bo hos dem inde i forterne. Måske ikke overraskende viser arkæologiske beviser, at en lokal bosættelse opstod i omgivelserne i stort set hvert fort. En sådan nærhed gav lokalbefolkningen muligheder for at sælge varer og tjenester til de romerske garnisoner - og blande sig. Der er ingen grund til at tro, at syriske bueskytter ikke ville have mødt lokalbefolkningen - herunder kvinder.

Sådan kan det have været tilfældet for Barates og Regina. Indskriften på gravsten identificerer Regina som en "Catuvellaunian" af en stamme, der vides at have beboet det centrale Britannia omkring den tid. Uden beviser for at forklare deres møde er der stadig spørgsmål om Reginas baggrund: Kunne hun have været datter af en stenhugger, der arbejdede i nord? En erhvervsdrivende, der på en eller anden måde gjorde hende opmærksom på Barates? Som på hendes gravsten, (“Ak!”), Ved vi simpelthen ikke.

Syrere, ligesom andre, der gennemførte den romerske hærs standard 25-årige tjenestetid, modtog diplomer som denne, fundet i Britannia, dateret 17. juli, 122 e.Kr.

Hvad angår Barates, afhænger hans identitet af det latinske udtryk vexillarius, bruges til at individualisere Barates på sin egen gravsten, opdaget i 1911 på Corstopitum (dagens Corbridge), cirka 48 kilometer vest for Reginas gravsten i South Shields. "Vexillarius" oversættes enten som "flagbærer" eller "sælger af flag og bannere." Barates, it appears, was neither a member nor a veteran of the Roman army. It is thus plausible that he was instead a Syrian merchant or trader—not an archer. This, however, is not an entirely satisfactory answer: Was there really enough commerce selling flags and banners to sustain a man and his wife (and children?) in a manner sufficient to warrant Regina’s elaborate tombstone? Indeed, there is not even proof that the Barates of Corstopitum was also Barates, husband of Regina of Lugudunum. Barates was a common Syrian name at the time, and it is the proximity and dating of the gravestones that makes the supposition plausible.

HADRIAN VISITED SYRIA THREE TIMES,

FIRST IN 117, AND AGAIN IN 123,

SHORTLY AFTER HIS VISIT TO BRITANNIA.

IN 129, HE VISITED PALMYRA.

Top: Hadrian visited Britannia once, in 122 ce .
Over: In 208, Emperor Septimius Severus traveled to Britannia with his wife, Julia Domna, of Emesa, now Homs, Syria. He remained there until his death in 211 in York, England.

Perhaps Barates dealt in more than flags and banners. Mary Beard, professor of classics at the University of Cambridge, notes, “There were Roman traders swarming over the eastern Mediterranean, cashing in on the commercial opportunities that followed conquest, from the slave trade and the spice trade to more mundane army supply contracts.” Similarly, a Syrian merchant might well have traveled in the opposite direction, especially if archers, possibly even ones known to him, were bound for Britannia.

While only new archeological discoveries may offer answers regarding Barates’s identity and motive, the capabilities of the archers were well known. Roman rule over Syria dated from at least 64 bce , when Pompey annexed the province. In 70 ce the town of Emesa (modern-day Homs, some 160 kilometers north of Damascus) sent archers to aid the Roman siege of Jerusalem. Hadrian knew Syria, having first visited in 117 and again in 123, shortly after his visit to Britannia. He visited Palmyra a few years later in 129. Half a century after Hadrian’s rule, Septimius Severus, who would later become the empire’s first emperor from North Africa (Roman Libya), married Julia Domna, a Syrian from Emesa, in 187. The two traveled to Britannia on a military campaign in 208, and they were still there when Severus died three years later, in York.

The story of a Middle Eastern presence in Roman Britannia did not end there. About 125 years later, at the close of the third century, Rome brought a contingent of boatmen from the Tigris River to the River Tyne-North Sea area to replace sailors Rome needed elsewhere in the empire. We learn this from the Notitia Dignitatum, a listing of the empire’s important officeholders. Among the offices in Roman Britannia was Praefectus numeri barcariorum Tigrisiensium Arbeia (Commander of the Company of Bargemen from the Tigris at Arbeia).

Although estimates of the numbers of these bargemen range from 300 to 640, they were numerous enough that they influenced the name change of the fort in Lugudunum at the mouth of the River Tyne to become “Arbeia.” David Kennedy, a professor in the Classics and Ancient History Department at the University of Western Australia, theorizes that “Arbeia” derives from the Aramaic arbaya eller bet arbeia, meaning “Arab house.”

Reconstructed as a museum in South Shields, the gate to what was once the Roman fort of Lugudunum stands at the mouth of the River Tyne. By the late third century ce , the area around the fort was known as “Arbeia”—likely meaning “Arab house,” after boatmen from what is now Iraq were stationed there.

Excavations at South Shields reveal that around the end of the third century, the Romans launched construction at the fort to enlarge grain storage and build 10 new barracks. This suggests that, by this time, Arbeia played an important role in supplying grain to the garrisons stationed along the wall. However, no Roman road has been found linking Arbeia to the nearby fort at Corstopitum, 48 kilometers upriver. The shallowness of the River Tyne would have required the use of small boats or lighters—a task for which boatmen from the Tigris would have been well suited. From Corstopitum, grain could be delivered farther west by road. Paul Bidwell, head of archeology at Tyne and Wear Museums in Newcastle upon Tyne, and Nicholas Hodgson, who manages the museum’s archeological projects, believe that the Tigris boatmen also performed patrol duties along the North Sea coast, “anticipating, intercepting, and pursuing seaborne raiders from [the] north who attempted to bypass the Wall,” says Hodgson. This would have been a much more challenging task, but Hodgson reasons that from the time of Diocletian, in the third century ce , confrontations with the Persians on Rome’s eastern frontier could have produced boatmen “long trained and effective in aquatic operations.” To facilitate the training needed to operate in the open sea, the bargemen may have blended into local units upon arrival in Britannia.

This fragmentary tombstone commemorates a man named Barates, who archeologists speculate may have been the Palmyrene husband who erected a memorial to his Britannian “freedwoman and wife,” Regina.

How long did the men from the Tigris stay in Britannia? What did they do when their services ended? Did some remain and blend into the local population? The dearth of firm evidence is both frustrating and tantalizing.

“These are mostly great unknowns,” says Hodgson. Two factors suggest many may have remained. First, after 25 years of service, Roman law granted citizenship to military volunteers, who were then also exempt from taxation. If they completed a 25-year term of service, it seems likely that many would have established family relationships in Britannia during this time. Second, at the end of his service, a man who had been recruited in another province had to find his own way home—there was no help with travel expenses. David Breeze and Brian Dobson, archeologists specializing in Hadrian’s Wall, think that for these reasons most military veterans preferred to stay near where they had served. This would have applied no less to the archers: How many had left wives and children behind, and after 25 years in Britannia, how many would have returned?

In 411, the Romans withdrew their legions from Britannia, though contact and trade continued for several centuries. From that era, we are left with a single, faceless, poignantly inscribed memorial to link us to bonds of devotion, forged through the vast instrument of an empire, between two people from widely divergent cultures, enriching them both.


The African who transformed Anglo-Saxon England

When a Libyan cleric called Hadrian arrived in Canterbury in AD 670, Anglo-Saxon England was a wild and semi-pagan land. Within a matter of years, it was the driving force behind a remarkable renaissance in learning. Michael Wood reveals how this little-known “man of Africa” helped lay the foundations of English culture

Denne konkurrence er nu lukket

Published: September 28, 2020 at 4:28 pm

In recent years our eyes have been opened to black histories in Britain before the Windrush generation, stretching back through the world wars, on to the Victorian era and beyond. The numbers were small, but the presence was significant, as the black characters in Elizabethan and Jacobean plays show.

Much further back, there were Africans in Roman Britain, from Mauretania, today’s Morocco and Algeria. Among them was Victor, the former slave of a cavalry soldier called Numerianus, who is described as “natione Maurum” (“of the Moorish nation”) on a second-century AD tombstone from modern-day South Shields.

Then there’s near silence. In the thousand years between the end of Roman Britain and the first British overseas explorations under the Tudors, people of colour are far less visible. Their stories cause barely a ripple in the waters of British history. One such story exists just below that surface – rarely impacting on public consciousness. But it is immeasurably important all the same.

Writing in 731, the English historian Bede introduces his readers to a “vir natione Afir”, “a man of African race”. Perhaps a Berber (or Amazigh), this man was a leading light in one of the most significant cultural movements of the past 1,400 years – a teacher of extraordinary influence on English history. This man was born in north Africa and spent the last 40 years of his life in England. He is buried here. But he had a good old Roman name: we know him as Abbot Hadrian the African.

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Early church fathers

So how did a north African, born in the early seventh century, end up changing the course of English history? The story begins in the land of Hadrian’s birth, Libya, where for many generations people of Greek descent had mixed with locals, and from where some of the early church fathers hailed. Bishop Quodvultdeus (died c450) was another north African man of the church to journey to Europe (albeit two centuries earlier). Quodvultdeus’s haunting face may be preserved in a beautiful mosaic from the catacombs of San Gennaro in Naples.

Hadrian was perhaps raised in the coastal town of Apollonia, which had at least four Byzantine churches in his day, and a great Roman palace whose dramatic seashore remains have been excavated by archaeologists. Years later, he reminisced with his students in England about the beautiful bird that he called ‘porphyrion’, the African purple gallinule, which roamed the courtyard gardens of a north African ruler’s palace. Perhaps he had seen this place as a young man.

Apollonia had been rebuilt in the sixth century under the great Byzantine emperor Justinian, but the Arab invasions of the seventh century brought that world to an abrupt end. The nearby city of Benghazi fell to Arab armies in 642. Maybe the collapse of Byzantine rule forced Hadrian into flight. Whatever the reason, he soon made his way to southern Italy.

After crossing the Mediterranean, Hadrian became an abbot on Nisida, a picturesque island in the Bay of Naples (now joined to the shore by a causeway). Evidently he was a man of some standing and high reputation. He went on diplomatic trips to Gaul and may have acted as a Greek-speaking interpreter for Emperor Constans on his visit to Italy in 663. At any rate, by the late 660s Hadrian’s reputation was such that Pope Vitalian asked him to take over the vacant archbishopric in Britain. It’s an amazing idea when you think about it: a north African abbot and scholar being sent to “the outermost edge of the world”, where as Pope Gregory had said, the tribes till recently “worshipped sticks and stones”.

At first Hadrian refused to take the job, and he suggested Andrew, the abbot of a nunnery in Naples. But then he proposed a more senior man, a friend with whom his name would be forever linked: Theodore of Tarsus. Theodore was a Greek originally educated in Syria at Antioch and Edessa, from which he had fled during the Arab invasion of Syria. Now in Italy, he was living in semi-retirement with the Syrian exile community at Tre Fontane, a still idyllic cluster of churches south of Rome’s walls.

Theodore agreed to go. He arrived on 27 May 669, serving as archbishop of Canterbury until his death in 690. Hadrian joined him the next year, and whatever his initial doubts, stayed for the rest of his life. Together the two men would go about putting into effect one of the most significant teaching programmes in British history.

England’s happiest time

The nearly 70-year-old Syrian and 40-something Libyan made a formidable teaching partnership. And, soon, the school they established in Canterbury became famous Europe-wide. “They went everywhere and did everything together,” says Bede, writing in 731. “It was the happiest time since the English first came to Britain.”

As Bede’s words suggest, in the course of their work, Hadrian and Theodore travelled all over England, “visiting every part of the land”. One of their councils in 684 was held at Twyford beyond Hadrian’s Wall (today a picturesque village by the East Coast mainline stop at Alnmouth). But they lived and worked in Canterbury – building a library, devising courses, giving lectures, and training the next generation of priests, administrators, artists and writers. One of these, Aldhelm, could proudly announce himself as “the first among the Germanic peoples to master the intricacies of Latin verse”.

Bede says Hadrian spoke both Greek and Latin, and his exceptional language skills come out in surviving glossaries and teaching notes where we can see him riffing between those two languages and Old English. Bede also tells us that some of his pupils got to know Greek as well as their own language.

England was a wild and semi-pagan land, and in their baggage Hadrian and Theodore carried manuscripts and teaching aids to try to revive learning, which had stalled since St Augustine’s conversion mission of 597. North Africa was a powerhouse of early Christianity, home to great authors like Tertullian and Cyprian. Hadrian may well have brought with him to England copies of many key African texts: manuscripts such as the Commentary on the Apocalypse by the sixth-century north African writer Primasius, which survives today in Oxford’s Bodleian Library. It’s possible that Hadrian’s baggage also contained the British Library’s unique fragment of a collection of the letters of St Cyprian of Carthage, who was martyred in 258.

Bawdy riddles

Hadrian’s influence on his adopted country may explain why the saints of Naples and Campania feature so strongly in Anglo-Saxon England. Even the Lindisfarne Gospels, one of our most famous manuscripts, contains Neapolitan feasts, like St Januarius and the anniversary of the dedication of the famous church of St Stephen in Naples in c500. Hadrian was surely responsible, too, for Anglo-Saxon knowledge of African saints, like the murdered Restituta, whose body, legend said, had miraculously floated across the sea from north Africa.

Hadrian also introduced his classes in Canterbury to the elegant Latin riddles of the the late Roman writer Symphosius, who was probably also African. Simple games of deductive reasoning, the riddles are terrific teaching aids. Hadrian’s student Aldhelm was inspired to devise longer versions, and from that moment riddles really took off in English culture Bede, Tatwine, Boniface and Alcuin tried their hand.

Later, a tradition of riddling in the vernacular developed, which became more risqué as time went on: an early testimony to the bawdy humour of the English. Some have wonderful vignettes of the natural world, others have the saucy observations of Donald McGill’s seaside postcards. Through this mix of vigorous colloquialism, earthy views of sex and excruciating puns, you can trace a line all the way through English culture. And it all began with Hadrian.

Recent discoveries are adding to our knowledge of Hadrian and Theodore’s teaching. Their Latin and Greek glossaries, translations and biblical commentaries are still being identified in later manuscripts. Others include medicine, metrology, philosophy, history, Roman civil law, poetry and the art of rhetoric. Parts of a major unknown commentary on Latin grammar were recently identified in Reims. A manuscript in Milan contains a copy of a student’s lecture notes, taken while sitting in Theodore and Hadrian’s classes in Canterbury, explaining the meaning of biblical texts, and the placenames, landscapes, customs, flora and fauna of the near east. “Melons?” says Theodore at one point, “They are like cucumbers, only bigger: in Edessa some come so big that you can hardly load two on one camel!”

Listen: Susan Oosthuizen explains why we should be reassessing what we think about the Anglo-Saxons, on this episode of the Historie Ekstra podcast:

In notes in Berlin and St Gallen in Switzerland, Hadrian is quoted explaining the Latin word larum (wrongly translated in an earlier teaching text) with the Old English word for seagull, meaw (a word still used in some northern dialects). So he could and did teach in the vernacular.

Copied and anthologised, carried abroad by missionaries and itinerant scholars, fragments of these teaching notes are found in later medieval libraries all over Europe. Through them we can hear the voices of perhaps the most influential teachers in the medieval western tradition.

In later times, Theodore and Hadrian were seen as the founders of the educational system of the west. A medieval writer traces the scholarly pedigree of Europe from them through the Carolingian Renaissance of the eighth and ninth centuries down to “modern times”, transmitting the knowledge of the Latin and Greek worlds to the far west – and of course, on to us. In the 21st century we have seen the tragic refugee traffic across the sea from Libya to Italy, and from Syria through Turkey to Greece: the very routes Hadrian and Theodore took more than 1300 years ago. Their tale shows how refugees from Syria and Libya helped lay the foundations of the culture of Britain and Ireland.

As archbishop of Canterbury, it was Theodore who got most of the credit. But Hadrian, his brilliant, loyal, self-effacing partner, was every bit as influential – and was maybe even greater in scholarship. As the poet and teacher Alcuin put it in York a century later, our English culture’s roots came from four great strands: the wisdom of Greece and Rome, the Hebrew tradition –“and the light that came out of Africa”.

Michael Wood is professor of public history at the University of Manchester. He has presented numerous BBC series, and his books include The Story of England (Viking, 2010)


Qantara.de - Dialog mit der islamischen Welt

01.09.2015

Palmyra, the ancient Syrian city that has fallen to the Islamic State jihadist group, has withstood the last 2,000 years with its immaculate temples and colonnaded streets.

Listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, the "pearl of the desert" is a well-preserved oasis 210 kilometres northeast of Damascus. Palmyra, which means City of Palms, is known in Syria as Tadmor, the City of Dates. Its name first appeared on a tablet in the nineteenth century BC as a stopping point for caravans travelling on the Silk Road and between the Gulf and the Mediterranean. But it was during the Roman Empire – beginning in the first century BC and lasting another 400 years – that Palmyra rose to prominence.

Though surrounded by desert dunes, Palmyra developed into a luxurious metropolis thanks to the trade of spices, perfumes, silk and ivory from the east, and statues and glasswork from Phoenicia. In the year 129 AD, Roman emperor Hadrian declared Palmyra a "free city" within his empire. During the rest of the century, its famous temples – including the Agora and the temple honouring Bel (Baal) – were built.

Before the arrival of Christianity in the second century, Palmyra worshipped the trinity of the Babylonian god Bel, as well Yarhibol (the sun) and Aglibol (the moon). As the Roman Empire faced internal political instability in the third century, Palmyra took the opportunity to declare its independence. Palmyrans beat back the Romans in the west and Persian forces in the east in a revolt led by Zenobia, who then became queen. By 270, Zenobia had conquered all of Syria and parts of Egypt, and had arrived at Asia Minor's doorstep. But when Roman emperor Aurelian retook the city, the powerful queen was taken back to Rome and Palmyra began to decline in prominence.

Before Syria's crisis began in March 2011, more than 150,000 tourists visited Palmyra every year, admiring its beautiful statues, over 1,000 columns and formidable necropolis of over 500 tombs. Palmyra's richest residents had constructed and sumptuously decorated these monuments to the dead, some of which have been recently looted.

Palmyra bears scars of Syria's ongoing war: clashes between armed rebels and government forces in 2013 left collapsed columns and statues in their wake. Hundreds of statues and artefacts from Palmyra's museum were transferred out of the city before it fell to the Islamic State jihadist group in May, according to Syria's antiquities chief Mamoun Abdulkarim. But many others – including massive tombs – could not be moved.

Islamic State militants have now started a campaign of destruction against what they see as the idolatrous structures. The Temple of Bel, the centrepiece of Palmyra's famed ruins, was confirmed destroyed on Monday by satellite images from the United Nations, a week after the jihadists blew up the ancient shrine of Baal Shamin.

While most of Palmyra's famous sites are still intact, there have been reports that IS has laid them with mines and the group has reportedly also destroyed a famous statue of a lion outside the city's museum. (AFP)


Hadrian's Consolidation - reboot


Marcus Aurelius, Imperator, felt all of his 56 years as he rode his horse toward Mediolanum, the next step on his tour of the empire. Around him a small army of praetorians, dignitaries and servants moved in an organized way. The trip had only begun a few days ago, although its preparation had started many months before.

The Emperor wanted to see his empire one last time. He knew he would not be able to do a new trip around all of its borders, given his age. The empire was peaceful, growing steadily richer no major issue needed his attention and so he could take this opportunity to plan for the future and introduce his heir to the local elites of all the provinces and help smooth the transition of power.

Avidius Cassius was riding next to his adoptive father. Ten years younger than Marcus Aurelius, he had already travelled extensively and led forces at war, including during the Germanic war of nine years before. He’d also been sent on a number of missions to ensure the implementation of the new laws organizing the empire that had been decreed four years before, in fact he’d been in Africa Proconsularis when he’d been summoned back to Rome for this trip.

The tour was to take the imperial entourage through the Alps to Octodurus and then up to Lugdunum, from where they’d follow the Rhodanus for a while before going to Augustodunum and then Lutetia. There a fleet would take them down the Sequana river and across the oceanus britannicus to visit Britannia and the wall garrison.

The ships would bring them to Londinium, and from there they’d go by land to Lindum, then to the bases at Eboracum and Luguvalium, before going to the wall and the battlefield of Alaunia Civitas. It would then be time to meet again with the fleet that would be waiting for them at Pons Aelius, ready for the next part of the journey.

For the Emperor had decided to take a dangerous way back to the mainland : crossing to the allied barbarian lands of Frisia and the territory of the Cherusci, he would sail up the Rhenus and stop in Lupia to confer with their king, also inspecting the legionary bases in Noviomagus, Castra Vetera and Bonna on the way.

He would then visit the new provinces and see how they had evolved in the years since their conquest, Augustodunum Germanicum, Buccula and Ad Marcomani Confluens being his main destinations, before taking ships on the Danuvius and stopping in Carnuntum, Brigetio, and Aquincum where he’d take the road to Arx Cubitus, the first garrison on the Tisia river. He’d then visit Porolissum and Napoca, where he expected to spend winter and celebrate the Saturnalia, before going to Transmontes where ships would carry him to Troesmis.


From there he’d reach the Euxine sea where the Euxine fleet would carry him to the bosphoran kingdom of Sauramates II, making him the first roman emperor to ever visit the vassal kingdom. Stopping at Tyras, at the mouth of the river of the same name, and at Olbia on the Hypanis, he’d then go to Chersonnesos before crossing to Asia Minor, landing in Trapezus and visiting the troops in Satala, which would provide him with a strong escort to Vagharshapad where he’d meet the Armenian king.

From there he intended to visit Arsamosata and the base at Melitene before he’d revisit his old battlegounds : Edessa, Antiocheia Mygdonia, Singara, Hatra and Ctesiphon were all on his itinerary, as was the garrison on the sinus persicus.

He’d then cross the desert to Palmyra, going through Emesa and Bostra, Gerasa and Petra from where he’d turn west toward Pelusium and Alexandria where the fleet would carry him to Gortyna in Crete, Cyrene, Leptis Magna and Carthago.

From there he intended to emulate the divine Hadrianus and visit the troops at Lambaesis before going to Caesarea where ships would carry him to Tingis before taking him to Hispania : from Gades he’d visit Hispalis, Italica, and go west to Felicitas Iulia before going north to Brigantium and Castra Legionis. Crossing the mountains he would then go to Burdigala and sail up the Garumna river and the canal to Narbo, where he’d take the road back to Italy trough Nemausus, Aquae Sextiae and Cemenelum.

This tour was as much a celebration of his twenty years of rule as a way to tighten the bonds of the provinces with the empire, meeting the local elites outside of Rome and seeing how the lands were managed. Of course he knew that senators would make the trip back from Rome to their family’s provinces, but it would be very different from what he was seeing in the capital…


Map of Palmyra

The sun was already setting. In all likelihood I had arrived too late. But I climbed, regardless. The road wound around the hill and up it I ran. Loose stones skittered beneath my boots. But then, breath catching in my chest, I emerged from the shadows of the peak. From here, the watery blood-orange sun hung just over the horizon. I stepped around the corner of the towering Arab castle and looked down over the oasis. There, far below on the ash grey plain, bracketed by a hinge of palms, millennia old stonework glowed in the fading light. A long colonnaded processional route marched away from my vantage point for over a kilometre towards a squared-off area of temples. Their walls and columns still stood proud of the sands and trees that surrounded them. Behind me the sun sank away and I watched the shadows of night fold down over Palmyra.

Palmyra is a bewitching sight, a lattice of soaring ruins sketched out in the sands of the Syrian Desert. It carries all the exoticism of Egypt. But the history of Palmyra at its 3rd century peak &ndash the Palmyra that I visited &ndash is well-documented. And its story is as interesting as any myth.

Palmyra sat on the fringes of the Roman empire, a wealthy waystation on the trade routes to the east and a bulwark against encroaching threats. The high-water mark of its influence and power occurred during what is known as &lsquoThe Crisis of the Third Century&rsquo when competing candidates for emperor plunged Rome into civil war just as external enemies were able to mount a sustained campaign against it. In 260 the Emperor Valerian led his legions east against the Sassanians his troops were crushed in battle and Valerian himself was taken captive. Cometh the hour, cometh the man, and Palmyra&rsquos king, Odaenathus, perhaps realising that the privileges he enjoyed under Rome would not survive Sassanian rule mustered the manpower of Palmyra and sallied forth. Catching the Sassanians by surprise he routed them. The Palmyrene forces then intervened decisively to support Valerian&rsquos son against rival claimants before whizzing around the Levant, recapturing all of Rome&rsquos former territory and taking the fight into Sassanian territory. Odaenathus was lauded by Rome and declared &lsquoKing of Kings&rsquo and &ndash uniquely &ndash remained loyal. But after he and his eldest sons were assassinated in 267 his widow Zenobia was not so loyal. Initially ruling as regent for Odaenathus&rsquo 10-year-old son she took the step of seceding to form the Palmyrene Empire in 272. Her reign was glorious &ndash she soon controlled an empire stretching from Sudan to Anatolia. But her reign was also short. The Roman Empire was finally getting its mojo back after 37 years of anarchy and the new Emperor Aurelian defeated Palmyra and captured Zenobia and her son. When the city rebelled again the following years it was destroyed before being re-established on a smaller scale.

So the archaeological site is predominantly 3rd century. This is later than the &lsquoiconic&rsquo 1st century Rome that people tend to think of. As such its architecture is very refined. The site is partially-walled but &ndash at least as far as I could see &ndash free to enter. Arriving from the modern town to the north the first stop is the Temple of Baal Shamin, god of storms and rain. Thereafter you hit the Great Colonnade, flanked by massive pillars, each with a pedestal for a statue and an inscription in both Palmyrene and Greek (it is interesting to note that in the established civilisations of the eastern Mediterranean that were annexed to Rome the culture remained very Greek-oriented and Latin never truly succeeded in supplanting Greek as the language of commerce). The Colonnade has two of the most eye-catching monuments in a grand tetrapylon and a monumental arch. What perhaps isn&rsquot so noticeable until it is pointed out is that these were not just decorative and that they served a function to disguise kinks in the route. There is an agora, a bath house, a senate building and a reconstructed theatre. And then, at the eastern end of the city, the great Temple of Bel, chief of the gods. This consisted of a large walled area (with a separate ramp for bringing in sacrificial animals) and an inner temple, marvellously well-preserved.

And the truly amazing thing was that I had this phenomenal site as my own personal playground. Other than a couple of chaps on camels there were no other tourists apart from the small group with whom I had come up on the bus from Damascus.

There were other things to do away from the city centre. A museum stood on the edge of the new town. And over to the west is the &lsquoValley of the Dead&rsquo where the Palmyrenes entombed their dead in richly decorated funerary towers. The National Museum in Damascus had a good presentation of Palmyra&rsquos burial rites.

More than any other review I hope to write, the details here are vastly and tragically out-of-date. I visited in 2009. In 2015 the forces of the so-called &lsquoIslamic State&rsquo captured the city. The rather cuddly-looking statue of the Lion of Al-Lāt which stood outside the museum was destroyed first. Then the Temple of Baal Shamin. Then the Temple of Bel. Then, over the next two years, a number of the funerary towers, the monumental arch, the tetrapylon, part of the theatre and a number of other buildings were also destroyed. Everything that had survived 17 centuries was being methodically dynamited back into dust and sand. Even the archaeologists who had dedicated their lives to excavating and chronicling the city were executed. Having fond memories of Palmyra this, of course, hit me hard. And it posed a philosophical question: considering the slaughter conducted by IS during its rule, why should I get so upset about ruined buildings? The answer, of course, is one that I imagine all members of this community will know. The murder of a person is a crime. But the systematic attempt to eradicate a culture and erase all vestiges of its past is something different. The soaring heights of human achievement from times long go serve to provoke wonder and awe &ndash to sprinkle a little bit of magic on the world if you will. It is the attempt to rid the world of magic, to rewrite the facts of the past, and to prevent one culture understanding another that goes against everything I hold dear.

Reconstruction work is now ongoing at Palmyra. I hope that future travellers will some day have the opportunity to see its stonework glow in a new dawn.


Regering

Inscription in Greek and Aramaic honoring the strategos Julius Aurelius Zenobius

From the beginning of its history to the first century AD Palmyra was a petty sheikhdom , [255] and by the first century BC a Palmyrene identity began to develop. [256] During the first half of the first century AD, Palmyra incorporated some institutions of a Greek city ( polis ) [48] the concept of citizenship ( demoer ) appears in an inscription, dated to 10 AD, describing the Palmyrenes as a community. [257] In 74 AD, an inscription mentions the city’s boule (senate). [48] The tribal role in Palmyra is debated during the first century, four treasurers representing the four tribes seems to have partially controlled the administration but their role became ceremonial by the second century and power rested in the hands of the council. [258]

The Palmyrene council consisted of about six hundred members of the local elite (such as the elders or heads of wealthy families or clans), [note 29] [47] representing the city’s four quarters. [222] The council, headed by a president, [259] managed civic responsibilities [47] it supervised public works (including the construction of public buildings), approved expenditures, collected taxes, [47] and appointed two archons (lords) each year. [259] [260] Palmyra’s military was led by strategoi (generals) appointed by the council. [261] [262] Roman provincial authority set and approved Palmyra’s tariff structure, [263] but the provincial interference in local government was kept minimal as the empire sought to ensure the continuous success of Palmyrene trade most beneficial to Rome. [264] An imposition of direct provincial administration would have jeopardized Palmyra’s ability to conduct its trading activities in the East, specially in Parthia. [264]

With the elevation of Palmyra to a colonia around 213-216, the city ceased being subject to Roman provincial governors and taxes. [265] Palmyra incorporated Roman institutions into its system while keeping many of its former ones. [266] The council remained, and the strategos designated one of two annually-elected magistrates . [266] Det her duumviri implemented the new colonial constitution, [266] replacing the archons. [260] Palmyra’s political scene changed with the rise of Odaenathus family an inscription dated to 251 describe Odaenathus’ son Hairan as “Ras” (lord) of Palmyra ( exarch in the Greek section of the inscription) and another inscription dated to 252 describe Odaenathus with the same title. [note 30] [77] Odaenathus was probably elected by the council as exarch, [79] which was an unusual title in the Roman empire and was not part of the traditional Palmyrene governance institutions. [77] [267] Whether Odaenathus’ title indicated a military or a priestly position is unknown, [268] but the military role is more likely. [269] By 257 Odaenathus was known as a consularis, possibly the legatus of the province of Phoenice . [268] In 258 Odaenathus began extending his political influence, taking advantage of regional instability caused by Sasanian aggression [268] this culminated in the Battle of Edessa, [80] Odaenathus’ royal elevation and mobilization of troops, which made Palmyra a kingdom. [80]

The monarchy maintained the council and most civic institutions, [268] [270] permitting the election of magistrates until 264. [260] In the absence of the monarch, the city was administered by a viceroy . [271] Although governors of the eastern Roman provinces under Odaenathus’ control were still appointed by Rome, the king had overall authority. [272] During Zenobia’s rebellion, governors were appointed by the queen. [273]

Not all Palmyrenes accepted the dominion of the royal family a senator, Septimius Haddudan, appears in a later Palmyrene inscription as aiding Aurelian’s armies during the 273 rebellion. [274] [275] After the Roman destruction of the city, Palmyra was ruled directly by Rome, [276] and its following states (including the Burids and Ayyubids), [149] [277] or by subordinate Bedouin chiefs—primarily the Fadl family, who governed for the Mamluks. [278]

Militær

Relief in the Temple of Bel depicting Palmyrene war gods

Due to its military character and efficiency in battle, Irfan Shahîd described Palmyra as the “ Sparta among the cities of the Orient” even Palmyrene gods were depicted in full military uniforms. [279] Palmyra’s army protected the city and its economy, helping extend Palmyrene authority beyond the city walls and protecting the countryside’s desert trade routes. [280] The city had a substantial military [43] Zabdibel commanded a force of 10,000 in the third century BC, [35] and Zenobia led an army of 70,000 in the Battle of Emesa . [281] Soldiers were recruited from the city and its territories, spanning several thousand square kilometers from the outskirts of Homs to the Euphrates valley. [43] Non-Palmyrene soldiers were also recruited a Nabatean cavalryman is recorded in 132 as serving in a Palmyrene unit stationed at Anah . [281] Palmyra’s recruiting system is unknown the city might have selected and equipped the troops and the strategoi led, trained and disciplined them. [282]

Det strategoi were appointed by the council with the approval of Rome. [262] The royal army was under the leadership of the monarch aided by generals, [283] [284] and was modeled on the Sasanians in arms and tactics. [232] The Palmyrenes were noted archers. [285] They used infantry while a heavily armored cavalry ( clibanarii ) constituted the main attacking force. [note 31] [287] [288] Palmyra’s infantry was armed with swords, lances and small round shields [55] the clibanarii were fully armored (including their horses), and used heavy spears ( kontos ) 3.65 metres (12.0 ft) long without shields. [288] [289]

Relations with Rome

Citing Palmyrenes’ combat skills in large, sparsely populated areas, the Romans formed a Palmyrene Auxilia to serve in the imperial Roman army . [55] Vespasian reportedly had 8,000 Palmyrene archers in Judea , [55] and Trajan established the first Palmyrene Auxilia in 116 (a camel cavalry unit, Ala I Ulpia dromedariorum Palmyrenorum). [55] [290] [291] Palmyrene units were deployed throughout the Roman Empire, [note 32] serving in Dacia late in Hadrian’s reign, [293] and at El Kantara i Numidia og Moesia under Antoninus Pius . [293] [294] During the late second century Rome formed the Cohors XX Palmyrenorum , which was stationed in Dura-Europos . [293]


Hadrian

Jews began war, because they were forbidden to practise circumcision. 1 As he was sacrificing on Mount Casius, 2 which he had ascended by night in order to see the sunrise, a storm arose, and a flash of lightning descended and struck both the victim and the attendant. He then travelled through Arabia 3 130. and finally came to Pelusium, 4 where he rebuilt Pompey’s tomb on a more magnificent scale. 5 During a journey on the Nile he lost Antinous, 6 his favourite, and for this youth he wept like a woman. Concerning this incident there are varying rumours 7 for some claim that he had devoted himself to death for Hadrian, and others—what both his beauty and Hadrian’s sensuality suggest. But however this may be, the Greeks deified him at Hadrian’s request, and declared that oracles were given through his agency, but these, it is commonly asserted, were composed by Hadrian himself. 8


Se videoen: Отель Пальмира Палас. Целебная магия Крыма.