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SYRIAN ANTIQUITIES OF THE GREEK, ROMAN
AND BYZANTINE PERIODS

Section Five

Wing of Antiquities of Palmyra : contains masterpieces of Palmarene Sculptures, a mosaic, and mural frescoes discovered in the Temple of the Palmarene gods .

Palmyra occupies a unique place in the history of the Arabs before the advent of Islam. Its name is mentioned in a tablets found at Cappadocia and going back to the 19th C.B.C. It is also mentioned in a text discovered at Mary and dating back to the Period of Hamrnourabi. Its name is likewise mentioned in the annals of the Assyrian King Tiglath-Plaser I the account of his campaign against the Aramaean-Arab tribes in the 11th C.B.C. It is only towards the end of the Hellenistic Age that Palmyra begins to have some importance where we see Mark Antony in 41 B.C. conducting an abortive campaign her.

Palmyra, however, maintained its independence until the reign of Trajan (98— 117 ). Hadrian (1117 — 138.) might have given the city special privileges. The inhabitants of the city were exempted from taxes in the period of Severuses . In the period of dispute between the Sasanids and the Romans, the Palmyrenes displayed courage and heroism in defending their country under their chief Udaynath whom the Romans had granted the title of "Reformer of the whole Orient ". After his assassination, his widow Zenobia began to rule after him in the name of her minor son Wahab-Allath, Zenohia’s ambition provoked the Romans who could exterminate the city of the Palmyren Arab Kingdom after tough battles in Antioch. Homs and Palmyra in 272 AD. Despite the fact that the Roman armies under the emperor Aurelian (270 – 275 ) despoiled Palmyra of its rich fabrics and precious ornaments and did not even shrink from destroying or looting its statues, the remains of the Palmyrene monuments rendered the opportunity to the specialists to determine the following three stages of the evaluation of the Palmyrene sculptures:

  1. The first Stage : Extends approximately the year 100 A.D. up to the year 150 A.D. In the course of this period, the Palmyrene sculptor represented the pupil and the iris of the eye in the form of two concentric circles without giving any attention to clearly represent the eyebrows. This success of sculptor may be noted in his expression of the manhood of persons and in giving to the hair of men and women a symmetric aspect.
  2. The Second Stage: extends approximately from 150 A.D. to 200 A.D. In this period the iris and the pupil of the eye are represented in the form of circle with a point In the middle. The eyebrows are indicated. The style became realistic.
  3. The Third Stage: extends approximately form 200 A.D. to 270 A.D. The artist is animated by showing richness and luxury in creating persons attired in sumptuous clothes and in sculpturing women bedecked with a good number of necklaces, ear-rings, brooches, finger-rings, bracelets and anklets etc.

 

A family from Palmyra

On the Wall:
Mosaic Panel representing a scene of the myth of Cassiopeia. Here she appears standing, nude; drying up her hair. On each side a Nereid is gazing at her in astonishment. On the blank space, are depicted three infants incarnating jealousy.
On the Left appears the female sea-monster which was sent by Neptune. This myth evokes the pride of Cassiopeia in her beauty. This pride irritated the gods. As such Cassiopeia had to sacrifice her daughter Andromeda whom Persus rescued by beheading the Sea-monster and then by supplicating Zeus to set Cassiopeia among the stars after her death. Found in a house of the 2nd century A.D. in the east of the Temple of Bel at Palmyra. H. 16 cm. L. 370 cm.

 

Funereal bed from the cemetery of ( Lamliko ) ,there is sculpturing on him for persons from the deceased family ,and the scene is a funereal banquet ,the deceased shares with his family in the food and on his hand cup or bowl and he recumbent on comfortable bed and dependent on pillow,  followed by his father or his brother or his older son ,his wife is at his feet and the boys standing between them . And the funereal bed is raised on tow posts between them the coffin front, which support busts representing some family individuals.

Other samples from The Palmyrene Art :

 
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