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Pearl of the Desert: A History of Palmyra
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Pearl of the Desert: A History of Palmyra (Hardback)

Pre-order for despatch on publication.


Palmyra has long attracted the attention of the world. Even before its rediscovery in the eighteenth century it had gained legendary status because of its third-century CE Queen Zenobia, who had rebelled against the Romans and expanded Palmyra's territory into that of an Empire, stretching from what is modern eastern Turkey into Egypt. The city and its queen featured in European art and literature already in the century. Zenobia's Palmyra already existed as a mirage

in the minds of the educated Europeans. Even though Zenobia's reign and extensive power was a fairly short interlude and the Romans struck hard against the Palmyrenes devastating the city, this path to imperial power was one which tells us an immense amount about Palmyrene identity in the period

before the devastation. While Zenobia has gained renewed interest among both scholars and the press, and while she has served as a political symbol for Syria's president As'ad (a statue of her was recently erected in Damascus), the time leading up to her reign still remains underexplored.

With the current situation in Syria, a researched-based narrative is urgently needed to communicate the importance of this site to the general public. Palmyra has over the last years been used as a symbol of the resistance of the rebels, the power of ISIS over the region, as well as the supremacy of the Syrian state. UNESCO and the Russians have together with the Syrian state taken a particular interest in Palmyra and in monopolizing the potential rebuilding of the site after the destruction

and looting of the past several years have subsided. We are, so to speak, standing at yet another turning point in Palmyra's long history, where history is being reinvented actively by several parties. There can be no doubt that the time is ripe for a book on the archaeology and history of Palmyra, as

well as an analysis of the current situation, including the destruction and illicit trafficking of material remains from Palmyra. These three main topics will together highlight the ways in which this fascinating site has again and again captured the world's focus.

Organized in nine chapters, this compact book will set out to provide an introduction for students and general readers. Following two overview chapters, the next six will give a chronological narrative of Palmyra from the late Hellenistic period through to Rome's destruction in 273 CE and its survival in the Byzantine and medieval Islamic periods. The book ends with a shorter conclusion chapter, which will summarize the most important findings and conclusions of the chapters of the book and

will set out a number of lines of enquiry which could be taken up in research and cultural heritage management over the coming years. The result will be the best and most up-to-date account of Palmyra in English.

History & PoliticsHistory: ChronologicalAncient history: to c 500 CEHistory & PoliticsHistory: ChronologicalEarly history: c 500 to c 1450-1500History & PoliticsRegional & national historyMiddle Eastern history Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc Publication Date: 24/10/2020 ISBN-13: 9780190852221  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
Availability: Pre-order for despatch on publication. Pre-Order

Rubina Raja holds the chair of Classical Archaeology at Aarhus University and is director of the Danish National Research Foundation's Centre for Urban Network Evolutions. She is also the director of the Palmyra Portrait Project, which she initiated in 2012.

More books by Rubina Raja

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