Palmyra: Pearl of the Desert

Palmyra features in headlines today as a casualty of IS destruction, but during its heyday it was a monumental city set on an oasis in the Syrian desert. First mentioned in the second millennium BC, it gained wealth from the caravan trade which moved goods across the desert. What makes it unique, however, is not its wealth but its multicultural, multilingual nature. Buildings in Palmyra featured inscriptions in Greek and Palmyrene and, after becoming a subject of the Roman Empire in the first century AD, Latin. To find out more about this beautiful site, Tristan spoke to Ted Kaizer from Durham University. Ted is Senior Lecturer in Roman Culture and History, and takes us through the growth of Palmyra, its position on the crossroads of cultures and whether or not it was really subject to Roman rule.


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