Friday, May 26, 2017

Veyne, Palmyra: An Irreplaceable Treasure

PALMYRA WATCH: Two reviews of a new book on Palmyra have been published in the last couple of days. The book is:
Palmyra: An Irreplaceable Treasure. By Paul Veyne; translated from the French by Teresa Lavender Fagan (University of Chicago Press; 128 pages; $22.50)
PETER LEWIS ‘Palmyra: An Irreplaceable Treasure,’ by Paul Veyne (San Francisco Chronicle).
But Palmyra has seen far worse than anything today’s militants have dished out, which, in essence, was a sad sacking of ruins. Roman Emperor Aurelian conquered Palmyra in 273, and after meticulous looting, razed the place. Those were years that Palmyra was a unique and gloried trading cosmopolis. It was the meeting ground of caravans from Rome and Greece and those from far Cathay and India, explains Paul Veyne in “Palmyra,” where he brightly “sketches a portrait of the past splendor of Palmyra,” in a story tightly bound with affection.
JONATHAN MIRSKY: The lovely ruins of Palmyra were destroyed out of spite. Isis’s horrendous spree there in 2015 was entirely to show contempt for a site revered by the West, says Paul Veyne (The Spectator).
In an icy fury, Paul Veyne, a French expert on Palmyra, has dedicated this comprehensive, passionate, but concise book to the memory of the murdered Syrian scholar [Khaled al-Asaad]. In it he relates thousands of years of Palmyra’s history, describing those who lived there and pausing only briefly to underline what monsters Isis were to smash the site.
For past PaleoJudaica posts on Palmyra, its history, the ancient Aramaic dialect spoken there (Palmyrene), and the city's tragic reversals of fortune, for now trending for the better, start here and follow the many, many links.