When the famous site of Palmyra, protected by the UNESCO as a world heritage site, found itself in the middle of a barbaric occupation, Paul Veyne took the role of an exceptional guide, leading a tour of what used to be the remains of a once magnificent city, and today represents a forbidden site.
This former capital located in the heart of the desert in central Syria, northeast of Damascus, Palmyra or Tadmor, as it is called today, was, according to the Bible, built by Solomon. This important caravan city was the largest trading force in the Middle East between the first and the third century, a lively hub of trade between East and West, India, China, Mesopotamia, Persia and Rome. In the first century, during the reign of Tiberius, it had the status of a Roman province, but Palmyra peaked in the second century, in the time of Hadrian. After the year of 260, Zenobia, widow of Odaenathus, a prominent palmyrian ruler who coordinated the defense of the Roman Empire in the east, tried to take over the imperial power, entering that way into a conflict with Rome. In 272 she was defeated by the emperor Aurelian and the event indicated the end of the Palmyrian prosperity period.
Colossal monuments and a beautiful blend of Greco-Roman architecture with the aesthetics of local influences are spread up to several kilometers, and are considered (were considered) as one of the most important remains of the ancient world. Ever since Palmyra was destroyed by the terrorist organization Daesh (or, as they like to call themselves, ISIS), a part of our culture and Veyn's study object blew to pieces. Bewilderd by the incomprehensible devastation, the author sketches a portrait of the ancient Palmyran glare that can, from now on, be seen only in books. Such is the story of the "Venice of the desert"; Paul Veyne takes us on a discovery of this vast relic that was recently almost completely wiped out from the world.
Paul Veyne, born 13 June 1930 in Aix-en-Provence, is a French archaeologist and historian, expert on the history of ancient Rome. He was a student at the École Normale Supérieure and member of the French Academy in Rome (1955 -1957), and currently enjoys the position of honorary professor at the College de France. Among Veyne's known works are Comment on écrit l'histoire: essai d'epistemologia (1970), Le pain et le cirque (1976), L'inventaire des differences (1976), Les Grecs ont-ils cru à leurs mythes? (1983), L'Elegie érotique romaine (1983), La société romaine (1991), Sexe et pouvoir à Rome (2005), L'empire Greco-Roman (2005), Foucault, sa pensée, sa personne (2008).
- ISBN: 978-953-8075-18-6
- Dimensions: 128x200 mm
- Number of pages: 108
- Cover: paperback
- Year of the edition: 2016
- Original title: Palmyre, l'irremplaçable trésor
- Original language: French
- Translation: Leni Bastaić