Roman Palmyra: Identity, Community, and State Formation
In social, economic, and cultural terms, the eastern frontier of the Roman Empire was vastly complex, which has fueled considerable debate among scholars concerning the nature of the interactions between Romans and natives in the Near East. Notions of imperialism, specifically "cultural" imperialism, frame much of the debate. Through a detailed analysis of Palmyrene identity and community formation, Andrew M. Smith II presents a social and political history of Roman Palmyra, the oasis city situated deep in the Syrian Desert midway between Damascus and the Euphrates river. This city-state is unique in the ancient world, since it began as a humble community, probably no more than an isolated village, and grew—due in part to its role in the caravan trade—into an economically powerful, cosmopolitan urban center of Graeco-Roman character that operated outside of Roman rule, yet under Roman patronage. The book therefore focuses on two aspects of Palmyrene civilization during the first three centuries of the Common Era: the emergence and subsequent development of Palmyra as a commercial and political center in the desert frontier between Rome and Parthia (and later Persia), and the "making" of Palmyrenes. This study is thus concerned with the creation, structure, and maintenance of Palmyrene identity and that of Palmyra as an urban community in a volatile frontier zone. The history of Palmyra's communal development would be wholly obscure were it not for the archaeological and epigraphic materials that testify to Palmyrene achievements and prosperity at home and abroad. These, complemented by the literary evidence, also provide insight into the relatively obscure historical process of sedentarization and of the relationships between pastoral and sedentary communities in the Roman Near East. In addition to examining Palmyra as a frontier community, the book will move beyond Syria to explore the development and maintenance of Palmyrene identity in diaspora settings in Italy, north Africa, and Europe. This study is thus concerned with the creation, structure, and maintenance of Palmyrene identity and that of Palmyra as an urban community in a volatile frontier zone.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
1 Framing the Narrative
2 Tribes and Tribalism
3 The Growth of Community
4 Mapping Social Identities
5 The Civic Institutions of Palmyra
6 The Palmyrene Diaspora
A Crisis of Identity
Other editions - View all
A. M. Smith Aglibol agora Allat Annexe appears Aramaic association attested Baalshamin bilingual caravan trade city’s civic clans context countryside cult cultural Dacia dates to a.d. Dédicaces dedication Delplace desert Dirven discussion Dura Preliminary Report economic ethnic Euphrates evidence example four tribes frontier funerary Gawlikowski Greek group identities Haîran honor identified individuals and groups Ingholt inscription of a.d. Inscriptions de l’agora instance Inventaire Julius Aurelius Kaizer kinship Lucius Verus Malakbel Malkû Milik military Millar nomadic notables de Palmyre Numidia oasis Odenathus Palmyra Palmyrene community Palmyrene identity Palmyrene merchants Palmyrenes of Dura-Europos Parthian pastoralists Photo polis political rbʾ relations relationships religious role Roman Empire Roman Near East Safaitic sanctuaries Sarmizegetusa Schlumberger second century a.d. Septimius Septimius Odenathus Seyrig social statue stratēgos suggests Syria Tariff Teixidor temple of Bel temple palmyrénien term territory third century a.d. tion tomb tribal urban Vaballathus Yarhai Yarhibol Zenobia