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Limestone bust from a Palmyrene funerary relief; double bust of man and his wife; she is veiled with the fillet; wears drop ear-rings and two long curls of hair; holds in left hand distaff and spindle; he wears a toga and holds a strip of writing material in his right hand; inscription; 2 ll. Inscription: OYIPIA ( ) OIBH () AIOCOYIIOC () KIMOC - Viria Phoebe and Gaius Vurus. Left: Bust of a noblewoman nicknamed "Beauty of Palmyra” Copenhagen, Denmark.	Source:  Carole Raddato from FRANKFURT, Germany/CC BY-SA

Palmyra Busts - A Window into the Ancient Palmyra’s Customs

Throughout history, many ethnicities and civilizations were often distinguished by their funerary beliefs and burial customs. From the Egyptian pyramids to the Neolithic Passage tombs, burial always...
Did Descendants of Cleopatra VII Survive and Produce the Legendary Queen Zenobia of Palmyra?

Did Descendants of Cleopatra VII Survive and Produce the Legendary Queen Zenobia of Palmyra?

Cleopatra VII, the last pharaoh of an independent Egypt, had four children: Caesarian (with Julius Caesar), twins Alexander Helios and Cleopatra Selene, and Ptolemy Philadelphia (the latter three...
Temple of Bel, an ancient temple in Palmyra, Syria. The temple was destroyed by ISIS in 2015. Source: Janos/Adobe Stock

History Erased: The 6 Most Heartbreaking Archaeological Destructions

Have you ever wondered how the destruction of our past affects our future? World history is full of incredible stories of innovation, achievement, and triumph, but it is also full of tales of...
Close-up of one of the Palmyra Aramaic inscriptions to the “Anonymous God”. Source: Aleksandra Kubiak-Schneider / PAP

Aramaic Inscriptions in Palmyra, Syria, Solve Mystery of the ‘Anonymous God’

The analysis of over 2,500 Aramaic inscriptions in Palmyra in south-central Syria has helped solve a 100-year-old mystery. Two hundred texts, dated mainly to the 2nd and 3rd century AD have been...
The Quest to Understand Haliphat’s Speaking Handshapes

The Quest to Understand Haliphat’s Speaking Handshapes

Over three decades ago, walking up a wide and elegant marbled staircase passageway in a museum, a funerary relief bust of Haliphat in a secluded alcove first caught my eye. From that moment I was...
Palmyrean triad: Baalshamin, master of the skies, the Moon-god Aglibol and the Sun-god Malakbel (Yarhibol). Cultual relief, limestone, first half of the 1st century AD, found in one of the routes to Palmyra. The stele bears religious inscriptions carved by passers-by.

Scholar Made the Ultimate Sacrifice to Save Ancient Palmyra Treasures from the Hands of ISIS

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, whose real name was Ibrahim al-Badri, was once a lecturer of Islamic studies and an Imam at mosques in Baghdad and Falluja. He also served as an officer in the army of Saddam...
An Islamic State militant destroying artifacts in Iraq’s World Heritage city of Hatra

Erasing History: Why Islamic State is Blowing Up Ancient Artifacts

One of the many tragedies that have unfolded in the wake of the Islamic State (IS) is their smashing of statues and the destruction of ancient archaeological sites. Indeed, the rapid and terrifying...
The Arch of Triumph or Arch of Septimius Severus, Palmyra, Syria, 2005

Gone Forever? The History and Possible Future of the Recently Destroyed Monumental Arch of Palmyra

The story of this famous arch has painfully revealed the weakness of the world, lack of authority of UNESCO, and helpless hands of thousands of archaeologists around the world. The arch of Palmyra,...
View of Palmyra in 2010 showing the Temple of Bel.

The Ancient City of Palmyra: The Pearl of the Desert

Palmyra is an ancient city located in modern Syria which served as the capital of the Palmyrene Kingdom during the 3rd century AD. In May 2015, this city made the headlines and grabbed the attention...
Zenobia, the Warrior Queen of Palmyra, Syria

Zenobia, the Warrior Queen of Palmyra, Syria

In 30 BC, the last active Ptolemaic queen of Egypt, Cleopatra VII, was dead. According to the written sources, she committed suicide by holding a poisonous snake to her breast, so as to avoid being...