Saturday, May 19, 2007

What to do with Pesky Roman Pillars When They Fall Down





I want to share some photos of stone carved patterns in Palmyra- it is one of those places ,it drags you in- you touch the pillars and hear the whispers of the ancients.As you rub the stone worn smooth by centuries of sandstorms and the hands of ancients you wonder who exactly touched these? It is hard to imagine why the Romans built such a large complex - after all it is in rugged terrain 100's of kilometers from anywhere. It is, and was an oasis , but an oasis can only support so many people, it was on the silk route- but if you look at a map it does not appear to be in a direct line from one place to another or maybe some of the other places have disappeared under the sands of time? Much of Palmyra was submerged under sand until the early 1950's. It appears to have been settled for centuries before the Romans, and whilst the Romans did conquer they never did quite manage to completely subdue the local population who were of an individualistic bent.
Indeed the city's heroine is Zenobia ( though there were rumours that she was implicated in her husbands death. Her husband was one of the Roman governors) She was a headstrong and powerful woman. It is thought that the bend in the central avenue of Roman columns was probably due to the individualsitic bent of the Palmyrans under Zenobia's rule, though no one is sure.

"Palmyra's greatest days however were after the murder of Odeinat, when his wife Zenobia started ruling Palmyra on behalf of her son Vaballath. Zenobia with the help of her Prime Minister Longinus extended Palmyrean power to the west and took over Bosra and occupied as far as Egypt (269-270), then she headed for the north and attempted to take Antioch. This sudden expansion posed a threat for the Romans, and after two years in 272 of being flexible Aurelian retaliated and took back Antioch then Emesa (Homs) and then Palmyra itself. Zenobia tried to escape but was captured and was taken back to Rome as a prisoner."
Today many Palmyrans proudly insist that they are Arameans.

After the Romans left , others came including some that thought that chopping the huge stone pillars into sections would make an excellent wall- admittedly it does create a rather lovely effect ( see thephoto in the next post), but when you thinking of soaring stone colums it is a rather sad end.

Thank you for all your good wishes- Collin's mother is slowly improving, there is still a long way to go.
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Sarah Ann Smith said...

Welcome home! I surfed in earlier in the week, but nothing new at that time. Saw someone surfed in to my blog from Western Australia in the past 24 hours, and wondered if you were home, and here are three new posts...

The Roman carvings are just amazing, and how glorious that you can still touch them. I was able to do that at Stonehenge when I was 20, and am so glad as you can't get near the stones now....

I become more entranced with Albrecht Durer's work the older I get, and in one piece he has a tabby cat that could be the double of one of our cats. I always think that here is someone who loved this cat, and petted it and stroked it and it purred, and it looks like it could walk off the page, yet it lived 500 years ago... mind-boggling!

Sarah Ann Smith said...

Dijanne...didn't want this lost in the previous post. I'd like to order your 72 ways not to stipple and a replacement copy of Tifaefae Renaissance (my copy went walkabout when we moved...grrrr). Could you e-mail your paypal link or address and the amount I'll need to send you for postage to the US?

I'm working on a book, and wanted to write MY section on quilting and not stippling before I saw your booklet, so have delayed in ordering. Now I've written my bit, though, I'd like to see yours and possibly include it in my bibliography if that's OK with you,

CHEERS and thanks and welcome home, and hope Mum-in-law and Dad are doing better,


MargaretR said...

I love this sort of thing Dijanne and enjoyed your post very much. I have spent hours in the hot sun in Cyprus taking photos.
I do hope things are looking better there now.