Studia Palmyreńskie — 10.1997

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by Stawomir P. Kowalski


The usurpation of Zenobia ended in A.D. 272 when Palmyra surrendered to the army of
the emperor Aurelian (Février 1931: 132-135). The victorious troops certainly deprived
the city of much of its wealth, but it was neither plundered nor destroyed. Shortly after-
wards, the rebellion of Firmus in Egypt encouraged the Palmyrenes' uprising against the
triumphant emperor. This time the emperor reacted very quickly and severely. The city is
reported to have been plundered and destroyed in 272/273 (Février 1931: 140-141). The
reference to this fact is to be found in Scriptores Historiae Augustae, Vita Aureliani 31, 5-9 (ed.
Ernest Fïohl, Leipzig 1971):

Aurelianus Augustus Cerrenio Basso, non oportet ulterius progredi militum gladios.
iam satis Palmyrenorum caesum atque concisum est. mulieribus non pepercimus, infa-
ntes occidimus, senes iugulavimus, rusticos interemimus. cui terras, cui urbem deinceps
relinquemus? parcendum est his, qui remanserunt. credimus enim tam paucos tam mul-
torum suppliciis esse correctos. templum sane Solis, quod apud Palmyram aquiliferi
legionis tertiae cum vexilliferis et draconario et cornici<ni>bus atque liticinibus diripu-
erunt, ad earn formam volo, quae fuit, reddi. habes trecentas auri libras <de> Zenobiae
capsulis, habes argenti mille octingenta pondo de Palmyrenorum bonis, habes gemmas
regias. ex his omnibus fac cohonestari templum: mihi et diis inmortalibus gratissimum
feceris. ego ad senatum scribam petens, ut mittat pontificem, qui dedicet templum.

I would like to express my gratitude to Mr. Khaled As'ad, the Director of the Museums of Palmyra
for the permission to publish for the first time some of the epitaphs stored at the Museum of Palmyra.
I also feel thankful to Dr. Adam Lajtar and Dr. Tomasz Derda, my colleagues from the Institute of
Archaeology, University of Warsaw, for their kind assistance and useful suggestions concerning
Greek epigraphy, as well as to Dr. Witold Witakowski who helped me with the Syriac sources. Finally,
I wish to thank warmly Prof. Michal Gawlikowski, who guided me throughout my studies, and Prof.
David Graf for reading the draft of this paper and for their kind comments.

All translations quoted in this paper are by the author if not indicated otherwise.
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