Studia Palmyreńskie — 10.1997

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"From Aurelian Augustus to Cerronius Bassus. The swords of the soldiers should not
proceed further. Already enough Palmyrenes have been killed and slaughtered. We
have not spared the women, we have slain the children, we have butchered the old men,
we have destroyed the peasants. 6. To whom, at this rate, shall we leave the land and
the city? Those who still remain must be spared. For it is our belief that the few have
been chastened by the punishment of the many. 7. Now as to the Temple of the Sun at
Palmyra, which has been pillaged by the eagle-bearers of the Third Legion, along with
the standard-bearers, the dragon-bearer, and the buglers and trumpeters, I wish it
restored to the condition in which it formerly was. 8. You have three hundred pounds of
gold from Zenobia's coffer, you have eighteen hundred pounds of silver from the pro-
perty of the Palmyrenes, and you have the royal jewels. 9. Use all these to embellish the
temple; thus both to me and to the immortal gods you will do a most pleasing service. I
will write to the senate and request it to send one of the pontiffs to dedicate the temple."
(translation by Magie from Dodgeon & Lieu 1991: 102)

The same events as reported in Historia Nova I, 61 by Zosimos (ed. F. Paschoud, Paris 1971):

(60.2) ... naÀ,|rupr|v(H 5è ’Avxioyco TtepiSévxeç dÀ.o\)pyèç ipaxiov tcaxà xfjv Elakpûpav eîyov.

(61.1) ... èm xrjv nodip/upav fjtaruvev • àpayrixi 8è xf|v rcokiv ékcbv îcai Kaxaom\j/aç ... (2) ’Ev
xouxco icon to xoû 'Hkiou ôeipàpevoç iepov (j.eyakoTcpe7tco<; xotç àno nakpüpaç ÈKoapriaev
àvaOfipaaiv, 'Hkiou xe Kai Bq/Un) KaGiôpûoaç àyàkpaxa ...

"60.2 ... the Palmyrenes, having clothed Antiochos in purple, shut themselves in at
Palmyra. 61.1 ... and carried on to Palmyra, which he took and razed without a con-
test ... 2. At this period also he erected that magnificent temple of the Sun, which he
ornamented with all the votive offerings that he brought from Palmyra; placing in it the
statues of the Sun and the Bel." (translation from Dodgeon & Lieu 1991:103,107)

The rhetorical passage of SHA recalls sacking of the temple of the Sun by the soldiers of the
Leg. Ill Cyrenaica, though the source in general is not considered very reliable. Ernest Will
convincingly suggested that the god referred to was not Bel, but Malakbel (Will 1966: 1410).
This identification is based on an altar from the Capitoline Museum in Rome on which
Malakbel is represented as Sol. Thus, the soldiers probably sacked the temple of Malakbel
and Aglibol, the one represented on one of the beams of the cella of Bel (Will 1966: 1410)
and well known from inscriptions as GNT ’ ’LYM — tepov dkooç (Gawlikowski 1973: 49).
The sanctuary, being one of the four main temples of the city, certainly comprised porticoes,
baths and a banquet hall (Gawlikowski 1973: 49-51). In his recent book on Palmyra E. Will,
however, came back to a generally accepted idea that the letter referred to the temple of Bel,
mainly because the temple of the Sun has not been found yet and, certainly, the temple of
Bel was the most eminent in Palmyra (Will 1992: 196). The temple of the Sun must be the
same building which is alluded to in an inscription found in the Camp of Diocletian (Micha-
lowski 1960: 208; Gawlikowski 1973: 100).

['H (3ouA,ri Kai 6 ôfjpoç xov ôeîva]

[ — xjfjç 7toXeü)[ç — xoû]

[l£7cxi.|ho'u ’Oôaivà]0o'ü PaaiÀicoç (3aaik.éa)v
4 [ocvaBriaavta x]ov 7xocpivov 'Hkiou 7iaxpa)0'u
[Geoû — ]ov xœv l£(3aoxc8v Kai KaGiEpo-
[aàvxa — ]vot> Kai AûxoKpàxopoç
[-T£ip]f|ç Kai g£yako(ppoaûvr|ç evekev.

"[The Senate and the People to NN-of the] city [-of Septimius Odainajt, king of

the kings, [who dedicated the] statue of Flelios, the ancestral [god-] of the Augusti,

and who consacra [ted-] and of the emperor [-for (his) honor and magnanimity.
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