Universitätsbibliothek HeidelbergUniversitätsbibliothek Heidelberg
loading ...
1 cm
OCR fulltext





PALMYRAis fituated under a barren ridgeof hills to the weft,and open
on its other fides to the Defart. It is about fix days journey a from Aleppo,
and as much from Damafcus,b and about twenty leagues well of the Euphra-
tes, in the latitude c of thirty four degrees, according to Ptolemy. Some geo-
graphers have placed it in Syria, others in Phoenicia, and fome in Arabia.

The walls (43) of this city are flanked by fquare towers, but fo much
deftroyed, that in moft places they are level with the ground, and often
not to be diftinguifhed from the other rubbifh. We could fee no part of
them to the fouth-eaft; but had great reafon to think, from the direction
of what we had traced, that they took in the great temple: if fo, their
circuit muft have been at leail three Englifh miles.

The Arabs fliewed us fome ground about the prefent ruins, which might
be about ten miles in circumference, a little raifed above the level of the
Defart, though not fo much as the part of this plan within the walls. This,
they faid, was the extent of the old city, and that by digging in any part
of it, ruins were difcovered. There appeared to us better reafons for this
opinion, than meerly their authority. Three miles was a fmall compafs for
Palmyra in its profperity, efpecially as moft of that fpace is taken up by
publick buildings, the extent of which, as well as the great number of
magnificent fepulchres, are evident proofs of a great city.

We therefore concluded, that the walls, which we have marked in this
plan, inclofe only that part of Palmyra which its publick buildings occu-
pied during itsflourifhingftate; and, that after its decay, the fituation ftill
recommending it, as the propereft place to flop the incurfions of the Sa-
racens, Juftinian fortified it, as we learn from Procopius, and moft pro-
bably contracted its walls into a narrower compafs. Palmyra,d was no longer
a rich trading city, where he was obliged to attend to private convenience,
but a frontier garrifon, where ftrength alone was to be confidered.

* Our day's journey was generally about eight leagues.
b There is a much ihorter road from Damafcus to Palmy-
ra, but a more dangerous one.

e We found it inconvenient to bring a quadrant fo long a
journey by land, which prevented our taking its latitude.
* See page 13.