Tad'mor (Heb. Tadmor, תִּדנמֹר, prob. city of palms [see below]; Sept. Θεδμόρ v.r. Θοεδμόρ; Vulg. Palmira), a city "in the wilderness" which Solomon is said to have built (1Ch 8:4). In the nearly parallel passage (1Ki 9:18), where the phrase "in the land" is added to the description, indicating that this, like the associated cities, was within Solomon's legitimate jurisdiction, the reading "Tadmor" is adopted in tile A. V. from the Keri, or margin; the Kethib, or text, has תמר, Tamár (Sept. Θερμάθ v.r. Θαμμώρ; Vulg. Polmirai), which should probably be pointed תִּמֹּר, by contraction for תִּדנמֹר, or imitation of the original תָּמָר, the palm-tree (see Keil, Comment. ad loc.). SEE PALM. The name would seem to indicate an abundance of date-palms anciently in that vicinity, although they are scarce in its present neglected state.
1. Classical Identification. — There is no reasonable doubt that this city is the same as the one known to the Greeks and Romans and to modern Europe by the name, in some form or other, of Palmyra (Παλμυρά, Παλμιρά, Palmira). The identity of the two cities results from the following circumstances:
(1.) The same city is specially mentioned by Josephus (Ant. 8:6, 1) as bearing in his time the name of Tadmor among the Syrians, and Palmyra among the Greeks; and Jerome, in his Latin translation of the Old Test., translates Tadmor by Palmira (2Ch 8:4).
(2.) The modern Arabic name of Palmyra is substantially the same as the Hebrew word, being Tadmur, or Tathur.
(3.) The word Tadmor has nearly the same meaning as Palmyra, signifying probably the "City of Palms," from Tamar, a palm; and this is confirmed by the Arabic word for Palma, a Spanish town on the Guadalquivir, which is said to be called Tadmir (see Gesenius, in his Thesaurus. p. 345).
(4.) The name Tadmor, or Tadmor, actually occurs as the name of the city Aramaic and Greek inscriptions which have been found there.
(5.) In the Chronicles, the city is mentioned as having been built by Solomon after his conquest of Hamath-Zobah, and it is named in conjunction with "all the store-cities which he built in Hamath." This accords fully with the situation of Palmyra, SEE HAMATIT; and there is no other known city, either in the desert or not in the desert, which can lay claim to the name of Tadmor.
2. History. — As above stated, Tadmor was built by Solomon, probably with the view of securing an. interest in and command over the great caravan traffic from the East, similar to that which he had established in respect of the trade between Syria and Egypt. See this idea developed in Kitto's Pictorial Bible (not in 2Ch 8:4), where it is shown at some length that the presence of water in this small oasis must-early have made this a station for caravans coming west through the desert; and this circumstance probably dictated to Solomon the importance of founding here a garrison town, which would entitle him — in return for the protection he could give from the depredations of the Arabs, and for offering an intermediate station where the factors of the West might meet the merchants of the East to a certain regulating power, and perhaps to some dues, to which they would find it more convenient to submit than to change the line of route.. It is even possible that the Phoenicians, who took much interest in this important trade, pointed out to Solomon the advantage which he and his subjects might derive from the regulation aid protection of it by building a fortified town in the quarter where it was exposed to the greatest danger. A most important indication in favor of these conjectures is found in the fact that all our information concerning Palmyra from heathen writers describes it as a city of merchants, who sold to the Western nations the products of India and Arabia, anti who were so enriched by the traffic that the place became proverbial for luxury and wealth and for the expensive habits of its citizens.
We do not again read of Tadmor in Scripture, nor is it likely that the Hebrews retained possession of it long after the death of Solomon. No other source acquaints us with the subsequent history of the place, till it reappears in the account of Pliny (Hist. Nat. 5, 24) as a considerable town, which, along with its territory, formed an independent state between the Roman and Parthian empires. Afterwards it was mentioned by Appian (De Bell. Civ. 5, 9), in reference to a still earlier period of time, in connection with a design of Mark Antony to let his cavalry plunder it. The inhabitants are said to have withdrawn themselves and their effects to a strong position on the Euphrates, and the cavalry entered an empty city. In the 2nd century it seems to have been beautified by the emperor. Hadrian, as may be inferred from a statement of Stephanus of Byzantium as to the name of the city having been changed to. Hadrianopolis (s.v. Παλμυρά). In the beginning of the 3rd century it became a Roman colony under Caracalla (A.D. 211-217), and received the jus Italicum. From this period the influence and wealth of Palms rapidly increased. Though nominally subject to Rome, it had a government of its own, and was ruled by its own laws. The public affairs were directed by a senate chosen by the people; and most of its public monuments were built, as the inscriptions show, by "the senate and people." For nearly a century and a half this prosperity continued, and it was only checked at length by the pride it generated.
The story of the unfortunate Valerian is well known. Being captured by the Persians, his unworthy son did not use a single effort to release him from the hands of his conquerors. Odenathus, one of the citizens of Palmyra, revenged the wrongs of the fallen emperor, and vindicated the majesty of Rome. He marched against the Persians, took the province of Mesopotamia, and fled Sapor beneath the walls of Ctesiphon (A.D. 260). The services thus rendered to Rome were so great that Odenathus was associated in the sovereignty with Gallienus (A.D. 264). He enjoyed his dignity but a short period, being murdered by his nephew at a banquet in the city of Emesa only three years afterwards. His reign was brief, but brilliant. Not only was Sapor conquered and Valerian revenged, but Syrian rebels and the northern barbarians, who now began their incursions into the Roman empire, felt the force of his arms.
Odenathus bequeathed his power to a worthy successor Zenobia, his widow; and the names of Zenobia and Palmyra will always be associated so long as history remains. The virtue, the wisdom, and the heroic spirit of this extraordinary woman have seldom been equaled. At first she was content with the title of regent during the minority of her son Vaballatus, but unfortunately ambition prompted her to adopt the high sounding title of "Queen of the East." She soon added Egypt to her possessions in Syria, Asia Minor, and Mesopotamia, and ruled over it during a period of five years. In A.D. 271 the emperor Aurelian turned his arms against her, and having defeated her in a pitched battle near Antioch and in another at Emesa, he drove her back upon her desert home. He then marched his veterans across the parched plain and invested Palmyra, which capitulated after a brief struggle. Zenobia attempted to escape, but was captured on the banks of the Euphrates, and brought back to the presence of the conqueror. She was taken to Rome, and there, covered with her jewels and bound by fetters of gold, she was led along in front-of the triumphant Aurelian. Zenobia deserved a better fate. If common humanity did not prevent the Roman citizens from exulting over an honorable, though fallen, foe, the memory of her husband's victories and of his services rendered to the State might have saved her from the indignity of appearing before a mob in chains.
Aurelian took Palmyra in A.D. 272, and left in it a small garrison, but soon after his departure the people rose and massacred them. On hearing of this the emperor returned, pillaged the city, and put the inhabitants to the sword.. It was soon repaired by the orders of the conqueror, and the Temple of the Sun rebuilt; but it never recovered its former opulence. Twenty years later, under the reign of Diocletian, the walls of th3 city were rebuilt. It appears from an inscription to have assisted the emperor Alexander Severus in his wars against the Persians; and there are proofs of its having continued to be inhabited until the downfall of the Roman empire. There is a fragment of a building with a Latin inscription bearing the name of Diocletian; and there are existing walls of the city of the age of the emperor Justinian, together with the remains of a costly aqueduct which he built. It eventually became the seat of a bishop, but never recovered any importance. When the successors of Mohammed extended their conquests beyond the confines of Arabia, Palmyra was one of the first places which became subject to the caliphs. In the year 659 a battle was here fought between the caliphs Ali and Moawiyah, and won by the former. In 744 it was still so strongly fortified that it took the caliph Merwan seven months to reduce it, the rebel Solyman having shut himself up in it.
From this period, Palmyra seems to have gradually fallen into decay. Benljamin of Tudela, who was there towards the end of the 12th century, speaks of it as "Thadmor in the desert, built by Solomon of equally large stones [with Baalbec]. This city is surrounded by a wall, and stands in the desert, far from any inhabited place. It is four days' journey from Baalath [Baalbec], and contains 2000 warlike Jews, who are at war with the Christians and with the Arabian subjects of Noureddin, and aid their neighbors the Mohammedans." In connection with this statement, it may be remarked that the existing inscriptions of Palmyra attest the presence of Jews there in its most flourishing period, and that they, in common with its other citizens, shared in the general trade, and were even objects of public honor. One inscription intimates the erection of a statue to Julius Schalmalat, a Jew, for having at his own expense conducted a caravan to Palmyra. This was in A.D. 258, not long before the time of Zenobia, who, according to some writers, was of Jewish extraction. Irby and Mangles (Travels, p. 273) also noticed a Hebrew inscription on the architrave of the great colonnade, but give no copy of it, nor say what it expressed. The latest historical notice of Tadmor which we have been able to find is, that it was plundered in 1400 by the army of Timur Beg (Tamerlane), when 200,000 sheep were taken (Rankin, Wars of the Mongols). Abulfeda, sat the beginning of the 14th century (Descript. Arab. p. 98), speaks of Tadmor as merely a village, but celebrated for its ruins of old and magnificent edifices. These relics of ancient art and magnificence were scarcely known in Europe till towards the close of the 17th century. In the year 1678 some English merchants at Aleppo resolved to verify by actual inspection the reports concerning these ruins which existed in that place. The expedition was unfortunate, for they were plundered of everything by the Arabs, and returned with their object unaccomplished. A second expedition, in 1691, had better success; bit the accounts which were brought back received little credit, as it seemed unlikely that a city which, according to their report, must have been so magnificent, should have been erected in the midst of deserts. When, however, in the year 1753, Robert Wood published the views and plans which had been taken with great accuracy on the spot two years before by Dawkins, the truth of the earlier accounts could no longer be doubted; and it appeared that neither Greece nor Italy could exhibit antiquities which, in point of splendor, could rival those of Palmyra. From that time it has frequently been visited by travelers, and it is now readily accessible by an excursion on camels from Damascus. Its ruins have often been described and delineated.
3. Present Remains. — Tadmor was situated between the Euphrates and Hamath, to the south-east of that city, in. a fertile tract or oasis of the desert. Palm trees are still found in the gardens around the town, "but not in such numbers as would warrant, as they once did, the imposition of the name. The present Tadmor consists of numbers of peasants mud-huts, clustered together around the relics of the great Temple of the Sun.
The ruins cover a sandy plain stretching along the bases of a range of mountains called Jebel Belaes, running nearly north and south, dividing the great desert from the desert plains extending westward towards Damascus and the north of Syria. The lower eminences of these mountains, bordering the ruins, are covered with numerous solitary square towers, the tombs of the ancient Palmyrenes, in which are found memorials similar to those of Egypt. They are seen to a great distance, and have a striking effect in this desert solitude. Beyond the valley which leads through these hills the ruined city first opens upon the view. The thousands of Corinthian columns of white marble, erect and fallen, and covering an extent of about a mile and a half, present an appearance, which travelers compare to that of a forest. The site on which the city stands is slightly elevated above the level of the surrounding desert for a circumference of about ten miles, which the Arabs believe to coincide with the extent of the ancient city, as they find ancient remains whenever they dig within this space. There are, indeed, traces of an old wall, not more than three miles in circumference; but this was probably built by Justinian, at a time when Palmyra had lost its ancient importance and become a desolate place, and when it was consequently desirable to contract its bounds, so as to include only the more valuable portion. Volney well describes the general aspect which these ruins present: "In the space covered by these ruins we sometimes find a palace of which nothing remains but the court and walls; sometimes a temple whose peristyle is half thrown down; and now a portico, a gallery, or triumphal arch. Here stand groups of columns, whose symmetry is destroyed by the fall of many of them; there we see them ranged in rows of such length that, similar to rows of trees, they deceive the sight, and assume the appearance of continued walls. If from this striking scene we cast our eyes upon the ground, another, almost as varied, presents itself-on all sides we behold nothing but subverted shafts; some whole, others shattered to pieces or dislocated in their joints; and on which side soever we look, the earth is strewn with vast stones, half buried; with broken entablatures, mutilated friezes, disfigured reliefs, effaced sculptures, violated tombs, and altars defiled by dust." The colonnade and individual temples are inferior in beauty and majesty to those which may be seen elsewhere—such, for example, as the Parthenon and the remains of the temple of Jupiter at Athens; and there is evidently no one temple equal to the Temple of the Sun at Baalbec, which, as built both at about the same period of time and in the same order of architecture, suggests itself most naturally as an object of comparison. But the long lines of Corinthian columns at Palmyra, as seen at a distance, are peculiarly imposing; and in their general effect and apparent vastness, they seem to surpass all other ruins of the same kind. The examinations of travelers show that the ruins are of two kinds. The one class must have originated in very remote times, and consists of rude, unshapen hillocks of ruin and rubbish, covered with soil and herbage, such as now alone mark the site of the most ancient cities of Mesopotamia and Babylonia, and among which it would be reasonable to seek some traces of the more ancient city of Solomon. The other, to which the most gorgeous monuments belong, bears the impress of later ages. It is clear from the style of architecture that the later buildings belong to the three centuries preceding Diocletian, in which the Corinthian order of pillars was preferred to any other. All the buildings to which three columns belonged were probably erected in the 2nd and 3rd centuries of our sera. Many inscriptions are of later date; but no inscription earlier than the 2nd century seems yet to have been discovered.
The Temple of the Sun is the most remarkable and magnificent ruin of Palmyra. The court by which it was enclosed was 179 feet square, within which a double row of columns was continued all round. They were 390 in number, of which about sixty still remain standing. In the middle of the court stood the temple, an oblong quadrangular building surrounded with columns, of which about twenty still exist, though without capitals, of which they have been plundered, probably because they were composed of metal. In the interior, at the south end, is now the humble mosque of the village. A little beyond the temple begins the great colonnade, which runs nearly from east to west; it is of great length, and very beautiful. The columns are in good proportion and excellent preservation; each shaft consisting of three courses of stone admirably jointed, with a bracket for a bust or statue interposed between the second and third. In their present naked condition, these brackets are unsightly; yet when they were surmounted by statues the effect must have been extremely grand.
The necropolis of Palmyra lies half an hour northwest of the Temple of the Sun, in the Wady el-Kebur, the ravine through which we made our approach to the city. The tombs, which are very numerous and extremely interesting, are almost all of them towers, two, three, four, and in one instance five stories high. The tomb of Jamblichus, mentioned by Wood, is now dreadfully dilapidated, its stairs crumbled away, and the floor of the fourth story entirely gone. It is five stories high, and was built in the third year of the Christian sera. That of Manaius is peculiarly interesting, and in some respects, indeed, the most curious building at Palmyra. It is in wonderful preservation, and its description will afford some idea of the others, as they are almost all built on the same plan, though far less beautiful. It is a lofty square tower, about fifteen feet in the side, lessening by three courses of stone like steps at about a third of its height. An inscription in honor of the deceased is engraved on a tablet over the doorway. The principal apartment is lined with four Coxinthian pilasters on each side, with recesses between them for mummies; each recess divided into five tiers by shelves, only one of which retains its position. The ancient Palmyrenes buried their dead in the Egyptian manner, and Wood found in one of: the tombs a mummy in all respects similar to those in the land of the: Pharaohs.
4. Authorities. — The original sources for the history of Palmyra may be seen in the Scriptores Historiae Augustae, Triginta Tyranni, vol. 14; Divus Aurelianus,. vol. 26; Eutropius, 9:10, 11, 12. In A.D. 1696; Abraham Seller published a most instructive work, entitled The Antiquities of Palmyra, containing the History of the City and its Emperors, which contains several Greek inscriptions, with translations and explanations. Gesenius published an account of the Palmyrene inscriptions at Rome and Oxford in his Monumenta Scripturae Linguaeque Phoenicme, § 53. The best work on the ruins of Palmyra is still Robert Wood's splendid folio, entitled The Ruins of Palmyra, etc. (Lond. 1753) Very good accounts of them may also be seen in Irby and Mangles, Travels; Richter, Walfahrnten; Addison, Damascus and Palmyra. The last work contains a good history of the place; for which, see also Rosenmüller's Bibl. Geog., translated by the Rev. N. Morren; and, in particular, Cellarius, Dissert. de Inp. Palmyreno (1693). Gibbon, in ch. 11 of the Decline and Fall. hasgiven an account of Palmyra with his usual vigor and accuracy. For an interesting account of the present state of the ruins, see Porter, Handbook for Syria and' Palestine, p. 543-549; Beaufort, Egyptian Sepulchers, etc., vol. 1; and Badeker, Syria, p. 523. Besides Wood's great work, excellent views of the place have been published by Cassas in his Voyage Pittoresque de la Syrie; and later by Laborde in his Voyage en Orient. Recently photographs have been taken by various artists, and an, accurate knowledge of the remains of this renowned and remarkable place is thus made accessible to the whole world.