Previous posts have reported that ISIL’s terrorist army has destroyed priceless artifacts of the ancient world in its radical and destructive march across the Mideast. A very priceless ancient city’s relics and ruins are now endangered by ISIL (first link). The very important ancient city of Palmyra, whose ruins are in Syria, are in danger of being pillaged by ISIL. Readers can see from the spectacular ruins shown in both links how elegant this ancient city was during its time of prominence. Please scroll down on the second link until you see a panoramic view of the ruins of Palmyra. You may marvel that such elegant ruins yet remain in the Mideast to testify to the grandeur of this ancient city and culture.
I very much hope that someone’s military force is deployed to stop the destruction of this priceless ancient city’s ruins. They are a testimony to the epic ancient history of the Mideast. The ruins of Palmyra are irreplaceable.
The ancient city of Palmyra, though not mentioned in the Bible, is nevertheless important to the history of the Bible and the ten tribes of Israel. For centuries, Palmyra was very close to the border between the Roman and Parthian Empires. Therefore, it had architectural and cultural similarities to both empires. It was located on the old Silk Road connecting Asia and Europe, so, during times of peace, much of the trade passing between China, Parthia, Scythia and India passed through Palmyra on the way to the Roman Empire. Rome’s trade goods to Asia went eastward via Palmyra.
The second link doesn’t do justice to the Parthian influences and remains at Palmyra as it focuses almost exclusively on the Roman aspects of Palmyra’s past during the Parthian period. Since Palmyra was on the main trade and travel route between Parthia and the Roman Empire, it was almost surely traversed by the Wise Men/Magi of Matthew 2 who traveled from Parthia to Jerusalem which was within the Roman Empire during the time of Jesus Christ. The devout pilgrims from Parthia, Mesopotamia, Elamites, Medes and Asians mentioned in Acts 2:9-11 almost certainly traveled to Jerusalem via Palmyra.
Due to its location, Palmyra had to cater to the Parthians as well as to the Romans because Parthia controlled the trade routes leading eastward into Asia from Palmyra, and Palmyra was located close to the Parthian Empire. When Peter wrote the epistle of I Peter from Babylon in Mesopotamia (I Peter 5:13), he almost certainly journeyed to Babylon via the main trade and travel route via Palmyra. The Apostle Thomas is remembered in many historical sources as being a missionary to the Saka empires and kingdoms in the Indian subcontinent, and he also surely must have traveled to India from Jerusalem via Palmyra.
Palmyra was also briefly part of the Parthian empire. When the Parthian military crushed the Roman armies throughout the eastern portion of the Roman Empire and briefly drove the Romans out of Asia Minor, Syria and Judea in 40-37 BC, Palmyra would have been within the Parthian Empire. This period is discussed in my book, Parthia: The Forgotten Ancient Superpower.
An exhaustive book on the art of Persia and Parthia, entitled Persian Art: 249BC-AD 651 the Parthian and Sassanian Dynasties, by Roman Ghirshman, does more justice to the Parthian role in Palmyra. That book refers to the “Parthian influence in the arts of Palmyra” (page 69), and adds: “A study of the religious bas-reliefs of Palmyra reveals still closer affinities with the art of Parthia, Parthian influence is plain to see…” (p. 75). A stunning aerial photo of the ruins of Palmyra is shown on a foldout, two-page section which appears as pages 73-74 in that book.
Parthia, as readers of my book already know, was the empire of the ten tribes of Israel which rose to great prominence circa 250 BC- 227 AD when it conquered and absorbed the old territories of the Babylonian, Assyrian and Persian Empire and most of the Seleucid Greek Empire. It fulfilled the prophecy in Isaiah 14:2 that the ten tribes of Israel, after their exile into Asia, would eventually rule over the empires who had taken or held them captive. Israelite/Hebrew names abound in Parthian history. When Parthia collapsed in 227 AD, its massed millions of refugees fled toward new homelands in Europe via the Caucasus Mountain/Black Sea region from the 3rd through the 5th centuries AD. They were given the name “Caucasian” due to this escape route out of Asia and they inundated and conquered the Roman Empire and furnished the population bases for many of the modern nations of Europe–who do not realize they are descended from the ten tribes of Israel. My books offer extensive and well-documented historical accounts of the migrations, kingdoms and wars of the Israelite tribes throughout their Asian sojourn. The Parthian Empire period lasted twice as long as the current existence of the United States of America as a nation. Yet Parthia is almost totally forgotten by history texts, although it was an equal power contemporary to the Roman Empire. I think that is because if Parthia was discussed honestly in any meaningful detail in textbooks, its Israelite origins would be obvious to everyone. You can obtain a full history of the Parthian Empire in my aforementioned book or in my E-book, The “Lost” Ten Tribes of Israel…Found!,
I sure hope someone saves the ruins of Palmyra from ISIL!