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Palmyra

Ruins of Roman Theatre in Palmyra

It’s all in ruin now, more so since the Islamic State (ISIS) decided to extend the ruination in 2015. There was a brief time in the third century A.D. when Palmyra was independent and prosperous. It stood midway between Rome and Persia and was coveted by both. It was ruled by such enlightened leaders as Septimius Odaenathus and, after his death, his widow Septimia Zenobia. Under Zenobia, Palmyra controlled lands from central Anatolia to Southern Egypt.

That was too much for Rome. In 273, the Roman Emperor Aurelian destroyed Palmyra and exiled Zenobia to Rome. At that time, the city had some 200,000 inhabitants. Somewhat later, Diocletian re-established the city, but it never again grew to the size and power it had under Odaenathus and Zenobia.

It is a wonderment to me that throughout history there existed little “golden ages” of relative happiness and prosperity. At Palmyra’s height, its people were considerably wealthier than the citizens of Rome itself. By the third century, the Roman Empire itself was powerful, though its original inhabitants had passed their zenith as all the resources were spent building up the massive army presence along the northern and eastern borders.

I sincerely hope the same thing will not happen to the United States. With this election, I breathed a little more easily and had a few glimmerings of hope.

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