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Palmyra – in the Roman imperial period, the marvel of the Syrian Desert was situated at the crossroads of the intercontinental long-distance trade, in a political and cultural twilight between the East and the West: inter duo imperia
, "between the two empires", according to Pliny the Elder. How accurate is Pliny's description of the oasis of Tadmur? How strongly was Roman influence felt in the city of Bēl – and how did it develop over the centuries? What was the significance of trade? And how did the close interaction between sedentary and nomadic populations shape society in the oasis? The authors revisit the textual and material evidence on and from Palmyra in the light of recent research, spanning five centuries of Near Eastern history.
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