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Tadmor

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(Heb. Tadmor, תִּדנְמֹר, 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 (1 Chronicles 8:4). In the nearly parallel passage (1 Kings 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, Tamá r (Sept. Θερμάθ v.r. Θαμμώρ ; Vulg. Polmirai), which should probably be pointed תִּמֹּר, by contraction for תִּדנְמֹר, 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 (2 Chronicles 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 2 Chronicles 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.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Tadmor'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/t/tadmor.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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