Tad’mor (city of palms), called “Tadmor in the wilderness,” is the same as the city known to the Greeks and Romans under the name of Palmyra. It lay between the Euphrates and Hamath, to the southeast of that city, in a fertile tract or oasis of the desert. Being situated at a convenient distance from both the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf, it had great advantages for caravan traffic. It was built by Solomon after his conquest of Hamath-zobah. 1 Kings 9:18; 2 Chron. 8:4. As the city is nowhere else mentioned in the Bible, it would be out of place to enter into a detailed history of it. In the second century a.d. it seems to have been beautified by the emperor Hadrian. In the beginning of the third century—211–217 a.d.—it became a Roman colony under Caracalla. Subsequently, in the reign of Gallienus, the Roman senate invested Odenathus, a senator of Palmyra, with the regal dignity, on account of his services in defeating Sapor, king of Persia. On the assassination of Odenathus, his wife, Zenobia, seems to have conceived the design of erecting Palmyra into an independent monarchy; and in prosecution of this object, she for a while successfully resisted the Roman arms. She was at length defeated and taken captive by the emperor Aurelian, a.d. 273, who left a Roman garrison in Palmyra. This garrison was massacred in a revolt; and Aurelian punished the city by the execution not only of those who were taken in arms, but likewise of common peasants, of old men, women, and children. From this blow Palmyra never recovered, though there are proofs of its having continued to be inhabited until the downfall of the Roman empire. The grandeur and magnificence of the ruins of Palmyra cannot be exceeded, and attest its former greatness. Among the most remarkable are the Tombs, the Temple of the Sun, and the Street of Columns.
Ruins at Tadmor (Palmyra).