By Assad Zaytoun
In his valuable study entitled: “An intellectual-historical approach to the spirituality and the specific characteristics of the ancient Arab Orient Civilization – Palmyra as an example”, Dr. Bashar Khuleif wrote: In the year 129 AD, the Roman Emperor Adrian visited Palmyra and endowed on the city the title of “the Free City”. This has exempted the city from paying taxes to the Empire’s treasury and gave a vigorous impetus to Palmyra’s commercial economy.
By this time, Adrian has installed a Palmyrene ruler to Bahrain and other Palmyrene rulers to several other cities. This tells how vivid, out-reaching and well-entrenched the Palmyra civilization was.
In the same study, Dr. Khuleif quotes the Martyr Khaled al-Assad as saying: “Palmyra has become a significant trading center, if not the world’s capital of international trading between the East, which was industrial, and the West which was agrarian.”
A sound and correct analysis of these pieces of information obtained from archaeological inscriptions would lead to one single meaning: During that period of history, Palmyra was the political and military capital of Rome (the Roman Empire), whereas Antakya (Antioch) was its religious capital.
In Antakya (Antioch) there is the Church of St Pierre (also known as St Peter), the Mount of Pilgrimage and the Holy Asi (Orontes) River.
The famous Roman poet of that era Juvenal (DecimusIuniusIuvenalis) talked about this river and its overflow that flooded the Sacred Rome’s River the Tiber (Tevere). Till now, people re-echo the words of this poet: “The Orontes has overflown and flooded the Tiber River.” These words became a popular proverb widely circulated by Rome’s inhabitants and it is still being cited by men of letters till the present day.
Talking about Palmyra and Antakya, to which almost all churches of the ancient East still belong, is like talking about Great Assyria and Sacred Babylonia at the zenith of Great Assyria ages.
Just asthe Lakhmids(more known in Arabic with the name of Mandharis/Manazeras) were allied with the Persian Sassanians and the Ghassanids were allied with the Roman Empire, many Arab tribes before them used to maintain certain alliances with prominent Empires of their times. Some urban Arabs were allied with the Persians. But the population of Palmyra (the town of Palm Trees) were allied with the Romans.
It was a common practice for Empires and Kingdoms through history to take different capital cities. The Abassid Dynasty, for instance, took the cities of Samara, Raqqa, Damascus and Cairo as their capital through different periods of time. In this sense, it would not be strange for Emperor Adrian to install Palmyrene Rulers as Mayors of various cities of the Empire.
It is equally normal to see that Palmyra used to have sea-ports in the Gulf and in Aswan, in Egypt. They also used to have castles and military fortresses such as Halbiya and Zalbiyah on the banks of the Euphrates River and they have had commercial and trading hubs all over the world. Many of the merchants they used to trade with were Indian merchants, as mentioned in the study cited above.
No wonder therefore that this global capital be named “The Free City” and would not pay taxes, but rather taxes would be levied on her behalf under the era of Emperor Adrian.
This becomes specifically clear when we know that this attribute “The Free” with which the city was adorned is named in Greek Δωρεάν :دوريان : Doreán. It is the city of Adorean. It is the Free City.
Imagine then what would it be for the Roman turkey rituals on Christmas eve, when the bond between Uzaina and Orlean as the one between the attributes of Free and Adrean.
The post of a steward or warden (Hajeb in Arabic) inducted by the Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphs to guard their palaces was in fact an Arabized term derived from the name of Uzainah, meaning to give the permission. In Latin, it was expressed with the shape of auris and was introduced to the Western world with the name of Oreille.
No doubt it would be a sacred Palmyrene Talisman on the snood of the Christmas turkey. This is particularly noteworthy because the sun god of Homs was the god who made the Asi (Orontes) River overflow until it flooded the Tiber River of Sacred Rome. And it is this same god who endowed on her the womb which gave birth to its great Emperors.
But we have to dwell long enough and contemplate the fact that during these ages, the East was industrial and the West was agrarian. During these times, Palmyra was the Jewel of the world’s Crown, its Free Lady and the oasis of its sacred Palm trees.
Translated from Arabic by Syrianfacts