Palmyra, an ancient city in Syria. It was situated at an oasis in the Syrian Desert, 140 miles (225 km) northeast of Damascus. The local name for the city was Tadmur. It became a wealthy trading center because of its location on the caravan routes connecting the Persian Gulf and southern Arabia with the Mediterranean ports. The townspeople, mostly Arabs, built a large temple to Baal, their sun-god.
Palmyra came under the Roman Empire about 17 A. D., but enjoyed considerable independence. In 262 A.D. its local ruler, Odenathus, blocked the westward advance of the Parthian Empire (the Second Persian Empire) and was appointed Roman duke of the East. About this time he took the title of king. In 271, his widow, Zenobia, came into conflict with Rome by invading Egypt and Asia Minor. Emperor Aurelian destroyed Palmyra in 272 and captured Zenobia. The city was rebuilt but never recovered its importance. Present-day Tadmur is a small village.