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Since the publication of Porter and Torrey(1) a small number of, inscribed Palmyrene funerary reliefs has been added to the collection of the Museum of Archaeology connected with the American University of Beirut.

These sculptures once decorated the funerary towers or the subterranean tombs of Palmyra and even if for the most part they cannot claim much attention from a purely artistic point of view, they possess considerable interest for the archaeologist in giving a plastic idea of the mixed Greek and Oriental civilization of the city.(2)

We shall describe these reliefs in the order in which they have been acquired, adding a dated bust which is still in commerce.


Male bust, like all the following, made in the greyish limestone of Palmyra, and having to the right of the head a Palmyrene inscription in four lines which gives the name and genealogy of the person represented (pl. VIII I 11, 1 ) :

'Alas, Malkû, son of Gad'arsû (son of) Hanînâ."(3) Malkû is unbearded, his hair is arranged in two horizontal rows and the iris is circumscribed by two incised circles. He is dressed in the usual Palmyrene costume, chiton and himation, the folds being deeply cut, the ones running down from the shoulders of a peculiar shape, triangular in cross section. The right hand rests in the himation where it crosses the chest, while the left hand holds an olive or laurel branch, probably to avert the malignant influences of the evil powers. 4)

As to the date of this bust, the rendering of hair and eyes, the lack of beard and the form of the drapery folds all suggest a date between about 50 and 150 A.D.,(5) in the oldest group of the Palmyrene sculptures, and because of the primitive character of the modelling, probably early in the group.(6)

1. American Journal of Semitic Languages end Litteratures, XXII, 1906, p 262-69. The bust of Shalôme, ib. nr. XII, p. 266-67, in the date of which the number of the hundreds is omitted, should be, from archeological evidences, dated in the year 151, Dot 251 A.D. See Ingholt : "Studier- over- palmyrensk Skulptur", Copenhagen 1928, p. 66-68, PS 41; pl. XIII, 1.
2. Cf. Studier over palmyrensk Skulptur, p. 155-56.
    3. I.N. 30. 11. Height 43, width 42 cm.
4. Cf. Cumont, Fouilles de Doura-Europos, Paris 1926, p. 72.
5. Cf. Studier, p. 90 and Ingholt, Acta Archaeologica, 1, 1930, p. 192.
6. Belonging to the same group and of similar composition are a few other busts, cf. Studier p. 102, PS 108-11. The bust PS 108 is pictured in Chabot, Choix d'Inscriptions de Palmyre, Paris 1922, pl. XXVII, 6,

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