Integration into the Roman Empire

Some time around 17-19 CE, Palmyra was annexed into the Roman Empire. In 19, reconstruction work began on the main sanctuary, dedicated to Bel, which was consecrated in April 32, although work continued into the mid-2nd century.

Palmyra gradually acquired the institutions of other cities - or polis - in Syria. It had a Roman garrison and customs post, and trade flourished, as revealed by the caravan inscriptions that appear from 19 to 260.

Architectural heyday

As the city grew richer, the Palmyreans renovated the main temples and built a large colonnaded street running from west to east to the north of the wadi, around which the city now expanded, with the addition of monumental buildings such the baths, a theatre, an agora for merchants, and a bouleuterion. Houses in the Greco-Roman style decorated with mosaics on mythological themes were also built here. Begun in the west at the end of the 1st century at the earliest, this great porticoed way, with its tetrapylon and monumental arch had still not been completed at its eastern end, near the Temple of Bel, by the mid-3rd century.

Honours of Palmyra

Imperial visits by Hadrian in 130 and Severus Alexander in 232, and the generosity of Palmyrean benefactors were celebrated in the finest Greek tradition with long inscriptions engraved on columns and on the pedestals of statues voted in their honour by the council of notables and the people. Palmyra was such an integral part of the empire it was raised to the rank of Roman colony around 212-214.