Classic Court

Syria

Roman, from Palmyra, province of Syria, Funerary Monument of Umm’abi. Limestone with traces of pigment, about 200 CE. Toledo Museum of Art

The Syrian province had been divided into three smaller provinces in the hopes of discouraging the accumulation of power by its governor. Having been annexed by Emperor Pompey in 64 BCE, Syria would remain in Roman (and later Byzantine) hands until the 7th century. Syria was of crucial strategic importance as a frontier buffer and boasted a powerful army. The province was also critical because of its exports, which included dyes (specifically the color purple), grain, cloth, fruits, and glass. Syria was home to Palmyra, an ancient city known for its striking funerary reliefs. An example of a Palmyrene relief can be found in the “Death and Burial in Ancient Rome” case in this gallery.