Funerary Bust of a Palmyrene Lady


published on 08 November 2017

This funerary bust of a Palmyrene lady dates from c. 175-200 CE and is made of limestone. It is originally from Palmyra, Syria. (Inscribed in Aramaic: ‘Aqmat, daughter of Hagagu, descendant of Zebida, descendant of Ma'an. Alas!") The inhabitants of the wealthy city of Palmyra buried their dead in family or communal tombs containing rows of individual compartments. Each was sealed with a plaque bearing an elaborate and highly realistic portrait of the deceased. Known as "nefesh" ("soul" or "personality"), these portraits enabled the owner to exist in the afterlife.

About the Author

James Blake Wiener
James is a writer, public speaker, and former academic who is interested in cross-cultural exchange and world history. He handles internal and external business communications at AHE and builds partnerships with international organizations.

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