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Palm



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Palma, the palm-tree, or a branch of it, may be remarked on an infinity of ancient medals and other monuments. It is the numismatic symbol of Phoenicia; and also offers itself as the token of fecundity, because the palm constantly fructifies as long as it lives.  It was moreover, the symbol of Judea, as is shown (says Spanheim), not only on coins struck by the Roman mint, after the conquest of that country, under Vespasian, Titus and Domitian, but likewise on much older medals, formerly coined by the Jews themselves.  The palm-tree forms the type of a consular coin, struck under M. Antony, with the legend ALEXANDR. AEGYPT.

The Palm sometimes serves as the symbol of victory, because, on the crown, bore a palm-branch; at other times it signified the duration and permanence of the empire, because the palm lives a long time.  Palm branches were born before a victor on his reception at the gate of a city.  The palm sometimes denotes joy (hilaritas), abundance equity, piety, health, and felicity.  We also see it on coins in the hand of Hercules, of Jupiter, of Juno, of Mars, of Mercury, of Venus, and especially of Pallas (or Minerva).  It is given to Rome, to victory, to Fortune, to Liverty, and to Peace. - The Emperors Julius Caesar, Augustus, Trajan, Elagabalus, Alexander Servus, Probus, are represented with a palm branch in their hand. - A long branch of it appears in the right hand of a woman with the epigraph of HILARITAS TEMPORVM, on a coin of Didia Clara.

Palm - branches in the hands of wrestlers (athletae) appear on Contorniate medals of Nero, Trajan, Sept. Severus, Caracalla, Honorius, Julianus II., etc.

Palmyra, a region of Syria, in which was once celebrated metropolis of that name.  The city called by the Romans Palmyra, was more anciently named Thadmor, that is to say City of Palms, whence it derived its appellation of Palmyra.  This magnificent capital was situated to the north-east of Damascus, between that city and the Euphrates, within a fertile territory, watered with springs, but surrounded by sandy deserts.  After the destruction of the kingdom of Israel, it fell into the possesson of independent princes, who formed a state, centrally situated between the Roman empire and the kingdom of Parthia; and they succeeded in aggrandising it at the expense of both. - Odenathus, the last powerful prince of Palmyra was associated in the Imperial government by Gallienus, and conjointly with that emperor made conquests of territory from the Persians. 

Septima Zenobia, his widow, succeeded her husband, who had been assassinated by his nephew.  That woman had the repute of being the most heroic and the wisest princess of her age.  In 270, after a brave and long resistance to the progress of her Roman invaders, she was vanquished by Aurelian, who barbarously graced his triumph with her presence as a captive of Rome.  The effigy of Vabalathus, a Palmyrenian Prince, appears on the reverse of a small brass coin of Aurelian. - See VABALATHVS.


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