Palmyra tower

“If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday.” – Pearl Buck.

Four men entered the silent tomb with stamping feet and heavy, panting breaths. Bardisan knew one of their number from memory. It was the legate who had sought him out in the shadows of the Palmyrian slums. A tall crest of red-painted horsehair hung like a martial peacock’s tail from the top of his helmet. Behind him was a junior officer, thin and pale, and two cavalrymen whose imposing bulks seemed to fill the small, dark space.

There was a military swagger to how the larger three walked. It was a clap of hobnailed sandals against stone flagstones which seemed to threaten a sword’s point in the gut if a man stepped across their path. The legate peered into the sarcophagus in front of them, started back and bellowed. His shout was Latin, incomprehensible to Bardisan, but he took the general meaning of it. Raw anger and white-hot frustration echoed through the tomb.

Bardisan shuffled across the great stone beam and felt his foot snag against a sharp edge. The strap of his frayed sandal broke with a snap. As if time had slowed, Bardisan watched the ragged flaps of leather tumble down through the shadows and clatter to the stone floor. Four rough, pale faces caught the moonlight as they looked up towards him.

Read the latest Palmyra news here (BBC) and click here (Sacred Destinations) to find out more about the city’s fascinating history.

For something similar, and an excellent read, check out Emperor and Prophet on one of my favourite blogs (John’s Life and Travels)!

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