Syria's Monuments: Their Survival and Destruction

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Syria's Monuments: their Survival and Destruction examines the fate of the various monuments in Syria (including present-day Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine/Israel) from Late Antiquity to the fall of the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century. It examines travellers’ accounts, mainly from the 17th to 19th centuries, which describe religious buildings and housing in numbers and quality unknown elsewhere. The book charts the reasons why monuments lived or died, varying from earthquakes and desertification to neglect and re-use, and sets the political and social context for the Empire’s transformation toward a modern state, provoked by Western trade and example. An epilogue assesses the impact of the recent civil war on the state of the monuments, and strategies for their resurrection, with plentiful references and web links.
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Biographical Note

Michael Greenhalgh (PhD 1968) is Emeritus Professor of Art History at the Australian National University. He has published widely on the survival of the Roman world, including most recently Destruction of the Cultural Heritage of 19th-century France: Old Stones versus Modern Identities (Leiden, 2015).

Table of contents

Contents

Introduction
The Extent of Syri
Mapping Syria
The Syria of Yesterday
1 The State of Syria in Recent Centuries
Governance
Earthquakes and Disease
Trade
Circassians and Other Settlers amongst the Monuments
Nomadic Arabs
Agriculture and Desertification
Conclusion: Impact of Ottoman Decline on Antiquities
2 Travel throughout Syria
Where to Go and How to Get There
Languages, Dress and Descriptions
Scholars in the East
The Bible as a Guidebook
Changing Horizons Meet the Unchanging East
Biblical Monuments “Identified”
Other Guidebooks: Baedeker, Cook & Murray
Confected Guidebooks: An Example
Travel then Tourism: The Agony and the Ecstasy
Taxes and Robbery
Profiteering Sheikhs
Haram/Forbidden: Access to Muslim Sites
Architectural Quality: Is Syria Worth Visiting?
One-upmanship and Verbal Wars in Travel Narratives
Modernisation Changes Travelling in the Unchanging East
Conclusion
3 The Life and Death of Monuments
Superstitions and Monuments
Treasure-hunting and Locals’ Knowledge of the Past
Vandalism
Roads Milestones Bridges
Railways
Aqueducts
Temples
Degradation
Locals and Antiquities
Columns as Structural Tie-bars
Mosaics and Veneers
Quarries and Marble
Re-use
Ancient Towns and Villages and Their Houses
4 The Seabord: Harbours and Ports North to South
5 Aleppo and the North 238
6 Damascus and the Centre 262
7 Bosra and the South 287
8 West of the River Jordan 319
9 East of the River Jordan 331
10 Fortresses Roman, Muslim and Crusader 356
11 Mayhem: Archaeology, Museums and Mandates 379
Archaeology
Digging in Palestine
Filling Western Museums
The First World War and the French & British Mandates
Conclusion

Epilogue: The Monuments of Syria in 2016
Syria: Timelines
History of Archaeology and Travel in Syria
Recent Political/Military Developments in the Region, and Their Sources
Websites Detailing Syria’s Monuments
Damaged Sites, Monuments and Museums
Photographic Evidence of Destruction in Syria
Guides/Surveys of Monuments and Regions
Computer Reconstructions
Conclusion: Warning about “Restoration”

Appendix: Brief Biographies of Traveller-Scholars

Bibliography
Index
Illustrations

Readership

All interested in the survival of the Roman past, especially in the Middle East, and in the contribution of travel writing and exploration to Western knowledge of the region.