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beautiful old painting of Syrian landscape
Free - suggested donation £3

Porter's Palmyra

A Lit & Phil lecture via Zoom

Wednesday 14 April 6pm 

FREE, but if you would like to donate to support the good work of The Lit & Phil we would be very grateful.

Suggested donation: £3

Please register your interest by emailing  You will then be sent a Zoom invitation. Note that you don't have to have Zoom installed on your device to take part.

The Syrian city of Palmyra will be familiar to many owing to the tragic destruction of its major monuments by Islamic State. While structures like the Temples of Bel and Baalshamin may be lost forever, their legacy can be traced in the accounts and stories of the litany of travellers to have reached the site. Only rediscovered for the West as recently as 1678, it was not until the nineteenth century that more European visitors arrived at the isolated ruins deep in the Syrian steppe. The 1850s was a particularly popular period for travel to Palmyra with the likes of Isabel Burton, J.L. Porter, Carl Haag and Jane Digby reaching the ruins. This presentation will uncover these often overlooked accounts of the city and scrutinise why these century old adventures still have relevance for the study of Palmyra today.

Rory McInnes-Gibbons is a third year PhD candidate in the Department of Classics & Ancient History at Durham University. He works under a triumvirate of supervisors led by Professor Ted Kaizer, accompanied by Dr Edmund Thomas and Dr Nora Goldschmidt. He is currently putting the finishing touches to a thesis entitled, "The Reception of the Ruins of Palmyra in the Long Eighteenth Century: 1678-1820."

Suggested donation: £3


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