Book Series Studies in Palmyrene Archaeology and History, vol. 5

The Small Stuff of the Palmyrenes

Coins and Tesserae from Palmyra

Rubina Raja (ed)

  • Pages: xvi + 177 p.
  • Size:216 x 280 mm
  • Illustrations:1204 b/w, 2 col., 7 tables b/w., 2 maps b/w
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2022

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-59760-7
  • Paperback
  • Available

This edited volume presents new research on the coinage and so-called banqueting tesserae from Palmyra in the Syrian Desert.


Rubina Raja is professor of classical archaeology at Aarhus University, Denmark, director of Centre for Urban Network Evolutions, the Palmyra Portrait Project and the Circular Economy and Urban Sustainability project, which also focusses on Palmyra. Raja specialises in the archaeology and history of the Mediterranean and Levant and has published widely on Palmyra and the Near East.


The ancient city of Palmyra is, rightly, famous for its major monumental architecture and its vast corpus of funerary portraiture, most of which dates from the first three centuries AD. This material has long been central to art-historical, archaeological, and epigraphical studies of the region. However, up to now, relatively little attention has been paid to the ‘small stuff’ from Palmyra — seemingly minor items such as the enigmatic local coinage and the richly iconographic banqueting tesserae found scattered across the city’s sanctuaries — which has never been comprehensively studied, but may have had huge importance for the people who lived in Roman Palmyra.

This volume, which arises from the research project Circular Economy and Urban Sustainability in Antiquity headed by Prof. Rubina Raja, aims to redress the balance by giving new focus to these small finds with a view to studying them and better understanding their significance in Palmyrene social and religious life. Drawing together experts on Palmyra’s archaeology, history, and language, the volume offers insights and reflections into various aspects of the city’s coins and tesserae in both their local setting and their wider regional context. In doing so, the contributions gathered here open up new lines of enquiry, and at the same time underline how much we still have to learn from studying even the smallest items.


The Small Stuff of the Palmyrenes: Coins and Tesserae from Palmyra — RUBINA RAJA

Revisiting the Palmyrene Banqueting Tesserae: Conceptualization, Production, Usage, and Meaning of the Palmyrene — RUBINA RAJA

Tesserae and Prosopography — JEAN-BAPTISTE YON

Palmyrene Tesserae in the Context of Temple Administration — ALEKSANDRA KUBIAK-SCHNEIDER

Some Thoughts on Divine Representations on Palmyrene Coins and Tesserae — TED KAIZER

Caravan Trade in Palmyrene Tesserae and Coins? — EIVIND H. SELAND

Three Forgotten Tesserae and a Coin from Palmyra in the Oriental Museum at Durham University — TED KAIZER AND JEREMY HUTTON

The Production, Circulation and Function of the Local Palmyrene Coinage — NATHALIA KRISTENSEN

Palmyra’s Small Coins and their Dies: Preliminary Results — NATHANAEL ANDRADE

Civic Coins and Urban Networks: Palmyra and its Coinage in a Regional Perspective — MICHAEL BLÖMER

Bigger Stuff Beyond Palmyra: The Coinage of the Hatrans and Assyrians — KEVIN BUTCHER