On 27 March 1813, Lady Hester Lucy Stanhope, the daughter of Lord Stanhope and Lady Mary Hester, granddaughter of Lord Chatham of Kent, rode a black stallion given to her by the pasha of Damascus into Palmyra, or Tadmor, the famed caravan city in Syria at the edge of the eastern desert frontier of the ancient Roman Empire (Figures 1 and 2).1 Her entourage moved along the great colonnaded avenue toward the Monumental Arch that symbolized the city then, as in a tragic way it does now. Lady Hester’s triumphal entry into Palmyra represents a defining moment of power and glory in her life, when she was crowned as melike (queen) under the arch, an event that stitched the triumph accorded to her by the Bedouin residents of Tadmor to the Roman triumphs of the past in remarkable ways. An intriguing consideration is Lady Hester’s putative connection...

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