Julia Aurelia Zenobia was Queen of Palmyra from 267 CE until her defeat and capture by Emperor Aurelian of Rome. Palmyra was a city built on fertile ground between the Mediterranean Ocean and the Euphrates River in what is now Syria. She primarily used the Aramaic form of her name, Bat-Zabbai, as her official title. She claimed both Cleopatra of Egypt and Dido of Carthage as her ancestors. In war, she showed prowess as a tactician, commander, and fighter.

Zenobia was married to Septimus Odaenathus, the Palmyrene king. When he and his eldest son were assassinated, Zenobia’s son was too young to rule. She became queen regent in 267 CE, styling herself as Queen and her son as King. As Palmyra was a Roman patronage, Zenobia had duties to fulfill for the Roman Empire. She stated the reason for many of her war campaigns was protecting the Roman Empire from the Sassanids, which was her primary duty as Queen of Palmyra. It was very likely, as her war campaigns ended up expanding her own throne and not protecting Rome, that this was a ploy to keep the Romans content.

In 269 CE, Zenobia effectively declared independence from Rome when she conquered Egypt—which was  also a patronage of Rome. Tenagino Probus, the Roman prefect of Egypt, tried to stop her, but was unsuccessful. She beheaded him and declared herself to be Queen of Egypt. She conquered some of Asia Minor (Anatolia as far as Ankara), as well as Syria, Palestine, and Lebanon. As these were areas of important trade routes for the Romans, this was a huge blow on the Rome Empire.

From 270—275 CE, Zenobia was engaged in battles with Emperor Aurelian of Rome, who had come to put an end to her revolt. After her defeat in 274 CE, Zenobia was taken hostage. It is unknown what exactly happened to her after that point, as she either committed suicide on the journey to Rome, lived in Rome, or was part of Aurelian’s victory procession in Rome.






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