Zenobia - Queen of Palmyra

Regent of Palmyra, defacto ruler of Roman Syria

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Queen of Palmyra (r. 267-273).

Zenobia had married Septimius Odaenathus, the King of Palmyra, by 258; she was his second wife. She had a stepson, Hairan, a son from Odaenathus’ first marriage. There is an inscription, ‘the illustrious consul our lord’ at Palmyra, dedicated to Odaenathus by Zenobia. Around 266, Zenobia and Odaenathus had a son, his second child, Lucius Julius Aurelius Septimius Vaballathus Athenodorus. Her son Vaballathus (Latin from Aramaic והב אלת, Wahballat “Gift of the Goddess”) inherited the name of Odaenathus’ paternal grandfather.

In 267, Zenobia’s husband and stepson were assassinated. The titled heir, Vaballathus, was only one year old, so his mother succeeded her husband and ruled Palmyra. Zenobia bestowed upon herself and her son the honorific titles of Augusta and Augustus. Zenobia conquered new territories and increased the Palmyrene Empire in the memory of her husband and as a legacy to her son. Her stated goal was to protect the Eastern Roman Empire from the Sassanian Empire for the peace of Rome; however, her efforts significantly increased the power of her own throne.

In 269 Zenobia, her army, and the Palmyrene General Zabdas violently conquered Egypt with help from their Egyptian ally, Timagenes, and his army. The Roman prefect of Egypt, Tenagino Probus and his forces, tried to expel them from Egypt, but Zenobia’s forces captured and beheaded Probus. She then proclaimed herself Queen of Egypt. After these initial forays, Zenobia became known as a “Warrior Queen”. In leading her army, she displayed significant prowess: she was an able horse rider and would walk three or four miles with her foot soldiers.

Zenobia - Queen of Palmyra

Zenobia: Dreamers of the Day Scyldmund