Zenobia of Palmyra

IULIA AUREIA ZENOBIA, who claimed Cleopatra and Dido of Carthage as ancestors, became queen of Palmyra when her husband Septimius Odaenathus and his son were assassinated in 267. Zenobia’s son Vaballanthus was heir, but just an infant, so she ruled instead. In 269, Zenobia conquered Egypt and became known as the “Warrior Queen.” She conquered part of Asia Minor, as well. In 274 she was defeated by Aurelian near Antioch and rode in his triumphal parade, but was allowed to live the rest of her life in luxury in Rome. She is not to be confused with Zenobia, the wife of Rhadamistus, who lived more than two hundred years earlier in a different region.

Contemporary portrait bust in the Vatican Museum

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