Queen Zenobia (Crown Her Series)

Crown 2 For wedding of Cecile von Mecklenburg- Schwerin, the last crown prrincess of Prussia, by Faberge

Queen Zenobia was a warrior Queen of Palmyra, Syria and the Palmyrene Empire. She famously challenged the authority of Rome during the latter part of the period of Roman history known as The Crisis Of The Third Century (285- 284 BC). This period, also called The Imperial crisis, was characterized by constant civil war, as different Roman generals fought for control of the empire. The last active Ptolemaic queen of Egypt, Cleopatra VII had died in 30BC. According to written sources, Cleopatra committed suicide by holding a poisonous snake to her breast, so as to avoid being paraded in Rome by a victorious Octavian (known as Augustus after 27BC). Although this has been disputed. This humiliation of being paraded also befell Queen Zenobia three centuries later.

Born around 240 AD in Palmyra and was given the name Julia Aurelia Zenobia, it can be said that she was a Roman citizen. She was educated in Latin and Greek, though she may have had difficulty with them, but was fluent in Egyptian and Aramaic, and claimed ancestry from the legendary Cleopatra and Dido of Carthage. She was married to Septimius Odaenathus by 258 AD. In addition to other virtues that are repeated in the ancient sources, special mention is always made of her chastity. She believed that sex should only be engaged in for the purposes of procreation, and after marriage she refused to sleep with her husband except for that purpose. Her husband who was an influential member of society. He had been honored with titles, he was also retrospectively given the name ‘King of Kings’.

Regardless of his role in Palmyra, he was killed by 267 AD. Odaenthus’ and Hairan, his son from his first wife, were assassinated which some believed was engineered by Zenobia but modern scholars rejected as it was the Emperor Gallinus who was responsible for Odaenathus’ death. Eventually, Vuballathus, her son, became King of Palymyra, whilst Zenobia ruled as regent.

Zenobia added territories and conducted trade agreements for her empire without consulting Rome or even considering Rome’s interests. She surrounded herself at court with philosophers and intellectuals, among them the Platonist Cassius Longinus (213-273 BC) who would later be blamed for encouraging her to break from Rome. In 269, she sent her general Zabdas, to claim the Roman province of Egypt as her own. It is recorded that she would hunt as well as anyone, march on foot with her troops long distances, and could out drink anyone. According to Historian Augusta, Zenobia, the Palymorene Queen was captured and suffered the humiliation of being paraded through the streets of Rome in gold chains and jewelry during the triumph parade by the conquering Romans and Emperor Aurelian.

Queen Aesthetique Apparel

Published by Kim Marie

Writer, photographer

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