His reign was short. He was young, about 25 years old and extremely cultivated. Some historians claim that his father was a Roman governor. The truth is that he spoke multiple languages. And what nobody doubts is their bravery. It’s about Zenobia, the descendant of Cleopatra, who opposed Rome.
The Roman Empire reached its greatest expansion in the 2nd century. It covered large parts of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. One of the most important places in this huge empire was the city of Palmyra in the province of Syria. It was strategically located halfway between the Mediterranean in the west and the Euphrates in the east. It became one of the richest cities. In 268 he decided to rise and establish his own empire. This liberating and conquering achievement was led by a woman: Zenobia, Queen Regent of Palmyra.
He managed to conquer Syria, Egypt, Anatolia (or Asia Minor), Palestine and Lebanon. In 270 Zenobia, she was even named Queen of Egypt. He even minted Egyptian coins with his picture.
How it started
The prince of Palmyra was Septimius Odenato, husband of Zenobia. He was the one who thought of dominating the east. After his death, Zenobia continued his plans. Not only did he strive for independence, he decided to challenge the Roman Empire.
With great military cunning, he not only managed to keep the Persians at bay. Conquer land that belonged to the Roman Empire. He took advantage of the severe crisis in which the new Roman Emperor Claudius II was Gothic. He had to face the triple threat posed by the Goths, the Gauls and the Germanic tribe of the Alamans.
After Rome was occupied, Zenobia invaded Egypt in 269 and declared herself queen. So he managed to expand the borders of his empire from the Euphrates to the Nile.
Under the command of her powerful army, the “warrior queen”, as she became known, continued to conquer Roman cities. But the arrival of Aureliano, who succeeded Claudius as emperor in 270, restrained the ambitions of the Palmira empire. He recaptured Egypt and decided to restore Rome’s power in the east.
One by one, he recovered the areas he had lost through Zenobia. The empress had to withdraw her armed forces and fled to Palmira. But Aureliano was on his search.
He managed to subdue it by a crafty plan: he stood in front of the walls of the big city, besieged it, and stopped access to supplies.
Zenobia and her son attempted to flee to Persia in 272, but were captured and taken to Rome. The emperor organized a triumphal march in which he demonstrated his humiliated prisoners. There are different versions of what happened next. The most popular report Aureliano gave her, which enabled her to live a luxurious life in Tibur (today’s Tívoli) as an exile.
Queen Zenobia’s most tangible legacy was the splendor of her city. It is still considered one of the jewels of antiquity. During his short reign, he embellished the city, which is known for its beautiful temples, public buildings, monuments and gardens.
The beauty and cultural importance of Palmyra has been preserved throughout history. In 1980 Palmira was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Many of Palmyra’s most valuable treasures were brought to Rome.
Palmyra even suffered in modern times: in 2015 it was destroyed by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS), which took over the city during the bloody Syrian civil war. EI members have blown up many of his archaeological monuments and jewels and viewed them as symbols of idolatry.
What is never erased is the memory of Zenobia. The descendant of Cleopatra who opposed Rome