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Southern P. Empress Zenobia. Palmyra’s Rebel Queen

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Southern P. Empress Zenobia. Palmyra’s Rebel Queen
London ‒ New York: Continuum, 2008. – 225 p.
ISBN 978-1-84725-034-6
The ancient sources for the life and times of Zenobia are sparse, and the surviving literary works are biased towards the Roman point of view, much as are the sources for two other famous women who challenged Rome, Cleopatra and Boudica. In Empress Zenobia, Pat Southern seeks to tell the other side of the legendary 3rd century queenʼs place in history.
As queen of Palmyra (present-day Syria), Zenobia was acknowledged in her lifetime as beautiful and clever, gathering round her at the Palmyrene court writers and poets, artists and philosophers. It was said that Zenobia claimed descent from Cleopatra, which cannot be true but is indicative of how she saw herself and how she intended to be seen by others at home and abroad. This lively narrative explores the legendary queen and charts the progression of her unequivocal declaration, not only of independence from Rome, but of supremacy. Initially, Zenobia acknowledged the suzerainty of the Roman Emperors, but finally began to call herself Augusta and her son Vaballathus Augustus. There could be no clearer challenge to the authority of Rome in the east, drawing the Emperor Aurelian to the final battles and the submission of Palmyra in AD 272.
Zenobiaʼs story has inspired many melodramatic fictions but few factual volumes of any authority have been published. Pat Southernʼs book is a lively account that is both up to date and authoritative, as well as thoroughly engaging.
Preface and Acknowledgements
Zenobia in History and Legend
The Historical Zenobia
The Family of Zenobia
The Status and Family of Odenathus
The Children of Zenobia and Odenathus
The Legend of Zenobia
Travellers to Palmyra
Zenobia in Literature and Art
Palmyra and Rome
Annexation by Rome
The Palmyrene Militia
Organization of Palmyrene Trade

The Caravans and their Leaders
Luxury Goods
Trade Routes
Palmyra, Rome and Parthia
The Rise of Septimius Severus
Changes in the Palmyrene Militia
The Late Severan Dynasty and the Rise of the Persians
The Roman Response
The Decline of Palmyrene Trade
Odenathus, Chief of the Palmyrenes

Shapur I, King of Kings
The Emperor Valerian and Odenathus
Septimius Odenathus: Restorer of the East
Macrianus and His Sons Seize Power
Odenathus, Restorer of the East

Literary Sources
Dux Romanorum
Corrector totius orientis?
The Campaign against the Persians
King of Kings
The Last Years of Odenathus
Zenobia Widowed
The Representation of Vaballathus as Ruler
Gaining the Support of the Eastern Kingdoms and Provinces
Relations with Rome
Protection of the Eastern Frontier
Queen and Regent
Queen and Court
Septimia Zenobia Augusta
Economic and Defence Motives in Palmyrene Expansion
The Roman World in 269–70
Asia Minor
Zenobia’s Rule of the East
Aurelian and the Roman Recovery
The Roman Recovery of Egypt
Aurelian’s March to Syria

The Battle of Immae
The Defeat of the Palmyrene Garrison at Daphne
The Battle of Emesa
The So-called Siege of Palmyra
The Rebellion of the Palmyrenes
The Revolt of Firmus in Egypt
The Fate of Zenobia
Zenobia: Rebel and Usurper, or Heroine and Patriot?
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