Zenobia

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For the genus of plants named after Zenobia, see Zenobia (plant)
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Denarius-Zenobia-s3290.jpg
Zenobia coin reporting her title, Augusta.

Zenobia (or Xenobia) is the name commonly used for the daughter of (= "bat" or "bath") Zabaai ben Selim. The widow of Septimius Odenathus, she reigned as Queen of Palmyra from 267 to 272 as regent for her infant son Vabalathus. Something of a militant, she embarked on a campaign of conquests that eventually saw her as the ruler of much of Syria and Asia Minor. By playing off Persia to the east against Rome to the west, she hoped to dominate them both.

In 269, she crushed an Egyptian who challenged Roman rule and proclaimed herself Queen of Egypt. She claimed to be descended from Cleopatra VII of Egypt and Mark Antony (and many modern historians believe she was), as well as Dido (the supposed founding queen of Carthage, according to the Aeneid) and declared herself the political heiress of both.

The Roman emperor Aurelian led a military campaign that resulted in the conquest of her kingdom in 272. Zenobia was captured and paraded wearing gold chains in Aurelian's Triumph (274). She was granted a villa in Tibur (now Tivoli, Italy), where she spent the rest of her life as a philosopher and socialite. Some historians (ancient and modern) believe she married a Roman senator and that they had children, so the line continued at least into the 4th century.

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