Who Was Zenobia?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 13 October 2019
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Zenobia was a Syrian warrior queen who conquered Egypt during the third century. After eventually being captured and taken to Rome, Zenobia became a prominent figure in Roman society, and today she is a famous figure in Roman history. Her face can be seen on some Roman coins from the third century, and she also appears in several statues kept in various museums which collect Roman artifacts.

The exact date of Zenobia's birth is not known, but it is presumed to be around 240 CE. As a young woman, she married the king of the Palmyrene Empire in modern-day Syria, and when he died, she became the Queen. As Queen of Palmyra, Zenobia launched a number of offensives against neighboring nations, capturing Egypt in 269 and expelling the Roman authorities there. She ruled in Egypt until 274, when she was captured by the emperor Aurelian and brought back to Rome.

Zenobia was paraded in gold chains in Rome as part of Aurelian's victory parade, but apparently the emperor took pity on her, because he ended up releasing her, rather than executing or imprisoning her. She was given a mansion in Tibur, where she became a prominent philosopher and Roman socialite. She also apparently had several children, and several families in Italy today claim to trace their lineage to Zenobia.


Little is known about Zenobia's life in Rome, although records do indicate that she married a Senator and had several children who ended up marrying into other prominent Roman families. Today, Zenobia is revered as a distinguished and dignified woman who has numerous accomplishments to her name.

This warrior queen was one of many who resisted Roman rule during the heyday of the Roman Empire, and she obviously inspired others in Africa and other Roman possessions to stand against Roman rule. The fact that she ended up becoming a well respected and beloved member of Roman society is perhaps a bit ironic, given her original role as a firebrand who inspired her people and led an army into Egypt.


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Post 2

Wait till the Moors come and this argument seems small in comparison.

Post 1

Queen Zenobia was from the continent Africa, and when she was captured and brought to Rome and lived there for many years, and apparently had a family. Then aren't there families over in Rome with African bloodlines in it!

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