Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Zenobia

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ZENOBIA, a Queen of Palmyra, who succeeded to the throne as regent for her sons on the murder of her husband Odenathus, A. D. 266. Not content, however, with the independence granted by the indolent Emperor Gallienus and his successor, Claudius, she aimed at a dominion which should include Egypt, Syria, and Asia Minor, and make good her vaunted title of Queen of the East. The accession of Aurelian, however, in 270, once more placed a soldier at the head of the Roman empire, and in 273 the armies of Zenobia were defeated in two pitched battles, while Palmyra was taken and its queen made prisoner. According to Zosimus she died on her way to Rome, but according to Trebellius Pollio, whose narrative is much more particular, she was led in triumph through Rome in the train of Aurelian, and was afterward presented by her conqueror with a villa at Tibur, where she passed the remainder of her life with her sons after the manner of a Roman matron. Zenobia was one of the most remarkable women of antiquity. She resembled Cleopatra in her talents and her personal fascination, and she far surpassed her in purity and elevation of character. “She is,” says Gibbon, “perhaps the only female whose superior genius has broken through the servile indolence imposed on her sex by the climate and manners of Asia.”