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Ζηνοβία). A celebrated princess, wife of Odenathus, and after his death queen of Palmyra (q.v.). With equal talents for jurisprudence, finance, and government, her agile and elastic frame enabled her to direct and share the toils of war. Disdaining the litter, she was continually on horseback, and could even keep pace on foot with the march of her soldiery. History has preserved some reminiscences of her personal appearance, her dress, and her habits, which represent her as a woman of engaging beauty, gifted with the graces of a court, and accomplished in intellectual endowments. In complexion a brunette, her teeth were of a pearly whiteness, and her eyes black and sparkling; her mien was animated, and her voice clear and powerful. With a helmet on her head, and wearing a purple mantle fringed with gems and clasped with a buckle at the waist, so as to leave one of her arms bare to the shoulder, she presented herself at the council of war; and adopting from policy a regal pomp, she was worshipped with Persian prostration. Pure in her manners to the utmost refinement of delicacy, and temperate in her habits, she would nevertheless challenge in their cups her Persian and Armenian guests, and retire the victor without drunkenness. Chiefly versed in the languages of Syria and Egypt, her diffidence restrained her from conversing freely in Latin; but she had read the Roman history in Greek, was herself an historian, and had compiled the annals of Alexandria and the East. Her authority was acknowledged by a large portion of Asia Minor when the Roman emperor Aurelian succeeded to the throne. Jealous of her power, and determined to dispossess her of some of the rich provinces comprehended in her dominions, he marched at the head of a powerful army to Asia. Having defeated the queen's general near Antioch, he compelled her to retreat to Emesa. Under the walls of this city another engagement was fought, in which the emperor was again victorious. The queen fled to Palmyra, determined to support a siege. Aurelian followed her, and, on making his approaches to the walls, found them mounted in every part with mural engines, which plied the besiegers with stones, darts, and fire-balls. To the summons for a surrender of the city and kingdom, on the condition of her life being spared, Zenobia replied in a proud and spirited letter, written in Greek by her secretary, the celebrated Longinus (q.v.). Her hopes of victory soon vanished; and, though she harassed the Romans night and day by continual sallies from her walls and the working of her military engines, she despaired of success when she heard that the armies which were marching to her relief from Armenia, Persia, and the East had either been intercepted or gained over by the foe. She fled from Palmyra in the night on her dromedaries, but was overtaken by the Roman cavalry while attempting to cross the Euphrates, and was brought into the presence of Aurelian, and tried before a tribunal at Emesa, Aurelian himself presiding. The soldiers were clamorous for her death, but she, in a manner unworthy of her former fame, saved her own life by throwing the blame on her counsellors, especially on Longinus, who was, in consequence, put to death. Zenobia was carried to Rome, to grace the emperor's triumph (A.D. 274), and was led along in chains of gold. She is said to have almost sunk beneath the weight of jewels with which she was adorned on that occasion. She was treated with great humanity, and Aurelian gave her large possessions near Tiber, where she was permitted to pass the remainder of her days. Her two sons afterwards married into distinguished families at Rome. See the life of Aurelian by Vopiscus; and Ware's historical romance, Zenobia (N. Y. 1837).

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