Zenobia: Shooting Star of Palmyra

ISBN : 9780190638818

Nathanael J. Andrade
304 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Dec 2018
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Hailing from the Syrian city of Palmyra, a woman named Zenobia (also Bathzabbai) governed territory in the eastern Roman empire from 268 to 272. She thus became the most famous Palmyrene who ever lived. But sources for her life and career are scarce. This book situates Zenobia in the social, economic, cultural, and material context of her Palmyra. By doing so, it aims to shed greater light on the experiences of Zenobia and Palmyrene women like her at various stages of their lives. Not limiting itself to the political aspects of her governance, it contemplates what inscriptions and material culture at Palmyra enable us to know about women and the practice of gender there, and thus the world that Zenobia navigated. It reflects on her clothes, house, hygiene, property owning, gestures, religious practices, funerary practices, education, languages, social identities, marriage, and experiences motherhood, along with her meteoric rise to prominence and civil war. It also ponders Zenobia's legacy in light of the contemporary human tragedy in Syria.


Chapter 1: Zenobia's Likenesses
Part I: Palmyra, Zenobia's City
Chapter 2: Urban Landscape
Chapter 3: Social Landscape
Part II: Embryonic Star
Chapter 4: Social World
Chapter 5: Coming of Age
Part III: Rising Star
Chapter 6: Marital Household
Chapter 7: Widowhood
Part IV: Shooting Star
Chapter 8: Dynasty
Chapter 9: Civil War
Epilogue: Fallen Star
Chapter 10: Legacy and Likenesses
Appendix 1: Palmyrene Monuments Mentioned
Appendix 2: Brief and Simple Guide to Palmyrenean Aramaic
Appendix 3: Inscriptions for Odainath's Household

About the author: 

Nathanael Andrade received his PhD in Greek and Roman history from the University of Michigan and has published extensively on the Roman and later Roman Near East along with other topics. He is the author of Syrian Identity in the Greco-Roman World (Cambridge University Press, 2013) and The Journey of Christianity to India in Late Antiquity: Networks and the Movement of Culture (Cambridge University Press, at press). He is now an associate professor in the Department of History at Binghamton University.

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