Queen Zenobia

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Queen Zenobia, a famous military leader of the ancient world. Born in around 240 AD, Zenobia was Empress of the Palmyrene Empire in the Middle East. A highly educated, intelligent and militarily accomplished leader, she claimed descent from Dido and Cleopatra and spoke many languages, including Egyptian. Zenobia led a rebellion against the Roman Empire and conquered Egypt before being finally defeated by the Emperor Aurelian. Her story captured the imagination of many Renaissance writers, and has become the subject of numerous operas, poems and plays.

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  • Edith Hall 19 episodes
    Professor of Classics at King's College, London
  • Kate Cooper 3 episodes
    Professor of Ancient History at the University of Manchester
  • Richard Stoneman No other episodes
    Honorary Visiting Professor in the Department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Exeter

Reading list

  • Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
    Edward Gibbon (various publishers ) Google Books →
  • Rome's Enemies 5: The Desert Frontier
    David Nicolle and Angus McBride (Osprey Publishing, 1991) Google Books →
  • Roman Palmyra: Identity, Community and State Formation
    Andrew M. Smith II (Oxford University Press, 2013) Google Books →
  • Empress Zenobia: Palmyra's Rebel Queen
    Pat Southern (Continuum, 2009) Google Books →
  • Palmyra and its Empire: Zenobia's Revolt against Rome
    Richard Stoneman (University of Michigan Press, 1995) Google Books →
  • Scriptores Historiae Augustae vol. III
    Loeb Classical Library (Loeb Classical Library, 1989)

Related episodes

Programme ID: b01snjpp

Episode page: bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01snjpp

Auto-category: 937 (Ancient Rome)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. In his history of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon wrote, Modern Europe has produced several illustrious women who have sustained with glory the weight of empire, but Zenobia is perhaps the only female whose superior genius broke through the servile indolence imposed on her sex by the climate and manners of Asia.