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The Palmyrene Empire
Palmyrene Empire
was a splinter state centered at Palmyra
Palmyra
which broke away from the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
during the Crisis of the Third Century. It encompassed the Roman provinces of Syria
Syria
Palaestina, Arabia Petraea, Egypt and large parts of Asia Minor. Zenobia
Zenobia
ruled the Palmyrene Empire
Palmyrene Empire
as regent for her son Vaballathus, who had become King of Palmyra
Palmyra
in 267. In 270 Zenobia
Zenobia
managed to conquer most of the Roman east in a relatively short period, and tried to maintain relations with Rome. In 271 she claimed the imperial title for herself and for her son and fought a short war with the Roman emperor Aurelian, who conquered Palmyra
Palmyra
and arrested the self-proclaimed Empress. A year later the Palmyrenes rebelled, which led Aurelian
Aurelian
to destroy Palmyra. The Palmyrene Empire
Palmyrene Empire
is hailed in Syria
Syria
and plays an important role as an icon in Syrian nationalism.

Contents

1 Background 2 Establishment 3 Reconquest by Rome

3.1 Aftermath

4 Evaluation and legacy 5 See also 6 Notes 7 References

7.1 Citations 7.2 Bibliography

Background[edit] Main article: Crisis of the Third Century Following the murder of Roman emperor
Roman emperor
Alexander Severus
Alexander Severus
in 235,[2] general after general squabbled over control of the empire,[3] the frontiers were neglected and subjected to frequent raids by Carpians, Goths
Goths
and Alamanni,[4][5] in addition to outright attacks from the aggressive Sassanids in the east.[6] Finally, Shapur I
Shapur I
of Persia inflicted a disastrous defeat upon the Romans at the Battle of Edessa in 260,[7] capturing the Roman emperor
Roman emperor
Valerian and soon, Quietus
Quietus
and Macrianus rebelled against Valerian's son Gallienus
Gallienus
and usurped the imperial power in Syria.[8] The Palmyrene leader Odaenathus
Odaenathus
was declared king,[9] and remained nominally loyal to Gallienus, forming an army of Palmyrenes and Syrian peasants to attack Shapur.[note 1][7] In 260, Odaenathus
Odaenathus
won a decisive victory over Shapur in a battle near the Euphrates.[8] Next, Odaenathus
Odaenathus
defeated the usurpers in 261,[8] and spent the remainder of his reign fighting the Persians.[11][12][13] Odaenathus
Odaenathus
received the title Governor of the East,[8] and ruled Syria
Syria
as the imperial representative,[14] and declared himself King of Kings.[note 2][17] Odaenathus
Odaenathus
was assassinated along with his son Hairan
Hairan
in 267,[8] and according to the Augustan History
Augustan History
and Joannes Zonaras, Odaenathus
Odaenathus
was killed by his cousin whose name in the Augustan History
Augustan History
is Maeonius.[18] The Augustan History
Augustan History
also claim that Maeonius
Maeonius
was proclaimed emperor for a very brief period, before being executed by the soldiers.[18][19][20] No inscriptions or other evidence exist for Maeonius' reign, and he was probably killed immediately after assassinating Odaenathus.[21][22] Odaenathus
Odaenathus
was succeeded by his minor son with Zenobia, the ten-year-old Vaballathus.[23] Under the regency of Zenobia,[23][24] Vaballathus
Vaballathus
was kept in the shadow while his mother assumed actual rule and consolidated her power.[23] The queen was careful not to provoke Rome and took for herself and her son the titles that her husband had, while working on guaranteeing the safety of the borders with Persia, and pacifying the dangerous Tanukhids tribes in Hauran.[23] Establishment[edit]

Vaballathus
Vaballathus
(right) as king on the obverse of an Antoninianus. To the left, Aurelian
Aurelian
as Augustus on the reverse.

Aided by her generals, Septimius Zabbai, a general of the army, and Septimius Zabdas, the chief general of the army,[25] Zenobia
Zenobia
started an expedition against the Tanukhids in the spring of 270, during the reign of emperor Claudius II.[26] Zabdas sacked Bosra, killed the Roman governor and marched south securing Roman Arabia.[26][27] According to the Persian geographer Ibn Khordadbeh, Zenobia
Zenobia
herself attacked Dumat Al-Jandal
Dumat Al-Jandal
but could not conquer its castle.[28] However, Ibn Khordadbeh is confusing Zenobia
Zenobia
with al-Zabbā, a semi-legendary Arab queen whose story is often confused with Zenobia's story.[29][30][31][32] In October of 270,[33] a Palmyrene army of 70,000 invaded Egypt,[34][35] and declared Zenobia
Zenobia
queen of Egypt.[36] The Roman general Tenagino Probus
Tenagino Probus
was able to regain Alexandria
Alexandria
in November, but was defeated and escaped to the fortress of Babylon, where he was besieged and killed by Zabdas, who continued his march south and secured Egypt.[37] Afterward, in 271, Zabbai started the operations in Asia Minor, and was joined by Zabdas in the spring of that year.[38] The Palmyrenes subdued Galatia,[38] and occupied Ankara, marking the greatest extent of the Palmyrene expansion.[39] However, the attempts to conquer Chalcedon
Chalcedon
were unsuccessful.[38] The Palmyrene conquests were done under the protective show of subordination to Rome,[40] Zenobia
Zenobia
issued the coinage in the name of Claudius' successor Aurelian
Aurelian
with Vaballathus
Vaballathus
depicted as king,[note 3] while the emperor allowed the Palmyrene coinage and conferred the Palmyrene royal titles.[41] However, toward the end of 271, Vaballathus
Vaballathus
took the title of Augustus (emperor) along with his mother.[40] Reconquest by Rome[edit]

Vaballathus
Vaballathus
as Augustus, on the obverse of an Antoninianus.

Zenobia
Zenobia
as Augusta, on the obverse of an Antoninianus.

Aurelian- Zenobia
Zenobia
war.

In 272, Aurelian
Aurelian
crossed the Bosphorus
Bosphorus
and advanced quickly through Anatolia.[42] According to one account, Marcus Aurelius Probus regained Egypt from Palmyra,[note 4][43] while the emperor continued his march and reached Tyana.[44] The fall of Tyana
Tyana
lent itself to a legend; Aurelian
Aurelian
to that point had destroyed every city that resisted him, but he spared Tyana
Tyana
after having a vision of the great philosopher Apollonius of Tyana, whom he respected greatly, in a dream.[45] Apollonius implored him, stating: "Aurelian, if you desire to rule, abstain from the blood of the innocent! Aurelian, if you will conquer, be merciful!".[46] Whatever the reason for his clemency, Aurelian
Aurelian
sparing of Tyana
Tyana
paid off, many more cities submitted to him upon seeing that the emperor would not exact revenge upon them.[45] Entering Issus and heading to Antioch, Aurelian
Aurelian
defeated Zenobia
Zenobia
in the Battle of Immae.[47] Zenobia
Zenobia
retreated to Antioch
Antioch
then fled to Emesa
Emesa
while Aurelian
Aurelian
advanced and took the former.[48] After regrouping, the Romans first destroyed a Palmyrene garrison stationed at the fort of Daphne,[note 5][50] and headed south to Apamea,[51] then continued to Emesa
Emesa
and defeated Zenobia
Zenobia
again at the Battle of Emesa, forcing her to evacuate to the capital.[52] Aurelian
Aurelian
marched through the desert and was harassed by Bedouins loyal to Palmyra, but as soon as he arrived at the city gates, he negotiated with the Bedouins, who betrayed Palmyra
Palmyra
and supplied the Roman army with water and food.[53] Aurelian
Aurelian
besieged Palmyra
Palmyra
in the summer of 272,[54] and tried to negotiate with Zenobia, on the condition that she surrender herself in person to him, to which she answered with refusal.[39] The Romans tried to breach the city defenses several times but were repelled,[55] however, as the situation deteriorated, Zenobia
Zenobia
left the city and headed east to ask the Persians for help.[56] The Romans followed the empress, arrested her near the Euphrates
Euphrates
and brought her back to the emperor. Soon after, the Palmyrene citizens asked for peace,[56] and the city capitulated.[54][57] Aftermath[edit]

Aurelian, personification of Sol, defeats the Palmyrene Empire, and celebrates ORIENS AVG, the Augustus Rising Sun.

Aurelian
Aurelian
spared the city and stationed a garrison of 600 archers led by a certain Sandarion, as a peacekeeping force.[58] The defenses were destroyed and most of the military equipments were confiscated.[59] Zenobia
Zenobia
and her council were taken to Emesa
Emesa
and put on trial. Most of the high ranking Palmyrene officials were executed,[60] while Zenobia's and Vaballathus's fates are uncertain.[61] In 273, Palmyra
Palmyra
rebelled under the leadership of a citizen named Septimius Apsaios,[62] and contacted the Roman prefect of Mesopotamia Marcellinus offering him to usurp the imperial power.[62] Marcellinus delayed the negotiations and sent word to the Roman emperor,[62] while the rebels lost their patience and declared a relative of Zenobia named Antiochus as Augustus.[63] Aurelian
Aurelian
marched against Palmyra
Palmyra
and was helped by a Palmyrene faction from inside the city, headed by a man with a senatorial rank named Septimius Haddudan.[64][65] Aurelian
Aurelian
spared Antiochus,[65] but razed Palmyra
Palmyra
to the ground.[66] The most valuable monuments were taken by the emperor to decorate his Temple of Sol,[57] while buildings were smashed, people were clubbed and cudgeled and Palmyra's holiest temple pillaged.[57] Evaluation and legacy[edit] The ultimate motive behind the revolt is debated; when dealing with the rise of Palmyra
Palmyra
and the rebellion of Zenobia, historians most often interpreted the ascendancy as an indication of a cultural, ethnic or social factors.[67] Andreas Alföldi viewed the rebellion as a completely native ethnic opposition against Rome.[67] Irfan Shahîd considered Zenobia's revolt a pan-Arab movement that was a forerunner of the Arab expansion of the Caliphates;[67] an opinion shared by Franz Altheim,[67] and an almost universal view amongst Arab and Syrian scholars such as Philip Khuri Hitti.[68][69] Mark Whittow disagreed that the revolt was ethnic in its nature and emphasized that it was a reaction to the weakness of Rome and its inability to protect Palmyra
Palmyra
from the Persians.[70] Warwick Ball viewed the rebellion as aimed at Rome's throne, not just Palmyrene independence.[71] Vaballathus' inscriptions indicated the style of a Roman emperor; according to Ball, Zenobia
Zenobia
and Vaballathus
Vaballathus
were contenders for the Roman imperial throne, following a plan similar to that of Vespasian, who ascended the throne after building his power-base in Syria.[71][70] Andrew M. Smith II considered the revolt as a bid for both independence and the Roman throne.[72] The Palmyrene royalty used Eastern titles such as king of kings, which had no relevance in Roman politics, while the conquests were in the interest of Palmyrene commerce.[72] Finally, it was only in the last regnal year of Zenobia and Vaballathus
Vaballathus
that the Roman imperial rank was claimed.[72] Fergus Millar, although tending toward the view that it wasn't only an independence movement, believes there is not yet enough evidence to conclude the nature of Palmyra's revolt.[73] The revolt of Palmyra
Palmyra
is used as a theme in Syrian nationalism
Syrian nationalism
and Palmyra
Palmyra
is viewed as exclusively Syrian,[74] and treated as a fighting city that threw off the imperial dominance and relieved the people from tyranny.[75] A Syrian TV show was produced based on Zenobia's life, and she was the subject of a biography written by Syria's former minister of defense Mustafa Tlass.[75] See also[edit]

Gallic Empire

Notes[edit]

^ No evidence exist for Roman units serving in the ranks of Odaenathus; whether Roman soldiers fought under Odaenathus
Odaenathus
or not is a matter of speculation.[10] ^ The first decisive evidence for the use of this title for Odaenathus is an inscription dated to 271, posthumously describing Odaenathus
Odaenathus
as king of kings.[7][15] Odaenathus' son Hairan
Hairan
I, is directly attested as "King of Kings" during his lifetime. Hairan
Hairan
I was proclaimed by his father as co-ruler and was assassinated during the same assassination incident that took the life of Odaenathus; it is unlikely that Odaenathus
Odaenathus
was simply a king while his son held the King of Kings title.[16] ^ Claudius died in August 270, shortly before Zenobia's invasion of Egypt.[33] ^ All other accounts indicate that a military action was not necessary, as it seems that Zenobia
Zenobia
withdrawn her forces in order to defend Syria.[43] ^ Daphne was a garden located six miles south of Antioch.[49]

References[edit] Citations[edit]

^ a b Trevor Bryce (2014). Ancient Syria: A Three Thousand Year History. p. 280.  ^ Averil Cameron (1993). The Later Roman Empire, AD 284-430. p. 3.  ^ Averil Cameron (1993). The Later Roman Empire, AD 284-430. p. 4.  ^ Yann Le Bohec (2013). Imperial Roman Army. p. 196.  ^ Patrick J. Geary (2003). The Myth of Nations: The Medieval Origins of Europe. p. 81.  ^ Nic Fields (2008). The Walls of Rome. p. 12.  ^ a b c Andrew M. Smith II (2013). Roman Palmyra: Identity, Community, and State Formation. p. 177.  ^ a b c d e David L. Vagi (2000). Coinage and History of the Roman Empire, C. 82 B.C.--A.D. 480: History. p. 398.  ^ Beate Dignas; Engelbert Winter (2007). Rome and Persia in Late Antiquity: Neighbours and Rivals. p. 159.  ^ Pat Southern (17 November 2008). Empress Zenobia: Palmyra's Rebel Queen. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 60. ISBN 978-1-4411-7351-5.  ^ Edward Gibbon (2004). The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. p. 501.  ^ Clifford Ando (2012). Imperial Rome AD 193 to 284: The Critical Century. p. 237.  ^ Lukas De Blois (1976). The Policy of the Emperor Gallienus. p. 3.  ^ Nathanael J. Andrade (2013). Syrian Identity in the Greco-Roman World. p. 333.  ^ Richard Stoneman (1994). Palmyra
Palmyra
and Its Empire: Zenobia's Revolt Against Rome. p. 78.  ^ Pat Southern (2008). Empress Zenobia: Palmyra's Rebel Queen. p. 72.  ^ Maurice Sartre (2005). The Middle East Under Rome. p. 354.  ^ a b Pat Southern (2008). Empress Zenobia: Palmyra
Palmyra
s Rebel Queen. p. 78.  ^ Trevor Bryce (2014). Ancient Syria: A Three Thousand Year History. p. 292.  ^ Richard Stoneman (1994). Palmyra
Palmyra
and Its Empire: Zenobia's Revolt Against Rome. p. 108.  ^ Edward Gibbon; Thomas Bowdler (1826). History of the decline and fall of the Roman empire for the use of families and young persons: reprinted from the original text, with the careful omission of all passagers of an irreligious tendency, Volume 1. p. 321.  ^ George C. Brauer (1975). The Age of the Soldier Emperors: Imperial Rome, A.D. 244-284. p. 163.  ^ a b c d Trevor Bryce (2014). Ancient Syria: A Three Thousand Year History. p. 299.  ^ Richard Stoneman (1994). Palmyra
Palmyra
and Its Empire: Zenobia's Revolt Against Rome. p. 114.  ^ Andrew M. Smith II (2013). Roman Palmyra: Identity, Community, and State Formation. p. 48.  ^ a b Trevor Bryce (2004). Ancient Syria: A Three Thousand Year History. p. 302.  ^ Alaric Watson (2004). Aurelian
Aurelian
and the Third Century. p. 61.  ^ Khaleel Ibrahim Muaikel (1994). Dirasah li-āthār Mintaqat al-Jawf. p. 43.  ^ Fergus Millar (1993). The Roman Near East, 31 B.C.-A.D. 337. p. 433.  ^ Roxani Eleni Margariti; Adam Sabra; Petra Sijpesteijn (2010). Histories of the Middle East: Studies in Middle Eastern Society, Economy and Law in Honor of A.L. Udovitch. p. 148.  ^ Mohammad Rihan (2014). The Politics and Culture of an Umayyad Tribe: Conflict and Factionalism in the Early Islamic Period. p. 28.  ^ Trevor Bryce (2014). Ancient Syria: A Three Thousand Year History. p. 296.  ^ a b Alaric Watson (2014). Aurelian
Aurelian
and the Third Century. p. 62.  ^ Pat Southern (2008). Empress Zenobia: Palmyra's Rebel Queen. p. 133.  ^ Trevor Bryce (2014). Ancient Syria: A Three Thousand Year History. p. 303.  ^ Trevor Bryce (2014). Ancient Syria: A Three Thousand Year History. p. 304.  ^ Alaric Watson (2014). Aurelian
Aurelian
and the Third Century. p. 63.  ^ a b c Alaric Watson (2014). Aurelian
Aurelian
and the Third Century. p. 64.  ^ a b Warwick Ball (2002). Rome in the East: The Transformation of an Empire. p. 80.  ^ a b Andrew M. Smith II (2013). Roman Palmyra: Identity, Community, and State Formation. p. 179.  ^ David L. Vagi (2000). Coinage and History of the Roman Empire, C. 82 B.C.--A.D. 480: History. p. 365.  ^ Trevor Bryce (2014). Ancient Syria: A Three Thousand Year History. p. 307.  ^ a b Trevor Bryce (2014). Ancient Syria: A Three Thousand Year History. p. 308.  ^ Alaric Watson (2004). Aurelian
Aurelian
and the Third Century. p. 71.  ^ a b Alaric Watson (2004). Aurelian
Aurelian
and the Third Century. p. 72.  ^ Richard Stoneman (1994). Palmyra
Palmyra
and Its Empire: Zenobia's Revolt Against Rome. p. 167.  ^ Trevor Bryce (2014). Ancient Syria: A Three Thousand Year History. p. 309.  ^ Alaric Watson (2004). Aurelian
Aurelian
and the Third Century. p. 74.  ^ John Carne; William Purser (1836). Syria, the Holy Land, Asia Minor, &c. illustrated: In a series of views drawn from nature. p. 31.  ^ Pat Southern (2008). Empress Zenobia: Palmyra's Rebel Queen. p. 138.  ^ Alaric Watson (2004). Aurelian
Aurelian
and the Third Century. p. 75.  ^ Trevor Bryce (2014). Ancient Syria: A Three Thousand Year History. p. 310.  ^ Alaric Watson (2004). Aurelian
Aurelian
and the Third Century. p. 76.  ^ a b Alan Bowman; Peter Garnsey; Averil Cameron (2005). The Cambridge Ancient History: Volume 12, The Crisis of Empire, AD 193-337. p. 52.  ^ Richard Stoneman (1994). Palmyra
Palmyra
and Its Empire: Zenobia's Revolt Against Rome. p. 175.  ^ a b Alaric Watson (2004). Aurelian
Aurelian
and the Third Century. p. 77.  ^ a b c Warwick Ball (2002). Rome in the East: The Transformation of an Empire. p. 81.  ^ Trevor Bryce (2014). Ancient Syria: A Three Thousand Year History. p. 313.  ^ Alaric Watson (2014). Aurelian
Aurelian
and the Third Century. p. 78.  ^ William Ware (1846). Zenobia, Or, The Fall of Palmyra: A Historical Romance in Letters from L. Manlius Piso from Palmyra, to His Friend Marcus Curtius at Rome. p. 242.  ^ Warwick Ball (2002). Rome in the East: The Transformation of an Empire. p. 81.  ^ a b c Andrew M. Smith II (2013). Roman Palmyra: Identity, Community, and State Formation. p. 180.  ^ Andrew M. Smith II (2013). Roman Palmyra: Identity, Community, and State Formation. p. 181.  ^ Kevin Butcher (2003). Roman Syria
Syria
and the Near East. p. 60.  ^ a b Alaric Watson (2004). Aurelian
Aurelian
and the Third Century. p. 81.  ^ Alan Bowman; Peter Garnsey; Averil Cameron (2005). The Cambridge Ancient History: Volume 12, The Crisis of Empire, AD 193-337. p. 515.  ^ a b c d Nakamura 1993, p. 133. ^ Hitti 2002, p. 73. ^ Zahrān 2003, p. 36. ^ a b Whittow 2010, p. 154. ^ a b Ball 2002, p. 82. ^ a b c Smith II 2013, p. 180. ^ Millar 1993, p. 334. ^ John Manley (2013). The Romans: All That Matters. p. 15.  ^ a b Christian Sahner (2014). Among the Ruins: Syria
Syria
Past and Present. p. 153. 

Bibliography[edit]

Nakamura, Byron (1993). " Palmyra
Palmyra
and the Roman East". Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies. Duke University, Department of Classical Studies. 34. ISSN 0017-3916.  Hitti, Philip K. (2002) [1937]. History of The Arabs (10 ed.). Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-1-137-13032-7.  Zahrān, Yāsamīn (2003). Zenobia
Zenobia
between reality and legend. BAR (British Archaeological Reports) International Series. 1169. Archaeopress. ISBN 978-1-84171-537-7.  Whittow, Mark (2010). "The late Roman/early Byzantine Near East". In Robinson, Chase F. The formation of the Islamic World. Sixth to Eleventh Centuries. The New Cambridge History of Islam. 1. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1-316-18430-1.  Ball, Warwick (2002). Rome in the East: The Transformation of an Empire. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-134-82387-1.  Smith II, Andrew M. (2013). Roman Palmyra: Identity, Community, and State Formation. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-986110-1.  Millar, Fergus (1993). The Roman Near East, 31 B.C.-A.D. 337. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-77886-3. 

Coordinates: 34°33′36″N 38°16′2″E / 34.56000°N 38.26722°E / 34.56000; 38.26722

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