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Empress Zenobia: Palmyra's Rebel Queen Hardcover – 15 Jan 2009


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Hambledon Continuum (15 Jan. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847250343
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847250346
  • Product Dimensions: 17.7 x 2.5 x 24.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 290,772 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"Verdict: Southern's biography is an accessible and vital addition to Roman historical knowledge. Exhaustive research and extensive footnotes make this an excellent aid to undergraduate or graduate research. Recommended for academic libraries. Background: Southern (The Roman Empire from Severus to Constantine; The Roman Army) examines the life and times of Zenobia, who ruled Palmyra as regent to her son, Vaballathus, in the late third century C.E. The author skillfully presents the turbulent world of the late Roman Empire and Zenobia's rise to power. Using historical records and archaeological evidence, Southern portrays Zenobia as less of a rebel or power-hungry ruler than a leader who had the interest of her people and the security of her realm at heart; she also carefully considers other theories and opinions that have arisen over the centuries." - Melinda Gottesman, Library Journal (Xpress Reviews), February 15, 2009

About the Author

Pat Southern is an expert on Classical History and is the author of many authoritative books in this area including The Roman Empire from Severus to Constantine, The Late Roman Army and biographies of Augustus and Domitian (all published by Routledge).

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Arch Stanton TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 3 April 2011
Format: Hardcover
The Empress Zenobia is the most famous woman of antiquity after Cleopatra. She was the queen of Palmyra who attempted to become Empress of Rome as the Empire seemed poised to fall apart. This is probably Pat Southern's greatest book. I have read several of her other ones (Mark Antony, Cleopatra) and I tend to find them to be like reading an encyclopedia. This one is rather more involved than her other ones. Perhaps because there is less written about Zenobia than any of her other subjects she feels it necessary to tell more about the times themselves. This fills her book out and gives it a soul. I think that the biggest problem with her earlier books is that she focuses on the events of the lives rather than the feel of them. Either that or she has just grown as a writer. At any rate this book is well written and presents the period quite well. Zenobia herself is rather a mystery, but there is no further information to be gleamed from the sources. Still, Southern presents a plausible interpretation of her motives that fits with the data. I'd recommend that this book be read in conjunction with a book on Aurelian like Aurelian and the Third Century or Restorer of the World: The Emperor Aurelian. That would give a better understanding of the wider issues.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By sally tarbox TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 26 Sept. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Difficult to review as it depends on your requirements: for the serious student of Ancient Rome, this is a *5 work, meticulously researched and with a large bibliography. However, I would take issue with the cover blurb that calls it a 'lively account' and an 'engaging read'. As a casual reader, I found it quite a struggle to keep my concentration focussed.
Very little is known about Zenobia, and the author has to work with Roman writings (some contradictory, some of dubious veracity) and archaeological finds. Thus much is necessarily supposition, and we can never 'know' Zenobia, or definitively what her motivations were, for taking over large parts of Roman territory in 270 AD.
Nonetheless I've learned a great deal - but was glad to come to the end!
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By JPS TOP 500 REVIEWER on 6 April 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Queen Zenobia is one of the most famous women-rulers of Antiquity, alongside Boadicea (for the British, at least), Queen of the Iceni, and Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt (partly thanks to Hollywood), although there are not that many of them to begin with. Her claim to fame is that, following the assassination of her husband and his eldest son, she took over his kingdom and role as guardian of the Eastern frontier against Persia, ruled for a few years and expanded her kingdom to most of the Roman East, provoking a Roman backlash and the destruction of her regime by Emperor Aurelian, the “Restorer of the World”.

At the outset, I should emphasise that this is a very good book which is well-written and clear. It presents, in addition with what little we know about the historical Queen and the legends that built up about her over the ages, her motives and the events in which she took part.

One of the most interesting parts of this book is the immediate context for these events, her so-called “revolt” and her attempt to proclaim herself “Empress of Rome.” To present this context, which is one of this book’s strongpoints, Patricia Southern has drawn on numerous sources, including archaeology since Palmyra is one of the few relatively well excavated sites in the Middle East sites, which all appear in her rather comprehensive bibliography. In particular, this book owes quite a lot to Richard Stoneman’s older but more biased and more speculative work on “Palmyra and its Empire” (1992), and even more that the author seems prepared to acknowledge.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Stuart Ritchie on 3 July 2009
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed this insight to a Rome problem that would not go away.Superbly written that it can only show what desire and passion one person can cause to a higher nation.
A must read for all the Roman historians.
Really enjoyed this book and highly recommended.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By JANEITE on 14 Jun. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Meticulous researched history by this author. I bought the book as it was recommended reading by Harry Sidebottom. However, in order for the period to really come alive, it is to the Harry Sidebottom books we must turn. Glad to have it in my library.
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