Zenobia – Queen of the Palmyrene Empire
Zenobia had married Septimius Odaenathus, the King of Palmyra, by 258; she was his second wife. … Around 266, Zenobia and Odaenathus had a son, his second child, Lucius Julius Aurelius Septimius Vaballathus Athenodorus.
In 267, Zenobia’s husband and stepson were assassinated. The titled heir, Vaballathus, was only one year old, so his mother succeeded her husband and ruled Palmyra. Zenobia bestowed upon herself and her son the honorific titles of Augusta and Augustus. Zenobia conquered new territories and increased the Palmyrene Empire in the memory of her husband and as a legacy to her son. Her stated goal was to protect the Eastern Roman Empire from the Sassanid Empire, for the peace of Rome; however, her efforts significantly increased the power of her own throne.
In 269 Zenobia, her army, and the Palmyrene General Zabdas violently conquered Egypt with help from their Egyptian ally, Timagenes, and his army. The Roman prefect of Egypt, Tenagino Probus and his forces, tried to expel them from Egypt, but Zenobia’s forces captured and beheaded Probus. She then proclaimed herself Queen of Egypt. After these initial forays, Zenobia became known as a “Warrior Queen”. In leading her army, she displayed significant prowess: she was an able horse rider and would walk three or four miles with her foot soldiers.
Zenobia, with her large army, made expeditions and conquered Anatolia as far as Ancyra or Ankara and Chalcedon, followed by Syria, Palestine, and Lebanon. In her short-lived empire, Zenobia took the vital trade routes in these areas from the Romans. Roman Emperor Aurelian, who was at that time campaigning with his forces in the Gallic Empire, probably did recognise the authority of Zenobia and Vaballathus; however, this relationship began to break down when Aurelian began a military campaign to reunite the Roman Empire in 272–273. Aurelian and his forces left the Gallic Empire and arrived in Syria. The forces of Aurelian and Zenobia met and fought near Antioch. After a crushing defeat, the remaining Palmyrenes briefly fled into Antioch and then into Emesa.
Zenobia was unable to remove her treasury at Emesa before Aurelian successfully entered and besieged the city. Zenobia and her son escaped Emesa by camel with help from the Sassanids, but they were captured on the Euphrates River by Aurelian’s horsemen. Zenobia’s short-lived Egyptian kingdom and the Palmyrene Empire had ended.
Description from Wikipedia. Painting by Herbert Gustave Schmalz.
January 24, 41: Caligula is assassinated.
Gaius Julius Caesar Germanicus, nicknamed “Caligula”, succeeded his moody great-uncle Tiberius as Roman Emperor in the year 37 AD. He was, at first, a popular ruler (mostly thanks to the popularity of his father), but Caligula soon proved himself an extravagant spender, in stark contrast to his predecessor, and unstable; contemporary accounts list among the many scandals associated with his name his attempt to appoint his horse to the Senate, his casual torture and execution of those who displeased him, and his supposed incestuous encounters with his sisters. Caligula’s decadence, cruelty, heavy spending, laughable military campaigns, and heavy taxation transformed him from a popular young emperor into a hated tyrant.
During a sporting event, a member of Caligula’s own Praetorian Guard, Cassius Chaerea, led a group of officers to corner the emperor and assassinate him in a premeditated conspiracy that probably directly involved members of the Senate. Cassius attacked first, and he and the assassins stabbed Caligula around thirty times. According to legend (and artistic depictions), the assassins found Caligula’s uncle, Claudius, hiding in a curtain and proclaimed this pliant, infirm, and most unlikely of men Roman emperor. Hours later, Caligula’s wife, Milonia Caesonia, was killed along with their fiery-tempered infant daughter, Julia Drusilla, whose head was dashed against a wall.
After becoming emperor, Claudius sentenced Cassius to death, and he was executed soon after Caligula.
this is king joffrey
Some graffiti found in Pompeii’s ruins:
Weep, you girls. My penis has given you up. Now it penetrates men’s behinds. Goodbye, wondrous femininity!
Restituta, take off your tunic, please, and show us your hairy privates.
I screwed the barmaid.
Apollinaris, the doctor of the emperor Titus, defecated well here.
- I screwed a lot of girls here.
- Sollemnes, you screw well!
- Theophilus, don’t perform oral sex on girls against the city wall like a dog
Famous Mothers from History (and their famous children)
Catherine de’ Medici (13 April 1519 - 5 January 1589) - She was a member of the powerful Italian Medici family and the famous wife of King Henry II of France. Her husband died in 1560, leaving his wife regent during a time of intense religious strife. Catherine was also the mother of three of France’s kings - Francis II, Charles IX, and Henry III, all of whom were rather sickly and weak (both Francis and Charles died before their mother). She held enormous sway over her sons, though Henry less so, and great authority in the government; after she embarked on a diplomatic journey across France (as a sixty-year-old woman), the Venetian ambassador claimed she was “born to tame and govern a people as unruly as the French”.
Empress Dowager Cixi (29 November 1835 - 15 November 1908) - Although her son, the Tongzhi Emperor, was the technical ruler of China, the charismatic but stubborn Cixi effectively controlled the government. When her son died, Cixi put her nephew, the Guanxu Emperor, in power; however, when he began to implement reforms that the conservative Cixi disapproved of, she had him placed under house arrest. His reign technically continued until 1908, but, as always, Empress Dowager Cixi was 垂簾聽政 - taking care of business from behind a curtain.
Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122 - 1 April 1204) - Unlike the previous two historical mothers, this French wife of Henry II of England did not give birth to feeble, pliant sons - her third-eldest (the first to become king) was Richard the Lionheart, and her fifth (the second to become king) was John Lackland (“Prince John”). She did rule as regent, however, as Richard went off crusading. But even before her marriage to Henry, Eleanor was a Duchess in her own right, having inherited the entire Duchy of Aquitaine at age fifteen. She married twice; her first marriage was to Louis VII, King of the Franks, but this was annulled; the second was to Henry, whom she asked to marry her, two months after the annulment of her first marriage. Clearly, she was a woman who got what she wanted. She eventually bore him eight children, and she outlived six of them.
Agrippina the Younger (7 November 15 - 23 March 59) - Agrippina the Younger was the great-granddaughter of Augustus, sister of Caligula, wife (and niece) of Claudius, and the mother of Nero. As Empress consort, she was the most powerful woman in the Empire. When Claudius began to favor his son Britannicus over her own son Nero, however, he died suddenly and suspiciously (ancient sources state that Agrippina poisoned him, but this is unconfirmed). Nero’s accession did very little to further Agrippina’s power, however. Although she tried to take control of her son’s empire, Nero proved less yielding than she had expected and resisted his mother’s ambitious grabs for power. He attempted more than once to have her murdered. The actual circumstances of her death are unclear, though apparently her son viewed her more as a political rival than his mother and did indeed have her executed.
And on that somewhat morbid note, we end. Don’t forget to wish your own mother a happy Mother’s Day!
Ides of March Special: Silver Denarius of Marcus Brutus, Macedonia, 43-42 BCE
This coin was struck in honour of Marcus Junius Brutus, one of the assassins of Julius Caesar. The reverse shows the cap of liberty given to freed slaves flanked by two daggers. This indicates Brutus’ intention of freeing Rome from Caesar’s imperial ambitions and the murder weapons employed to do so. Below is the day of the deed; EID.MAR, the ides of March.
Few coins capture a moment in history with such stark and brutal imagery. Brutus had carried out the attack with some fellow Roman Senators in 44 BC when Caesar had come unarmed to address the Senate on 15 March. This day was known to the Romans as the ides, or the middle day of the month and was recognised on a new calendar system that Caesar himself had established just two years before.
The assassins, or ‘freedom party’ as they regarded themselves, fled Rome to Macedonia to raise an army. However, they were defeated by Caesar’s allies led by Mark Antony and Octavian at the Battle of Philippi (42 BC). Brutus subsequently committed suicide.
The decision to flee east was probably influenced by the richness of the provinces of the eastern Roman Empire - raising an army was a very costly business. Supplies needed to be bought and soldiers needed wages. Amongst the coins the conspirators briefly struck to this end was this, the ‘Ides of March’ denarius.
P. Matyszak, Chronicle of the Roman Republi (London, Thames & Hudson Ltd, 2005)
M.H. Crawford, Roman republican coinage (Cambridge University Press, 1974)
Finally moving on to the unofficial Disney ladies with Megara! So fantastically simple to research, just put her in a simple doric chiton and spent most of my time researching fabric colours and patterns to see what I could get away with. It kinda looks like she killed Hercules and took his helmet? I’m okay with that.