Palmyra and Its Empire: Zenobia's Revolt against Rome

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Overview


In the twilight of the third century C.E., the unity of the Western world was threatened by financial crisis, invasion, and plague. The Syrian city Palmyra had long protected Rome against Persian invasion, but under its queen Zenobia, Palmyra broke away from Roman hegemony. The Roman Empire had never been closer to disintegration, nor had it suffered so much before at the hands of a woman.

This volume is the first comprehensive historical treatment in any language of Roman Syria, the revolt of Zenobia, and the city of Palmyra. Drawing on discoveries in archaeology, the history of the Silk Road, numismatics, and Roman and Persian history, Richard Stoneman has assembled a rich collage of knowledge about this intriguing period. As he tells the story of this major revolt and its leader, the author surveys the history of the spice trade in antiquity, the religious ferment of third- century Syria, early modern travelers to Palmyra, and in particular Zenobia's changing image through the ages.

The lucid text and numerous illustrations will attract all who are intrigued by the third- century Roman Empire and its frontiers, by pre-Islamic Arab culture, by Roman Syria and Palmyra itself, and by the fascinating Queen Zenobia.

". . . an excellent synthesis of current knowledge and a sound introduction to the third cen-tury, especially in the East. . . ."--Journal of Military History

". . . Stoneman provides an excellent and readable introduction to what is known about Palmyra, and particularly the astonishing period in the mid-third century A.D. . . . [He] marshalls recent reinterpretations of the politics of the eastern frontier by both historians and archaeologists, as well as the inspiration of his own visits to Syria, to underline Palmyra's unique commercial position and the ability over the centuries of Roman rule of its ethnically and religiously highly heterogeneous ruling class to exploit the caravan trade from East and South Asia to their economic and political advantage."--Greece & Rome

Richard Stoneman has published numerous books on the ancient world and on travel in the Eastern Mediterranean. He is Senior Editor at Routledge.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
During the third century A.D., the Middle Eastern kingdom of Palmyra, noted for its wealth and diverse culture, instituted a revolt against the power and control of the Roman Empire. Despite its defeat and ultimate destruction by Emperor Aurelian, Palmyra and its legendary Queen Zenobia have maintained a hold on people's interest and imagination. Stoneman, a travel writer and editor in classical studies, attempts to share his fascination for this subject with those to whom the story is new. Unfortunately, his enthusiasm cannot compensate for the lack of focus and cohesion of his presentation. He spews forth a wealth of detail from a multitude of sources including the frequently discredited Historia Augusta. Too often the references receive little in the way of explanation, validation, or analysis. The general reader who is intrigued by Zenobia would be better served by reading the chapter on her in Antonia Fraser's The Warrior Queens ( LJ 3/1/89) . Not recommended.-- Rose Cichy, Osterhout Free Lib., Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780472083152
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Press
  • Publication date: 3/15/1995
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Table of Contents

Abbreviations
Introduction: Approaching Zenobia 1
1 The Syrian Scene 15
2 Of Spices, Silk, and Camels 31
3 Of Temples, Tribes, and Taxes 51
4 Between Persia and Rome 81
5 Zenobia: The Warrior Queen 111
6 Of Philosophers, Oracles, and Bishops 129
7 Revolt in the Desert 155
8 A Villa in Tivoli 181
Appendix: Zenobia in Modern Times 197
Chronology 201
Notes 207
Bibliography 225
Index 239
Plates 247
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