Palmyra Portrait Project lecture

Hostile Friends: Zenobia and the Roman Imperial Court

18.01.2017 | Toa Klitgaard Riismøller

Dato tir 07 feb
Tid 16:00 17:30
Sted Antikmuseet, Victor Albecks Vej 3, bygn. 1414, Aarhus Universitet, 8000 Aarhus C

Palmyra Portrait Project invites you to the first lecture 2017 by Dr. Nathanael J. Andrade, Binghamton University.

Zenobia of Palmyra assumed power in Roman Syria at a tumultuous time. She confronted political tensions and conflicts throughout her reign (268-­‐272). Scholars are in general agreement that Zenobia made serious efforts to reconcile with the Roman imperial court even after she had invaded territory under its control. But the sources for the period are notoriously difficult to interpret, and the logic that Zenobia and her court pursued in its negotiations with the imperial court has not always been transparent. As a consequence, historians have differed regarding several other factors that had an impact on her reign. For example, the identities of those who conspired to kill her husband Odainath are unclear. Why she invaded territory controlled by the imperial court is murky. When exactly she took the titles of Augustus and Augusta for herself and her son has been debated.

With such issues in mind, this lecture communicates one interpretation for how Zenobia and the Roman imperial court maneuvered and interacted from 268 to 272. While exploring the textual, material, and numismatic evidence, it suggests that the Roman imperial court was implacably hostile to Zenobia throughout the duration of her reign, and it sought to displace her from the very start. Its consistent aggression determined many of the bold ventures that we associate with Zenobia’s career, including her invasion of the territory that the imperial court had controlled.


There will be a stand-up reception after each lecture in the foyer. Please be on time, as the doors to the museum will close when the lecture starts. 

The Palmyra Portrait Project is funded by the Carlsberg Foundation and Aarhus University. For further information, please contact Rubina Raja

Forelæsning / foredrag