|The Story of the Romans|
|by Helene A. Guerber|
| Elementary history of Rome, presenting short stories of the great heroes, mythical and historical, from Aeneas and the founding of Rome to the fall of the western empire. Around the famous characters of Rome are graphically grouped the great events with which their names will forever stand connected. Vivid descriptions bring to life the events narrated, making history attractive to the young, and awakening their enthusiasm for further reading and study. Ages 10-14 |
ZENOBIA, QUEEN OF PALMYRA
GALLIENUS became sole ruler after Valerian's defeat;
but he made no attempt to rescue or avenge his father,
and thought of nothing but his pleasures. He was soon
roused, however, by the news that the Franks had
crossed the Rhine, and had settled in Gaul, which from
them received its present name of France. Soon after,
Gallienus heard that the Goths, sailing down the
Danube, had come to the Black Sea, and were robbing all
the cities on its coasts.
As Gallienus made no attempt to defend his people
against the barbarians, the provinces fell into the
hands of men who governed them without consulting the
emperor at Rome. These men called themselves emperors,
but they are known in history as the "Thirty Tyrants."
One of them was Odenathus, Prince of Palmyra, in Syria, and he became very powerful indeed.
Another of these generals who had taken the title of
emperor was intrenched in Milan. The real emperor,
who was not a coward, fought bravely to capture this
city; but he was killed here, and was succeeded by
Claudius II., one of his generals.
The new Roman emperor was both brave and good. He
 began his reign by defeating the Goths, but before he
could do much more for the good of his people, he fell
ill and died, leaving the throne to Aurelian.
In the mean while, the kingdom of Palmyra had been
gaining in power and extent. Odenathus was dead, but
Zenobia, his wife, governed in the name of her young
son. This queen was a beautiful and very able woman.
She wished to rival Cleopatra in magnificence of attire
and pomp, as well as in beauty.
After taking the title of Empress of the East, Zenobia
tried to drive the Romans out of Asia. In full armor,
she led her troops into battle, and conquered Egypt;
and she entered into an alliance with the Persians.
Aurelian, having subdued the Goths, now led his legions
against Zenobia. The Queen of Palmyra was defeated and
her capital taken; and, though she attempted to flee,
she fell into the hands of the Romans. Many of
Zenobia's most faithful supporters were killed; and
among them was her secretary, the celebrated writer,
Palmyra itself was at first spared, but the inhabitants
revolted soon after the Romans had left. Aurelian
therefore retraced his steps, took the city for the
second time, and, after killing nearly all the people,
razed both houses and walls. To-day there is nothing
but a few ruins to show where the proud city of Palmyra
once stood; yet its wealth had been so great that even
the Romans were dazzled by the amount of gold which
they saw in Aurelian's triumph.
They also stared in wonder at Zenobia, the proud
eastern queen, who was forced to walk in front of
Aurelian's car. The unhappy woman could scarcely carry
 of the priceless jewels with which she was decked for
When the triumph was over, Zenobia was allowed to lived
in peace and great comfort in a palace near Tibur; and
here she brought up her children as if she had been
only a Roman mother. Her daughters married Roman
nobles, and one of her sons was given a small kingdom
by the generous Aurelian.
About a year after the triumph in which Zenobia had
figured, Aurelian was murdered; and for a short time no
once dared accept the throne, for fear of dying a
violent death. At last the senate chose a relative of
the great Roman historian Tacitus; but he died of fever
six months after his election, while he was on his way
to fight the Persians.
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