SAMIRAMIS AND ZENOBIA
A role model is an important person who has an important role in society. He is an example to his people and everybody wish to follow him and be like him in order to have the same fame that he has. Actually, people make role models ; they believe in some people and in their ideologies and they let them be famous by spreading or applying their ideas . We can say that, in order to be classified as a role model, one should be different than other people. One may have an extra capacity or intelligence which he proved and that made the people love or hate him. A role model is, therefore, any tyrant or loving person that made some different thing from other people. Each role model should have some ideologies that he has to accomplish or try to apply on people. Therefore , even if he doesn’t make his values and norms valued in real life , he may left some souvenir and some hope in some people’s life. Well, role models exist and have existed since ancient times. They contributed in creating and marking our history by their behaviours.
This paper deals with two considered to be role models: the first one , from the ancient time, is Samiramis , and the other is Zenobia. Two important women who can prove that females were and will always influence and be a contributing member in life and in history.
Some historians claim that the existence of Samiramis is a fairy tale . Some others argue about its period of time . However, because her name was connected to the story of Nenoi and the building of Babel we cannot deny or reject her existence in real life .
Well, Samiramis was born in a strange situation . Some say that she was born in a region near Syria and that her mother was a maid , who mother left her in the desert after her birth and it is said that the birds fed her . When she was one year old, a shepherd called Samiramis found her . She was a child having a magnificent beauty; therefore, he gave her the name of Samiramis . As she grew up in age , Samiramis became popular for her extreme beauty in addition to her high intelligence . After a period of time , the governor of Nenoi called Mnones saw her. Charmed by her beauty, he fell madly in love with her and decided to marry her . Also , when the king Nenos saw Mnones’s wife that is Samiramis he ordered Mnones to give him Samiramis , and he promised him that he would give him in return his daughter .
After Mnones’s death, Samiramis had to marry Nenos . This latest died after 52 years from reigning the country, and he left the kingship to his wife as his only son was still very young . Samiramis spread the news of her reign all over the country and declared that every member in the country should obey her orders . She put in her finger the king’s ring and she sat on the throne .Unfortunately , Samiramis misused her power . She wanted to have an immortal image and an unforgettable name, so she let her people build her the great city of Babylon which needed two million workers to achieve it .
In addition to the great city of Babylon , Samiramis ordered her people to build various castles in which she lived and where she had too many gardens established on her honour . What we should add is that each one of these monuments had her name and a paragraph that certifies the power Samiramis had . It was, therefore, known according to these texts that Samiramis had the strength of a man and that she was able to control the powers of nature ,for example she certified that she is the one who forced the rivers to flood whenever she liked.
Samiramis was an intelligent woman, and she used this intelligence during war. When she went to conquer India, for example, she covered the camels she had with bull’s skin, so they would look like these latest .So ,when she and her army reached India, the elephants were afraid of the bulls and they ran away and that’s how she won the first part of the war. Nevertheless, later on, her trick was discovered, and the Indian army directed by their Indian prince followed them. While turning back to her territories, Samarium’s was struck in her hand by an arrow sent from the prince . When she came back to her country, Samiramis found out that her only son had taken over the throne, and he rejected his mother. Feeling a big defeat, Samiramis killed herself in 2069 B.C., and since that time, she was considered immortal, and the symbol of the pigeon always symbolised her, and her immortality.
Now that we wrote about Samiramis, the great queen that reigned during ancient history, during the period before 2069 B.C., it is time to switch to a new period of time that of Zenobia who died about 260 A.D.
Indeed, Augustus did win a lot of battles because of the help of the Romans. This latter’s nephew assassinated him, because of jealousy that’s why Zenobia took revenge, and destroyed all the territories of her husband’s nephew in return to what he did .Now that Augustus is dead , one of his children should take his place and rule the country but since they were minors, they couldn’t rule the country, so she governed first in the name of her sons, but later she called herself the queen of Palmyra in Syria, put on the king’s crown and became the sole ruler.
Zenobia was as beautiful as Samiramis even though she was more respectful than this latter. She had a rare intelligence, had a knowledge in Latin, Greek, and hieroglyphics. She took the famous Faotegenes as her teacher, and she knew a lot about Homers and Plato, as she was a familiar with their books. As we said, Zenobia was famous for her beauty and she was known for being courageous, brilliant and intelligent. For instance, she used to follow her husband to the forest during the hunt season, and she was never afraid of the fierce animals like lions and tigers. It is also known that she helped her husband gain the wars he made. She wasn’t a weak woman, and she denied her feelings. When she governed, she showed her people all the love she had, and treated them as she was dealing with her children. She had a strange monetary policy, as she used to spend huge sums of money on poets, philosophers, and artists. In addition, she used to bring them from their native countries, and let them live next to her.
Zenobia reigned in Palmyra. Her place resembled to paradise on earth. It contained huge gardens and buildings. All the streets were clean. Her residence used to be like a small city, it had a temple called the temple of the sun, having in its centre countless numbers of pyramids. Near the temple was her castle which was as big as a big city. As time went by, Zenobia added to her husband’s territories Egypt; therefore, her occupations were expanded from the Euphrates river till the Mediterranean sea, including Jerusalem, Antioch, and Damascus. The Roman emperor did not want to consider her as a real queen. This is why he sent his army to her so many times, but each time, they were defeated. But when Lucus Domitius Aurelian became the Roman Emperor, he decided to defeat Zenobia, and he denied the fact that a woman would still be an ally of Rome. Therefore, he sent his army towards Palmyra to attack it and to face Zenobia, who used to call herself Augustia, referring to the good relationship with Rome. When Zenobia heard of Aurelian’s plans, she was prepared to face him. She knew about his approach as she was hunting. Therefore, she came back to her town, hoping to defeat him. The servant of the Aurelian army told Zenobia that she should give back the Roman empire all the territories she took, such as Egypt and Syria, as they were Roman territories. He declared that the case was not the same as it had been before Aurelian’s reign. Everything should change. Zenobia would not be allowed anymore to wear Roman clothes, or have any alliances with them. After listening to what the servant said, Zenobia got furious, and she told him that she was not going to give up the territories she had, only to please Aurelian, and she declared that she was hoping and planning to have a larger and a more expanded empire. After what she said, she took her army to confront Aurelian’s one, and they had a big battle in which she lost. After the battle, Aurelian declared that Zenobia was really a strong woman, who should be honoured and he added by saying that he was very pleased for having met a woman like her . Then, Aurelian and his army took the city of Palmyra, and they captured Zenobia.
As we can see is that we are dealing here with two women Samiramis and Zenobia . The first one Samiramis, lived in the period known as the ancient history, whereas Zenobia lived before 260 A.D. a period of history known as the new period in history . What should be noticed is that these two women aren’t ordinary ones , they didn’t have an ordinary life , but they contributed in the life and fate of many others . Both , Samiramis and Zenobia were wives to famous kings (and both of them were very beautiful) , and when their husbands died , they both were the ones who took the power and ruled the country and they spread the news of their reign . In addition, Samiramis let herself have the king’s ring in her finger, whereas Zenobia did put on the king’s crown . Each one had some political values and norms , Zenobia wanted to enlarge her territories and to expand her lands . In the same way Samiramis wanted to immortalise her image to her people that’s why she asked to build the great garden of Babylon . In addition , she conquered a lot of territories and proved that she had the strength of a great warrior . And we can add that Zenobia used to spend a lot of money for the intellectuals so she is a person who loved educated people therefore she loved education . We can say briefly that these two women had a similar life as ruler of a country , and what is important to say is that both of them killed themselves while feeling defeat . Samiramis felt the defeat when she found that her son rejected her and took over the power ,and Zenobia felt the same and killed herself while being a slave at the Indian prince .
Both of them couldn’t bare the idea of defeat after being at the top of their reign . Or we may consider that they don’t like from their people to see them like this after having a enormous strength and power . Finally what is to say that I’m not being sexist while choosing two important women to talk about in this project . But it is important to prove that women since ancient times did have a certain power and they did contribute in history . These two women are considered to be role models as their legend or story is still popular . and as we said that it is people who make the role models , well , Samiramis and Zenobia are important role models that had an influence on people especially on women who took these two as an example and that try to imitate them and let women have an important role in life .
University of Balamand
ROLE MODELS : ZENOBIA AND SAMIRAMIS
CS 201 section B
Miss Nivine Mattar