- Zenobia or Al-Zabbāʾ: The modern Arab literary reception of the Palmyran protagonist
- Middle Eastern Literatures
- Volume | Issue number
- 17 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School for Regional, Transnational and European Studies (ARTES)
Historical sources present us with two Zenobia of Palmyra characters. In the Greco-Latin sources she is the leader of a great rebellion against the Roman Empire. That is the most commonly known version. There is, however, a second historiography of Zenobia. This Arab version presents us with a very different tale, in which Zenobia (al-Zabbāʾ) struggles in the context of Arab tribal warfare. This article is concerned with the way modern Arab authors have revived the memory of Zenobia. A key question will be which version of history was adopted by modern Arab authors, and why. This will involve a close reading of texts that will bring into play discussion of ideology, (anti-)colonialism and gender equality.
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