13 December 2009

Zenobia in Cement and Marble Dust

As reported by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA):

Zenobia, famous for her beauty and courage in fighting the Roman Emperor Aurelian, embraced her kingdom again wearing her helmet and leaning on a spear in her right hand while leaning an armor with her left hand on her left knee surrounded by a group of brave soldiers.

I don't see any brave soldiers surrounding her knees but I do see her standing (left) in what looks like the old town of Palmyra. And -- I'll take a bet on it -- she's installed in front of a souvenir shop.

The statue was created by two Syrian artists, Mohammed Hamdan and Nawaf Rustum. Mr Rustum has this to say about it:

"The idea of the statue was inspired by the great fame of Queen Zenobia and her chivalric behavior. She was able to establish a very strong kingdom and to expand it facing the greedy Roman enemies."

What I like about the statue is this: they have clothed her in Palmyran dress and her jewellery, too is credible. This is a good deal more than you can say for Zenobia in Mansour Rahbani's musical extravaganza, when the queen trod the stage clad in a short red dress and high black boots -- and about which I fulminated at great length (click on the link and you'll still find the smoke rising).

What I don't like is her face. She's no beauty. Nor noble. Rather a cartoon. A cartoon in cement.

Oh well, ashes to ashes and dust to marble dust.

A Timely Reminder

The next ancient/medieval edition of Carnivalesque -- the monthly carnival for top history blogging -- will appear right here at Zenobia: Empress of the East on 19th December.

So please hurry up. Send me your notices of the best early-history and archaeological blogging that you've read in November and December. Whatever posts you found particularly fine, insightful or just plain provoking.

Feel free to nominate your own writings as well.

You can email me directly at judith@judithweingarten.com or use the ancient/medieval nomination form.

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