In her Fifth Year
On 3 January 2007, Zenobia's blog was born and, in welcoming her, I thought of the poem by Anne Stevenson, Sylvia Plath, which asks
Poor Sylvia, could you not have been
a little smaller than a queen –
a river, not a tidal wave
engulfing all you tried to save?
This is how I still think of Zenobia and what she tried to do.
I've been writing now for five years about Zenobia and her world -- thinking about Palmyra between West and East, the third century CE, Rome and the Parthians, then the Sasanians, their roiled history, politics, and art. And thinking, always, about the incredible but true story of Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra, who united almost the whole of the Eastern Empire under her rule and nearly succeeded in breaking free of Rome.
She will never be, to me, ever, a little smaller than a queen.
Last month, Zenobia's blog passed two milestones:
On 18 December, Zenobia clocked up +10,000 monthly page views (rolling average) for the first time.
And then kept going -- right through Christmas -- beating her own new record every day and then leap-frogging herself to roll up 12,000 page views on three days running.
As I write, she's hovering just below 11,800 on the monthly rolling average. It's early yet. She looks set to celebrate her fifth birthday tonight with +12,000 clicks yet again.
The intact present, recently unearthed, shakes off the dust of centuries, smiles and suddenly starts to fly....*My warm thanks to all my readers.
Have a very Happy 2012.
* Octavio Paz (from his Nobel lecture, 8 December 1990)
Palmyran funerary relief. Bust of 'Herta, daughter of Ogilu, son of Salmôi, wife of Rabel, son of Yarhai Yat' wearing her best finery (traces of gold paint on the jewellery): two medallions hang from her necklace with miniature busts in high relief of women (?) wearing crowns. This is quite a statement of status, wealth, and service to the goddesses (?). Photo credit: © The Trustees of the British Museum, 1885,0418.1; BM 125019.