Northern Africa 271: Zenobia
Odaenathus was assassinated in 267, leaving power in Palmyra in the hands of his widow Zenobia. While remaining nominally loyal to Rome, Zenobia expanded her power within the Roman Empire to include Arabia Petraea, Egypt, and much of Asia Minor.
267?–268? Datawnas and Zaqarnas▲
In c. 267–8 the Aksumite negus Datawnas (DTWNS) and his son Zaqarnas (ZQRNS) invaded the Himyarite Kingdom. They were defeated by the Himyarite king Yasir Yuhan’im.
267 Assassination of Odaenathus▲
In 267 Odaenathus of Palmyra and his eldest son Herodes were murdered in the East, possibly at Emesa, by his nephew Maeonius. The dispute was said to have been started by a slight at a hunt. Odaenathus was officially succeeded by his prepubescent son Vaballathus, but Vaballathus’ mother, Odaenathus’ widow Zenobia, immediately assumed authority.
270? Hadramawt–Saba’ War▲
In around 270 King Yadaab Gaylan VI of Hadramawt attempted to seize the al-Jawf region of the Kingdom of Saba’, but was defeated by the Sabaean king Nashakarib Yukhamin Yuharhib. As a result of this war, parts of western Hadramawt fell under the control of Saba’.
Apr–?? 270 Sack of Bostra▲
In the spring of 270 forces under Zenobia of Palmyra’s general, Zabdas, crossed into the Roman province of Arabia, defeating and killing the local commander Trassus near Bostra. The Palmyrenes then sacked Bostra, destroying the temple of Jupiter Hammon, before proceeding south to secure Petra. The emperor Claudius, who was still engaged with the Goths at this point, apparently made no response to this aggression.
270? Zenobia at Marid▲
In c.270, when Zenobia conquered Arabia Petraea, the inland desert region of Dumatha asserted its independence. According to Arab legend, Zenobia attempted to storm the major local fortress at Marid but was forced to withdraw.
Oct 270 Palmyrene invasion of Egypt▲
In 270 an officer named Timagenes rebelled in Egypt in favor of Zenobia, prompting the Palmyrene queen to dispatch her general Zabdas to his aid. Invading with a force of 70,000 Palmyrenes, Syrians, and others, Zabdas decisively defeated the 50,000 Egyptian defenders in battle. Victorious, Zabdas then departed, leaving a garrison of 5,000 in control of Egypt.
Nov 270 Tenagino Probus’ campaign▲
In early November 270 the Roman admiral Tenagino Probus, who had been campaigning against Gothic sea pirates in the eastern Mediterranean, returned to Alexandria and swiftly ejected the Palmyrene garrison. With the help of African troops and Egyptian volunteers, Probus moved on to defeat a Palmyrene counteroffensive in Egypt and establish a base at Babylon Fortress at the south of the Nile delta. However, the pro-Palmyrene Timagenes used his local knowledge to capture the fortress and its Roman defenders by surprise, forcing Probus to commit suicide.
271 Zenobia’s invasion of Asia▲
In late spring 271, although still officially loyal to Aurelian, the forces of Zenobia of Palmyra marched westward into Asia Minor and seized control of Ancyra in Galatia. They then advanced as far as Chalcedon, but were repulsed by locally raised Bithynian troops and forced to withdraw. In the province of Asia, Virius Lupus, Odaenathus’ governor of Syria Coele, took power, although by 272 his allegiance had shifted to Aurelian.