In 1862 Zenobia, a statue by Harriet Hosmer, an American artist working in Rome, was sent to London for inclusion in the International Exhibition (Figure 4.1). Zenobia challenged the authority of the Roman empire, claimed territories from the Euphrates to the Mediterranean and with her leading general Zabdas invaded and conquered Egypt. She ruled Palmyra from 267 to 272 CE, first with her husband, Odenathus, and after his death as regent for her son, turning this caravan city and trading centre specialising in luxury goods, located between the coast and the valley of the Euphrates in what is now eastern Syria, into a centre for an expanding empire. Leading Hellenic savants, including Longinus, gathered there. Caught between the crisis of Roman empire, the challenge of the Persian empire and the religious ferment of the third century, Palmyra's expansion was tolerated until the Emperor Aurelian came to the imperial throne in 270. After defeating her forces in two battles and laying siege to Palmyra, he demanded submission; she refused, sending him an eloquent letter of defiance written in Greek rather than Latin. Having escaped from the besieged city, she was captured and taken to Rome, where she was paraded through the streets in Aurelian's triumphal procession.! Seven feet in height, the exhibited work, like the full-scale copies, has since disappeared, although a smaller version survives (Figure 4.2).2