Zabdas, Septimius - General in the service of Queen Zenobia of Palmyra

Zabdas led the armies of Palmyrene expansion in 270–271, sweeping into Egypt and, with the aid of the pro - Palmyrene political faction, annexing the entire province in the name of his queen.

Further advances were made throughout the entire East, including Syria and Asia Minor, until Emperor Aurelian took to the field in 271. Zabdas focused on ANTIOCH as his strategic base and moved north to the banks of the Orontes where he had his first engagement with the Romans.

Zabdas probably had a numerical advantage, especially in cavalry units, his horsemen being strongly arm o red on huge mounts, but this failed to serve him. Aurelian’s infantry allowed the cavalry to charge and then simply rolled up the Palmyrene flank.

Defeated but not destroyed, Zabdas retreated to Antioch but had to leave there because of the inhabitants’ unrest. Aurelian entered the city and pushed on, following Zabdas’s circuitous route to Emesa.

Zabdas hoped for Persian aid, which did not materialize, and turned to give battle again. With some 70,000 men at his disposal and the cavalry still large and formidable, Zabdas repeated the tactics of his first encounter with Aurelian, with the same results.

The Roman cavalry (mostly Moors and Dalmatians) was routed, but the Legions weathered the charges and then advanced, demolishing the Palmyrene army . The survivors broke and fled to Emesa, while Zenobia are treated to her native city. What became of Zabdas is unknown.

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