I had a very hard time trying to find a Z that fits my theme. I finally found Zenobia. Now Zenobia was quite a while before the Middle Ages. In fact, she was born in 240. She was the second wife of Septimius Odaenathus who was the king of the Palmyrene Empire in Roman Syria. Her Roman name was Julia Aurelia Zenobia. (I knew there was a reason I liked her – we have the same first name.)
After the death of her husband and stepson in 267,(in which she may have had a hand) her one-year-old son was the heir. As her son was so young, Zenobia ruled in his stead. She became known as a ‘warrior queen’ after conquering Eygpt, Anatolia, Chalcedon, Syria, Palestine, and Lebanon.
Finally in 274, she was defeated, captured , and taken to Rome by Emperor Aurelian. On the way to Rome, her son apparently died.
There seem to be two conflicting endings to Zenobia’s story:
1. Although her death was called for, Aurelian was so enamored of her beauty that he freed her and she lived out her life in luxury. It is said she married a Roman governor and gave birth to several daughters whose names are lost to history.
2. She committed suicide like her idol, Cleopatra.
Where does Zenobia fit in the Current Middle Ages you might ask? Zenobia was the name of the first queen crowned after I joined the SCA. All I really remember about her is that she was a very gracious lady and that she and her lord (not the man who was king) were married on horseback.