Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra
Zenobia’s father was believed to have been of either Arab or Aramean origin and her mother was allegedly Egyptian. She was born in Palmyra, now in modern day Syria, probably in the early 240's A.D. Zenobia had a very illustrious background and claimed to be a descendent of Cleopatra VII.
Zenobia married Odenathus, the King of Palmyra, in her teenage years and became his second wife. Palmyra was an empire that was heavily influenced by Egyptian culture, which was in decline. Zenobia was prepared for her role as queen. Fluent in many languages including Greek, Latin, Egyptian, and Aramean, Zenobia was well suited for her role as queen. She was very beautiful and it is said that her voice was very harmonious, her teeth were pearly white, her eyes and hair were very dark and she had manly strength.
The authority of Palmyra seemed destined to extend over a vast territory but at the end of 267, both Odenathus and his young son, the heir to the throne by his first wife, were assassinated under mysterious circumstances. Rumour had it that Zenobia, also the mother of a young son, was in some way involved in the murders. Nevertheless, Zenobia immediately revealed herself to be an exceptionally able monarch. She was boundlessly ambitious for herself, for her son and for her people. Zenobia shocked the world when she led her armies into Egypt in 269 A.D. and while Rome was busy in North Italy fighting off the Goths, Zenobia took Egypt from the Roman Empire and added it to the tiny kingdom of Palmyra. That same year, Zenobia annexed most of Syria's small neighboring lands followed large areas of Asia Minor.
In 270 A.D., Queen Zanobia took possession of the whole of Syria, conquered Lower Egypt and sent her armies across Asia Minor as far as the Bosphorus. In open defiance of Rome, Zenobia and her son took the title "August" and had coinage struck in the name, thus setting themselves up as a rival to Aurelian, the Emperor of Rome, who was at that time having difficulties on the German borders of the Empire.
Aurelian decided to reconquest and take back Egypt and Asia Minor from Palmyra. By the Orontes River near Antioch, the Palmyrenes and the Romans met with both armies equally matched. Zenobia was proud and defiant, and galloped among her troops shouting orders. The Romans pretended to flee with the Palmyrenes in pursuit. Eventually the Palmyrenes finally exhausted themselves and it was then that the Romans began their mass slaughter. 
Zenobia and her remaining army fled to Emesa where the Romans caught up with them. Although both armies had around 70,000 soldiers, the Palmyrenes were no match for the Romans and in the end Zenobia abandoned her soldiers and fled back to Palmyra, 100 miles across the desert. Aurelian followed her and lay siege to the city. Once again Zenobia escaped, disguised and riding on a female camel. Whether she was discovered or betrayed is not known however she reached the Euphrates River before being captured by the Romans. It was now 272 A.D. and Zenobia went before Emperor Aurelian, where she degraded herself by claiming immunity based on the fact that she was a woman.
Her life after this is vague and there are two alternate endings to her story. Some stories say that she committed suicide like Cleopatra, her heroine, while another version suggests that Zenobia was paraded through the streets of Rome along with the defeated Goths, Amazons, and Vandals. She is said to have walked defiantly with her head held high. Afterwards she married a Roman governor and retired to a villa in Tivoli.