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Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra (named Queen Zenobia in the original) is the fourth scenario of the Imperium Romanum campaign in Age of Empires: The Rise of Rome. It depicts the military campaigns of Aurelian, notably his reconquest of the Palmyrene Empire controlled by Zenobia.

Scenario instructions[]


Thrace, 271 CE

As the Third Century Crisis drags on, the weaknesses in the overextended Roman Empire become more and more evident. The Alemanni confederation threatens the northern portion of Italia, and the Getae have invaded the Balkans. The Palmyrans, once loyal allies, have rebelled under the leadership of Septimia Zenobia and seized most of our eastern provinces. Defend the northern frontiers of the empire, Emperor Aurelian, while destroying the Palmyrans and restoring the eastern provinces to Roman control.
—In-game section

266 to 273 AD

Rome is near its maximum in territory but the empire is beset on many sides. The Alemanni tribe has crossed over into Italy and must be driven out. The Goths have invaded the Balkans. The Palmyrans, once trusted allies, have rebelled and taken most of our eastern provinces under their control. Defeat the northern frontiers of the empire while destroying the Palmyrans and restoring the East.
—In-game section

Starting conditions[]


  • Defeat the Palmyrans.
  • None of your Town Centers may be destroyed.

  • Destroy the Palmyrans (red) while not losing any of the three Town Centers that begin play on the map.*
*There is a bug which causes the player to lose if they lose a Town Center, even if it wasn't one of the original three.


  1. Each of your Town Centers could come under attack at any time. Be prepared to establish a strong defense around each one.
  2. Targeting the weak link in the enemy forces will slow their attacks considerably.
  3. You cannot construct new Town Centers. Protect the ones that you already have.
  4. It is not necessary to destroy all your enemies to win. Defeating Queen Zenobia is enough.

  • Each of your Town Centers could come under attack at any time. Be prepared to establish a strong defense around each one.
  • Finding the weak link in your enemies' forces will slow their attacks considerably.



  • Player (Romans AoE Romans): The player starts with a base and some Villagers in the south of the western landmass, at the south-western edge of the map. The other two Town Centers are located on the central landmass, unprotected.


  • Queen Zenobia (Palmyrans AoE Palmyrans): Queen Zenobia's base is located on the eastern landmass and corner of the map and controls plenty resources.
  • Gatae (Goths before the Definitive Edition) (Palmyrans AoE Palmyrans): The Goths start in the western corner of the map, next to the player's main base.
  • Alemanni (Palmyrans AoE Palmyrans): The Alemanni start in the northern corner of the map with a small base and threaten the player's Town Centers on the middle landmass.


Age of Empires Definitive Edition icon Definitive Edition[]

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it.

The bug from the original version cannot be experienced in this version, as building additional Town Centers is disabled for the player.


Only the first enemy must be destroyed to complete the scenario. While it's quicker to go for the red base, it's more risky if your attack fails, so taking out the two other teams first is safer.

Build up military buildings on both your islands. All three enemies rely on archers, so use Cavalry - or, if you find yourself low on gold, Scythe Chariots will do. Those forces, and some Catapults to deal with buildings, is all you're going to need.

Queen Zenobia has quite a few Priests, so use Scythe Chariots to take them out, and level their Temple. Then destroy everything else as their defenses will be relatively weak with the economy gassed.



Historical notes[]

In the chaos following the defeat and capture of Emperor Valerian by the Sasanian Shapur I in 260 CE, many of the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire fell under the sphere of influence of the city of Palmyra in modern-day Syria. Simultaneously, the Rhine and Danube frontiers were threatened by incursions from the Alemanni ("all men"—a confederation of numerous Germanic tribes) and the Getae (a group of Thracian and Dacian people), respectively.

Septimia Zenobia was the wife of Odaenathus, Lord of Palmyra. She accompanied and assisted her husband on his campaigns. After a successful campaign in Asia Minor against the invading Heruli, Odaenathus was assassinated in 266 CE and was succeeded by his son, Vaballathus. The real power in Palmyra, however, was Queen (and self-proclaimed Empress) Zenobia. In the early 270s CE, she led an open rebellion against the Roman Emperor Aurelian, proclaiming the independent Palmyrene Empire.

Aurelian acted decisively, however. After defeating incursions by the Alemanni and the Getae and earning the title Gothicus Maximus (due to a popular confusion of the Getae with the Goths), he marched an army through the rebel provinces. Most cities surrendered without a fight, but those that resisted were leveled and their populations put to the sword. By 273 CE, the eastern provinces had been restored to Imperial control. The following year, Aurelian would succeed in reconquering the Gallic Empire, another rebel splinter state, and reunifying the Empire. Unfortunately, he was assassinated in 275 CE by the Praetorian Guard.

The legacy of Aurelian and other so-called "barracks emperors" was immense. An able administrator and reformer, Aurelian likely would have succeeded in restoring the Empire to pre-Third Century Crisis levels of stability if not for his untimely death. However, a decade later, the Empire was under the rule of Diocletian, one of the most able emperors in Roman history, who reorganized the Empire into a tetrarchy (four regions controlled by four different leaders) in 293 CE. His successful reforms were continued by the Emperor Constantine, who was best known for his conversion to Christianity and the construction of a new imperial capital at Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul).
—In-game section

Zenobia was the wife of Odaenathus, Prince of Palmyra. She accompanied and assisted her husband on his campaigns. After a successful campaign in Asia Minor against Goths raiding there, Odaenathus was murdered in 266 AD and succeeded by his son. The real power in Palmyra, however, was Queen Zenobia.

A Roman army sent east was defeated by the Palmyrans in 267 AD and Queen Zenobia moved south to conquer the key province of Egypt. By 271 AD she ruled most of the ex-Roman provinces of the East, including Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Asia Minor. Emperor Aurelian marched east and defeated the Palmyrans twice. Queen Zenobia withdrew to her capital, which was besieged by the Romans. Palmyra surrendered eventually but revolted shortly thereafter and massacred the Roman garrison left behind. Aurelian returned promptly, sacked Palmyra, and took Zenobia back to Rome where she was led through the streets in chains. The Palmyrans ceased thereafter to be a factor in eastern affairs.
—In-game section


Success! Due to your martial and military prowess as an emperor, you have restored Imperial control in the provinces and saved the Empire from ruin. The Senate and the people hail your complete victory over the Palmyrans, Alemanni, and Getae. Although Germanic incursions may continue from time to time, the security of the frontiers has been improved considerably. Prepare for your triumph in the city of Rome, where you will present the defeated Zenobia and parade her through the streets!
—In-game section

In the best tradition of martial emperors, you have restored the empire and saved it from ruin. The Senate and the people hail your complete victory over the Palmyrans. The borders to the north have been restored. Romans can sleep easy tonight knowing we have another 150 years to go instead of 150 minutes.
—In-game section


Due to your failure to maintain the borders of the Empire, it is evident that all is beyond repair. The eastern provinces are certainly lost. You have allowed Rome to be defeated by Palmyra, a city of merchants, not warriors! Those are German tribesmen beating on the doors of Rome right now, not olive oil salesmen.
—In-game section

Following your failure to hold the empire's borders, we fear all is lost. The East is certainly gone. You have allowed Rome to be beaten by Palmyra, a town not even shown on most maps! Those are German tribesmen knocking on the doors of Rome right now, not olive oil salesmen.
—In-game section

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