Zenobia

Zenobia is an Ancient Greek female name meaning “life of Zeus” or “Zeus is life”, made up of Zeno which derives from Zeus which derives from a PIE *dyḗws (sky, heaven; sky god) via root word *dyew- (to be bright; sky, heaven); and bios (life) though it’s possible that it could be related to bia meaning “strength, force, power; act of violence”, so the name could also mean “force of Zeus” or “strength of Zeus”.

Zenobia was a third century queen of Palmyra (in Syria) who went to war with the Roman Empire capturing Egypt from the Romans, and ruling over a large multi-ethnic and multi-cultural successfully before her defeat and capture by Emperor Aurelian. Though she claimed descent from Cleopatra, there’s no proof that she was and that her claim was purely political. She still seems to be a very popular figure in Syria, where her image is printed on Syrian banknotes.

Nicknames: Zen, Zeno, Zena, Bia

Origin: Proto-Indo-European

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Variants:

  • Zenovia (Greek)
  • Zinovia (Greek)
  • Zinoviya (Russian, Ukrainian)
  • Zénobie (French)
  • Zenobie (English, French)

 

Male forms:

  • Zenobios (Ancient Greek)
  • Zinoviy (Russian, Ukrainian)
  • Zinovy (Russian)

 

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