Friday, 20 August 2010


I posted an obscure but kinky picture by Herbert Schmalz (1856-1935) a couple of months back, and I thought I'd post his most famous one too. This is Queen Zenobia's Last Look Upon Palmyra  and is a good example of respectable softcore Victorian bondage. Zenobia of Palmyra is shown in golden manacles. Having rebelled against the Roman Empire and conquered most of the Middle East including Egypt, Rome's breadbasket, she has finally been defeated in battle. She is to be led off and marched through Rome in chains as the highlight of their official triumph. Stories as to her eventual fate vary after that...

Anyway, this painting would bring a little thrill to the loins of any educated Victorian man, who would know the story: proud uppity woman brought low and publicly humiliated in bondage, etc etc.

You can learn the whole story about Zenobia here. She's pretty cool.

And this is a picture I took a few years ago, on my Syrian holiday, showing all there is left of beautiful Palmyra:


Fulani said...

I was just trying to think of a 'soundbite' that could encapsulate both pictures - how about 'cities turn to dust but perverse desires live on'?

Janine Ashbless said...

That sounds like a soundbite for the back of at least one of my novels, Fulanai! :-D