Middle East: Odenathus
In 260 CE, the Roman Empire was falling apart on all sides. Emperor Valerian gathered the legions to push back on the worst incursions from the Sassanid Empire in the east. They not only lost - they were massacred, and the emperor was taken captive. This left the empire in disarray. Into this desperate moment stepped Odenathus from the city-state of Palmyra. Palmyra was a vassal state that owed fealty to Rome and had been decorated with many honors and recognition in the past. If Rome fell, the Sassanid Empire would certainly look to conquer and annex Palmyra, so Odenathus rode to the rescue. He gathered all the soldiers he could find and took the Sassanid army by surprise on their way back from the battle with Valerian. He destroyed them. From there, he rode north to protect the emperor's son, and the next heir to Rome, then south again where he pushed the Sassanids all the way back to their capitol twice. Despite his success and undeniable military power, he never took power for himself or declared himself an emperor. Rome showered him with appreciation and titles. Sadly, he was murdered by his nephew in 267 CE, but his loyalty had bought the Roman Empire enough time to recover and survive for another 200 years.
Palmyra is an embodiment of our shared past, but right now it's under the control of ISIS. They have destroyed the antiquities that remind us of our shared past. We would like to take a moment to honor Dr. Khaled al-Assad, the museum director who gave his life rather than reveal the locations of more Palmyrene relics for ISIS to destroy.