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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |The Secessionist Empires| ▸ |Vabalathus||View Options:  |  |  | 

Palmyrene-Roman Empire, Vabalathus, 267 - May 272 A.D.

Vaballathus was the son of the Palmyran king Odenathus and his wife Zenobia. Through the scheming of his gifted mother, Vabalathus was given titles his father was to inherit, but which had been refused him by Gallienus. Initially, Aurelian recognized Vaballathus' rule because he was in conflict with the Gallic Empire in the west and hesitated to incite open warfare with Palmyra in the east. Coins issued by Zenobia in Vaballathus's name acknowledge Aurelian as emperor, confirming their mutual recognition. The relationship with Roman Empire deteriorated after the Palmyrene Empire invaded Egypt in October 270, followed by Galatia in 271. In 272, Aurelian advanced quickly through Anatolia while the Roman general Probus recovered Egypt. After Aurelian defeated Zenobia near Antioch, the Palmyrene armies retreated to Emesa, where they were defeated again, and then evacuated to the capital. The Romans began a siege of Palmyra. Zenobia went east to ask the Sasanian Empire for help but was captured near the Euphrates. Palmyra fell soon after. According to Zosimus, after his defeat, Vaballathus died on the way to Rome. Other sources indicate Aurelian allowed Vaballathus and his mother Zenobia to live in luxury in Rome, but only after they had been marched through the streets of Rome in a triumphal procession. This would have been humiliating, but better than death.Rome in 271 A.D.

Palmyrene-Roman Empire, Aurelian and Vabalathus, c. Nov 270 - Mar 272 A.D.

|Vabalathus|, |Palmyrene-Roman| |Empire,| |Aurelian| |and| |Vabalathus,| |c.| |Nov| |270| |-| |Mar| |272| |A.D.||antoninianus|
Lucius Julius Aurelius Septimius Vaballathus Athenodorus (c. 259 – c. 274 A.D.) was emperor of the Palmyrene Empire centered at Palmyra in the region of Syria. He came to power as a child under his regent mother Zenobia, who led a revolt against the Roman Empire and formed the independent Palmyrene Empire. Initially, Aurelian recognized Vaballathus' rule, likely because he was engaged in conflict with the Gallic Empire in the west and hesitated to incite open warfare with the Palmyrene Empire. Aurelian is depicted wearing a radiate crown that signifies his supremacy as emperor, and Vaballathus is crowned with a laurel wreath and the Hellenistic royal diadem. The abbreviated titles of Vabalathus most likely were, Vir Clarissimus Romanorum (or Rex) Imperator Dux Romanorum.
RA91545. Billon antoninianus, MER-RIC 3113, BnF XII 1259, Göbl MIR 353a8, Venčra 10809, RIC V-2 381, Cohen VI 1, SRCV III 11718, Hunter IV -, Choice EF, well centered and struck, traces of silvering, areas of slight porosity, weight 3.437 g, maximum diameter 20.2 mm, 8th officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, Nov 270 - Mar 272 A.D.; obverse IMP C AVRELIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right, H below, seen from front; reverse VABALATHVS V C R IM D R, laureate, diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection, ex Pegasi Coins; SOLD


Palmyrene-Roman Empire, Aurelian and Vabalathus, c. Nov 270 - Mar 272 A.D.

|Vabalathus|, |Palmyrene-Roman| |Empire,| |Aurelian| |and| |Vabalathus,| |c.| |Nov| |270| |-| |Mar| |272| |A.D.||antoninianus|
Initially, Aurelian recognized Vaballathus' rule, likely because he was engaged in conflict with the Gallic Empire in the west and hesitated to incite open warfare with the Palmyrene Empire. This mutual recognition is verified by coins issued by Zenobia under Vaballathus's name, which also acknowledged Aurelian as emperor. Aurelian is depicted wearing a radiate crown that signifies his supremacy, and Vaballathus is crowned with a laurel wreath and the Hellenistic royal diadem. The abbreviated titles of Vabalathus most likely were, Vir Clarissimus Romanorum (or Rex) Imperator Dux Romanorum.
RA08799. Billon antoninianus, MER-RIC 3107, RIC V-2 381, BnF XII 1248, Hunter IV 7, Göbl MIR 353a5, Cohen VI 1, SRCV III 11718, Choice gVF, weight 3.00 g, maximum diameter 21.7 mm, die axis 180o, 5th officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, Nov 270 - Mar 272 A.D.; obverse IMP C AVRELIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right, E below; reverse VABALATHVS V C R IM D R, laureate, diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right; SOLD


Palmyrene-Roman Empire, Aurelian and Vabalathus, c. Nov 270 - Mar 272 A.D.

|Vabalathus|, |Palmyrene-Roman| |Empire,| |Aurelian| |and| |Vabalathus,| |c.| |Nov| |270| |-| |Mar| |272| |A.D.||antoninianus|
According to Zosimus, after his defeat, Vaballathus died on the way to Rome. Other sources imply Aurelian allowed Vaballathus and his mother Zenobia to live, but only after they had been marched through the streets of Rome in a triumphal procession. This would have been humiliating, but better than death. This theory is supported by Aurelian's similar treatment of the Tetrici, Tetricus I and Tetricus II of the Gallic Empire, long-time enemies of Rome whom the emperor allowed to retire following their defeat at the Battle of Châlons in 274.
RA35037. Billon antoninianus, MER-RIC 3107, RIC V-2 381, BnF XII 1248, Hunter IV 7, Göbl MIR 353a5, Cohen VI 1, SRCV III 11718, Choice gVF, weight 3.646 g, maximum diameter 20.2 mm, die axis 135o, 5th officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, Nov 270 - Mar 272 A.D.; obverse IMP C AVRELIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right, E below; reverse VABALATHVS V C R IM D R, laureate, diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right; SOLD







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OBVERSE| LEGENDS|

IMCVHABALATHVSAVG
VABALATHVSVCRIMDR


REFERENCES|

Bland, R. "The Coinage of Vabalathus and Zenobia from Antioch and Alexandria" in NC 171 (2011).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 6: Macrianus to Diocletian & Maximianus. (Paris, 1886).
Estiot, S. Monnaies de l'Empire Romain Volume XII.1, D'Aurélien ŕ Florien (270-276 aprčs J.-C.). Bibliotheque nationale de France. (Paris, 2004).
Estiot, S. Ripostiglio della Venčra, Nuovo Catalogo Illustrato, Volume II/1: Aureliano. (Verona, 1995).
Göbl, R. Moneta Imperii Romani, Band 47: Die Münzprägung des Kaisers Aurelianus (270/275). (Vienna, 1985).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. IV. Valerian I to Allectus. (Oxford, 1978).
Mattingly, H., E.A. Sydenham & P. Webb. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol V, Part II, Probus to Amandus. (London, 1933).
Monnaies de l'Empire Romain / Roman Imperial Coinage AD 268-276 (RIC V Online) http://www.ric.mom.fr
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. IV. Valerian I to Allectus. (Oxford, 1978).
Sear, D.R. Roman Coins and Their Values, Vol. 3: The Accession of Maximinus I to the Death of Carinus AD 235 - AD 285. (London, 2005).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

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