Vabalathus – 271-272 AD


Antoninianus Vabalathus & Aurelian

271-272 AD

Vabalathus (sometimes called Athenodorus) was the son of the ambitious Zenobia. He became joint ruler of Palmyra with his mother following the assassination of Odenathus. Gallienus refused to grant him the titles which had been conferred upon Odenathus, and Claudius Gothicus maintained the same policy. Nonetheless, neither Gallienus nor Claudius were able to challenge the power of Zenobia in Palmyra.

The Emperor Aurelian, however, did grant Vabalathus the titles he sought. The coinage produced between 270 and late 271 AD proudly displayed the portraits of Aurelian and Vabalathis. In 271 AD, Vabalathis was proclaimed Augustus and Aurelian had little choice but to march against the rival Emperor and his mother.

In the battle that followed, the Palmyrene Empire fell to Aurelian. Zenobia and Vabalathus were taken as captives to Rome.

Monetary System


AU Aureus (6.54 grams)
AE Antoninianus

The Monetary History of the World
© Martin A. Armstrong