Skip to content

Vabalathus – 271-272 AD

Spread the love

Lucius Julius Aurelius Setptimius Vabalathus

Vaballathus Aurelian AV AureusAntoninianus Vabalathus & Aurelian

267-272 AD

Lucius Julius Aurelius Setptimius Vaballathus (sometimes called Athenodorus) was the son of the ambitious Zenobia born in 259 AD. He became joint ruler of Palmyra with his mother following the assassination of Odenathus, his father. Gallienus refused to grant him the titles that had been conferred upon Odenathus, and Claudius II Gothicus maintained the same policy. Nonetheless, neither Gallienus nor Claudius were able to challenge the power of Zenobia in Palmyra.


Emperor Aurelian did grant Vaballathus the titles he sought – Vir Clarissimus, Rex, Imperator, Dux Romanorum. Coinage was struck with Vaballathus on the reverse and Aurelian on the obverse of the Antoninianus.

In 271 AD, Zenobia took a bold step. She raised her son to the rank of Augustus, which was an open challenge to the then-emperor Aurelian, leaving the emperor little choice. On her own coinage, she, too, took the title of Augusta. Aurelian marched against Zenobia and her son.

The coinage produced between 270 and late 271 AD proudly displayed the portraits of Aurelian and Vaballathus. In 271 AD, Vaballathus 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 Vaballathus were taken as captives to Rome.

Monetary System


Mints: Palmyra, Alexandria (Egypt)


Vabalathus AE

as Vir Clarissimus, Rex, Imperator, Dux Romanorum

Æ Antoninianus

Vaballathus 271 272AD AE Antoninianus as Augustusas Augustus (271-272AD)

Æ Antoninianus

Alexandria, Egypt Mint

Aurelian with Vaballathus. AD 270 275. Potin Tetradrachm R


Æ Tetradrachm (with Aurelian; Laureate bust rt)

Aurelian with Vaballathus. AD 270 275. Potin Tetradrachm Dattari 5424
Æ Tetradrachm (with Aurelian; Laureate, diademed & draped bust rt)
(Dattari (Savio) 5424)

Aurelian with Sol 272AD Potin Tetradrachm Dattari 5508
Æ Tetradrachm (with Sol/Helios)(Dattari (Savio) 5508) (Two known)

The Monetary History of the World
© Martin A. Armstrong