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Vonones I (c. A.D. 8 - 12)

ΟΝΩΝΗΣ

The tetradrachms and drachms of Vonones depart from the usual Parthian design, possibly due to his education and residence in Rome. Unlike most Parthian coins, the king’s personal name appears in Greek. The drachm legend ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΟΝΩΝΗΣ ΝΕΙΚΗΣΑΣ ΑΡΤΑΒΑΝΟΝ ("King Vonones conqueror of Artabanus") commemorates a temporary victory over the Artabanus II who would in time be victorious, and force Vonones to flee to Armenia where he secured the throne in about A.D. 12. Artabanus continued attempts to remove him from Armenia and was at last successful; Vonones fled to Syria where he was kept in kingly style by the Romans, but was later moved to Cilicia, at Artabanus' request, where he was murdered circa A.D. 19.

Robert Gonnella has presented a tetradrachm which gives evidence that Vonones I controlled the mint in Seleucia at least until AD 15. McDowell (1935) came to a similar conclusion based on his analysis of bronze coins minted by the autonomous mint of Seleucia.

Click here to view the inscriptions on this king's coins.

See the special page on Vonones' rare S60.8 chalkoi.

See the genealogy chart.

____________________
Notes:
1. Robert Gonnella, "New Evidence for Dating the Reign of Vonones I (8/9 to 11/22 A.D.)". Numismatic Chronicle, 2001, vol. 161, p. 67-73.
2. McDowell, Coins from Seleucia on the Tigris (Chicago, 1935)


Coins Attributed to Vonones I

The attributions and cataloging of Parthian coins used throughout this web site follow David Sellwood's An Introduction to the Coinage of Parthia (1980, 2nd edition) for consistency. The few exceptions to this policy are explained here.

Click on coin images to enlarge:

Sellwood Type 60

PDC 22424Vonones I (c. A.D. 8 - 12)
AR Tetradrachm, 12.27 g
Mint/ Seleucia, August, A.D. 11
Obv/ bust of king left, long beard, ear visible; border of dots; semi-circular Greek legend: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΝ ΟΝΩΝΗΣ
Rev/ Nike walking left; in left hand, palm; in right hand diadem; in front below palm year = ΒΚΤ = S.E. 322; Greek inscription: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΝ / ΑΡΣΑΚΟΥ ΕΥΕΡΓΕΤΟΥ / ΔΙΚΑΙΟΥ / ΕΠΙΦΑΝΟΥΣ ΦΙΛΕΛΛΗΝΟΣ; in exergue month = ΓΟΡΠ[ΙΑΙΟΥ]
Photo/ by Bob Rives
Additional Photo/ pdc_21598.jpg by permission Classical Numismatic Group
- Sellwood 60.2
- Triton VII (12 Jan 2004), lot 473

PDC 24324Vonones I (c. A.D. 8 - 12)
AR Tetradrachm, 12.37g, 29mm
Mint/ Seleucia, August, A.D. 11
Obv/ bust of king left, long beard, ear visible; border of dots; semi-circular Greek legend: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΝ ΟΝΩΝΗΣ
Rev/ Nike walking left; in left hand, palm; in right hand diadem; in front below palm year = ΒΚΤ = S.E. 322; Greek inscription: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΝ / ΑΡΣΑΚΟΥ ΕΥΕΡΓΕΤΟΥ / ΔΙΚΑΙΟΥ / ΕΠΙΦΑΝΟΥΣ ΦΙΛΕΛΛΗΝΟΣ; in exergue month = ΓΟΡΠΙΟΙΟΥ = August
Note/ This coin is an over-strike on a tetradrachm of Phraataces and Musa (Sellwood type 58) clearly showing the under type bust of Phraataces on the obverse
Photo/ by Chris Hopkins
- Sellwood 60.2

PDC 9459Vonones I (c. A.D. 8 - 12)
AR Tetradrachm, 12.10g
Mint/ Seleucia, November, A.D. 11
Obv/ bust of king left, long beard, ear visible; border of dots; semi-circular Greek legend: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΝ ΟΝΩΝΗΣ
Rev/ Nike walking left; in left hand, palm; in right hand diadem; in front below palm year = ΓΚΤ = S.E. 323; Greek inscription: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΝ / ΑΡΣΑΚΟΥ ΕΥΕΡΓΕΤΟΥ / ΔΙΚΑΙΟΥ / ΕΠΙΦΑΝΟΥΣ ΦΙΛΕΛΛΗΝΟΣ; in exergue month = ΑΠΕΛΑΙΟΥ = November
Location/ this plaster cast of coin is in KHM Vienna
Photo/ by Chris Hopkins
- Sellwood 60.4
- Ars Classica 12 (Oct 1926), lot 2364 (this coin)
- Petrowicz, p.105,1; pl.XVI-1 (this coin)
- SNG Britain III, no. 3299 (this coin)

ObverseVonones I (c. A.D. 8 - 12)
AR Drachm
Mint/ Ecbatana, undated
Obv/ bust of king left, tapering beard, short hair; border of dots; semi-circular Greek legend: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ [ΟΝΩΝΗΣ]
Rev/ Nike walking right; in right hand, palm; in front below palm monogram 26; Greek inscription: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ / ΟΝΩΝΗΣ / ΝΕΙΚΗΣΑΣ / ΑΡΤΑΒΑΝ[ΟΝ]
Photo/ by permission from the Alexander Filer collection
- Sellwood 60.5
- Shore 329

ObverseVonones I (c. A.D. 8 - 12)
AR Drachm
Mint/ Ecbatana, undated
Obv/ bust of king left, tapering beard, short hair; border of dots; semi-circular Greek legend: [Β]ΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΟΝΩΝΗΣ
Rev/ Nike walking right; in right hand, palm; in front below palm monogram 26; Greek inscription: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ / ΟΝΩΝΗΣ / ΝΕΙΚΗΣΑΣ / ΑΡΤΑΒΑΝ[ΟΝ]
Photo/ by Stein Rørvik, from his collection by permission
- Sellwood 60.5

ObverseVonones I (c. A.D. 8 - 12)
AR Drachm
Mint/ Ecbatana, undated
Additional images/ [large obv & rev]
Obv/ bust of king left, tapering beard, short hair; border of dots; semi-circular Greek legend: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΟΝΩΝΗΣ
Rev/ Nike walking right; in right hand, palm; in front below palm monogram 26; Greek inscription: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥ[Σ] / ΟΝΩΝΗΣ / ΝΕΙΚΗΣΑΣ / ΑΡΤΑΒΑΝ[ΟΝ]
Photo/ by permission Smithsonian Institution, National Numismatic Collection
- Sellwood 60.5

ObverseVonones I (c. A.D. 8 - 12)
AR Drachm, 3.68 g
Mint/ Ecbatana, undated
Obv/ bust of king left, tapering beard, short hair; border of dots; semi-circular Greek legend: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΟΝΩΝΗΣ
Rev/ Nike walking right; in right hand, palm; in front below palm monogram 26; Greek inscription: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥ[Σ] / ΟΝΩΝΗΣ / ΝΕΙΚΗΣΑΣ / ΑΡΤΑΒΑΝΟ[Ν]
Photo/ by permission Classical Numismatic Group
- Sellwood 60.5
- Shore 329

ObverseVonones I (c. A.D. 8 - 12)
AR Drachm, 3.8 g, 20 mm
Mint/ Ecbatana, undated
Additional images/ [study image obv]
Obv/ bust of king left, tapering beard, short hair; border of dots; semi-circular Greek legend: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΟΝΩΝΗΣ
Rev/ Nike walking right; in right hand, palm; in front below palm monogram 26; Greek inscription: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ / ΟΝΩΝΗΣ / ΝΕΙΚΗΣΑΣ / [Α]ΡΤΑΒΑΝΟΝ
Location/ V. Kucherov collection
Photo/ E. Rtveladze, The Ancient Coins of Central Asia (1987)
- Sellwood 60.5
- Rtveladze 13 (this coin)

Sellwood "Parthian Gold Coins" Type 1

A hoard of these coins surfaced that contained 254 aureus, 36 one-third aureus, and 26 one-sixth aureus coins.

Type I has been found only on the aureus size coins.

PDC 28933Vonones I (c. A.D. 8 - 12) Modern Forgery
AV Aureus
Mint/ Rhagae, March, A.D. 9/10
Obv/ Bust of king left, tapering square-ended beard, wearing a diadem with bow and pendent ends, short hair an earring and neck torque of three turns; border of dots; semi-circular cursively engraved Greek legend: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΟΝΩΝΗΣ
Rev/ King, bearded and diademed as on the obverse, wearing typical Parthian dress, seated right on a high-backed throne; facing him is a semi-draped Tyche holding a spear in her left hand and presenting a palm branch with her right; in a bounding rectangle starting at the top, is the Greek inscription ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΜΕΓΑΛΟΥ ΟΝΩΝΗΣ ΝΙΚΙΦΟΤΟΥ, ungrammatical and cursively engraved; either side of the palm branch is the date ΑΚΤ (321 S.E., A.D. 9/10); below is the month ΞΑΝ (Xandikos = March); in the outer field left is monogram 29.
Note/ This coin is not accepted as authentic by most scholars and has been condemned by the IBSCC
Photo/ by permission International Bureau for the Suppression of Counterfeit Coins
- Sellwood "Parthian Gold Coins," Type 1
- Bulletin on Counterfeits, v19/2, no. 1 (this coin)

PDC 28934Vonones I (c. A.D. 8 - 12) Modern Forgery
AV Aureus
Mint/ Rhagae, March, A.D. 9/10
Obv/ as above
Rev/ as above
Note/ This coin is not accepted as authentic by most scholars and has been condemned by the IBSCC
Photo/ by permission International Bureau for the Suppression of Counterfeit Coins
- Sellwood "Parthian Gold Coins," Type 1
- Bulletin on Counterfeits, v19/2, no. 2 (this coin)

Sellwood "Parthian Gold Coins" Type 2

Type 2 is found on three denominations, aureus, 1/3 aureus, and 1/6 aureus.

PDC 28935Vonones I (c. A.D. 8 - 12) Modern Forgery
AV Aureus
Mint/ Rhagae, April, A.D. 9/10
Obv/ as above
Rev/ King, bearded and diademed as on the obverse, wearing typical Parthian dress, seated right on a high-backed throne and holding scepter in right hand and in his outstretched left hand a small Nike offering him a diadem; Tyche is omitted; in a bounding rectangle starting at the top is the Greek inscription ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ / ΟΝΩΝΗΣ / ΝΕΙΚΗΣΑΣ / ΑΡΤΑΒΑΝΟΝ, cursively engraved; in the exergue appears the month ΑΡΤ (Artemisios = April) while reading downwards below Nike is the year date ΑΚΤ (321 S.E., A.D. 9/10); under the throne seat is the monogram 29.
Note/ This coin is not accepted as authentic by most scholars and has been condemned by the IBSCC
Photo/ by permission International Bureau for the Suppression of Counterfeit Coins
- Sellwood "Parthian Gold Coins," Type 2
- Bulletin on Counterfeits, v19/2, no. 3 (this coin)

PDC 28936Vonones I (c. A.D. 8 - 12) Modern Forgery
AV Aureus
Mint/ Rhagae, April, A.D. 9/10
Obv/ as above
Rev/ as above
Note/ This coin is not accepted as authentic by most scholars and has been condemned by the IBSCC
Photo/ by permission International Bureau for the Suppression of Counterfeit Coins
- Sellwood "Parthian Gold Coins," Type 2
- Bulletin on Counterfeits, v19/2, no. 4 (this coin)

PDC 28937Vonones I (c. A.D. 8 - 12) Modern Forgery
AV 1/3 Aureus
Mint/ Rhagae, April, A.D. 9/10
Obv/ as above
Rev/ Same as above
Note/ This coin is not accepted as authentic by most scholars and has been condemned by the IBSCC
Photo/ by permission International Bureau for the Suppression of Counterfeit Coins
- Sellwood "Parthian Gold Coins," Type 2
- Bulletin on Counterfeits, v19/2, no. 5 (this coin)

PDC 28938Vonones I (c. A.D. 8 - 12) Modern Forgery
AV 1/6 Aureus
Mint/ Rhagae, April, A.D. 9/10
Obv/ as above
Rev/ Same as above
Note/ This coin is not accepted as authentic by most scholars and has been condemned by the IBSCC
Photo/ by permission International Bureau for the Suppression of Counterfeit Coins
- Sellwood "Parthian Gold Coins," Type 2
- Bulletin on Counterfeits, v19/2, no. 6 (this coin)


This page last updated 16 Dec 2009

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