ROMAN EMPIRE Vabalathus 270 AD antoninianus


ROMAN EMPIRE, Vabalathus, 270 AD, antoninianus, no date (270 AD), Antioch mint, officina 5, Obverse: laureate bust R, VABALATHVS V C R IM D R, Reverse: radiate bust R, IMP C AVRELIANVS AVG, S, medal rotation, billon, 19mm, 3.79g, SR11718, some smoothed red crust on Vab’s ear and cheek, F/VF

1 in stock

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Vabalathus was child king of Palmyra, a breakaway state in what is now Jordan. His mother, Zenobia, ran the affairs of the state. The Romans refused to recognize his title until Aurelian, needing peace in the East so he could make war in the west, agreed to recognize him. A few years later Aurelian changed his mind and invaded and annexed Palmyra.

In the Imperial Period Roman coinage became an engine for governmental propaganda. All of the themes of the coins are celebratory of some aspect of govermental authority or achievement.

The Roman Republic was founded in response to tyrannical kings. It functioned for several centuries in a kind of balance of rich and poor people (slaves didn’t count). The general idea was that laws would constrain personal power. During the days of Julius Caesar, et al, powerful people became too powerful, and a new system of slightly constrained autocracy, the Empire, developed. The main catalog we use on this web site for Roman coins is Roman Coins and their Values, by David Sear.

Ancient Coins includes Greek and Roman coins and those of neighbors and successors, geographically from Morocco and Spain all the way to Afghanistan. Date ranges for these begin with the world’s earliest coins of the 8th century BC to, in an extreme case, the end of Byzantine Empire, 1453 AD.