Vonones I

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Coin of Vonones I from a mint at Seleucia.

Vonones I of Parthia (ΟΝΩΝΗΣ Onōnēs on his coins) ruled the Parthian Empire from about 8 to 12 AD. He was the eldest son of Phraates IV of Parthia (ruled c. 37–2 BC) and was sent to Rome as a hostage in the 20s BC as surety for a treaty his father made with Augustus.[1]


After the assassination of Orodes III in about 6 AD, the Parthians applied to Augustus for a new King from the house of Arsaces.[2] Augustus sent them Vonones I, but he could not maintain himself as King; he had been educated as a Roman, and was despised by the Parthian nobility as a Roman stooge.[2]


Another member of the Arsacid house, Artabanus III (ruled c. 10–38), who was living among the Dahan nomads in the east of Parthia, was invited to the throne. In a civil war he defeated and expelled Vonones I.


The coins of Vonones I date from 8 to 12 AD and bear the inscription "King Vonones, conqueror of Artabanus" commemorating a temporary victory over his rival. Those of Artabanus II begin in the year 10. In about the year 12 Vonones I fled into Armenia and became King there.[3] Artabanus II demanded his deposition, and as Augustus did not wish to begin a war with the Parthians he moved Vonones I into Syria, where he was kept in custody, though in a kingly style.[4] Later he was moved to Cilicia,[5] and when he tried to escape in about 19 AD, he was killed by his guards.[6]


  1. ^ Tacitus, The Annals 2.1
  2. ^ a b Tacitus, The Annals 2.2
  3. ^ Tacitus, The Annals 2.3
  4. ^ Tacitus, The Annals 2.4
  5. ^ Tacitus, The Annals 2.58
  6. ^ Tacitus, The Annals 2.68


Vonones I
Born: Unknown Died: 19
Preceded by
Orodes III
Great King (Shah) of Parthia
Succeeded by
Artabanus III
Preceded by
Tigranes V and Erato
Protector of Armenia
King of Armenia

Succeeded by
Artaxias III