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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]

Vonones I
Vonones I the Arsacid.jpg
Coin of Vonones I
King of Armenia
Reign12 – 18 AD
PredecessorTigranes V and Erato
SuccessorArtaxias III
King of the Parthian Empire
Reign8 – 12 AD
PredecessorOrodes III
SuccessorArtabanus II
Died19 AD
FatherPhraates IV



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][3]


Another member of the Arsacid house, Artabanus II of Parthia (ruled c. 10–38), who was living among the Dahae nomads in the east of Parthia, was invited to the throne. In a civil war he defeated and expelled Vonones I.[3]


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.[4] 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.[5] Later he was moved to Cilicia,[6] and when he tried to escape in about 19 AD, he was killed by his guards.[7][3]


  1. ^ Tacitus, The Annals 2.1
  2. ^ a b Tacitus, The Annals 2.2
  3. ^ a b c   One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainMeyer, Eduard (1911). "Vonones s.v. Vonones I.". In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. 28 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 211.
  4. ^ Tacitus, The Annals 2.3
  5. ^ Tacitus, The Annals 2.4
  6. ^ Tacitus, The Annals 2.58
  7. ^ Tacitus, The Annals 2.68


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

Succeeded by
Artaxias III