Portraits of Odaenathus
Odaenathus was the king of Palmyra from 260 to 267 CE. He came to dominate the Roman East when he defeated Shapur I, the Sasanian emperor of Persia. He was assassinated alongside his eldest son Herodianus while campaigning against Germanic raiders in Bithynia. His widow declared herself regent to their son Vaballathus, who succeeded his father.
About Portraits of Odaenathus in brief
Odaenathus was the king of Palmyra from 260 to 267 CE. He came to dominate the Roman East when he defeated Shapur I, the Sasanian emperor of Persia. He was assassinated alongside his eldest son Herodianus while campaigning against Germanic raiders in Bithynia. His widow, Zenobia, declared herself regent to their son Vaballathus, who succeeded his father. A few small clay tesserae were found with impressions of his image, but no large-scale portrait of the king has been found. Several limestone head portraits from Palmyra were identified by several twentieth-century scholars as depicting him. Two head sculptures have been suggested by scholars to be depictions of theKing. Several other head sculptures are nearly identical and appear nearly identical to one at the Carlsberg museum in Copenhagen and the Glyptotek museum in İstanbul. The king’s name has been confirmed by scholars through inscriptions through the Museum of Archaeology, Glyptology, and Museums of the Palmyrene family in Palmyra and at the Museum of Archaeology of the University of Tunisia in Bruges, and the Museum of Palmyra in Toulouse, France. The King of Kings title was traditionally held by Near Eastern Seleucid and Parthian rulers and Sassanian monarchs, and by adopting it Odaanathus indicated that he considered his dynasty the legitimate successor of the Parthians.
Most reported portraits are undated and have no inscriptions, making identification speculative. Two marble heads, both reflecting a high level of individuality, are more likely to be portraits of the King. The first marble sculpture depicts a man in a royal diadem and the second shows the king in an eastern royal tiara. The title was a challenge to the Persian monarch’s claims of authority in the region, and he assumed the title King of Kings in the same year he declared his son co-ruler. He died in 267 and was succeeded by his son, who was later killed in battle with Germanic raider in Heraclea Pontica, a city in Bitynia; the perpetrator and motives are unclear. He is buried in the Palmyra Statue of the Kings, which is on display at the Palmyra Museum in the city’s ancient ruin, and is the only place where his name is known to have been used as a title for a king. He had no children, and his only known heir was his grandson, who died in the early 20th century. Odaenithus was a member of an important Palmyrene family, and was elected as the king of the city in the 240s. He was made the effective ruler of the Roman Empire by Gallienus, the son and successor of Valerian, who appointed him a Corrector totius orientis. In 263 he besieged the Persian capital Ctesiphon.