Polemon Pythodoros, also known as Polemon I or Polemon I of Pontus (Greek : Πολέμων Πυθόδωρος; fl. 1st century BC – died 8 BC) was the Roman Client King of Cilicia, Pontus, Colchis and the Bosporan Kingdom. Polemon was the son and heir of Zenon and possibly Tryphaena. Zenon and Polemon adorned Laodicea with many dedicated offerings.
Polemon was Anatolian Greek. Polemon's father, Zenon, was an orator and a prominent aristocrat from Laodicea on the Lycus in Anatolia. Zenon supported Hybreas, an orator and prominent politician in Mylasa (the chief city of Caria). Hybreas got into trouble with the Roman general Quintus Labienus for making a sarcastic comment. Labienus marched on Mylasa. Many of its citizens were inclined to surrender. However, Zenon and Hybreas refused to yield and led their cities into a revolt. Zenon encouraged the locals to resist the Labienus and King Pacorus I of Parthia, when their armies invaded Syria and Anatolia in 40 BC. Labienus sacked Mylasa. He 'shamefully maltreated' the home of Hybreas.Zenon was a friend and ally of Roman Triumvir Mark Antony and played a leading role during the Parthian invasion.
According to Appian, Mark Antony established client kings in the eastern areas of the Roman empire, which were under his control, on condition that they paid a tribute. In Anatolia Polemon was appointed to part of Cilicia, Darius, the son of Pharnaces II and grandson of Mithridates VI, to Pontus, and Amyntas to Pisidia. This was in 37 BC, before his war with Parthia, when he was making preparations for it and before he wintered in Athens in the winter of 37/36 BC.
According to Cassius Dio, in 36 BC Polemon took part in Mark Antony's campaign against Parthia. He was in a detachment led by Oppius Statianus which was attacked and slaughtered by the Parthians and the Medians. Polemon was the only one who was not killed. He was captured and then released for a ransom.In that year, after his defeat in his war against Parthia, Mark Antony 'assigned principalities.' He gave Amyntas Galatia and added Lycaonia and parts of Pamphylia to his domain. He gave Cappadocia to Archelaus after driving out Ariarathes. In 35 BC he wanted to conduct a campaign against Artavasdes II, the king of Armenia. He sent Polemon to Artavasdes, the king of Media Atropatene to try to obtain an alliance with him. This was successful, and in 31 BC, when the agreement was finalised, Antony gave Polemon Lesser Armenia as a reward.
In 26 BC, Polemon, whom Cassius Dio described as the king of Pontus, “was enrolled among the friends and allies of the Roman people; and the privilege was granted the senators of occupying the front seats in all the theatres of his realm.”
Strabo gave an indication of how Polemon might have become a king of Pontus. He wrote Polemon and Lycomedes of Comana attacked Arsaces, one the sons of Pharnaces II of Pontus, in Sagylium because he “was playing the dynast and attempting a revolution without permission from any of the prefects …” This stronghold was seized, but Arsaces fled to the mountains where he starved because he was without provisions and without water. Pompey had ordered the wells to be obstructed by rocks to prevent robbers from hiding on the mountains. Arsaces was captured and killed.Arsaces probably claimed the throne because he was the grandson of Mithridates VI of Pontus, the last king of an independent Kingdom of Pontus. Sagylium was in the interior of Pontus, not far from Cappadocia and from Comana in Cappadocia, which was ruled by Lycomedes. Polemon must have assumed a royal title in Pontus due to the part he played in suppressing Arsaces. In a later passage, Cassius Dio, specified that Polemon was “the king of that part of Pontus bordering on Cappadocia …” (see below). Therefore, Pontus must have been assigned to several client kings who administered the various regions of Pontus.
Plutarch listed Polemon among the eleven subject kings who sent troops to support Mark Antony in the Battle of Actium in his battle with Octavian in 31 BC. Polemon was among the five kings who did not participate in the battle personally.
In a further episode involving Polemon, Cassius Dio, referred to Polemon as "the king of that part of Pontus bordering on Cappadocia.” Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa sent Polemon against a certain Scribonius who claimed to be a grandson of Mithridates VI and that he had received the Bosporan Kingdom from Augustus after the death of its king, Asander. He married Asander's wife, Dynamis, the daughter of Pharnaces II, who had been entrusted with the regency of the kingdom by her husband. Thus, Scribonius controlled this kingdom. When Polemon reached the Cimmerian Bosporus, Scribonius had been killed by the people, who had heard of his advance. They resisted Polemon because they were afraid that he may be appointed as their king. Polemon defeated them but was unable to quell the rebellion until Agrippa went to Sinope to prepare a campaign against them. They surrendered. Polemon was appointed as their king. He married Dynamis with the support of Augustus.
The date Polemon's death is unknown. An inscription indicates that he must have been still on the throne as late 2 BC.
Strabo wrote that Tanais, a Greek city in the Maeotian Swamp, was sacked by Polemon because “it would not obey him.” Polemon conquered Colchis. He attacked the Aspurgiani, a Maeotian people, under a pretence of friendship, but they defeated him, took him alive and killed him. Strabo also wrote that after Polemon's death “his [second] wife Pythodorida of Pontus [was] in power, being queen, not only of the Colchians, but also of Trapezus and Pharnacia and of the barbarians who live above these places …”
Through his first wife, Dynamis, Polemon became stepfather to Tiberius Julius Aspurgus, her son from her first marriage. Dynamis probably died in 14 BC.
Polemon remarried. His second wife, Pythodorida of Pontus, was a half Anatolian Greek and Roman noblewoman. She was the first grandchild of Antony. Strabo wrote that she was the daughter of Pythodorus of Tralles and gave some information about the two sons and the daughter of Polemon and Pythodorida.They were:
Pythodorida succeeded Polemon and ruled Tibareni and Chaldia, extending as far as Colchis. She also ruled Pharnacia and Trapezus (modern Trabzon). Strabo described her as "a woman who is wise and qualified to preside over affairs of state." She married Archelaus of Cappadocia until his death. She was still ruling at the time of Strabo and "in possession of not only of the places above mentioned, but also of others still more charming." She possessed the cities of Sidene and Themiscyra Phanaroea, close to Pharnacia, the area between the rivers Lycus (Kelkit) and Iris (Yeşilırmak), which included the cities of Magnopolis, Amaseia, and Cabeira (which Pompey had renamed Diospolis), Kainon Chorion, plus Zelitis and Megalopolitis. Pythodoris changed the name of Diospolis to Sebaste, embellished it and used it as a royal residence.
| Mark Antony |
∞ 2.Antonia Hybrida
| Pharnaces II |
king of C. Bosporus
∞ Tryphaena (?)
| Pythodoros of Tralles |
| Asander |
king of C. Bosporus
| Dynamis |
queen of C. Bosporus
| Polemon I |
king of Pontus, Cappadocia
| Pythodoris |
queen of Pontus
8 BC-28 AD
∞ 1.Polemon I of Pontus
2.Archelaus of Cappadocia
| Archelaus |
king of Cappadocia
| T. J. Aspurgus |
king of C. Bosporus
8 BC-38 AD
|Zenon/Artaxias III |
king of Armenia
| J. Berenice |
Herod Agrippa I
king of Judea
| Polemon II |
king of Pontus, Cappadocia
| J. Mamaea |
priest-king of Emessa
| Antonia Tryphaena |
∞ Cotys III
king of Thrace
| T. J. Mithridates |
king of C. Bosporus
| T. J. Cotys I |
| Polemon Eupator |
| Rhoemetalces Philocaesar |
Marcus Antonius, commonly known in English as Mark Antony or Anthony, was a Roman politician and general who played a critical role in the transformation of the Roman Republic from a constitutional republic into the autocratic Roman Empire.
Pharnaces II of Pontus was the king of the Bosporan Kingdom and Kingdom of Pontus until his death. He was a monarch of Persian and Macedonian ancestry. He was the youngest child born to King Mithridates VI of Pontus from his first wife, his sister Queen Laodice. He was born and raised in the Kingdom of Pontus and was the namesake of his late double great grandfather Pharnaces I of Pontus. After his father was defeated by the Romans in the Third Mithridatic War and died in 63 BC, the Romans annexed the western part of Pontus, merged it with the former Kingdom of Bithynia and formed the Roman province of Bithynia and Pontus. The eastern part of Pontus remained under the rule of Pharnaces as a client kingdom until his death.
Artavasdes II was king of Armenia from 55 BC to 34 BC. A member of the Artaxiad Dynasty, he was the son and successor of Tigranes the Great. His mother was Cleopatra of Pontus, thus making his maternal grandfather the prominent Pontus king Mithridates VI Eupator. Like his father, Artavasdes continued using the title of King of Kings, as seen from his coins.
Artaxias III, also known as Zeno-Artaxias, was a Pontus prince and later a Roman Client King of Armenia.
Archelaus was a Roman client prince and the last king of Cappadocia.
Marcus Antonius Polemon Pythodoros, also known as Polemon II of Pontus and Polemon of Cilicia, was a prince of the Bosporan, Pontus, Cilicia, and Cappadocia. He served as a Roman Client King of Pontus, Colchis, and Cilicia.
The Arsacid dynasty or Arshakuni, ruled the Kingdom of Armenia from 12 to 428. The dynasty was a branch of the Arsacid dynasty of Parthia. Arsacid kings reigned intermittently throughout the chaotic years following the fall of the Artaxiad dynasty until 62 when Tiridates I secured Parthian Arsacid rule in Armenia. However, he did not succeed in establishing his line on the throne, and various Arsacid members of different lineages ruled until the accession of Vologases II, who succeeded in establishing his own line on the Armenian throne, which would rule the country until it was abolished by the Sasanian Empire in 428.
Quintus Labienus Parthicus was a Roman general in the Late Republic period. The son of Titus Labienus, he made an alliance with Parthia and invaded the Roman provinces in the eastern Mediterranean which were under the control of Mark Antony. He occupied the Roman province of Syria together with the Parthians in 40 BC. He then pushed into southern Anatolia, still with Parthian support. The main Parthian force took charge of Syria and invaded Judea. Both Labienus and the Parthians were defeated by Publius Ventidius Bassus, who recovered these provinces for Mark Antony.
Pythodorida or Pythodoris of Pontus was a Roman client queen of Pontus, the Bosporan Kingdom, Cilicia, and Cappadocia.
Antonia Tryphaena also known as Tryphaena of Thrace or Tryphaena was a Pontus Princess and a Roman Client Queen of Thrace.
Asander, named Philocaesar Philoromaios was a Roman client king of the Bosporan Kingdom. He was of Persian ancestry. Not much is known of his family and early life. He started his career as a general under Pharnaces II, the king of the Bosporus. According to some scholars, Asander took as his first wife a woman called Glykareia, known from one surviving Greek inscription, "Glykareia, wife of Asander".
Tiberius Julius Aspurgus Philoromaios was a Prince and Roman client king of the Bosporan Kingdom.
Lycomedes of Comana was a Bithynian nobleman of Cappadocian Greek descent who ruled Comana, Cappadocia in the second half of the 1st century BC. In 47 BC, Lycomedes was probably about 50 years old when he was named by Roman Dictator, Gaius Julius Caesar, the priest of the goddess Bellona in the temple-state of Comana, and sovereign, therefore, of the surrounding country. The predecessor of Lycomedes was Archelaus, the grandson of the Pontic general Archelaus. Strabo reports that with Roman client King Polemon I of Pontus, Lycomedes besieged a fortress held by Arsaces, a rebel chief who was guarding the sons of King Pharnaces II of Pontus, until Arsaces surrendered.
Cappadocia was a province of the Roman Empire in Anatolia, with its capital at Caesarea. It was established in 17 AD by the Emperor Tiberius, following the death of Cappadocia's last king, Archelaus.
Bithynia and Pontus was the name of a province of the Roman Empire on the Black Sea coast of Anatolia (Turkey). It was formed during the late Roman Republic by the amalgamation of the former kingdoms of Bithynia and Pontus. The amalgamation was part of a wider conquest of Anatolia and its reduction to Roman provinces.
Dynamis, nicknamed Philoromaios, was a Roman client queen of the Bosporan Kingdom during the Late Roman Republic and part of the reign of Augustus, the first Roman Emperor. Dynamis is an ancient Greek name which means the “powerful one”. She was a monarch of Iranian and Greek Macedonian ancestry. She was the daughter of King Pharnaces II of Pontus and his Sarmatian wife. She had an older brother called Darius and a younger brother called Arsaces. Her paternal grandparents had been the monarchs of the Kingdom of Pontus, Mithridates VI of Pontus and his first wife Laodice, who was also his sister. Dynamis married three times. Her husbands were Asander, a certain Scribonius and Polemon I of Pontus. According to Rostovtzeff, she also had a fourth husband, Aspurgos.
Darius of Pontus was a monarch of Iranian and Greek Macedonian ancestry. He was the first child born to King Pharnaces II of Pontus and his Sarmatian wife. He had two younger siblings: a sister called Dynamis and a brother called Arsaces. His paternal grandparents were Mithridates VI, the king of Pontus and his first wife, his sister Laodice.
Arsaces of Pontus was a Prince from the Kingdom of Pontus. He was a monarch of Iranian and Greek Macedonian ancestry.
Scribonius was a man of unknown origin, possibly Roman or Hellenistic. He claimed to be a descendant of Mithridates VI of Pontus, the earlier king of Pontus who had also ruled the Bosporus. Through this, he claimed the throne of the Bosporan Kingdom in 17 BC. The real king of the Bosporus, Asander starved himself because of this. He somehow convinced the wife of Asander, Dynamis to marry him. When Augustus learned of what Scribonius had done he sent Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa to remove Scribonius. Agrippa then sent Polemon I of Pontus to remove Scribonius and take the throne himself. Scribonius was executed in 16 BC, and Polemon took the throne. To legitimise his claim he married Dynamis.
Appian, The Civil Wars, Penguin Classics, 1996; ISBN 978-0140445091
Ptolemaic Dynasty: Cleopatra VII
Arsaces of Pontus
| King of Pontus |
| King of the Bosporus |
16-8 BC (with Dynamis 16-14 BC)