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Ariarathes V of Cappadocia

Ariarathes V of Cappadocia

The basics
Date of birth
Date of death 200
Children: Ariarathes VI of Cappadocia
Spouse: Nysa of Cappadocia
Mother: Antiochis (daughter of Antiochus the Great)
Father: Ariarathes IV of Cappadocia
The details

Ariarathes V Eusebes Philopator (Ancient Greek: Ἀριαράθης Εὐσεβής Φιλοπάτωρ, Ariaráthēs Eusebḗs Philopátōr; reigned 163–130 BC or 126 BC) was son of the preceding king Ariarathes IV of Cappadocia and Antiochis. Previously called Mithridates, he reigned 33 years, 163–130 BC, as king of Cappadocia. He was distinguished by the excellence of his character and his cultivation of philosophy and the liberal arts and is considered by some to have been the greatest of the Kings of Cappadocia.

Early life

Ariarathes V was of mixed Greek and Persian ancestry; although he was predominantly Greek by descent, he was the son of Ariarathes IV of Cappadocia, who was half Greek Macedonian and Persian. Also, his Greek mother, Antiochis, was the daughter of the Seleucid King Antiochus III of the Greek-Macedonian Seleucid dynasty.

According to Livy, he was educated at Rome; but this account may perhaps refer to another Ariarathes, while Ariarathes Eusebes probably studied in his youth in Athens, where he seems to have become a friend of the future king Attalus II Philadelphus.


In consequence of rejecting, at the wish of the Romans, a marriage with Laodice V the sister of Demetrius I Soter, the latter made war upon him, and brought forward Orophernes of Cappadocia, his brother and one of the supposititious sons of the late king, as a claimant of the throne. Ariarathes was deprived of his kingdom, and fled to Rome about 158 BC. He was restored by the Romans, who, however, allowed Orophernes to reign jointly with him, as is expressly stated by Appian, and implied by Polybius. The joint government, however, did not last long; for we find Ariarathes shortly afterwards named as sole king.

In 154 BC, Ariarathes assisted the king of Pergamum Attalus II in his war against Prusias II of Bithynia, and sent his son Demetrius in command of his forces. He fell in 130 BC, in the war of the Romans against Aristonicus of Pergamum. In return for the succours which he had brought the Romans on that occasion, Lycaonia and Cilicia were added to the dominions of his family.

Marriage and succession

By his wife Nysa of Cappadocia (who was the daughter of King Pharnaces I of Pontus) he had six children; but they were all, with the exception of one, killed by their mother, that she might obtain the government of the kingdom. After she had been put to death by the people on account of her cruelty, her last surviving son succeeded to the crown as Ariarathes VI of Cappadocia.


Ariarathes was a strong philhellene; himself honoured with the Athenian citizenship, he refounded the two Cappadocian towns of Mazaca and Tyana with the Greek names of Eusebia. He was munificent in his donations to Athens and its institutions; an inscription remains by an association of professional actors which thanks him and his wife for his patronage. It is also known that he corresponded with the Greek philosopher Carneades, as Diogenes Laertius attests.

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