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Pythodorida of Pontus

The basics
About
Date of birth Smyrna
Date of death Kingdom of Pontus
Family
Mother: Antonia
Father: Pythodoros of Tralles
Spouse: Polemon I of Pontus Archelaus of Cappadocia
Children: Polemon II of Pontus Artaxias III
The details
Biography

Pythodorida or Pythodoris of Pontus (Greek: Πυθοδωρίδα or Πυθοδωρίς, 30 BC or 29 BC – 38) was a Roman client queen of Pontus, the Bosporan Kingdom, Cilicia, and Cappadocia.

Origins and early life

Pythodorida is also known as Pythodoris I and Pantos Pythodorida. According to an honorific inscription dedicated to her in Athens Greece in the late 1st century BC, her royal title was Queen Pythodorida Philometor (Greek: ΒΑΣΙΛΙΣΣΑ ΠΥΘΟΔΩΡΙΔΑ ΦΙΛΟΜΗΤΩΡ). Philometor means "mother-loving" and this title is associated with the Greek Pharaohs and Queens of the Ptolemaic dynasty of Ancient Egypt.

Pythodorida was born and raised in Smyrna (modern İzmir, Turkey). She was the daughter and only child of wealthy Anatolian Greek and friend to the late triumvir Pompey, Pythodoros of Tralles and Antonia. Pythodorida was half Roman and half Anatolian Greek. She was the namesake of her father.

Her maternal grandparents were the Roman triumvir Mark Antony and Antonia Hybrida Minor, who were paternal first cousins, however Pythodorida’s paternal grandparents are unknown. Pythodorida seems to the first-born grandchild born to the triumvir Antony.

Queen

The successive marriages of Pythodorida illustrate how elite women, like Rome's client states, were shuffled around in the game of power politics. About 14 BC, Pythodorida married King Polemon Pythodoros of Pontus as his second wife. By this marriage she became Queen of Pontus and the Bosporan Kingdom. Polemon I was previously widowed by his first wife and had no natural children, except for a stepson.

Pythodorida and Polemon had two sons and one daughter, who were:

  • Zenon, also known as Zeno-Artaxias or Artaxias III, who became King of Armenia in 18 and reigned until his death in 35
  • Marcus Antonius Polemon Pythodoros, also known as Polemon II of Pontus
  • Antonia Tryphaena who married King of Thrace, Cotys VIII

Polemon I died in 8 BC, and Pythodorida became the sole Queen of Pontus until her death. Pythodorida was able to retain Colchis and Cilicia but not the Bosporan Kingdom which was granted to her first husband's stepson, Aspurgus. She then married King Archelaus of Cappadocia. Archelaus and Pythodorida had no children. Through her second marriage, she became Queen of Cappadocia. Pythodorida had moved with her children from Pontus to Cappadocia to live with Archelaus. When Archelaus died in 17, Cappadocia became a Roman province and she returned with her family back to Pontus.

In later years, Polemon II assisted his mother in the administration of the kingdom. Following her death, Polemon II succeeded to the throne. Pythodorida was remembered by a friend and contemporary, the Greek geographer Strabo, who is said to have described Pythodorida as a woman of virtuous character. Strabo considered her to have a great capacity for business and that under Pythodorida’s rule Pontus had flourished.

Ancestry

The contents of this page are sourced from a Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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