Polemon I of Pontus
|Polemon I of Pontus|
|King of Pontus|
|Reign||36 – 8 BC|
|Successor||Pythodorida of Pontus as Queen|
|King of the Bosporan Kingdom|
|Reign||16 – 8 BC or 12/13–8 BC|
Pythodorida of Pontus
Polemon II of Pontus
(all with Pythodorida)
Polemon I Pythodoros (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.
Life and career
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
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.”
The date of Polemon's death is unknown. An inscription indicates that he must have been still on the throne as late 2 BC. Or he died about 8 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 …”
Marriages and succession
Through his first wife, Dynamis, Polemon became stepfather to Tiberius Julius Aspurgus, her son from her first marriage. It seems that after the death of Polemon she regained the Bosporan kingdom and she appears to have ruled until 7-8 AD. Or Dynamis 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:
- Zenon, also known as Zeno-Artaxias or Artaxias III, who became King of Greater Armenia in 18 AD and reigned until his death in 35 AD. He was appointed by Germanicus because the throne was vacant and he had popular support as he had imitated Armenian customs from an early age. He was saluted as Artaxias, after Artaxata, the capital of the kingdom.
- Marcus Antonius Polemon Pythodoros, also known as Polemon II of Pontus. Strabo wrote that "as a private citizen is assisting his mother in the administration of her empire."
- Antonia Tryphaena who married Cotys VIII, King of Thrace. Cotys was murdered "and she lived in widowhood, because she had children by him; and the eldest of these [was] in power" at the time of Strabo.
Pythodorida succeeded Polemon and ruled
Family tree of Polemon I
∞ 2.Antonia Hybrida
king of C. Bosporus
∞ Tryphaena (?)
|Pythodoros of Tralles|
king of Pontus, Cappadocia
queen of Pontus
8 BC-28 AD
∞ 1.Polemon I of Pontus
2.Archelaus of Cappadocia
king of Cappadocia
priest-king of Emessa
∞ Cotys III
king of Thrace
|T. J. Mithridates|
king of C. Bosporus
|T. J. Cotys I|
- Bosporan Kingdom
- Roman Crimea
- ^ ISBN 978-1-304-97576-8.
- ^ ISSN 0075-4269.
- ^ Strabo, Geography, 12.8.16
- ^ Strabo, Geography, 14.5.24
- ^ Appian, The Civil Wars, 2.75
- ^ Cassius Dio, Roman History, 49.25
- ^ Cassius Dio, Roman History, 49.32.3, 33.1-2, 44.3
- ^ Cassius Dio, Roman History, 53.25.1
- ^ Strabo, Geography, 12.3.38
- ^ Plutarch, The Life of Antony, 38, 61
- ^ Cassius Dio, Roman History, 54.24.4-8
- ^ Böckh, Corp. Inscr. vol. 2, No. 3524; Eckhel, vol. 2, p. 369; referenced in Smith, A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology: Polemon I 
- ^ Ramsay, Sir William Mitchell (1893). The Church in the Roman Empire Before A.D. 170. Hodder and Stoughton. p. 427.
- ^ Strabo, Geography, 11.2.3, 11, 18
- ^ Strabo, Geography, 12.3.29
- ^ Tacitus, Annals, 2.56 http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.02.0078%3Abook%3D2%3Achapter%3D56
- ^ Strabo, Geography, 12.3.29-31. 37
- Primary sources
Appian, The Civil Wars, Penguin Classics, 1996;
- Cassius Dio, Roman History, vol. 5, Books 46-50 (Loeb Classical Library), Loeb, 1989; ISBN 978-0674990913
- Strabo, Geography, vol. 5, Books 10-12, (Loeb Classical Library), Loeb, 1989; ISBN 978-0674992337
- Strabo, Geography, vol. 6, Books 13-14 (Loeb Classical Library), Loeb, 1989; ISBN 978-0674992467
- Plutarch, Lives, vol. 9, Demetrius and Antony. Pyrrhus and Gaius Marius, Loeb Classical Library, Loeb, 1920; ASIN: B00E6TGQKO
- Secondary sources
- Dmitriev, S,. Claudius' Grant of Cilicia to Polemo, Classical Quarterly, n.s., 53 (2003), pp. 286–291 
- Smith, A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology: Polemon I 
- Smith, A. (ed.), Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology: Zenon 
- Greek Wikisource has original text related to this article: Πολέμων Πυθόδωρος
- Coinage of Polemon I