Mithridates II of Pontus

Mithridates II: king of Pontus (r.c.250-c.220 BCE).

The royal tombs of Amasia

Mithridates II was the son of king Ariobarzanes and the grandson of the first king of the independent state that would one day be called Pontus, Mithridates I Ktistes, who had been in control of Paphlagonia and some cities along the shore of the Black Sea. This was the age of the Galatian invasion of Anatolia. The historian Memnon writes:

Not long afterwards, Ariobarzanes departed from this world, while he was in the middle of a dispute with the Gauls. His son Mithridates was still young; so the Gauls treated the son with disdain and devastated his kingdom. The subjects of Mithridates suffered much hardship, but they were rescued by the Heracleians, who sent corn to Amisus so that they could feed themselves and meet their basic needs.note

It is not likely that Mithridates was very young, because he is also mentioned as acting on his father's behalf when Pontus annexed Amastris.note On the other hand, he was not yet married in 245 BCE.

In that year, an important war broke out between the Seleucid and Ptolemaic Empire, the Third Syrian or Laodicean War. The Seleucid king Seleucus II Callinicus, who had succeeded his father Antiochus II Theos, was looking for support and proposed a marriage alliance: Mithridates would marry a woman who is usually called "Laodice" (whose real name is not known).note As a marriage gift, Phrygia was transferred as well.

In the Seleucid civil war between Seleucus II Callinicus, who was in control of the eastern part of the kingdom, and his brother Antiochus Hierax, who was in control of the Anatolian territories, Mithridates supported the latter.note However, contacts with Seleucus II remained friendly, because two daughters of Mithridates and "Laodice" were wedded to Seleucid princes: one Laodice married to prince Achaeus,note another Laodice was the queen of Seleucus' successor, Antiochus III the Great.note Their wedding took place in 222 BCE, towards the end of Mithridates' reign in Pontus.

Mithridates II also supported the island of Rhodes, which was devastated by an earthquake in 227.note He was succeeded by his son Mithridates III.

This page was created in 2019; last modified on 7 May 2019.