Pythodoris

Pythodoris (30/29 BCE - 38 CE): queen of Pontus (r.8 BCE - 38 CE).

Born in Smyrna in 30 or 29 BCE, Pythodoris was a daughter of a man named Pythodorus of Tralles and a woman named Antonia, a daughter of Mark Antony. In c.12 BCE, Pythodoris married king Polemon I of Pontus, who had recently conquered the Bosporan Kingdom (i.e., Crimea) but was killed in action in 8 BCE.

Pythodoris inherited Polemon's kingdom,note but was forced to hand over the Bosporan part to Polemon's former wife Dynamis. Pythodoris was allowed to keep Pontus ("the land of the Tibareni and Chaldaei, extending as far as Colchis, and Pharnacia and Trapezus"note), although the emperor Augustus forced her to marry king Archelaus of Cappadocia.note This marriage appears to have been a diplomatic alliance only; no children are recorded.

Queen Pythodoris survived her husband, who died in 17 CE, and was succeeded by Julius Polemon II, a son of her daughter Antonia Tryphaena and the Thracian king Cotys. Her son Zeno became king of Armenia under the name of Artaxias III.

Writing during her reign, Strabo calls his queen "a woman who is wise and qualified to preside over affairs of state".note

This page was created in 2019; last modified on 9 May 2019.