Mithridatic dynasty
Coin of Mithridates VI
Parent housePharnacid dynasty (?)
CountryKingdom of Pontus
Bosporan Kingdom
Founded281 BC
FounderMithridates I Ktistes
Current headExtinct
Final rulerPharnaces II of Pontus
Dissolution47 BC
37 BC last ruler (Arsaces of Pontus, Roman-appointed)
Rhescuporis VI

The Mithridatic dynasty, also known as the Pontic dynasty, was a hereditary dynasty of Persian origin,[1][2][3][4] founded by Mithridates I Ktistes (Mithridates III of Cius) in 281 BC.[3] The origins of the dynasty were located in the highest circles of the ruling Persian nobility in Cius.[3] Mithridates III of Cius fled to Paphlagonia after the murder of his father and his predecessor Mithridates II of Cius, eventually proclaiming the Kingdom of Pontus, and adopting the epithet of "Ktistes" (literally, Builder).[5][6] The dynasty reached its greatest extent under the rule of Mithridates VI, who is considered the greatest ruler of the Kingdom of Pontus.[7]

They were prominent enemies of the Roman Republic during the Mithridatic Wars during the reign of Mithridates VI until the late 60s BC.[3] In 48 BC, the Roman client king of the Crimea, Pharnaces II, attempted to press his claim on Pontus, but was decisively defeated by Julius Caesar at the Battle of Zela.[8]


The Mithridatids reached their greatest extent under the rule of Mithridates VI, who conquered the neighboring territories of Colchis and Trapezos, as well as succeeding in becoming ruler of the Bosporan Kingdom after the death of Paerisades V.

This however, did not last long. His son and successor was ousted from rule of the Pontic Kingdom after his defeat at Zela, leaving only the Bosporan Kingdom under direct Mithridatid control, who nonetheless also was ousted from power by the general Asander.

The dynasty, through Dynamis, the daughter of Mithridates VI, and her offspring, would continue to rule the Bosporan Kingdom until 342 AD. The Bosporan Kingdom would remain the longest lasting client-state of the Roman Empire. Their descendants include:

Kings of Pontus

Kings of Pontus
King Reign (BC) Consort(s) Comments
Mithridates I Ctistes 281–266 BC Ctistes meaning Builder
Ariobarzanes 266–250 BC son of Mithridates I
Mithridates II c.250 – c.210 BC Laodice Son of Ariobarzanes
Mithridates III c.210 – c.190 BC Laodice Laodice may have been the daughter of Antiochus IV
Pharnaces I c.190 – c. 155 BC Nysa Eldest son of Mithridates III
Mithridates IV Philopator Philadelphus 155–150 BC Laodice Laodice was his sister-wife.
Mithridates V Euergetes 150-120 BC Laodice VI
Mithridates Chrestus 120-116 BC None Jointly Succeeded with brother Mithridates VI, who was forced into hiding. When brother came out Chrestus lost throne.
Mithridates VI Eupator Dionysus 120–63 BC Multiple Led Mithridatic Wars against Rome.
Pharnaces II 63–47 BC Last direct ruler of the Kingdom of Pontus

Family tree of Mithridatids, kings of Pontus

Mithridates I Ctistes
king of Pontus
281-266 BC
Antiochus I SoterAchaeus I
king of Pontus
266-c.250 BC
Antiochus II TheosAndromachus
Mithridates II
king of Pontus
c.250-c.210 BC
LaodiceSeleucus II Callinicus
Mithridates III
king of Pontus
c.210-c.190 BC
Laodice IIIAntiochus III the GreatLaodiceAchaeus II
AntiochusAntiochus IV Epiphanes
Mithridates IV
king of Pontus
c.155-c.150 BC
LaodicePharnakes I
king of Pontus
c.190-c.155 BC
of Seleucids
Ariarathes V
king of Cappadocia
of Mithridatids
Mithridates V Euergetes
king of Cappadocia
c.150-120 BC
Laodice VI
Ariarathes VI
king of Cappadocia
Laodice of Cappadocia1.LaodiceMithridates VI of Pontus the Great
king of Pontus
.120-63 BC
3.Berenice of Chios
4.Stratonice of Pontus
Mithridates Chrestus
(1) Mithridates
ruler of Colchis
(1) Arcathias
(1) Machares
king of Cimmerian Bospsrus
(1) Pharnaces II
king of Pontus
63-47 BC
(1) Cleopatra
Tigranes II of Armenia
(1) Drypetina(2) Athenais Philostorgos II
Ariobarzanes II of Cappadocia
(4) Xiphares
(5) Mithrithates I
king of Cimmerian Bosporus
(illeg.) Adobogiona the Younger
∞ Castor of Galatia
(illeg.) Ariarathes IX
king of Cappadocia
(illeg.) Orsabaris
∞ 1.Socrates Chrestus
2.Lycomedes of Comana
(illeg.) daughter
king of Pontus
Gepaepyris1.Asander Philicaesar Philoromaios
king of Cimmerian Bosporus
47-17 AD
queen of C. Bosporus 16-8 BC
king of C. Bosporus
17-16 BC
3.Polemon I Pythodoros
king of Pontus
16-8 BC
queen of Pontus
8 BC-38 AD
king of Cappadocia
T. J. Mithridates
king of Cimmerian Bosporus
38 AD-45
T. J. Cotys I
king of Cimmerian Bosporus
45 AD-63
T. J. Aspurgus
king of Cimmerian Bospsorus
8 BC-38 AD
Polemon II
king of Pontus
38 AD-74



  1. ^ The Foreign Policy of Mithridates VI Eupator, King of Pontus, by B. C. McGing, page 11
  2. ^ Children of Achilles: The Greeks in Asia Minor Since the Days of Troy, by John Freely, page 69-70
  3. ^ a b c d Dueck 2002, p. 3.
  4. ^ McGing, Brian (2004). "PONTUS". Encyclopaedia Iranica.
  5. ^ McGing, B.C. (1986). The Foreign Policy of Mithridates VI Eupator, King of Pontus. BRILL. p. 15. ISBN 978-9004075917. In 302 Mithridates II fell under suspicion of conspiring with Cassander against Antigonus and was killed near Cius. His son Mithridates III of Cius inherited the dynasty but was warned by his friend Demetrius that he too was in danger from Antigonus and fled to Paphlagonia. Here he ruled for thirty-six years (302–266) at some stage proclaiming himself Mithridates Ctistes, founder of the kingdom of Pontus and the line of Pontic kings.
  6. ^ Dueck 2002, p. 3: "Mithridates III of Cius fled to Paphlagonia after his father was killed by Antigonus and after he defeated certain Seleucid forces. In 281 BCE he became the first king of the Pontic dynasty and thus acquired the name "Ktistes", founder."
  7. ^ Hewsen, Robert H. (2009). "Armenians on the Black Sea: The Province of Trebizond". In Richard G. Hovannisian (ed.). Armenian Pontus: The Trebizond-Black Sea Communities. Costa Mesa, CA: Mazda Publishers, Inc. pp. 41, 37–66. ISBN 978-1-56859-155-1.
  8. ^ Overy, Richard (2014-10-01). A History of War in 100 Battles. Oxford University Press. p. 89. ISBN 9780199390724.