Queen regnant of Pontus
Reign8 BC – 38 AD
PredecessorPolemon I as King
SuccessorPolemon II as King
Queen consort of Pontus, Bosporus and Cilicia
Tenure 13/12 BC – 8 BC
Queen consort of Cappadocia
Tenure 8 BC – 17 AD
Born30 BC or 29 BC
(modern-day İzmir, Turkey)
DiedAD 38 (aged 67 or 68)
(modern-day Anatolia, Turkey)
SpouseKing Polemon I of Pontus
King Archelaus of Cappadocia
IssueArtaxias III of Armenia
Polemon II of Pontus
Antonia Tryphaena, Queen of Thrace
FatherPythodoros of Tralles

Pythodoris of Pontus (Ancient Greek: 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.[citation needed] According to an honorific inscription dedicated to her in Athens in the late 1st century BC, her royal title was Queen Pythodoris Philometor (Greek: ΒΑΣΙΛΙΣΣΑ ΠΥΘΟΔΩΡΙΣ ΦΙΛΟΜΗΤΩΡ).[1] Philometor means "mother-loving" and this title is associated with the Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt.

Pythodorida was born and raised in Smyrna (modern İzmir, Turkey). She was the daughter and only child of wealthy Anatolian Greeks and friend to the late triumvir Pompey, Pythodoros of Tralles and Antonia.[citation needed]

Her maternal grandparents were the Roman triumvir Mark Antony and Antonia Hybrida Minor.[citation needed]


The successive marriages of Pythodorida illustrate how elite women, like Rome's client states, were shuffled around in the game of power politics. 13 or 12 BC,[2] Pythodorida married King Polemon Pythodoros of Pontus as his second wife. By this marriage she became Queen of Pontus and the Bosporan Kingdom.

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

Polemon I died in 8 BC, and Pythodorida continued as 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.[3]


See also


  1. ^ An Athenian Honorific Inscription dedicated to Queen Pythodoris, which is displayed at the Epigraphical Museum (inventory no. EM 9573) in Athens, Greece
  2. ^ Ramsay, Sir William Mitchell (1893). The Church in the Roman Empire Before A.D. 170. G.P. Putnam's Sons. p. 427. Pythodoris, born about 33, married King Polemon B.C. 13 or 12,
  3. ^ "Strabo, Geography, BOOK XII., CHAPTER III., section 29". Retrieved 17 March 2023. The Tibareni, however, and Chaldæi, extending as far as Colchis, Pharnacia, and Trapezus, are under the government of Pythodoris, a prudent woman, and capable of presiding over the management of public affairs. She is the daughter of Pythodorus of Tralles. She was the wife of Polemo, and reigned conjointly with him for some time. She succeeded, after his death, to the throne. (...) Of the sons of Pythodoris, one as a private person, administers, together with his mother, the affairs of the kingdom, the other has been lately made king of the Greater Armenia. Pythodoris however married Archelaus, and remained with him till his death. At present she is a widow, and in possession of the countries before mentioned, and of others still more beautiful, of which we shall next speak.

Further reading