Pythodorida of Pontus

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Pythodorida Philometor

Greek: Πυθοδωρίδα Φιλομητωρ
Also Known As: "Pythodoris"
Birthplace: (Tralles), Aydin, Turkey
Death: Died in 22 CE, Cappadocia, (Asia Minor), Turkey
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Pythodoros of Tralles and Antonia Prima
Wife of Archelaus Sisines, King of Cappadocia and Polemon Pythodoros, King of Pontus
Mother of Zeno-Artaxias III, Client King of Armenia; Marcus Antonius Polemon Pythodoros, Client King of Pontus and Antonia Tryphaena Queen of Thrace

Managed by: Gwyneth McNeil
Last Updated:

About Pythodorida of Pontus

Pythodorida of Pontus


  • Queen of Pontus
  • Queen consort of the Bosporan Kingdom
  • Queen consort of Cilicia
  • Queen consort of Cappadocia


  • King Polemon I of Pontus
  • King Archelaus of Cappadocia


  • Artaxias III of Armenia
  • Polemon II of Pontus
  • Antonia Tryphaena, Queen of Thrace


  • Pythodoros of Tralles


  • Antonia


  • 30 BC or 29 BC



  • AD 38 (aged 67 or 68)


Pythodorida or Pythodoris of Pontus (Greek: Πυθοδωρίδα or Πυθοδωρίς, 30 BC or 29 BC – 38) was a Roman Client Queen of Pontus, the Bosporan Kingdom, Cilicia and Cappadocia.

Origins & Early Life

Pythodorida is also known as Pythodoris I and Pantos Pythodorida. According to an honorific inscription dedicated to her in Athens Greece in the late 1st century BC, her royal title was Queen Pythodorida Philometor (Greek: ΒΑΣΙΛΙΣΣΑ ΠΥΘΟΔΩΡΙΔΑ ΦΙΛΟΜΗΤΩΡ). Philometor means "mother-loving" and this title is associated with the Greek Pharaohs and Queens of the Ptolemaic dynasty of Ancient Egypt.

Pythodorida was born and raised in Smyrna (modern İzmir, Turkey). She was the daughter and only child of wealthy Anatolian Greek and friend to the late triumvir Pompey, Pythodoros of Tralles and Antonia. Pythodorida was half Roman and half Anatolian Greek. She was the namesake of her father.

Her maternal grandparents were the Roman triumvir Mark Antony and Antonia Hybrida Minor, who were paternal first cousins, however Pythodorida’s paternal grandparents are unknown. Pythodorida seems to the first-born grandchild born to the triumvir Antony.


About 14 BC, Pythodorida married King Polemon Pythodoros of Pontus as his second wife. She became Queen of Pontus and the Bosporan Kingdom when she married Polemon I. Polemon I was previously widowed by his first wife and had no natural children, except for a stepson. Pythodorida and Polemon had two sons and one daughter, who were:

  • Zenon, also known as Zeno-Artaxias or Artaxias III, who became King of Armenia in 18 and reigned until his death in 35
  • Marcus Antonius Polemon Pythodoros, also known as Polemon II of Pontus
  • Antonia Tryphaena who married King of Thrace, Cotys VIII

Polemon I died in 8 BC and Pythodorida became the sole Queen of Pontus until her death. Pythodorida was able to retain Colchis and Cilicia but the Bosporan Kingdom, she was unable to retain. The Bosporan Kingdom, was succeeded by her first husband's stepson Aspurgus.

After Polemon I died, she married King Archelaus of Cappadocia. Archelaus and Pythodorida had no children. Through her marriages, she became Roman Client 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. When Pythodorida died, Polemon II succeeded her. Pythodorida was a friend and contemporary to the Greek geographer Strabo. Strabo is said to have described Pythodorida as a woman of virtuous character. Strabo considered her to have a great capacity for business and considered that under Pythodorida’s rule, Pontus had flourished.



Not the mother of Archelaus

Despite the reference above from:, that places her as the mother of Archelaus Minor, no other reference cites Pythodorida as his or his sister, Glaphyra’s, mother. Eg:

In the article about Archelaus & Glaphyra’s father, Pythdorida is explicitly stated to have been his second wife, with whom he had no children. Here it states “Glaphyra's mother, the first wife of Archelaus, was an Armenian Princess whose name is unknown and who died by 8 BCE”

I am therefore removing Pythodorida as the mother of Archelaus. [Sharon June 2012]

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