Featured A great-great-great-grandson of Marc Antony

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Roman Collector, May 3, 2020.

  1. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Post your coins of the Bosporan Kingdom or anything you feel is relevant!

    Tiberius Julius Mithridates Philogermanicus Philopatris, sometimes known as Mithridates III of the Bosporus (flourished 1st century, died AD 68) was a Roman client king of the Bosporan Kingdom.

    In the first century AD, the Bosphoran Kingdom comprised most of the southern and eastern rims of the Sea of Azov.[1]

    Mithridates III was the first son of Roman client monarchs Aspurgus and Gepaepyris (she is depicted on the reverse of this coin). His younger brother was the future King Cotys I.

    Mithradates and Gepaepyris.jpg
    Tiberius Julius Mithradates, King of the Bosporus AD 41-45, and his mother, Gepaepyris, Wife of Aspurgus.
    Bosporus Kingdom, probably prior to AD 41.
    Æ 12 nummia, 7.92 gm, 23.5 mm.
    Obv: ΒΑCΙΛΕΩC ΜΙΘΡΑΔΑΤΟΥ, laureate head of Mithradates, right.
    Rev: ΒΑCΙΛΛΙCCΗC ΓΗΠΑΠΥΡΕΩC, laureate, draped bust of Queen Gepaepyris, right.
    Refs: RPC I, 1911; MacDonald 312; Anokhin Bosphorus 331; Sear GIC 5433; BMC 13.51,5.
    Notes: Acquired from Beast Coins, 2 July, 2003.

    Mithridates III was also the first grandchild of the Bosporan monarchs Asander and Dynamis and Roman client rulers of Thrace, Cotys VIII and Antonia Tryphaena. Through his maternal grandmother Antonia Tryphaena, he was a descendant of Roman triumvir Mark Antony. Tryphaena was the first great granddaughter born to the triumvir. Through Tryphaena, Mithridates was also related to various members of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. His lineage is specifically as follows[2, 3]:

    Marc Antony and his second wife, Antonia Hybrida (Antonia I) had a daughter, Antonia Hebrida.

    Antonia Hebrida and her husband, Pythodoros, had a daughter, Pythodorida in 30 BC.

    Pythodorida and her husband, Polemon I, had a daughter, Antonia Tryphaena, in 10 BC.

    Antonia Tryphaena and her husband, Cotys III of Thrace, had a daughter, Gepaepyris of Thrace (birth year unknown).

    Gepaepyris and her husband, Tiberius Julius Aspurgus of Sidon, had a son, Mithridates III (birth year unknown).[3, 4] Some historians believe Mithridates was the stepson of Gepaepyris.[5, 6] This is unclear.

    Little is known on the early life of Mithridates III. When his father Aspurgus died in AD 38, he was just a child and became joint ruler with his mother, Gepaepyris. In AD 41, after the death of Caligula, the Roman Emperor Claudius gave Mithridates the whole Bosporan Kingdom to rule and recognized him as the legitimate Bosporan King. However, in AD 45, Claudius suspected Mithridates III of plotting a revolt and deposed him from the Bosporan throne, replacing him with his younger brother Cotys I.[5, 6]

    Mithridates attempted to regain his throne and assembled an army consisting of some troops who were still loyal to him as well as soldiers recruited from local tribes. This army engaged in a a three-day war against Cotys I but was unsuccessful.
    Mithridates III asked Claudius for a pardon and to be spared from a triumphal procession or capital punishment and the Roman emperor allowed Mithridates to live in exile until his death in AD 68. He never married nor had children.[6]


    1. “File:Bosporan Kingdom Growth Map-En.svg.” File:Bosporan Kingdom Growth Map-En.svg - Wikimedia Commons, commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bosporan_Kingdom_growth_map-en.svg.

    2. “Antonia Hebrida.” Antonia Hebrida - Rodovid EN, https://en.rodovid.org/wk/Person:401232.

    3. “Antonia Tryphaena b. -10 d. 55.” Antonia Tryphaena b. -10 d. 55 - Rodovid EN, https://en.rodovid.org/wk/Person:401245.

    4. “Tiberius Julius Mithridates.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 13 Mar. 2020, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiberius_Julius_Mithridates.

    5. Sear, David R. Greek Imperial Coins and Their Values: the Local Coinages of the Roman Empire. Seaby, 1982, p. 536.

    6. Bunson, Matthew. Encyclopedia of the Roman Empire, Revised Edition. Infobase, 2014, p. 372.
    Last edited: May 3, 2020
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  3. Jay GT4

    Jay GT4 Well-Known Member

    Great write up!

    Very similar to what I wrote about Polemo II in my Forum gallery:

    Polemo II.jpg


    diademed head of Polemo right

    ETOYC - K (year 20)
    laureate head of Nero right;

    57 - 58 A.D.

    18.1mm, die axis 180o

    RPC I 3832, SNG Cop 242, BMC Pontus 7 - 8, SNG von Aulock 6691


    Marcus Antonius Polemon Pythodoros, also known as Polemon II of Pontos and Polemon of Cilicia is the only known direct descendant of Mark Antony who bares his name. Through his maternal grandmother he was a direct descendant of Mark Antony and his second wife Antonia Hybrida Minor. Antony and Antonia Hybrida were first paternal cousins. He was Antony’s second born great grandson. Through Antony, he was a distant cousin to Roman Client King Ptolemy of Mauretania and Drusilla of Mauretania. He was also a distant cousin to Roman Emperors Caligula, Claudius and Nero and Roman Empresses Valeria Messalina, Agrippina the Younger and Claudia Octavia.

    Polemon II’s father Polemon Pythodoros King of Pontos died in 8 BC. His mother then married King Archelaus of Cappadocia, and the family moved to the court of his stepfather. In 17 AD Archelaus died and Polemon II and his mother moved back to Pontus. From 17 until 38, Polemon II assisted his mother in the administration of Pontos. When his mother died in 38, Polemon II succeeded her as the sole ruler of Pontus, Colchis and Cilicia.

    Around 50 AD, Polemon II met the Judean princess Julia Berenice in Tiberias during a visit to King Agrippa I. Berenice was widowed in 48 AD when her second husband and paternal uncle Herod of Chalcis, died. She had two sons by him, Berenicianus and Hyrcanus. Berenice set the condition that Polemon II had to convert to Judaism before marriage, which included undergoing the rite of circumcision. Polemon II complied, and the marriage went ahead but it did not last long. Berenice left Pontus with her sons and returned to the court of her brother. Polemon II abandoned Judaism and, according to the legend of Bartholomew the Apostle, accepted Christianity, only to become a pagan again.

    In 62, Nero compelled Polemon II to abdicate the Pontian throne. Pontos and Colchis became a Roman province. From then until his death, Polemon II only ruled Cilicia. He never remarried and had no children that are known.

    Polemon's sister Antonia Tryphaena's Royal lineage goes all the way down to Nana Queen of Iberia, who died in 363 AD. Truly Antony may have lost the battle of Actium but won the war of genetics!
  4. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Cool coin, @Jay GT4 ! And what interesting information, which complements my write-up very nicely!
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  5. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Basileus Megalos

    Very nice article @Roman Collector. I didn't know that any descendants of Marc Antony were still ruling down into the first century A.D.
    ominus1 and Roman Collector like this.
  6. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

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  7. Jay GT4

    Jay GT4 Well-Known Member

    They were ruling right down to at least the 4th century!

    @Romancollector I should get a new picture. It's much better in hand.

    Antony's descendants have always fascinated me. His daughter Cleopatra Selene is another interesting person.
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  8. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    Thanks for another interesting coin and post, @Roman Collector! Here is a coin of the Bosporan Kingdom from the son of the nephew of Mithridates III:
    Sauromates Sestertius.jpg
    Sauromates I, AD 93/4-123/4, Æ 48 Units, struck AD 117/8-123
    Obv: diademed and draped bust right
    Rev: MH (mark of value - 48) within wreath
    I will now add a note:
    Tiberius Julius Sauromates I Philocaesar Philoromaios Eusebes aka Sauromates I, lover of Caesar, lover of Rome, and most Pius, was descended from Mark Antony, his great-great-great-great-great-grandfather. Sauromates I had no shortage of royal relatives. He was a descendant of Greek Macedonian Kings (all of whom served under King Alexander the Great)
    • Antigonus I Monophthalmus
    • Seleucus I Nicator
    • Antipater (regent)
    and Mithridates VI of Pontus + Laodice (his wife and sister)
    and Bosporan King Asander
  9. ominus1

    ominus1 Supporter! Supporter

    ..wow..kool RC...ain't it a small world...ancient and otherwise...:)
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  10. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    @Roman Collector , that is an excellent post.
    Here is my Aspurgus and Gepaepyris:

    22 mm. 7.76 grams.
    "King Mithradtes" / "Queen Gepaepyris" "39-44" Struck 39-41.

    MacDonald 312, page 64.
    Anokhin 331.
    Sear Greek Imperial 5433.
  11. norenxaq

    norenxaq Active Member

    "Polemon's sister Antonia Tryphaena's Royal lineage goes all the way down to Nana Queen of Iberia, who died in 363 AD. Truly Antony may have lost the battle of Actium but won the war of genetics!"

    what is this lineage?

    Jay GT4 likes this.
  12. Jay GT4

    Jay GT4 Well-Known Member

  13. norenxaq

    norenxaq Active Member

    and through her son, varaz-bakur, the eventual kings of georgia
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  14. norenxaq

    norenxaq Active Member

    jay: what would be any offline sources for the above lineage?
  15. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    Excellent writeup @Roman Collector
    You beat me to it : I'm awaiting a coin from the bosporan kingdom at the moment, and collecting infos to write something about it. I might very well use tours aswell as @Jay GT4's

    Jay GT4 and Roman Collector like this.
  16. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    Very nice write up! The lineage of Mark Antony is indeed a fascinating thing to study - so many ancient Roman lineages came to a well-documented end (Julio-claudians, Flavians, Severans) but with so many great-grandchildren who established lasting dynasties for the duration of classical antiquity, one can't help but wonder how many people in the Mediterranean area have him as a Great^100 grandfather?

    I also have a coin of Polemo II, although here he is depicted as the high priest of Cilicia under his mother (circa time of Tiberius, late 20s AD)
    Marcus Antonius Polemo II high priest Cilicia Olba.jpg
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  17. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector

    Great post
    Jay GT4 and Roman Collector like this.
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