Epigraphica Pontica II: New Inscription of Pythodoris from Panticapaeum

Saprykin Sergey Yu., Fedoseev Nikolay F.

The article is a publication of a new important epigraphical monument from Bosporus – an inscription, discovered by accident in Kerch (ancient Panticapaeum, capital of the Bosporan kingdom). It is a fragment of a dedication made by Pythodoris the Elder, queen of Pontus, who had evidently installed at Panticapaeum a statue of her patron – emperor Tiberius of Rome, whose title was probably inscribed at the end of the inscription (though only few letters of it remained there). The statue and the inscription were put in the Bosporan capital probably between 13 and 22 AD, when Pythodoris, as the spouse of Archelaios, king of the Cappadocian state, was on the throne of Pontus and Cappadocia. She made a visit to Bosporus during the reign of the local king Aspourgos, when he became king after being officially adopted by Tiberius at Rome. Simultaneously with this confirmation, Aspourgos fulfilled the emperor’s will and married Hepaipyris, sister of the Thracian king Cotys III, husband of Pythodoris’ daughter Antonia Tryphaena. Pythodoris’ visit to Bosporus was connected with Aspourgos’ inthronization, and this act of the queen of Pontus helped her to establish friendly relations with the new king of Bosporus, a true friend of Rome as well. The new inscription of queen Pythodoris (a second one from Bosporus) was aimed at establishing good relations with Aspourgos, who earlier had imprisoned and killed king Polemo I of Pontus, Pythodoris’ former husband, during the war for keeping power at Bosporus after the rule of Dynamis, Aspourgos mother. At the same time the queen showed her good attitude to Aspourgos’ wife Hepaipyris, her own relative, and demonstrated her friendly feelings to Tiberius, a patron of Pontic, Thracian and Bosporan kings, the true Roman clients. As an official person, Pythodoris called Aspourgos «the son of King Asandrochus», as it was usual throughout the long Aspourgos’ reign. That is for the third time when in Bosporan inscriptions king Asander, Aspourgos’ father, was called «Asandrochus» in accordance with the local Iranian (probably Sarmatian) tradition.

Keywords: Greek epigraphy, Bosporus, Pontic region