Archagathus of Libya

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Archagathus (Greek: Ἀρχάγαθος; fl. possibly late second half of 4th century BC & first half of 3rd century BC) was a Syracusan Greek prince and was a Ptolemaic official.[1]

Family background[edit]

Archagathus was a man of Sicilian origin and his name was a well-attested local Greek name in Sicily.[2] He was the son born to Agathocles and his third wife Theoxena[3][4] and had a sister called Theoxena.[5][6]

His father Agathocles, was a Greek Tyrant of Syracuse, who later became King of Sicily.[7][8] Archagathus had two paternal-half posthumous brothers: Archagathus and Agathocles;[9] one paternal half-sister Lanassa who was the second wife of King Pyrrhus of Epirus and a posthumous paternal half-nephew Archagathus.[10] He was the namesake of his posthumous brother, nephew and possibly his paternal grandfather.

His mother Theoxena was a Greek Macedonian noblewoman. She was the second daughter and third child born to the noblewoman Berenice I and her first husband obscure nobleman Philip.[11] Archagathus’ biological maternal grandfather Philip, served as a military officer in the service of the Greek King Alexander the Great and was known in commanding one division of the Phalanx in Alexander’s wars.[12] Archagathus’ maternal grandmother Berenice I, was the great-niece of the powerful Regent Antipater[13] and she was a distant collateral relative to the Argead dynasty.[14] His full blooded maternal uncle was Magas of Cyrene and his full-blooded maternal aunt was Antigone.[15]

His biological maternal grandfather Philip died about 318 BC. After his death, Berenice I travelled with her children to live in Egypt, where she eventually married Ptolemy I Soter the first Greek Pharaoh and founder of the Ptolemaic dynasty. Through his grandmother’s second marriage to Ptolemy I, Berenice I was an Egyptian Queen and the Queen mother of the Ptolemaic dynasty,[16] thus his mother was a stepdaughter to Ptolemy I and became an Egyptian Princess. His maternal grandmother had with Ptolemy I three children; two daughters, Arsinoe II, Philotera and the future Pharaoh Ptolemy II Philadelphus.[17] Arsinoe II, Philotera were his maternal half-aunts, while Ptolemy II was his maternal half-uncle.

Early life[edit]

Archagathus was born between 301 BC-298 BC.[18] Along with his sister they were born and raised in Sicily. When Agathocles felt his death was approaching, he had sent away Theoxena and their children to Egypt.[19] Archagathus’ father died in 289 BC and his father declared his kingdom as a democracy on his death.[20][21] Archagathus, his sister with their mother; spent their remaining youth in Egypt, possibly in the court living with Ptolemy I and Berenice I in Alexandria.

Remaining life[edit]

Archagathus served in the Ptolemaic administration as an official as an Epistates in Libya.[22] He served under Ptolemy I Soter reigned 305 BC-283 BC; Ptolemy II Philadelphus reigned 283 BC-246 BC[23] and even possibly under Magas when his served as Ptolemaic Governor, later as King of Cyrene in his reign 276 BC–250 BC.[24]

He served as an Epistates in Cyrenaica.[25] As he governed a city in Cyrenaica,[26] the city that he oversaw is unknown and the period of time of this is unknown.

According to surviving evidence, Archagathus was a person of high standing;[27] who appeared to be a totally unknown private person[28] and was loyal to his family in particular to his uncle Magas.[29] We also learn from surviving evidence, Archagathus had a wife, a noblewoman of very high status called Stratonice.[30][31] There is no record of any children born to him.

Archagathus and Stratonice on a marble piece, made a dedication of a temenos to Isis and Serapis at Alexandria on behalf of his uncle Ptolemy II and his grandmother Berenice I. The record is dated from ca. 283 BC-278 BC and is on display in the Greco-Roman Museum of Alexandria.[32] The inscription below translated in Greek and English reads:

ὑπὲρ βασιλέως Πτολεμαίου
τοῦ Πτολεμαίου καὶ Βερενίκης
Σωτήρων Άρχάγαθος Άγαθοκλέους
ὁ ἐπιστάτης τῆς Λιβύης
καὶ ἡ γυνὴ Στρατονίκη
Σαράπιδι Ἴσιδι τὸ τέμενος.
King Ptolemy
son of Ptolemy and Berenice
the Saviours Archagathus son of Agathocles
epistates of Libya
and his wife Stratonice
Serapis, Isis of temenos.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bagnall, Archagathos son of Agathocles, Epistates of Libya, p.195
  2. ^ Bagnall, Archagathos son of Agathocles, Epistates of Libya, p.198
  3. ^ Ptolemaic Genealogy: Theoxena
  4. ^ Bagnall, Archagathos son of Agathocles, Epistates of Libya – Simplified Stemma of Major Royal Families, 320-270, p.208
  5. ^ Ptolemaic Dynasty - Affiliated Lines: Agathocles
  6. ^ Bagnall, Archagathos son of Agathocles, Epistates of Libya – Simplified Stemma of Major Royal Families, 320-270, p.208
  7. ^ Ptolemaic Genealogy: Theoxena, Footnotes 2 & 3
  8. ^ Ptolemaic Dynasty - Affiliated Lines: Agathocles
  9. ^ Ancient Library article: Archagathus, No. 1 & 2
  10. ^ Ancient Library article: Archagathus, No.2
  11. ^ Ptolemaic Genealogy: Berenice I
  12. ^ Ancient Library article: Magas no.1
  13. ^ Ptolemaic Genealogy: Berenice I
  14. ^ Ptolemaic Dynasty - Affiliated Lines: The Antipatrids
  15. ^ Ptolemaic Genealogy: Berenice I
  16. ^ Berenice I article at Livius.org
  17. ^ Ptolemaic Genealogy: Berenice I
  18. ^ Bagnall, Archagathos son of Agathocles, Epistates of Libya, p.203
  19. ^ Ancient Library article: Theoxena no. 1
  20. ^ Ptolemaic Genealogy: Theoxena, Footnote 8
  21. ^ Ptolemaic Dynasty - Affiliated Lines: Agathocles
  22. ^ Ptolemaic Genealogy: Theoxena, Footnote 5
  23. ^ Bagnall, Archagathos son of Agathocles, Epistates of Libya, p.196
  24. ^ Ptolemaic Genealogy: Theoxena, Footnote 5
  25. ^ Bagnall, Archagathos son of Agathocles, Epistates of Libya, p.198
  26. ^ Bagnall, Archagathos son of Agathocles, Epistates of Libya, p.199
  27. ^ Bagnall, Archagathos son of Agathocles, Epistates of Libya, p.198
  28. ^ Bagnall, Archagathos son of Agathocles, Epistates of Libya, p.209
  29. ^ Bagnall, Archagathos son of Agathocles, Epistates of Libya, p.209
  30. ^ Ptolemaic Genealogy: Theoxena, Footnote 5
  31. ^ Ptolemaic Genealogy: Stratonice
  32. ^ Bagnall, Archagathos son of Agathocles, Epistates of Libya, p.195

Sources[edit]