Berenice of Chios

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Berenice of Chios (Greek: Βερενίκη; died 72/71 BC) was an obscure Greek noblewoman from the Greek island of Chios who became the third wife of King Mithridates VI of Pontus.[1]

In 86 BC, Mithridates VI through the agency of one of his generals, deported the inhabitants of Chios, the capital city of the Greek island of Chios. Then the Pontian King distributed the land to Pontian settlers he brought in.[2]

At some point, Mithridates VI met Berenice, who was a citizen from the capital of Chios. She became one his mistresses and eventually his third wife. Little is known about their relationship. There is a possibility that Mithridates VI renamed the capital city of Chios in honor of Berenice.[2] The city bore her name until the Romans annexed the island about 85 BC.[2]

In 72/71 BC, Mithridates VI ordered Berenice to poison herself so she could avoid capture by the Roman consul Lucullus. When the poison did not take effect, she was strangled.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mayor, The Poison King: the life and legend of Mithradates, Rome’s deadliest enemy
  2. ^ a b c Getzel, Hellenistic settlements in Europe, the islands, and Asia Minor, p. 141

Sources[edit]

  • M. Getzel, Hellenistic settlements in Europe, the islands and Asia Minor, Cohen University of California Press, 1995
  • A. Mayor, The Poison King: the life and legend of Mithradates, Rome’s deadliest enemy, Princeton University Press, 2009