Ladice (Cyrenaean Princess)
Ladice or Ladice of Cyrene (Greek: Λαδική, flourished 526 BC) was a Libyan Greek woman, who was a Greek Cyrenaean Princess and was a member of The Battiads Dynasty. She was the daughter of the fifth Greek Cyrenaean King Battus III and Greek Cyrenaean Queen Pheretima. Her brother would be the future sixth Greek Cyrenaean King Arcesilaus III. Although her maternal grandparents are unknown, her paternal grandparents were the fourth Greek Cyrenaean King Arcesilaus II and Greek Cyrenaean Queen Eryxo. Although her father was Battus III, Herodotus states from other accounts her father could have been Arcesilaus II or Critobulus, one of the leading Greek Cyrenaean citizens. She was born and raised in Cyrene.
After 548 BC, she married the second last native Egyptian Pharaoh Amasis II as his fourth wife. Before her marriage with Amasis took place, her father made an alliance with the Pharaoh to protect Cyrenaica from the local Libyan population and its aristocracy.
Amasis, as a token of his goodwill and friendship with Battus, wanted to marry a Greek woman from Cyrenaica and Battus allowed him to pick any woman, whom he wanted to marry. Amasis chose Battus' daughter Ladice to marry as his Greek wife. Ladice and Amasis married in Cyrene. When Ladice married Amasis, she became the first Greek woman in history to marry a Pharaoh of Egypt and first Greek woman in history to marry into a native Pharaoh dynasty in Egypt.
When Ladice married Amasis, she became a member of the Twenty-sixth dynasty of Egypt, the last native dynasty of Pharaohs to rule Egypt. Ladice is not well known in Ancient Egyptian History and her name does not appear on monuments, nor it is mentioned in any inscriptions in Egypt. However, her marriage to Amasis began to develop and encourage cultural interaction with Egypt and its neighbours. Trade began to open from Egypt. Egypt traded with Greece and with the surrounding countries in the Mediterranean.
It is unknown whether Ladice and Amasis had any children. However, from her marriage to the Pharaoh Ladice had two stepsons. Amasis had two sons, a child each from his first wife and third wife. They were the native Egyptian Prince Amose and his younger half brother, the last native Egyptian Pharaoh Psametik III.
Marriage not consummated
When Amasis and Ladice returned to his palace in Sais, Egypt, their marriage, for a while, was not consummated. Every time Amasis went to bed with Ladice, he was unable to have intercourse with her, although he did with his other wives. Amasis thought that Ladice might have had bewitched him and charged Ladice with bewitching the Pharaoh. If she was found guilty, the punishment would be the death penalty. She denied the charge in vain.
Prayer to Aphrodite
Ladice made a silent prayer to the Greek Goddess of love Aphrodite. If Aphrodite could save her life and her marriage, she would dedicate a statue to her in Cyrene. The Goddess answered her prayer and her marriage was consummated and the Pharaoh fell deeply in love with her. Amasis withdrew the charge from Ladice.
Ladice ordered a statue to be made in the image of Aphrodite and she sent the statue to Cyrene, where it was placed looking outward from the city. The statue was still there in the time of Herodotus.
Return to Cyrene
When Amasis died, in December 526 BC, Psametik III became Pharaoh and ruled from then until 525 BC, when the King Cambyses II of Persia conquered Egypt. When Cambyses discovered who Ladice was, he sent her safely from Egypt back to Cyrene. What happened to Ladice after her return to Cyrene is unknown.
- Morkot, R., The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Greece, Penguin Books, The Bath Press - Avon, Great Britain, 1996
- Herodotus, The Histories, Book 4