Mithridates IV of Pontus

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Mithridates IV of Pontus or known by his full name Mithridates Philopator Philadelphus[1] (Greek: Mιθριδάτης ὁ Φιλoπάτωρ Φιλάδελφoς, which means "Mithridates the father-loving, brother-loving"; flourished 2nd century BC, died ca. 150 BC) was a prince and sixth King of the Kingdom of Pontus.

Mithridates IV was of Persian and Greek Macedonian ancestry. He was the son born to the Monarchs Laodice and Mithridates III of Pontus.[2] Mithridates IV had two siblings: one brother called Pharnaces I of Pontus and a sister called Laodice.[3] He was born and raised in the Kingdom of Pontus.

Mithridates IV is first mentioned in 179 BC, as he is associated with Pharnaces I in a treaty concluded by the latter King of Pergamon Eumenes II, in a manner that would lead one to suppose he was already admitted to some share in sovereign power.[4] The date of Mithridates’ accession to the Pontian throne is utterly mysterious, since we first hear of him as ruler in 154 BC, when he is mentioned as sending an auxiliary force to the assistance of King of Pergamon, Attalus II Philadelphus, against the King of Bithynia, Prusias II. This moment was an important event, since it signalled the start of a policy of friendship of the Kingdom of Pontus with the Roman Republic and her allies which would continue till Mithridates VI Eupator.[5]

At an unknown date, he married as his Queen his sister Laodice as his wife.[6] They appeared to have no children. According to the surviving coinage, his royal title and full name was Mithridates Philopator Philadelphus.[7] Coinage has survived issued by Mithridates IV alone and ones he issued with Laodice. The ones issued with his sister-wife display a fine double portrait and they adapted a Ptolemaic model for coinage.[8] Its clear that the coinage draws attention to his Persian and Greek origins.

An example of a coin that Mithridates IV honors his Persian origins was choosing a reverse type of Perseus. This coin could have been issued before he got married. Perseus can be seen as a bridge between ancient Greek and Persian cultures. Although Perseus was a Greek hero, he had Persian associations; the Persians regarded him as an Assyrian.[9] Perseus is standing facing wearing a chlamys, pointed curved helmet and winged boots. In his left hand, he holds the harp and his right hand holding the head of Medusa.[10] The star and crescent are also present with his full name.[11] The obverse had a portrait of him alone.[12]

An example of a coin, that Mithridates IV honors his Greek origins is a coin from his joint rule with his sister-wife. The coin is on one side is a draped bust of Mithridates IV and Laodice. On the reverse side, shows their royal titles in Greek ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΜΙΘΡΑΔΑΤΟΥ ΚΑΙ ΒΑΣΙΛΙΣΣΗΣ ΛΑΟΔΙΚΗΣ ΦΙΛΑΔΕΛΦΩΝ which means of King Mithridates and Queen Laodice Philadelphoi.[13] Philadelphoi is the plural for the Greek word Philadelphus which means sibling-loving. On the side of their royal titles, presents Mithridates IV and Laodice struck in the image of the Greek Patron Gods Zeus and Hera. Zeus and Hera are standing facing front. Hera is holding a sceptre in the right hand, while Zeus laureate holds a sceptre in his right hand and a thunderbolt in his left hand.[14] The choice of coinage is a declaration of Hellenism.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ McGing, The foreign policy of Mithridates VI Eupator, King of Pontus p.35
  2. ^ Callatay, The First Royal Coinage of Pontos (from Mithridates III to Mithridates V) p.21
  3. ^ McGing, The foreign policy of Mithridates VI Eupator, King of Pontus p.90
  4. ^ Polybius, Histories xxxiii. 12.
  5. ^ Ibid, xxv. 2.
  6. ^ Getzel, Hellenistic settlements in Europe, the islands and Asia Minor p. 387
  7. ^ McGing, The foreign policy of Mithridates VI Eupator, King of Pontus p.35
  8. ^ Callatay, The First Royal Coinage of Pontos (from Mithridates III to Mithridates V) p.21
  9. ^ McGing, The foreign policy of Mithridates VI Eupator, King of Pontus p.35
  10. ^ McGing, The foreign policy of Mithridates VI Eupator, King of Pontus p.35
  11. ^ McGing, The foreign policy of Mithridates VI Eupator, King of Pontus p.35
  12. ^ McGing, The foreign policy of Mithridates VI Eupator, King of Pontus p.35
  13. ^ McGing, The foreign policy of Mithridates VI Eupator, King of Pontus p.35
  14. ^ Callatay, The First Royal Coinage of Pontos (from Mithridates III to Mithridates V) p.15
  15. ^ McGing, The foreign policy of Mithridates VI Eupator, King of Pontus p.35

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Preceded by
Pharnaces I
King of Pontus
c. 155 BC – c. 150 BC
Succeeded by
Mithridates V