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Cersobleptes (Greek: Kερσoβλέπτης), also spelled Kersobleptes, Kersebleptes, and Cersebleptes, was son of Cotys, king of Thrace, on whose death in 358 BC he inherited the kingdom in conjunction with Berisades and Amadocus II, who were probably his brothers. He was very young at the time, and the whole management of his affairs was assumed by the Euboean adventurer, Charidemus, who was connected by marriage with the royal family. The area controlled by Cersobleptes was east of the river Hebrus.

Charidemus bore the prominent part in the ensuing contests and negotiations with Athens for the possession of the Thracian Chersonese, Cersobleptes appearing throughout as a mere cipher.[1] The peninsula seems to have been finally ceded to the Athenians in 357 BC, though they did not occupy it with their settlers until 353 BC[2]; nor perhaps is the language of Isocrates[3] so decisive against this early date as it may appear at first sight. For some time after the cession of the Chersonese, Cersobleptes continued to court assiduously the favour of the Athenians, being perhaps restrained from aggression by the fear of their squadron in the Hellespont.

On the death of Berisades, before 352 BC, Cersobleptes conceived, or rather Charidemus conceived for him, the design of excluding the children of the deceased prince from their inheritance, and obtaining possession of all the dominions of Cotys; and it was with a view to the furtherance of this object that Charidemus obtained from the Athenian people, through his party among the orators, the decree in his favour for which its mover Aristocrates was impeached, but unsuccessfully, in the speech of Demosthenes yet extant. From a passing allusion in this oration, it appears that Cersobleptes had been negotiating with king Philip II of Macedonia for a combined attack on the Chersonese, which however came to nothing in consequence of the refusal of Amadocus to allow Philip a passage through his territory. But after the passing of the decree above-mentioned, Philip became the enemy of Cersobleptes, and in 352 BC made a successful expedition into Thrace, gained a firm ascendancy in the country, and brought away a son of Cersobleptes as a hostage.[4]

Both Cersobleptes and Amadocus appear to have been subjected by Philip early in 347 BC, not long after Cetriporis, the son and successor of Berisades, suffered the same fate. The two rulers, having appealed to the Macedonian ruler to arbitrate a dispute between them, were then been forced to acknowledge his suzereinty when the "judge" showed up with an army.

At the time of the peace between Athens and Philip in 346 BC, we find Cersobleptes again involved in hostilities with the Macedonian king, who in fact was absent in Thrace when the second Athenian embassy arrived at his capital Pella, and did not return to give them audience until he had completely conquered Cersobleptes.[5]

In the course of the next three years, Cersobleptes seems to have recovered strength sufficient to throw off the yoke, and, according to Diodorus, persisted in his attacks on the Greek cities on the Hellespont. Accordingly, in 343 BC, Philip again marched against him, defeated him in several battles, and reduced him to the condition of a tributary.[6]

Kerseblept Nunatak on Greenwich Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named for Cersobleptes.



  1. ^ Demosthenes, Speeches, "Against Aristocrates"
  2. ^ Diodorus, Library, xvi. 34
  3. ^ Isocrates, Speeches, "On the Peace", 22
  4. ^ Aeschines, Speeches, "On the Embassy", 81
  5. ^ Demosthenes, "On the False Embassy", 174, 181; Aeschines, 81-92
  6. ^ Diodorus, 16.71; Philip, Epistola Philippi, 12.8; Demosthenes, "On the Chersonese", 64
Born: Unknown Died: Unknown
Preceded by
Cotys I
King of Thrace
358–341 BC
Succeeded by

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSmith, William, ed. (1870). "article name needed". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.