Spartocid dynasty

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Late 2nd to Early 1st Century BC ruler of the Bosporan Kingdom, Possible marble bust of Paerisades V

The Spartocids (Greek: Σπαρτοκίδαι) or Spartocidae is the name of a Hellenized Thracian dynasty that ruled the Kingdom of Bosporus between the years 438–110 BC. They had usurped the former dynasty, the Archaeanactids, a Greek dynasty of the Bosporan Kingdom that were usurped from the Bosporan throne by Spartokos I in 438 BC.


The Spartocids are thought to be of Thracian origin, and to have connections with the Odrysian dynasty, the rulers of the Odrysian Kingdom.[1] Spartokos I is often thought to have been a Thracian mercenary who was hired by the Archaeanactids, and that he usurped the Archaeanactids in around 438 BC, becoming "king" of the Bosporan Kingdom, then only a few cities, such as Panticapaeum. Spartokos was succeeded by his son, Satyros I, who would go on to conquer many cities around Panticapaeum such as Nymphaeum[2] and Kimmerikon. Satyros's son, Leukon I, would go to conquer and expand the kingdom beyond boundaries his father ever thought of.

Leukon would also engage in wars against the Ixomatae, Sindoi, and Heracleans. His brother, Gorgippos, would rule from the Asiatic side of the kingdom, specifically in Sindia, the former capital of the Sindike Kingdom, and renaming it Gorgippia, probably after himself.

Expansion Wars[edit]

The Spartocids were the leading figures of the Bosporan Expansion Wars, a series of conflicts and sieges that occurred from 438 BC to 350 BC, just before the death of Leukon. The wars resulted in the death of Satyros I and Metrodoros. Satyros died in the 1st Siege of Theodosia[3] and Metrodoros was killed by Tirgatao[4] as he was her hostage under a treaty she had with Satyros, before he betrayed her. Upon Satyros's death in 389 BC, Leukon engaged in the 2nd and 3rd Sieges of Theodosia, ultimately annexing the city into his dominions.

Further Expansion[edit]

Paerisades I would marry his cousin, Komosarye, a daughter of Gorgippos and through this marriage, he would become king of the Sindians.[5] He would also engage in a war against invading Scythian tribes, due to him refusing to pay them tribute. Paerisades also, at some point during his reign, took the strategic city of Tanais.

Civil War[edit]

The Spartocids would engage in a civil war among each other in about 309 BC, after the death of Paerisades I.[6] The dynastic dispute would include Satyros II who was the eldest, and inherited the throne[7], Prytanis, and Eumelos, who had a claim to the throne. The war was carried into 2 large engagements, starting with the Battle of the River Thatis and later the Siege of Siracena, in which Satyros II lost his life.[8] Eumelos, after defeating his elder brother Satyros, attempted to divide the kingdom with Prytanis, but the latter refused, leading to his eventual death at the Eumelos' hands.[9] Under Eumelos's reign, the Bosporan Kingdom enjoyed much military success, purging the Black Sea of nearly all pirates,[10] and was large enough to rival the state of Lysimachus, one of Alexander's powerful generals.[11]


The Bosporan Kingdom entered into a decline due to numerous attacks from nomadic Scythian tribes. The last Spartocid kings, Paerisades III, Paerisades IV and Paerisades V were under extreme pressure from Scythian attacks. Paerisades V offered his kingdom to Mithridates VI in exchange for the protection of his people. Diophantus, Mithridates's general, barely escaped the rebellion led by Saumacus, a possible Scythian and Paerisades V's adoptive heir. Paerisades V died in Panticapaeum at Saumacus' hands.

Spartocid Rulers[edit]

Spartocid Rulers
King Reign (BC) Consort(s) Comments
Spartokos I 438-433 BC Usurped former Greek dynasts
Satyros I 433-489 BC Co-ruled with his father until his father's death.
Seleukos 433-393 BC Possible brother of Satyros I and co-ruled with him until his death.
Leukon I 389-349 BC Theodosia Theodosia may have been daughter of the powerful Bosporan diplomat Sopaios.
Gorgippos I 389-349 BC Co-ruler with Leukon, ruled from the Asiatic capital, Gorgippia. He was the father of Komosarye.
Spartokos II 349-342 Son of Leukon, Co-ruled with his brother Paerisades I up until his death.
Paerisades I 349-310 BC Komosarye Son of Leukon, Co-ruled for 7 years with his brother Spartokos, then ruled alone until his death in 309 BC. Komosarye was his cousin.
Satyros II 310 BC Eldest son of Paerisades, ruled for only 9 months.
Prytanis 310-309 Son of Paerisades, ruled for a brief period of time.
Eumelos 309-304 BC Son of Paerisades, Expanded dominions and was a rival of Lysimachus.
Spartokos III 304-284 BC Son of Eumelos, was recognized by Athens as a "king" of the Bosporan.
Paerisades II circa. 284-245 BC Son of Spartokos III
Spartokos IV circa. 245-240 BC Son of Paerisades II
Leukon II circa. 240-220 BC Alkathoe Son of Spartokos IV
Hygiainon circa. 220-200 BC Spartocid supporter, was Archon until Kamasarye married her cousin Paerisades III
Spartokos V circa. 200-180 BC Son of Leukon II
Paerisades III 180-150 BC Kamasarye Perhaps son of Spartokos IV
Kamasarye Philoteknos circa.180-150 BC Paerisades III
Daughter of Spartokos V
Paerisades IV Philometor circa. 150-125 BC Eldest son of Paerisades III and Kamasarye.
Paerisades V 125-108 BC Son of Paerisades III and Argotes. Last Spartocid king of the Bosporan Kingdom.


The following genealogy is based upon Ferdinand Justi, Iranisches Namenbuch, (Marburg, Berlin, 1884), (Heidelsheim, 1963), p. 400:

Spartocids dynasty


  1. ^ D. E. W. WORMELL. STUDIES IN GREEK TYRANNY—II. Leucon of Bosporus. It seems likely to connect that Spartokos was connected by birth to the Odrysian dynasty. 
  2. ^ Aeschines. Against Ctesiphon 22.23. here was a certain Gylon of Cerameis. This man betrayed Nymphaeum in the Pontus to the enemy, for the place at that time belonged to our city.” 
  3. ^ Polyaenus. Strategems. pp. V.2. Satyrus died in the midst of an unsuccessful war 
  4. ^ Polyaenus. Strategems. pp. V.2. Tirgatao ordered the hostage to be executed 
  5. ^ D. E. W. WORMELL. STUDIES IN GREEK TYRANNY—II. Leucon of Bosporus. when the joining of the two nations had been symbolized in the marriage of Comosarye and Paerisades, he took the title "king of Sindi" 
  6. ^ Siculus, Diodorus. Book 22.23. after the death of Parysades, who was king of the Cimmerian Bosporus, his sons Eumelus, Satyrus, and Prytanis... 
  7. ^ Siculus, Diodorus. Book 22.23. Satyrus, since he was the eldest, had received the government from his father 
  8. ^ Polyaenus. Strategems. Satyrus is killed while attacking Aripharnes, king of the Siraces 
  9. ^ Siculus, Diodorus. Book 22.24. 
  10. ^ Siculus, Diodorus. Book 22.24. and he cleared the sea of pirates, with the result that, not only throughout his own kingdom but even throughout almost all the inhabited world 
  11. ^ Deligiannis, Periklis. The Battle of the River Thatis. thereby creating a powerful Hellenistic kingdom which could confront the powerful State of Lysimachus, the famous general of Alexander the Great 

Further reading[edit]