Tiberius Julius Mithridates
Tiberius Julius Mithridates Philogermanicus Philopatris, sometimes known as Mithridates III of the Bosporan (Greek: Τιβέριος Ιούλιος Μιθριδάτης Φιλογερμανικος Φιλοπατρíς, Philopatris means lover of his country, flourished 1st century, died 68) was a Roman Client King of the Bosporan Kingdom.
Mithridates was the first son of Roman Client Monarchs Aspurgus and Gepaepyris. His younger brother was prince and future King Cotys I. He was a prince of Greek, Iranian and Roman ancestry. He was the first grandchild and grandson of Bosporan Monarchs Asander and Dynamis and Roman Client Rulers of Thrace, Cotys VIII and Antonia Tryphaena.
Through his maternal grandmother Antonia Tryphaena, he was a descendant of Roman triumvir Mark Antony. Tryphaena was the first great granddaughter born to the triumvir. Through Tryphaena, Mithridates was also related to various members of the Julio-Claudian dynasty.
Through Aspurgus, Mithridates was a descendant of the Greek Macedonian Kings: Antigonus I Monophthalmus, Seleucus I Nicator and Regent, Antipater. These three men served under King Alexander the Great. Mithridates was named in honor of his ancestor King Mithridates VI of Pontus. Mithridates VI was the paternal grandfather, of his paternal grandmother Dynamis.
Little is known on the early life of Mithridates. When Aspurgus died in 38, Mithridates had become joint ruler with his mother, Gepaepyris. Sometime before 45, the Roman Emperor Claudius, had given Mithridates the whole Bosporan Kingdom to rule. Claudius recognised and appointed him as the legitimate Bosporan King. In 45 for unknown reasons Claudius, deposed Mithridates from the Bosporan throne and replaced him with his younger brother Cotys I. Claudius had withdrawn the Roman garrison under Aulus Didius Gallus from the Bosporan Kingdom and a few Roman cohorts were left with the Roman Knight Gaius Julius Aquila in the Bosporan.
Mithridates despised the situation. He mistrusted Cotys I, Aquila and attempted to regain his throne. Mithridates was able to entice the leaders of the local tribes and deserters into his allies. He was able to seize control of the local tribes and collect an army to declare war on Cotys I and Aquila. When Cotys I and Aquila heard news of this war, they feared that the invasion was imminent. Both men knew they had the support of Claudius. Mithridates with his army, engaged in war with Cotys I’s army and Aquila’s battalions, in a three-day war, which Cotys I and Aquila won unscathed and triumphant at the Don River.
Mithridates knew that resistance was hopeless and considered an appeal to Claudius. Mithridates turned to a local tribesman called Eunones, to help him. Eunones, sent envoys to Rome to Claudius with a letter from Mithridates.
In Mithridates’ letter to the Emperor, Mithridates greeted and addressed him with great honor and respect from one ruler to another ruler. Mithridates asked Claudius for a pardon and to be spared from a triumphal procession or capital punishment. Claudius wasn’t sure how to punish or deal with Mithridates. Mithridates was captured and brought to Rome as a prisoner. He was displayed as a public figure beside the platform in the Roman Forum along with his guards and his expression remained undoubted.
Claudius was impressed with Mithridates’ mercy from his letter and allowed Mithridates to live. He was spared from any capital punishment and was exiled. Mithridates lived as a destitute exiled monarch until his death. He never married nor had children.
- Tacitus, Annals of Imperial Rome
- French version of Wikipedia