Tiberius Julius Sauromates II

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Sauromates II
King of the Bosporan Kingdom
Tiberius Julius Sauromates II.jpg
Marble bust of Sauromates II
Reign174 - 210 AD
SuccessorRhescuporis II
Bornprior to 170 AD
Bosporan Kingdom
Died210 AD
Bosporan Kingdom
Full name
Tiberius Julius Sauromates II Philocaesar Philoromaios Eusebes
Greek?Σαυρομάτης Β
ReligionGreek Polytheism

Tiberius Julius Sauromates II Philocaesar Philoromaios Eusebes, also known as Sauromates II (Greek: Τιβέριος Ἰούλιος Σαυρομάτης Β΄ Φιλόκαισαρ Φιλορώμαιος Eὐσεβής, Philocaesar Philoromaios Eusebes, the epithets meaning "friend of Caesar, friend of Rome, pious one,"[1] r. 173/174 - 210/211 AD),[2] was a prince regnant and the Roman Client King of the Bosporan Kingdom.


Tiberius Julius Sauromates II was the son and heir of the Bosporan King Eupator by an unnamed woman. Sauromates II was named in honor of Sauromates I, a paternal ancestor of his and a previous Bosporan King. Although his surname "Sauromates" indicates alleged Sarmatian ancestry by marriages to Sarmatian princesses, this does not necessarily mean those who bore the title were actual Sarmatians.[3] His Bosporan royal dynasty had been established in the 1st century AD by Tiberius Julius Aspurgus and his son Mithridates (i.e. the son and grandson, respectively, of Bosporan ruler Asander and his queen Dynamis).[4][5] Aspurgus and Mithridates were not only related to the ruling house of Thrace, but were also descendants of both Mithridates VI Eupator of Pontus (both a Persian and Seleucid-Greek by lineage)[6] and the Roman triumvir Mark Antony through Antonia Tryphaena, Queen of Thrace and her mother Pythodorida of Pontus.[7][5][8][9]


When Eupator died in 173/174, Sauromates II succeeded his father. Sauromates II reigned as Bosporan King from that date until his death in 210/211.[2] He expressed his royal title in Greek on his coinage: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΣΑΥΡΟΜΑΤΟΥ or of King Sauromates. He was a contemporary of the Roman Emperors Marcus Aurelius, Commodus, Pertinax, Didius Julianus, Septimius Severus and Caracalla.

Gold coin of Sauromates II. Obv: head of Sauromates II. Rev: heads of Septimius Severus and Caracalla

Little is known of the life and reign of Sauromates II. According to surviving coinage, he appeared to be a religious person who was involved in the worship of the Goddess Aphrodite and her cult. In 193, Sauromates II finished a military campaign against the Scythians and Sirachi tribes, and successfully defeated them.[10] These victories are known from an inscription found in Tanais, dedicating and celebrating the King's military victories.[10] This military campaign perhaps began in 186, when it spurred a financial crisis within the Bosporan Kingdom.[10] In order to improve the flagging economy of his kingdom, Sauromates II initiated a series of monetary reforms in 186 that, over the course of a decade, gradually reduced the weight of his bronze coinage while increasing the circulation of the golden stater.[11] In the last decade of the 2nd century AD, the coins of Sauromates II also commonly featured the portrait of Septimius Severus; it is not known whether or not this was a command given by the Roman emperor to his client or if the Bosporan king did this on his own volition.[12]

Sauromates II married an unnamed woman. From this marriage he had two sons Rhescuporis II and Cotys III. Rhescuporis II succeeded Sauromates II in 210/211, while Cotys III succeeded him.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Ivantchik (2014), pp. 168-170.
  2. ^ a b Myzgin & Beidin (2012), p. 75.
  3. ^ Mommsen (2005), p. 314 footnote 1.
  4. ^ Sullivan (1990), p. 324-325.
  5. ^ a b Mommsen (2005), pp. 312-314, 314 footnote 1.
  6. ^ Engels (2017), p. 75.
  7. ^ Sullivan (1990), pp. 323-325.
  8. ^ Mayor (2011), pp. xviii, 417 footnote 54.
  9. ^ Huzar (1978), pp. 230-231.
  10. ^ a b c Zograph (1938), p. 108.
  11. ^ Zograph (1938), pp. 106-111.
  12. ^ Zograph (1938), p. 108, 110-111.


  • Myzgin, Kirill; Beidin, Georgiy (2012), "Finds of Bosporan Coins in the Territory of the East-European Barbaricum", in Anna Kowalczyk; et al. (eds.), Notae Numismaticae, VII, Kraków: Muzeum Narodowe w Krakowie i Autorzy, pp. 57–76, ISSN 1426-5435.
  • Engels (2017), "The Seleucid and Achaemenid Court: Continuity or Change?", in Andrew Erskine; Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones; Shane Wallace (eds.), The Hellenistic Court: Monarchic Power and Elite Society from Alexander to Cleopatra, Ceredigion: The Classical Press of Wales, pp. 69–100, ISBN 978-1-910589-62-5.
  • Huzar, Eleanor Goltz (1978), Mark Antony: a Biography, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, ISBN 0-8166-0863-6.
  • Ivantchik, Askold (2014), "Roman Troops in the Bosporus. Old Problem in the Light of a New Inscription Found in Tanais", Ancient Civilizations from Scythia to Siberia, Brill, 20: 165–194.
  • Mayor, Adrienne (2011), Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome's Deadliest Enemy, Princeton: Princeton University Press, ISBN 978-0691-15026-0.
  • Mommsen, Theodore (2005) [1909], William P. Dickson (ed.), The provinces of the Roman empire from Caesar to Diocletian, translated by William P. Dickson, Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Library.
  • Sullivan, Richard, D. (1990), Near Eastern Royalty and Rome, 100-30 BC, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, ISBN 0-8020-2682-6.
  • Zograph, A. N. (1938), "Sauromates II's Reform of the Currency", The Numismatic Chronicle and Journal of the Royal Numismatic Society, 18: 99–116, JSTOR 42664185.

Further reading[edit]

  • Rome, the Greek world, and the East, by Fergus Millar, Hannah M. Cotton and Guy M. Rogers, Vol 2: Government, Society & Culture in the Roman Empire

External links[edit]

Preceded by
King of the Bosporus
Succeeded by
Rhescuporis II and Rhescuporis III