The Kingdom of Commagene was a small Hellenized Armenian kingdom in southern Anatolia near Antioch, which began life as a tributary state of the Seleucid Empire and later became an independent kingdom, before eventually being annexed by the Roman Empire in 72.
Antiochus I Theos Dikaios Epiphanes Philorhomaios Philhellen (Armenian: Անտիոքոս Երվանդունի, Ancient Greek: Ἀντίοχος ὁ Θεὸς Δίκαιος Ἐπιφανὴς Φιλορωμαῖος Φιλέλλην, meaning Antiochos, a just, eminent god, friend of Romans and friend of Greeks, c. 86 BC – 38 BC, ruled 70 BC – 38 BC) was an Armenian king from the Kingdom of Commagene and the most famous king of that kingdom.The ruins of the tomb-sanctuary of Antiochus atop Mount Nemrut in Turkey were added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1987. Several sandstone bas reliefs discovered at the site contain some of the oldest known images of two figures shaking hands.Arsames I
Arsames I (Armenian: Արշամ) seems to have taken control of Commagene, Sophene and Armenia in the year 260 BC after the death of his grandfather Orontes III, king of Armenia, and his father Sames, king of Commagene.
Quite why they both died in the same year is not recorded, though it looks suspicious. It is known the Seleucid Empire was always trying to overthrow the Armenian dynasties who still ruled the lands their forebears had in the time of the Achaemenid Empire.
Ziaelas of Bithynia found refuge at the court of king Arsames, and upon the death of king Nicomedes I of Bithynia Ziaelas returned to take the kingdom in 254 BC.
Arsames also supported Antiochus Hierax against his brother, Seleucus II Callinicus, who was defeated at a battle against king Mithridates II of Pontus near Ankara in 239 BC, after which Seleucus lost control of any lands he had across the Taurus mountains. This was to the benefit of Arsames.
Arsames then founded the cities of Arsamosata in Sophene and Arsameia (known today as Eski Kale) in Commagene in 235 BC.
After his death his eldest son Xerxes became king of Commagene, Sophene and Armenia. Orontes IV would succeed Xerxes whilst another son known as "Mithras" (or Mithrenes II) is recorded as being the High Priest of the temple to the Sun and Moon at Armavir.Kingdom of Commagene
The Kingdom of Commagene (Ancient Greek: Βασίλειον τῆς Kομμαγηνῆς; Classical Armenian: Կոմմագէնեայ թագաւորութիւն; transcription: kommagēneay t‘agaworowt‘iwn; Armenian pronunciation: [kommage:neˈa tʰagaworuˈtʰiwn]; Armenian: Կոմմագենեի թագավորություն; Armenian pronunciation: [kommagɛnɛˈi tʰagavorutʰˈjun]) was an ancient Armenian kingdom of the Hellenistic period, located in and around the ancient city of Samosata, which served as its capital. The Iron Age name of Samosata, Kummuh, probably gives its name to Commagene. Commagene has been characterized as a "buffer state" between Armenia, Parthia, Syria, and Rome; culturally, it seems to have been correspondingly mixed. The kings of the Kingdom of Commagene claimed descent from Orontes with Darius I of Persia as their ancestor, by his marriage to Rodogoune, daughter of Artaxerxes II who had a family descent from king Darius I. The territory of Commagene corresponds roughly to the modern Turkish provinces of Adıyaman and northern Antep.Little is known of the region of Commagene prior to the beginning of the 2nd century BC. However, it seems that, from what little evidence remains, Commagene formed part of a larger state that also included the Kingdom of Sophene. This control lasted until c. 163 BC, when the local satrap, Ptolemaeus of Commagene, established himself as independent ruler following the death of the Seleucid king, Antiochus IV Epiphanes. The Kingdom of Commagene maintained its independence until 17 AD, when it was made a Roman province by Emperor Tiberius. It reemerged as an independent kingdom when Antiochus IV of Commagene was reinstated to the throne by order of Caligula, then deprived of it by that same emperor, then restored to it a couple of years later by his successor, Claudius. The re-emergent state lasted until 72 AD, when the Emperor Vespasian finally and definitively made it part of the Roman Empire.
One of the kingdom's most lasting visible remains is the archaeological site on Mount Nemrut, a sanctuary dedicated by King Antiochus Theos to a number of syncretistic Graeco-Iranian deities as well as to himself and the deified land of Commagene. It is now a World Heritage Site.Laodice (wife of Mithridates II of Commagene)
Laodice (Greek: η Λαοδίκη), was a Greek woman who lived in the 1st century BC. She had married the Greek King from the Kingdom of Commagene, Mithridates II of Commagene, the first son and heir to Greek King Antiochus I Theos of Commagene and Greek Queen Isias of Commagene. Mithridates II reigned as King of Commagene from 38 BC-20 BC.
Laodice through her marriage to Mithridates II became Queen of Commagene. Little is known on her and her origins. There is a possibility like Mithridates II; Laodice was a descendant of Seleucus I Nicator, the founder of the Seleucid Empire, and a general of the ancient Macedonian king, Alexander the Great. Laodice bore Mithridates II a child, the prince and future King Mithridates III of Commagene.
Laodice is only known through from an inscription of a funerary altar found in the Turkish village of Sofraz of a local wealthy leading family, which dates around the mid-1st century AD. The altar inscribes family members that stretches over 7 generations and includes the names: Antiochus I Theos, Mithridates II, and Laodice.List of Armenian kings
This is a list of the kings and queens of Armenia, for more information on ancient Armenia and Armenians, please see History of Armenia. For information on the medieval Armenian Kingdom in Cilicia, please see the separate page Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia.
See List of kings of Urartu for kings of Urartu (Ararat), the predecessor state of Greater Armenia.Lists of Armenians
This is a list of notable Armenians.Mithridates I Callinicus
Mithridates I Callinicus (Greek: Μιθριδάτης ὀ Кαλλίνικος) was a king of Orontid Armenian descent who lived during the late 2nd century BC and early 1st century BC. Mithridates was a prince, the son, and successor of King of Commagene, Sames II Theosebes Dikaios. Before his succession in 109 BC, he married the Syrian Greek Princess Laodice VII Thea as a part of a peace alliance. Mithridates embraced Greek culture. Laodice bore Mithridates a son, Antiochus I Theos of Commagene (c. 86 BC–38 BC), a prince and future king of Commagene. Mithridates died in 70 BC and Antiochus succeeded him.Orontid dynasty
The Orontid dynasty, also known by their native name Eruandid or Yervanduni (Armenian: Երվանդունի), was a hereditary Armenian dynasty and the rulers of the successor state to the Iron Age kingdom of Urartu (Ararat). The Orontids established their supremacy over Armenia around the time of the Scythian and Median invasion in the 6th century BC.
Members of the Orontid dynasty ruled Armenia intermittently during the period spanning the 6th century BC to at least the 2nd century BC, first as client kings or satraps of the Median and Achaemenid empires who established an independent kingdom after the collapse of the Achaemenid empire, and later as kings of Sophene and Commagene who eventually succumbed to the Roman Empire. The Orontids are the first of the three royal dynasties that successively ruled the ancient Kingdom of Armenia (321 BC–428 AD).Sames I
Samos or Sames (Armenian: Շամուշ, Greek: Σάμος) was satrap of Commagene, Armenian king of Commagene and Sophene.War between the Seleucid Empire and the Ptolemaic Kingdom seems to have allowed Sames an opportunity for independence for his kingdom. What side he took in the Syrian Wars is unknown as most of the records of that era have been lost, though it is considered likely that he would have supported the Ptolemaic Kingdom against his large and powerful neighbour, the Seleucid Empire.
Most sources give Orontes III as his father. After Orontes III died in 260 BC, there is no record for when Sames began his rule, only that his year of death is also 260 BC. This could be chronological error or it may be that Sames was meant to succeed Orontes III, but died in the same year. However it seems that Arsames I took control of Commagene, Sophene and Armenia after 260 BC.
Commagene was outside the boundary of historic Armenia, yet the Armenian satraps remained in occupation of many regions of Anatolia, such as Cappadocia and Pontus. It may have been that the son and heir to the Armenian kingdom would rule another region, just as the son or heir to the Achaemenid Empire had always ruled an outlying region, such as Bactria or Hyrkania. Viewing it from this perspective it would make sense, as his father Orontes III was of the Orontid family.It is suggested that Samos founded the city of Samosata, which has been submerged by the Ataturk Dam since 1989.
Shamash was a Babylonian god, equivalent to Mithra; it was a dramatic break from a seemingly continuous tradition of satraps with Armenian and Persian names. The neighbouring region of Osroene maintained a strong Aramaic culture that the Armenian and Persian occupiers never replaced. Although Sames had a very Babylonian (Aramaic) name, his name might have been "Mihrdat" which many of his successors had, but he replaced it with the Babylonian equivalent for cultural reasons on taking control of Commagene.
He was succeeded by his son, Arsames I.Sames II Theosebes Dikaios
Sames or Samos II Theosebes Dikaios (Greek: Σάμος Θεοσεβής Δίκαιος – died 109 BC) was the second king of Commagene. Of Armenian descent, he was the son and successor of Ptolemaeus of Commagene.
Sames reigned as king between 130–109 BC. During his reign, Sames ordered the construction of the fortress at Samosata which is now submerged by water from the Atatürk Dam. Sames died in 109 BC. His wife was Pythodoris, daughter of the Kings of Pontus, and his son and successor was Mithridates I Callinicus.Xerxes of Armenia
Xerxes (Armenian: Շավարշ – Šavarš, Ancient Greek: Ξέρξης - Xerxes, Old Persian: Ḫšayāršā) was satrap of the Seleucid territories of Sophene and Commagene from 228 BC to 212 BC, the year of his death.
He succeeded his father Arsames I to rule both Sophene and Commagene in 228 BC, while his brother Orontes IV ruled Armenia. In 223 BC, several Seleucid satraps rebelled against King Antiochus III, including Artabazanes (Upper Media), Molon (Lower Media), Alexander (Persis), and Achaeus (Asia Minor). By 220 BC Antiochus had put down most of the rebellions; however, Achaeus was not defeated until 213 BC.
These rebellions help explain Antiochus' subsequent aggressive policy toward his satrap Xerxes. By 212 BC, Antiochus III had invaded the domain of Xerxes and defeated him after laying siege to the city of Arsamosata. Shortly afterwards Antiochus III arranged for Xerxes to marry his sister, Antiochis. However, within the same year she arranged to have her new husband assassinated, thinking that her brother would then be able to take control of Sophene. Whether Xerxes still ruled Commagene by the time of his assassination is not known.
Antiochus III, however, distracted by his many military campaigns, preferred to place Sophene under the rule of Xerxes' son, Abdissares.