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Laodice (sister-wife of Mithridates IV of Pontus)

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Title: Laodice (sister-wife of Mithridates IV of Pontus)  
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Subject: Laodice, Mithridates III of Pontus, Mithridates V of Pontus, Mithridates IV of Pontus, Pharnaces I of Pontus
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Laodice (sister-wife of Mithridates IV of Pontus)

Laodice (flourished 2nd century BC) was a Princess and Queen of the Kingdom of Pontus.

Family and Ancestry

Laodice was of Greek Macedonian and Persian ancestry. She was the daughter of the Monarchs Laodice and Mithridates III of Pontus.[1] Her brothers were Mithridates IV of Pontus and Pharnaces I of Pontus [2] who served as Kings of Pontus after the death of their parents. Laodice was born and raised in the Kingdom of Pontus.


The ancient sources do not mention anything about Laodice. She is only known through surviving coins, statues and inscriptions. At some point, Laodice married her brother Mithridates IV of Pontus.[3] She appears to have no children with her husband.

Surviving coins that were issued by Laodice and coins that were joint issued by her with Mithridates IV, shows she reigned as Queen of Pontus with her brother sometime c. 162 BC until in the 150s BC.[4][5] From the coinage, it makes it very likely that Laodice was co-regent with Mithridates IV.[6] Coins from the joint rule of Laodice and Mithridates IV display a fine double portrait and they adapted a Ptolemaic model for coinage.[7]

An example of a coin from their joint rule is one side is a draped bust of Mithridates IV and Laodice. On the reverse side, shows their royal titles in Greek ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΜΙΘΡΑΔΑΤΟΥ ΚΑΙ ΒΑΣΙΛΙΣΣΗΣ ΛΑΟΔΙΚΗΣ ΦΙΛΑΔΕΛΦΩΝ which means of King Mithridates and Queen Laodice Philadelphoi.[8] Philadelphoi is the plural for the Greek word Philadelphus which means sibling-loving. On the side of their royal titles, presents Mithridates IV and Laodice struck in the image of the Greek Patron Gods Zeus and Hera. Zeus and Hera are standing facing front. Hera is holding a sceptre in the right hand, while Zeus laureate holds a sceptre in his right hand and a thunderbolt in his left hand.[9] The choice of coinage is a declaration of Hellenism.[10] On the coins she issued herself, her royal title in Greek on coinage is ΒΑΣΙΛΙΣΣΗΣ ΛΑΟΔΙΚΗΣ, which means of Queen Laodice.[11] Other silver coins in her issue has her royal titled initialled. One coin she issued has a veiled bust of her on one side and on the other side presents her royal Greek title with her being struck in the image of Hera. Hera is standing facing front; she wears a long dress and holds a sceptre in her right hand.[12]

Another coin she issued has her one side in a veiled bust and on the reverse having her Greek royal title ΒΑΣΙΛΙΣΣΗΣ ΛΑΟΔΙΚΗΣ - ΕΠΙΘΑΝΟΥ ΚΑΙ ΦΙΛΑΔΕΛΦΟΥ which means of Queen Laodice Epifanous and Philadelphus.[13] On the side of her royal title shows a double cornucopia and a six rayed star.[14] Laodice is the only queen to make the epithet Epifanous on a Greek coin.[15] She was honored with a statue and an inscription on the Greek island of Delos.[16]

According to the surviving evidence, Laodice was a well-connected figure and perhaps a well-known identity in ancient Greek and Persian societies. She appears to have been a monarch of some influence and distinction, which may have had considerable power. She seems to have been religious, patriotic of her Greek and Persian ancestry, who ruled justly and fairly for both societies.



  • B.C. McGing, The foreign policy of Mithridates VI Eupator, King of Pontus, BRILL, 1986
  • M. Getzel, Hellenistic settlements in Europe, the islands and Asia Minor, Cohen University of California Press, 1995
  • The First Royal Coinage of Pontos (from Mithridates III to Mithridates V), Francois de Callatay
  • The Dynastic History of the Hellenistic Monarchies of Asia Minor According to Chorography of George Synkellos by Oleg L. Gabelko

External links

  • Tetradrachm Coinage of Laodice and Mithridates IV and Coinage of Laodice alone on pages 15-17
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