Antonia Tryphaena

Antonia Tryphaena

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Antonia Tryphaena also known as Tryphaena of Thrace or Tryphaena (her name in Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

: η Άντωνία Τρύφαινα or Τρυφαίνη, 10 BC - 55) was a Princess of the Bosporan
Bosporan Kingdom
The Bosporan Kingdom or the Kingdom of the Cimmerian Bosporus was an ancient state, located in eastern Crimea and the Taman Peninsula on the shores of the Cimmerian Bosporus...

, Pontus
Kingdom of Pontus
The Kingdom of Pontus or Pontic Empire was a state of Persian origin on the southern coast of the Black Sea. It was founded by Mithridates I in 291 BC and lasted until its conquest by the Roman Republic in 63 BC...

, Cilicia
Cilicia
In antiquity, Cilicia was the south coastal region of Asia Minor, south of the central Anatolian plateau. It existed as a political entity from Hittite times into the Byzantine empire...

, Cappadocia
Cappadocia
Cappadocia is a historical region in Central Anatolia, largely in Nevşehir Province.In the time of Herodotus, the Cappadocians were reported as occupying the whole region from Mount Taurus to the vicinity of the Euxine...

 and a Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 Client Queen of Thrace
Thrace
Thrace is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe. As a geographical concept, Thrace designates a region bounded by the Balkan Mountains on the north, Rhodope Mountains and the Aegean Sea on the south, and by the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara on the east...

.

Origins, Family and Early Life


Tryphaena was the only known daughter and the youngest child of Roman Client Rulers Polemon Pythodoros
Polemon I of Pontus
Polemon Pythodoros, also known as Polemon I or Polemon I of Pontus was the Roman Client King of Cilicia, Pontus, Colchis and the Bosporan Kingdom....

 and Pythodorida of Pontus
Pythodorida of Pontus
Pythodorida or Pythodoris of Pontus was a Roman Client Queen of Pontus, Bosporan, Cilicia and Cappadocia.-Origins & Early Life:Pythodorida is also known as Pythodoris I and Pantos Pythodorida. According to an honorific inscription dedicated to her in Athens Greece in the late 1st century BC, her...

. Her elder brothers were Zenon, also known as Artaxias III
Artaxias III
Artaxias III, also known as Zeno-Artaxias, Artaxes or Artashes was a prince of the Bosporan, Pontus, Cilicia, Cappadocia and Roman Client King of Armenia....

, who became Roman Client King of Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

 and Roman Client King Polemon II of Pontus, who would succeed her mother and became the last Roman Client Ruler of Pontus.

She was of Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

n Greek
Greeks
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

 and Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 heritage. Her paternal grandfather was Zenon, a prominent orator and aristocrat, who was an ally to Roman Triumvir Mark Antony
Mark Antony
Marcus Antonius , known in English as Mark Antony, was a Roman politician and general. As a military commander and administrator, he was an important supporter and loyal friend of his mother's cousin Julius Caesar...

. Her maternal grandparents were the wealthy Greek and friend of the late Roman Triumvir Pompey
Pompey
Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, also known as Pompey or Pompey the Great , was a military and political leader of the late Roman Republic...

 Pythodoros of Tralles
Pythodoros of Tralles
Pythodoros of Tralles, also known as Pythodorus was an exceedingly wealthy Anatolian Greek living in the 1st century BC. Pythodoros originated came from Tralles . Not much is known on his family. He was a friend to the late Roman triumvir Pompey.Pythodoros became the first son-in-law to the Roman...

 and Antonia.

Through her maternal grandmother she was a direct descendant of Mark Antony and his second wife Antonia Hybrida Minor. Antony and Antonia were first paternal cousins. Her name reflects her descent from the triumvir. She was Antony’s third great-grandchild and his first great granddaughter. The only other female descendant of Antony‘s, who bears the name ‘Antonia’, is Claudia Antonia
Claudia Antonia
Claudia Antonia was the daughter of the Roman Emperor Claudius and his second wife Aelia Paetina...

, a Roman princess and the first daughter of Roman Emperor Claudius
Claudius
Claudius , was Roman Emperor from 41 to 54. A member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, he was the son of Drusus and Antonia Minor. He was born at Lugdunum in Gaul and was the first Roman Emperor to be born outside Italy...

. Her second name Tryphaena is a name of ancient Greek origin and this name was associated with the Greek Queens and Princesses of the Ptolemaic dynasty
Ptolemaic dynasty
The Ptolemaic dynasty, was a Macedonian Greek royal family which ruled the Ptolemaic Empire in Egypt during the Hellenistic period. Their rule lasted for 275 years, from 305 BC to 30 BC...

 of Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

. Tryphaena wasn’t a blood relative of the Ptolemaic dynasty.

Through Antony, her great maternal aunt was Roman Client Queen Cleopatra Selene II of Mauretania
Mauretania
Mauretania is a part of the historical Ancient Libyan land in North Africa. It corresponds to present day Morocco and a part of western Algeria...

. Through Antony, she was a distant cousin to Roman Client King Ptolemy of Mauretania
Ptolemy of Mauretania
Ptolemy of Mauretania was a prince and the last Roman client King of Mauretania.-Family and early life:Ptolemy was the son of King Juba II and Queen Cleopatra Selene II of Mauretania. He had a younger sister called Drusilla of Mauretania...

 and the princesses named Drusilla of Mauretania. Through Antony, she was a distant cousin to Roman Emperor
Roman Emperor
The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman State during the imperial period . The Romans had no single term for the office although at any given time, a given title was associated with the emperor...

s Caligula
Caligula
Caligula , also known as Gaius, was Roman Emperor from 37 AD to 41 AD. Caligula was a member of the house of rulers conventionally known as the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Caligula's father Germanicus, the nephew and adopted son of Emperor Tiberius, was a very successful general and one of Rome's most...

, Claudius
Claudius
Claudius , was Roman Emperor from 41 to 54. A member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, he was the son of Drusus and Antonia Minor. He was born at Lugdunum in Gaul and was the first Roman Emperor to be born outside Italy...

 and Nero
Nero
Nero , was Roman Emperor from 54 to 68, and the last in the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Nero was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius to become his heir and successor, and succeeded to the throne in 54 following Claudius' death....

 and Roman Empresses Valeria Messalina, Agrippina the Younger
Agrippina the Younger
Julia Agrippina, most commonly referred to as Agrippina Minor or Agrippina the Younger, and after 50 known as Julia Augusta Agrippina was a Roman Empress and one of the more prominent women in the Julio-Claudian dynasty...

 and Claudia Octavia
Claudia Octavia
Claudia Octavia was an Empress of Rome. She was a great-niece of the Emperor Tiberius, paternal first cousin of the Emperor Caligula, daughter of the Emperor Claudius, and stepsister and first wife of the Emperor Nero...

.

Tryphaena’s father died in 8 BC. Her mother married Roman Client King Archelaus of Cappadocia
Archelaus of Cappadocia
-Family & Early Life:Archelaus was a Cappadocian Greek nobleman, possibly of Macedonian descent. His full name was Archelaus Sisines. He was the first born son, namesake of the Roman Client and High Priest Ruler Archelaus, of the temple state of Comana, Cappadocia and Glaphyra. Archelaus’ father...

. Her family moved to Cappadocia
Cappadocia
Cappadocia is a historical region in Central Anatolia, largely in Nevşehir Province.In the time of Herodotus, the Cappadocians were reported as occupying the whole region from Mount Taurus to the vicinity of the Euxine...

 and along with her brothers were raised in the court of their stepfather. Archelaus died in 17. After his death, her mother and Polemon II moved back to Pontus.

Queen of Thrace


Before 12, Tryphaena married Thracian Prince Cotys VIII. Cotys was the son and heir of loyal Roman Client Rulers Rhoemetalces I
Rhoemetalces I
Rhoemetalces I was king of the Odrysian kingdom of Thrace from 12 BC to 12, in succession to his nephew Rhescuporis I.Rhoemetalces I was a loyal ally to the first Roman Emperor Augustus. He was a direct descendant of the Thracian King Cotys I, and the middle son of the earlier Thracian king Cotys VI...

 and Pythodoris I. In 12 Rhoemetalces I died, which is when Tryphaena became queen of Thrace.

Only two ancient sources make reference to her: the historian Tacitus
Tacitus
Publius Cornelius Tacitus was a senator and a historian of the Roman Empire. The surviving portions of his two major works—the Annals and the Histories—examine the reigns of the Roman Emperors Tiberius, Claudius, Nero and those who reigned in the Year of the Four Emperors...

 and Strabo
Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

 the Geographer. Tacitus refers to her as Cotys’ widow and Strabo refers to her as the unnamed daughter of Polemon Pythodoros and the wife of Cotys. The Greek geographer Strabo was a friend to her mother.

We also know of Tryphaena from numismatic evidence, inscriptions and buildings she ordered to be commissioned. On surviving coinage, her royal title is ΒΑΣΙΛΙΣΣΗΣ ΤΡΥΦΑΙΝΗΣ or of Queen Tryphaena. In the ancient Greek city of Cyzicus
Cyzicus
Cyzicus was an ancient town of Mysia in Anatolia in the current Balıkesir Province of Turkey. It was located on the shoreward side of the present Kapıdağ Peninsula , a tombolo which is said to have originally been an island in the Sea of Marmara only to be connected to the mainland in historic...

 (now in modern Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

) which became second her residence, Tryphaena and her children have left a number of inscriptions in Cyzicus. Some of these inscriptions mention her and reveal her descent, for example:
Άντωνία Τρύφαινα Βασιλέως Πολέμωνος καί Βα[σιλίσ]σης Πυθοδωρίδος Θυγάτηρ
Antonia Tryphaena, daughter of King Polemon and of Queen Pythodoris


After the death of Augustus in 14, Tryphaena ordered and financially commissioned at her expense the restoration of Cyzicus. The city’s restoration included works completed on its harbors and canals. She did this as a thanks offering to the memory of Augustus.

Sometime after the Cyzicus’ restorations were completed, Rhescuporis II
Rhescuporis II
Rhescuporis II was king of half of the Odrysian kingdom of Thrace from 12 to 18, in succession to his brother Rhoemetalces I, and briefly ruler of the entire realm thereafter, usurping the other half from nephew Cotys VIII. He was a son of the earlier Thracian king Cotys VI and the younger brother...

, wanted to claim Cotys’ section of the Thracian Kingdom for himself to rule as one kingdom. Cotys refused to give in the demands of his uncle. The political disagreement between Rhescuporis and Cotys, led Cotys to be captured and killed by his paternal uncle. After the murder of Cotys, Tryphaena fled with her family to Cyzicus in 18.

Roman Emperor Tiberius
Tiberius
Tiberius , was Roman Emperor from 14 AD to 37 AD. Tiberius was by birth a Claudian, son of Tiberius Claudius Nero and Livia Drusilla. His mother divorced Nero and married Augustus in 39 BC, making him a step-son of Octavian...

 in 18 had opened a murder investigation into Cotys’ death. Tiberius put Rhescuporis II on trial in the Roman Senate
Roman Senate
The Senate of the Roman Republic was a political institution in the ancient Roman Republic, however, it was not an elected body, but one whose members were appointed by the consuls, and later by the censors. After a magistrate served his term in office, it usually was followed with automatic...

 and invited Tryphaena to attend the trial. During the trial Tryphaena accused Rhescuporis II of killing her husband and forcing him to exile himself from his own kingdom. Tiberius found Rhescuporis II guilty and sent him to live in exile in Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

, Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

. On his way to Egypt Rhescuporis II tried to escape and was killed by Roman soldiers.

Tiberius returned the whole Thracian Kingdom to Tryphaena and Tiberius appointed Tryphaena and Cotys’ first child Rhoemetalces II
Rhoemetalces II
Rhoemetalces II was a Client Ruler in association with his mother Antonia Tryphaena of the Odrysian kingdom of Thrace under the Romans from 18 to 38. On coinage his royal title is in Greek:ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΡΟΙΜΗΤΑΛΚΑΣ or of King Rhoemetalces...

 to rule with his mother. The son of Rhescuporis II, Rhoemetalces III
Rhoemetalces III
Rhoemetalces III was a King of the Thracians. He was the son of the Monarch Rhescuporis II. He in association with his cousin-wife Pythodoris II were client rulers of the Odrysian kingdom of Thrace under the Romans from 38 to 46, in succession to Pythodoris’ mother Tryphaena and her brother...

 was spared by Tiberius and allowed him to return to Thrace.

Tryphaena bore Cotys four known children:
  • A son, Rhoemetalces II
    Rhoemetalces II
    Rhoemetalces II was a Client Ruler in association with his mother Antonia Tryphaena of the Odrysian kingdom of Thrace under the Romans from 18 to 38. On coinage his royal title is in Greek:ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΡΟΙΜΗΤΑΛΚΑΣ or of King Rhoemetalces...

    , he was named after his paternal grandfather and ruled with Tryphaena from when his father died in 18 until his death in 38.
  • A daughter, Gepaepyris
    Gepaepyris
    Gepaepyris was a Thracian Princess and a Roman Client Queen of the Bosporan Kingdom.Gepaepyris was the first daughter and was among the children of Roman Client Rulers of Thrace, Cotys VIII and Antonia Tryphaena...

    , she married the Roman Client King Tiberius Julius Aspurgus
    Tiberius Julius Aspurgus
    Tiberius Julius Aspurgus Philoromaios was a Prince and Roman Client King of the Bosporan Kingdom.The name Aspurgus is a name of Iranian origin. His name goes back to the Iranian words aspa and aspabara . Aspurgus was a monarch of Greek and Iranian ancestry.Aspurgus was the son born to the ruling...

     of the Bosporan Kingdom
    Bosporan Kingdom
    The Bosporan Kingdom or the Kingdom of the Cimmerian Bosporus was an ancient state, located in eastern Crimea and the Taman Peninsula on the shores of the Cimmerian Bosporus...

    .
  • A son, Cotys IX
    Cotys IX
    Cotys IX or Kotys IX was a Thracian prince and the Roman Client King of Lesser Armenia. Cotys was the second son and was among the children of Roman Client Rulers of Thrace Cotys VIII and Antonia Tryphaena...

    , he was the namesake of his father. He became Roman Client King of Lesser Armenia
    Lesser Armenia
    Lesser Armenia , also known as Armenia Minor and Armenia Inferior, refers to the Armenian populated regions, primarily to the West and North-West of the ancient Armenian Kingdom...

     from 38 to until at least 47.
  • A daughter, Pythodoris II
    Pythodoris II
    Pythodoris II or Pythodorida II was client ruler in association with her cousin Rhoemetalces III of the Odrysian kingdom of Thrace under the Romans from 38 to 46, in succession to her mother Antonia Tryphaena and brother Rhoemetalces II...

    or Pythodorida II. She was named after her maternal grandparents and her paternal grandmother. In 38, after the death of Rhoemetalces II, Tryphaena abdicated the throne at the request of Roman Emperor Caligula
    Caligula
    Caligula , also known as Gaius, was Roman Emperor from 37 AD to 41 AD. Caligula was a member of the house of rulers conventionally known as the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Caligula's father Germanicus, the nephew and adopted son of Emperor Tiberius, was a very successful general and one of Rome's most...

    . Pythodoris II married her second paternal cousin Rhoemetalces III
    Rhoemetalces III
    Rhoemetalces III was a King of the Thracians. He was the son of the Monarch Rhescuporis II. He in association with his cousin-wife Pythodoris II were client rulers of the Odrysian kingdom of Thrace under the Romans from 38 to 46, in succession to Pythodoris’ mother Tryphaena and her brother...

     and they ruled Thrace as Roman Client Rulers from 38 until 46.


While Tryphaena’s children were growing up they were part of the remarkable court of Antonia Minor in Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

. Antonia Minor
Antonia Minor
Antonia Minor , also known as Antonia the Younger or simply Antonia was the younger of two daughters of Roman politician Mark Antony and Octavia Minor. Tacitus Ann. 4.44.2 and 12.54.2 may have confused the two Antonia sisters...

 was another great maternal aunt of Tryphaena’s. Antonia Minor was a very influential woman and supervised her circle of various princes and princesses. Her circle assisted in the political preservation of the Roman Empire’s borders and affairs of the client states.

Tryphaena was appointed by Caligula in 38 and served as a priestess in the cult of Julia Drusilla and in 42 was appointed by Claudius to serve as a priestess in the cult of late Roman Empress Livia
Livia
Livia Drusilla, , after her formal adoption into the Julian family in AD 14 also known as Julia Augusta, was a Roman empress as the third wife of the Emperor Augustus and his adviser...

 Drusilla. From 38 until her death, Tryphaena lived as a private citizen in Cyzicus. In Caligula’s reign, she became the benefactor of Cyzicus and enjoyed Caligula’s patronage. Tryphaena was a prominent citizen in Cyzicus. Tryphaena was heavy influenced by Livia’s lifestyle. Tryphaena's behavior provided an example to elite women in Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

, which was later appreciated by other women in that region.

Her association with Judaism and Christianity


Tryphaena’s brother Polemon II married the Judea
Judea
Judea or Judæa was the name of the mountainous southern part of the historic Land of Israel from the 8th century BCE to the 2nd century CE, when Roman Judea was renamed Syria Palaestina following the Jewish Bar Kokhba revolt.-Etymology:The...

n Princess Julia Berenice and through their marriage Polemon converted to Judaism and probably later became a Christian. Tryphaena is associated with the life of the Saint Thecla
Thecla
Thecla was a saint of the early Christian Church, and a reported follower of Paul the Apostle. The only known record of her comes from the apocryphal Acts of Paul and Thecla, probably composed in the 2nd century.-Biography:...

, the Acts of Paul and Thecla
Acts of Paul and Thecla
The Acts of Paul and Thecla is an apocryphal story— Goodspeed called it a "religious romance"— of St Paul's influence on a young virgin named Thecla. It is one of the writings of the New Testament Apocrypha.- The text :...

 and Saint Tryphaena of Cyzicus
Tryphaena of Cyzicus
Tryphaena was a Roman Christian woman that lived in the Roman Empire. She was the daughter of Roman nobles Anastasius and Socratia. Her parents named her in honor of Antonia Tryphaena, who was a prominent citizen in Cyzicus and was a Pontian Princess, who was a former Roman client Queen of Thrace...

. Saint Tryphaena is the patron saint of Cyzicus and she was named in honor of Tryphaena.

Through the preachings of Paul the Apostle, Tryphaena may have converted to Christianity. In Romans 16:12, in the New Testament of the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

, Paul sends his greeting to a ‘Tryphaena’ and then the apostle writes about her ’who works in the Lord’s service’.

Sources