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Ariarathes V of Cappadocia

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Title: Ariarathes V of Cappadocia  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Ariarathes VI of Cappadocia, Ariarathes IV of Cappadocia, Cappadocian Greeks, Orophernes of Cappadocia, Demetrius I Soter
Collection: 2Nd-Century Bc Asian Rulers, Kings of Cappadocia, Roman-Era Students in Athens
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Ariarathes V of Cappadocia

O: Diademed head of Ariarathes V R: Athena holding Nike with wreath and resting hand on grounded shield, spear behind; BAΣIΛEΩΣ / APIAPAΘOY / EYΣEBOYΣ; monograms in field
Silver tetradrachm struck in Eusebeia 133 BC; ref.: Simonetta 2 [2];

Λ in exergue is a greek numeral and means 30th year of reign

Ariarathes V Eusebes Philopator (Ancient Greek: Ἀριαράθης Εὐσεβής Φιλοπάτωρ, Ariaráthēs Eusebḗs Philopátōr; reigned 163–130 BC or 126 BC) was son of the preceding king Ariarathes IV of Cappadocia and Antiochis. Previously called Mithridates, he reigned 33 years, 163–130 BC, as king of Cappadocia. He was distinguished by the excellence of his character and his cultivation of philosophy and the liberal arts and is considered by some to have been the greatest of the Kings of Cappadocia.[1]


  • Early life 1
  • Reign 2
  • Marriage and succession 3
  • Legacy 4
  • Notes 5
  • References 6

Early life

Ariarathes V was of mixed Greek and Persian ancestry, although he was predominantly Greek by descent, he was the son of Ariarathes IV of Cappadocia who was half Greek Macedonian[2] and Persian and his Greek spouse Antiochis who was the daughter of the Seleucid King Antiochus III[3][4] of the Greek-Macedonian Seleucid dynasty.[5] According to Livy[6], he was educated at Rome; but this account may perhaps refer to another Ariarathes, while Ariarathes Eusebes probably studied in his youth in Athens, where he seems to have become a friend of the future king Attalus II Philadelphus.


In consequence of rejecting, at the wish of the Romans, a marriage with Laodice V the sister of Demetrius I Soter, the latter made war upon him, and brought forward Orophernes of Cappadocia, his brother and one of the supposititious sons of the late king, as a claimant of the throne. Ariarathes was deprived of his kingdom, and fled to Rome about 158 BC. He was restored by the Romans, who, however, allowed Orophernes to reign jointly with him, as is expressly stated by Appian[7], and implied by Polybius[8]. The joint government, however, did not last long; for we find Ariarathes shortly afterwards named as sole king.

In 154 BC, Ariarathes assisted the king of Pergamum Attalus II in his war against Prusias II of Bithynia, and sent his son Demetrius in command of his forces. He fell in 130 BC, in the war of the Romans against Aristonicus of Pergamum. In return for the succours which he had brought the Romans on that occasion, Lycaonia and Cilicia were added to the dominions of his family.

Marriage and succession

By his wife Nysa of Cappadocia (who was the daughter of King Pharnaces I of Pontus) he had six children; but they were all, with the exception of one, killed by their mother, that she might obtain the government of the kingdom. After she had been put to death by the people on account of her cruelty, her last surviving son succeeded to the crown as Ariarathes VI of Cappadocia.


Ariarathes was a strong philhellene; himself honoured with the Athenian citizenship, he refounded the two Cappadocian towns of Mazaca and Tyana with the Greek names of Eusebia. He was munificent in his donations to Athens and its institutions; an inscription remains by an association of professional actors which thanks him and his wife for his patronage. It is also known that he corresponded with the Greek philosopher Carneades, as Diogenes Laertius attests.[9]


  1. ^ Newell, Edward Theodore (1968). Royal Greek portrait coins. Whitman Pub. Co. p. 52.  
  2. ^ Boyce, Mary ; Grenet, Frantz (1991). A History of Zoroastrianism: Zoroastrianism Under Macedonian and Roman Rule. BRILL. pp. 267–8.  
  3. ^ Gera, Dov (1998). Judaea and Mediterranean Politics, 219 to 161 B.C.E. BRILL. p. 259.  
  4. ^ Zion, Noam ; Spectre, Barbara (2000). A Different Light: The Big Book of Hanukkah. Devora Publishing. p. 57.  
  5. ^ Glubb, Sir John Bagot (1967). Syria, Lebanon, Jordan. Thames & Hudson. p. 34.  
  6. ^ Livy, xlii. 19
  7. ^ Appian, "The Syrian Wars", 47
  8. ^ Polybius, xxxii. 10
  9. ^ Diogenes Laertius, The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, iv. 64


  • Appian, The foreign wars, Horace White (translator), New York, (1899)
  • Hazel, John; Who's Who in the Greek World, "Ariarathes V", (1999)
  • Head, Barclay; Historia Numorum, "Cappadocia", (1911)
  • Justin; Epitome of Pompeius Trogus, John Selby Watson (translator); London, (1886)
  • Livy; Ab urbe condita, Canon Roberts (translator); New York, (1905)
  • Polybius; Histories, Evelyn S. Shuckburgh (translator); London - New York, (1889)

Regnal titles
Preceded by
Ariarathes IV
King of Cappadocia
163 BC – 130 BC
Succeeded by
Ariarathes VI


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