son of Ariobarzanes II., whom he succeeded on the throne in B. C. 337. (Diod. 16.90
He is frequently called ὁ κτιστής
, as having been the founder of the independent kingdom of Pontus, and ought certainly to be distingished as Mithridates I.
According to Appian (App. Mith. 112
) he was eighth in descent from the first satrap of Pontus under Dareius Hystaspes, and sixth in ascending order from Mithridates the Great. (Ibid.
9; see Clinton, F. H.
vol. iii. p. 423.) Diodorus assigns him a reign of thirty-five years, but it appears certain that he did not hold uninterrupted possession of the sovereignty during that period. What circumstances led to his expulsion or subjection we know not; indeed we meet with no farther notice of him from the date of his accession already mentioned until some time after the death of Alexander
, when we find him attending, apparently in a private, or at least subordinate, capacity, upon the court and camp of Antigonus. Probably he had been compelled to submit to the Macedonian yoke at the time that Cappadocia was conquered by Perdiccas, B. C. 322.
He seems to have enjoyed a high place in the favour and confidence of Antigonus, until that potentate, alarmed at a dream he had had, foretelling the future greatness of Mithridates, was induced to form the project of putting him to death. Mithridates, however, received from Demetrius timely notice of his father's intentions, and fled with a few followers to Paphlagonia, where he occupied a strong fortress, called Cimiata, and being joined by numerous bodies of troops from different quarters, gradually extended his duminion over the neighbouring countries, and thus became the founder of the kingdom of Pontus. (Appian, App. Mith. 9
; Strab. xii. p.562
; Plut. Demetr. 4
The period of the flight of Mithridates is uncertain, but it must have taken place as early as 318, as we find him at the close of 317 supporting Eumenes in the war against Antigonus. (Diod. 19.40
.) From this time we hear no more of him till his death in B. C. 302, but it appears that he had submitted again to at least a nominal subjection to Antigonus, who now procured his assassination, to prevent him from joining the league of Cassander and his confederates.
He seems, however, to have before this established himself firmly in his kingdom, in which he was succeeded without opposition by his son Mithridates. (Diod. 20.111
; Appian, App. Mith. 9
According to Lucian (Macrob.
13), he was not less than eighty-four years of age at the time of his death, which renders it not improbable, as suggested by Clinton (F. H.
iii. p. 422), that he is the same as the Mithridates, son of Ariobarzanes, who in his youth circumvented and put to death Datames. [DATAMES.] Plutarch is clearly in error when he calls him a young man at the time of his flight, and a contemporary of Demetrius. (See Clinton, l.c.,
and Droysen, Hellenism
tom. i. p. 44, 298.)