,) king or ruler of Cyrene, was a native of Pella in Macedonia: his father's name was Seilenus.
He appears to have accompanied Alexander
during his expedition in Asia, but his name is first mentioned as commanding one of the triremes of the fleet of that monarch on the Indus, B. C. 327. (Arrian, lnd.
After the death of the Macedonian king, he followed the foltunes of Ptolemy, by whom he was sent, in B. C. 322, at the head of a considerable army, to take advantage of the civil war which had broken out in the Cyrenaica. [THIMBRON.] This object he successfully accomplished, totally defeated Thimbron and the party that supported him, and established the supremacy of Egypt over Cyrene itself and its dependencies.
But shortly after, the civil dissensions having broken out again led Ptolemy himself to repair to Cyrene, which he this time appears to have reduced to complete subjection. (Diod. 18.21
; Arrian, apud Phot.
The subsequent proceedings of Ophellas are involved in great obscurity.
It seems certain that he was still left by Ptolemy at this time in the government of Cyrene, which he probably continued to hold on behalf of the Egyptian king until about the year B. C. 313: but no mention is found of his name in the account given by Diodorus (xviii>. 79) of the revolt of the Cyrenaeans in that year, which was suppressed by Agis, the general of Ptolemy. Yet it cold not have been long after that he availed himself of the continued disaffection of that people towards Egypt to assume the government of Cyrene as an independent state.
The continual wars in which Ptolemy was engaged against Antigonus, and the natural difficulties of assailing Cyrene, secured him against invasion ; and he appears to have continued in undisputed possession of the country for near five years. (Paus. 1.6.8
; Droysen, Hellenism.
vol. i. pp. 414, 417.)
The power to which Ophellas had thus attained, and the strong mercenary force which he was able to bring into the field, caused Aoaltholcles, during his expedition in Africa (B. C. 308) to turn his attention towards the new ruler of Cvrene as likely to prove an useful ally against the Carthaginians.
In order to gain him over he promised to cede to him whatever conquests their corlmbined forces might make in Africa, reserving to himself only the possession of Sicily.
The ambition of Ophellas was thus aroused : he put himself at the head of a powerful army, and notwithstanding all the natural obstacles which presented themselves on his route, succeeded in reaching the Cartthaginian territories after a toilsome and perilous march of more than two months' duration.
He was received by his new ally with every demonstration of friendship, and the two armies encamped near each other: but not many days had elapsed when Agathocles took an opportunity treacherously to surprise the camnip of the Cyrenaeans, and Opihellas himself perished in the confusion. His troops, thus left without a leader, joined the standard of Agathocles. (Diod. 20.40
; Justin, 22.7
; Oros. 4.6
; Polyaen. 5.3.4
; Suid. s. v. Ὀφέλλας
. Justin styles Ophellas "rex Cyrenarum," but it seems improbable that he had really assumed the regal title.
He was married to an Athenian, Eurydice, the daughter of Miltiades, and appears to have maintained friendly relations with Athens. (Diod. 20.40
; Plut. Demetr. 14