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Nicome'des I.

Νικομήδης), king of Bithynia, was the eldest son of Zipoetes, whom he succeeded on the throne, B. . 278. (Memnon, 100.20, ed. Orell.; Clinton, vol. iii. p. 411.) Like many other Eastern potentates it appears that he commenced his reign by putting to death two of his brothers, but the third, Zipoetes, raised an insurrection against him, and succeeded in maintaining himself for some time in the independent sovereignty of a considerable part of Bithynia. Meanwhile, Nicomedes was threatened with an invasion from Antiochus I., king of Syria, who had already made war upon his father, zipoetes, and to strengthen himself against this danger, he concluded an alliance with Heracleia, and shortly afterwards with Antigonus Gonatas. The threatened attack, however, passed over with little injury. Antiochus actually invaded Bithynia, but withdrew again without risking a battle. It was apparently as much against his revolted subjects as his foreign enemies that Nicomedes now called in the assistance of more powerful auxiliaries, and entered into an alliance with the Gauls, who, under Leonnorius and Lutarius, were arrived on the opposite side of the Bosporus, and were at this time engaged in the siege of Byzantium, B. C. 277. Having furnished them with the means of crossing over into Asia, he first turned the arms of his new auxiliaries against his brother, Zipoetes, whom he defeated and put to death, and thus reunited the whole of Bithvnia under his dominion. (Memonon, 100.16, 18, 1.); Liv. 38.16; Just. 25.2.) Of the events that followed we have little information; it is probable that the Gauls subsequently assisted Nicomedes against Antiochus (Trog. Pomp. prol. xxv; comp. Droysen, Hellenism. vol. ii. p. 178), but no particulars are recorded either of the war or the peace that terminated it. It appears, however, that Nicomedes was left in the undisturbed possession of Bithynia, which he continued to govern from this time till his death, and which rose to a high degree of power and prosperity during his long and peaceful reign. In imitation of so many others of the Greek rulers of Asia, he determined to perpetuate his own name by the foundation of a new capital, and the site which he chose, in the immediate neighbourhood of the Megarian colony of Astacus, was so judiciously selected that the city of Nicomedeia continued for more than six centuries to be one of the richest and most flourishing in Asia. (Memnon, 100.20; Strab. xii. p.563; Steph. Byz. v. Νικομήδεια, who erroneously calls Nicomedes son of Zeilas Euseb. Chron. Ol. 129. 1; Paus. 5.12.7; Tzetz. Chil. 3.950.) The foundation of Nicomedeia is placed by Eusebius (l.c.) in B. C. 264. The duration of the reign of Nicomedes himself after this event is unknown, but his death is assigned with much probability by the Abbé Sevin (Mém. de l'Acad. des inscr. tom. xv. p. 34) to about the year B. C. 250. He had been twice married; by his first wife, Ditizela, a Phrygian by birth (who had been accidentally killed by a favourite dog belonging to the king), he had two sons, Prusias and ZIELAS, and a daughter, Lysandra; but his second wife, Etazeta, persuaded him to set aside his children by this former marriage, and leave his crown to her offspring. The latter were still infants at the time of his death, on which account he confided their guardianship by his will to the two kings, Antigonus Gonatas and Ptolemy, together with the free cities of Heracleia, Byzantium and Cius. But, notwithstanding this precaution, his son Zielas quickly established himself on the throne. [ZIELAS.] (Memnon. 100.22; Arrian ap. Tzetz. Chil. 3.960; Plin. Nat. 8.40 (61), who calls the first wife of Nicomedes, Consingis.) It is probably this Nicomedes who sought to purchase from the Cnidians the celebrated statue of Venus, by Praxiteles, by offering to remit the whole public debt of the city. (Plin. Nat. 7.39, 36.4.21.)


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277 BC (1)
264 BC (1)
250 BC (1)
hide References (5 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (5):
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 5.12.7
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 7.39
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 8.40
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 36.4
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 38, 16
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