1. POLEMON I., was the son of Zenon, the orator of Laodiceia, and it was as a reward for the services rendered by his father as well as himself that he was appointed by Antony in B. C. 39 to the government of a part of Cilicia. (Appian, App. BC 5.75
; Strab. xii. p.578
At a subsequent period he obtained from the triumvir in exchange for this principality the more important government of Pontus with the title of king.
The precise date of this change is unknown, but Polemon is already called by Dio Cassius king of Pontus in B. C. 36, in which year he co-operated with Antony in his campaign against the Parthians. On this occasion he shared in the defeat of Appius Statianus, and was taken prisoner by the Parthian king, but allowed to ransom himself, and restored to liberty. (D. C. 49.25
; Plut. Ant. 38.
) In B. C. 35 he was employed by Antony to negotiate with the Median king Artavasdes, whom he succeeded in detaching from the alliance of Parthia, and gaining over to that of Rome: a service for which he was subsequently rewarded by the triumvir by the addition to his dominions of the Lesser Armenia. (D. C. 49.33
But though he thus owed his elevation to Antony he was fortunate enough not to share in his fall, and although he had sent an auxiliary force to the assistance of his patron in B. C. 30, shortly before the battle of Actium, he was able to make his peace with Octavian, who confirmed him in his kingdom, and some years afterwards bestowed on him the honorary appellations of a friend and ally of the Roman people. (Plut. Ant. 61
; Strab. xii. p.578
; D. C. 53.25
At a subsequent Period (about B. C. 16) he was intrusted by Agrippa with the charge of reducing the kingdom of Bosporus, which had been usurped by Scribonius after the death of Asander.
The usurper was put to death by the Bosporans before the urrival of Polemon, who notwithstanding some opposition established himself in the sovereignty of the country, in which he was confirmed, first by Agrippa and then by Augustus himself. (D. C. 54.24
.) His reign after this was long and prosperous : his dominions comprised, besides Pontus itself, Colchis and the other provinces, as far as the kingdom of the Bosporus, the confines of which last he extended to the river Tanais, and destroyed the city of that name, which had ventured to throw off his yoke (Strab. xi. pp. 493, 4.95, 499.)
But having engaged in an expedition against the barbarian tribe of the Aspurgians (who inhabited the mountains above Phanagoria) he was not only defeated by them, but taken prisoner, and immediately put to death. (Id. xi. p. 495, xii. p. 556.)
The date of this event is unknown; but it appears from an inscription that he must have been still on the throne as late as B. C. 2. (Böckh, Corp. Inscr
. vol. ii. No. 3524; Eckhel, vol. ii. p. 369.)
Polemon had been twice married: first to Dynamis, a daughter of Pharnaces, and grand-daughter of Mithridates the Great, by whom he appears to have had no children. (D. C. 54.24
); and secondly to PYTHODORIS, who succeeded him on the throne.
By her he left two sons, Polemon II., and Zenon king of Armenia, and one daughter who was married to Cotys king of Thrace. (Strab. xii. p.556
; Tac. Ann. 2.56