Agathoclea1, daughter of Oenanthe probably by Agathocles2, date of birth unknown3, probably canephore in year 10 = 213/2124, mistress of Ptolemy IV5, by whom she may have had a child6, murdered by the Alexandrian mob with her mother, brother and sisters7 in October 2038.

[1] PP VI 14714. Gr: Agaqokleia. Ý

[2] Maternity: Plutarch Cleomenes 33. She had a brother Agathocles (PP VI 14576, cf. Polybius 14.11, 15.26.2; Justin 30.2) and at least two sisters of unknown names (Polybius 15.33.7). Other individuals named by Polybius as relatives: Nico or Nicon, nauarch under Ptolemy IV (Polybius 15.25.37, 15.33.7), and Philo (Polybius 15.30.5). Philammon (Polybius 15.33.11), appointed libyarch of Cyrene by Agathocles, and named as the murderer of Arsinoe III, was caught up in the general massacre of Agathocles' family, along with his wife and son; they may well have been related. Agathoclea the canephore of 213/212 is described as a daughter of Theogenes (or Theognetos/Diognetos). However, her brother Agathocles can be identified with the eponymous priest in year 7 = 216/15, who is stated to be a son of an Agathocles (PP III 4986 -- BGU 6.1262). P. Maas, JEA 31 (1945) 74, therefore proposed that Oenanthe (PP VI 14731) had married twice, to an Agathocles and a Theogenes respectively, and that Agathocles and Agathoclea were children of different fathers. However, S. B. Pomeroy, Women in Hellenistic Egypt 49f and 186 n. 49, correctly notes that the fact that the two siblings had virtually the same name is hard to explain if they had different fathers. The fact that the father of one is also an Agathocles suggests that he was the biological father of both.

The fact that his stepdaughter became canephore suggests Theogenes was a prominent man. For this reason, S. B. Pomeroy's suggestion (Women in Hellenistic Egypt 50) that the paternity of Oenanthe's children was actually unknown because she was a hetera seems very unlikely to me. Despite the reasonable objection expressed by P. Maas, JEA 31 74 n. 1, that the name is common, it is hard for me to resist the proposed identification of Theogenes with the dioiketes of that name (C. Préaux, CdE 14 (1939) 376) who is attested at least between years 5 (218/7 -- pLille 1.4) and 14 (4 Choiak = 14 Daisios = 15 January 208 -- pEdfu 2.5). R. S. Bagnall, AncSoc 3 (1972) 111 has argued that the prosopographical data for other individuals named in these papyri show that this Theogenes should be dated to Ptolemy III, but W. Huss (Untersuchungen zur Außenpolitik Ptolemaios' IV, 257f.) argues that other men named in pLille 1.4 are also known from contexts late in the reign of Ptolemy III, and therefore pLille 1.4 -- and the dioiketes Theogenes -- are correctly assigned to Ptolemy IV. Unfortunately nothing else is known about his family.

Regardless of the identity of Theogenes, we may reasonably regard Agathoclea the canephore as his step-daughter, and suppose that her biological father Agathocles was the first husband of Oenanthe. F. W. Walbank, Commentaries on Polybius II 438, makes the interesting speculation that this Agathocles may have been descended from Agathocles father of Archagathus, epistates of Libya early in the reign of Ptolemy II. In view of the family's apparently long-standing high connections, this strikes me as plausible, even though Agathocles, the brother of Agathoclea, is made (Polybius 15.31.4) to offer to forgo all his income and to plead for the opportunity to retire "into his original obscurity" when begging for his life. If correct, then Ptolemy the son of Agesarchus, ambassador to Rome in 204/3 (Polybius 15.25.34) may, from his father's name, also have been a relative. Ý

[3] An Agathoclea is recorded as the owner of a grainboat, shipmaster Heracleides, in pStrasbourg 6.562 and pStrasbourg 6.563; she is also noted as the owner of a boat in pStrasbourg 2.113. All these papyri are dated to a year 8. H. Hauben, ZPE 16 (1975) 289 notes that women otherwise known to have owned boats are socially very prominent; S. B. Pomeroy, Women in Hellenistic Egypt 54, lists Cleopatra II and two canephores. Hauben concludes, through exhaustion of the very small number of known Agathocleas, that this Agathoclea must be the mistress of Ptolemy IV. Since pStrasbourg 6.562 was originally dated to year 21, Hauben concluded that it must be dated to Ptolemy III, hence to 227. If she was a shipowner at this time, it implies she was already adult, giving an approximate terminus ante quem for her birth date of c. 247. However, W. Clarysse, Anc. Soc. 7 (1976) 185, showed that the date had been misread, and that these papyri were part of larger archive all dated to year 8 = 215/4. While Agathoclea may still be identified as an owner of boats, they cannot realistically be used to delimit her birth any earlier than the mid 230s. Ý

[4] PP III 4984, SB III 6289 = pGrad 16; pHauswaldt 18a. See P. Maas, JEA 31 (1945) 74. Ý

[5] Polybius 14.11.5. Ý

[6] See discussion under unknown child of Ptolemy IV. Ý

[7] Dismembered alive: Polybius 15.33.9; Crucified: Justin 30.2. Ý

[8] Polybius 15.29.8: At the start of the revolt against Agathocles, Oenanthe took refuge at the Thesmophoreum which was open for an annual festival. Book 15 describes events of 203/2. F. W. Walbank, Commentary on Polybius II 437, 490 notes that the festival was almost certainly the festival of the Thesmophoria, which was held in Pyanepsion (Ath.) = October/November (Plutarch, Demosthenes 30.4). Ý

Update Notes:

10 Feb 2002: Added individual trees
21 Feb 2002: Split into separate entry
19 May 2002: Corrected Egyptian date equations as necessary
6 June 2002: Noted Clarysse's correction of the date of pStrasbourg 6.652 and its implications for the date of Agathoclea's birth
18 May 2003: Added Xrefs to the Lacus Curtius edition of Polybius.
23 Aug 2003: Added Xrefs to online Justin
27 Nov 2004: Aligned discussion of Agathoclea's parentage with Clarysse's correction of the date of pStrasbourg 6.652
10 Jan 2005: Added link to online copy of Bagnall's paper on Theogenes
11 Mar 2005: Added Greek transcription
26 Nov 2010: Fix broken DDbDP links

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