Ptolemy Andromachou

Ptolemy Andromachou1, born c. 269/62, probable illegitimate son of Ptolemy II3, probably by Bilistiche4, here distinguished from Ptolemy "the Son"5 and from Ptolemy son of Lysimachus6, eponymous priest year 35 (Mac.) = 251/07, a participant at the battle of Andros c. 2457.1 and a commander at Ephesus8, probably not to be identified with Ptolemy "the Brother" of Ptolemy III9, probably to be identified with Ptolemy "of Ephesus", slain in the temple of Artemis at Ephesus by a revolt of Thracian mercenaries10, date unknown, estimated here to be c. 24311, together with his concubine Eirene12.

[1] PP VI 14544. Gr: PtolemaioV Andromacou. The primary source for the name is the fragmentary papyrus pHaun 6. Ý

[2] Inferred as a consequence of his presumed maternity, coupled with the presumption that Bilistiche became important around the death of Arsinoe II and the apparent fact that Ptolemy Andromachou was old enough to participate in the battle of Andros in the mid 240s. Ý

[3] The identity of Ptolemy Andromachou is almost as controversial as that of Ptolemy "the Son", a closely-related question. The primary source is pHaun 6. This papyrus appears to have contained short biographies of a number of prominent Ptolemaic individuals of the third century, presumably epitomised from other works. The record for Andromachou is usually supposed to be the first that survives, though in some reconstructions a fragment naming Arsinoe II is placed earlier. Andromachou's record appears under a heading which apparently gave his name followed by a numeral 5 and a separator from the following text, as follows:

ep]iklhsin Andromacou

A large roundel immediately under the heading gives the name again as Ptolemaiº / epiklhsin / Androma/cou. Unfortunately, the restoration of the name Ptolemy in the first line is uncertain, and the abbreviation of the name in the roundel leaves it unclear whether the phrase should be understood as PtolemaioV epiklhsin Androma/cou ("Ptolemy known as [the son] 'of Andromachus' "), consistent with the standard reconstruction of the first line, or Ptolemaiou epiklhsin Androma/cou ("of Ptolemy known as 'Andromachus' "). This ambiguity has caused considerable discussion. The following text (lines 4-9) appears to mention a naval action at Andros, after a few lines of uncertain meaning. The surviving record concludes after an apparently blank line, with an apparent mention of a violent death in Ephesus in lines 11-13.

The next record appears to be a summary life of Ptolemy III, and includes mention of the Third Syrian War and the death of Berenice Pheronophorus. The following entries appear to have summarised the careers of Berenice II and Magas, son of Ptolemy III. The remaining fragments do not allow a clear reconstruction, but Arsinoe II and possibly Arsinoe III appear to be mentioned, and one fragment seems to refer to Sosibius, Agathocles and Agothocleia, presumably in connection with the events surrounding the death of Ptolemy IV.

The question of the identity and ancestry of Ptolemy Andromachou has attracted attention from several scholars since pHaun 6 was first published in 1942. The following appear to be the main discussions of the question:


[4] P. M. Fraser (CQ 44 (1950) 116) notes that a Ptolemy Andromachou is named as eponymous priest in 251/0. If pHaun 6 really describes "Ptolemy said to be [the son] 'of' Andromachus" then he can very reasonably be identified with this priest, and the epithet explained as a legitimising fiction, reflecting the adoption of an illegitimate son of Ptolemy II by an Andromachus to lend him respectability. In this case his mother should be a mistress of Ptolemy II's.

As E. Kosmetatou, AfP 50 (2004) 18 at 23 legitimately points out, in principle any of Ptolemy's mistresses, known or unknown, could then have been Andromachou's mother. However, K. Buraselis, Das hellenistiche Makedonien und die Ägais, 133 and C. Ravazollo, Studi ellenistici 8 (1984) 134 have both pointed out that Bilistiche is the most likely candidate, since she (or a woman of the same name) was associated with him as canephore. I concur. Against this, Kosmetatou asserts that there is "not a shred of evidence" on the matter. D. Ogden in P. McKechnie & P. Guillaume, Ptolemy II Philadelphus and his World, 353 at 365 and 376, is equally dismissive, describing the conjecture as having a "wholly arbitrary basis" and as being "categorically, without secure foundation", asserting that "we have no means whatsoever of divining who his mother was, be she queen or courtesan".

That the idea is conjectural is hardly to be denied. But, notwithstanding Kosmetatou's and Ogden's belief to the contrary, there is in fact one solid piece of evidence, one which Ogden notes but makes no attempt to consider: when Andromachou was the eponymous priest, his colleague as canephore was Bilistiche daughter of Philo. This woman is usually identified with the mistress of that name, though E. Kosmetatou (AfP 50 (2004) 18 at 20), objects to it; this objection is discussed here. The identity is accepted by Ogden (loc. cit. 368). Even if she was only a homonym, Andromachou's maternity was certainly known and (if he was in fact an illegitimate son of the king) his paternity very probably rumoured. It seems to me hardly likely that Ptolemy II would "honour" his son by associating him so publicly with a woman who held the name of his most successful mistress unless that mistress was in fact his mother. While neither argument is conclusive proof, I think they establish very reasonable grounds for Bilistiche's candidacy -- if Andromachou was in fact the son of Ptolemy II.

As well as denying that Bilistiche was the canephore, E. Kosmetatou (AfP 50 (2004) 18 at 23) objects that she was apparently at the height of her influence in the 260s and concludes that she was probably very young at the start of that decade, too young to be the mother of Ptolemy Andromachou. However, we have no evidence on Bilistiche's age, and none to date the beginning of the affair: we only know of its prominence after the death of Arsinoe II. Even if it did not begin till then, a son born in the early-mid 260s would be in his late teens in 251/0, and in his 20s at the time Andromachou undertook his military career. This seems eminently reasonable to me. Kosmetatou's objection would be completely valid if Andromachou is identified with Ptolemy "the Son", but in my view that proposal should be rejected, in part for precisely this reason.

Ogden's objection to Bilistiche's maternity is in fact a set of objections to the proposal of Ptolemy II's paternity. These objections are discussed hereÝ

[5] This is the proposal of C. Ravazzolo, Studi ellenistici 8 (1984), 123, 131. Aside from general objections to the notion that Ptolemy "the Son" was an illegitimate son, this particular variant suffers from two specific problems.

First, it has Andromachou closely associated with the Ptolemaic court as eponymous priest in 251/0, and probably active in a Ptolemaic fleet c. 245 (depending on what date one assigns to the battle of Andros). Both dates are well after the revolt of Ptolemy "the Son" at Ephesus and his removal as coregent in 259. I cannot imagine either Ptolemy II or Ptolemy III allowing a rebel such a second chance at the levers of power.

Second, a son of Ptolemy II, generally agreed to be Ptolemy "the Son", was in Miletus representing the king and reporting political conditions back to him in c. 262 (iMilet. III 139). Thus, agreeing with Ravazzolo that Bilistiche is the most likely mother for Andromachou, the proposal requires her to have been Ptolemy II's mistress at the start of his reign in order for her son to have been old enough, as Ptolemy "the Son" was, to hold a senior post in Miletus in the late 260s, which is not consistent with what we otherwise know of her chronology; in particular that she was at the peak of her influence with Ptolemy II in the 260s, and was quite possibly canephore as late as 251/0. Ý

[6] This is the proposal of W. Huss, ZPE 121 (1998) 229, who also identifies Ptolemy son of Lysimachus with Ptolemy "the Son". I accept the latter equation, but not the former. Ptolemy son of Lysimachus is almost certainly the same as Ptolemy I of Telmessos, who first appears shortly after Ptolemy "the Son" is removed as coregent, and was clearly only loosely under the authority of the Ptolemaic kings. I cannot accept that this semi-independent lord would be given posts so close to the central government as those enjoyed by Andromachou. See also the objections to identifying Andromachou with Ptolemy "the Son". Ý

[7] pCairZen 2.59289; pdem Zeno 6b. Ý

[7.1] pHaun 6. The reference to Andros is not completely unambiguous but seems generally accepted, see the discussions in A. Bülow-Jacobsen ZPE 36 (1979) 91 and in N. G. L. Hammond and F. W. Wallbank in A History of Macedonia III 587ff. As to the date, Plutarch Pelopidas 2 identifies one antagonist as a king Antigonus, hence either Gonatas or Doson, in an anecdote also told (Plutarch Moralia 183c), probably, about the battle of Cos; because of this, it was probably the same Antigonus who fought, and won, both battles. Since Antigonus Doson is formally introduced in Prol. Trogus 28 (W. W. Tarn, JHS 29 (1909) 265), the Antigonus of Trogus Prol. 27 must be Gonatas, placing the battles before his death in 240/39.

Hammond and Wallbank argue that Antigonus Gonatas was unlikely to have fielded a fleet in the Aegean until after he got control of Corinth in 245, and he lost it again in 243. They further adopt a suggestion of K. Buraselis (Das Hellenistische Makedonien und die Ägäis: Forschungen zur Politik des Kassandros und der drei ersten Antigoniden im Ägäischen Meer und im Westkelinasien 141ff.) that one of the festivals initiated by Gonatas at Delos in 245 and 244, the Paneia and the Soteria, relate to his victory at Andros.

Trogus Prol. 27 further mentions a naval battle between a Ptolemy and an Antigonus in which the Ptolemaic fleet was comanded by an Opron. This is supposed to be the battle of Andros, although the identification cannot be certain. "Opron" is usually interpreted as a garbled form of Sophron the Seleucid governor of Ephesus in 246, who is supposed to have turned his coat, although J. Crampa, Inscr. Labraunda III 98ff, 120 rather implausibly regards it as an abbreviation for o(mo)p(at)r(i)on, i.e. "of the same father" [i.e., presumably, as Ptolemy III, Andromachou's brother]. However, M. Domingo Gygax, Chiron 30 (2000) 353 at 359 n. 30 notes that the name "Opron" is known from line 14 of pTebt 3.2 890, so there is no particular reason to suppose a corruption. In either case, if this battle is in fact the battle of Andros the datum indicates that Andromachou was not in command of the Ptolemaic fleet. Ý

[8] pHaun 6. Ý

[9] While Ptolemy "the brother" is often regarded as Andromachou, the arguments of M. Domingo Gygax, Chiron 30 (2000) 353 that he should be identified with Ptolemy "the Son" seem persuasive to me. Ý

[10] pHaun 6, which states that Andromachou was killed at Ephesus, and Athenaeus 13.593a who states that Ptolemy, a son of Ptolemy II, was killed there. See discussion of his paternity. Ý

[11] The date of this event is unknown, nor is it known whether it led to a restoration of Seleucid control of Ephesus, which was lost shortly after the start of the Third Syrian War in 246. Porphyry says that Seleucus II did not succeed in capturing Ephesus, but that Ptolemy II held it (Porphyry in Eusebius, Chronicorum I (ed. Schoene) 251). Coins of Seleucus II were minted at Ephesus (E. T. Newell, The Coinage of the Western Seleucid Mints from Seleucus I to Antiochus III no. 1491), but these may have been minted in the brief period between his accession and the return of the city to Ptolemaic control. However, there are some indications that he did at least make the attempt to recapture the city. pBouriant 6 appears also to refer to the career of Andromachou, and apparently refers to Ephesus being under siege (A. N. Oikonomides, ZPE 56 (1984) 148, who however associates this with Ptolemy "the Son" and the events of 258). The letters described in iLabraunda 3 apparently shows Seleucus II with some control in the Carian area.

However, any control Seleucus may have had of Ephesus was endangered after the breach with his brother Antiochus Hierax in c. 243, and was certainly lost after the battle of Ancyra c. 237 (Justin 27.2, Porphyry in Eusebius, Chronicorum I (ed. Schoene) 251). SEG 1.366 (trans. in M. M. Austin The Hellenistic World from Alexander to the Roman Conquest 194ff (113)), of uncertain date but about this period, records Hierax apparently withdrawing from Ephesus to Sardis. I interpret this to reflect the following sequence of events: Ptolemy III, supported by Andromachou, gains control of Ephesus; Ephesus is besieged by Seleucus II; Andromachou is killed in the mutiny during the siege, possibly resulting in the city and certainly the region briefly reverting to Seleucus II; Hierax rebels against Seleucus II and is expelled from or is unable to enter Ephesus, which then reverts again to Ptolemaic control if it had ever been lost, and Seleucid authority collapses in Caria. This is consistent with the interpretation of J. Kobes, EA 24 (1995) 1, of events in Caria. Dates must be guesstimates, within the broad bounds set by the death of Antiochus II in 246 and the rebellion of Hierax c. 3 years later. But this reconstruction is certainly speculative, and others are certainly possible. Ý

[12] Athenaeus 13.593a. Ý

Update Notes:

10 Feb 2002: Added individual trees
18 Feb 2002: Split into separate entry
23 Aug 2003: Added Xrefs to online Justin
24 Feb 2004: Added Xrefs to online Athenaeus, Prol Trogus, iMilet III 139
13 Sep 2004: Add Xref to online Eusebius
30 Nov 2004: Add disucssion of Kosmetatou's objections to Bilistiche as Andromachou's mother -- my thanks to Elizabeth Kosmetatou for offline discussion
11 Mar 2005: Added Greek transcription
7 July 2005: Adjust suggested reconstruction of events to reflect acceptance of Domingo Gygax' argument that Andromachou is not "the Brother"
21 Nov 2010: Fix broken DDbDP link
3 May 2011: Rewrite discussion of Androchou's paternity and maternity to incorporate Ogden's critique of Buraselis' reconstruction

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