Stratonice1, mistress of Ptolemy II, who had a celebrated mausoleum at Eleusis near Alexandria2, possibly the wife of Archagathus, epistates of Libya and probable nephew of Ptolemy II3, probably not to be identified as an otherwise-unknown daughter of Demetrius Poliorcetes4.

[1] PP VI 14733. Gr: Stratonikh. Ý

[2] Memoirs of Ptolemy VIII, quoted in Athenaeus 13.576e-f. Ý

[3] PP VI 14569. SEG 18.636 (image; text only here): L. Moretti, RFIC 93 (1965) 173; P. M. Fraser BSAA 41 (1956) 49, idem Ptolemaic Alexandria I 271; R. S. Bagnall, Philologus 120 (1976) 195. This inscription records the dedication by Archagathus and his wife Stratonice (PP VI 14569) of a private shrine to Serapis and Isis probably early in the reign of Ptolemy II.

The fact that Stratonice is mentioned in SEG 18.636 suggested to Moretti that she was of very high status, since, contra Fraser, BSAA 41 (1956) 49, 54, it was in Moretti's view very unusual for the name of a wife to be mentioned in an inscription of this period. Against this, Fraser, Ptolemaic Alexandria II 427 n. 676, marshalled several examples of dedicatory inscriptions for a sanctuary in which the dedicant names his wife and even children, but Bagnall points out that only one of these, an example from the reign of Ptolemy III, predates 140.

Bagnall notes (Philologus 120, 209 n. 50) that Ptolemy II had a mistress Stratonice for whom a mausoleum was built at Eleusis. We know that at least one other mistress, Bilistiche, had prominent public status. It seems to me perfectly possible, if hardly proven, that Archagathus' wife was Ptolemy II's mistress and that she owed her unusual inscriptional prominence in part to that fact. That said, I agree with D. Ogden, in P. McKechnie & P. Guillaume, Ptolemy II Philadelphus and His World, 353 at 359, that the case is thin, though it does rest on a little more than the coincidence of name. Ý

[4] L. Moretti, RFIC 93 (1965) 173, noted that Stratonice, the wife of Archagathus named on SEG 18.636, must have been a woman of very high status in order to be named, and suggested she is to be identified with as an otherwise-unknown Stratonice, daughter of a king Demetrius, who dedicated a statue to a queen Arsinoe daughter of king Ptolemy and queen Berenice (OGIS 14), who he identified as Arsinoe II. In support of Moretti's suggestion R. S. Bagnall, Philologus 120 (1976) 195, notes that Alexander, the son of Demetrius I by Deidamia, sister of Pyrrhus of Epirus, is recorded by Putarch, Demetrius 53.4, to have lived out his life in Egypt. He suggests that Alexander been sent as a hostage to Egypt with his uncle in c. 299, and that Alexander and any sister of his would have been approximately the same age as Archagathus.

This is all very well, but seems to me to be a completely insufficient basis for identifying Stratonice wife of Archagathus with the princess of OGIS 14, especially in light of Bagnall's other observation (Philologus 120, 209 n. 50) possibly connecting Stratonice with the mistress of Ptolemy II, whose existence is certain.

As to the identity of the Stratonice named in OGIS 14, a Stratonice, daughter of Demetrius I, is well-known. She was married to both Seleucus I and Antigonus I in turn, and was the mother of Apama, wife of Magas of Cyrene. Macurdy (Hellenistic Queens, 80) identifies her with the Stratonice of OGIS 14, and notes that her many inscriptions on Delos name her as the daughter of Demetrius and not the wife of either Seleucus or Antiochus. But in all these inscriptions she also holds the title of queen, which is missing from OGIS 14. Assuming her to be the Stratonice of OGIS 14, the inscription would have to be dated before her marriage to Seleucus I, i.e. before 298, since there is no indication of her status as queen. In this case one would have to suppose that the statue was a gift to Arsinoe II on the occasion of her marriage to Lysimachus, but it seems odd that such a gift should be granted by an unmarried girl rather than by her father Demetrius I. Such difficulties are the reason Moretti proposed that Demetrius I had a second daughter Stratonice, otherwise unknown.

It is not clear a priori whether the Arsinoe of the dedication, daughter of king Ptolemy and queen Berenice, is Arsinoe II or Arsinoe III. If she were assumed to be Arsinoe III, then the Stratonice of OGIS 14 would have to be an otherwise-unknown daughter of Demetrius II. His first wife was Stratonice, daughter of the first Stratonice by Antiochus I. This marriage broke up before the death of Antiochus II in 246, because of his marriage at about that time to Phthia, daughter of Alexander II of Epirus. He is known to have had multiple children from SIG3 485, dated 236/5, but only one, his successor Philip V, is certainly known. He was almost certainly the son of Thessalian war-captive, Chryseis (although some would identify Chryseis with Phthia -- on this point see D. Ogden, Polygamy, Prostitutes and Death 180ff.). It would appear that Stratonice and Phthia were either childless or only gave birth to daughters. After the death of Demetrius II, Antigonus III stepped in as regent for Philip V and married his mother. He ruled until his death in 221.

A statue given to Arsinoe III would have to be dated after the death of Demetrius II in 229 -- possibly as a gift on the occasion of the accession of Ptolemy IV in 222. If Stratonice was a daughter of Demetrius II by his wife Stratonice, as her name suggests, she was at least 26 years old at this time. At this time such a daughter, probably still unmarried, might well have had sufficient importance at the Macedonian court in her own right to justify the gift of such a statue, especially in view of the support that Antigonus III gave to the children of Demetrius II. Close relations between the Egyptian and Macedonian courts during the reign of Ptolemy IV are attested by the unrealised plans to engage Ptolemy V to a daughter of Philip V.

All that being said, it should also be noted that W. Huss, Ägypten in hellenistischer Zeit 332-30 v. Chr. 201 n. 89 considers that OGIS 14 might be fake, but the main argument appears to be precisely the difficulty of identifying Stratonice. Ý

Update Notes:

10 Feb 2002: Added individual trees
18 Feb 2002: Split into individual entry.
19 Feb 2002: Moved discussion of Moretti's theory on Stratonice's parentage from Theoxena daughter of Ptolemy II.
10 Nov 2002: Briefly elaborated the roles of Chryseis and Antigonus III in relation to Demetrius II and Philip V.
31 Dec 2002: Noted the existence of the argument about whether Chryseis and Pththia are the same or different
24 Feb 2004: Added Xref to online photo of 18.636
5 March 2005: Added Xref to Bagnall paper
11 Mar 2005: Added Greek transcription
12 Sep 2006: Link to Packham Humanities epigraphical database
22 June 2007: Remove dead Xref to Bagnall paper
9 Jan 2011: Respond to Ogden's dismisal of the possible identity of Stratonice as wife of Archagathus.

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