Theoxena1, probably daughter of Berenice I by her first husband Philip2, married c. 300 to Agathocles king of Sicily as his third wife3, by whom she had two children4, probably Archagathus, epistates of Libya5, and probably Theoxena6, by whom she had descendants7. On the death of Agathocles in 289 she returned to Egypt with her children8.
 PP VI 14511. Gr: Qeoxena. Ý
 Her ancestry is unstated, and the argument for a connection to Ptolemy I is essentially circumstantial. It is inferred from two facts given by Justin 23.2: (a) that she came from Egypt and (b) her children were still young (parvuli) at the time of her return to Egypt, implying that the marriage occurred less than 15 years earlier. At this time Agathocles had taken the title of king, following the lead of the diadochi, and clearly in a claim to equal status. Ptolemy was also engaged in a round of diplomatic marriages around 300 (cf. Antigone, Arsinoe II, Lysandra, Ptolemais, and possibly Ptolemy Ceraunus). Hence it is reasonably inferred that Theoxena was married as part of this strategy, and must be closely connected to Ptolemy in order to have been an acceptable bride to Agathocles. Given that her age must be at least 14 or 15, and given Ptolemy's propensity to use his stepchildren by Berenice I in his western policy, marrying Antigone to Pyrrhus and appointing Magas as governor of Cyrene at about the same time, the theory that Theoxena was a daughter of Berenice by Philip is favoured here and by most scholars I have seen. See E. Will, REA 66 (1964) 320, 325f n. 3. Further, we know from Plutarch Pyrrhus 4.4 that Berenice had more than one daughter, but only Antigone is certainly known. However Theoxena may have been a daughter of Ptolemy, by Berenice or Eurydice, or by some other wife or concubine unknown; K. J. Beloch, Griechische Geschichte IV.2 129 favoured Eurydice. Possibly, though less likely, Theoxena's connection to Ptolemy was less direct, e.g. as a daughter of his brother Menelaus. Ý
 Because of Justin's use of the masculine, it has been generally assumed that the two children were sons. However, with the publication of pOxy 37.2821 showing that one of them was almost certainly a daughter, it is clear that the masculine indicates that only one was a son. Ý
 PP VI 14495. Gr: ArcagaqoV. SEG 18.636 (image; text only here): 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 dating is inferred by Fraser, from the form of the lettering and from the fact that Arsinoe II is not also named. A reference to Ptolemy II's parents as the undeified SothreV, which Fraser argued in BSAA 41 also supported an early date, is in fact of no dating value since, as Fraser himself later pointed out (Ptolemaic Alexandria II 367f. n. 229), he knew of no reference to them in deified form from the entire reign. Fraser did not connect Archagathus to the royal family in any way, and proposed that his position was that of a minor and temporary official in the Libyan nome, arguing that at this time Libya was under the independent control of Magas, and that the available attestations of the office of epistates show it to be a minor and temporary office.
L. Moretti, RFIC 93 (1965) 173, noting that the name Archagathus was known for both a son and grandson of Agathocles of Syracuse, suggested that Archagathus was one of Theoxena's children, and that his wife Stratonice 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). In Fraser's view (Ptolemaic Alexandria II 427 n. 676), "[t]hese identifications seem ... wholly in the air."
Against Fraser's interpretation, R. S. Bagnall, Philologus 120 (1976) 195, marshalled several arguments supporting Moretti's, all of which seem to me to be correct:
Not only is the name Arcagathus well-attested in Agathocles' family, it is also particularly well-attested in Sicily. Of the 15 instances located by Bagnall (excluding this one), 7 were from Sicily.
The apparent date of the inscription corresponds to the period in which Theoxena's children would be establishing their status as young adults.
The only comparable and datable dedication was made by Callicrates, Ptolemy II's nauarc, or admiral, a very senior official. His date is contemporary with the estimated date of SEG 18.636, and he was one of the most powerful men in the kingdom. The high quality of SEG 18.636, evident from the photographs here and in P. M. Fraser, BSAA 41 (1956) 49, is described by Fraser as "handsome" and by Bagnall as "strikingly fine". All these factors suggests that Archagathus was one of the elite of the kingdom.
The view that an epistates was a temporary office comes from the fact that the two extra-Egyptian epistatoi known, from Thera and Keos, were appointed during the Chremonidean war and one was sent with 5 dikastai, or temporary judges. Bagnall argues that this does not imply anything, one way or the other, about the permanence of the position of epistates. Fraser also argued that epistates are known as minor nome officials or police officials, but Bagnall points out that all known examples of this office come from the period after 145, and there are not even any possible examples from the 3rd century. Also, such an office is inconsistent with the evident very high status of Archagathus.
To these arguments one might add that it is not known exactly when Magas seceded from Egyptian control and assumed the title of king. If the inscription is correctly assigned to the very start of the reign of Ptolemy II, then it may well date from before Magas' secession, allowing the Libyan reference to be to the Cyrenean hinterland rather than the Egyptian nome.
Bagnall concludes, and I agree, that the coincidence of onomastics, chronology and status all suggest that Archagathus is indeed one of the children of Theoxena.
 pOxy 37.2821. Gr: Qeoxena. This papyrus is a fragmentary genealogy naming a Theoxena daughter of Agathocles and mother of Agathocles and another child whose name is lost. It records that she brought false accusations to Ptolemy II against parties whose names are lost and that he banished her to the Thebaid. It would be chronologically plausible if these events were connected to the exile of Arsinoe I. Theoxena's husband is not named. This fact, and that her son was named after her father, clearly indicate that she was of high status. The name of her mother is lost, but there seems no reason to doubt that she was Theoxena wife of Agathocles of Syracuse. Ý
 pOxy 37.2821 named an Agathocles and another, older child whose name is lost as children of Theoxena daughter of Agathocles. F. W. Walbank, Commentaries on Polybius II 438, posed the interesting conjecture that Agathocles the father of Archagathus, was an ancestor of Agathocles, the likely biological father of Agathoclea, the mistress of Ptolemy IV, and her brother Agathocles, the regent for Ptolemy V. Chronologically, this Agathocles belongs in the first or second generation following Archagathus, that is, in the generation of Agathocles son of Theoxena daughter of Agathocles. In light of the knowledge we now seem to have about the Egyptian descendants of Agathocles of Syracuse, Walbank's conjecture seems very plausible to me. Ý
9 Feb 2002: Add individual chart
9 Feb 2002: Split out from Ptolemy I
19 Feb 2002: Moved discussion of Stratonice to Stratonice, mistress of Ptolemy II
12 April 2002: Noted that Berenice I had more than one daughter by Philip but only Antigone is certainly known.
18 May 2003: Changed Plutarch Xrefs to the Lacus Curtius edition
23 Aug 2003: Added Xref to online Justin
24 Feb 2004: Added Xref to online photos of SEG 18.636
5 March 2005: Added Xref to Bagnall paper
11 Mar 2005: Added Greek transcription, link to image of pOxy 37.2821
12 Sep 2006: Link to Packhaard Humanities epigraphical database
7 June 2007: Note Beloch's preference for a parentage of Ptolemy and Eurydice.
22 June 2007: Remove dead Xref to Bagnall paper
20 Nov 2010: Fix brokn link to pOxy 37.2821
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