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Home > Members' Coin Collection Galleries > Jay GT4 > Julio-Claudians 1st Century

Polemo II-Mark Antony's great grandson
Silver drachm

diademed head of Polemo right

ETOYC - K (year 20)
laureate head of Nero right;

57 - 58 A.D.

18.1mm, die axis 180o

RPC I 3832, SNG Cop 242, BMC Pontus 7 - 8, SNG von Aulock 6691


Marcus Antonius Polemon Pythodoros, also known as Polemon II of Pontos and Polemon of Cilicia is the only known direct descendant of Mark Antony who bares his name. Through his maternal grandmother he was a direct descendant of Mark Antony and his second wife Antonia Hybrida Minor. Antony and Antonia Hybrida were first paternal cousins. He was Antonys second born great grandson. Through Antony, he was a distant cousin to Roman Client King Ptolemy of Mauretania and Drusilla of Mauretania. He was also a distant cousin to Roman Emperors Caligula, Claudius and Nero and Roman Empresses Valeria Messalina, Agrippina the Younger and Claudia Octavia.

Polemon IIs father Polemon Pythodoros King of Pontos died in 8 BC. His mother then married King Archelaus of Cappadocia, and the family moved to the court of his stepfather. In 17 AD Archelaus died and Polemon II and his mother moved back to Pontus. From 17 until 38, Polemon II assisted his mother in the administration of Pontos. When his mother died in 38, Polemon II succeeded her as the sole ruler of Pontus, Colchis and Cilicia.

Around 50 AD, Polemon II met the Judean princess Julia Berenice in Tiberias during a visit to King Agrippa I. Berenice was widowed in 48 AD when her second husband and paternal uncle Herod of Chalcis, died. She had two sons by him, Berenicianus and Hyrcanus. Berenice set the condition that Polemon II had to convert to Judaism before marriage, which included undergoing the rite of circumcision. Polemon II complied, and the marriage went ahead but it did not last long. Berenice left Pontus with her sons and returned to the court of her brother. Polemon II abandoned Judaism and, according to the legend of Bartholomew the Apostle, accepted Christianity, only to become a pagan again.

In 62, Nero compelled Polemon II to abdicate the Pontian throne. Pontos and Colchis became a Roman province. From then until his death, Polemon II only ruled Cilicia. He never remarried and had no children that are known.

Polemon's sister Antonia Tryphaena's Royal lineage goes all the way down to Nana Queen of Iberia, who died in 363 AD. Truly Antony may have lost the battle of Actium but won the war of genetics!
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Date added:
Aug 08, 2012
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David Atherton  [Aug 08, 2012 at 09:31 PM]
This is a really neat coin with a good write up. This is a good example of why I check out the galleries everyday. Congrats!
Mark Z  [Aug 08, 2012 at 09:36 PM]
quadrans  [Aug 09, 2012 at 02:22 AM]
wow nice coin...
Steve E  [Aug 09, 2012 at 03:50 AM]
Interesting coin with a nice history!
Randygeki(h2)  [Aug 17, 2012 at 07:47 AM]
Frans Diederik  [Oct 04, 2012 at 02:51 PM]
A coin with a story and a magnificent one at that! Congrats!
carthago  [Mar 21, 2013 at 02:05 AM]
What an interesting coin! I had no idea of that history. Congrats!
Lloyd T  [Mar 21, 2013 at 04:30 AM]
Unusual and interesting - splendid coin and write-up! I knew that Marc Antony had a reputation and put it around quite a bit, but I was totally ignorant of this historical snippet and his penchant for kissing cousins!
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