A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology

Smith, William

A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology. William Smith, LLD, ed. 1890

(Ἀγαθόκλεια), a mistress of the profligate Ptolemy Philopator, King of Egypt, and sister of his no less profligate minister Agathocles. She and her brother, who both exercised the most unbounded influence over the king, were introduced to him bv their ambitious and avaricious mother, Oenanthe. After Ptolemy had put to death his wife and sister Eurydice, Agathoclea became his favourite. On the death of Ptolemy (B. C. 205), Agathoclea and her friends kept the event secret, that they might have an opportunity of plundering the royal treasury. They also formed a conspiracy for setting Agathocles on the throne. He managed for some time, in conjunction with Sosibius, to act as guardian to the young king Ptolemy Epiphanes. At last the Egyptians and the Macedonians of Alexandria, exasperated at his outrages, rose against him, and Tlepolemus placed himself at their head. They surrounded the palace in the night, and forced their way in. Agathocles and his sister implored in the most abject manner that their lives night be spared, but in vain. The former was killed by his friends, that he might not be exposed to a more cruel fate. Agathoclea with her sisters, and Oenanthe, who had taken refuge in a temple, were dragged forth, and in a state of nakedness exposed to the fury of the multitude, who literally tore them limb from limb. All their relations and those who had had any share in the murder of Eurydice were likewise put to death. (Plb. 5.63, 14.11, 15.25-34; Justin, 30.1, 2; Athen. 6.251, xiii. p. 576 Plut. Cleom. 33.) There was another Agathoclea, the daughter of a man named Aristomenes, who was by birth an Acarnanian, and rose to great power in Egypt. (Polyb. l.c.)