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

2. A son of the preceding. (Strab. xvii. p.796; D. C. 39.57.) In the year B. C. 63, Pompey raised him to the dignity of priest of the goddess (Enyo or Bellona) at Comana, which was, according to Strabo, in Pontus, and according to Hirtius (de Bell. Alex. 66), in Cappadocia. The dignity of priest of the goddess at Comana conferred upon the person who held it the power of a king over the place and its immediate vicinity. (Appian, de Bell. Mithr. 114; Strab. l.c., xii. p. 558.) In B. C. 56, when A. Gabinius, the proconsul of Syria, was making preparations for a war against the Parthians, Archelaus went to Syria and offered to take part in the war; but this plan was soon abandoned, as other prospects opened before him. Berenice, the daughter of Ptolemy Auletes, who after the expulsion of her father had become queen of Egypt, wished to marry a prince of royal blood, and Archelaus, pretending to be a son of Mithridates Eupator, sued for her hand, and succeeded. (Strab. ll. cc.; Dio Cass. l.c.) According to Strabo, the Roman senate would not permit Archelaus to take part in the war against Parthia, and Archelaus left Gabinius in secret; whereas, according to Dio Cassius, Gabinius was induced by bribes to assist Archelaus in his suit for the hand of Berenice, while at the same time he received bribes from Ptolemy Auletes on the understanding that he would restore him to his throne. Archelaus enjoyed the honour of king of Egypt only for six months, for Gabinius kept his promise to Ptolemy, and in B. C. 55 he marched with an army into Egypt, and in the battle which ensued, Archelaus lost his crown and his life. His daughter too was put to death. (Strab. ll. cc.; D. C. 39.58 ; Liv. Epit. lib. 105; Cic. pro Rabir. Post. 8; V. Max. 10.1, extern. 6.) M. Antonius, who had been connected with the family of Archelaus by ties of hospitality and friendship, had his body searched for among the dead, and buried it in a manner worthy of a king. (Plut. Ant. 3.)