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

5. Son of Rhoemetalces, king of Thrace. On the death of Rhoemetalces his dominions were divided by Augustus between his brother Rhescuporis and his son Cotys. Rhescuporis desired to subject the whole kingdom to himself, but did not venture on palpable acts of aggression till the death of Augustus. He then openly waged war against his nephew, but both parties were commanded by Tiberius to desist from hostilies. Rhescuporis then, feigning a wish for friendly negotiation, invited Cotys to a conference, and, at the banquet which followed, he treacherously seized him, and, having thrown him into chains, wrote to Tiberius, pretending that he had only acted in self-defence and anticipated a plot on the part of Cotys. He was, however, commanded to release him, and to come to Rome to have the matter investigated, whereupon (A. D. 19) he murdered his prisoner, thinking, says Tacitus, that he might as well have to answer for a crime completed as for one half done. Tacitus speaks of Cotys as a mall of gentle disposition and manners, and Ovid, in an epistle addressed to him during his exile at Tomi, alludes to his cultivated taste for literature, and claims his favour and protection as a brother-poet. (Tac. Ann. 2.64-67, 3.38; Vell. 2.129; Ov. ex Pont. 2.9.)