Ariarathes V of Cappadocia

O: Diademed head of Ariarathes V R: Athena holding Nike with wreath and resting hand on grounded shield, spear behind; BAΣIΛEΩΣ / APIAPAΘOY / EYΣEBOYΣ; monograms in field
Silver tetradrachm struck in Eusebeia 133 BC; ref.: Simonetta 2 ;

Λ in exergue is a greek numeral and means 30th year of reign

Ariarathes V Eusebes Philopator (Ancient Greek: Ἀριαράθης Εὐσεβής Φιλοπάτωρ, Ariaráthēs Eusebḗs Philopátōr; reigned 163–130 BC or 126 BC) was son of the preceding king Ariarathes IV of Cappadocia and Antiochis. Previously called Mithridates, he reigned 33 years, 163–130 BC, as king of Cappadocia. He was distinguished by the excellence of his character and his cultivation of philosophy and the liberal arts and is considered by some to have been the greatest of the Kings of Cappadocia.[1]

Early life

Ariarathes V was of mixed Greek and Persian ancestry, although he was predominantly Greek by descent, he was the son of Ariarathes IV of Cappadocia who was half Greek Macedonian[2] and Persian and his Greek spouse Antiochis who was the daughter of the Seleucid King Antiochus III[3][4] of the Greek-Macedonian Seleucid dynasty.[5] According to Livy[6], he was educated at Rome; but this account may perhaps refer to another Ariarathes, while Ariarathes Eusebes probably studied in his youth in Athens, where he seems to have become a friend of the future king Attalus II Philadelphus.


In consequence of rejecting, at the wish of the Romans, a marriage with Laodice V the sister of Demetrius I Soter, the latter made war upon him, and brought forward Orophernes of Cappadocia, his brother and one of the supposititious sons of the late king, as a claimant of the throne. Ariarathes was deprived of his kingdom, and fled to Rome about 158 BC. He was restored by the Romans, who, however, allowed Orophernes to reign jointly with him, as is expressly stated by Appian[7], and implied by Polybius[8]. The joint government, however, did not last long; for we find Ariarathes shortly afterwards named as sole king.

In 154 BC, Ariarathes assisted the king of Pergamum Attalus II in his war against Prusias II of Bithynia, and sent his son Demetrius in command of his forces. He fell in 130 BC, in the war of the Romans against Aristonicus of Pergamum. In return for the succours which he had brought the Romans on that occasion, Lycaonia and Cilicia were added to the dominions of his family.

Marriage and succession

By his wife Nysa of Cappadocia (who was the daughter of King Pharnaces I of Pontus) he had six children; but they were all, with the exception of one, killed by their mother, that she might obtain the government of the kingdom. After she had been put to death by the people on account of her cruelty, her last surviving son succeeded to the crown as Ariarathes VI of Cappadocia.


Ariarathes was a strong philhellene; himself honoured with the Athenian citizenship, he refounded the two Cappadocian towns of Mazaca and Tyana with the Greek names of Eusebia. He was munificent in his donations to Athens and its institutions; an inscription remains by an association of professional actors which thanks him and his wife for his patronage. It is also known that he corresponded with the Greek philosopher Carneades, as Diogenes Laertius attests.[9]


  1. Newell, Edward Theodore (1968). Royal Greek portrait coins. Whitman Pub. Co. p. 52. OCLC 697579. ... Ariarathes V was probably the greatest of the Cappadocian kings.
  2. Boyce, Mary; Grenet, Frantz (1991). A History of Zoroastrianism: Zoroastrianism Under Macedonian and Roman Rule. BRILL. pp. 267–8. ISBN 9004092714. His son Ariarathes IV (220-c.162), thus half-Macedonian by blood, set the title “king” on his coins, and attached to his name the cognomen Philopator. He also introduced the device of Athena holding Nike, which became the standard reverse type of the Ariarathid coinage. […] His son Ariarathes V (c.162-130), with the cognomen Eusebes, was an ardent philhellene, and no longer wears the tiara on any of his coins. In his youth he studied in Athens, where he became friends with the future Attalus III, the last king of Pergamum. He in his turn married a Seleucid princess, his cousin Nysa, daughter of Antiochus III; and he refounded Mazaka and Tyana as Greek poleis…
  3. Gera, Dov (1998). Judaea and Mediterranean Politics, 219 to 161 B.C.E. BRILL. p. 259. ISBN 9004094415. Antiochis, a daughter of Antiochus III, and aunt to both Antiochus V and Demetrius. Antiochis had been married to Ariarathes IV, the king of Cappadocia. At the time in question, her son Ariarathes V, the reigning king of Cappadocia asked Lysias’ permission to rebury his mother’s and sister’s bodies in the family plot of the Cappadocian royal house.
  4. Zion, Noam; Spectre, Barbara (2000). A Different Light: The Big Book of Hanukkah. Devora Publishing. p. 57. ISBN 978-1-930143-37-1. Antiochus III, the Greek Seleucid Dynasty of Greater Syria captures Judea. 172 or 171-163
  5. Glubb, John Bagot (1967). Syria, Lebanon, Jordan. Thames & Hudson. p. 34. OCLC 585939. Although the Ptolemies and the Seleucids were perpetual rivals, both dynasties were Greek and ruled by means of Greek officials and Greek soldiers. Both governments made great efforts to attract immigrants from Greece, thereby adding yet another racial element to the population.
  6. Livy, xlii. 19 Archived January 27, 2003, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. Appian, "The Syrian Wars", 47
  8. Polybius, xxxii. 10
  9. Diogenes Laertius, The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, iv. 64


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Smith, William, ed. (1870). "Ariarathes V.". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. 

Regnal titles
Preceded by
Ariarathes IV
King of Cappadocia
163 BC 130 BC
Succeeded by
Ariarathes VI
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