Antiochus I Theos Dikaios Epiphanes Philorhomaios Philhellenos (Greek: о Αντίοχος Θεός Δίκαιος Επιφανής Φιλορωμαίος Φιλέλλην, meaning Antiochos, a just, eminent god, friend of Romans and friend of Greeks, c. 86 BC – 38 BC, ruled 70 BC – 38 BC) was a king from the Kingdom of Commagene and the most famous king of that kingdom.
The ruins of the tomb-sanctuary of Antiochus are magnificent to behold even today. The site of his interment atop Mount Nemrut, a.k.a. Nemrut dagi, was named to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1987. Several sandstone bas reliefs discovered at the site contain the oldest known images of two figures shaking hands.
Antiochus I was the son and probably the only child of King Mithridates I Callinicus and Queen Laodice VII Thea of Commagene. Antiochus was half Armenian, a distant member of the Orontid Dynasty and half Greek. Antiochus’ father Mithridates was the son of King of Commagene Sames II Theosebes Dikaios, while his mother is unknown. Mithridates in descent was related to the kings of Parthia and, according to archaeological research at Mount Nemrut, was also a descendant from the family of King Darius I of Persia.
Antiochus’ mother, Laodice VII Thea, was a Greek Princess of the Seleucid Empire. Laodice’s father was the Seleucid King Antiochus VIII Grypus while her mother was Ptolemaic Princess and later Seleucid Queen Tryphaena (see Cleopatra VI of Egypt). Thus, Antiochus was a direct descendant of Seleucus I Nicator of the Seleucid Empire, Ptolemy I Soter of Egypt, Antigonus I Monophthalmus of Macedonia and Asia, Lysimachus of Thrace and the Macedonian regent, Antipater. The five men had served as generals under Greek Macedonian King, Alexander the Great. Antiochus’ parents had married as part of a peace alliance between their kingdoms, while his father had embraced Greek culture. Little is known of his early life. When his father died in 70 BC, Antiochus succeeded his father as king.
Antiochus married Princess Isias Philostorgos of Cappadocia, daughter of King Ariobarzanes I of Cappadocia and his wife Athenais Philostorgos I. They had five children: