Agathocles (grandson of Agathocles of Syracuse)

Agathocles (Greek: Ἀγαθοκλῆς; fl. 3rd century BC) was an Egyptian Greek nobleman related to the Ptolemaic dynasty on his mother's side.[1]

Family backgroundEdit

Agathocles was a second child born to Theoxena of Egypt; the names of his father and older sibling are unknown.[1] He was named after his maternal grandfather, Agathocles of Syracuse, who had been tyrant and then king of Syracuse from 317 to 289 BC.[2][3] His maternal grandmother was Theoxena of Syracuse, a Greek Macedonian noblewoman; she was the second older maternal, half-sister of the Greek Egyptian Pharaoh Ptolemy II Philadelphus,[4] who reigned 283–246 BC.


Agathocles was born and raised in Egypt, perhaps in Alexandria. He was born at an unknown date; either late in the reign of Ptolemy I Soter, 305–283 BC, or sometime in the reign of his maternal great uncle Ptolemy II. Sometime in the reign of Ptolemy II, his mother was banished by her uncle to the Thebaid, perhaps to Coptos, as she brought false accusations to Ptolemy II against parties she knew.[5] The names of these persons are lost as the papyrus they were recorded on has been damaged.[5] It is chronologically plausible that the banishment of his mother was connected to the exile of Arsinoe I,[5] the first wife of Ptolemy II who was exiled in 274–273 BC.

Although Agathocles was a Ptolemaic noble, little is known on his life. He married an Egyptian Greek noblewoman of obscure origins called Oenanthe; this was her first marriage.[3] Oenanthe bore Agathocles four children: one son (Agathocles) and three daughters (Agathoclea and two others whose names are unknown).[3]