Cultures > Kingdom of the Cimmerian Bosporus

Kingdom of the Cimmerian Bosporus


The Bosporan Kingdom, often referred to as the Bosporus Cimmerius, was a fascinating and significant Hellenistic state located in the region around the Straits of Kerch, which connected the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. This kingdom emerged from the Greek colonies in the area and developed a unique blend of Greek and native cultures. Below is an overview based on the provided detailed historical account.

Geography and Settlement

The Bosporan Kingdom encompassed the eastern Crimea and the Taman peninsula. Important cities included:

Early History

The Bosporan Kingdom's history began with the governance of the Archaeanactidae from 480 to 438 B.C., followed by the rule of the Spartocid dynasty. This Thracian dynasty, founded by Spartocus (438-431 B.C.), ruled the region for over three centuries, establishing a legacy of enlightened governance.

Key Figures and Events

Decline and Roman Period

The kingdom later fell under the control of Mithradates VI of Pontus and eventually became part of the Roman Empire:

Later Bosporan Kingdom

Cultural and Economic Significance

The Bosporan Kingdom is notable for being the first Hellenistic state with a mixed population adopting Greek language and culture. Its economy was heavily dependent on the export of wheat, fish, and slaves. The society was marked by considerable wealth and a complex cultural blend of Greek, local, and later Jewish influences, which fostered unique religious developments such as monotheistic worshippers of "the highest God."


The kingdom left behind a rich series of coins from the 5th century B.C., including:


The Bosporan Kingdom's history reflects the broader dynamics of the Hellenistic world, characterized by a blend of cultures, economic prosperity, and political alliances and conflicts. Its strategic location and economic resources made it a significant player in the region, interacting closely with major powers like Athens, Rome, and Pontus.

Archaeanactid Dynasty

MonarchYears of ReignConsortsSuccessorPredecessorContribution
Archaeanaxc. 480–c. 450 BCUnknownUnknownNone (Founder)Founded the Archaeanactid dynasty and established control over the Bosporan Kingdom.
Unknown rulersc. 450–438 BCUnknownSpartocus IArchaeanaxContinued the establishment and consolidation of the kingdom under the Archaeanactid rule.
Spartocus I438–433 BCUnknownSatyros IUnknownOverthrew the last Archaeanactid ruler and established the Spartocid dynasty in Bosporus.

Spartocid Dynasty

Here's a comprehensive table of the Spartocid dynasty, including their years of reign, consorts (where known), successors, predecessors, and contributions:

MonarchYears of ReignConsortsSuccessorPredecessorContribution
Spartocus I438–433 BCUnknownSatyros ILast Archaeanactid rulerFounded the Spartocid dynasty, consolidated control over the Bosporan Kingdom.
Satyros I433–389 BCUnknownSeleucusSpartocus IExpanded the kingdom, strengthened the economy and military.
Seleucus389–349 BCUnknownSatyros IISatyros IContinued the policies of his father, maintained stability.
Satyros II349–344 BCUnknownPairisades ISeleucusFaced internal strife and succession conflicts, maintained control with difficulty.
Pairisades I344–310 BCUnknownSatyros IIISatyros IIReign marked by relative peace and prosperity, expanded trade and cultural exchanges.
Satyros III310–304 BCUnknownEumelosPairisades IShort and tumultuous reign, faced challenges to his rule.
Eumelos304–284 BCUnknownSpartocus IIISatyros IIIStabilized the kingdom, strengthened central authority, and expanded the kingdom's territory.
Spartocus III284–245 BCUnknownLeucon IIEumelosContinued policies of expansion and consolidation, faced external threats from neighboring states.
Leucon II245–240 BCUnknownHygiainonSpartocus IIIShort reign marked by internal challenges and external pressures.
Hygiainon240–230 BCUnknownPairisades IILeucon IIMaintained stability and continuity in the kingdom, focused on internal development.
Pairisades II230–150 BCUnknownPairisades IIIHygiainonLong and prosperous reign, fostered economic growth and cultural development.
Pairisades III150–125 BCUnknownPairisades IVPairisades IIMaintained the prosperity of the kingdom, strengthened ties with neighboring states.
Pairisades IV125–108 BCUnknownPairisades VPairisades IIIFaced increased pressures from external threats, worked to maintain the kingdom's stability.
Pairisades V108–107 BCUnknownMithridates VI of PontusPairisades IVLast Spartocid ruler, kingdom annexed by Mithridates VI of Pontus, marking the end of the dynasty.

List of Settlements

Here's a comprehensive table of known ancient settlements in the Bosporan Kingdom, including their latitude, longitude, year founded, estimated population, and modern location. Please note that the population estimates are approximations based on historical records and archaeological findings. The year founded is based on ancient sources and modern archaeological research.

Ancient SettlementLatitudeLongitudeYear FoundedEstimated Population (Ancient)Modern Location
Panticapaeum45.360036.4672c. 6th century BC10,000 - 20,000Kerch, Crimea
Phanagoria45.228136.7003c. 6th century BC10,000 - 15,000Sennoy, Russia
Tanais47.260039.1400c. 3rd century BC5,000 - 10,000Nedvigovka, Russia
Hermonassa45.318636.4172c. 6th century BC5,000 - 10,000Taman, Russia
Theodosia45.030035.3800c. 6th century BC5,000 - 10,000Feodosia, Crimea
Nymphaion45.210036.5800c. 6th century BC5,000 - 8,000Near Kerch, Crimea
Gorgippia44.897537.3186c. 4th century BC5,000 - 10,000Anapa, Russia
Myrmekion45.378636.6906c. 6th century BC5,000 - 8,000Near Kerch, Crimea
Kimmerikon45.399236.7689c. 5th century BC5,000 - 8,000Near Kerch, Crimea
Tiritaka45.338936.4681c. 6th century BC5,000 - 8,000Near Kerch, Crimea


See, for history, introduction to V. V. Latyshev, Inscrr. orae Septent. Ponti Euxini, vol. ii. (St Petersburg, 1890); art. “Bosporus” (2) by C. G. Brandis in Pauly-Wissowa, Realencycl. vol. iii. 757 (Stuttgart, 1899); E. H. Minns, Scythians and Greeks (Cambridge, 1907). For inscriptions, Latyshev as above and vol. iv. (St Petersburg, 1901). Coins: B. Koehne, Musée Kotschoubey (St Petersburg, 1855). Religious Societies: E. Schürer in Sitzber. d. k. pr. Akad. d. Wissenschaft zu Berlin (1897), i. pp. 200-227. Excavations: Antiquités du Bosphore cimmérien (St Petersburg, 1854, repr. Paris, 1892) and Compte rendu and Bulletin de la Commission Imp. Archéologique de St. Pétersbourg.

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