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Tiberius Julius Aspurgus

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Title: Tiberius Julius Aspurgus  
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Subject: Tiberius Julius Cotys I, Tiberius Julius Mithridates, Gepaepyris, Roman Crimea, Tiberius Julius Rhescuporis I
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Tiberius Julius Aspurgus

Tiberius Julius Aspurgus Philoromaios (Greek: Τιβέριος Ἰούλιος Ἀσποῦργoς Φιλορώμαιος, Philoromaios means lover of Rome, flourished second half of 1st century BC & first half of 1st century AD, died 38) was a Prince and Roman Client King of the Bosporan Kingdom.

The name Aspurgus is a name of Iranian origin.[1] His name goes back to the Iranian words aspa (horse) and aspabara (horseman).[2] Aspurgus was a monarch of Greek and Iranian ancestry.

Aspurgus was the son born to the ruling Monarchs Asander and Dynamis. He was the maternal grandchild to the previous ruling Roman Client King of the Bosporan and Pontus, Pharnaces II and his Sarmatian wife. His maternal grandfather was the youngest son and child born to King Mithridates VI of Pontus from his first wife, his sister Queen Laodice.[3] He was born and raised in the Bosporan Kingdom.

In 17 BC the father of Aspurgus, Asander had died of voluntary starvation from despair at the age of 93 because Asander witnessed his troops desert him to the Roman usurper, Scribonius. Scribonius pretended to be a relative of the legitimate heir Dynamis, so he could seize Asander’s throne and become Bosporan King. Dynamis became compelled to marry Scribonius. The Roman statesman Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa discovered Scribonius’ deception and intervened in the situation. Agrippa appointed Polemon I of Pontus as the new Bosporan King. Dynamis married Polemon I as her second husband, thus Polemon I became a stepfather to Aspurgus. Dynamis died in 14 BC and Polemon I ruled as Bosporan King until his death in 8 BC.

After the death of Polemon I, Aspurgus succeeded his stepfather. Little is known on Aspurgus’ reign; however he seemed to have been a strong and capable ruler. Due to previous dynastic conflicts during the Roman Republic and around the period of Asander’s death, the first Roman Emperor Augustus and the Roman Senate finally in 14, accepted Aspurgus as the legitimate Bosporan King. Aspurgus adopted the Roman names "Tiberius Julius", because he received Roman citizenship and enjoyed the patronage of Augustus and his heir Tiberius.

Aspurgus married a Thracian Princess called Gepaepyris. Gepaepyris bore Aspurgus two sons who were:

Through their second son, Aspurgus and Gepaepyris would have various descendants ruling the Bosporan Kingdom until the mid-4th century. The successors of Aspurgus bore the name Tiberius Julius to show their connection and ancestry with him. Aspurgus reigned until he died in 38. After his death, Gepaepyris ruled with their first son.

See also


  1. ^ p.12
  2. ^ p.12
  3. ^ Mayor, The Poison King: the life and legend of Mithradates, Rome’s deadliest enemy p.xviii

External links

  • Coinage of Aspurgus


  • On the weapons of Sarmatian type in the Bosporan Kingdom in the 1st-2nd century AD by Mikhail Treister (Bonn)
  • The Poison King: the life and legend of Mithradates, Rome’s deadliest enemy, by Adrienne Mayor, Princeton University Press, 2009
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