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Samos or Sames I
Satrap of Sophene and Commagene
Reigncirca 260 BC
SuccessorArsames I
IssueArsames I
Sames Orontid
DynastyOrontid Dynasty
FatherOrontes III

Samos[1][2] or Sames (Armenian: Շամուշ, Greek: Σάμος) was satrap of Commagene, Armenian king of Commagene and Sophene.[1][3] War between the Seleucid Empire and the Ptolemaic Kingdom seems to have allowed Sames an opportunity for independence for his kingdom. What side he took in the Syrian Wars is unknown as most of the records of that era have been lost, though it is considered likely that he would have supported the Ptolemaic Kingdom against his large and powerful neighbour, the Seleucid Empire.

Most sources give Orontes III as his father.[citation needed] After Orontes III died in 260 BC, there is no record for when Sames began his rule, only that his year of death is also 260 BC.[citation needed] This could be chronological error or it may be that Sames was meant to succeed Orontes III, but died in the same year. However it seems that Arsames I took control of Commagene, Sophene and Armenia after 260 BC.

Commagene was outside the boundary of historic Armenia, yet the Armenian satraps remained in occupation of many regions of Anatolia, such as Cappadocia and Pontus. It may have been that the son and heir to the Armenian kingdom would rule another region, just as the son or heir to the Achaemenid Empire had always ruled an outlying region, such as Bactria or Hyrkania. Viewing it from this perspective it would make sense, as his father Orontes III was of the Orontid family.[citation needed]

It is suggested that Samos founded the city of Samosata, which has been submerged by the Atatürk Dam since 1989.

Shamash was a Babylonian god, equivalent to Mithra; it was a dramatic break from a seemingly continuous tradition of satraps with Armenian and Persian names. The neighbouring region of Osroene maintained a strong Aramaic culture that the Armenian and Persian occupiers never replaced. Although Sames had a very Babylonian (Aramaic) name, his name might have been "Mihrdat" which many of his successors had, but he replaced it with the Babylonian equivalent for cultural reasons on taking control of Commagene.

He was succeeded by his son, Arsames I.

See also



  • Wayne G. Sayles, "Ancient Coin Collecting VI: Non-Classical Cultures", Krause Publications, 1999, ISBN 0-87341-753-4, p. 29
  1. ^ a b Michael Blömer / Religious Life of Commagene in the Late Hellenistic and Early Roman Period pp.95-129/The Letter of Mara bar Sarapion in Context. Proceedings of the Symposium Held at Utrecht University, 10–12 December 2009 /BRILL 2012

    In doing so, Samosata, the Commagenian capital and hometown of Mara bar Sarapion, would suit best as the prime object of investigation. The place was one of the most important sites along the Upper Euphrates. It offered an easy crossing of the river and was occupied since Chalcolithic times. It is named Kummuḫ in Iron Age sources and was the centre of an eponymous independent Syro-Hittite kingdom from the 12th to the 8th century BCE. The Assyrian king Sargon II conquered Kummuḫ in 708 BCE, but it remained an important provincial town during late Iron Age. In Hellenistic times it was capital of the kingdom of Commagene. The city was renamed Samosata by a predecessor of the Commagenian royal family, the Armenian king Samos I, in the 3rd century BCE. After the Roman occupation in CE 72, Samosata prospered as a major commercial, cultural and military centre of the Roman province of Syria.

  2. ^ Nemrud Dağı Text, Theresa Goell, Donald Hugo Sanders, ed. Eisenbrauns, 1996, p. 367 "Puchstein's epigraphic interpretation was not unambiguous; the name of the father could be read or restored to Samos (Sames) or Arsames. Puchstein had decided to read Samos; Honigmann (1963: 981) decided likewise to read Samos; Reinach and" ... "Samos was the "founder" of Samosata in the same way that his son Arsames was "founder" of Arsameia ", p.368 "Chronologically, this king Samos belongs to the first half of the third century B.C.E." [1]
  3. ^ M. J. Versluys/ Visual Style and Constructing Identity in the Hellenistic World: Nemrud Dag and Commagene under Antiochos I/Cambridge University Press, 2017 г.—pp.48 (312) ISBN 1107141974, 9781107141971

    We know nothing about the status of Commagene under Seleucid rule. The Armenian king Samos I is believed to have founded Samosata, later the capital of Commagene, in the middle of the third century BC. The second century BC saw the rise of the two powers that would play an important role in Commagene's future during the next centuries: Rome and Parthia. Their growing prominence, combined with the failing of the central Seleucid power, resulted in the rise of several small monarchies, of which Commagene was one. Other independent kingdoms that came into being around this time include Pergamon, Pontos, Baktria, Parthia, Armenia, Iudea and Nabatea. Diodorus tells us that a Seleucid epistates named Ptolemy rose to power in Commagene in 163 BC. Most scholars assume that Ptolemy was the first Commagenean king and that he descended from the Armenian Orontids. We know virtually nothing about the following decades. Samos II took power around 130 BC, as is concluded from some coins that have been preserved, showing a portrait with the inscription “king Samos.”

  4. ^ The Armenian People from Ancient to Modern Times, 2 vols. Richard G. Hovannisian, New York: St. Martin's Press, 1997
This page was last edited on 22 June 2020, at 23:04
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