Arsinoe I1, daughter of Lysimachus, king of Thrace and Macedon2, and either his first wife Nicaea or his second Amestris3, born c. 305/2954, married to Ptolemy II5 between 284 and 2816, mother of Ptolemy III, Lysimachus and Berenice Phernophorus7, found guilty of plotting against her husband and exiled to Coptos8 in the 270s, possibly in 274/39, date of death unknown10.
 Her mother is unnamed. Given Ptolemy II's status as a leading Hellenistic king it is safe to assume that she was the daughter of one of Lysimachus' principal wives. Given her likely date of birth, all three known wives -- Nicaea, Amestris and Arsinoe II -- are chronologically possible, as having been married to Lysimachus at about the right time. Considering the three candidates in reverse order:
i) Arsinoe II. Macurdy (Hellenistic Queens 109) argues against Arsinoe II on two grounds: (i) that Arsinoe I would almost certainly have been the oldest child of Lysimachus and Arsinoe II, and in this case should have been named Berenice after her grandmother and (ii) that no ancient writer noted that Arsinoe II replaced her own daughter as the wife of her husband. While the second objection is cogent, though not conclusive in view of the almost total absence of sources on the marriage, the first is hardly relevant, since Arsinoe II's eldest daughter is more likely to have been named after her paternal grandmother than her maternal one, and the name of the mother of Lysimachus is unknown. For the same reason, Macurdy's argument that Arsinoe I might have been named after the unknown mother of Nicaea, Lysimachus' first wife as king, the wife of Antipater, is also not relevant. For some reason, Macurdy doesn't comment on the tightness of the chronology that results from Arsinoe I being assumed to be the daughter of Arsinoe II, given that two sons must also be born to her in the first 2-3 years of the marriage, which seems to me to be a strong reason to reject the candidacy of Arsinoe II.
ii) Amestris. A similar consideration also applies to Amestris, who, it is generally believed, was only married to Lysimachus for a short time, about two years (302-300). Amestris is identified with Amestrine, daughter of Oxathres, the brother of Darius III, who was married by Alexander to Craterus in c. April 324 (Arrian Anabasis 7.24). She already had three sons by an earlier marriage to Dionysos, tyrant of Heracleia in Pontus at the time of her marriage to Lysimachus.
According to Polyaenus 6.12, she was the mother of a son, Alexander, by Lysimachus, but Pausanias 1.10.4 calls Alexander the son of an Odrysian concubine. If Polyaenus is correct, and if the marriage was indeed short, there is little opportunity for her also to have borne Lysimachus a daughter. However, Pausanias is generally regarded as more reliable. Moreover, the short duration of the marriage has recently been placed in doubt by S. Dmitriev, GRBS 47 (2007) 135. Noting that early Hellenistic kings were polygamous, he also notes that Amestris was murdered by her sons after Lysimachus had become king of Macedon (Memnon, F 5.2-3), i.e. after 285. He argues that her departure from Lysimachus' court was not the result of his marriage to Arsinoe II but as a result of her promotion to chief queen -- hence displacing Amestris as chief in his affections -- as a result of changes in the power dynamics resulting from the accession of her full brother, Ptolemy II, to the coregency of Egypt. If correct, the extra time would allow Amestris to have had an addtional child.
iii) Nicaea. On the other hand, Nicaea, youngest daughter of Antipater, is not totally convincing either. She is known to have been nubile c. 321, when Antipater first offered her in marriage to Perdiccas. Her daughter Eurydice married Antipater, co-king of Macedon 297-294, and so must have been born c312 or earlier. Her son Agathocles, Lysimachus' heir, married Ptolemy I's daughter Lysandra c. 292/1, so was presumably born some 20 years or more earlier, i.e. in the decade 320-310. So, if Arsinoe I was indeed her daughter she was considerably younger than her uterine siblings. We know nothing of Nicaea after her marriage to Lysimachus.
Nicaea is generally assumed to be the mother of Arsinoe I, and I have no real reason to disagree. However, while she is a perfectly reasonable candidate, Amestris is equally plausible, being at worst a few years older than Nicaea. The main objection appears to be the brevity of her marriage to Lysimachus, but I think Dmitriev has made a plausible argument that it was not so brief. In any case, this objection seems to me to be of little consequence unless it can be shown that Alexander was her son, as claimed by Polyaenus. Ý
 On the assumption that she was in her teens or early 20s at the time of her marriage. Ý
 Schol. Theocritus 17.128. Ý
 I.e. the period between the accession of Ptolemy II as coregent in Jan/Feb 284 and the defeat and death of Lysimachus at the battle of Corupedium in Feb 281. This period can perhaps be narrowed down a little, since the marriage almost certainly took place after Ptolemy Ceraunus left the court of Lysimachus for that of Seleucus I -- in fact, I suspect that it was this marriage, rather than the execution of Agathocles and the flight of Lysandra, that was the occasion of Ceraunus' departure, although these events may all have been roughly coincident. Even if pBM 528 does contain a fragmentary epithalamium on the marriage of Arsinoe I rather than Arsinoe II (as argued in F. Lasserre, RhMP 120 (1959) 222, esp. 236ff.) it does not help us settle the date of the marriage, despite the dates tossed around in Lasserre's discussion. Ý
 Schol. Theocritus 17.128. J. A. Tunny (ZPE 131 (2000) 83), arguing in favour of the suggestion made by E. R. Bevan (The House of Ptolemy 66) that Ptolemy Nios was an otherwise-unknown elder brother of Ptolemy III, suggests that he was omitted from the list in this scholium through damnatio memoriae. This argument might have weight if the scholium was nearly contemporary with Theocritus, but in fact the tradition of scholia appears to originate with Theon, a contemporary of Augustus, who had no reason to bow to Philadelphian political priorities -- see P. M. Fraser, Ptolemaic Alexandria I 474. Ý
 Schol. Theocritus 17.128. Stele CCG 70031, the stele of Senu-sher, a steward of a queen Arsinoe at Coptos, is usually assigned to Arsinoe I in exile (F. Ll. Griffith in W. M. F. Petrie, Koptos 22). For Quaegebeur's and Lloyd's arguments suggesting it should instead be assigned to Arsinoe II as living queen, see discussion under Arsinoe II. Her son Ptolemy III, probably raised in exile at Thera, was probably sent there in response to this plot. Ý
 The exact date is unknown, and in theory could even be after the death of Arsinoe II since Ptolemy II had the children of Arsinoe I declared to be those of Arsinoe II after the death of the latter. However, it is usually assumed that the event occurred before Ptolemy's marriage to Arsinoe II, which would make it before 272 at the latest, since otherwise Ptolemy would have been married to both women at the same time. While perfectly possible, there is no proof of this. The exile almost certainly occurred after Arsinoe II's arrival in Egypt from Samothrace, however the date of this event is also unknown.
The only dated inscriptional reference to Arsinoe I known to me is KAI 43 (see J. Teixidor, ZPE 71 (1988) 188), dated to year 11 of king Ptolemy son of king Ptolemy, equated to year 33 of Lapethos, which refers to a sacrifice instituted by Yatonba'al at Lapethos in Cyprus in year 5 on behalf of "the legitimate scion and his wife". The Ptolemy by whom this inscription is dated has been debated. Oberhummer, RE XII 764, proposed it was Ptolemy VI, as the "legitimate scion" in opposition to Ptolemy VIII. P Berger, Rev d'Assyriologie 3 (1893) 66, proposed Ptolemy X in opposition to Ptolemy IX. While only Ptolemy II was called king Ptolemy son of king Ptolemy in Greek or Egyptian inscriptions, A. M. Honeyman, JEA 26 (1940) 57 noted that we do not have a body of Phoenician data to show that the same holds true there. However, he noted several other points that also favoured Ptolemy II: (i) that dated Phoenician inscriptions from the Ptolemaic period in Cyprus are rare, and the latest dates to 255/4, i.e. within the reign of Ptolemy II; (ii) that Ptolemy I is ruled out because the king is son of king Ptolemy; (iii) that the proposed alternates would give a date for the era of Lapethos of year 1 = 203 or 139, neither of which has any known historical context, whereas year 1 = 307/6 or 305/304 (depending which year was taken as regnal year 1 of Ptolemy II) clearly relates to the seizure of Cyprus by Demetrius Poliorcetes in 307/6. Honeyman did not make a choice between these dates. G. F. Hill, History of Cyprus I 178f. n. 9, while accepting that the inscription dates to Ptolemy II, assumes that the regnal date was based on his accession rather than his coregency, on the belief that the system only changed after year 16. In this case, the inscription would date to year 5 to 278/7, and the reference to "the legitimate scion and his wife" is hard to explain. However, if a coregency-based count is assumed then the phrase makes sense, because it dates the events of year 5 to 281/0. As Teixidor notes, this must refer to Ptolemy II before his settlement with Ptolemy Ceraunus, who challenged his legitimacy, and hence the wife referred to must be Arsinoe I.
The key phrase has also caused difficulties. Berger could not translate it, though he thought that it might contain a reference to a "wife". Honeyman translated it as "the legitimate scion and his wives", and argued this as an additional proof that the inscription dated to Ptolemy II, since later kings were monogamous; also, therefore, as proof that Arsinoe II married Ptolemy II in or before 278/7. However, J. C. L. Gibson, Textbook of Syrian Semitic Inscriptions III 140, argues that "wife" must be correct, and is followed by Teixidor. Further, with a coregency-based regnal year 5 = 281/0, Arsinoe II is excluded as a wife.
The significance of a reference to Arsinoe I in year 11 has not been correctly understood. Teixidor says that Yatonba'al "preferred" not to mention her name since the king was by then married to Arsinoe II. But it is likely that the marriage actually took place in year 13 (Mac.), and besides Yatonba'al also "preferred" not to name the legitimate scion. Since Arsinoe I was later disgraced as a traitor, the fact that Yatonba'al felt able to refer to her in year 11 strongly suggests that news of her disgrace had not yet reached him. Hence it took place in year 11 or later, and most likely in that year or year 12, so that the ground was cleared for the marriage to Arsinoe II. Ý
 B. G. Niebuhr, Kleine historische und philologische Schriften I 229, suggested that she subsequently married Magas of Cyrene, becoming the mother of Berenice II, in which case she would have survived till after c. 248. This suggestion is rejected here. Ý
10 Feb 2002: Added individual trees
20 Feb 2002: Split into separate entry
11 Mar 2005: Added Greek transcription, link to Bevan
10 May 2007: Note that Arsinoe's son Ptolemy III was probably raised on Thera because of her plot
14 June 2008: Note Dmitriev's argument that Amestris' marriage to Lysimachus may have been longer than usually supposed.
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