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POLEMON II.:

King, first of the Pontus and the Bosporus, then of the Pontus and Cilicia, and lastly of Cilicia alone; died in 74 C.E. Together with other neighboring kings and princes, Polemon once visited King Agrippa I. in Tiberias (Josephus, "Ant." xix. 8, § 1). The Herodian princess Berenice, of whom it was reported that she held forbidden relations with her brother, chose Polemon for a husband, in order to mend her reputation, she being at the time the widow of Herod of Chalcis. Polemon married her not so much for her beauty as for her riches; and he adopted Judaism, undergoing the rite of circumcision. His wife soon left him, however, and Polemon abandoned his Judaism (ib. xx. 7, § 3). According to the Christian Bartholomeus legend, he accepted Christianity, but only to become a pagan again. If there is any truth in the story, the numerous Jews living in the Bosporus kingdom must have taken an interest in his conversion to Christianity and also in its being made known in the mother country.

Bibliography:
  • Grätz. Gesch. 4th ed., iii. 360, 428;
  • Gutschmid, Kleine Schriften, ii. 351, 353;
  • Prosopographia, Imperii Romani, iii. 59, No. 406.
G. S. Kr.
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