Prusias I of Bithynia

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Prusias I "The Lame"
Prusias I of Bithynia.jpg
Tetradrachm of Prusias I (young)
King of Bithynia
Reign 228 – 182 BC
Predecessor Ziaelas
Successor Prusias II
Born c. 243 BC
Died 182 BC (aged 61)
Consort Apama III
Issue Prusias II
Greek Λευκών
Father Ziaelas
Mother Unknown
Religion Greek Polytheism
Tetradrachm of Prusias I (older and bearded). British Museum.

Prusias I Cholus (Greek: Προυσίας ὁ Χωλός "the Lame") (lived c. 243 – 182 BC, reigned c. 228 – 182 BC) was a king of Bithynia, the son of Ziaelas of Bithynia.

Life and Reign[edit]

Prusias was a vigorous and energetic leader; he fought a war against Byzantium (220 BC), seizing its Asiatic territory, a part of Mysia that had been in its possession for a long time.[1] Then, he defeated the Galatians who Nicomedes I had invited across the Bosphorus to a territory called Arisba, putting to death all of their women and children and letting his men plunder their baggage.[2]

At some point during his reign, he formed a marriage alliance with Demetrius II of Macedon, receiving the latter's daughter, Apama III, as his wife.

He expanded the territories of Bithynia in a series of wars against Attalus I of Pergamum and Heraclea Pontica on the Black Sea, taking various cities formerly owned by the Heracleans, renaming one them, Prusias, after himself.[3] While besieging the city of Heraclea Pontica,[4] he dealt many casualties to the besieged,[5] but while climbing a ladder, he was hit with a stone and he broke his leg; the siege was lifted due to his injury.[6] This is likely where he was given the surname "the lame".[7] Philip V of Macedon granted him the ports of Keios and Myrleia in 202 BC, which he renamed Prusias and Apameia[8] respectively. Although he granted sanctuary to Hannibal, who successfully employed an odd stratagem against the Attalids for him at sea,[9] he remained neutral during the Roman Republic's war with Antiochus III the Great, refusing an alliance with Antiochus.[10] He agreed on peace terms with presumably Eumenes II in 183 BC, in the city of Cyzicus.[11] Apama III bore Prusias I a son called Prusias II, who succeeded him.

The town of Prusa (now Bursa in Turkey), which he rebuilt, is named after Prusias.


  • Habicht, Christian, s.v. Prusias I., RE. Bd. ХХШ, 1. 1957


  1. ^ Polybius. Histories. He had also seized their Asiatic territory, a part of Mysia which had long been in their possession. 
  2. ^ Polybius. Histories. Prusias, therefore, led an army against them, and after destroying all the men in a pitched battle, put to death nearly all the women and children in their camp and allowed his soldiers who had taken part in the battle to plunder the baggage. 
  3. ^ Memnon. History of Heraclea Pontica. He changed the name of the city to Prusias, instead of Cierus. 
  4. ^ Memnon. History of Heraclea Pontica. After these cities, he subjected Heracleia itself to a severe siege 
  5. ^ Memnon. History of Heraclea Pontica. and killed many of those who were besieged. 
  6. ^ Memnon. History of Heraclea Pontica. but while climbing a ladder Prusias was hit by a stone which was thrown from the battlements. He broke his leg, and because of this injury the siege was lifted 
  7. ^ Memnon. History of Heraclea Pontica. where he lived on for a few years before he died, being named (because of his injury) "the lame". 
  8. ^ Strabo. Geography. And Prusias restored them from their ruins and named the city Cius "Prusias" after himself and Myrleia "Apameia" after his wife. 
  9. ^ Justinus. Philippic Histories. 
  10. ^ Polybius. Histories. 
  11. ^ Polybius. Histories. This all happened in Cyzicus after the peace with King Prusias. 
Preceded by
King of Bithynia
228 BC – 182 BC
Succeeded by
Prusias II