Laodike was the daughter of nobleman named Achaios and had both Greek and Persian ancestry. We first hear of her through her marriage Antiochos II, the son of her father’s elder brother, the Seleukid king Antiochos I. At the time of their marriage Antiochos was only a second son, not yet his father’s heir. It was only after the execution of his elder brother Selukos that Laodike knew she would be queen. The couple had five children together, two sons and three daughters.
Antiochos took power in 261 with Laodike as his queen. We know little of the next nine years of Laodike’s life. In 252, after the Second Syrian War, Antiochos found it necessary to make peace with Ptolemy II Philadelphos. He divorced Laodike to marry Ptolemy’s daughter Berenike, with the understanding that her children, and not Laodike’s, would inherit the throne. Laodike, meanwhile, received a generous settlement, mostly comprised of land, which she could decide to keep or sell, so long as she did so within a certain amount of time. If she sold it she had the right to attach that land to whichever city she wished, something apparently usually reserved to the king.
Antiochos and Berenike had a son together. Ptolemy II’s death in 246, however, led Antiochos to repudiate Berenike and return to Laodike and once again name her eldest son Seleukos his heir. Antiochos died six months later, supposedly poisoned by Laodike. It is more certain that either she or her allies were involved in the murder of Berenike and her son Antiochos. It was this action among others that sparked the Third Syrian war,* as Ptolemy III invaded to avenge his sister and nephew. Two other things happened around the same time: Laodike married her daughter off in a successful political match to Mithridates II of Pontus and her younger son Antiochos rose in revolt against his elder brother with his mother’s support, taking Sardis under his own control. Laodike died sometime before 236 BCE.
*Also known as the Laodicean war.
Aperghis, G.G. The Seleukid Royal Economy: The Finances and Financial Administration of the Seleukid Empire. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.
Shipley, Graham. The Greek World after Alexander 323-30 B.C. New York: Routledge, 2000.
Pomeroy, Sarah. Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves: Women in Classical Antiquity. New York: Pantheon Books, 1995.
Laodice I - Livius.org
Laodice I - Wikipedia