Cleopatra II


Cleopatra II1 queen of Egypt, daughter of Ptolemy V2 presumably by Cleopatra I3, date of birth unknown, here estimated to be before 187 or c. 185/44, incorporated in the dynastic cult with Ptolemy VI in c. March 175 as the Mother-loving Gods, Qeoi FilomhtwreV5; became coruler with Ptolemy VI and Ptolemy VIII6 probably on 1 Thoth year 12 = year 1 = 5 October 1707, remained in Alexandria with Ptolemy VIII after the flight of Ptolemy VI in 1698 and was instrumental in negotiating his return9, left Alexandria when Ptolemy VI was expelled in c. November 16410, ruled again in association with Ptolemy VI after his restoration in summer 163 till his death in 14511, victor in the pan-Athenaic games of (most probably) 16211.1; ruled with Ptolemy VIII alone till the association of her daughter Cleopatra III in the rulership12, after which she was distinguished as Cleopatra AdelfoV (the "sister")13, incorporated in the dynastic cult with Ptolemy VIII probably in year 26 = 145/4 as the Benefactor Gods, Qeoi Euerghtai14, rebelled against Ptolemy VIII probably in year 39 = year 1 = 132/115, installed as ruler in Alexandria in 13016, and ruled in civil war against him as Cleopatra Philometor Soteira17 till 127 when she fled to her son-in-law Demetrius II in Syria18, reconciled with Ptolemy VIII and Cleopatra III c. 12419, ruled again jointly with them till the death of Ptolemy VIII on 11 Payni year 54 = 28 June 11620, then principal ruler jointly with Cleopatra III and Ptolemy IX as the FilomhtoreV SwthreV21 till her own death before 18 Phamenoth year 2 = 6 April 11522, to be succeeded by Cleopatra III ruling jointly with Ptolemy IX; posthumously struck from the dynastic cult in Lower Egypt but incorporated with Ptolemy VIII as the Benefactor Gods, Qeoi Euerghtai in Upper Egypt23.

No Egyptian titulary is known for her.

Cleopatra II married twice.

Cleopatra II first married her brother Ptolemy VI, king of Egypt24, c. March 17525, by whom she had at least four children26: Ptolemy Eupator27, Ptolemy28, Cleopatra Thea29 and Cleopatra III30, and possibly Berenice30.1; marriage dissolved by the death of Ptolemy VI.

Cleopatra II married as her second and final31 husband her brother Ptolemy VIII32 in 145/14433, by whom she had at least34 one son, Ptolemy Memphites35; marriage probably dissolved no later than January 14036.

[1] PP VI 14516. Gr: Kleopatra Filomhtor Soteira. Ý

[2] So far as I can determine, no classical source explicitly states this, but she is repeatedly described as the sister of Ptolemy VI or Ptolemy VIII (e.g. Livy 45.11, Justin 38.8), which implies they shared the same father. Ý

[3] So far as I can determine, no ancient source explicitly states this, outside the Egyptian formulae naming her together with her brothers as children of Ptolemy V and Cleopatra I, which, from the examples of Berenice II and Cleopatra I, have no evidentiary value. This is the only reason her maternity is marked as conjectural in the chart. It is, however, generally and reasonably assumed, essentially on the grounds that there is no other possible candidate. In order for her to have had the remarkable career she had she must have been fully legitimate, and Ptolemy V had no other wife. Ý

[4] In the absence of direct evidence, all scholarly discussions are circumstantial. The main constraints are: the birth of Ptolemy VI in c May(?) 186, making it unlikely she was born between about September 187 and September 185; her reproductive history, with attested children born between 166 (Ptolemy Eupator) and 144/2 (Ptolemy Memphites), which argues for a birth year not very much later than 182 (i.e. aged 16 or more for Ptolemy Eupator) nor much earlier than 184 (i.e. about 40 or less for Ptolemy Memphites); and the fact that she played a key role in negotiating the return of Ptolemy VI to the ruling triumvirate in 169, suggesting a certain maturity at that time. 185/4 seems the best fit for these constraints. Against the proposed date, one could argue that her marriage date has her married when only 9 years old, whereas a birth date of c 187 or 188 would make her 12 or 13, while still leaving her to be bearing children in her mid 40's. Essentially, the choice is between her formally getting married rather young, or having a child when she was rather old. In view of the need to stabilise the monarchy after the death of Cleopatra I, my own bias is to favour the first option. Ý

[5] See discussion under Ptolemy VI. Ý

[6] Porphyry in Eusebius, Chronicorum I (ed. Schoene) 161 describes the creation of the coregency of Ptolemy VI and Ptolemy VIII. It first appears in dating formulae in pRylands 4.583, with Cleopatra II included, dated 9 Phaophi year 1 = 12 November 170. Ý

[7] For the date see discussion under Ptolemy VI. Ý

[8] Livy 44.19, describing an embassy to Rome from Ptolemy VIII and Cleopatra II asking for help against Antiochus IV and Ptolemy VI, implying that she was in Alexandria at the time. Ý

[9] Livy 45.11. Ý

[10] Her position in this period is not given by any classical source. It is inferred from her absence from dating formulae of Ptolemy VIII in year 7 -- pdem Munich 4 etc. (see E. Lanciers, Proc. 18th Congress of Papyrology 405). Her actual location is unknown, since Ptolemy VI went to Rome alone to plead for help from the Senate (Diodorus 31.18.2). G. Hölbl, A History of the Ptolemaic Empire 183, suggests she may have gone to Cyprus, which is where Ptolemy VI went after his visit to Rome (Diodorus 31.17c). On the date of the expulsion see discussion under Ptolemy VI. Ý

[11] For the return date of Ptolemy VI and the date of his death see discussions under Ptolemy VI; there is one text of the period (pRifeh B 2, dated year 28 = 154/3) that does not mention Cleopatra II as ruler, but this is clearly an aberration -- see P. W. Pestman, Chronologie Ëgyptienne d'après les textes démotiques 52(c). Ý

[11.1] Panathenaic victor list line III.22 (S. V. Tracy & C. Habicht, Hesperia 60 (1991) 187 at 192-3). She is identified as queen Cleopatra daughter of king P[tolemy], which ensures that she is not Cleopatra I. The same list also names king Eumenes II of Pergamun at line III.24, who died in 158. Hence she must be Cleopatra II.

This data restrict the date of these games to between 174 and 158. The actual date was determined by Habicht on other prosopographical grounds. The list covers victors in three consecutive games; Cleopatra is named in the third. The first names, at line I.33, Eirene daughter of Ptolemy, of Alexandria, who can be identified as the priestess of Arsinoe Philopator of that name who is last attested (and probably died) in 170. It therefore is almost certainly no later than 170. It also names Athenians who are also attested as ephebes (and therefore ineligible to complete) in 177/6 and two phylarchs who cannot have been 30 years of age before 172/1; on the likely, but unproved, assumption that a phylarch had to be at least 30, the first list must be for the games of 170 or later. One of the ephebes of 177/6 is also attested as a phylarch in the second list, which must therefore be for the games of 166 or later. Hence, unless an Athenian could be phylarch before 30 or Eirene retired rather than died in 170, the three lists give victors for the games of 170, 166 and 162, and Cleopatra II's victory was in 162.

Ptolemy VI also won a victory at these games (line III.32). The fact that both monarchs entered teams suggests to me that the opportunity was taken to publicise and celebrate their return to power the previous year. Ý

[12] On the accession of Ptolemy VIII see discussion under Ptolemy VI. That Cleopatra II continued in joint rule is evident from the papyri -- see P. W. Pestman, Chronologie Ëgyptienne d'après les textes démotiques 54ff. The first attestation of their joint rule is pdem Ox. Griffith 59, dated 20 Epeiph year 25 = 13 August 145. On the date on which Cleopatra III was made a coruler, see discussion under Cleopatra III. Ý

[13] First mention to date: pDublin inv. 278 (unedited) in 18 Payni year 27 = 12 July 143 -- E. Lanciers (Proc. 18th Congress of Papyrology 405, 426 n. 71). The classic formulation of "Cleopatra (II) the sister and Cleopatra (III) the wife" first appears in C. Ord. Ptol. 47 dated 10+[x] Tybi year 31 = 3-12 February 139. Modern scholars are divided as to whether to regard her as still nominally married after this point, though Justin 38.8 is clear that Ptolemy VIII divorced her in order to marry Cleopatra III. Ý

[14] First mention to date: pGen. 2.87 in year 26 = 145/4 -- E. Lanciers (Proc. 18th Congress of Papyrology 405, 423). There are some indications that the creation of a joint cult did not follow immediately on Ptolemy VIII's accession. On pdem Cairo 30605 dated 28 Mesore year 25 = 20 September 145 the eponymous priest remained in the service of the Qeoi FilometoreV; however, this might simply be due to inertia, since Ptolemy VIII had only acceded a few weeks earlier. A Cretan inscription naming king Ptolemy EuergethV and queen Cleopatra Filomhtora is a positive indication that joint cult was not created immediately; this is the only time that such a couple could possibly have been named. See E. Lanciers, Proc. 18th Congress of Papyrology 405, 427f. and J. A. Goldstein in Fs Morton Smith III 86, 106f. n. 75. Ý

[15] Justin 38.8. The date is usually given as year 39 = 132/1, e.g. G. Hölbl, A History of the Ptolemaic Empire 197. Although I think this is likely to be correct, the basis for this chronology as it is usually given is not very satisfactory. The earliest evidence of a breach between Ptolemy VIII and Cleopatra II is pdem BM 10384, a demotic contract from Memphis dated 10 Phaophi year 39 = 3 November 132 (D. J. Thompson, Memphis Under the Ptolemies, 152 n. 212, 280(7); E. Revillout, La proprieté, ses demembrements, la possession et leurs transmissions en droit égyptien comparé aux autres droits de l'antiquité 356f. n. 2 for the correct date), in which Cleopatra II is omitted from the dating formula. While this ensures that year 1 of Cleopatra II was no earlier than 132/1, it does not guarantee that her rebellion actually started in that year. On the other hand, the classical and numismatic evidence concerning the flight of Ptolemy VIII from Alexandria fixes the revolt to 131/0 or earlier. Thus we only have a choice of two years. So far so good.

The argument for year 1 = year 39 = 132/1 is as follows. We know from odem BM 12594 that Ptolemy VIII was in undisturbed control of Thebes up to 26 July 131 (P. W. Pestman, Chronologie Égyptienne d'après les textes démotiques 58). UPZ 2.224 from Thebes, dated 10 Thoth year 2, with a subscription dated 21 Thoth year 2, specifically equates year 1 with year 39 = 132/1, hence the first date corresponds to 4 October 131, and it shows that Ptolemy VIII was not in control of Thebes at that time. UPZ 2.217, dated 29 Phaophi year 2 of Cleopatra II, shows that she was recognised as an independent ruler in Thebes. On this basis, it was argued (W. Otto & H. Bengtson, Zur Geschichte des Niederganges des Ptolemäerreiches 47 n. 1), that year 1 of Cleopatra II should be equated with 132/1. However, this analysis does not consider the Egyptian rebel Harsiesi. It seems certain that he briefly ruled Thebes between 26 July 131 and 17 Phaophi year 40 of Ptolemy VIII = 10 November 131 (date of UPZ 2.199 in which he is mentioned as having been expelled). Thus it is unclear whether UPZ 2.224 belongs to year 2 of Cleopatra II or to year 2 of Harsiesi; to my mind the latter seems more likely. A. E. Samuel, Ptolemaic Chronology 146, assumed Cleopatra II, P. W. Pestman, Chronologie Égyptienne d'après les textes démotiques 58, 60(b) Harsiesi. If it is Harsiesi then the equation of UPZ 2.224 is not sufficient to fix year 1 of Cleopatra II.

R. S. Bagnall, ZPE 56 (1984) 58 points out that UPZ 2.224 is one of several texts that equate year 1 = year 39 and year 2 = year 40. He therefore suggests that they belong to a single rebellion, and that the earliest ostracon with such a double date (D. Devauchelle & G. Wagner ASAE 68 (1982) 89, 90), 26 Mesore year 1 = year 39 = 15 September 131, belongs to the same rebel. (For arguments against the proposal of Devauchelle and Wagner that this ostracon shows a coregency of Ptolemy II and Ptolemy III, see here.) This seems fair enough. But he then goes on to assert that such correlations are more likely to occur between rival Ptolemaic rulers than between a Ptolemaic ruler and an Egyptian rebel. This argument seems unmotivated to me, and against it one may note not only that UPZ 2.217, which names Cleopatra II, is not double dated but also that a Theban document of Ptolemy VIII (UPZ 2.199, dated 10 November 131) lies between UPZ 2.224 (4 and 15 October 131) and UPZ 2.217 (22 November 131 at the earliest), which allows them to refer to different rebel rulers. Finally, he notes that texts explicitly dated to Harsiesi are unknown in Upper Egypt. This argument is hardly fair in that we only have one document explicitly dated to Harsiesi from anywhere. Therefore, these considerations do not seem to me sufficient to assign these texts securely to Cleopatra II.

Another argument for year 1 Cleopatra II = 132/1 (A. E. Samuel, Ptolemaic Chronology 146 n. 21) is that Chrest. Wilck. I.10, dated 23 Choiak year 40 = 15 January 130, describes preparations for an expedition from Thebes against rebels in Hermonthis, implying that Ptolemy VIII had firm control of Thebes by this time, but again we are not told whether Hermonthis is being held by forces loyal to Harsiesi or Cleopatra II. If we assume Harsiesi, then UPZ 2.224 may well indicate that Harsiesi had briefly taken Thebes back after the date of UPZ 2.199 and then lost it again, while Cleopatra II was not recognised there till later in 130. In this case, UPZ 2.217 is more likely to date from 29 Phaophi year 2 = 22 November 130 than 22 November 131. This is after the expulsion of Ptolemy VIII from Alexandria, and would suggest that her regnal dating was formally based on this expulsion.

Thus the usual arguments for the equation year 1 Cleopatra II = year 39 Ptolemy VIII = 132/1 are weak. The only argument I find persuasive that is not open to this type of ambiguity is one that I have not seen in the literature. One of the double dated texts is BGU 6.1448, equating year 2 with year 40. Since this document comes from Elephantine, which was a major Ptolemaic garrison, it more likely reflects the revolt of Cleopatra II than that of Harsiesi. Ý

[16] Diodorus 33.6 states that Ptolemy VIII ruled for 15 years after his brother, bringing his exile from Alexandria to 130/29. Orosius 5.10, presumed to be based on a lost book of Livy, puts the events of his flight and the murder of his son in the consulship of M. Perpenna, i.e. 624 A.U.C. = 130. Also, Alexandrian coins of year 40 = 25 September 131 - 24 September 130 are known, but after this there is a gap in the series -- see O. Mørkholm, ANSMN 20 (1975) 7, 11. Thus it is likely that the city went over to Cleopatra II in year 40, probably shortly after the start of Roman year 624 A.U.C. Ptolemy VIII may have abandoned it at that time or, as suggested by analysis of Josephus, Contra Apionem 2.5, shortly before.

The correlation with A.U.C. 624 is less useful in limiting the date of the fall than it might be. At this time, and for some distance on either side of this date, the exact correlation between Roman and Julian years is unknown. The Roman consular year began on Kal. Ian. at this time; on the chronological conversions used here, Kal. Ian. A.U.C. 624 is estimated to be 31 December 131. Ý

[17] UPZ 2.217, pBad 2.2. J-Y Carrez-Maratray, RdE 53 (2002) 61 at 73, suggests that she took the title as regent for Ptolemy IX, who he considers to be her son. While her titulary in the dynastic cult is heavily restored in these papyri, there is clearly no mention of a second ruler, which is quite unlike the regency of Cleopatra I on behalf of Ptolemy VI. Ý

[18] Justin 39.1. The date is derived from the coins. After year 40, there is a gap in the sequence of Alexandrian coinage till year 43 = 24 September 128 - 23 September 127 -- see O. Mørkholm, ANSMN 20 (1975) 7, 11. Additionally, J. IJsewijn, De sacerdotibus sacerdotiisque Alexandri Magni et Lagidarum eponymis 120 notes that in the years 131 to 127 there were two sets of eponymous priests, one of whom replaced the Qeoi EuergeteV, who were "with the king in camp", by the Qea Filomhtor Swteira in their titulary. However, he only cites examples for two years: for Cleopatra II -- for 131/0: UPZ 2.217 (in which the titulary is restored by the editors -- not UPZ 2.219) and for 130/29: pBad 2.2 dated 5 Phaophi year 3 = 29 October 130 (in which the titulary is substantially if plausibly restored by the editors)); and for Ptolemy VIII -- year 40 = 131/0: pdem Leiden 185 (RT 28 (1906) 194 -- not RT 12). BGU 3.993, dated 18 Choiak year 43 = 9 Janury 127, says that the eponymous priests were "in the king's camp", i.e. Cleopatra II still held Alexandria at that time. Thus Cleopatra II lost Alexandria in 127. Ý

[19] W. Otto & H. Bengtson, Zur Geschichte des Niederganges des Ptolemäerreiches 103 n. 1 give that pLouvre (Revillout, Chrest. dem p303) is dated 24 January 124 (=4 Tybi year 46) in the names of Ptolemy VIII and Cleopatra III while pBerlin 3099, 3100 and 5508, all dated 9 July 124 (=20 Payni year 46), name Ptolemy VIII, Cleopatra II and Cleopatra III. Ý

[20] See discussion under Ptolemy VIII. Ý

[21] pdem Rylands III.20 dated ?9 Phaophi year 2 = ?29 October 116 name the rulers as two queens Cleopatra followed by Ptolemy IX. The validity of the formula has been questioned, e.g. D. Musti, PP 75 (1960) 432, and it is true that there are examples of scribal confusion at this time, e.g. pLondon 7.2191 dated to 8 Hathyr, year 2 of Ptolemy VIII (distinguished as EuergeteV), Cleopatra II and Cleopatra III = 27 November 116 -- 5 months after the death of Ptolemy VIII. However, M. Chauveau, In Memoriam Quaegebeur 1263, 1272 n. 32, notes an unpublished hieroglyphic inscription at Kalabsha that "very clearly mentions" the triple coregency. Further, as noted by G. Hölbl, A History of the Ptolemaic Empire 205, the choice of title of FilomhtoreV SwteireV must have been made by Cleopatra II, since it was the title she herself had used during her rebellion. Ý

[22] Not considered in the Canon of Ptolemy, which lists the Ptolemies patriarchally, except for Cleopatra VII. pdem Cairo 30602, 30603 dated 18 Phamenoth year 2 = 6 April 115 name only queen Cleopatra and king Ptolemy, therefore it is generally held that Cleopatra II must have died before that date. M. Chauveau, L'Égypte au temps de Cléopâtre 58 n. 17, sees the mention of Cleopatra the sister in one of the decrees in OGIS 168, dated to Mesore year 2 of Ptolemy IX = August/September 115, as proof that she was still alive at this time. However, given the absence of Cleopatra II in the opening of the decree in question, the mention is much more like to be a reference to Cleopatra Selene.

S. Cauville & D. Devauchelle, RdE 35 (1984) 31, have argued that Cleopatra III was expelled and that Cleopatra II continued to rule with Ptolemy IX until they were expelled in turn by Cleopatra III and Ptolemy X in 107, which probably represents the date of her death. This proposal has not been well received, see D. J. Thompson in L. Criscuolo & G. Geraci (eds.) Egitto e storia antica dall'ellenismo all'età araba 693; L. Mooren, Proc. 18th Congress of Papyrology 435; E. Van't Dack et al., The Judean-Syrian Conflict of 103-101 B.C. It may be summarised as follows, with objections noted in black:

i) The standard reconstruction relies on the testimony of Justin 39.3-4, Pausanias 1.9.1 and Porphyry FrGH 260 F2(8)-(11). In particular, Justin and Pausanias describe the hostile relationship between Ptolemy IX and Cleopatra III and her plots to have him removed, which require her presence in Alexandria as a ruling queen. However, these sources are all very late, Justin being an epitome of the lost works of Trogus, while Porphyry exists only as extracts in Eusebius, Chronicorum (ed. Schoene) 163, and all have issues of credibility on other points. Hence these sources should be treated with caution -- it is quite possible that they have picked up an early genealogical error and have repeated it carelessly. [Thompson 696f: The placement of Cleopatra III is central to the action as discussed in these sources. To the extent that Porphyry can be checked against contemporary evidence (e.g. on the dating system) he appears to be quite reliable, though not competely so. However, while nothing demands rejection, the literary evidence is agreed not to be compelling. Mooren 440: The fact that all three authors agree about this should make us cautious to reject them without compelling evidence. ]

ii) The title FilometoreV SotereV is attested during the period 116 to 107. At Edfu, Ptolemy IX is repeatedly called "heir of the god Evergetes and the goddess Philometor Soteira" during this period. The title Filometor Swteira was the title that Cleopatra II had used during her rebellion against Ptolemy VIII and so should be attributed to her. The fact that it continued to be used after the number of ruling queens had been reduced from two to one indicates that the surviving ruler should be Cleopatra II, not Cleopatra III. In view of the longstanding hostility between mother and daughter, it is not likely that Cleopatra III would have continued to use the title. But after Ptolemy X came to power in 107, the queen Cleopatra is referred to as Euergetis. This conforms better with what we would expect from Cleopatra III, and clearly distingushes her from Cleopatra II. [Thompson 698ff.: OGIS 739, dated to Phaophi year 6 = October/November 112, refers to the "Qea EuergetiV who is also Filomhetor Swteira" instead of the FilomhetoreV SwteireV; pdem Recueil 5+UPZ 1.132, dated 21 Tybi year 9 = 6 February 108, refers to the ruling queen as Qea EuergetiV Filomhetor Swteira. These references prove that the two titles were not as distinct as Cauville & Devauchelle suppose. ]

iii) The cult of the holy foal, which is normally assumed to relate to Cleopatra III, is only attested for the years 131 to 106. If it really was her cult, then it is unclear why it was abandoned in 107/6. [Thompson 699 n. 16: PSI 9.1025 dated 23 Mesore year 13 = year 10 = 5 September 104 refers to the cult of the holy foal, thus it was not abandoned in 107/6. Mooren 443f. n. 58: Cites also pKöln 2.81 = SB 10.10763 from the same year, and notes pdemLeiden 373a (E. Luddeckens, Ägyptische Eheverträge no 37) dated from 6 Pachon year 40 = 28 May 130, naming only Ptolemy VIII and Cleopatra III ("the wife") during the civil war. These references prove that the cult was associated with Cleopatra III not Cleopatra II. Van't Dack 19f: Additionally, priesthoods of queen Cleopatra, notably the stephanophoros, first mentioned before 107/6, are still attested in 105/4, and the queen herself is called Qea Euergetia kai Filomhtora DikaisunhV NikhforoV both before and after 107/6. ]

iv) Five papyri from Pathyris specify that the queen Cleopatra of this period was "(daughter) of the gods Ephiphanes", a statement which is true of Cleopatra II but not Cleopatra III. [Mooren 440: These papyri (which he identifies as pdem Rylands 3.24 (13 July 113) and 23 (undated), pdem Geb. Heid. 16 (12 February 112), pdem Adler 4 (3 November 110) and 5 (108/7) were all written by a single notary, Nekhtmin son of Nekhtmin, and therefore form a single body of evidence. pdem Geb. Heid. 37 and 38 also refer to the Qeoi EpifaneiV, and are of a different hand, but are also from Pathyris and may be related to the Nekhtmin archive. Since all this evidence is localised at Pathyris, and is arguably associated with a single scribe, it is not evidence of a generally accepted fact. Scribes have also been known to make mistakes! ]

In my view, and as far as I can tell in the view of most scholars, the critics have made their case: not one of the claimed pieces of contemporary evidence for the Cauville/Devauchelle hypothesis is solid. That being so, the view to be derived from the classical accounts should stand. Ý

[23] P. W. Pestman, Chronologie Égyptienne d'après les textes démotiques 151 1(d). The titles of the eponymous priesthood in Lower Egypt are usually concluded with "the god who loves his mother (Ptolemy VI) ... the beneficient god (Ptolemy VIII) and the saviour gods who love their mother", while in Upper Egypt they are concluded with "the god who loves his mother (Ptolemy VI) ... the beneficient gods (Ptolemy VIII & Cleopatra II) and the saviour gods who love their mother". Pestman supposes that she was one of "the saviour gods who love their mother" in Lower Egypt, but G. Hölbl, History of the Ptolemaic Empire 287 proposes that these were Cleopatra III and Ptolemy IX in both parts of Egypt, and that Cleopatra II was simply omitted in Lower Egypt. Either could be right, but my bias is with Hölbl. Ý

[24] The fact of the marriage is inferred from her incorporation into the dynastic cult alongside Ptolemy VI, and the fact that she was the mother of his children. Ý

[25] On the assumption that she was incorporated into the dynastic cult at the time of her marriage. J. E. G. Whitehorne, Cleopatras 91, dates the marriage to April 176, apparently on the belief that it immediately followed the death of Cleopatra I, which he dates to this time. Ý

[26] There may be other children, both sons and daughters. See discussion under Berenice, fiancee of Attalus III, for this possibility that this princess was a daughter of Ptolemy VI and Cleopatra II.

Other sons are attributed to Ptolemy VI, and hence to Cleopatra II, in the literature: (i) Ptolemy (VII) Neos Philopator, here identified with Ptolemy Memphites; (ii) a young boy promoted by Galaistes as a pretender to the throne (Diodorus 33.20), who may be based on the second Ptolemy son of Ptolemy VI; (iii) Josephus, Contra Apionem 2.5, refers to Ptolemy VIII planning to expel Cleopatra II and her "sons" on his accession in 145.

This last is the most complex reference to additional sons, but is also perhaps the most informative. According to our other information, there was at least one son of Cleopatra II living at the time of Ptolemy VIII's accession. However, it appears that this son was initially treated as the heir to the throne. Josephus' statement is part of a larger story containing many details that can only relate to the fall of Alexandria to Ptolemy VIII during the civil war beween him and Cleopatra II, c 128/7: first a settlement is made of an ongoing war between Cleopatra II and the Alexandrians which prevents the utter ruin of the city; then an army loyal to her under the Jewish leaders Onias and Dositheus is bivouacked upon the city; and finally when Ptolemy VIII comes from Cyrene to take possession this army strongly resists him. By contrast, Justin's account of his accession in 145 (Justin 38.8) has him coming from Cyrene at the invitation of leading citizens, then peacably assuming the crown, while shortly afterwards and without apparent resistance purging the suspected opposition and marrying Cleopatra; and the papyrological evidence makes it clear that the interval between the death of Ptolemy VI and the return of Ptolemy VIII was quick and peaceful, while the civil war with Cleopatra II was indeed ruinous to Egypt. Cf. A. Momigliano, CP 70 (1975) 81 at 83, M. Chauveau, BIFAO 90 (1990) 135 at 162f.

Evidently Josephus did not carefully check his facts and has merged details from the two events, which is especially easy to do if Ptolemy VIII in fact came to Alexandria from Cyrene in both cases. The reference to "sons" may therefore simply be a mistake. But it is also true that in 128/7 there were indeed two Ptolemaic princes -- the future Ptolemy IX and Ptolemy X. While we are told that Ptolemy VIII and Cleopatra III fled Alexandria at the start of the civil war (Justin 38.8, Livy Periochae 59.14) we are not told what happened to their children, and it is perfectly possible that they were left behind. After the murder of Ptolemy Memphites, both Ptolemy VIII and Cleopatra II would have regarded these princes as the heirs to the throne, and so they may have officially become the "sons" of Cleopatra II while they were still in her possession.

At first sight, this explanation also has difficulties. When Ptolemy VIII recaptured Alexandria, Cleopatra II is reported to have fled the city with a large treasure (Justin 39.1) but the sons are unmentioned. There is also a strong indication that they were on Cos at some point during this period. OGIS 141 records the award of a golden crown and a gilded statue to Hieron son of Simos of Cos by Ptolemy VIII, Cleopatra II and Cleopatra III. He is described as a first friend and a protector of "their" children. This award must be dated either to c140-132 or 124-116, and would appear to make most sense as a reward for services rendered during the civil war (W. Otto, RE 8 (1913) 1512f. (15)).

If it is assumed that Cleopatra II did in fact have control of the two princes during the period up to 124, perhaps initially through physical possession then later through arrangements made to protect them in Cos, then we can also answer one otherwise very puzzling question that has baffled all students of the era: why did Ptolemy VIII bring her back into the ruling trio in 124? Justin 39.2 justifies this by stating that his Syrian puppet, Alexander Zabinas, had turned against him, causing him to side with Zabinas' opponents Cleopatra Thea and Antiochus VIII, with the implication being that part of the deal (presumably imposed by Cleopatra Thea) was that Cleopatra II had to be reinstated as queen of Egypt. Nevertheless, while the switch in alliances may explain the timing, all indications are that Cleopatra II had been utterly defeated by this time, so reinstating her as a coregent seems an unnecessarily high price for Ptolemy VIII to pay for changing his Syrian alliances. She must still have had a compelling negotiating position to work from, and possession of the heir and the spare would be very powerful bargaining counters. Ý

[27] OGIS 126. Ý

[28] pKöln 8.350. Ý

[29] Paternity: Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 13.4.1. Maternity: Justin 39.1. Ý

[30] Justin 38.8. Ý

[30.1] See discussion under Berenice, fiancee of Attalus III. Ý

[31] A. Bouché-Leclercq, Histoire des Lagides II 72, suggests, in his account of the civil war between Cleopatra II and Ptolemy VIII, that the Alexandrians intended to summon the son of Ptolemy VIII said in Justin 38.8 to be resident in Cyrene to become a third husband for Cleopatra II. However, Justin's text does not say this, and the fact that Cleopatra II was using her own era suggests strongly that she had no intention of bringing in another coregent at that time. This son is probably Ptolemy, the youngest son of Cleopatra II by Ptolemy VI. Ý

[32] Justin 38.8. Ý

[33] Assuming the marriage is coincident with her assumption of the title Qea EuergetiV. Ý

[34] Proposals for a second son have been made.

M. L. Strack, Die Dynastie der Ptolemäer 177, suggests that Ptolemy Neos Philopator was a younger son of Cleopatra II by Ptolemy VIII. See discussion under Ptolemy Memphites.

E. R. Bevan, The House of Ptolemy 309 n. 3, suggests that OGIS 130 and OGIS 144=iDelos 1530 are proof that Cleopatra II bore him more than one child.

OGIS 130 refers to tekna (children) of Ptolemy VIII and Cleopatra II, but the absence of Cleopatra III as queen proves that this inscription was made while she was still a royal (step)daughter, so it almost certainly refers to Cleopatra III and Ptolemy Memphites -- see W. Otto & H. Bengtson, Zur Geschichte des Niederganges des Ptolemäerreiches 30 n. 2. Ptolemy, the younger son of Ptolemy VI, who survived the accession of Ptolemy VIII, may also have been one of the children referred to by OGIS 130.

OGIS 144 is a dedication to Cleopatra III by a "king Ptolemy son of king Ptolemy Euergetes in honour of queen Cleopatra Euergetis my father's wife, my cousin". This is generally accepted to be a dedication by Ptolemy Memphites, but Bevan argued that it is hardly likely to be him since he was killed when he was only 14. P Roussel, Inscriptions de Délos 38 (1530), also considers that it is possible that OGIS 144=iDelos 1530 belongs to a second son of Ptolemy VIII and Cleopatra II. Bevan's reasoning seems specious on the face of it, and is rejected out of hand by W. Otto & H. Bengtson, Zur Geschichte des Niederganges des Ptolemäerreiches 220 n. on 62 n. 2; I concur. R. S. Bagnall, Phoenix 26 (1972) 358, proposes that this son is in fact Ptolemy Apion, which is rather more likely, but Apion is still not a son of Cleopatra II.

S. Cauville & D. Devauchelle, RdE 35 (1984) 31 propose that Ptolemy IX was also a son of Ptolemy VIII and Cleopatra II. This suggestion is rejected here. Ý

[35] Diodorus 34/5.14, Justin 38.8. Ý

[36] Justin 38.8. The last reference to Cleopatra II as the wife of the king is pdem Berlin 3090+3091, dated Mesore year 30 = September 140. The first mention of Cleopatra III as wife is pdem Amherst II 51 dated 20 Choiak year 30 = 14 January 140. It is not uncommon for modern scholars to assert that Cleopatra II and Cleopatra III were both married to Ptolemy VIII simultaneously, e.g. G. Hölbl, History of the Ptolemaic Empire 196 refers to "this unique matrimonial arrangement". But the agreed distinction of Cleopatra "the sister" and Cleopatra "the wife" introduced by this date makes it clear that Cleopatra II was not a wife but a coregent. Ý

Update Notes:

10 Feb 2002: Added individual trees
22 Feb 2002: Split into separate entry
26 March 2003: Added discussion of the possibility that Berenice, fiancee of Attalus III, was a daughter of Ptolemy VI and Cleopatra II (thanks to Glenn Trezza).
21 April 2003: Added citation of BGU 3.993 as indicating Cleopatra II still held Alexandria in January 127.
3 May 2003: Noted that the Julian dates for AUC 624, are not precisely known and so do not restrict the date of the fall of Alexandria to Cleopatra II much.
18 May 2003: Added Xrefs to the Lacus Curtius edition of Polybius
18 June 2003: Added Xrefs to the Lacus Curtius edition of Plutarch, Lucullus
3 August 2003: Modified discussion of AUC 624 to reflect best guess model
23 August 2003: Added Xrefs to online Justin
22 February 2004: Split Berenice, fiancee of Attalus III, out to her own page.
1 March 2004: Added objection to Carrez-Maratray's proposal that Cleopatra II rebelled as a regent for Ptolemy IX rather than as a queen regnant.
13 Sep 2004: Add Xref to online Eusebius
19 Oct 2004: Changed Xref for online Periochae to Lenderer translation
19 Oct 2004: Removed redundant discussion of Roman chronology
16 Dec 2004: Added Cleopatra II's victory at the Panathenaeia of 162/1.
13 Jan 2005: Added link to Bagnall paper, Xref to discussion of Strack proposal that Neos Philopator was a younger son of Cleopatra II and Ptolemy VIII.
11 Mar 2005: Added Greek transcription, link to Bevan
14 Sep 2006: Add links to Packard Humanities DB, Canon at Attalus
28 Nov 2010: Fix broken Perseus & DDbDP links

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