Cleopatra V


Cleopatra V Tryphaena1, queen of Egypt, of unknown parentage2, here identified3 with a daughter of Ptolemy X4 probably by Berenice III5, here estimated to have been born c. 100/956, taken by Ptolemy X and Berenice III from Alexandria when her father was expelled by Ptolemy IX7, presumably returned to the city with Berenice III8. Cleopatra V married to Ptolemy XII as her only known marriage9 before 8 Tybi year 2 = 17 January 7910, coregent with Ptolemy XII until removed from office between 4 Mesore year 12 = 8 August and 24 Phaophi year 13 = 1 November 6911, incorporated in the dynastic cult with him as the Father-loving and Brother-loving Gods, Qeoi FilopatreV kai Filadelfoi12, here also identified with Cleopatra VI Tryphaena13, queen with Berenice IV c. June 5814, died probably before 1 Epagomene year 2 = 1 September 5715.

No Egyptian titulary is known for her.

Cleopatra V is here identified as the mother16 of Berenice IV17, Cleopatra VII, Arsinoe IV, Ptolemy XIII and Ptolemy XIV18.

[1] PP VI 14523. Gr: Kleopatra h kai Trufaina. She is distinguished as "Tryphaena" in all mentions of her as far as I know. It may have been her name before she became queen and assumed the by-now traditional royal name "Cleopatra"; however, I am not aware of any instance where she is called "Tryphaena" without also being called "Cleopatra". She is sometimes known as "Cleopatra VI", with "Cleopatra V" being assigned either to Cleopatra Selene or to (Cleopatra) Berenice III; not to be confused with "Cleopatra VI Tryphaena", said to be a daughter of Ptolemy XII. W. Huss, Ägypten in hellenistischer Zeit 332-30 v. Chr. 11, proposes to call her "Cleopatra VII" with "Cleopatra V" being assigned to Cleopatra Selene and "Cleopatra VI" to Berenice III. Ý

[2] She is unnamed in the classical sources in her role as wife of Ptolemy XII. Egyptian sources consistently call her the "sister" of Ptolemy XII, but this proves nothing: see the examples of Berenice II, Cleopatra I and Berenice III, each called the sister of their spouse, but in fact the cousin, third cousin and niece respectively. Ý

[3] Almost all writers assume her to have been the sister or half-sister of Ptolemy XII as children of Ptolemy IX, but without evidence or justification. E. R. Bevan, The House of Ptolemy 346, mentions in passing the possibility that she could have been a daughter of Ptolemy X, but dismisses the thought without further consideration. If we have correctly estimated that Ptolemy XII was born in 117/6 while Cleopatra V was born in the 90s then it is almost impossible for them to have the same mother, since his mother was most likely Cleopatra IV who died in c. 112. Therefore, if her father was Ptolemy IX then she was an illegitimate half-sister of Ptolemy XII, born during his reign in Cyprus. For this reason, the proposal of G. H. Macurdy, Hellenistic Queens 176 that she may have spent time at the court of Mithridates VI is highly implausible, since there is no way for her to get there. Whoever her father was, she almost certainly grew up at the Ptolemaic court in Alexandria.

The case for proposing her identity with the daughter of Ptolemy X is circumstantial (C. J. Bennett, Anc. Soc. 28 (1997) 39). As best we can estimate, they were both available in Alexandria at the time of Ptolemy XII's accession. If she was not the daughter of Berenice III then they were at least about the same age. Since that girl was the eldest (or only) surviving child of Ptolemy X, the heir of the Alexandrine branch of the dynasty, it makes a lot of dynastic sense for Ptolemy XII to marry her. Indeed, I would turn the question around: since the daughter of Ptolemy XII is known to have existed, and clearly had high dynastic value, the onus is on proponents of the theory that Cleopatra V was the daughter of Ptolemy IX to prove their case.

Porphyry in Eusebius, Chronicorum I (ed. Schoene) 166, has a curious error whereby Ptolemy XI Alexander II is called an ancestor (progonoV) of "Cleopatra", which in the context ought to mean Berenice III. The Latin and Armenian texts call him her stepson, which is generally accepted as correct. I wonder if this error didn't arise somehow because, under the reconstruction proposed here, his father, Ptolemy X Alexander I, actually was an ancestor (maternal grandfather) of Cleopatra VII. She named her second son Alexander, which on this reconstruction is the name of her maternal grandfather. Ý

[4] Porphyry in Eusebius, Chronicorum I (ed. Schoene) 165 gives her existence and her paternity but not her name. M. L. Strack, Die Dynastie der Ptolemäer 54 n. 4, suggested that OGIS 174 could refer to this daughter, interpreting basilissa as "princess" rather than "queen" (cf the basilissa Berenice, daughter of Ptolemy III and Berenice II). However, it is difficult to explain why she should be the object of an inscription on Cyprus at a time when her father was not recognised as king there. Strack himself recognised that this interpetation was unlikely. We therefore have no direct evidence as to her name. Ý

[5] Porphyry in Eusebius, Chronicorum I (ed. Schoene) 165 associates her with Ptolemy X and Berenice III in flight in 88/7. The maternity is not explicitly given in Porphyry but Berenice III is universally assumed to be her mother. This solution seems very reasonable, since it simply and naturally explains her presence, especially if, as is sometimes suggested, Ptolemy X had other children, who apparently were not taken into exile. One possible indicator that this is the correct solution is the name of her eldest known daughter, Berenice IV.

The other possibility is that she was the daughter of Ptolemy X's first wife, here identified as Cleopatra Selene. If we also identify the daughter with Cleopatra V, this reconstruction might explain the coincidence of Cleopatra V's removal from public life at the same times as Cleopatra Selene's fall from power in Syria in late 69. One might speculate that her political value was related to her mother's influence.

As a daughter of Berenice III, she was at most 12 years old in 88, and probably a few years younger. As a daughter of the first wife, she was at least 15, and probably a couple of years older. If we accept her identity with Cleopatra V, and we also accept the analysis below of her date of birth, then there is a better chronological fit if she was a daughter of Berenice III than Ptolemy X's first wife. Ý

[6] Based on the belief that she was the mother of all of Ptolemy XII's children. The eldest, Berenice IV, was born in the early-mid 70s to have been an acceptable candidate for the throne in 58; this makes it unlikely that Cleopatra V was born much after the mid 90s. The youngest, Ptolemy XIV, was born in 59; this makes it unlikely that she was born much before 100. The range 100/95 seems the most likely estimate. If we additionally accept that she was the daughter of Ptolemy X and Berenice III, then she cannot have been born before about 100, and was most likely born a little later, since Berenice III herself was probably not born before 115/4. See C. J. Bennett, Anc. Soc. 28 (1997) 39. Ý

[7] Porphyry in Eusebius, Chronicorum I (ed. Schoene) 165. Ý

[8] Since we have no reason to believe either that she had died or that she had been married in the interim. Ý

[9] K. Essex, in her novel Kleopatra, has recently suggested that she had had an earlier marriage, by which she became the mother of Cleopatra VI Tryphaena. This first husband is unnamed, but is proposed by Essex to have been a Seleucid prince. Presumably he is one of the sons of Antiochus VIII and Tryphaena, whose wives are all unknown. Chronologically, Philip I or Demetrius III seem to best fit the bill. However, this interesting line of speculation depends on the presumption that Cleopatra VI Tryphaena is in fact a stepdaughter of Ptolemy XII, which seems to me to be very doubtful. Ý

[10] First attested on oPr. Joachim 1 with this date, not specifically called his wife but named as queen and sister. Ý

[11] Coregent: oPr. Joachim 1. For date of removal see discussion under Ptolemy XII. Ý

[12] See discussion under Ptolemy XII. Ý

[13] Porphyry, in Eusebius, Chronicorum I (ed. Schoene) 167. He describes Cleopatra VI Tryphaena and Berenice IV as daughters of Ptolemy XII. However, Strabo 17.1.11, only knows of three daughters for Ptolemy XII (Berenice IV, Cleopatra VII and Arsinoe IV), and he says that only Berenice IV was legitimate, implying that Cleopatra VI was not. Moreover, there is every reason to believe that Cleopatra V survived the events of 69. Those who accept the separate existence of this queen (e.g. M. Grant, Cleopatras 4) do so having first accepted that Cleopatra V died in 69. Further, as G. H. Macurdy, Hellenistic Queens 178, first pointed out, and as J. E. G. Whitehorne, Cleopatras 183 argued in detail, the notion of a dual queenship of two sisters had no precedent, analogy or justification in Greek or Egyptian thought, whereas a regime of mother and daughter could be justified as a queen regent seeking a suitable husband for her daughter.

K. Essex, in her novel Kleopatra, has recently suggested an imaginative solution to this problem. She proposes that Cleopatra VI Tryphaena was a daughter of Cleopatra V by a first marriage. She further suggests that Cleopatra VI married Ptolemy XII after the death of Cleopatra V. This solution rather neatly reconciles the conflict between Porphyry and Strabo by making Cleopatra VI a stepdaughter of Ptolemy XII and also explains her presence in the dual queenship. However, this solution faces three difficulties: the likelihood that Cleopatra V survived the events of 69; the lack of direct evidence for a second marriage; and the fact that it still leaves unexplained Strabo's other statement in this passage that Berenice IV was the only legitimate daughter of Ptolemy XII, implying that Cleopatra VII was not legitimate. Ý

[14] Porphyry, in Eusebius, Chronicorum I (ed. Schoene) 167. On the date, see discussion under Ptolemy XII. Ý

[15] Porphyry, in Eusebius, Chronicorum I (ed. Schoene) 167, says she died after the first year. pOxy 55.3777 names Berenice IV as sole ruler in Mesore of a lost year. M. Chauveau, Akten des 21. Internationalen Papyrologenkongresses Berlin 1995 I 163, 167, pointed out that since Berenice IV acceded in summer of 58 this statement of Porphyry's makes it very unlikely that pOxy 55.3777 belongs to year 1. If the papyrus was dated to year 2, this would place the death of Cleopatra V before 1 Epagomene = 1 September 57.

Gr Medinet Habu 43 is dated to year [2]6 of king Ptolemy = year [4] of queen Cleopatra = 55. H. J. Thissen, ZPE 27 (1977) 182, identified the queen as Cleopatra VI Tryphaena, and L. M. Ricketts, BASP 27 (1990) 49, 58, identifying her with Cleopatra V Tryphaena, argued that this proved that Cleopatra V was still alive in 55. However, it seems most likely that this graffito actually refers to Berenice IV. Ý

[16] Some authors postulate a sixth child, an elder daughter who ruled as Cleopatra VI Tryphaena. She is here regarded as a doublet of Cleopatra V Tryphaena. Ý

[17] Strabo, 17.1.11 calls her the "only legitimate" daughter of Ptolemy XII, implying that her mother was his queen. But see discussion under Berenice IV. Ý

[18] The arguments that Cleopatra VII, Arsinoe IV, Ptolemy XIII and Ptolemy XIV are all children of Cleopatra V essentially depend on the acceptance of a single marriage, though in the case of Cleopatra VII stronger considerations apply. See discussion under Ptolemy XII. Ý

Update Notes:

11 Feb 2002: Added individual trees
27 Feb 2002: Split into separate entry.
27 Feb 2002: Added discussion of possibility that her mother was Cleopatra Selene.
24 Feb 2004: Added Xref to online Strabo
13 Sep 2004: Add Xref to online Eusebius
11 Mar 2005: Added Greek transcription, links to image of pOxy 55.3777, Bevan
16 Sep 2006: Added links to Packard Humanties DB
28 May 2007: Added Xref to BASP papers
5 Dec 2010: Fix broken DDbDP links

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