Alexander Helios1, son of Cleopatra VII and Antony2, born 403, declared king of Armenia and king of kings of Media and Parthia4 and engaged to Iotape, daughter of Artavasdes I, king of Media Atropatene5 at the Donations of Alexandria in autumn 346, placed under the guardianship of Octavia, sister of Augustus, after the annexation of Egypt7, further career unknown; possibly died between 29 and 258. No marriages or children are known.
 PP VI 14482, PIR2 A 495. Gr: AlexandroV o HlioV. The name "Helios" (the Sun) is explained by Plutarch, Antony 36.3, as the counterpart to his twin sister Cleopatra "Selene" (the Moon). The name "Alexander" could have been chosen for any or all of several reasons: (i) proclamation of an intent to recover the heritage of Alexander the Great; (ii) it is a well-attested dynastic name, used by a son of Ptolemy III as well as Ptolemy X and Ptolemy XI; (iii) on the proposed parentage for Cleopatra V, it is the name of Cleopatra VII's maternal grandfather, which makes it an appropriate name for a second son. Ý
 V. Gardthausen, Augustus II 170f. The argument is circumstantial. Antony acknowledged Alexander Helios and Cleopatra Selene as his children when he met Cleopatra at Antioch in winter 37/6 (Plutarch, Antony 36). Therefore they must have been born since the last time he had seen Cleopatra VII. Working backwards through the seasonal chronology of events as given in Plutarch, this must have been in spring of 40. Antony and Cleopatra had spent the previous few months together at Tarsus and Alexandria; the twins must have been conceived during this period. Ý
 Plutarch, Antony 53.6. Plutarch does not explicitly state that she was engaged to Alexander rather than Ptolemy Philadelphus, but in view of the kingdoms assigned to him this is the only reasonable choice. For her name, see Dio Cassius 51.16.2. After the fall of Egypt, she was returned to her father. Her subsequent fate is uncertain. G. H. Macurdy, JRS 26 (1936) 40, argued that the subsequent appearance of the name in two consecutive generations in the royal families of both Commagene and Emesa indicates a common maternal ancestry from another Iotape. She proposes this one as the common ancestress, by making her the wife of Mithridates III king of Commagene, by whom she would have had descendants traceable at least into the 2nd century AD. Ý
 The last certainly datable mention is August 29, when he took part in Octavian's Egyptian triumph (Dio Cassius 51.21.8). D. W. Roller, The World of Juba II and Kleopatra Selene 84, argues that he must have died within a few years of this since Dio does not mention any marriage plans for him when he discusses the further careers of Antony's children in Dio Cassius 51.15.6.
The apparent problem with Roller's suggestion is that the same passage is usually understood to indicate that Alexander was alive at the time when Juba II married Cleopatra Selene, i.e. in the late 20s. M. Grant, Cleopatra 231, interprets it to mean that Alexander Helios and Ptolemy Philadelphus were released into their custody at this time and went with them to Juba's kingdom of Mauretania.
D. W. Roller, The World of Juba II and Kleopatra Selene 84 n. 47 correctly notes that Grant's explanation reads too much into Dio Cassius 51.15.6, and that it does not really explain why they disappear from the record in both Plutarch and Dio. This section of Dio is a very compressed account of the careers of Juba II and Cleopatra Selene up to their marriage, covering several years. The reference to Alexander says that "...as a favour to them (i.e. Juba and Selene), [Augustus] spared the lives of Alexander and Ptolemy". This clearly points to a time when his life was in danger. The only known possibility is Octavian's decision to spare him from the purge that occurred on the fall of Alexandria, in 30.
A possible difficulty with this proposal is Dio's explanation that his life was spared as a favour to Juba and Selene. D. W. Roller, The World of Juba II and Kleopatra Selene 82 n. 40, regards this as an anachronism, since "Juba would hardly have been a factor in the events of the fall of Alexandria". He supposes (D. W. Roller, The World of Juba II and Kleopatra Selene 83) that that they were spared for use in future diplomatic marriages, as Augustus created a network of client kingdoms, or even (D. W. Roller, The World of Juba II and Kleopatra Selene 83 n. 42) that he was fulfilling the terms of the will of Ptolemy XII, who had asked Rome to ensure the accession of his children. This can certainly be dismissed: even if the terms of the will could be interpreted as extending beyond the first generation, they had surely been voided by events -- they certainly, for example, didn't protect Ptolemy XV from execution.
Assuming Roller has correctly placed and dated the course of events, I think Roller is wrong to reject Dio's explanation of their cause. Dio Cassius 51.15.6 also mentions that Juba had campaigned with Octavian before his marriage to Cleopatra Selene. No specifics are given, but his appointment as king of Mauretania is noted immediately following Dio's account of the Spanish campaigns of 27-25 (Dio Cassius 53.26.2), and D. W. Roller, The World of Juba II and Kleopatra Selene 74, is surely right to conclude that Juba took part in this campaign. However, his further argument that this was Juba's first campaign seems unfounded to me. Juba took part in Caesar's African triumph in 46 as a very young child, 2 years old or less (Appian, Civil Wars 2.101). Therefore he was probably born in 48 (or possibly 47). D. W. Roller, The World of Juba II and Kleopatra Selene 74, argues that therefore he turned 17 -- the age at which noble Roman youths began their military experience -- around the time of Actium in September 31 and could not have taken part in that campaign. This is fair enough, but it certainly does not follow that he was also too young to take part in the Alexandrian campaign, since this took place a year later.
If Juba was present when Alexandria fell then, as the son of a defeated king, he certainly had a personal interest in the fates of the children of Cleopatra VII as indicating Octavian's likely policy towards his own future. Since Octavian was clearly grooming him for a future as a client king or similar, he must have been aware of this. Also, while, as Dio implies, Selene's life was always no doubt safe, as a 10 year old girl she could hardly have been certain of that. Dio's passage could well indicate that Octavian made a point of sparing the lives of Alexander and Ptolemy Philadelphus to reassure Juba and Cleopatra Selene that the executions of Ptolemy XV and Antyllus did not indicate a general policy towards the heirs of defeated kings. Whether Octavian would have betrothed Juba and Selene at the same time seems to me doubtful, but it is not impossible.
All in all, while the case is not proved, I think Roller's dating of the sparing of Alexander Helios' life is correct, and his estimate of the likely range of his death reasonable. Ý
11 Feb 2002: Added individual trees
28 Feb 2002: Split into separate entry
18 May 2003: Changed Plutarch Xrefs to the Lacus Curtius edition
18 Oct 2004: Changed Periochae Xref to Lendering translation
6 Nov 2004: Added notes on Roller's discussion of the date of his death.
11 Mar 2005: Added Greek transcription
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