Ptolemy Eupator


Ptolemy Eupator1, son of Ptolemy VI and Cleopatra II2, born probably 12 Thoth year 16 = 15 October 1663, eponymous priest year 24 = 158/74, coregent with Ptolemy VI between c. 7 Tybi year 29 = 3 February 152 and 8 Phamenoth year 29 = 5 April 1525, incorporated at the same time in the dynastic cult as the QeoV Eupatwr6, probably not king or viceroy in Cyprus7, probably died before 6 Mesore year 29 = 31 August 1528 of an epidemic disease9.

[1] PP VI 14549 = PP III 5246. Gr: PtolemaioV Eupatwr. "Eupator" = "[born] of a noble father". He is sometimes included amongst the numbered Ptolemies, as "Ptolemy VI" (when it was supposed that he was an ephemeral predecessor of Ptolemy VI, who became "Ptolemy VII"; with Ptolemy Neos Philopator becoming "Ptolemy VIII") or as "Ptolemy VIII" (with his uncle becoming "Ptolemy VII" and Ptolemy Neos Philopator becoming "Ptolemy IX"). Ý

[2] OGIS 123+125, 126, pdem BM 10561 (naming Ptolemy son of king Ptolemy and queen Cleopatra as eponymous priest); OGIS 121, from the base of three statues at Philae. The identity of the son described in these sources with Ptolemy Eupator is assumed from the general coincidence of chronology.

When the existence of Eupator first became known in the lists of the deified Ptolemies, several solutions were suggested for his genealogical position. These are listed in A. Bouché-Leclercq, Histoire des Lagides II 56 n.2:

(i) an alternate title of Ptolemy VIII;
(ii) an alternate title of Ptolemy VI;
(iii) a son of Ptolemy VI;
(iv) an elder brother of Ptolemy VI who reigned for less than a year (based on his position in some papyri between the Qeoi EpifaneiV and the Qeoi FilometoreV);
(v) that there were two Eupators, one an elder brother of Ptolemy VI, as in (iv), and the other his son, identical to Neos Philopator (based on his position in some papyri before Ptolemy VI and in others after him).

(i), (ii) and (iv) were demolished by the publication of the Cypriote inscription OGIS 126 which clearly described king Ptolemy Eupator as the son of king Ptolemy (VI) and queen Cleopatra (II), Philometores. (v) was abandoned because Bouché-Lecercq pointed out that, while Eupator and Neos Philopator appeared together in some lists, there were no lists showing two Eupatores. Ý

[3] J. D. Ray, The Archive of Hor 20ff (Text 3). The date 12 Thoth can possibly be read as 15 Thoth (J. D. Ray, The Archive of Hor 23 (w)). The text first appeared to Ray to refer to the birth of Ptolemy VI himself on this date, but this is inconsistent with other evidence for his birthdate. Ray later concluded (JEA 64 (1978) 113) that it can alternately and better be interpreted as referring to the birth of a son of Ptolemy VI, i.e. Ptolemy Eupator. The year comes from text 5, dated 30 Phaophi year 16 = 2 December 166, which appears to refer to the birth of a son (J. D. Ray, The Archive of Hor 33 (b), 125), described as the "confirmation of the fortune". Ray proposes that Text 3 was composed for Eupator's 8th birthday.

Hor Text 1 (J. D. Ray, The Archive of Hor 11) includes Hor's prophecy that Ptolemy VI's male-line descendants would rule for many generations, and as proof of this noted that the queen bore a male child. J. E. G. Whitehorne, Cleopatras 98 sees this as a statement that Cleopatra II was pregnant with Eupator at the time that the prophecy was made, which would then place his birth in 169/8, or (accepting the analysis of Text 3) more precisely in October 169. However, it is clear from the introduction to the prophecy that Text 1 is a retrospective account, made some time after Hathyr year 23 = December 159, so I agree with Ray (The Archive of Hor 14 (bb)) that the statement is a "truism ... that the birth of the child, whenever it occurs, will be the confirmation of the oracle" -- by December 159, this confirmation had certainly occurred. Ý

[4] PP III 5246. pdem Cairo II 30606; pdem BM 10561 (A. F. Shore & H. S. Smith, AcOr 25 (1960) 277, 281). Ý

[5] pKöln 3.144 dated 7 Tybi year 29 = 3 February 152 is the latest papyrus not naming Eupator. pdem Rylands 3.16 dated 8? Phamenoth year 29 = 5 April 152 names him in the dating formula and places him last in the dynastic sequence of the eponymous priesthood. Hence he was made coregent between these two dates. Ý

[6] See discussion of coregency date. Ý

[7] This proposal was advanced by W. Otto, Zur Geschichte der Zeit des 6. Ptolemäers 119f., primarily on the basis of three statue inscriptions, OGIS 125, 126, 127, found in Cyprus which all refer to the god Ptolemy Eupator. OGIS 127 apparently names him alone, which suggested to Otto a solo reign in Cyprus. Additionally, the epigram of Antiochus of Sidon (Anthologia Palatina 7.241; A. S. F. Gow & D. L. Page, The Greek Anthology: Hellenistic Epigrams I 20, II 54), which apparently refers to Eupator's death, calls him an anax, which is an old title of the kings of the Cypriote city states. Since the Egyptian evidence does not associate him in the dating formulae after 152, and since the same epigram associated his death with a lunar eclipse, Otto proposed he stood down as coregent in Egypt and was sent to Cyprus as king, dying in 150.

Against this, G. F. Hill (History of Cyprus I 193f. n. 3) notes that (a) the inscriptions do not of themselves prove that Eupator was present in Cyprus; (b) the statues of joint rulers might be put up separately, therefore the absence of a reference to Ptolemy VI in OGIS 127 does not prove one was not present on a nearby statue now lost; and (c) the context in which the dead prince is called an anax is highly poetic, therefore the term proves nothing. E. van Dack't (Fs Bengtson 103, reprinted in Stud. Hell. 29, 157) made similar points, noting further that the statue inscriptions contained no indication of date. Van Dack't also pointed to a coin hoard found in Paphos containing coins attributed to years 29, 30 and 31 of Ptolemy VI (=153/2 - 151/0), i.e. covering the exact years of the alleged Cypriote reign of Eupator, which carry no reference to him (I. Nicolaou & O. Mørkholm, Paphos I: A Ptolemaic Coin Hoard 29 nos 21-27 from Salamis, 40 (commentary), 52 nos 11-14 from Citium, 61ff (commentary)). Ý

[8] The next dated papyrus naming him after pdem Rylands 3.16 is pdem Botti 5 dated 6 Mesore year 29. This has him removed from the dating formula and has placed him immediately before the Qeoi FilometwreV in the eponymous dynastic sequence. Accordingly, E. van Dack't (Fs Bengtson 103, reprinted in Stud. Hell. 29, 157) inferred that he had died between 8 Phamenoth and 6 Mesore. This is almost certainly correct in my view.

However, there are two pieces of evidence that have been argued to suggest a later death-date.

(i) An epigram of Antiochus of Sidon (Anthologia Palatina 7.241; A. S. F. Gow & D. L. Page, The Greek Anthology: Hellenistic Epigrams I 20, II 54) refers to the death of a young Ptolemy before his parents, which fits Eupator pretty well (R. Laqueur, Hermes 44 (1909) 146). The same epigram appears to refer to a lunar eclipse around the time of his death. In the relevant period, there are three total lunar eclipses that would be visible from Cyprus: 2 September 153, 3 July 150 and 28 December 150. Based on the belief that Eupator had reigned in Cyprus, W. Otto (Zur Geschichte der Zeit des 6. Ptolemäers 9f. n. 9) opted for a date in 150, but the evidence for a reign in Cyprus is very questionable. An analogous case is the death of Cleopatra Selene, daughter of Cleopatra VII, which is likewise associated with the darkening of the moon.

(ii) pOxy 19.2222 is a highly fragmentary kinglist which appears to refer to a [son] of a Philometor reigning for 2(?) years, followed by a "Ptolemy the younger son" (i.e. Ptolemy VIII) followed by a mention of 36 years (presumably indicating the year of Ptolemy VI in which Ptolemy VIII succeeded to his sole reign) followed by a reference to Ptolemy the second Soter (i.e. Ptolemy IX). The editors of pOxy 19 held that this indicated a second year for Ptolemy Neos Philopator, interpreted as a second son of Ptolemy VI rather than Ptolemy Memphites. But the available time for this king, even if he existed, does not allow a second year, and there is good reason to doubt that he reigned at all. The alternate interpretation is that pOxy 19.2222 refers to a second year for Eupator. Text 29 from the Hor Archive (J. D. Ray, The Archive of Hor 99(a) and 100(a)) contains a possible year 2 / year 30 double date, though the reference to year 2 is marked by Ray as "extremely doubtful". Under either interpretation, the suggestion of the editors of pOxy 19 that the reference to two years is m[onoV], indicating a second year of sole reign, cannot be correct. Ý

[9] Antiochus of Sidon (Anthologia Palatina 7.241, A. S. F. Gow & D. L. Page, The Greek Anthology: Hellenistic Epigrams I 20; II 54). This disproves the speculation of D. Ogden, Polygamy, Prostitution and Death 86, that he was "genetically compromised" through his incestuous parentage. Ý

Update Notes:

10 Feb 2002: Added individual trees
22 Feb 2002: Split into separate entry
19 May 2002: Corrected Egyptian date equations as necessary
22 April 2003: Corrected Feoi by Qeoi!!
11 Mar 2005: Added Greek transcription, link to image of pOxy 19.2222
17 Sep 2006: Added link to Packard Humanities DB
28 Nov 2010: Fix broken DDbDP links

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