Ptolemy1, son of Ptolemy VI and Cleopatra II2, born probably before 7 Phamenoth year 29 = 4 April 1523, eponymous priest in year 27 of Ptolemy VIII = 144/34, died or disinherited probably before Mesore year 28 = August 1425, if still living probably sent to Cyrene at an uncertain date, summoned to Cyprus by Ptolemy VIII when he fled there in 130, and murdered there by him6, probably not to be identified with Ptolemy Neos Philopator7.

 [1] Not in PP. Gr: PtolemaioV. There is as yet no epithet attached to his name in either the sources or the scholarly literature.

The existence of this son has long been surmised from the classical accounts, particularly that of Justin 38.8. However, he was normally identified with Ptolemy Neos Philopator. M. Chauveau (BIFAO 90 (1990) 135, 157), while arguing strongly against this identification, nevertheless inferred the existence of a younger son for Ptolemy VI in the Egyptian sources from pdem Rylands 3.16, which describes Ptolemy Eupator as the pA Sr (eldest son) of Ptolemy VI and Cleopatra II, apparently implying there were others. At the time, this was the only contemporary indication known that Ptolemy VI might have had more than one son, though P. Schubart, ZPE 94 (1992) 119, later restored the fragmentary pGen. 469, from the same year, to refer to Ptolemy Eupator as the presbuteroV nioV (eldest son), without comment. Even so, its genealogical significance is arguable. Chauveau also noted a comment of S. Allam (RdE 35 (1984) 1, 9 n. 13), based on a mention of "'eldest' sons" in a marriage contract pdem Caire J.68567, that the expression actually refers to a son in the role of an heir, and therefore does not necessarily imply the existence of younger brothers. That being said, if such a younger son did exist, then, being a known prince with an obscure end, he would be a plausible prototype for the pretender mounted in the rebellion of Galaisthes (Diodorus 33.20), the exact date of which is uncertain, or for the son of Justin 38.8. The latter is explicitly described as a son of Cleopatra II.

The question was settled by the publication of pKöln 8.350 in 1997. This papyrus named the eponymous priest of year 2[7?] (of Ptolemy VIII) = 144/3 as the son of Ptolemy [Philometor and Cleopatra] Euergetes = Ptolemy VI and Cleopatra II. This established the existence of the son, his name, and his parentage, as noted by M. Chauveau, RdE 51 (2000) 257. Ý

[2] pKöln 8.350. See discussion on the existence of Ptolemy. Ý

[3] The date of pdem Rylands 3.16, which describes Ptolemy Eupator as the pA Sr (eldest son) of Ptolemy VI and Cleopatra II, implying there was at least one other at that time. Ý

[4] pKöln 8.350, dated 5 Mesore year 27 = 28 August 143. See discussion under Ptolemy Memphites. Ý

[5] The earliest date for the attestation of Ptolemy Memphites as heir apparent, at Edfu. It is unclear whether these reliefs show one prince or two, one on the east wall and one on the west. S. Cauville & D. Devauchelle, RdE 35 (1980) 31, 51 argued that since the walls were completed no later than 140, the queen shown on each wall must be Cleopatra II, rather than Cleopatra II and Cleopatra III. In their opinion, following Justin 38.8, Ptolemy VIII had murdered the surviving son of Ptolemy VI on his accession and therefore the princes must be two representations of the only son of Cleopatra II then known to be living, i.e. Ptolemy Memphites. However, in light of pKöln 8.350, it is now clear that Ptolemy VIII did not in fact murder the surviving son of Ptolemy VI on his accession but treated him as the heir to the throne. One of the princes at Edfu, evidently Ptolemy Memphites, is called "the heir of the king, borne by the queen.... the eldest royal son, beloved of king Ptolemy, may he live forever, beloved of Ptah, the god Euergetes". The other is called "the living ka of the king.... the eldest royal son, beloved of king Ptolemy may he live forever, beloved of Ptah". This would now appear to be the prince Ptolemy under discussion. Since he is no longer the heir, he must have been displaced in the meantime.

pdem Strasburg 21 dated 21 Payni year 36 = 15 July 145 and pdem Bib. Nat. 218 dated 18 Hathyr year 36 = 15 December 146 have been interpreted (M. Chauveau (BIFAO 90 (1990) 135, 157f.) as recording the existence of a priesthood for the king's daughter at Ptolemaïs, which can only be that of Cleopatra III. If correct, the priesthood would have been established before her father's death, which would imply that Ptolemy VI had no living son at this time. While the logic seems sound, the validity of the premise is questionable. W. Pestman, Chronologie égyptienne d'après les textes démotiques (332 av. J.-C. - 453 ap. J.-C.) 143(l) read pdem Strasburg 21 as referring to a priesthood for the king's wife, i.e. Cleopatra II; and pdem Berlin 2119, agreed to be written by the same scribe on the same day as pdem Bib. Nat. 218 and concerning the same affair, does not mention a priesthood for the king's daughter in its list of benefices. Moreover, these papyri are later copies of original records, and the list of priests is apparently faulty in other respects. The publication of pKöln 8.350 has now conclusively invalidated Chauveau's reasoning on this point by showing that Ptolemy VI had a son who survived him.

In light of this, M. Chauveau, RdE 51 (2000) 257, suggested that Ptolemy died, possibly murdered, in connection with the birth of Ptolemy Memphites, or the marriage of Ptolemy VIII to Cleopatra III. However, W. Huss, ZPE 140 (2002) 40, notes that Cleopatra II contained to rule alongside the new royal couple for another decade, which is hard to understand if her husband had murdered her son. He further notes that Justin 38.8.12 says that in 130 Ptolemy VIII summoned his "eldest son" from Cyrene to Cyprus and killed him. In the preceding section, Justin 38.8.11, he is said to have slipped into exile with Cleopatra III and with his son by Cleopatra II, and in Justin 38.8.12 he is also said to have killed his son by Cleopatra II.

The significance of this text has always been controversial. It has been interpreted to mean that two different sons are being discussed (e.g. A. Bouché-Leclercq, Histoire des Lagides II 72, E. R. Bevan, The House of Ptolemy 311), with the Cyrenean son being born during Ptolemy VIII's rule there. But the other ancient sources (notably, Diodorus 34/5.14, Livy Periochae 59.14) know of the murder of only one son of Ptolemy VIII, and this text is the only indication that there was another. On this theory, since Justin is epitomising the works of Pompeius Trogus, the sequence of events he describes could well be a confusion of the original description, as was argued by W. Otto & H. Bengtson, Zur Geschichte des Niederganges des Ptolemäerreiches 59 n. 1. If we agree that only one son and one murder is involved, then it follows that Ptolemy Memphites was summoned to Ptolemy VIII from Cyrene.

This reconstruction is widely accepted, e.g. J. E. G. Whitehouse, Cleopatras 117, G. Hölbl, History of the Ptolemaic Empire 197. However, in light of pKöln 8.350, W. Huss, ZPE 140 (2002) 40 pointed out another possibility: that there were indeed two sons, the eldest being the younger son of Ptolemy VI, as an adoptive son of Ptolemy VIII. On this scenario, after being replaced as heir by Ptolemy Memphites, he was sent to Cyrene.

This argument seems reasonable to me, if not conclusive. Ý

[6] Justin 38.8, if, as seems plausible, he is to be identified with the "eldest son" summoned from Cyrene. See discussion above. Ý

[7] See discussion under Ptolemy Memphites. 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
23 Aug 2003: Added Xrefs to online Justin
19 Jan 2005: Addred Xref to online copy of Schubert's ZPE paper
1 Feb 2005: Added Huss' argument that this Ptolemy is the "eldest son" of Ptolemy VIII summoned from Cyrene to Cyprus and murdered there.
11 Mar 2005: Added Greek transcription, link to Bevan
28 Nov 2010: Fix broken DDbDP links, add new BIFAO links

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