Volume 13 issue 1 August 2012
ANCIENT EGYPT explores the WORLD WIDE WEB ...
THE PTOLEMIES (Part Three)
This month’s NETFISHING continues its look at the history of Egypt by seeing what the World Wide Web has to say about the Ptolemaic Kings and Queens of Egypt.
The convoluted relationships of the Ptolemaic Period can sometimes be difficult to follow and so (by popular request) a family tree (see opposite) is provided in this issue to enable readers to follow the line of succession. In the last issue it was recounted how PTOLEMY VIII Euergetes II had re-conquered Egypt in 129 BC and his wife CLEOPATRA II, the ruling Queen of Egypt, had been forced to flee to her daughter Cleopatra Thea in Syria for safety. This had left Ptolemy VIII and his niece/wife, CLEOPATRA III as reigning monarchs, up until his death in 116 BC, whereupon Cleopatra III became Queen in her own right. She was, however, expected to follow the Egyptian convention and take a male consort with her onto the throne, so that there was seen to be a joint rule of Egypt, preserving the fiction of an Isis and Horus ruling the Two Lands. Refer:
Cleopatra III at first selected her eldest son PTOLEMY IX Soter II (116-107 BC) as the next king, and she ruled alongside him, as ‘regent’ until 107 BC. Ptolemy IX instigated construction of the temple of Hathor at Dendera, married his own sister CLEOPATRA IV, and generally seems to have had a clear vision of how things could be improved in Egypt, ideas which appear to have unsettled his mother. Believing she could control her younger son better than Ptolemy IX she plotted against him, and in 106 BC he was forced to flee for his life, to Cyprus, being accused of ‘plotting to murder his own mother’, Cleopatra III. Refer:
Cleopatra III now ruled ‘as regent’ for her younger son PTOLEMY X Alexander I (107- 88 BC) but here she had seriously miscalculated, for Ptolemy X had her murdered in 101 BC. This king continued the excesses of earlier Ptolemies and grew so fat that he was unable to walk unaided. Eventually he was forced to flee ‘the mob’ and he died in a naval battle off Cyprus in 88 BC. Refer:
The death of Ptolemy X enabled his elder brother (Ptolemy IX) to return from Cyprus as Egypt’s legitimate heir. Thus PTOLEMY IX Soter II (88-81 BC) returned, and ruled until he died, aged 62. His death left the throne to his daughter CLEOPATRA BERENICE III.
Cleopatra Berenice III (81-80 BC), despite being a popular Queen, still needed a male consort to rule alongside her, and so she decided to marry her own cousin/step-son (the son of Ptolemy X) PTOLEMY XI Alexander II (80 BC). His arrival in Egypt, with the support of an accompanying Roman army, did not endear him to the Egyptian people; furthermore, he quickly decided he could rule alone, and duly murdered his new bride, Queen Cleopatra Berenice III. This resulted in uproar, and after a reign of just nineteen days he was dragged from the palace and lynched by the mob. His death left Egypt with no direct heir, and his will (to gain Roman support for his rule) had left the throne of Egypt not to any descendant but instead to “The Roman People”. Egypt’s independence had simply been signed away ... and given to the Senate of Rome. Refer:
Cleopatra Berenice III: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berenice_III
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