Cleopatra Selene II

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Cleopatra Selene II
Queen consort of Numidia
Queen consort of Mauretania
Juba and cleopatra coin.gif
Coin of the ancient kingdom of Mauretania. Juba II of Numidia on the obverse, Cleopatra Selene II on the reverse.
SpouseJuba II of Numidia
IssuePtolemy, King of Mauretania
Drusilla
Full name
Cleopatra Selene
HousePtolemaic dynasty
FatherMark Antony
MotherCleopatra VII Philopator, Queen of Egypt
Born40 BC (presumed, exact date unknown)
Alexandria, Egypt
DiedUnknown
Caesarea, Kingdom of Mauretania
BurialRoyal Mausoleum of Mauretania
 
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This article is about the daughter of Cleopatra VII of Egypt and Mark Antony. For the daughter of Ptolemy VIII and Cleopatra III, see Cleopatra Selene I. For other women named Cleopatra, see Cleopatra (disambiguation).
Cleopatra Selene II
Queen consort of Numidia
Queen consort of Mauretania
Juba and cleopatra coin.gif
Coin of the ancient kingdom of Mauretania. Juba II of Numidia on the obverse, Cleopatra Selene II on the reverse.
SpouseJuba II of Numidia
IssuePtolemy, King of Mauretania
Drusilla
Full name
Cleopatra Selene
HousePtolemaic dynasty
FatherMark Antony
MotherCleopatra VII Philopator, Queen of Egypt
Born40 BC (presumed, exact date unknown)
Alexandria, Egypt
DiedUnknown
Caesarea, Kingdom of Mauretania
BurialRoyal Mausoleum of Mauretania

Cleopatra Selene II (Greek: Κλεοπάτρα Σελήνη; late 40 BC – ?[1]), also known as Cleopatra VIII of Egypt or Cleopatra VIII, was a Ptolemaic Princess and was the only daughter to Greek Ptolemaic queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt and Roman triumvir Mark Antony. She was the fraternal twin of Ptolemaic prince Alexander Helios. Her second name in ancient and modern Greek means moon, being the counterpart of her twin brother‘s second name Helios, meaning sun. She was of Greek and Roman heritage. Cleopatra was born, raised and educated in Alexandria, Egypt. In late 34 BC, during the Donations of Alexandria, she was made ruler of Cyrenaica and Libya.[2]

Early life[edit]

Her parents, Mark Antony and Cleopatra VII, were defeated by Octavian (future Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus), during a naval battle at Actium, Greece in 31 BC. In 30 BC, her parents committed suicide as Octavian and his army invaded Egypt. Octavian captured Cleopatra and her brothers and took them from Egypt to Italy. Octavian celebrated his military triumph in Rome by parading the three orphans in heavy golden chains in the streets. The chains were so heavy that they could not walk. Octavian gave the siblings to Octavia Minor to be raised in her household in Rome. Octavia Minor, who became their guardian, was Octavian's second eldest sister and was their father's former wife.[3]

Marriage[edit]

Between 26-20 BC, Augustus arranged for Cleopatra to marry King Juba II of Numidia in Rome. The Emperor Augustus gave to Cleopatra as a wedding present a huge dowry and she became an ally to Rome. By then her brothers, Alexander Helios and Ptolemy Philadelphus are presumed to have died, possibly from illness or assassination. When Cleopatra married Juba, she was the only surviving member of the Ptolemaic dynasty.[4]

Juba and Cleopatra could not return to Numidia as it had been provincialized in 46 BC. The couple were sent to Mauretania, an unorganized territory that needed Roman supervision. They renamed their new capital Caesarea (modern Cherchell, Algeria), in honor of the Emperor.[5] Cleopatra is said to have exercised great influence on policies that Juba created. Through her influence, the Mauretanian Kingdom flourished. Mauretania exported and traded well throughout the Mediterranean. The construction and sculptural projects at Caesarea and at another city Volubilis, were built and display a rich mixture of Ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman architectural styles.[6]

The children of Cleopatra and Juba were:

Zenobia of Palmyra, Queen of Syria, claimed descent from Cleopatra, although this is unlikely.[8]

Death[edit]

The tomb of Juba II and his wife Cleopatra Selene II in Tipaza, Algeria

Controversy surrounds Cleopatra's exact date of death. A discovered hoard of the Cleopatra's coins were dated at 17 AD. It has traditionally been believed that Cleopatra was alive to mint them; however, this would mean that Juba married the Cappadocian Princess, Glaphyra during Cleopatra's lifetime. To explain this strange marital problem, historians have supposed some sort of rift between Cleopatra and Juba that was eventually mended after Juba's divorce from Glaphyra. Modern historians[who?] dispute the idea that Juba, a thoroughly Romanized king, would have taken a second wife. The argument goes that if Juba married Glaphyra before 4 AD then his first wife, Cleopatra, must have already been dead. (The counterargument can be made that even contemporary client kings with Roman citizenship, like Herod the Great, took multiple wives, and that Juba's father had more than one.)

The following epigram by Greek Epigrammatist Crinagoras of Mytilene is considered to be Cleopatra’s eulogy.[9]

The moon herself grew dark, rising at sunset,
Covering her suffering in the night,
Because she saw her beautiful namesake, Selene,
Breathless, descending to Hades,
With her she had had the beauty of her light in common,
And mingled her own darkness with her death.

If this poem is not simply literary license, then astronomical correlation can be used to help pinpoint the date of Cleopatra's death. Lunar eclipses occurred in 9, 8, 5 and 1 BC and in AD 3, 7, 10, 11 and 14. The event in 5 BC most closely resembles the description given in the eulogy, but the date of her death is simply not ascertainable with any certainty. Zahi Hawass, former Director of Egyptian Antiquities, believes Cleopatra died in AD 8.[10]

When Cleopatra died, she was placed in the Royal Mausoleum of Mauretania in modern Algeria east of Caesarea that was built by her and Juba, which is still visible. A fragmentary inscription was dedicated to Juba and Cleopatra, as the King and Queen of Mauretania.

In fiction[edit]

Ancestry[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Roller, p. 77
  2. ^ Roller, p. 76–81
  3. ^ Roller, p. 82–85
  4. ^ Roller, p. 84–89
  5. ^ Roller, p. 98–100
  6. ^ Roller, p. 91–162
  7. ^ a b Cleopatra Selene by Chris Bennett
  8. ^ Roller, p. 244–56
  9. ^ Roller, p. 249–51
  10. ^ Roller, p. 250

References[edit]

External links[edit]