Cleopatra’s family

The will of Ptolemy Auletes

cleopatras-siblings_0 There were complicated relations at play amongst Cleopatra’s family.

In 51 BC Ptolemy XII Auletes (Sulla’s son ?)arranged for his will to be endorsed by the Roman Senate. The will was guaranteed by Pompey and stipulated that the rulers of Egypt should be Cleopatra VII and Ptolemy XIII, who were cousins.

Ptolemy XIII was the Grandson of Ptolemy X, so Auletes showed great statesmanship in trying to pull the competing factions together.

It did not last long.

Ptolemy VIII( or his advisors) dismissed Cleopatra and summonsed her younger sister Arsinoe from Judea to take Cleopatra’s place, but as the junior member of the relationship.

Without doubt this was a Pompey inspired move, putting one of his faction in the controlling position.

Pompey’s flight

antipaters-invervention It was at this point that Julius Caesar decided to declare war on Pompey. This was probably the result of discussions with Cleopatra and her offer of a joint rule.

Julius Caesar had been pert of the Pompeyian faction but he changed sides. The civil war in Rome was triggered by events in Egypt! Ironically when Caesar defeated Pompey and pursued him to Egypt, Pompey is supposed to have been murdered by Ptolemy VIII (or his advisors). Caesar then deposed Ptolemy VIII and restored Cleopatra. This is supposed to be because he resented the execution of a Roman by a “foreigner”

In fact it was because he wanted to restore the rival faction to the throne.

Cleopatra is then supposed to have seduced Caesar to attain his support.

Unfulfilled ambition

cleopatra-in-rome What actually happened was that the two victors of the civil war, which had been fought both in Egypt and Rome, assumed that they had eliminated all opposition.

A by-product of this final conflict in Egypt was that Antipater, chief minister of the Jewish state, came to Caesar’s aid. Antipater, who had previously co-operated with Pompey switched allegiance taking three thousand Jewish troops to Alexandria and may well have swung the battle in Caesars’ favour. For this Antipater was rewarded by being made Roman Procurator of Judea.

He lost no time in appointing his son Herod, at the Age of 17, as governor of Galilee and a second son Phasael as governor of Jerusalem.

Simultaneously Cleopatra moved to Rome with her son by Caesar, Ptolomy XV,

Cleopatra remained in Rome for over three years, expecting Caesar to be made Emperor and thus making her Cleopatra Queen of Rome.

Of course it never happened. In 44 BC Caesar was assassinated and Cleopatra fled back to Egypt.

The reasons for Caesars assassination have been variously described as jealousy or fear he would bring the Republic to an end. Certainly a large number of prominent Romans were part of the plot. Perhaps they sensed that all was not as it seemed.

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