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Cleopatra V of Egypt: Wikis


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Cleopatra V Tryphaena of Egypt (Greek: Κλεοπάτρα, born c. 95 BC, died c. 69/68 BC or c. 57 BC) was a Ptolemaic Queen of Egypt. She is the only surely attested wife of Ptolemy XII.


Descent and marriage

Cleopatra V was an illegitimate daughter of Ptolemy IX.[1] She is first mentioned in 79 BC in two papyri. In that year she married Ptolemy XII, king of Egypt. Ptolemy XII was also an illegitimate child of Ptolemy IX, but it is unclear if he and Cleopatra V were full siblings or if they had different mothers. They received divine worship as theoí Philopátores kai Philádelphoi (father-, brother- and sisterloving gods).[2]

Death and identity

It is unclear how long Cleopatra V lived, and with which mentions of Cleopatra Tryphaena in the historical record she should be identified (the numbering used to distinguish the Ptolemies is a modern invention). There is some indication that she may have died in 69 or 68 BC, because her name begins to disappear from monuments and papyri, and there is an inscription of Ptolemy XII from 68 BC that does not mention her, when it would be expected to do so if she were still alive.[3] If this is the case, then the Cleopatra Tryphaena, who is mentioned — after the expulsion of Ptolemy XII — as co-ruler of Egypt (together with Berenice IV) in 58 and 57 BC, and dying around 57 BC, must be her daughter, numbered by some historians as Cleopatra VI Tryphaena (this is also what Porphyry[4] reports).[5]

On the other hand, there is a dedication on the Temple of Edfu from 57 BC that inscribes Cleopatra Tryphaena's name alongside Ptolemy XII's, which would have meant his wife rather than daughter, and would be unlikely had Ptolemy XII's wife died 12 years earlier, even with the slow speed of news travel. Thus most modern historians[6] consider the purported Cleopatra VI Tryphaena to be identical with Cleopatra V, and have her living to c. 57 BC. This also comports better with the account of Strabo[7], who reports Ptolemy XII to have had only three daughters; since we can reliably identify Berenice IV, Cleopatra VII, and Arsinoe IV as his daughters, this leaves no room for a Cleopatra VI.[5] The historian Werner Huß believes that Ptolemy XII repudiated his wife Cleopatra V in 69 BC and married a noble Egyptian woman from the high priest family of Memphis. This presumed second wife of the Egyptian king could have been the mother of Cleopatra VII and her younger siblings, while Berenice IV was the daughter of Cleopatra V because Strabo only calls the oldest daughter of Ptolemy XII a legitimate child. If this theory is true then Cleopatra V assumed power together with her daughter Berenice IV after the expulsion of Ptolemy XII (58 BC) and died before the end of the next year, because her name again disappears after 57 BC from the documents.[8]


  1. ^ This is the opinion of most scholars. But Christopher Bennett in his biography of Cleopatra V believes, that Ptolemy X was the father of Cleopatra V.
  2. ^ Whitehorne, pp. 177–178; W. Huß, p. 674-675
  3. ^ She is lastly mentioned in a monument dated on August 7, 69 BC, but her name is already missing in a record dated on February 25, 68 BC.
  4. ^ Felix Jacoby, Fragmente der griechischen Historiker, no. 260 F 2, 14
  5. ^ a b Whitehorne, p. 182
  6. ^ e. g. W. Huß, p. 679
  7. ^ Geographica 17.1.11, p. 796
  8. ^ Werner Huß, Die Herkunft der Kleopatra Philopator (The descent of Cleopatra Philopator), Aegyptus 70, 1990, pp. 191-203. This theory is partly denied by Christopher Bennett as too speculative. He also assumes, that Cleopatra V lived until 57 BC, but believes that she was the mother of all children of Ptolemy XII, see Cleopatra V.


  • John Whitehorne (1994). Cleopatras. Routledge. ISBN 0415058066.  
  • Werner Huß: Ägypten in hellenistischer Zeit (Egypt in Hellenistic times). C. H. Beck, Munich 2001.

External links

Preceded by
Ptolemy XII
Ptolemaic Queen of Egypt
with Ptolemy XII and Berenice IV
Succeeded by
Berenice IV


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