cleopatra v tryphæna and the genealogy of the later ptolemies

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  • 7/25/2019 Cleopatra v Tryphna and the Genealogy of the Later Ptolemies



    According to a fragment of Porphyry, a daughter of Ptolemy X Alexan-der I and Berenice III, of unknown name, accompanied her parents at thetime of her fathers deposition and flight in 881. We are told nothing elseabout her. This paper explores the hypothesis that she was the futureCleopatra V Tryphna. The discussion touches on several other uncer-tain points in the female genealogy of the later Ptolemies.


    The evidence for the genealogy of the later Ptolemies falls into twoclasses. The classical authors provide the bulk of our sources. Theseworks give us a complete genealogy of the line of succession down toPtolemy X. We are also given the paternity of the remaining rulers Berenice III, Ptolemy XI Alexander II, Ptolemy XII Auletes, BereniceIV, Cleopatra VII and her brothers but in none of these cases are wetold the names of their mothers. Moreover, much of the classical evi-dence for the later Ptolemies is presented incidentally to the authorsmain purpose, not all these authors are fully reliable, nor are they allmutually consistent. Two of the principal sources Pompeius Trogusand Porphyry survive only in fragmentary and redacted form, in theworks of compilers (Justin and Eusebius, respectively) who lived andwrote several centuries later.

    The second class of evidence comes from the contemporary inscrip-tions and papyri discovered in Egypt over the last two centuries. Thesehave provided us with a highly refined chronology of changes in thepolitical regime (at least, as seen locally), and have allowed us to trackin fine detail changes in royal titulary and the evolution of the royal

    * I am very grateful to Prof. W. Clarysse for the invaluable research suggestions hehas given me in the course of this study. The views expressed are my own, as are anyerrors or omissions.

    1 Porphyry,FGrH260 F2.8. The later Ptolemies and Cleopatras are numbered in sev-eral different ways. I follow the widely-used convention of RE, and also, where possible,attach a well-known distinguishing epithet on the first introduction of a given ruler.

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    priesthood. They have also augmented our genealogical knowledge, byproviding us the previously-unknown name of Ptolemy XIIs queen,

    Cleopatra V Tryphna; two heirs to the throne (Ptolemy the Son andPtolemy Eupator) and possibly a king (Ptolemy VII Neos Philopator)2; andpossibly an additional daughter of Ptolemy VIII Physcon, namely Berenice,wife of Psherenptah II, High Priest of Memphis under Ptolemy X3.

    Attempts to use the Egyptian data to identify errors in the classicalsources have been unsuccessful. In 1984, Cauville and Devauchelleargued that the evolution of epithets in the eponymous priesthood showsthat Ptolemy IX Lathyros was in fact the son of Ptolemy VIII by his sis-ter Cleopatra II, rather than by her daughter Cleopatra III, as the classi-

    cal sources would have us believe4. This proposal failed, since it wasshown that the pattern of epithets applied to the queens need not beapplied consistently, so there is nothing in the Egyptian data which con-tradicts the classical evidence5.

    An earlier effort to modify the classical genealogy from contemporaryEgyptian data was made by Pestman6. In 1967, he proposed that Ptolemy

    2 Ptolemy the Son: W. HUSS, ZPE 21 (1998), p. 229ff.; Ptolemy Eupator: W. HUSS, Pro-ceedings of the 20th International Congress of Papyrologists, Copenhagen 1994, p. 555ff.;

    Ptolemy VII: M. CHAUVEAU,BIFAO 90 (1990), p. 135ff.; and the sources therein for each.3 Stele Vienna 82: E.A.E. REYMOND J.W.B. BARNS, Or 46 (1977), p. 1ff.; E.A.E. REY-MOND,From the Records of a Priestly Family of Memphis, Wiesbaden 1981, p. 127 no. 9.J. QUAEGEBEUR, in Studies on Ptolemaic Memphis (Studia Hellenistica, 24), Louvain1980, p. 69 no. 24, objected that the text in question is illegible in the published photo-graph of the stele at the point where Reymond argues that the relationship is given. How-ever, he wrote before the publication of Reymonds monograph, and was thereforeunaware that she based her reading on a comparison of the surviving traces to theundoubted occurrence of sntin another line. D. Devauchelles review of her final publica-tion (CE 58, 1983, p. 139) ignores the point and simply repeats Quaegebeurs objection.The context (E.A.E. REYMOND, op. cit., p. 132) requires either a genealogical relationshipor a cultic relationship to Ptolemy X. But no separate cult of Ptolemy X is otherwise

    known to exist. If the relationship is agreed, by elimination, to be genealogical, thenthe legibility of the text is irrelevant the only chronologically acceptable possibility issisterhood. (Cf. the similar conclusions of W. HUSS, Aegyptus 70, 1990, p. 191ff., esp.p. 200.) In my opinion, Reymonds case is strong enough that a reexamination of the steleusing modern image-enhancement techniques is called for.

    4 S. CAUVILLE D. DEVAUCHELLE,REgypt35 (1984), p. 31ff.5 L. MOOREN, in Proceedings of the Eighteenth International Congress of Papyrology,

    Athens 1988, II, p. 435; J.E.G. WHITEHORNE, Cleopatras, London 1994, p. 123-125. Cauville& Devauchelle also argue that Cleopatra II survived till 107. On this proposal see E. VANTDACK, The Judean-Syrian-Egyptian Conflict of 103-101 BC: A Multilingual Dossier Con-cerning a War of Sceptres, Brussels 1989, p. 19ff.; D.J. THOMPSON, in L. CRISCUOLO G. GERACI (eds.),Egitto e storia antica dallellenismo allet araba, Bologna 1989, p. 693ff.

    6 P.W. PESTMAN, Chronologie gyptienne daprs les textes dmotiques (332 av. J.-C.453 ap. J.-C.), Leiden 1967, p. 72(e), 76(b).

    40 C. BENNETT

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    XI, whose mother is unnamed in the classical sources, was the son ofBerenice III, his fathers wife, and briefly his own, even though Por-

    phyry calls him Berenices stepson7. This argument failed because it wasshown that the terminology of the sources was consistent with Por-phyrys statement, since an exactly similar statement exists that PtolemyIII Euergetes was the son of Arsinoe II, when it is undoubted that hismother was Arsinoe I8.

    This last observation can be generalised. There are several caseswhere genealogical statements occur in the Egyptian data which conflictwith the classical sources: Ptolemy III:

    Egyptian: son of Ptolemy II Philadelphos and his sister Arsinoe II;Classical: son of Ptolemy II and Arsinoe I, daughter of Lysima-


    Berenice II:Egyptian: sister of Ptolemy III;Classical: daughter of Magas of Cyrene, and so Ptolemy IIIs cousin10.

    Cleopatra I:Egyptian: sister of Ptolemy V Epiphanes;Classical: daughter of the Seleucid Antiochus III, and so Ptolemy Vs

    third cousin11. Cleopatra III:

    Egyptian: daughter of Ptolemy VIIIClassical: daughter of Ptolemy VI Philometor, and so Ptolemy VIIIs

    stepdaughter12. Berenice III:

    Egyptian: sister of Ptolemy X;Classical: daughter of Ptolemy IX, and so Ptolemy Xs niece13.

    Ptolemy XI:Egyptian: son of Ptolemy X and Berenice III;Classical: son of Ptolemy X and Berenice IIIs stepson14.

    7 Porphyry,FGrH260 F2.11.8 E. VANT DACK, op. cit. (n. 5), p. 151-154.9 OGIS 54 (Adulis inscription); OGIS 56 (Canopus Decree). Cf. Schol. Theocritus

    17.128.10 OGIS 56. Cf. Justin, 26.3.11 OGIS 773,P. Louvre 9415. Cf. Appian, Syr. 5.12 P. dem. Berl. 3090, 3091, 3113. Cf. Justin 38.8.13 P. dem. Ashm. 10. Cf. Pausanias, I 9.3.14 P. dem. Turin 6085. Cf. n. 7 supra.


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    There is a clear and consistent pattern to these apparent contradictions.They are readily resolved by interpreting the Egyptian statements within

    the context of an ideal royal family, consisting of a king, his sister-wifeand their children, being succeeded by their son and his sister-wife15.The model can be extended to include those biologically unrelated mem-bers of the priesthood, the administration and the military, who heldgenealogical titles such as r nsw (royal relative) and even sn nsw(kings brother)16. In this light, an unsupported assertion in the Egypt-ian sources of the Ptolemaic period about the genealogy of a member ofthe royal family must be regarded as suspect17.

    It is curious therefore that the Egyptian description of Cleopatra V as

    sister of Ptolemy XII is often uncritically accepted as genealogicalfact18. Those scholars who have recognised the existence of this diffi-culty have usually accepted the proposal faute de mieux19. I can findonly two attempts to proceed further, neither of them recent. Bevannoted the possibility that she could have been a daughter of Ptolemy X,but dismissed it without discussion20. On the other side, Macurdy sug-gested that sisterhood is implied by the fact that Ptolemy XII andCleopatra V are calledphiladelphoi21. But we can place no greater faithin the genealogical accuracy of such epithets than in Egyptian titles suchas snt nsw. Berenice III,philometorandphiladelphos, was granddaughter

    15 P.W. PESTMAN, op. cit. (n. 6), p. 2 n. 4, goes even further and supposes that theincestuous marriages of the Ptolemaic kings were mere formalities, without a sexualaspect. He believes they were used as a vehicle to legitimise the children born to otherwomen. But, if this were the case, the point of the exercise would be to select the kingand queen of the next generation. One would therefore expect each king to have only onesurviving son and daughter by his sister. A glance at the dynastic family tree demon-strates only one possible example o