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Egypt: Rulers, Kings and Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt: Cleopatra III & Ptolemy IX Soter II (Lathyros)


Cleopatra III & Ptolemy IX Soter II (Lathyros)

116-107 & 88-80 B.C.
Ptolemaic Dynasty

Cleopatra III & Ptolemy IX Soter II (Lathyros) were co-regents during the Ptolemaic Dynasty. Cleopatra III was the niece of Physcon (Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II) and was married to him while her mother was still his official wife. She bore Physcon two sons - Ptolemy IX Philometor Soter II (Lathyros) and Ptolemy X Alexander I as well as three daughters, Cleopatra IV, Cleopatra Tryphaena, and Cleopatra Selene.


In Physcon's will he left the succession to Cleopatra and to whichever son she preferred. She hated Lathyros, but doted on the younger son Alexander. The Alexandrians wanted Lathyros to be co-regent. He was then governor of Cyprus. Lathyros was brought back to Alexandria to co-rule and Alexander was sent to Cyprus to replace Lathyros. Lathyros was married to Cleopatra IV, his sister, but his mother repudiated the marriage and replaced her with Cleopatra Selene, who was Cleopatra IV's sister.

Cleopatra IV went to Cyprus where she tried to raise an army and to marry Ptolemy Alexander. She failed to marry him and moved on to Syria where she used her army as a dowry and married Antiochus IX Cyzicenus who was son of Antiochus Sidetes and Cleopatra Thea. Cleopatra III finally succeeded in driving out Lathyros in 107 BC when she accused him of trying to murder her. He left behind his wife and his two sons. His brother returned from Cyprus and assumed the throne. Lathyros was in Cyprus during this time.

After the death of Alexander in a naval battle, Lathyros, who was now in his mid-fifties, was brought back to Alexandria to try to put back together the Ptolemaic empire. He died at the age of 62 and left no legitimate heir to the throne, both of his sons by Cleopatra Selene appear to have died at a young age. His daughter Cleopatra Berenice ruled alone for a while after his death.

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