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Egypt: Rulers, Kings and Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt: Ptolemy XII Neos Dionysos


Ptolemy XII Neos Dionysos

80-58 & 55-51 B.C.
Ptolemaic Dynasty

Ptolemy XII Neos Dionysos was the illegitimate son of Lathyros (Ptolemy IX Soter II). His younger brother became governor of Cyprus and Ptolemy XII came to Alexandria to rule after the death of Ptolemy XI Alexander II. He was often referred to by his subjects as the Bastard or the Flute Player (Auletes). He referred to himself as 'Theos Philopator Philadelphos Neos Dionysos'. It is only in the history books that he is referred to as Ptolemy XII.


He was married to his sister-wife, Cleopatra V Tryphaena and was the father of the famous Cleopatra VII, who grew up to be the last of the Ptolemies. In 59 BC, he raised enough money to bribe Caesar, who was now consul for Rome. However, he was driven out of Alexandria in 58 BC.

This occurred partly because of his tameness when Rome absorbed Cyprus. In his absence, he left as co-regents his wife-sister Cleopatra V Tryphaena and their eldest daughter, Berenice IV.

Cleopatra Tryphaena died about a year later and Berenice IV ruled as sole regent. She was made to marry Seleucus Kybiosaktes but after a short time, she had him strangled. Auletes returned to the throne in 55 BC and ruled until his death in 51 BC. On his death, he left his regency to his daughter Cleopatra VII.

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