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Cleopatra III

Marble head of Cleopatra III. Württembergisches Landesmuseum, Stuttgart (Germany). Photo Marco Prins.
Cleopatra III (Württembergisches Landesmuseum, Stuttgart).
Cleopatra III: queen of the Ptolemaic Empire, ruled from 116 to 101, first with Ptolemy IX Soter Lathyros, later with Ptolemy X Alexander.


Main deeds:

  • 160: Born as daughter of Ptolemy VI Philometor and his sister Cleopatra II.
  • July 145: Ptolemy VI is killed in action.
  • Before 8 August 145: Ptolemy VIII Physcon becomes master of Egypt; he marries his sister Cleopatra II, widow of the former king Ptolemy VI Philometor.
  • 141/140: Ptolemy VIII marries his niece and stepdaughter Cleopatra III.
  • c.140: birth of Cleopatra IV
  • 140/139: Birth of Ptolemy IX Soter
  • 140/139: The two Cleopatras, mother and daughter, quarrel. An influential courtier named Galestes attempts a coup, unsuccessfully.
  • 139: To strengthen their position, Ptolemy VIII and Cleopatra III seek support from the native population.
  • c.135: Birth of Cleopatra V Selene and Tryphaena
  • 132, November: Outbreak of civil war between Ptolemy VIII and Cleopatra II. Cleopatra III appears to have stayed on Cyprus.
  • 131, autumn: Cleopatra II controls Alexandria.
  • 131/130: Ptolemy is on Cyprus.
  • 130, spring: Ptolemy returns to Egypt and defeats his opponents.
  • 127: Cleopatra III returns to Egypt too.
  • 124/123: Tryphaena marries to Antiochus VIII Grypus
  • 28 June 116: Death of Ptolemy VIII, who is succeeded by Cleopatra III. She wants to rule with Ptolemy X Alexander, but the Alexandrines force her to accept Ptolemy IX Soter, who is fourteen years old, as co-ruler. Ptolemy X receives an honorary position as general on Cyprus.
  • Cleopatra tries to gain support from the native population; she presents herself as the goddess Isis and the goddess Maat.
  • October 110-February 109: Ptolemy X briefly replaces Ptolemy IX as co-ruler
  • March 108: Ptolemy X briefly replaces Ptolemy IX, but this second attempt is a failure too, and Ptolemy IX returns
  • March 108: Ptolemy X briefly replaces Ptolemy IX; at the same time, Cleopatra's stepson Ptolemy Apion becomes ruler of the Cyrenaica.
  • October 107: Ptolemy IX flees to Cyprus; Ptolemy X Alexander becomes king.
  • 105/104: Cleopatra replaces Ptolemy X as priestess of Alexander the Great.
  • 103: Antiochus IX Cyzicenus supports the Samarians against the Hasmonaean king John Hyrcanus of Judaea; Ptolemy IX supports Antiochus, hoping that Judaea will be a first step to a return to Egypt.
  • Ptolemy X Alexander invades Judaea, reaches Damascus, and returns
  • 20 February 102: Cleopatra III defeats Ptolemy IX Soter near Pelusium
  • 26 October 101: Ptolemy X Alexander orders the killing of Cleopatra and continues as sole ruler
Note: Cleopatra's military commanders were both Jewish, Chelkias and Ananias, sons of the high priest Onias of Heliopolis

Succeeded by:
 Ptolemy X Alexander, the online home of Ancient Warfare magazine

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© Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2006
Revision: 5 August 2008
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