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Cleopatra Thea

Coin of the Seleucid queen Cleopatra Thea.
Cleopatra Thea
Cleopatria Thea ('the goddess'): Ptolemaic princess and Seleucid queen, ruled from 125 to 121.

Successor of: Demetrius II Nicator


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Bust of Ptolemy VI Philometor, from Aegina. Now in the National Archaeological Museum, Athens (Greece). Photo Jona Lendering.
Bust of Ptolemy VI Philometor, from Aegina (National Archaeological Museum, Athens)
Main deeds:
  • June 150: The usurper Alexander I Balas defeats Demetrius I Soter near Antioch; one of his officers, Diodotus, makes sure that Alexander can capture the capital
  • 150: Ptolemy VI Philometor marries Cleopatra to Alexander I Balas; the wedding takes place in Ptolemais
  • 147: Cleopatra gives birth to Alexander's son Antiochus VI Dionysus
  • 146: Cleopatra leaves her husband and remarries with Demetrius II Nicator; her father Ptolemy supports Demetrius' claim to the throne; civil war
  • 145/144: End of Alexander Balas; his supporter Diodotus saves the two year old son of Alexander and Cleopatra
  • Cleopatra continues to support Demetrius; they have at least three children (Seleucus, a daughter, Antiochus VIII); meanwhile Diodotus and Cleopatra's son Antiochus VI are building an independent kingdom
  • 141 or 140: Diodotus kills the boy and proclaims himself king, calling himself Tryphon
  • July/August 138: Cleopatra's husband Demetrius taken captive by the Parthian king Mithradates I the Great, who has conquered Media, Babylonia, and Elam
  • After August 138: Antiochus VII Sidetes, seizes power in the Seleucid Empire; he marries to Cleopatra
  • Antiochus VII overcomes Diodotus Tryphon, who commits suicide
  • Antiochus VII and Cleopatra have a son, Antiochus IX Cyzicenus
  • 130: Antiochus successfully fights a war against the Parthians, and demands full restoration of all Seleucid territories in Iran
  • 129: the Parthians defeat Antiochus VII (who commits suicide) and allow Demetrius II, who is still their captive, to return to his old kingdom, which has by now been reduced to Syria and Cilicia
  • Demetrius concludes a marriage alliance with Parthia: his daughter marries to Phraates, he himself marries Phraates' sister Rhodogyne
  • 128?: Demetrius tries to intervene in the Egyptian civil war, supporting Cleopatra II, the mother of Cleopatra Thea
  • Ptolemy VIII supports Alexander II Zabinas, a rebel in the Seleucid Empire
  • 125: When Demetrius wages war against Alexander II Zabinas, he is killed near Damascus
  • Cleopatra and other courtiers must make a decision about the next king. There are three candidates:
    1. Seleucus V (son of Cleopatra and Demetrius)
    2. Antiochus VIII Grypus (son of Cleopatra and Demetrius)
    3. Antiochus IX Cyzicenus (son of Cleopatra and Antiochus VII)
  • Seleucus tries to become sole ruler, but is killed; our sources blame Cleopatra
  • Antiochus VIII Grypus and Cleopatra share the throne
  • 121: Antiochus forces Cleopatra to commit suicide
Succeeded by: sole rule of Antiochus VIII Grypus


This brief article has been written to offer background information
to the real articles on Livius.Org. One day, this webpage will be
improved. A list of completed articles can be found here.

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