Livius.Org Anatolia Carthage Egypt Germ. Inf. Greece Judaea Mesopotamia Persia Rome Other

Ptolemy XII Auletes

Head of Ptolemy XII Auletes. Louvre, Paris (France). Photo Jona Lendering.
Ptolemy XII Auletes (Louvre, Paris)
Ptolemy XII Auletes ('the flutist'): king of the Ptolemaic Empire, ruled from 80 to 58 and from 55 to 51.


Main deeds:

  • 28 June 116: Death of Ptolemy VIII Physcon, 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.
  • After 115: Birth of Ptolemy XII Auletes, son of king Ptolemy IX Soter
  • October 107: Ptolemy IX is forced to flee to Cyprus, leaving his wives and children behind; Ptolemy X Alexander becomes co-ruler
  • 103: Antiochus IX Cyzicenus supports the Samarians against the Hasmonaean king John Hyrcanus of Judaea; Ptolemy IX Soter supports Antiochus, hoping that Judaea will be a first step to a return to Egypt.
  • 103: Ptolemy X Alexander sends all Ptolemaic children to Kos, where they are safe.
  • 89: Outbreak of the Second Mithradatic War: king Mithridates VI of Pontus attacks the Roman possessions in Asia
  • 88: Ptolemy XII Auletes and the other princes are handed over to Mithridates. At the same time, Ptolemy IX Soter replaces Ptolemy X Alexander, who is killed soon after.
  • 84: Ptolemy XII Auletes is engaged to a daughter of Mithradates.
  • 80: Death of Ptolemy IX Soter; he is succeeded by a Roman appointee, Ptolemy XI Alexander, but this king is lynched almost immediately after his arrival in Alexandria.
  • Before 11 September 80, Ptolemy XII Auletes has been recognized as king.
  • 80/79: He marries his sister, Cleopatra VI Tryphaena.
  • 26 March 76: traditional coronation as pharaoh; he embarks upon a policy of improving the position of the native population, and marries to an Egyptian lady
  • 76: Birth of Berenice IV
  • 70/69: Birth of Cleopatra VII
  • Fall of Cleopatra VI Tryphaena
  • 67: The Roman commander Pompey the Great is in the east, fighting against Cilician pirates, king Mithridates VI of Pontus (Third Mithridatic War), and tribes in Armenia.
  • 65: Although Ptolemy XII supports Pompey, Rome discusses the annexation of Egypt
  • 64: End of the Seleucid Empire; it becomes a Roman province (Syria)
  • 63: Pompey conquers Judaea (more...); revolts in Egypt
  • 61: Birth of Ptolemy XIII
  • 59: Ptolemy XII Auletes promises 6,000 talents to Pompey and Julius Caesar (consul in 59), and is recognized as 'ally and fried of the Roman nation'; amnesty for the rebels in Egypt
  • c.59: Birth of Ptolemy XIV
  • 58: Rome annexes Cyprus; riots in Alexandria; Ptolemy is forced to flee (September); the new ruler of Egypt is Berenice IV
  • 57: Ptolemy visits Cyprus and Rome, but is unable to obtain support; he goes to Ephesus
  • 56/55: The Roman governor in Syria, Aulus Gabinius, bribed by Ptolemy XII and encouraged by Pompey, agrees to support Ptolemy, who is in Alexandria in March 55; a Roman military unit supports the king. Berenice is executed in July.
  • 52: Cleopatra VII made co-ruler
  • February/March 51: Death.
Egyptian title: Iwaenpanetjernehem Setepptah Irmaat; ankhdjet meryptah siese ('Son of the avenging god, Chosen by Ptah, Dispenser of justice; may he live forever, beloved of Ptah, son of Isis'; 'avenging god' is the common translation of Soter, the surname of Ptolemy IX; it also refers to the god Horus)

Succeeded by: Cleopatra VII

Information on the web:, the online home of Ancient Warfare magazine

This page was prepared to offer background information to the real articles on Livius.Org. One day, it will be improved. A list of completed articles can be found here.
Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2006
Revision: 7 April 2006
Livius.Org Anatolia Carthage Egypt Germ. Inf. Greece Judaea Mesopotamia Persia Rome Other