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Ptolemy XV Caesarion

Portait of Caesarion (?). Palazzo Altemps, Roma (Italy). Photo Marco Prins.
Ptolemy XV Caesarion (Palazzo Altemps, Rome)
Ptolemy XV Caesarion ('little Caesar'): king of the Ptolemaic Empire, son and (from 44 to 30) co-ruler of Cleopatra VII.


Main deeds:

  • 23 June 47: born as son of Cleopatra VII and recognized by Gaius Julius Caesar
  • After the death of Cleopatra's co-ruler Ptolemy XIV (August 44), Caesarion is made king
  • 43: On behalf of the Senate, Cornelius Dolabella recognizes the boy-king.
  • After 37, he is no longer mentioned in official documents; probably because Cleopatra now hopes to continue her dynasty through the children of Marc Antony,the twins Alexander Helius and Cleopatra Selene
  • 34: Adopted as son by Marc Antony
  • 32: Marc Antony divorces his wife Octavia; outbreak of war between Octavian and Marc Antony.
  • 31: Marc Antony and Cleopatra move to Greece, where they are isolated by Octavian's admiral Agrippa; although they are able to win a tactical victory and break out of their isolated position at Actium, the campaign is a distaster and Octavian is able to achieve control of the east
  • Cleopatra flees to Alexandria and opens negotiations with Octavian; her purpose is to save her children and keep the Ptolemaic kingdom intact
  • 12 August 30: After Octavian has declined to negotiate, Cleopatra commits suicide; Marc Antony does the same. Their children survive,
  • Caesarion tries to flee to Nubia and India, but is arrested and executed.
Egyptian title: Iwapanetjerentynehem Setepenptah Irmaatenra Sekhemankhamun ('Son of the avenging god, Chosen by Ptah, Dispenser of the justice of Ra, Living power of Amun'; 'avenging god' is a common translation of Soter, 'savior', one of Caesar's titles; it is also a title of the god Horus, the son of Isis [Cleopatra's mythical alter ego] who had to avenge the death of his father Osiris.)

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

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Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2006
Revision: 9 June 2013
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