Cleopatra VII Philopator1 queen of Egypt, daughter of Ptolemy XII2 probably by Cleopatra V3, born in year 12 of Ptolemy XII = 70/69, probably in December 70 or early January 694, succeeded Ptolemy XII spring 515, incorporated into the dynastic cult as the Father-loving Goddess Qea Filopatwr6, associated on accession as senior ruler with her brother Ptolemy XIII7, contested seniority with him in year 3 = 50/498, expelled from Egypt mid 489, restored to supreme rule with support from Julius Caesar c. Kal.-a.d. VIII Id. Nov. AUC 706 = c. 25-30 August 4810, associated as senior ruler with her brother Ptolemy XIV as the Father-loving and Sibling-loving Gods, Qeoi FilopatoreV kai Filadelfoi, end of Martius AUC 707 = early January 4711, associated as senior ruler with her son Ptolemy XV probably 1 Thoth year 9 = 4 September 4412, granted rule of territories in Phoenicia, Syria, and Cilicia by Antony in late 37 or early 36 = year 16 = year 1 of a new era13, changing her cult title to the younger father-loving and country-loving goddess: Qea Newtera Filopatwr FilopatriV14, proclaimed "queen of kings" at the Donations of Alexandria autumn 3415, committed suicide in Alexandria by poison, perhaps administered by cobra-bite16, probably on 17 Mesore year 22 = 12 August 3017. Egypt was formally annexed to the Roman Republic with effect from 6 Mesore year 1 of Augustus = Kal. Sex. AUC 724 = 1 August 3018.
Cleopatra VII's titles as king of Egypt were19:
Horus (1) wr(t) nb(t)-nfrw Ax(t)-zH20
(2) wrt twt-n-jt.s21
Nomen olwpdrt nTrt mr(t)-jt.s22
Cleopatra VII probably had one23 liaison and three24 marriages.
Cleopatra VII first conducted a liaison with C. Julius Caesar, consul and dictator of the Roman Republic25, as his umpteenth mistress26, began late October AUC 706 = mid August 4827, ended by his assassination28 Id. Mart. AUC 710 = 14 March 4429. Cleopatra VII probably had one child30 by this liaison31: Ptolemy XV Caesarion32
Cleopatra VII secondly probably married her brother Ptolemy XIII33, November AUC 706 = c. September 4834. The marriage was ended by his death on a.d. VI Kal. Apr. AUC 707 = 13 January 4735.
Cleopatra VII thirdly probably married her brother Ptolemy XIV36, end of Martius or Aprilis AUC 707 = c. January 4737. The marriage was ended by his death in mid 4438.
Cleopatra VII fourthly initiated a liaison at Tarsus39 in 4140 and later probably married41 as his fifth wife42 M. Antonius, triumvir of the Roman Republic43, probably in 3744. The marriage was terminated by his suicide in Alexandria45 on Kal. Sex. AUC 724 = 1 August 3046. She had three children by this liaison and marriage: Alexander Helios47, his twin Cleopatra Selene48, by whom she had further descendants49, and Ptolemy Philadelphus50.
 PP VI 14525. Gr: Kleopatra Filopatwr. The ordinal VII is by now almost as much a part of her identity as her name. It appears that whichever other Cleopatras are assigned the ordinals V and VI, there can be no less and no more. A. Bouché-Leclercq, Histoire des Lagides II 179 n. 1 tried to alter it, to Cleopatra VI, with complete lack of success. More recently, W. Huss, Ägypten in hellenistischer Zeit 332-30 v. Chr. 11 has proposed to make her Cleopatra VIII; I suspect this reassignment will be no more successful.
Cleopatra VII is the most famous and most studied woman of antiquity. Nevertheless, the amount of misinformation that continues to be written about her, even in supposedly authoritative sources by supposedly expert scholars, is astonishing. Consider this egregious example from the Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt. Ý
 Her mother is not named in any of the classical sources. Her date of birth is several months before Cleopatra V was removed from power. Aside from a comment by Strabo 17.1.11 that Berenice IV was Ptolemy XII's only legitimate daughter, there is no suggestion in any ancient source that Cleopatra VII was illegitimate. Given the threat she posed to the Augustan regime in Rome, and the narrowness with which it was averted, it seems generally and reasonably agreed that this silence is positive evidence that she was legitimate, since there is every opportunity for her to be labelled a bastard if she was not the daughter of Cleopatra V, even if she was in fact the child of an officially recognised second queen. For general comments on the question of whether Ptolemy XII had a second wife, see discussion under Ptolemy XII. Ý
 Year: By inference from her date of death, combined with Plutarch, Antony 86.4, who says that she died aged 39. Month: Plutarch, Antony 73.3 describes the contrasting feasts that Cleopatra held for her final birthday followed by that of Antony. H. Heinen, Röm und Ägypten von 51 bis 47 v. Chr. 190 reasonably argues that this contrast only makes sense if hers was held a few weeks before his. Antony's birthday is given as a.d. XIX Kal. Feb. (14 January) in the Fasti Verulani (C. Scaccia-Scaforini, Notizie d. Scavi 20 (1923) 194ff & G. Mancini idem 203f, J. Carpocino, CRAIBL 1923 67ff). Therefore her birthday was in early January or December, or at worst between September and early January. Ý
 The title is first attested on iBucheum 13 dated 19 Phamenoth year 1 = 22 March 51, though it should be noted that this stele was erected under Augustus. Ý
 Porphyry, in Eusebius, Chronicorum I (ed. Schoene) 167, Prol. Trogus 40, Strabo 17.1.11. That being said, there is as yet no clear contemporary evidence of association before year 3. iBucheum 13, dated 19 Phamenoth year 1 = 22 March 51, makes only a brief formulaic reference to "the king" while clearly naming Cleopatra. iGFayum 205 is also dated to 1 Epeiph year 1 of Cleopatra Philopator = 2 July 51. PSI 10.1098, dated 29 Mesore year 1 = 29 August 51, also only names queen Cleopatra Philopator as ruler. There appears to be no material of year 2 with any naming references, outside the doubtful argument of L. M. Ricketts, BASP 16 (1979) 213 that the formula year 2 = year 1 refers to the second year of Cleopatra.
M. Chauveau, Cléopâtre: au-delà du mythe 27, suggests that iGFayum 205 and PSI 10.1098 should both be assigned to Berenice III, who also took the title Cleopatra Philopator. In my opinion this is unlikely to be correct, for two reasons:
i) PSI 10.1098 is dated so late in the year than it is virtually impossible to allow for both the reigns of Ptolemy XI and Ptolemy XII to begin in the same year. Therefore this assignment requires Berenice III to have had a second year, making her first year correspond with year 36 of Ptolemy IX. But the absence of a year 36 date would strongly imply that he was already dead. In fact the evidence suggests that he lived into his 37th year with Berenice III as coregent. Similar reasoning applies to iGFayum 205, though there is perhaps a little more room for Ptolemy XI and Ptolemy XII with year 1 of Berenice III = 81/0.
ii) iGFayum 198, dated 28 Epeiph year 36 = year 1, seems best assigned to 82/1. If Chauveau's model were correct then iGFayum 205 would be dated three weeks before iGFayum 198. But it comes from the same general area. It seems unlikely that an inconsistent regnal dating scheme would be used in these circumstances.
It would seem, then, that Cleopatra VII was the only effective ruler in year 1 = 52/1. Either she was sole ruler or Ptolemy XIII was nominally coregent but ignored as a minor. The latter seems the more likely possibility. Ý
 Caesar, Civil Wars 3.103 states that she had been expelled from Egypt "a few months before" the murder of Pompey in July 48. She may have left Alexandria for Upper Egypt some time previously -- see discussion under Arsinoe IV. Ý
 Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 15.4.1. The justification for the new era is given in Porphyry, in Eusebius, Chronicorum I (ed. Schoene) 169. Numismatic authors (e.g. J. N. Svoronos, Die Münzen der Ptolemäer Nos. 1886-1889) have suggested that the era is a coregency with Antony or Ptolemy XV. A. E. Samuel has also suggested that the era is a coregency with Ptolemy XV. However, T. V. Buttrey, ANSMN 6 (1954) 95 notes that Antony's coins for the same period, including those that use the double era, show him as a Roman general and magistrate, not as a coruler, that no coins of the double era show Ptolemy XV, and that coins with the double era only come from territories included in the donation. The era is first attested in papyri in BGU 14.2376 in Phamenoth year 17 = year 2 = 28 February - 29 March 35. On inscriptions and coins outside Egypt, the new era is sometimes cited in single-dated form, see P. Thonemann, ZPE 165 (2008), 87. Ý
 First attested in BGU 14.2376 in Phamenoth year 17 = year 2 = 28 February - 29 March 35. T. V. Buttrey, ANSMN 6 (1954) 95 argued that the title Kleopatra Qea Newtera was intended to recall Cleopatra Thea, the Ptolemaic queen of Syria (as in: "the younger Cleopatra Thea"). J. Bingen, CdE 74 (1999) 118, further argued that the title Qea FilopatriV (the Country-loving Goddess) was also designed to act as propaganda in Syria, recalling the shared Macedonian roots of the Egyptian and Syrian Greeks, particularly the ruling classes. Ý
 Dio Cassius 49.41. Plutarch, Antony 54.4 has her only proclaimed as queen of Egypt, Cyprus, Libya and Coele-Syria, but these were mostly territories she had already obtained at Antioch. The date of the Donations is obtained by dead reckoning. The meeting at Antioch occurred immediately after the renewal of the triumvirate at the end of 37. He then campaigned against the Parthians in Media Atropatene in summer 36 (Plutarch, Antony 37). The next year, 35, was lost in negotiations with Octavian (Plutarch, Antony 53) and actions against Sextus Pompeius (Appian, Civil Wars 5.144). The following year, 34, he conquered Armenia (Plutarch, Antony 52, Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 15.4.3), and the Donations followed on his return Ý
 Plutarch, Antony 86. See discussion in J. E. G. Whitehorne, Cleopatras 186ff. The snakebite story is generally believed and we want it to be true, because it is highly dramatic and very appropriate. The "asp" was almost certainly an Egyptian cobra, which was sometimes used to execute criminals. Yet Plutarch notes that there was also a story that she took poison. He points out that no trace of a snake was found, except perhaps for a trail in the sand by the sea next to the mausoleum (or, according to Dio Cassius 51.11.5, and perhaps more plausibly, the palace) where she died, though some said that two small puncture wounds were found. Her handmaidens Iras and Charmion died with her, apparently also of poison, yet a cobra could only be relied to kill one person. So, either more than one snake was smuggled in or they took poison while she died of snakebite. Ý
 Canon of Ptolemy gives Cleopatra 22 full years, hence year 22 = 31/0 was formally accounted as part of her reign and not part of Augustus' by later chronographers. The exact date comes from Clement of Alexandria, Stromateis 21.129, which states that Cleopatra was succeeded by her children (in the online translation, but without obvious sense, "the Cappadocians") for 18 days. T. C. Skeat, JRS 43 (1953) 98 argues that this "reign" was invented by a pedantic scholar to cover the gap between the death of Cleopatra and the official start of the reign of Augustus later assigned to the following 1 Thoth. Therefore it gives the residuum of the year after her death. Accordingly she died on 17 Mesore. Ý
 T. C. Skeat, JRS 43 (1953) 98 noted that Canon of Ptolemy gives Cleopatra 22 full years, hence he argued that year 22 = 31/0 was formally accounted as part of her reign and not part of Augustus', and Augustus therefore acceded on or after 1 Thoth. pOxy 12.1453 is a contract by four temple lamplighters to provide oil that was read by Grenfell and Hunt as being "from 1 Thoth to Mesore [Epagomone] 5 of the present first year of Caesar" as they had in the preceding year 22 = 7 (i.e. of Cleopatra). Skeat proposed that this confirmed that Augustus began his reign in Egypt on 1 Thoth.
In T. C. Skeat, ZPE 53 (1983) 241, he modified this view. He noted that Dio Cassius 51.19.6 states that the Senate had decreed that the date of the fall of Alexandria should be regarded as the start of the reckoning of time, i.e. of Augustus' regnal year. On reexamining pOxy 12.1453, and assuming the correctness of the standard reconstruction of the Roman civil calendar for these years, he decided that the end date of the contract, read as Mesore [Epagomene?] (5?) by Grenfell and Hunt, should actually read Mesore (7?), and that the Epagomene interpolated by Grenfell and Hunt was incorrect. Therefore the contract runs from 1 Thoth to the end of year 1 of Augustus, which therefore began on 8 Mesore. Now, SB 16.12469 is a lease of a cow in year 5 = 26/5 which runs from Hathyr to 30 Mesore without a change in year number. From this it is clear that the attempt to implement the Senate decree failed no later than year 5, thereby explaining the later chronographical tradition.
In further support of this analysis, T. C. Skeat CdE 69 (1994) 308 cited two other items. First, the dedicatory inscription at the temple of Dendera states that the goddess "took possession" on the 19th day of Caesar's reign. This highly unusual form of dating suggests that the normal form of dating would be ambiguous. On Skeat's theory, the 19th day of his reign was 26 Mesore = 21 August 30. He argues that to give this as 26 Mesore year 1 made it ambiguous -- especially after 26 -- as to whether the dates was in 30 or 29. Finally, he points to pRylands 4.601, dated 7 Mesore year 4 = 1 August 26, noting that the day number appears to have been a later insertion. He suggests that this indicates that there was doubt as to when the year was actually due to end. Thus year 5 began either on 8 Mesore = 2 August 26 or 1 Thoth = 30 August 26, but ended on the normal date.
On the reconstruction of the Roman civil calendar proposed here, Kal. Sex. 724 AUC = 1 August 30 = 6 Mesore year 1. Year 1 runs from 1 August 30 to prid. Kal. Sex. 725 AUC = 31 July 29 = 6 Mesore year 1. Since the regnal year was surely introduced several months after the conquest, to allow time for the Senate decree to have become known and for regulations to have been drawn up, the 366-day length of year 1 was not an administrative problem. [6?] Mesore was noted as a possible solution to pOxy 12.1453 by Grenfell and Hunt, and was regarded as paleographically equiprobable to [5?] Mesore by G. Geraci, Genesi della provincia romana d'Egitto 160. The next Roman civil leap year is 728 AUC = 26 = year 4, in which prid. Kal. Sex. = 1 August = 7 Mesore, which is the date given in pRyl. 4.601. Ý
 Transliterations follow J. von Beckerath, Handbuch der ägyptischen Königsnamen (2nd edition) 244 (13). All names are given in scenes at the temple of Hermonthis south of Thebes, showing the birth of Ptolemy XV. The Horus names are followed by cartouches naming the queen as "Cleopatra Philopator". Ý
 "The great Lady of perfection, excellent in counsel". C. R. Lepsius, Denkmäler aus Aegypten und Aethiopien IV 65a = H. Gauthier, Livre des rois d'Égypte IV 417 (XVIIID). This name is introduced by the crowned Horus glyph. For the reasoning associating this name with Cleopatra VII see discussion above. Ý
 "The great one, sacred image of her father" C. R. Lepsius, Denkmäler aus Aegypten und Aethiopien Text IV 4(a) = H. Gauthier, Livre des rois d'Égypte IV 417 (XVIIIH). This name is introduced by the uncrowned Horus glyph. For the reasoning associating this name with Cleopatra VII see discussion above. Ý
 "The goddess Cleopatra who is beloved of her father" C. R. Lepsius, Denkmäler aus Aegypten und Aethiopien Text IV 3 = H. Gauthier, Livre des rois d'Égypte IV 416 (XVIIIB). For the reasoning associating this name with Cleopatra VII see discussion above. Ý
 Plutarch, Antony 25.3, alleges she had an affair with Gn. Pompeius, son of Pompey, when he was in Alexandria in 49. Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 15.4.2, alleges she tried to seduce Herod. No-one believes either of these stories, essentially on the grounds that they make no political sense. Ý
 Or possibly no marriages and two liaisons. On the question of whether she was married to Antony, see discussion below. L. Criscuolo in L. Criscuolo & G. Geraci (eds), Egitto e storia antica dall'ellenismo all'età araba 325, argues that she did not marry either of her brothers Ptolemy XIII or Ptolemy XIV. She notes that no Egyptian text, even those naming Cleopatra with either brother, calls her his sister or his wife, and of our classical sources, only Dio Cassius 42.35 (as "living together according to the Egyptian custom") and the poetic licence of Lucan, Civil Wars 10.92-99 and 10.356-367 speaks of the marriage to Ptolemy XIII, and only Dio Cassius 42.44 of the marriage to Ptolemy XIV. All our other classical sources only speak of joint rule, including Josephus, whose hostility to Cleopatra is such that he would have included charges of incest if he could (and today would probably have added child molestation). Criscuolo suggests that Ptolemy XII in his will intended that Cleopatra should be the senior ruler in partnership with her brother. Her points on the lack of evidence are interesting, especially on the lack of contemporary Egyptian evidence. Nevertheless I find the proposed motivation somewhat unconvincing: how did Ptolemy XII propose that the dynastic line continue unless the ruling couple were married? It is certainly likely, given the ages of Cleopatra's brothers, that the marriage was only nominal, or not formalised, until they were of age, and Criscuolo may be right that perhaps this step was never actually taken. Certainly, even if Dio Cassius is correct then Cleopatra and Ptolemy XIII may not have been married before Caesar's settlement. But given past dynastic practice I think I am inclined still to favour the notion of a formal union. Ý
 Caesar had three wives: Cornelia (Suetonius, Caesar 1), Pompeia (Suetonius, Caesar 6.2) and Calpurnia (Suetonius, Caesar 21). Suetonius, Caesar 50, 52 lists as being amongst his mistresses: Postumia, wife of Servius Sulpicius; Lollia, wife of Aulus Gabinius; Tertulla, wife of Marcus Crassus; Mucia, wife of Pompey; Servilia, the mother of Marcus Brutus, and her daughter Tertia; and Eunoe, wife of king Bogud of Mauretania. R. Syme, Historia 29 (1980) 422, suggests that Sempronia, as mother of Decimus Brutus (unless he was the son of Postumia), and the unknown mother of P. Cornelius Dolabella can be added to the list. Ý
 On her being delivered to Caesar wrapped in a rug: Plutarch, Caesar 49.2. J. E. G. Whitehorne, Atti el XXII Congresso Internazionale di Papirologia, Firenze 1998 II 1287, argues that the famous rug was actually more like a military kitbag, and that the detail that she was stretched out allows us to conclude that Cleopatra was quite short in height. For the date see discussion under Ptolemy XIII. Ý
The equation of Id. Mart. 710 A.U.C. ("The Ides of March") to 15 March 44 B.C. is undoubtedly the most famous calendrical conversion in all of chronology. It is almost certainly wrong. See discussion here. Ý
 The existence of the marriage has been doubted (e.g. M. Grant, Cleopatra 185f.). Suetonius, Augustus 69.2, quotes a letter from Antony to Octavian which, unfortunately, is completely ambiguous to us on the point, though it was certainly clear to Octavian. Grant translates the key phrase, "uxor mea est", as: "is she my wife?" (rhetorically, implying she isn't), but most others translate it more simply and with equal sense as "she is my wife". Certainly any marriage was not conventional. Plutarch, Comparison of Demetrius and Antony notes that he was married to Cleopatra and Octavia at the same time, a position that was invalid under both Greek and Roman law, but nevertheless implies that he did consider himself married to Cleopatra before he divorced Octavia in 32 (Plutarch, Antony 57.2). Strabo 17.1.11 also calls Cleopatra Antony's wife. Ý
(i) Fadia, daughter of a freedman, by whom he had several children of whom nothing is known. The marriage was regarded, at least by Cicero, as unequal; it is ignored by Plutarch.
(ii) Antonia, his cousin, by whom he had a daughter Antonia. She married a rich Greek, Pythodoros of Tralles, and their daughter Pythodoris married in turn Polemo king of Pontus and Archelaus king of Cappadocia. By Polemo Phythodoris was the mother of Zeno-Artaxias, king of Armenia in 35 AD and Antonia Tryphaena, who married Cotys VIII king of Thrace. Amongst their children, their daughter Gepaepyris married Aspurgus king of the Cimmerian Bosporus. This was the longest-lived of the Roman client kingdoms known to us. Their descendants are traceable on the Bosporan throne at least until Sauromates III, king of the Bosporus c. 230 AD, and the line probably occupied the Bosporan throne until the extinction of the kingdom at the hands of Ermanarich the Ostrogoth in the late 4th century AD.
(iii) Fulvia, by whom he had two sons. The elder, M. Antonius known as Antyllus, was executed by Octavian following the annexation of Egypt. The younger, Iullus Antonius, was executed for alleged adultery with Octavian's daughter Julia; he had two sons by Marcella, daughter of Octavia, who both died without children. Fulvia deserves to be better known. She was the first Roman woman known to have led an army and to have had her portrait on coins.
(iv) Octavia, sister of Octavian, the later emperor Augustus, and great niece of Julius Caesar, by whom he had two daughters, Antonia Major and Antonia Minor. Antonia Major married L. Domitius Ahenobarbus; their son, Gn. Domitius Ahenobarbus, was the father of the emperor Nero. Antonia Minor married Nero Drusus. Their younger son was the emperor Claudius, while their elder son Germanicus was the father of the emperor Caligula and of Agrippina the younger, mother of the emperor Nero.
Antony is also said to have had the courtesan Cytheris and Glaphyra, mother of Archelaus king of Cappadocia, as mistresses. Ý
 PP VI 14484. He is usually known in English simply as "Antony" or "Mark Antony". The second triumvirate between Antony, Octavian and Lepidus was created in late 43 and renewed at the end of 37 for a second five year term. Antony was never known as king of Egypt. Ý
 The timing of the union is not given in any ancient source, which is not surprising given its unorthodox nature. It must have occurred after his marriage to Octavia in 40. Most likely, it should be dated to their meeting at Antioch in winter 37/6, when Antony acknowledged Alexander Helios and Cleopatra Selene as his children, and made donations to Cleopatra, and she took on new titles and inaugurated a new era. The other possible occasion is the Donations of Alexandria in 34. Ý
 Plutarch, Antony 76 says that he died on the day that Alexandria fell to Octavian. This was on Kal. Sex. (Orosius, 6.19.16; Fasti Antiates = CIL I2 24)) and is the reason that the month Sextilis was later renamed Augustus by Augustus.
Dio Cassius 51.19.6 states that the Senate had decreed that the date of the fall of Alexandria should be regarded as the start of the reckoning of time, i.e. of Augustus' regnal year. However, the Julian reform had initially been implemented incorrectly, with a leap day being inserted every third year instead of every fourth. However, on the reconstruction proposed here for the Roman civil calendar, Kal. Sex. AUC 724 = 1 August 30. Ý
11 Feb 2002: Added individual trees
1 March 2002: Split into separate entry
14 April 2002: Added discussion of Skeat's reexamination of pOxy 12.1453.
3 May 2002: Added reference to Macrobius for the error in implementation of the Julian calendar
8, 11, 21 May 2002: Expanded discussion of multiple solutions for Macrobius.
12 May 2002: Corrected Roman and Egyptian date equations as necessary
17 May 2002: Covered Skeat's supporting arguments for 8 Mesore as the start of Augustus' reign.
30 June 2002: Reworked Roman civil calendar discussion again to give my final solution. Corrected Roman and Egyptian date equations as necessary
27 Jan 2003: Fine tuning of the calendrical discussion to accommodate for changed views on the pCarlsberg 9 lunar calendar.
6 April 2003: Set up links to threaded discussion of earlier Roman dates.
18 May 2003: Changed Plutarch Xrefs to the Lacus Curtius edition; pointed to the right bookmarks in Macrobius
18 June 2003: Updated Xrefs to translations of Caesar; added Xref to online Latin text of Varro
23 Oct 2003: Added Xrefs to online Appian
24 Feb 2004: Added Xrefs to online Strabo; relinked Suetonius Xrefs to LacusCurtius edition
24 March 2004: Added Xref to Jones paper in ZPE 129 on Augustan calendars
13 Sep 2004: Add Xref to online Eusebius
19 Oct 2004: Removed redundant discussion of Roman chronology.
31 Dec 2004: Added linkage to annotated article from Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt
19 Jan 2005: Updated Xrefs on Alexandian Wars to Forumromanum edition
11 Mar 2005: Added Greek transcription, link to DDBDP transcript of pOxy 12.1453
16 Sep 2006: Add links to Packard Humanities DB, Canon at Attalus
28 May 2007: Added Xref to BASP paper
8 Feb 2009: Note that the second era was sometimes used stadalone.
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