Berenice III


Berenice III

▪ queen of Egypt
died 80 BC

      queen of Egypt, daughter of Ptolemy IX, the most strong-willed member of the royal family. She ruled during a period of violent civil strife.

      Daughter of either Cleopatra Selene or Cleopatra IV, Berenice first married her uncle, Ptolemy X, sometime before 101. After the death in 101 of the dowager queen, Cleopatra III, the widow of Ptolemy VIII, Berenice became full queen. In 87 Ptolemy X was expelled from Egypt by an insurrection of the people of Alexandria, who believed that he had assassinated the dowager queen. He recruited a mercenary army in Syria and, after returning to Egypt, plundered the tomb of Alexander the Great in Alexandria in order to pay his troops. Outraged, the Alexandrian populace again expelled him, and he fled with Berenice to Lycia in Asia Minor. After her husband was killed, Berenice returned to Egypt. She married Ptolemy XI (Ptolemy XI Alexander II), upon whose death, in 80, Berenice became the sole ruler of Egypt. Young Ptolemy Alexander, son of Ptolemy X, had, meanwhile, been befriended by Lucius Cornelius Sulla, the Roman dictator, with whose aid he was sent to Egypt to be married to Queen Berenice. Neither the queen nor the people of Alexandria were consulted about the matter. When Ptolemy learned that Berenice was loath to surrender her authority, he arranged for her murder, for which the enraged Alexandrians killed him; he was the last legitimate Ptolemaic ruler of Egypt.

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Universalium. 2010.

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