Berenice


Berenice
/ber'euh nuy"see/, n.
a female given name: from a Greek word meaning "bringer of victory."

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▪ Roman aristocrat
born AD 28

      lover of the Roman emperor Titus and a participant in the events leading up to the fall of Jerusalem.

      The eldest daughter of the Judaean tetrarch Herod Agrippa I by his wife Cypros, Berenice was married at age 13, but her husband died without consummating the marriage. She then married her uncle, Herod (Herod Agrippa II), king of Chalcis (in Syria), with whom she had two sons. After his death (AD 48), she lived with her brother, Herod Agrippa II. In reaction to suspicions that their relationship was incestuous, she married Polemon, a priest-king of Cilicia, but she soon left him and returned to her brother. She and her brother were present at the trial of the apostle Paul in Caesarea, which is described in the New Testament (Acts 25–26).

      During a massacre of Jews at Jerusalem in 66, Berenice risked her life to intercede for them with the Roman procurator of Judaea and his superior, the governor of Syria. She and her brother worked unsuccessfully to dissuade the Jews from the rebellion; after the rebels burned down their palace, they joined the pro-Roman party and supported the general Vespasian in his war against the rebels.

      Titus had fallen in love with Berenice during his command in Judaea (67–70), which culminated in the capture of Jerusalem. In 75 Berenice and her brother went to Rome. She became Titus's lover and lived openly with him for a time. Not daring to marry her because of her foreign origin—although she was a Roman citizen by birth—he eventually sent her away, probably on his accession in 79. She later returned to Rome, but they did not renew their relationship.

E. Badian
 

▪ daughter of Ptolemy II
died c. 246 BC

      daughter of Ptolemy II Philadelphus and Arsinoe I of Egypt. She was married to the Seleucid ruler Antiochus II Theos, supplanting his first wife, Laodice, whose children she persuaded him to bar from the succession to the throne in favour of her own. Laodice, however, persuaded Antiochus to come to Ephesus (in Asia Minor), where he died in 246, perhaps a victim of her intrigues. The former queen then ordered her partisans to kill Berenice and her children, who had taken refuge at Daphne, near Antioch, in Syria. Aroused by the murder, Ptolemy III Euergetes, Berenice's brother, launched a successful war (the Third Syrian War) against Laodice and her son, Seleucus II.

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Universalium. 2010.

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