alexander helios

4

When Cleopatra took her own life, she left behind her four surviving children.

Her firstborn, and only living child with Caesar, Caesarion, did not live for long after her death. She had sent him away from Egypt for his own safety, but he was falsely lured back with promises of being allowed to rule in her place. He was murdered by Octavian’s men, after he’d received advice that “Too many Caesars is not good". As Caesar’s biological son, he was too much of a threat to Octavian’s rule. It’s thought he was likely killed by strangulation, but no one knows that for certain, or what happened to his body. He was only 17 years old.

It was a different story for her children with Mark Antony. There were the twins Cleopatra Selene II and Alexander Helios, who were both 9 at the time, and Ptolemy Philadelphus, who was just 6. The three of them were taken to Rome by Octavian, and forced to walk behind his chariot in his Triumph Parade, chained to it with chains so heavy they could barely walk. This aroused not the scorn he’d been expecting, but sympathy for the poor young children. Octavian gave them to his sister Octavia, who had been married to their father, to be raised along with her children.

Neither of the boys would see adulthood, both apparently dying sometime before 25 B.C. There were rumours that Octavian had both of them killed, not wanting any adult sons of Antony and Cleopatra to remain alive.

Cleopatra Selene however, had a somewhat kinder fate. She was married to Juba II, King of Numidia and later Mauretania. She is said to have inherited the strength and pride in her heritage of the Ptolemaic women that came before her, and used the same titles as her mother on coins. She had at least one child, a son she named Ptolemy, and possibly a daughter named Drusilla. Her exact date of death is unknown, but she was placed in the Royal Mausoleum of Mauretania when she died. It is still visible today, and a fragmentary inscription was dedicated to Juba and Cleopatra, as the King and Queen of Mauretania.

historical women  (+ man) 13/?: Cleopatra Selene and Alexander Helios, 40-6 BCE and 40-25 BCE

Cleopatra Selene and Alexander Helios were princess and prince of the Ptolemaic dynasty, and the fraternal twin children of Cleopatra VII and Mark Antony…  Their parents were defeated by Octavian (future Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus), during a naval battle at Actium, Greece in 31 BC. In 30 BC, their parents committed suicide as Octavian and his army invaded Egypt. Octavian captured Cleopatra and her brothers and took them from Egypt to Italy. Octavian celebrated his military triumph in Rome by parading the three orphans in heavy golden chains in the streets…  Between 26 and 20 BC, Augustus arranged for Cleopatra to marry King Juba II of Numidia… By then her brothers, Alexander Helios and Ptolemy Philadelphus, disappear from all known historical records and are presumed to have died…The couple were sent to Mauretania, an unorganized territory that needed Roman supervision… Cleopatra is said to have exercised great influence on policies that Juba created. Through her influence, the Mauretanian Kingdom flourished

6

On this day in history, August 12th, two thousand and forty six years ago, Cleopatra VII, the last active ruler of Ancient Egypt, committed suicide.

Eleven days previously, her husband Marc Antony had already done the same. The couple had been engaged in a civil war against Octavian, the great nephew of Julius Caesar who had been declared his legal heir. During the final battle in Alexandria, Antony suffered serious desertions among his troops and lost the fight. Upon his return, he falsely heard Cleopatra had killed herself and fell on his sword.

After Antony’s death, Octavian arrived in Egypt and effectively took Cleopatra and her children by Antony prisoner. She had sent her eldest son Caesarion, her only living child with Caesar, away for his own safety. She knew that Octavian planned for her to march in chains behind his chariot during his triumph parade, and would very likely have her killed afterwards. Rather than suffer such humiliations and indignity, she chose to take her own life.

Popular history and mythology leads us to believe that she was killed by inducing an asp to bite her, after having locked herself in her mausoleum with her two handmaidens. However, many modern scholars believe that she instead took a mixture of poisons, since the venom of an asp does not cause a quick or painless death. Octavian and his men found her too late to do anything, Cleopatra was already dead and one handmaiden, Iras, was nearly dead on the floor. The second, Charmian, was straightening the Queen’s diadem. According to legend, one of the men asked if this was well done of her mistress, and she shot back “Very well done, as befitting the descendant of so many noble Kings.”

Upon her death, Octavian honoured her wish to be buried in her mausoleum at Antony’s side. He took her children with Antony, the twins Cleopatra Selene and Alexander Helios, along with their younger brother, Ptolemy Philadelphus, to Rome with him as prisoners of sorts. They were fated to march in his triumph parade in their mother’s place, the chains so heavy they could hardly walk. After this they were given to Octavian’s sister Octavia, who had been Antony’s third wife, to look after.

Cleopatra’s son with Caesar, Caesarion, was nominally sole ruler of Egypt after his mother’s death. Eleven days after her suicide, he was found after being lured back to Alexandria under false pretenses of being allowed to rule in his mother’s place. Octavian ordered his murder, on advice that “Two Caesar were too many.”

With Cleopatra’s death, and Caesarion’s subsequent murder, the rule of the Ptolemaic Dynasty came to an end and Egypt became a mere Roman Province.

Happy Birthday today, December 25th, to Alexander Helios and Cleopatra Selene II. They were the twin children born to Cleopatra VII and Marc Antony, sometime late in 40 B.C. The date of the 25th has been given for their birth by some sources, but many also say the exact date is unknown.

After their parents were defeated by Octavian, with both subsequently committing suicide,  they were taken to Rome alongside their younger brother, Ptolemy Philadelphus. Octavian, who had wished to have Cleopatra paraded through the streets, settled instead for her children; shackling them in golden chains so heavy they could barely walk. After his Triumph parade they were raised in the household of their father’s third wife, Octavia Minor.

What happened to Helios is unclear. There is no record of any marriage plans for him, or any descendents, nor any sort of career in the military or government. It is thought by some that he and Philadelphus either died of illness or were murdered.

Selene was married to Juba II, sometimes between 20 - 26 B.C. becoming Queen of Numidia and Mauretania. Selene and Juba had at least one son, Ptolemy of Mauretania, and possibly a daughter named Drusilla. It is unknown exactly when she died but, upon her death she was buried in the Royal Mausoleum of Mauretania, where Juba would also be interred upon his death, and the structure still stands today.

Head of the God Helios
In the style of Lysippos; Middle Hellenistic period; marble
Archaeological Museum of Rhodes, Rhodes

On this day in history, August 12th, two thousand and forty seven years ago, Cleopatra VII, the last active ruler of Ancient Egypt, committed suicide.

Eleven days previously, her husband Marc Antony had already done the same. The couple had been engaged in a civil war against Octavian, the great nephew of Julius Caesar who had been declared his legal heir. During the final battle in Alexandria, Antony suffered serious desertions among his troops and lost the fight. Upon his return, he falsely heard Cleopatra had killed herself and fell on his sword.

After Antony’s death, Octavian arrived in Egypt and effectively took Cleopatra and her children by Antony prisoner. She had sent her eldest son Caesarion, her only living child with Caesar, away for his own safety. She knew that Octavian planned for her to march in chains behind his chariot during his triumph parade, and would very likely have her killed afterwards. Rather than suffer such humiliations and indignity, she chose to take her own life.

Popular history and mythology leads us to believe that she was killed by inducing an asp to bite her, after having locked herself in her mausoleum with her two handmaidens. However, many modern scholars believe that she instead took a mixture of poisons, since the venom of an asp does not cause a quick or painless death. Octavian and his men found her too late to do anything, Cleopatra was already dead and one handmaiden, Iras, was nearly dead on the floor. The second, Charmian, was straightening the Queen’s diadem. According to legend, one of the men asked if this was well done of her mistress, and she shot back “Very well done, as befitting the descendant of so many noble Kings.”

Upon her death, Octavian honoured her wish to be buried in her mausoleum at Antony’s side. He took her children with Antony, the twins Cleopatra Selene and Alexander Helios, along with their younger brother, Ptolemy Philadelphus, to Rome with him as prisoners of sorts. They were fated to march in his triumph parade in their mother’s place, the chains so heavy they could hardly walk. After this they were given to Octavian’s sister Octavia, who had been Antony’s third wife, to look after.

Cleopatra’s son with Caesar, Caesarion, was nominally sole ruler of Egypt after his mother’s death. Eleven days after her suicide, he was found after being lured back to Alexandria under false pretences of being allowed to rule in his mother’s place. Octavian ordered his murder, on advice that “Two Caesar were too many.”

With Cleopatra’s death, and Caesarion’s subsequent murder, the rule of the Ptolemaic Dynasty came to an end and Egypt became a mere Roman Province

Ems: Never-Ending-List-of-Kick-Arse-Women-Throughout-History

                                                Cleopatra

Stats:

Born: 69 BC

Died: August 30 BC

Location: Egypt (Alexandria)

Time: Ptolemaic Dynasty

Parents: Ptolemy XII Auletes, mother unknown

Children: Caesarion, Cleopatra Selene, Alexander helios, Ptolemy Philadelphus

Spouse: Ptolemy XIII, Ptolemy XIV, Marc Antony (was also involved with Julius Caesar)

Achievements: Survived her siblings and family (the Ptolemies were notorious for murdering one another), spoke seven languages (at least), was an accomplished mathematician, philosopher and chemist, was able to retain Egypt for as long as she did (she inherited a mess of an empire, with debt and drought), went toe-to-toe with Augustus and (in my opinion) if it hadn’t have been for Antony she very well could have won!

“For you, Your Majesty,” Antony said solemnly, placing the coronet on Alexander’s head, where it was all but lost in his thick curls. “And you.” He had one for Selene, this one with more poppies. She accepted regally.

“Well done,” he said. “You see, that queenly gesture comes from you,” he said to me. “It’s inherited, not learned.”

I put my arms around their shoulders. Antony seemed inordinately proud of them, as if they were the only children he had ever had.

—  The Memoirs of Cleopatra - Margaret George

On this day in history, August 12th, two thousand and forty five years ago, Cleopatra VII, the last active ruler of Ancient Egypt, committed suicide.

Eleven days previously, her husband Marc Antony had already done the same. The couple had been engaged in a civil war against Octavian, the great nephew of Julius Caesar who had been declared his legal heir. During the final battle in Alexandria, Antony suffered serious desertions among his troops and lost the fight. Upon his return, he falsely heard Cleopatra had killed herself and fell on his sword.

After Antony’s death, Octavian arrived in Egypt and effectively took Cleopatra and her children by Antony prisoner. She had sent her eldest son Caesarion, her only living child with Caesar, away for his own safety. She knew that Octavian planned for her to march in chains behind his chariot during his triumph parade, and would very likely have her killed afterwards. Rather than suffer such humiliations and indignity, she chose to take her own life.

Popular history and mythology leads us to believe that she was killed by inducing an asp to bite her, after having locked herself in her mausoleum with her two handmaidens. However, many modern scholars believe that she instead took a mixture of poisons, since the venom of an asp does not cause a quick or painless death. Octavian and his men found her too late to do anything, Cleopatra was already dead and one handmaiden, Iras, was nearly dead on the floor. The second, Charmian, was straightening the Queen’s diadem. According to legend, one of the men asked if this was well done of her mistress, and she shot back “Very well done, as befitting the descendant of so many noble Kings.”

Upon her death, Octavian honoured her wish to be buried in her mausoleum at Antony’s side. He took her children with Antony, the twins Cleopatra Selene and Alexander Helios, along with their younger brother, Ptolemy Philadelphus, to Rome with him as prisoners of sorts. They were fated to march in his triumph parade in their mother’s place, the chains so heavy they could hardly walk. After this they were given to Octavian’s sister Octavia, who had been Antony’s third wife, to look after.

Cleopatra’s son with Caesar, Caesarion, was nominally sole ruler of Egypt after his mother’s death. Eleven days after her suicide, he was found after being lured back to Alexandria under false pretenses of being allowed to rule in his mother’s place. Octavian ordered his murder, on advice that “Two Caesar were too many.”

With Cleopatra’s death, and Caesarion’s subsequent murder, the rule of the Ptolemaic Dynasty came to an end and Egypt became a mere Roman Province.

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