juba ii

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the children and wards of caesar augustus

over the course of his life, emperor augustus took many children into his care. some were slaves or the children of defeated monarchs while others were members of his own family, as he failed to produce a male heir to succeed him. many of them stayed with his sister octavia, and among them were queen cleopatra selene and her future husband king juba, as well as the future emperor tiberius.

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The sovereigns clearly reigned together, for Cleopatra issued coins in her own name, and her head and legend were associated with those of Juba on his coins. She must have considered her lineage superior to his, and the coins showed this.

Encyclopedia of Women in the Ancient World - Joyce E. Salisbury

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“although octavia had herself been unlucky in love, she was apparently something of a matchmaker. in 25 BC she was instrumental in arranging a marriage between cleopatra selene and juba. […] cleopatra selene and juba had much in common. both had been orphaned at a young age by their respective parents’ suicides, both had had their ancestral lands confiscated and both had been displayed in triumphal processions before being encouraged to start a new roman life. they were also politically problematic and marrying them and installing them as client rulers was a potentially excellent solution. so, following the wedding, augustus proclaimed them king and queen of mauretania and sent them to rule as his clients.

the young couple had had their lives turned upside down as a result of the actions of their parents. once they arrived in mauretania they were free to make their own decisions, accountable to no one, except possibly augustus.” - jane draycott

aiysha hart as cleopatra selene

salim kechiouche as juba

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Kleopatra Selene II was born the only daughter of Kleopatra VII, the Hellenistic Queen of Egypt, via her husband, Mark Antony. She was the twin sister of Alexander Helios, older sister of Ptolemy Philadelphos, and a half-sister to many, by far most famously Caesarion, Kelopatra’s son with Julius Caesar.

Born and educated in Alexandria, Selene’s life as a Ptolemaic princess came to an end after the Battle of Actium, in which her parents lost to Octavian. In 30 BCE, her parents committed suicide. Selene, Alexander and Ptolemy were brought to Rome and paraded in golden chains during Octavian’s triumph. Later they became the wards of Octavia, sister to Octavian. In 29 BCE, Ptolemy probably died of illness. Alexander died circa 25 BCE, probably through illness or assassination.

The last Ptolemy, Selene was married in 25 BCE to Juba II, and their love story was one of the greatest to come out of Imperial Rome. They became King and Queen of Mauretania, Selene rebuilt it’s capital, Caesarea, as a new Alexandria, the city becoming a great center of learning and built with Greek, Roman, and Egyptian architecture. She ruled alongside her husband as a beloved queen until her death in 5 BCE.

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

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Kleopatra Selene II was born 40 BCE as a Ptolemaic Princess and was the only daughter to Greek Ptolemaic queen Kleopatra VII of Egypt and Roman triumvir Mark Antony. She was the fraternal twin of Alexander Helios, and was born, raised and educated in Alexandria, Egypt.

In 30 BCE, her parents committed suicide after being defeated by Octavian (later Caesar Augustus) in a naval battle. Subsequently, Octavian and his army invaded Egypt. Octavian captured Selene and her brothers and took them from Egypt to Italy. Octavian celebrated his military triumph in Rome by parading the orphans in heavy golden chains in the streets. The chains were so heavy that they could not walk, eliciting sympathy from many of the Roman onlookers. Octavian gave the siblings to Octavia Minor to be raised in her household in Rome.

In 25 BCE, Augustus arrange for Selene to marry King Juba II of Numidia in Rome. The Emperor Augustus gave to Selene as a wedding present a huge dowry and she became an ally to Rome. By then her brothers, Alexander Helios and Ptolemy Philadelphus, disappear from all known historical records and are presumed to have died, possibly from illness or assassination. When Selene married Juba, she was the only surviving member of the Ptolemaic dynasty.

Juba and Selene could not return to Numidia as it had been made a Roman province in 4 6 BCe. The couple were sent to Mauretania, an unorganized territory that needed Roman supervision. They renamed their new capital Caesarea (modern Cherchell, Algeria), in honor of the Emperor. Selene is said to have exercised great influence on policies that Juba created. Through her influence, the Mauretanian Kingdom flourished. Mauretania exported and traded well throughout the Mediterranean. When Selene died in 5 BCE, she was placed in the Royal Mausoleum of Mauretania in modern Algeria, built by her and Juba east of Caesarea and still visible. A fragmentary inscription was dedicated to Juba and Selene, as the King and Queen of Mauretania.

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.

As with the unicorn, the earliest surviving mention of the manticore is by the Cnidian naturalist Ctesias.  While in Persia, he heard stories of a creature in India that was called “mantichoras,” which meant “maneater.”  The Old Persian word he was referring to was “martikhoras.”

Ctesias’ manticore was cinnabar-red and had a body like a lion, a tail like a scorpion, and a head like a man.  Its eyes were azure and its mouth had three sets of sharp teeth that fit into each other like the teeth of a comb.  It’s voice was like a flute combined with a trumpet.  It did not need to be close by to sting a victim, because it could launch the venomous needle a hundred feet.  These stings could kill any animal but the elephant, which the locals rode when they hunted the manticore.

Later Greek writers added a little to this.  Flavius Philostratus changed its scorpion-like stinger to a ball of sharp hairs, which it could still fling like arrows.  Pliny reported that King Juba II of Numidia (present-day Algeria) spoke of manticores living in the region that could mimic human voices.  None of these writings gave the impression the manticore was intelligent.

It was a popular beast in Mediæval Europe, where it acquired a variety of new attributes.  Its body was sometimes that of a tiger or bear, and sometimes covered with reptilian scales.  It was sometimes thought of as intelligent, and even a form of the Devil.  It was also given part of the Sphinx myth, asking travellers riddles and devouring those who couldn’t answer them correctly.

The manticore remains popular to this day in fantasy fiction and art, where it usually takes the form of a proud golden-furred beast with dragon-like wings and human-like intelligence.

Illustration by Jonathan Hunt.

Essaouira (الصويرة) is located in the western Moroccan region of Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz, on the Atlantic. . The city was known in the time of 11th-century Geographer al-Bakri and was called Sidi Megdoul. In the 16th-century, a corruption of this name became known to the Portuguese as Mogador. The Berber and Arabic names mean the wall, a reference to the former fortress walls. Archaeological research shows that Essaouira has been occupied since prehistoric times. The bay, partially sheltered by the island of Mogador, making it a peaceful harbor protected against strong marine winds. The Carthaginian navigator Hanno visited in the 5th century BC and established a trading post. Around the end of the 1st century BCE, the Berber king Juba II established a Tyrian purple factory, processing murex and purpura shells found in the rocks at Essaouira. This dye colored the purple stripe in Imperial Roman Senatorial togas. A Roman villa was excavated on Mogador island, and a Roman vase was found as well as coinage from the 3rd century CE. Most of the artifacts can now be viewed in the Sidi Mohammed ben Abdallah Museum and the Rabat Archaeological Museum. In the early 1950s film director Orson Welles stayed at the Hotel des Iles during the filming of his 1952 classic version of “Othello” which contains several memorable scenes shot in the labyrinthine streets and alleyways of the medina. Legend has it that during Welles’s sojourn in the town he met Winston Churchill, another guest at the hotel. Beginning in the late 1960s, Essaouira became something of a hippie hangout. Despite common misconception, Jimi Hendrix’s song “Castles Made of Sand” was written in 1967, 2 years before he visited Essaouira. Cat Stevens also spent some time in Essaouira.

Quick Fact: Ptolemy was born in 367 BC. His mother was named Arsinoe and his father is unknown, but most probably Lagus, a Macedonian noble. He had one known brother, Menelaus. According to historical thought, Ptolemy had eleven children with three wives. He became the ruler of Egypt in 323 BC after the death of Alexander the Great and was made Pharaoh, a title his family held for nearly three centuries. Ptolemaic rule of Egypt ended in 30 BC when his descendent, Cleopatra VII committed suicide after the defeat of the Egyptian navy at Actium. Her only surviving daughter, Cleopatra Selene, married Juba II of Numidia. It is unknown if she ever returned to Egypt. 

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period drama meme - couples 3/4 

Kleopatra Selene II ( 40 - 5 BCE ) and Juba II of Numidia ( c. 52 BCE - CE 23)

“Although Octavia had herself been unlucky in love,she was apparently something of a matchmaker. In 25 BCE she was instrumental in arranging a marriage between Selene and Juba. The young couple had had their lives turned upside down as a result of the actions of their parents. Once they arrived in Mauretania they were free to make their own decisions, accountable to no one, except possibly Augustus. They had much to do: the new kingdom of Mauretania was a vast territory, encompassing modern-day Algeria and Morocco, rather than modern-day Mauritania… [Selene] possessed enough prestige to rule alongside her husband as a queen in her own right and consistently referred to her Greek and Ptolemaic heritage on the coins she issued in her own name as well as those she issued in conjunction with Juba. Their new kingdom was in serious need of modernisation, so they refounded [the capital] Iol as Caesarea in honour of their benefactor Augustus. They filled Caesarea with grandiose buildings inspired by those of Rome and also of Alexandria. These included a lighthouse in the style of the Alexandrian Pharos, set up on an island in the harbour, a royal palace situated on the seafront and numerous temples to Roman and Egyptian deities. Their royal court attracted scholars and artists from across the Roman Empire and became a cosmopolitan fusion of Greek, Roman and Egyptian culture. The couple ruled Mauretania for almost two decades, until Selene’s early death at the age of 35.”  -  ‘Cleopatra’s Daughter’, Jane Draycoff

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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.

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Kleopatra would have been a reasonable name for the daughter: besides the precedent of her mother, a daughter of the reigning Ptolemaios had been named Kleopatra in each of the past four generations, ever since Ptolemaios V married the Selukid Princess Kleopatra I early in the second century BC. In fact, there had even been a previous Kleopatra Selene, daughter of Ptolemaios VIII and Kleopatra III, and, by the complex intermarriages of the dynasty, Kleopatra VII’s great-aunt and step-grandmother.

The World of Juba II and Kleopatra Selene: Royal Scholarship on Rome’s African Frontier - Duane W. Roller