Cleopatra IV (c. 135–112 BCE)

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Cleopatra IV (c. 135–112 bce)

Queen of Egypt . Born around 135 bce; died in 112 bce; daughter of Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II and Cleopatra III (c. 155–101 bce); married full brother, Ptolemy IX Philometor Soter II (divorced 115 bce); married Antiochus IX Philopator Cyzicenus, a Seleucid king, in 113 bce; children: (first marriage) possibly Cleopatra Berenice III .

Cleopatra IV was the daughter of Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II and his niece-wife, Cleopatra III Euergetis of Egypt. She was first married to her full brother, Ptolemy IX Philometor Soter II, and subsequently to the Seleucid Antiochus IX Philopator Cyzicenus. Cleopatra IV was the middle of three sisters, Cleopatra Selene being the younger, and Cleopatra Tryphaena , who first married the Seleucid king Antiochus VIII Philometor Grypus, being the older. The marriage of Cleopatra IV to her first husband Ptolemy IX was congenial to both; but when Ptolemy IX, under Cleopatra IV's influence, began to challenge their mother's control of Egyptian affairs, Cleopatra III forced their divorce and Ptolemy IX's remarriage to Cleopatra Selene (115).

Cleopatra Tryphaena (d. after 112 bce)

Queen of Syria. Condemned to death by Antiochus IX Cyzicenus after 112 bce; daughter of Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II and Cleopatra III Euergetis (c. 155–101 bce) of Egypt; sister of Cleopatra IV and Cleopatra Selene ; married Antiochus VIII Grypus, Seleucid king (r. 125–96 bce); children: Seleucus VI and Antiochus X Eusebes Philopator.

Furious that her political ambitions had been frustrated by her mother's interference, Cleopatra IV fled Egypt for Cyprus where she raised an army loyal to herself. She then led this army to Seleucid Syria where she offered it to her cousin, Antiochus IX Cyzicenus who was engaged in a civil war against his half-brother Antiochus VIII Grypus (both were sons of Cleopatra Thea , the sister of Cleopatra III). Antiochus IX subsequently married Cleopatra IV (113), but, in the conflict that followed, she was trapped in Antioch by his brother Antiochus VIII (112). Seeking sanctuary, Cleopatra IV escaped to an altar of Artemis where she pleaded in vain for her life. At the insistence of her own sister Cleopatra Tryphaena, Cleopatra IV was executed before she could even be dragged from the sacred precinct. It is reported that Tryphaena insisted upon Cleopatra IV's murder because she feared that her husband, the rival Antiochus VIII, might be susceptible to her charms. Antiochus IX, doubly angered by the loss of Cleopatra IV and the impiety of her demise, made sure that when the tables were turned and Cleopatra Tryphaena had fallen into his hands, she was similarly shown no mercy.

William S. Greenwalt , Associate Professor of Classical History, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, California

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Cleopatra IV (c. 135–112 BCE)

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