Cleopatra V Tryphaena (c. 95–c. 57 BCE)
Cleopatra V Tryphaena (c. 95–c. 57 bce)
Queen of Egypt. Name variations: Cleopatra VI Tryphaena or Tryphaeana. Born around 95 bce; died around 57 bce; illegitimate daughter of Ptolemy IX Philometor Soter II Lathyros of Egypt and an unknown mother; married possibly full-brother Ptolemy XII Theos Philopator Philadelphus Neos Dionysus, in 80 bce; children: possibly two sons, Ptolemy XIII and Ptolemy XIV; and three daughters, Berenice IV (d. 55 bce), Arsinoe IV (d. 41 bce), and Cleopatra VII (69–30 bce).
Cleopatra V Tryphaena was the illegitimate daughter of Ptolemy IX Philometor Soter II Lathyros of Egypt by an unknown mother, and the (perhaps full) sister-wife of Ptolemy XII Theos Philopator Philadelphus Neos Dionysus (as the Ptolemaic dynasty devolved, the titles associated with those who sought kingship grew), whom the citizens of Alexandria nicknamed Auletes (the flute player). Cleopatra V Tryphaena married Auletes in late 80 immediately after his initial attempt to secure the vacant Ptolemaic throne, an attempt that was disputed as a result of his own illegitimacy. Their marriage attempted to bolster his claim to the throne, as if the half claims of two illegitimate siblings could combine to constitute one legitimate stake. Never popular in Egypt, Auletes depended on the friendship of Rome to maintain power and heavily "lobbied" the Roman Senate, spending a fortune in bribes to insure his restoration. A hedonistic roué, Auletes was expelled from Egypt in 59, only to return backed by Roman military might four years later. Cleopatra V Tryphaena is a shadowy figure throughout most of Auletes' reign because she maintained a low profile, unlike other women of her line. Auletes fathered at least five children—two sons, Ptolemy XIII and Ptolemy XIV; and three daughters, Berenice IV, Arsinoe IV , and Cleopatra VII —some, or all of whom, may have been by Cleopatra V Tryphaena. Since Auletes was a noted womanizer, there is no way to know how many children Cleopatra V Tryphaena had. In lieu of better evidence, it is possible that Cleopatra V was the mother of Cleopatra VII (the identity of whose mother is nowhere revealed), the most famous queen produced by the Ptolemaic dynasty.
When Auletes was temporarily deposed by his Alexandrian subjects in 59, Cleopatra V Tryphaena reigned as regent on behalf of her (probable) daughter, Berenice IV. However, Cleopatra did not live to see Egypt politically settled, for she died (probably in 57) before the Romans restored her husband Auletes to the Ptolemaic throne (55).