People > Arsinoe II

Arsinoe II

Background

Arsinoë II (Ancient Greek: Ἀρσινόη, 316 BC–unknown date from July 270 BC until 260 BC) was a Ptolemaic Greek Princess of Ancient Egypt and through marriage was Queen of Thrace, Asia Minor and Macedonia as wife of King Lysimachus (Greek: Λυσίμαχος) and later co-ruler of Egypt with her brother-husband Ptolemy II Philadelphus (Greek: Πτολεμαῖος Φιλάδελφος, which means "Ptolemy the sibling-loving").Contents [hide]1Biography2See also3References4Bibliography5Further reading6External linksBiography[edit]She was the first daughter of Pharaoh Ptolemy I Soter (Greek: Πτολεμαίος Σωτήρ, which means "Ptolemy the Savior"), the founder of the Hellenistic state of Egypt, and his second wife Berenice I of Egypt.[1]Arsinoe II at about the age of 15, married Lysimachus, when he was around the age of 60 years old,[2] to whom she bore three sons: Ptolemy I Epigone,[3][4][5] Lysimachus[6] and Philip.[7] In order to position her sons for the throne, she had Lysimachus' first son, Agathocles, poisoned on account of treason. After Lysimachus' death in battle in 281 BC, she fled to Cassandreia (Greek: Κασσάνδρεια) and married her paternal half-brother Ptolemy Keraunos, one of the sons of Ptolemy I from his previous wife, Eurydice of Egypt. The marriage was for political reasons as they both claimed the throne of Macedonia and Thrace (by the time of his death Lysimachus was ruler of both regions, and his power extended to Southern Greece and Asia Minor). Their relationship was never good. As Ptolemy Keraunos was becoming more powerful, she decided it was time to stop him and conspired against him with her sons. This action caused Ptolemy Keraunus to kill two of her sons, Lysimachus and Philip, while the eldest, Ptolemy, was able to escape and to flee north, to the kingdom of the Dardanians. She herself went to Alexandria, Egypt to seek protection from her brother, Ptolemy II Philadelphus."Cameo Gonzaga", HermitageIn Egypt, she continued her intrigues and probably instigated the accusation and exile of her brother Ptolemy II's first wife, Arsinoe I. Arsinoe II then married her brother; as a result, both were given the epithet "Philadelphoi" (Greek: Φιλάδελφοι, "Sibling-loving (plural)") by the presumably scandalized Greeks. Arsinoe II shared all of her brother's titles and apparently was quite influential, having towns dedicated to her, her own cult (as was Egyptian custom), and appearing on coinage. Apparently, she contributed greatly to foreign policy, including Ptolemy II's victory in the First Syrian War (274-271 BC) between Egypt and the Seleucid Empire in the Middle East.According to Posidippus, she won three chariot races at the Olympic Games, probably in 272 BC.[8][9]After her death, Ptolemy II continued to refer to her on official documents, as well as supporting her coinage and cult. He also established her worship as a Goddess, a clever move, because by doing this he established also his own worship as a god.

Ptolemaic Dynasty of Egypt

KingTitleMeaningReignWife/Co-RulerReign
Ptolemy ISoterSavior305-285 BCEBerenice IReign
Ptolemy IIPhiladelphusSister-loving285-246 BCEArsinoe IReign
Ptolemy IIIEuergetes IThe Benefactor246-221 BCEBerenice IIReign
Ptolemy IVPhilopaterFather-loving221-204 BCEArsinoe IIIReign
Ptolemy VEpiphanesThe Illustrious204-180 BCEReign
Ptolemy VIPhilometorMother-loving180-145 BCECleopatra I
Cleopatra II & Ptolemy VIII
Ptolemy Eupator
180–176 BCE
170–163 BCE
153–150 BCE
Ptolemy VIINeos PhilopatorFather-loving145 BCECleopatra IIReign
Ptolemy VIIIEuergetes IIThe Benefactor170–116 BCECleopatra II145–131/130 BCE
Cleopatra II124–116 BCE
Ptolemy VIIIEuergetes IIThe Benefactor170–116 BCECleopatra II124–116 BCE
Ptolemy IXSoter IIThe Savior116-107 BCECleopatra III107–101 BCE
Ptolemy XAlexander I107-88 BCECleopatra III107–101 BCE
Ptolemy IXSoter IIThe Savior88-80 BCE
Ptolemy XIAlexander II80 BCEBerenice III80 BCE
Ptolemy XIIINeos Dionysos/AuletesNew Dionysus/Flute Player80–51 BCEBerenice IV58–55 BCE
Cleopatra VII51-30 BCEReign
Ptolemy XIII PhysconDionysos51-47 BCEReign
Ptolemy XIVPhilopatorFather-loving47-44 BCEReign
Ptolemy XVCaesarionLittle Caesar44-30 BCEReign

Sources

Primary Sources

Secondary Sources

H. Bengtson, Griechische Geschichte von den Anfängen bis in die römische Kaiserzeit, C.H.Beck, 1977R.A. Billows, Kings and colonists: aspects of Macedonian imperialism, BRILL, 1995Elizabeth Donnelly Carney (2013). Arsinoe of Egypt and Macedon: A Royal Life. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-536551-1.Milan Papyrus, P. Mil. Vogl. VIII 309.S.M. Burstein, "Arsinoe II Philadelphos: A Revisionist View", in W.L. Adams and E.N. Borza (eds), Philip II, Alexander the Great and the Macedonian Heritage (Washington, 1982), 197-212P. McKechnie and P. Guillaume (eds) Ptolemy II Philadelphus and his World. Leiden, 2008.M. Nilsson, The Crown of Arsinoë II: The Creation of an Image of Authority. Oxford, 2012.D. L. Selden, Daniel L. "Alibis". Classical Antiquity 17 (2), October 1998.
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