People > Berenice I

Berenice I

Background

Berenice I (c. 340 - 279-268 BCE) was a Macedonian noblewoman and through her marriage to Ptolemy I Soter became the second queen of the Ptolemaic Kingdom following Eurydice which was a Hellenistic kingdom based out of the former Achaemenid satrapy of Egypt. She was originally born in Eordeaea to the daughter of a local nobleman named Magas and his wife Antigone. Her maternal grandfather was a nobleman named Cassander who was the brother of Antipater who served as the regent to Alexander's empire.

Not much is known about her early life other than she originally married a local nobleman and military officer named Philip in 325 BCE. Philip had previously been married and had several other children. Berenice I and Philip would have two children together, King Magas of Cyrene and a daughter named Theoxena. Philip would die around 318 BCE and following this Berenice would travel around Egypt.

Berenice I would eventually marry Ptolemy I in 317 BCE who was one of the generals in the Macedonian army under Alexander III the Great. After the marriage Ptolemy and Berenice would have three children together; Ptolemy II Philadelphus and two daughters named Arsinoe II and Philotera.

After the death of her first husband, Berenice travelled to Egypt with her children as a lady-in-waiting for her mother’s first cousin Eurydice who was the wife of Ptolemy I. Ptolemy I was one of the generals of King Alexander the Great and founder of the Ptolemaic dynasty of Ancient Egypt. Berenice caught the eye of Ptolemy I who married her in 317 BC. Berenice bore Ptolemy I: two daughters Arsinoe II, Philotera and a son Ptolemy II Philadelphus.[2]

Ancient accounts state that Berenice was a competitor in the Olympiad where she was victorious in the chariot races. During his reign Ptolemy II would built a port on the Red Sea that he would name after his mother called Berenice Trogolodytica. Following her death both Ptolemy II and later Ptolemy IV Philopater would decree divine honors to her according to Theocritus, Idylls xv. and xvii.

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

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