Ptolemaic Kings > Ptolemy XV Caesarion

Ptolemy XV Caesarion

Background

Ptolemy XV Philopator Philometor Caesar also known in Greek as Πτολεμαῖος ΙΕʹ Φιλοπάτωρ Φιλομήτωρ Καῖσαρ, Ptolemaios IEʹ Philopatōr Philomētōr Kaisar and in Latin as Ptolemaeus XV Philopator Philomētor Caesar was the oldest son of Cleopatra VII and Julius Caesar who ruled over the Ptolemaic Kingdom between 23 June, 47 BCE to 23 August 23, 30 BCE until his assassination. He is called more simply as Ptolemy Caesarion, known in Greek as Καισαρίων or Ptolemaios Kaisar, Kaisariōn, and in Latin as Ptolemaeus Caesar.

Being the only son of Julius Caesar and Cleopatra, by his birthright he was eligible to legally claim not only Egypt and the Ptolemaic Kingdom but also the seat of the newly minted Roman Empire as well. Due to this he was quickly assassinated by Augustus Caesar. He began his rule on 2 September, 44 BCE alongside his mother until her death on 12 August, 30 BCE. Following the death of his mother he ruled along until his own death on 23 August, 30 BCE. Following his death the Ptolemaic Kingdom officially collapased and was integrated as a province into the Roman Empire.

Early Life

CaesarionCaesarion.jpgCaesarion, from the "Unravel the Mystery" Cleopatra exhibitPharoah of EgyptReign2 September 44 BC – 12 August 30 BCalongside Cleopatra VII PhilopatorPredecessorCleopatra VII PhilopatorSuccessorCaesar Augustus (as Roman Emperor)Born23 June 47 BCDiedPurported 23 August 30 BC (aged 17)GreekΠτολεμαῖος ΙΕʹ Φιλοπάτωρ Φιλομήτωρ Καῖσαρ, ΚαισαρίωνTransliterationPtolemaĩos Philopátōr Philomḗtōr Kaĩsar, KaisaríōnHouseJulio-ClaudianDynastyPtolemaicFatherJulius CaesarMotherCleopatra VII PhilopatorPtolemy XV Philopator Philometor Caesar[note 1] (Greek: Πτολεμαῖος ΙΕʹ Φιλοπάτωρ Φιλομήτωρ Καῖσαρ, Ptolemaios IEʹ Philopatōr Philomētōr Kaisar; Latin: Ptolemaeus XV Philopator Philomētor Caesar; June 23, 47 BC – August 23, 30 BC), better known by the nicknames Caesarion (/sᵻˈzæriən/; English: Little Caesar; Latin: Caesariō) and Ptolemy Caesar (/ˈtɒlᵻmi ˈsiːzər/; Greek: Πτολεμαῖος Καῖσαρ, Ptolemaios Kaisar; Latin: Ptolemaeus Caesar), was the last Pharaoh of Egypt. He was the final member of the Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt, who reigned jointly with his mother Cleopatra VII of Egypt, from September 2, 44 BC. He held the position of sole ruler between the death of Cleopatra, on August 12, 30 BC, up to August 23, 30 BC, the time his death was ordered by Octavian, who would become the Roman emperor Augustus. It is unknown whether Octavian's order was carried out successfully. He was the eldest son of Cleopatra VII, and possibly the only biological son of Julius Caesar, after whom he was named.Contents [hide]1Life2Depictions3Egyptian names4Ancestry5Caesarion as fictional character6See also7Notes8References9External linksLife[edit]Caesarion was born in Egypt on June 23, 47 BC. His mother Cleopatra insisted that he was the son of Julius Caesar. Caesarion was said to have inherited Caesar's looks and manner, but Caesar apparently did not officially acknowledge him. Caesar's supporter Gaius Oppius wrote a pamphlet which attempted to prove that Caesar could not have fathered Caesarion. Nevertheless, Caesar may have allowed Caesarion to use his name.[1] The matter became contentious when Caesar's adopted son Octavian came into conflict with Cleopatra.Caesarion spent two of his infant years, from 46 to 44 BC, in Rome, where he and his mother were Caesar's guests. Cleopatra hoped that her son would eventually succeed his father as the head of the Roman Republic as well as of Egypt. After Caesar's assassination on March 15, 44 BC, Cleopatra and Caesarion returned to Egypt. Caesarion was named co-ruler by his mother on September 2, 44 BC at the age of three, although he was pharaoh in name only, with Cleopatra keeping actual authority all to herself. Cleopatra compared her relationship to her son with the Egyptian goddess Isis and her divine child Horus.[1]During the tense period leading up to the final conflict between Mark Antony (Marcus Antonius) and Octavian (future Emperor Augustus), the two of them initially shared control of the Republic in a triumvirate with Lepidus. Lepidus was forced into retirement by Octavian in 36 BC. Octavian and Mark Antony were then left in control of the Western and Eastern provinces respectively.There is no historical record of Caesarion between 44 BC until the Donations of Antioch in 36 BC. Two years later he also appears at the Donations of Alexandria. Cleopatra and Antony staged both "Donations" to donate lands dominated by Rome and Parthia to Cleopatra's children: the 11-year-old Caesarion (fathered by Julius Caesar) and the four year-old twins Alexander Helios and Cleopatra Selene II initially in 36 BC, and in 34 BC including the two year-old Ptolemy Philadelphus (all three fathered by Marc Antony). Octavian gave public approval to the Donations of Antioch in 36 BC, which have been described as an Antonian strategy to rule the East making use of Cleopatra's unique royal Seleucid lineage in the regions donated.[2]In 34 BC, Antony granted further eastern lands and titles to Caesarion and to his own three children with Cleopatra in the Donations of Alexandria. Caesarion was proclaimed to be a god, a son of [a] god, and "King of Kings". This grandiose title was "unprecedented in the management of Roman client-king relationships" and could be seen as "threatening the 'greatness' of the Roman people".[3] Antony also declared Caesarion to be Caesar's true son and heir. This declaration was a direct threat to Octavian (whose claim to power was based on his status as Julius Caesar's grandnephew and adopted son). These proclamations partly caused the fatal breach in Antony's relations with Octavian, who used Roman resentment over the Donations to gain support for war against Antony and Cleopatra.[4]After the defeat of Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, Cleopatra seems to have groomed Caesarion to take over as "sole ruler without his mother."[1] She may have intended to go into exile, perhaps with Antony, who may have hoped that he would be allowed to retire as Lepidus had.Caesarion reappears in the historical record in 30 BC, when Octavian invaded Egypt and searched for him. Cleopatra may have sent Caesarion, at the time 17 years old, to the Red Sea port of Berenice for safety, possibly as part of plans for an escape to India; he may have been sent years earlier, but the sources are unclear. Plutarch does say that Caesarion was sent to India, but also that he was lured back by false promises of the kingdom of Egypt:Caesarion, who was said to be Cleopatra's son by Julius Caesar, was sent by his mother, with much treasure, into India, by way of Ethiopia. There Rhodon, another tutor like Theodorus, persuaded him to go back, on the ground that [Octavian] Caesar invited him to take the kingdom.[5]Octavian captured the city of Alexandria on August 1, 30 BC, the date that marks the official annexation of Egypt to the Roman Republic. Around this time Mark Antony and Cleopatra died, traditionally said to be by suicide though murder has been suggested.[6] Details of the narratives in Plutarch are generally challenged and not taken literally.[7] Caesarion's guardians, including his tutor, either were themselves lured by false promises of mercy into returning him to Alexandria or perhaps even betrayed him; the records are unclear.Octavian is supposed to have had Pharaoh Caesarion executed in Alexandria, following the advice of Arius Didymus, who said "Too many Caesars is not good" (a pun on a line in Homer).[8] It is popularly thought that he was strangled, but the exact circumstances of his death (or even whether he lived to old age in hiding under a reinvented identity) have not been documented.[citation needed]Octavian then assumed absolute control of Egypt. The year 30 BC was considered the first year of the new ruler's reign according to the traditional chronological system of Egypt.Depictions[edit]A relief of Cleopatra VII and Caesarion at the temple of Dendera, Egypt[icon]This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (April 2016)Few images of Caesarion survive. He is thought to be depicted in a partial statue found in the harbor of Alexandria in 1997. He is also portrayed twice in relief, as an adult pharaoh, with his mother on the Temple of Hathor at Dendera. His baby image appears on some bronze coins of Cleopatra.[9]Egyptian names[edit]In addition to his Greek name and nicknames, Caesarion also had a full set of royal names in the Egyptian language:Iwapanetjer entynehemSetepenptahIrmaatenreSekhemankhamunThese are usually translated as:"Heir of the God who saves""Chosen of Ptah""Carrying out the rule of Ra" or "Sun of Righteousness""Living Image of Amun"[10]Ancestry[edit]Ancestors of Caesarion[hide]16. Gaius Julius Caesar I8. Gaius Julius Caesar II4. Gaius Julius Caesar the Elder18. Quintus Marcius Rex9. Marcia2. Julius Caesar20. Lucius Aurelius Cotta the Elder10. Lucius Aurelius Cotta5. Aurelia Cotta11. Rutilia1. Caesarion24. Ptolemy VIII Physcon12. Ptolemy IX Lathyros25. Cleopatra III of Egypt6. Ptolemy XII Auletes26. Ptolemy VIII Physcon (= 24)13. Cleopatra IV of Egypt27. Cleopatra III of Egypt (= 25)3. Cleopatra VII of Egypt28. Ptolemy VIII Physcon (= 24)14. Ptolemy X Alexander I29. Cleopatra III of Egypt (= 25)7. Cleopatra V of Egypt30. Ptolemy IX Lathyros (= 12)15. Berenice III of Egypt31. Cleopatra Selene ICaesarion as fictional character[edit]Caesarion is the main character of the historical novel Cleopatra's Heir by Gillian Bradshaw (2002, ISBN 0765302284).In the cartoon album Asterix and Son, Cleopatra leaves an infant Caesarion in the care of the invincible Gaul Asterix, to protect him from being murdered by Brutus.Caesarion is depicted in several episodes of the TV series Rome. He first appears in the episode "Caesarion" as a newborn child and plays a major role in the final episode "De Patre Vostro (About Your Father)", in which he is rescued from death by Titus Pullo, leaving with him to an unknown future. The series strongly implies that Pullo, who had sex with Cleopatra before she met Caesar, is the boy's real father. The title of the final episode, the last words we hear Pullo say to Caesarion before the series ends, alludes to this.Caesarion is a lead character in Michael Livingston's 2015 historical fantasy novel The Shards of Heaven.[11][12]He is a character in Colleen McCullough's Masters of Rome series, in particular in the final book titled Anthony and Cleopatra.See also[edit]Gens JuliaNotes[edit]Jump up ^ Numbering the Ptolemies is a modern invention; the Greeks distinguished them by epithet (nickname). The number given here is the present consensus, but there has been some disagreement in the nineteenth century about which of the later Ptolemies should be counted as reigning. Since older sources may give a number one higher or lower, epithets are the most reliable way of determining which Ptolemy is being referred to in any given case.References[edit]^ Jump up to: a b c Duane W. Roller, Cleopatra: A Biography, Oxford University Press US, 2010, pp.70-3Jump up ^ Rolf Strootman, ‘Queen of Kings: Cleopatra VII and the Donations of Alexandria’, in: M. Facella and T. Kaizer eds., Kingdoms and Principalities in the Roman Near East. Occidens et Oriens 19 (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2010) 139–158Jump up ^ Meyer Reinhold, Studies in classical history and society, Oxford University Press US, 2002, p. 58.Jump up ^ Stanley Mayer Burstein, The Reign of Cleopatra, University of Oklahoma Press, 2007, p. 29.Jump up ^ Plutarch, Life of AntonyJump up ^ Pat Brown, The Murder of Cleopatra: History's Greatest Cold Case, Prometheus Books (February 19, 2013)Jump up ^ The Victorian scholar Arthur Hugh Clough, who updated the poet John Dryden's superb translation of Plutarch to give us the best available version in English, remarked in an introduction: "It cannot be denied that [Plutarch] is careless about numbers, and occasionally contradicts his own statements. A greater fault, perhaps, is his passion for anecdote; he cannot forbear from repeating stories, the improbability of which he is the first to recognise." Morrow, Lance. "Smithsonian Magazine", July 2004. Retrieved on 26 Feb 2015.Jump up ^ David Braund et al, Myth, history and culture in republican Rome: studies in honour of T.P. Wiseman, University of Exeter Press, 2003, p. 305. The original line was "ουκ αγαθόν πολυκοιρανίη" ("ouk agathon polukoiranie"): "too many leaders are not good", or "the rule of many is a bad thing". (Homer's Iliad, Bk. II. vers. 204 and 205) In Greek "ουκ αγαθόν πολυκαισαρίη" ("ouk agathon polukaisarie") is a variation on "ουκ αγαθόν πολυκοιρανίη" ("ouk agathon polukoiranie"). "Καισαρ" (Caesar) replacing "κοίρανος", meaning leader.Jump up ^ Sear, Greek Coins and Their Values, Vol. II.Jump up ^ Chronicle of the Pharaohs, by Peter Clayton (1994), ISBN 0-500-05074-0Jump up ^ "The Shards of Heaven by Michael Livingston". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved January 29, 2016.Jump up ^ "Review: The Shards of Heaven by Michael Livingston". Kirkus Reviews. September 3, 2015. Retrieved January 29, 2016.External links[edit]Ptolemy XV Caesarion entry in historical sourcebook by Mahlon H. SmithCaesarionPtolemaic dynastyBorn: 47 BC Died: 30 BCPreceded byCleopatra VII PhilopatorPharaoh of Egypt44–30 BCEwith Cleopatra VIISucceeded byEgypt annexed by Rome

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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Secondary Sources

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