Cleopatra II of Egypt

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Cleopatra II (Greek: Κλεοπάτρα; c. 185 BC – 116 BC) was a queen and co-ruler of Ptolemaic Egypt with her brother-husbands and her daughter from 175 BC until 116 BC, and sole ruler from 131 until 127 BC.


Early life

This head of an Egyptian Ptolemaic queen likely depicts Cleopatra II. Walters Art Museum, Baltimore.

Cleopatra II was the daughter of Ptolemy V and likely Cleopatra I. She was the sister of Ptolemy VI and Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II Tryphon. She would eventually marry both of her brothers.[1][2]

First co-regency

Following the death of her mother in 176 BC, she was married to her brother Ptolemy VI Philometor in c. 175 BC. Cleopatra II, Ptolemy VI and their brother, Ptolemy VIII, were co-rulers of Egypt from c. 171 BC to 164 BC.[1]

In c. 169 BC, Antiochus IV of Syria invaded Egypt. Ptolemy VI Philometor joined Antiochus IV outside Alexandria. Ptolemy VI was crowned in Memphis and ruled with Cleopatra II. In 164 BC Cleopatra II and her husband were temporarily deposed by their brother Ptolemy VIII, but were restored to power in 163 BC.[3]

Second co-regency

Cleopatra II married her other brother, Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II in 145 BC. In 142 BC Ptolemy VIII took Cleopatra's younger daughter, his niece, Cleopatra III, as wife.

Sole regency

Cleopatra II led a rebellion against Ptolemy VIII in 131 BC, and drove him and Cleopatra III out of Egypt.[1] At this time Ptolemy VIII murdered both his stepson Ptolemy and his own son Ptolemy Memphites. Ptolemy VIII is said to have had his son dismembered and his head, hands and feet sent to Cleopatra II in Alexandria as a birthday present.[4]

Cleopatra II ruled Egypt from 130 BC to 127 BC when she was forced to flee to Syria, where she joined her daughter Cleopatra Thea and her son-in-law Demetrius II Nicator.

Wall relief of Cleopatra III, Cleopatra II and Ptolemy VIII before Horus

Third co-regency

A public reconciliation of Cleopatra and Ptolemy VIII was declared in 124 BC. After this she ruled jointly with her brother and daughter until 116 BC when Ptolemy died, leaving the kingdom to Cleopatra III. Cleopatra II herself died shortly after.[1]


With Ptolemy VI she had at least four children:[1][2]

With Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II Physcon she had at least one son:[1][2]

  • Ptolemy Memphites. Born between 144 and 142 BC. Murdered by his own father in 130 BC. Ptolemy Memphites may be identical to Ptolemy VII Neos Philopator, but this identification is not universally accepted.



  1. ^ a b c d e f Cleopatra II Archived May 23, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. by Chris Bennett
  2. ^ a b c Aidan Dodson, Dyan Hilton, The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt, 2004
  3. ^ Ptolemy VI by Chris Bennett
  4. ^ Ptolemy Memphites by Chris Bennett
Cleopatra II of Egypt
Born: ca. 185 BC Died: 116 BC
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Ptolemy VI
Queen of Egypt
175 BC-164 BC
with Ptolemy VI and Ptolemy VIII
Succeeded by
Ptolemy VIII
Preceded by
Ptolemy VIII
Queen of Egypt
163 BC-127 BC
with Ptolemy VI, Ptolemy VII, Ptolemy VIII and Cleopatra III
Succeeded by
Ptolemy VIII and Cleopatra III
Preceded by
Ptolemy VIII
Queen of Egypt
124 BC-116 BC
with Ptolemy VIII and Cleopatra III
Succeeded by
Ptolemy IX and Cleopatra III
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