Arsinoe II

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Arsinoe II
A gold coin shows paired, profiled busts of a plump man and woman. The man is in front and wears a diadem and drapery. It is inscribed "ΑΔΕΛΦΩΝ".
Head of Ptolemy II Philadelphus with Arsinoe II behind. The Greek inscription ΑΔΕΛΦΩΝ means "[coin] of the siblings".

Arsinoë II (Ancient Greek: Ἀρσινόη, 316 BCE–unknown date from July 270 BCE until 260 BCE) was a Ptolemaic Greek Princess of Ancient Egypt and was Queen of Thrace, Asia Minor and Macedonia through her marriage to King Lysimachus (Greek: Λυσίμαχος). She later became co-ruler of Egypt with her brother-husband Ptolemy II Philadelphus (Greek: Πτολεμαῖος Φιλάδελφος, which means "Ptolemy the sibling-loving").

Biography[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 the age of 15, married Lysimachus to whom she bore three sons: Ptolemy I Epigone,[2][3][4] Lysimachus[5] and Philip.[6] 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 BCE, 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", Hermitage

In 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 BCE) 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 BCE.[7][8]

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.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Did female Egyptian pharaoh rule before Cleopatra?". MSNBC. December 2, 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-05. 
  2. ^ Billows, Kings and colonists: aspects of Macedonian imperialism, p.110
  3. ^ Bengtson, Griechische Geschichte von den Anfängen bis in die römische Kaiserzeit, p.569
  4. ^ Ptolemaic Genealogy: Ptolemy ‘the Son’, Footnotes 9 & 12
  5. ^ Bengtson, Griechische Geschichte von den Anfängen bis in die römische Kaiserzeit, p.569
  6. ^ Bengtson, Griechische Geschichte von den Anfängen bis in die römische Kaiserzeit, p.569
  7. ^ Posidippus, P. Mil. Vogl. VIII 309, AB 78.
  8. ^ Donnelly Carney, Arsinoe of Egypt and Macedon: A Royal Life, pag. 142.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]

Sources[edit]

  • H. Bengtson, Griechische Geschichte von den Anfängen bis in die römische Kaiserzeit, C.H.Beck, 1977
  • 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), 197-212
  • R.A. Billows, Kings and colonists: aspects of Macedonian imperialism, BRILL, 1995