Cleopatra Selene II
|Cleopatra Selene II|
|Queen consort of Numidia
Queen consort of Mauretania
|Coin of the ancient kingdom of Mauretania. Juba II of Numidia on the obverse, Cleopatra Selene II on the reverse.|
|Spouse||Juba II of Numidia|
|Ptolemy, King of Mauretania
|Mother||Cleopatra VII Philopator, Queen of Egypt|
|Born||40 BC (presumed, exact date unknown)
Caesarea, Kingdom of Mauretania
|Burial||Royal Mausoleum of Mauretania|
Cleopatra Selene II (Greek:η Κλεοπάτρα Σελήνη, late 40 BC – ?), also known as Cleopatra VIII of Egypt or Cleopatra VIII was a Ptolemaic Princess and was the only daughter to Greek Ptolemaic queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt and Roman triumvir Mark Antony. She was the fraternal twin of Ptolemaic prince Alexander Helios. Her second name in ancient Greek means "moon", being the counterpart of her twin brother‘s second name Helios, meaning "sun". She was of Greek and Roman heritage. Cleopatra was born, raised and educated in Alexandria, Egypt. In late 34 BC, during the Donations of Alexandria, she was made ruler of Cyrenaica and Libya.
Her parents, Mark Antony and Cleopatra VII, were defeated by Octavian (future Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus), during a naval battle at Actium, Greece in 31 BC. In 30 BC, her parents committed suicide as Octavian and his army invaded Egypt. Octavian captured Cleopatra and her brothers and took them from Egypt to Italy. Octavian celebrated his military triumph in Rome by parading the three orphans in heavy golden chains in the streets. The chains were so heavy that they could not walk. Octavian gave the siblings to Octavia Minor to be raised in her household in Rome. Octavia Minor, who became their guardian, was Octavian's second eldest sister and was their father's former wife.
Between 26-20 BC, Augustus arranged for Cleopatra to marry King Juba II of Numidia in Rome. The Emperor Augustus gave to Cleopatra as a wedding present a huge dowry and she became an ally to Rome. By then her brothers, Alexander Helios and Ptolemy Philadelphus are presumed to have died, possibly from illness or assassination. When Cleopatra married Juba, she was the only surviving member of the Ptolemaic dynasty.
Juba and Cleopatra could not return to Numidia as it had been provincialized in 46 BC. The couple were sent to Mauretania, an unorganized territory that needed Roman supervision. They renamed their new capital Caesarea (modern Cherchell, Algeria), in honor of the Emperor. Cleopatra is said to have exercised great influence on policies that Juba created. Through her influence, the Mauretanian Kingdom flourished. Mauretania exported and traded well throughout the Mediterranean. The construction and sculptural projects at Caesarea and at another city Volubilis, were built and display a rich mixture of Ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman architectural styles.
The children of Cleopatra and Juba were:
- Ptolemy of Mauretania born in 10 BC 
- A daughter of Cleopatra and Juba, whose name has not been recorded, is mentioned in an inscription. It has been suggested that Drusilla of Mauretania was a daughter, but she may have been a granddaughter instead. Drusilla is described as a granddaughter of Antony and Cleopatra, and may have been a daughter of Ptolemy of Mauretania.
Controversy surrounds Cleopatra's exact date of death. A discovered hoard of the Cleopatra's coins were dated at 17 AD. It has traditionally been believed that Cleopatra was alive to mint them; however, this would mean that Juba married the Cappadocian Princess, Glaphyra during Cleopatra's lifetime. To explain this strange marital problem, historians have supposed some sort of rift between Cleopatra and Juba that was eventually mended after Juba's divorce from Glaphyra. Modern historians[who?] dispute the idea that Juba, a thoroughly Romanized king, would have taken a second wife. The argument goes that if Juba married Glaphyra before 4 AD then his first wife, Cleopatra, must have already been dead. (The counterargument can be made that even contemporary client kings with Roman citizenship, like Herod the Great, took multiple wives, and that Juba's father had more than one.)
- The moon herself grew dark, rising at sunset,
- Covering her suffering in the night,
- Because she saw her beautiful namesake, Selene,
- Breathless, descending to Hades,
- With her she had had the beauty of her light in common,
- And mingled her own darkness with her death.
If this poem is not simply literary license, then astronomical correlation can be used to help pinpoint the date of Cleopatra's death. Lunar eclipses occurred in 9, 8, 5 and 1 BC and 3, 7, 10, 11 and 14. The event in 5 BC most closely resembles the description given in the eulogy, but the date of her death is simply not ascertainable with any certainty. Zahi Hawass former Director of Egyptian Antiquities, believes Cleopatra died in 8 AD.
When Cleopatra died, she was placed in the Royal Mausoleum of Mauretania in modern Algeria east of Caesarea that was built by her and Juba, which is still visible. A fragmentary inscription was dedicated to Juba and Cleopatra, as the King and Queen of Mauretania.
- Cleopatra is mentioned in the novels by Robert Graves, I, Claudius and Claudius the God.
- Cleopatra is a significant character in Wallace Breem's historical novel The Legate's Daughter (1974), Phoenix/Orion Books Ltd. ISBN 0-7538-1895-7
- Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran (2009) tells the story of Cleopatra's early life; from the demise of her parents until her marriage to Juba II of Numidia.
- Lily of the Nile, Song of the Nile, and Daughters of the Nile by Stephanie Dray tell Cleopatra Selene's whole life story.
- Querida Alejandría by María García Esperón (Bogotá 2007: Norma, ISBN 958-04-9845-8), a novel in the form of a letter by Cleopatra to the people of Alexandria.
- Cleopatra's Daughter by Andrea Ashton (1979) also tells the story of Cleopatra Selene's early life.
- Cleopatra's Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter (2011) is a novel for teens about Cleopatra Selene.
- She and her twin appear briefly in the television series Rome.
The primary modern source, which includes all the ancient material, is D. W. Roller, The World of Juba II and Kleopatra Selene (London 2003).
- Plutarch - Makers of Rome - Mark Antony
- Suetonius - The Lives of the Twelve Caesars - Augustus & Caligula
- Cassius Dio - Roman History
- Encyclopædia Britannica - Juba II
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Cleopatra Selene II.|
- Roller, The World of Juba II and Kleopatra Selene p. 77
- Roller, The World of Juba II and Kleopatra Selene p. 76–81
- Roller, The World of Juba II and Kleopatra Selene p. 82–85
- Roller, The World of Juba II and Kleopatra Selene p. 84–89
- Roller, The World of Juba II and Kleopatra Selene p. 98–100
- Roller, The World of Juba II and Kleopatra Selene p. 91–162
- Cleopatra Selene by Chris Bennett
- Roller, The World of Juba II and Kleopatra Selene p. 244–56
- Roller, The World of Juba II and Kleopatra Selene p. 249–51
- Roller, The World of Juba II and Kleopatra Selene, p. 250