Drusilla of Mauretania the Younger

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This article is about the Drusilla of Mauretania born in 38. For her paternal aunt of the same name, see Drusilla of Mauretania the Elder.

Drusilla of Mauretania (Greek: Δρουσìλλη, 38-79) was a Princess of Mauretania, North Africa and was the great grandchild of Ptolemaic Greek Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt and Roman Triumvir Mark Antony.[1]

Family[edit]

Drusilla was a monarch of Berber, Greek, Roman and possibly of Assyrian ancestry. She may have been the daughter and only child born to the Roman Client Monarchs Ptolemy of Mauretania and his wife, Julia Urania.[2]

Her mother Julia Urania may have been a member of the Royal family of Emesa, a Syrian Roman Client Kingdom.[3] Her father was probably Ptolemy of Mauretania who was a son of the Roman Client Monarchs Juba II and Cleopatra Selene II.[4] Her father’s maternal grandparents were possibly Ptolemaic Greek Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt and Roman Triumvir Mark Antony.[5] Drusilla was the great granddaughter of Cleopatra VII and Mark Antony.[6]

Early life and first marriage[edit]

Drusilla was most probably born in Caesaria (modern Cherchell Algeria), the capital of the Roman Client Kingdom of Mauretania in the Roman Empire. She was named in honor of her father’s second maternal cousin Julia Drusilla, one of the sisters of the Roman Emperor Caligula who died around the time of her birth[7] and is also the namesake of her paternal aunt Drusilla.

Her father was executed while visiting Rome in 40. Mauretania was annexed by Rome and later became two Roman provinces. Drusilla was probably raised in the Imperial Family in Rome. Around 53, the Roman Emperor Claudius arranged for her to marry Marcus Antonius Felix, a Greek Freedman who was the Roman Governor of Judea.[8] Between the years 54 to 56, Felix divorced Drusilla as he fell in love and married the Herodian Princess Drusilla.

Drusilla held the Latin honorary title of Regina.[9] The Roman Historian Suetonius, only uses the word Regina to describe a queen regnant or a queen consort. She is one of the three queens which Suetonius ascribes to Felix.[10] Her title may have been just purely honorary and possibly reveals Felix’s influence and status in the Imperial Court; his royal descent as according to the Roman Historian Tacitus, Felix and his brother Marcus Antonius Pallas had descended from the Greek kings of Arcadia and the position that Claudius appointed him to at the time of his first marriage. At the time of her first marriage, Drusilla was the only daughter of a king of a former kingdom. Her title may also reveal the identity of her second husband.

Second marriage[edit]

In 56 Drusilla married as her second husband; her distant relative the Emesene Priest King, Sohaemus,[11][12] who ruled from 54 until his death in 73. Sohaemus was the Priest of the Syrian Sun God, known in Aramaic as El-Gebal. Through marriage she became a Roman Client Queen of the Emesani Kingdom and a Queen consort to Sohaemus. Drusilla and Sohaemus had a son Gaius Julius Alexio also known as Alexio II, who later succeeded his father as Emesene Priest King. A possible descendant of Drusilla was the Syrian Queen of the 3rd century, Zenobia of Palmyra.[13][14]

References[edit]

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