Julia Urania

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Julia Urania
Born flourished 1st century
Title Queen of Mauretania
Spouse(s) Ptolemy of Mauretania
Children Princess Drusilla

Julia Urania (Greek: Ιουλìα Ουρανìа, Latin: Ivlia Urania,[1] flourished 1st century) was a Berber Queen of Mauretania. She married the Berber King Ptolemy of Mauretania, who was a son of the former Mauretanian Monarchs Juba II and Cleopatra Selene II.[2]

Biography[edit]

Urania became Queen of Mauretania, through her marriage to Ptolemy. She married Ptolemy at an unknown date in the 1st century and had borne Ptolemy, a daughter called Drusilla who was born in 38.[3]

Urania is only known through a funeral inscription of her Freedwoman Julia Bodina found at Cherchell, Algeria.[4] Cherchell was then known as Caesaria, the capital of the Berber Kingdom of Mauretania in the Roman Empire. In Bodina’s funeral inscription, Bodina ascribes Urania as Queen Julia Urania. She was ascribed as Queen as a local courtesy or probably a posthumous honor as a dedication to the memory of the former ruling monarch. The inscription reveals that Bodina was a loyal former slave to Urania.

Modern historians have created two theories on the origins on the wife of Ptolemy of Mauretania. Urania may have been a mistress from the lower class. Urania was a nickname given to a favorite mistress of a harem. The nickname derived from the Muses.[5] She was probably a member of the Royal Court in Mauretania.

The other theory is that Urania could have been an Assyrian Princess from the Royal family of Emesa. The Royal family of Emesa were a Roman Syrian Client Kingdom and was at the time a leading Kingdom in the Roman East.

Name[edit]

Urania is an ancient Greek word meaning ‘Heavenly’, ‘Sky’ or ‘Universe’ and is an ancient and modern Greek name. The name Urania is of Emesene origin.[6] Two other Emesene Priest Kings shared the name Uranius, the male variant of Urania who were Uranius Antoninus who reigned from 210 until 235 and Lucius Julius Aurelius Sulpicius Severus Uranius Antoninus who reigned from 235 until 254. She wasn’t the only Queen to have the name Urania. The Parthian Queen and wife of Phraates IV of Parthia had the name Thea Urania (Astarte).[7]

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