1068: Berenice III
Queen Regnant of Egypt During a Time of Political Turmoil
Born: c.120 BCE, Ptolemaic Egypt
Died: c.80 BCE, Ptolemaic Egypt
Also Known As: Cleopatra Berenice III
Berenice had previously served as Queen Consort to her uncle/husband Ptolemy X Alexander I of the Ptolemaic Dynasty and had one daughter with him. At the time of the marriage, she was between thirteen and fifteen years old.
The political climate of Egypt during her lifetime was turbulent to say the least, and Berenice’s first husband (Ptolemy X) was eventually murdered in a power ploy that was stirred up by his older brother (Berenice’s father) and his own mother (Berenice’s grandmother).
After his death, Berenice remarried—unfortunately becoming the first Ptolemaic Queen to marry her father, Ptolemy IX Soter. The identity of her mother is uncertain, but most historians believe her mother was either Cleopatra Selene or Cleopatra IV; both of whom were married to Ptolemy IX Soter.
Berenice became the first Ptolemaic woman to assume the name Cleopatra upon her ascension to the throne of Egypt. Thereafter, precedent was set and Ptolemaic women routinely used the name Cleopatra in their regnal name.
Berenice became Queen Regnant after the death of her father/husband and ruled on her own for six-months before marrying her stepson. Evidently Berenice was not at all enthused about the idea of marrying her stepson, but was forced into the matter.
They ruled jointly for eighteen or nineteen days (sources differ). However, once Berenice’s new husband realized she had no intention of giving up her own political power, he had her killed.
The people of Alexandria were so upset they murdered the king in return. Don’t mess with the Alexandrians!
Anyway, with Ptolemy XI now dead as well, the Egyptian world was nearly plunged into chaos. Ptolemy XI was the last legitimate male member of the family, and so the next pharaoh was actually the illegitimate son of Ptolemy IX. The Ptolemaic Dynasty would go on for fifty more years, finally ending with the reign of Cleopatra VII’s oldest son Ptolemy XV Caesar.
Located In My Personal Library:
One Bloody Thing After Another: The World's Gruesome History by Jacob F Field
The Pharaohs by Joyce Tyldesley