Gold coin of Cleopatra, Ake mint
|Reign||150 BC-126 BC|
|Co-rulers||Seleucus V Philometor (126-125 BC)|
Antiochus VIII Grypus (125-121 BC)
|Born||ca. 164 BC|
Cleopatra Thea (Greek: , which means "Cleopatra the Goddess"; c. 164 - 121 BC) surnamed Eueteria (i.e., "good-harvest/fruitful season") was the ruler of the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire. She was queen consort of Syria from 150 to about 125 BC as the wife of three Syrian kings: Alexander Balas, Demetrius II Nicator, and Antiochus VII Sidetes. She ruled Syria from 125 BC after the death of Demetrius II Nicator, eventually in co-regency with her son Antiochus VIII Grypus until 121 or 120 BC.
Cleopatra Thea grew up in Egypt as the daughter of Ptolemy VI and Cleopatra II. She was probably born ca. 164 BC. She may have been engaged to her uncle Ptolemy VIII king of Cyrene in 154, but he eventually married her sister Cleopatra III. In 150, BC she married Alexander Balas in a sumptuous ceremony at Ptolemais Akko. The marriage produced a son named Antiochus VI Dionysus.
In 145 BC, her father invaded Syria, defeated Alexander Balas in battle and remarried her to Demetrius II, only to die a few days later. Demetrius set himself up as co-ruler with the young boy Antiochus VI, but may have killed him in 142 BC.
In 139 BC, Demetrius II was captured fighting against the Parthians and was held prisoner by them until 129 BC. After Demetrius was captured, his younger brother, Antiochus VII Sidetes, who was raised in the city of Side in Pamphylia, came to Syria and took the throne, marrying Cleopatra Thea in 138 BC. Cleopatra Thea bore him at least one son, Antiochus IX Cyzicenus. The names of any other children are uncertain.
In 129 BC, the Parthians released Demetrius II, as a political manoeuvre against Sidetes, to claim his throne and his wife.
That same year, Sidetes was killed fighting the Parthians. Cleopatra had taken the precaution of sending Antiochus IX (her son by Antiochus VII) to Cyzicus in Asia Minor (hence his surname). Demetrius returned home and regained his throne, taking Cleopatra Thea as his wife by his side.
In 132/131 BC, Cleopatra Thea's mother, Cleopatra II of Egypt rebelled against her brother Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II Tryphon. In 127 BC Cleopatra II fled to her son-in-law Demetrius' court in Syria.
Demetrius' elder son, Seleucus, became king with the name Seleucus V in 125 BC; however, his mother, Cleopatra Thea, had him murdered soon after. From 125 BC to 121 BC, Cleopatra ruled Syria and to legitimize her reign, she shared the throne with her son, Antiochus VIII Grypus. Antiochus VIII was married to Tryphaena, the daughter of Ptolemy VIII and Cleopatra III.
Grypus became less controllable as he grew up and in 121 BC Cleopatra Thea decided to eliminate him. As he returned from a hunt one day, she offered him a cup of wine. Since this was not common behavior for her, Grypus was suspicious and forced her to drink the wine, which killed her.
Grypus re-organised the state and for the next eight years he provided stability and financial recovery. This period would end ca. 114 BC, when Cleopatra Thea's other son, Antiochus IX Cyzicenus, returned to Syria to claim the throne and civil war started again.
Cleopatra Thea was a daughter of Ptolemy VI and Cleopatra II of Egypt. She had two brothers named Ptolemy Eupator and Ptolemy respectively. Her sister Cleopatra III was Queen of Egypt and married to Ptolemy VIII, an uncle, who had been a former co-ruler of Cleopatra Thea's parents. It is possible that Berenice, the fiancée of Attalus III, king of Pergamum is another sister.
Cleopatra Thea married three times:
Cleopatra TheaBorn: c. 164 BC Died: 121 BC
Laodice V or Apama
| Seleucid Queen (Queen Consort of Syria)
with Alexander Balas (150-145 BC)
Demetrius II Nicator (145-139 BC, 129-126 BC)
Antiochus VII Sidetes (138-129 BC)
Tryphaena and Cleopatra IV
Demetrius II Nicator
| Seleucid Queen (Queen Regnant of Syria)
with Seleucus V Philometor (126-125 BC)
Antiochus VIII Grypus (126-121 BC)
Antiochus VIII Grypus