People - Ancient Egypt: Ptolemy XII Neos Dionysos
GRECO-ROMAN PERIOD Ptolemaic Dynasty (80-58 & 55-51) This period is confusing due to all of the co-
regencies. Scholars are not always in agreement on the order of reigns and, in some case, the reigns
themselves, from Ptolemy VI through Ptolemy XI. In any event, Egypt's authority and wealth was intact until
the death of Cleopatra, at which time, Egypt was overpowered by Rome.
Ptolemy XII Auletes in Wikipedia
Ptolemy Neos Dionysos Theos Philopator Theos Philadelphos (117–51 BC) (Greek: Πτολεμαῖος Νέος Διόνυσος Θεός Φιλοπάτωρ Θεός
Φιλάδελφος, Ptolemaios Néos Diónusos Theós Philopátōr Theós Philádelphos), New Dionysus, God Beloved of his Father, God Beloved
of his Brother) was more commonly known as "Auletes" (The Flutist) (Αὐλητής, Aulētḗs), or "Nothos" (The Bastard) (Νόθος,
Nóthos). Auletes means pipes-player, and refers to his chubby cheeks, like the inflated cheeks of a pipe-player.
Early life -
Ptolemy XII was a Hellenistic ruler of Macedonian descent. He is assumed to be an illegitimate son of Ptolemy IX Soter since it
can not be confirmed if he is the son of Cleopatra IV of Egypt.  His reign as king was interrupted by a general rebellion
that resulted in his exile from 58-55 BC. Thus, Ptolemy XII ruled Egypt from 80 to 58 BC and from 55 BC until his death in 51
BC. Ptolemy XII was generally described as a weak, self-indulgent man, a drunkard, and a music lover. 
Ptolemy had two wives, the first bore him 3 children:
The second wife (whose name remains unknown) also bore him 3 children:
His first reign (80–58 BC) -
In 80 BC, Ptolemy XII's predecessor Ptolemy XI was removed by the Egyptian population from the throne of Egypt after the king
had killed his coregent and step mother Berenice III.  When Ptolemy XI died without a male heir, the only available male
descendents of the Ptolemy I lineage were the illegitimate sons of Ptolemy IX by an unknown Greek concubine  . The boys were
living in exile in Sinope, at the court of Mithridates VI, King of Pontus. As the eldest of the boys Ptolemy XII was proclaimed
king as Ptolemy XII Neos Dionysos and married his sister, Tryphaena. Ptolemy XII was coregent with his daughter Cleopatra VI
Tryphaena and his wife Cleopatra V Tryphaena.
However, Ptolemy XI had left the throne to Rome in his will therefore Ptolemy XII was not the legitimate successor.
Nevertheless, Rome did not challenge Ptolemy XII's succession because the Senate was unwilling to acquire an Egyptian
Ptolemy XII's personal cult name (Neos Dionysos) earned him the ridiculing sobriquet Auletes (flute player) — as we learn from
Strabo's writing (Strabo XVII, 1, 11):
Now all at kings after the third Ptolemy, being corrupted by luxurious living, have administered the affairs of government
badly, but worst of all the fourth, seventh, and the last, Auletes, who, apart from his general licentiousness, practised the
accompaniment of choruses with the flute, and upon this he prided himself so much that he would not hesitate to celebrate
contests in the royal palace, and at these contests would come forward to vie with the opposing contestants.
The first pylon at Edfu Temple was decorated by Ptolemy XII in 57 BC with figures of himself smiting the enemy.
Before Ptolemy XII's reign, the geographical distance between Rome and Egypt resulted in an indifferent attitude towards each
other. Nevertheless, Egyptians asked the Romans to settle dynastic conflicts  During his reign, Ptolemy XII attempted to
secure his own fate and the fate of his dynasty by means of a pro-Roman policy. In 63 BC, it appeared that Pompey would emerge
as the leader of a Roman struggle thus Ptolemy sought to form a patron-client relationship with the Roman by sending him riches
and extending an invitation to Alexandria. Pompey accepted the riches but refused the invitation.  Nevertheless, a patron
relationship with a leader in Rome did not guarantee his permanence on the throne, thus Ptolemy XII soon afterwards travelled
to Rome to negotiate a bribe for an official recognition of his kingship. After paying a bribe of six thousand talents to
Julius Caesar and Pompey, a formal alliance was formed (a foedus) and his name was inscribed into the list of friends and
allies of the people of Rome (amici et socii populi Romani). 
Exile in Rome (58–55 BC) -
In 58 BC, Ptolemy XII failed to comment on the Roman conquest of Cyprus, a territory ruled by his brother, thereby upsetting
the Egyptian population to start a rebellion. Egyptians were already aggravated by heavy taxes (to pay for the Roman bribes)
and a substantial increase in the cost of living. Ptolemy XII fled to Rome, possibly with his daughter Cleopatra VII, in search
of safety.  His daughter Berenice IV became his successor. She ruled as coregent with her sister (or possibly mother)
Cleopatra VI Tryphaena. A year after Ptolemy XII's exile, Cleopatra VI Tryphaena died and Berenice ruled alone over Alexandria
from 57 to 56BC.
From Rome, Ptolemy XII prosecuted his restitution but met opposition with certain members of the Senate. Ptolemy XII's old ally
Pompey housed the exiled king and his daughter and argued on behalf of Ptolemy's restoration in the Senate. During this time,
Roman creditors realized that they would not get the return on their loans to the Egyptian king without his restoration.
Thus in 57 BC, pressure from the Roman public forced the Senate's decision to restore Ptolemy. However, Rome did not wish
to invade Egypt to restore the king since the Sybylline books stated that if an Egyptian king asked for help and Rome proceeded
with military intervention, great dangers and difficulties would occur.
Egyptians heard rumors of Rome's possible intervention and disliked the idea of their exiled king's return. Cassius Dio
reported that a group of one hundred men were sent as envoys from Egypt to make their case to the Romans against Ptolemy XII's
restoration, but Ptolemy had their leader (a philosopher named Dion) poisoned and most of the other protesters killed before
they reached Rome to plead their desires. 
Restoration (55–51 BC) -
Ptolemy XII finally recovered his throne by paying Aulus Gabinius 10,000 talents to invade Egypt in 55 BC. After defeating the
frontier forces of the Egyptian kingdom, Aulus Gabinius's army proceeded to attack the palace guards but the guards surrendered
before a battle commenced. 
The exact date of Ptolemy XII's restoration is unknown; the earliest possible date of restoration is 4 January 55 BC and the
latest possible date was 24 June the same year. Nevertheless, upon entering the palace, Ptolemy had Berenice and her supporters
executed. From then on, he reigned until he fell ill in 51 BC. Around two thousand Roman soldiers and mercenaries, the so-
called Gabiniani, were stationed in Alexandria to ensure Ptolemy XII's authority on the throne. In exchange, Rome was able to
exert its power over the restored king. His daughter, Cleopatra VII became his coregent.
The moment of Ptolemy XII's restoration, Roman creditors demanded the return on their investments but the Alexandrian treasury
could not repay the king's debt. Learning from previous mistakes, Ptolemy XII shifted popular resentment of tax increases from
the king to a Roman, his main creditor Gaius Rabirius Postumus, whom he appointed Dioiketes (minister of finance). So Rabirius
was placed in charge of debt repayment. Perhaps Gabinius had also put pressure on Ptolemy XII to appoint Rabirius, who had now
direct access to the financial resources of Egypt but exploited the land too much. The king had to imprison Rabirius to protect
his life from the angry people. Then he had him escaped. The Roman immediately left Egypt and went back to Rome at the end of
the year 54 BC. There he was accused de repetundis, but defended by Cicero and he was probably acquitted. Ptolemy, also,
permitted a debasing of the coinage as an attempt to repay the loans. Near the end of Ptolemy's reign, the value of Egyptian
coins dropped to about fifty percent of its value at the beginning of his reign.
Before his death, Ptolemy XII chose his daughter Cleopatra VII as his coregent. In his will, he declared that she and her
brother Ptolemy XIII should rule the kingdom together. To safeguard his interests, he made the people of Rome executors of his
will. Since the Senate was busy with its own affairs, Pompey (as Ptolemy XII's ally) approved the will. 
“Throughout his long-lasting reign the principal aim of Ptolemy was to secure his hold on the Egyptian throne so as to
eventually pass it to his heirs. To achieve this goal he was prepared to sacrifice much: the loss of rich Ptolemaic lands, most
of his wealth and even, according to Cicero, the very dignity on which the mystique of kingship rested when he appeared before
the Roman people as a mere supplicant.” 
Ptolemy XII Neos Dionysos in Tour Egypt
PTOLEMY XII NEOS DIONYSOS
80-58 & 55-51 B.C.
Ptolemy XII Neos Dionysos was the illegitimate son of Lathyros (Ptolemy IX Soter II). His younger brother became
governor of Cyprus and Ptolemy XII came to Alexandria to rule after the death of Ptolemy XI Alexander II. He was
often referred to by his subjects as the Bastard or the Flute Player (Auletes). He referred to himself as 'Theos
Philopator Philadelphos Neos Dionysos'. It is only in the history books that he is referred to as Ptolemy XII.
He was married to his sister-wife, Cleopatra V Tryphaena and was the father of the famous Cleopatra VII, who grew up
to be the last of the Ptolemies. In 59 BC, he raised enough money to bribe Caesar, who was now consul for Rome.
However, he was driven out of Alexandria in 58 BC.
This occurred partly because of his tameness when Rome absorbed Cyprus. In his absence, he left as co-regents his
wife-sister Cleopatra V Tryphaena and their eldest daughter, Berenice IV.
Cleopatra Tryphaena died about a year later and Berenice IV ruled as sole regent. She was made to marry Seleucus
Kybiosaktes but after a short time, she had him strangled. Auletes returned to the throne in 55 BC and ruled until
his death in 51 BC. On his death, he left his regency to his daughter Cleopatra VII.
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