Cleopatra Thea

Queen of Syria

Crocodile-god Sobek and King Ptolemy VI Philometor, bas-relief from Temple of Sobek and Haroeris
Crocodile-god Sobek and King Ptolemy VI Philometor, bas-relief from Temple of Sobek and Haroeris. De Agostini Picture Library / Getty Images

Dates: about 164 BCE to about 121 BCE

Occupation: Queen of Syria (Phoenician Syria, Seleucids)

Known for: exercising power; image on a Greek coin; probably an ancestor of Zenobia

Also known as: Cleopatra Thea Eueteria, "the other Cleopatra"

Background, Family:

  • Father: Ptolemy VI Philometor
  • Mother: Cleopatra II

Marriage, Children:

  1. Alexander I Balas (married about 150 BCE, marriage ended by Ptolemy VI about 147 BCE)
    • son Antiochus IV
  1. Demetrius II Nicator (king of Syria; married about 146 BCE; marriage ended when he was capured by the king of Parthia in 138 BCE)
    • son Seleucus V
    • son Antiochus VIII Grypus
    • possibly others, including daughter Laodice
  2. Antiochus VII Euergetes (married 138 BCE; death in battle about 162 BCE)
    • son Antiochus IX
    • possibly others: daughter Laodice, sons
  3. may have resumed marriage with Demetrius II

About Cleopatra Thea

Cleopatra Thea may first have been promised in marriage to her uncle Ptolemy VIII. Her father, Pharaoh Ptolemy VI Philometor, married her to Alexander I who had defeated Demetrius I, and then left Alexander for Demetrius II, with her father's support for Demetrius' rule.

Cleopatra Thea ruled for her husband Demetrius while he was fighting against Parthia. The Parthians captured Demetrius who later marries Rodogune (Rhodogyne), daughter of Mithridates I of Partia.

When Antiochus VII took power, he married Cleopatra Thea.

Cleopatra Thea ruled with Antiochus VII, then after his death as regent for her son Antiochus VIII.

Justin and other sources say that Antiochus VIII was responsible for her death by poison, according to some from a cup of poison she meant to give to him.