Cleopatra I Syra

Queen of Ptolemaic Egypt

Encyclopedia from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cleopatra I Syra
Queen of Egypt
Cleopatra I El Kab.jpg
Queen of Egypt
Reign193 - 176 BC
Coronation192 BC
PredecessorPtolemy V of Egypt
SuccessorPtolemy VI of Egypt
Co-regentPtolemy V of Egypt and Ptolemy VI of Egypt
Bornc. 204 BC
Died176 BC[2] or 178/177 BC[3]
SpousePtolemy V of Egypt
IssuePtolemy VI of Egypt
Ptolemy VIII Physcon
Cleopatra II of Egypt
FatherAntiochus III the Great
MotherLaodice III

Cleopatra I Syra (Greek: Κλεοπάτρα Σύρα; c. 204 – 176 BC) was a princess of the Seleucid Empire, Queen of Ptolemaic Egypt by marriage to Ptolemy V of Egypt, and regent of Egypt during the minority of their son, Ptolemy VI, from her husband’s death in 180 BC until her own death in 176 BC.


Cleopatra I was the daughter of Antiochus III the Great, King of the Seleucid Empire, and Queen Laodice III.


In 197 BC, Antiochus III had captured a number of cities in Asia Minor previously under the control of the Ptolemaic kingdom of Egypt. The Romans supported the Egyptian interests, when they negotiated with the Seleucid king in Lysimachia in 196 BC. In response, Antiochus III indicated his willingness to make peace with Ptolemy V and to have his daughter Cleopatra I marry Ptolemy V. They were betrothed in 195 BC and their marriage took place in 193 BC in Raphia.[4] At that time Ptolemy V was about 16 years and Cleopatra I about 10 years old. Later on, Egypt's Ptolemaic kings were to argue that Cleopatra I had received Coele-Syria as her dowry and, therefore, this territory again belonged to Egypt. It is not clear if this was the case. However, in practice, Coele-Syria remained a Seleucid possession after the Battle of Panium in 198 BC.[5]

In Alexandria, Cleopatra I was called the Syrian.[6] As part of the Ptolemaic cult she was honoured with her husband as Theoi Epiphaneis. In line with ancient Egyptian tradition, she was also named adelphe (= sister) of Ptolemy V. A synod of priests held at Memphis in 185 BC transferred all honours that Ptolemy V had received in 196 BC (written on the Rosetta stone) to his wife. In 187 BC, Cleopatra I was appointed vizier.

Queen Regent

Upon her husband's death in 180 BC, she ruled on behalf of her young son, Ptolemy VI. She was the first Ptolemaic queen to rule without her husband. This can be concluded from date formulas on the papyri written in the years from 179 BC to 176 BC, where Cleopatra I is called Thea Epiphanes and her name is written before that of her son. She also minted her own coins, which also bear her name before that of her son.

Just before his death, Ptolemy V had planned to conduct a war against the Seleucid kingdom but when Cleopatra I became sole ruler, she immediately ended the war preparations directed against her brother Seleucus IV Philopator.

Cleopatra I died around 176 BC. The year after her death, her son Ptolemy VI and her daughter Cleopatra II married.


Cleopatra and Ptolemy V had three children:[7][8]

Name Image Birth Death Notes
Ptolemy VI Philometor Ptolemy VI Philometor ring.jpg May/June 186 BC 145 BC Succeeded as King under the regency of his mother in 180 BC, co-regent and spouse of Cleopatra II from 170-164 BC and again 163-145 BC.
Cleopatra II Egyptian - Intaglio Portrait of Cleopatra II - Walters 421319.jpg 186-184 BC 6 April 115 BC Co-regent and wife of Ptolemy VI from 170-145 BC, co-regent and spouse of Ptolemy VIII from 145-132 BC, claimed sole rule 132-127 BC, co-regent and spouse of Ptolemy VIII again from 124-115 BC, co-regent with Cleopatra III and Ptolemy IX from 116-115 BC.
Ptolemy VIII Ptolemy VIII.jpg c. 184 BC 26 June 116 BC Co-regent with Ptolemy VI and Cleopatra II from 169-164 BC, expelled Ptolemy VI in 164, expelled in turn 163 BC, King of Cyrenaica from 163-145 BC, co-regent with Cleopatra II and Cleopatra III from 145-132 BC and again from 124-116 BC.



On June 22, 2010, archaeologists uncovered a gold coin bearing Cleopatra's image at Tel Kedesh in Israel near the Lebanon border. It was reported to be the heaviest and most valuable gold coin ever found in Israel.[10]


  1. ^ Beckerath, J. Handbuch der Ägyptischen Königsnamen, MÄS 49 (1999): 289
  2. ^ Werner Huß, Ägypten in hellenistischer Zeit (Egypt in Hellenistic times). Munich 2001, p. 540
  3. ^ Cleopatra I by Chris Bennett
  4. ^ Polybius 18.51.10 and 28.20.9; Livy 33.40.3 and 35.13.4; Appian, Syriaca 3.13 and 5.18
  5. ^ Polybius 28.1.2-3 and 28.20.6-10; Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 12.154-155; Appian, Syriaca 5.18
  6. ^ Appian, Syriaca 5.18
  7. ^ Aidan Dodson, Dyan Hilton, The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt, 2004
  8. ^ Chris Bennett. "Cleopatra I". Tyndale House. Retrieved September 28, 2019.
  9. ^ Laodice III, prior to her marriage to Antiochus III the Great, was a Princess of Pontus and was styled as such.
  10. ^ Retrieved 12/21/2019


  • Stähelin, Kleopatra 14). In: Realencyclopädie der Classischen Altertumswissenschaft, vol. XI 1, 1921, col. 738-740.
  • Werner Huß, Ägypten in hellenistischer Zeit (Egypt in the Hellenistic Period). Munich 2001, p. 499; 514f.; 535; 537-540.
  • Günther Hölbl, Geschichte des Ptolemäerreichs (History of the Ptolemaic Empire). Darmstadt 1994, p. 125; 127f.; 147f.; 153.
Cleopatra I Syra
Born: 204 BC Died: 176 BC
Preceded by
Ptolemy V
Ptolemaic dynasty
193 BC–176 BC
with Ptolemy V and Ptolemy VI
Succeeded by
Ptolemy VI Philometor
Original content from Wikipedia, shared with licence Creative Commons By-Sa - Cleopatra I Syra