Theoxena of Egypt

Theoxena, also known as Theoxena the Younger to distinguish her from her mother[1] (Greek: Θεόξενα, flourished possibly late second half of 4th century BC and first half of 3rd century BC), was a Syracusan Greek Princess and was a noblewoman of high status.[2]

Family backgroundEdit

Theoxena was a woman of Sicilian origin. She was the daughter born to Agathocles and his third wife Theoxena[3][4] and had a brother called Archagathus.[5][6]

Her father Agathocles, was a Greek Tyrant of Syracuse, who later became King of Sicily.[7][8] Theoxena had two paternal-half posthumous brothers: Archagathus and Agathocles;[9] one paternal half-sister Lanassa who was the second wife of King Pyrrhus of Epirus and a posthumous paternal half-nephew Archagathus.[10] Theoxena was the namesake of her mother.

Her mother Theoxena was a Greek Macedonian noblewoman. She was the second daughter and third child born to the noblewoman Berenice I and her first husband, an obscure nobleman called Philip.[11] Theoxena’s biological maternal grandfather Philip, served as a military officer in the service of the Greek King Alexander the Great and was known in commanding one division of the Phalanx in Alexander’s wars.[12] Theoxena’s maternal grandmother Berenice I, was the great-niece of the powerful Regent Antipater[13] and she was a distant collateral relative to the Argead dynasty.[14] Her full blooded maternal uncle was Magas of Cyrene and her full-blooded maternal aunt was Antigone.[15]

Her biological maternal grandfather Philip died about 318 BC. After his death, Berenice I travelled with her children to live in Egypt, where she eventually married Ptolemy I Soter the first Greek Pharaoh and founder of the Ptolemaic dynasty. Through her grandmother’s second marriage to Ptolemy I, Berenice I was an Egyptian Queen and the Queen mother of the Ptolemaic dynasty,[16] thus her mother was a stepdaughter to Ptolemy I and became an Egyptian Princess. Her maternal grandmother had with Ptolemy I three children; two daughters, Arsinoe II, Philotera and the future Pharaoh Ptolemy II Philadelphus.[17] Arsinoe II, Philotera were her maternal half-aunts, while Ptolemy II was her maternal half-uncle.

Early lifeEdit

Like her brother, Theoxena was born between 301 BC-298 BC.[18] Along with her brother they were born and raised in Sicily. When Agathocles felt his death was approaching, he had sent away the elder Theoxena and their children to Egypt.[19] Theoxena’s father died in 289 BC and her father declared his kingdom as a democracy on his death.[20][21] Theoxena, her brother with their mother; spent their remaining youth in Egypt, possibly in the court living with Ptolemy I and Berenice I in Alexandria.

Remaining lifeEdit

Little is known on the adult life of Theoxena. Theoxena married an unknown person whose name is lost. By her husband, Theoxena had two children; one child whose name is lost and a son called Agathocles.[22][23]

Sometime in the reign of Ptolemy II reigned 283 BC-246 BC, her uncle had banished her to the Thebaid,[24] perhaps to Coptos. Theoxena had brought false accusations to Ptolemy II against parties she knew.[25] The names of these persons are lost as they were recorded on a papyrus,[26] which has been damaged. It can be chronologically plausible that these events were connected to the exile of Arsinoe I.[27] Arsinoe I was the first wife of Ptolemy II and was exiled in 274 BC/273 BC.