Tryphaena (Greek: Τρύφαινα; c. 141 BC – 111 BC) was a Ptolemaic princess. She married the Seleucid king Antiochus VIII Grypus and was queen of Syria (124–111 BC).

Queen consort of the Seleucid Empire
Tenure124 BC–111 BC (in opposition to her sister Cleopatra IV until 112 BC)
Coronation124 BC
PredecessorsCleopatra Thea and Seleucus V Philometor
SuccessorQueen consort Cleopatra Selene
Bornc. 141 BC
Died111 BC
SpouseAntiochus VIII Grypus
FatherPtolemy VIII Physcon
MotherCleopatra III


Early life and Queen of SyriaEdit

It is often assumed that Tryphaena also bore the name Cleopatra, but this has not been attested. She was the oldest daughter of the Egyptian king Ptolemy VIII Physcon and his niece and wife Cleopatra III.[1] Therefore, she was the sister of Ptolemy IX Lathyros, Ptolemy X Alexander I, Cleopatra IV and Cleopatra Selene.

In 124 BC Ptolemy VIII no longer supported his pretender for the Seleucid throne, Alexander II Zabinas, but Antiochus VIII Grypus, the son of Demetrius II Nicator and Cleopatra Thea. So Ptolemy VIII married his daughter Tryphaena to Antiochus VIII and also sent him reinforcements.[2] The couple had five sons: Seleucus VI Epiphanes, the twin Antiochus XI Epiphanes and Philip I Philadelphus, Demetrius III Eucaerus, and Antiochus XII Dionysus. Tryphaena also bore her husband a daughter called Laodice, who became the wife of Mithridates I Callinicus.[3]

Feud with Cleopatra IV and deathEdit

In 112 BC Antiochus VIII defeated his stepbrother and rival Antiochus IX Cyzicenus, and took Antioch, where Cleopatra IV, the wife of Antiochus IX, stayed. Tryphaena hated her sister Cleopatra IV, who had taken refuge in the temple of Apollo, and wanted her to be killed. She accused Cleopatra IV of introducing foreign armies into the dispute between the Seleucid stepbrothers and marrying outside Egypt against the will of her mother. Antiochus VIII asked his wife in vain to spare her sister. He said that his ancestors had never dealt so violently with women. He added that the temple, where Cleopatra IV had taken refuge, was sacred, and that he had to respect the gods, with whose help he had won. But Tryphaena was not to be persuaded by her husband and ordered several soldiers to execute her sister. They penetrated into the temple and killed Cleopatra IV. Before dying Cleopatra IV cursed her murderers and left her revenge to the discretion of the dishonoured gods. A year later (111 BC) Tryphaena was taken prisoner by Antiochus IX after he had beaten his stepbrother in another battle. Antiochus IX had her executed and sacrificed her in this way to the manes of his wife.[4]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Felix Stähelin: Kleopatra 25). In: Realencyclopädie der Classischen Altertumswissenschaft. Vol. XI, 1 (1921), col. 787.
  2. ^ Justin, Epitoma historiarum Philippicarum Pompei Trogi 39.2.3
  3. ^ Porphyry, quoted by Eusebius of Caesarea, Chronicle I, p. 261-262, edition by Schoene
  4. ^ Justin, Epitoma historiarum Philippicarum Pompei Trogi 39.3.4-12, our only source for these events
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Aidan Dodson, Dyan Hilton, The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt, 2004


External linksEdit

Born: c. 141 BC Died: 111 BC
Preceded by
Cleopatra Thea
Seleucid Queen (Queen Consort of Syria)
124 BC–111 BC
with Cleopatra Thea (125–121 BC)
Antiochus VIII Grypus (125–96 BC)
Succeeded by
Cleopatra Selene