Ptolemy IX – 116-106/88-80 BC

Monetary History of Egypt
Ptolemaic Dynasty

Ptolemy IX Soter II (Lathyros)

116-107 & 88-80 BC

Son of Ptolemy VIII & Cleopatra III
Brother of Ptolemy X


Ptolemy IX Soter II (Lathyros) was born in 141 BC the son of Ptolemy VIII and Cleopatra III. Following his father’s death in 116 BC, the throne of Egypt passed to Cleopatra III who had bore two sons – Ptolemy IX Philometor Soter II (Lathyros) and Ptolemy X Alexander Iand three daughters, Cleopatra IV, Cleopatra Tryphaena, and Cleopatra Selene. In her husband’s will, Ptolemy VIII left the succession to Egyptian throne up to Cleopatra III who favored her younger son Ptolemy X Alexander. Despite this fact, the people preferred Ptolemy IX to rule with his mother as co-regent.

Ptolemy IX Soter II (Lathyros) was previously made governor of Cyprus. When Cleopatra III was forced to bring him back to Alexandria to be made co-ruler, his younger brother, Ptolemy X Alexander, was sent to Cyprus as governor in his place. Ptolemy IX was married to Cleopatra IV, his sister, but his mother insisted that the marriage be declared void and he then married his youngest sister – Cleopatra Selene. His former wife, Cleopatra IV, then fled also to Cyprus where she attempted to marry he other brother, Ptolemy X, but failed. She did manage to raise an army and finally moved on to Syria where she used her army as a dowry and married the king Antiochus IX Cyzicenus (son of Antiochus Sidetes and Cleopatra Thea).

Ptolemy IX Soter II (Lathyros) was never loved much less liked by his mother. Cleopatra III finally succeeded in driving out Lathyros in 107 BC by accusing him of trying to murder her. Ptolemy IX was now forced to flee back to Cyprus leaving his wife and his two sons behind . It was at this time that his younger brother, Ptolemy X Alexander, was summoned by his mother back to Alexandria to become co-ruler of Egypt while Ptolemy IX once again became governor of Cyprus.

Still, Ptolemy X Alexander never won the hearts of his people. Following his mother’s death 5 years later in 101 BC, Ptolemy X ruled Egypt as one of its most unpopular kings. Eventually, Ptolemy X Alexander was driven from power by his own subjects and was either killed in a naval battle in 88 BC or was murdered during the event.

With the death of his younger brother, Ptolemy IX returned from Cyprus to take the throne of Egypt. The ruled his land during the last 8 years of his life and died at the age of 62 leaving no legitimate heir to the throne since both of his sons by Cleopatra Selene died at a very young age. Thus the throne of Egypt passed to his daughter, Cleopatra Berenike, who ruled alone for a brief while until she was forced to marry a son of Ptolemy X Alexander by his first unknown wife. Just 19 days after the marriage, Ptolemy XI had her murdered and in turn enraged the people of Alexandria who then stormed the palace and killed the newly proclaimed king of Egypt placing the throne in chaos once again.


Monetary System

Note: The coinage of Ptolemy X displays a postumous bust of Ptolemy I. No coinage was issued ultizing his own portrait. We also see a continued absence of gold coinage. It is also interesting to note that his coinage minted in Cyprus between 101-88 BC is on average 5% less in weight than those struck in Egypt.


Denominations

Joint rule with Cleopatra III (116-106 BC)

Postumous Coinage Ptolemy I

AR Tetradrachm (14.2 grams)
AR Didrachm (7.0 grams)
AR Drachm (3.5 grams)
AR Hemidrachm (1.85 grams)
AE 15-14mm

With Portrait Zeus

AE 34mm
AE 27-25mm
AE 20-18mm
AE 15-14mm

As King of Cyprus 101-88 BC

Postumous Coinage Ptolemy I

AR Tetradrachm (13.75 grams)

Sole reign 88-80 BC

Postumous Coinage Ptolemy I

AR Tetradrachm (14.2 grams)


Monetary History of the World
© Martin A. Armstrong