Cleopatra Selene II: The Egyptian Queen Who Ruled Africa

Cleopatra Selene II (Greek: Κλεοπάτρα Σελήνη) was the only daughter of the Egyptian queen Cleopatra and the Roman general Mark Antony. She was born in 40 BC in Alexandria and died in 5 BC in Cherchell, Algeria. She was a queen of Mauretania and Numidia through her marriage to Juba II, and played an important role in Roman, Egyptian, and African history.


Cleopatra Selene received a high education in Alexandria and spoke Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and Arabic. Her second name (Selene) means "moon" in Greek, which corresponds to the name of her twin brother Alexander Helios (Helios), which means "sun" in Greek. She considered herself a legitimate child of her parents and was given the title "Queen of Kings" in a political ceremony in 34 BC, where she was granted rule over Cyrenaica and Libya.

Life in Rome

After the defeat and suicide of Cleopatra and Antony in 30 BC, Cleopatra Selene and her siblings were taken to Rome by order of Augustus Caesar, who was the grandson of Julius Caesar's sister and his adopted son. They were placed in the house of Augustus' sister Octavia Minor, who was a former wife of Antony. Some sources indicate that CleopatraSelene was respected and cared for by Augustus and Octavia, and that she received new education in Rome.


In 25 BC, Cleopatra Selene II married Juba II, King of Numidia and Mauretania, who was a student and ally of Augustus Caesar. Juba was an educated man and author of several books on history, geography, and philosophy. The couple was transferred to Mauretania, where they founded their capital in Cherchell, which they named Caesarea in honor of Augustus. Cleopatra Selene was an active partner in her husband's rule and administration, and her name and image appeared on coins, inscriptions, and statues. She gave birth to a son, Ptolemy of Mauretania, who succeeded his father on the throne, and a daughter, Drusilla of Mauretania, who married a relative of Augustus.

Queen of Mauretania and Numidia

Cleopatra Selene II was queen of Mauretania and Numidia in her own right, not just as Juba's wife. She played an important role in the economic, cultural, and religious development of the country. She encouraged trade with Rome and the East, and established several cities, temples, baths, theaters, and shrines. She maintained her Egyptian and Ptolemaic traditions, and worshipped the goddess Astarte,whom she considered a form of the goddess Isis, whom her mother Cleopatra worshipped. She wore both Egyptian and Roman clothing, and decorated her palace with works of art from both cultures.


Cleopatra Selene II died in 5 BC, the same year as Juba II. They were buried in their tomb in Cherchell, which is known as the "Tomb of the Romans" or the "Tomb of Algeria". The tomb is considered the largest in North Africa and is one of the wonders of Algeria. It is believed to contain a secret chamber with the couple's treasures and riches, but it has not been discovered yet. The tomb is an important archaeological and tourist site and has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1982.