Of Christ and Lucifer: After Actium - Two Caesars Are Not Enough Background: It was hoped that the ascension of Ptolemy XII Auletes and Cleopatra V Tryphaena to the Egyptian throne in 81BC would put an end to the dynastic strife and constant civil warfare that had ravaged the nation in the previous generations. The new Queen was both her husband's niece and first cousin; together they re-united and re-combined the competing claims of the branches of the royal house. The union produced the hoped-for legitimate royal heirs, but by 69 BC Auletes sought to demote Tryphaena and removed her from the throne. Perhaps he was jealous of Tryphaena's superior right to the crown, she being an impeccably legitimate heiress whilst he was generally derided for being a bastard*. Perhaps he had tired of Tryphaena, perhaps he wished to elevate his other wife Mithradatis, a Pontian princess he had married in exile. Whatever his reasons, he was effective in removing Tryphaena from the scene until 58BC, when she was able to oust him from the throne. Her rule was brief, as her eldest daughter and co-ruler Berenice IV soon sought to be rid of her. Thought she intended to rule alone, Berenice, in turn, was forced by her subjects to take a husband and co-ruler, lest the dynasty die out. She married in turn her uncle Seleceus VII and then a more distant cousin, Archelaus of Comana, nephew of her father's consort Mithradatis. Both unions were brief - Seleceus strangled for his foul smell and manners, Archelaus slain fighting his returning father-in-law. Auletes returned, threw Berenice into prison and associated his next oldest daughter, Cleopatra VII, on the throne with him. Cleopatra succeeded him in 51 BC, but spent the next ten years disputing the throne with her younger (half-)siblings Ptolemy XIII, Ptolemy XIV and Arsinoe IV. Emerging as sole, undisputed, heiress in 41BC, she was yet compelled to associate her son Ptolemy XIV Caesarion with her on the throne, so averse were the Egyptians to the solitary rule of a woman. The events of the following decade are well documented and widely commented, up unto the Battle of Actium in 31BC, where Cleopatra and her consort, the deposed Roman triumvir Mark Anthony were soundly defeated by their mutual rival Octavian. It is in the aftermath of Actium that our story has its inception. Cleopatra VII Tryphaena * For the sake of clarification, let it not be thought that his mother was a mere concubine, but rather, that the union of his father the crown prince and his mother, later Queen of Syria had not been officially recognised and was eventually cancelled by the Queen-Mother Cleopatra III, who married her elder daughter abroad and forced the crown prince to take to wife a more maleable, younger daughter.