Ptolemy XIII Theos Philopator (Greek: Πτολεμαίος
Θεός Φιλοπάτωρ, lived 62 BC/61 BC – January 13, 47
BC?, reigned from 51 BC) was one of the last members
of the Ptolemaic dynasty (305–30 BC) of Egypt.
Co-ruler of Egypt, inner turmoil
Son of Pharaoh Ptolemy XI of Egypt (80–58 BC and
55–51 BC), he succeeded his father in the spring of
51 BC as co-ruler of Egypt by his marriage and
consummation of the marriage to his older sister
Cleopatra VII of Egypt (51–30 BC). In October of 50
BC, Ptolemy XII was promoted to senior ruler along
with her, although Pothinus acted as regent for him.
In the spring of 48 BC, Ptolemy XII and Pothinus
attempted to depose Cleopatra VII due to her
increasing status as Queen. Her face appeared on
minted coins, for example, while Ptolemy XII's name
was omitted on official documents. Ptolemy intended
to become sole ruler, with Pothinus acting as the
power behind the throne.
They managed to force her to flee to Syria, but
she soon organized her own army and a civil war
began in Egypt. Soon their other sister started to
claim the throne as Arsinoe IV (48–47 BC), further
complicating the situation.
At this point defeated Roman general Pompey came
to Egypt seeking refuge from his pursuing rival
Julius Caesar. Initially, Ptolemy XII and Pothinus
pretended to have accepted his request, but on
September 29, 48 BC, Pothinus himself murdered the
general, in hopes of winning favor with Caesar when
the victorious general arrived. When Caesar did
arrive he was presented with the head of his
deceased rival and former ally, but reportedly,
instead of being pleased, reacted with disgust and
ordered that Pompey's body be located and given a
proper Roman funeral. Cleopatra VII proved more
successful in winning Caesar's favor and became his
lover. Caesar arranged the execution of Pothinus and
the official return to the throne of Cleopatra VII,
though she had never officially abdicated her
marriage to Ptolemy XII.
Still determined to depose Cleopatra VII, Ptolemy
XII allied himself with Arsinoe IV. Jointly, they
organized the factions of the army loyal to them
against those loyal to Cleopatra VII and the
relatively small part of his army that had
accompanied Caesar to Egypt. The battle between the
warring factions occurred in mid-December of 48 BC
inside Alexandria itself, which suffered serious
damage, including (according to some sources) the
burning of some of the buildings which comprised the
Library of Alexandria.
The arrival of Roman reinforcements from Pergamum
gave the victory to Caesar and Cleopatra VII,
forcing Ptolemy XII and Arsinoe IV to flee the city.
Ptolemy XII reportedly drowned on January 13, 47 BC
while attempting to cross the Nile. Whether he was
attempting to flee or was seeking negotiations
remains uncertain from sources of the time.
Cleopatra VII remained the unchallenged ruler of
Egypt, although she named their younger brother
Ptolemy XIV of Egypt (47–44 BC) her new co-ruler.