The twin brothers, Alexander Helios and Cleopatra Selene II, sons of Cleopatra with Mark Antony, were sent to Rome shortly after the death of their parents. Beside the youngest, Ptolemy Philadelphus, the children were captured by Octavian, the first Roman emperor.
The twins grew up in Alexandria, where Alexander received the title of king of kings. After the death of their parents, they were captured by Octavian and sent to Rome, where they were educated by Octavia the Younger – sister of the Roman emperor and ex-wife of Mark Antony.
It is not known for certain what happened to Alexander Helios, but it is known that Cleopatra Selene II was introduced to the learned king Juba II of Numidia – a war orphan who had grown up in Rome.
As a wedding gift, Octavian named the young woman as the queen of Numidia. However, the couple reigned for a short time in the territory, as soon the people turned against the Roman values and traditions imposed by Juba II.
Later they moved to Mauretania, where they named the capital Caesarea – now Cherchell, in Algeria. With great influence on her husband’s policy, Cleopatra Selene II contributed to bring prestige to the kingdom. In addition, the couple had two children, Ptolemy of Mauretania, who was executed by his own cousin, and a girl, whose identity is unknown.
The mysterious end of the brothers
It is known that Cleopatra Selene II had a great influence on the politics of Juba II, as the story of her twin remains an enigma.
The only mention made of the boy comes from Cassius Dio, who stated that after Cleopatra Selene II’s wedding, Alexander Helios and the youngest would have been spared death by Octavian, as a favor to the couple.
The fact is that after Alexander Helios arrived in Rome, he mysteriously disappeared from all historical records of the time, which raised the hypothesis that he may have died before reaching adulthood. Cleopatra Selene II died at the age of 45, but there are also no records on the cause of her death.
First photo: Respectively the busts of Cleopatra Selene II and Alexander Helios