In her new (2008) book titled "Cleopatra: Last Queen of Egypt", Joyce Tyledesley writes (pp 39, 42-45):
"Auletes was a pharaoh without a queen. This is extremely rare. ... The Ptolemies were inclined to emulate the Ramesside kings; it therefore would not have been unexpected if Auletes, given the shortage of Ptolemaic brides, had used his eldest surviving daughter as his consort and partner in religious rituals. Inscriptions in the crypts of the Dendera temple of Hathor add some support to this theory by linking the king's name with the cartouche of a 'Cleaopatra' and with an unnamed woman who is described as the 'eldest daughter of the king'. ... it is likely that this is Cleopatra VII acting as her father's consort.
"The precise date of Aulete's demise is unknown: all we can say for certain is that some time during 51 [BC] Aulete's Year 30 became 'Year 30 which is become Year 1' (i.e. the first year of the new regime), and by August of that same year news of his death had reached Rome. But the Bucheion stela tells us that the installation ceremony occurred at a time when Egypt was ruled by a king and a queen, the 'Lady of the Two Lands, the Goddes Philopator' ... The only alternative is that the unnamed king is Auletes ... an indication that Cleopatra was indeed her father's co-regent.
"Although Ptolemaic tradition suggests that Cleopatra is likely to have married her brother ... their marriage is nowhere recorded. An inscription describes her as 'Mistress of the Two Lands, Cleopatra Philopator, Beloved of Min-Re of Koptos, King's Wife, King's Daughter', but the husband-king is unnamed ...
"... a unique limestone stela ... shows a slightly damaged 'Cleopatra', dressed in the kilt and double crown of a traditional pharaoh ... Cleopatra, on this stela, appears entirely male ... implies she is the sole ruler of Egypt. This, the only surviving image of Cleopatra as a female king, recalls ... Hatshepsut."
Tyldesley will not allow herself to conclude that Cleopatra could have become a true consort of her father as opposed to a purely ceremonial one, because father-daugther incest was considered taboo in Hellenistic culture. Tyldesley also does not entertain the possibility that Auletes was still alive when Cleopatra ("Glory of Father") assumed the epithet Philopater ("Father Lover").
At the end of the Egyptian Middle Kingdom, Egypt was abandoned by the leading male members of the royal family and Queen Sobeknofru was left in charge as a female pharaoh.
It was also convincingly demonstrated that Hatshepsut's father Thutmose I was very much still alive when she first assumed the garb of pharaoh. It reflects an intent by Thutmose to restore the primary royal court to Mesopotamia, which of course did not occur and led to the status of Hatshepsut as a pharaoh being eventually rescinded after her death and that of her father Thutmose.
In the time of Cleopatra there was also a decision to make Egypt a subordinate country (in this case to Rome) and to move the primary royal court (to Rome itself as opposed to Mesopotamia as in times past). Auletes did not die in his Year 30, but instead abandoned Egypt to his daughter along with his own Egyptian identity in favor of his Roman identity, Marc Antony. There is no question that he continued a sexual relationship with his daughter and intended to have her recognized as his wife in Rome (although not also as his daughter). This was of course ruined after his defeat by Octavius.
Mark Antony intended to make a final stand in Egypt, not any longer as Ptolemy XII Auletes Neos Dionysos, but as Marc Antony the Neos-Dionysos. It was Cleopatra's turn to abandon Egypt for the East, but she was blockaded by Marc Antony's alter-ego in Edom, king Malchus.
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