What was the Fate of Caesarion or Ptolemy XV?


Caesarion was the son of two of the most influential people in the Ancient world. His mother was Cleopatra while his father was the great Julius Caesar. Apart from being powerful his mother Cleopatra was shrewd too. She shifted her loyalties quite quickly. In her early life she rule with her father Ptolemy XII Auletes and later with her brothers Ptolemy XIII and Ptolemy XIV. She even married her brother Ptolemy XIII as a part of the customs. After the death of Ptolemy XIII she declared as the sole ruler of Egypt. But Rome was a big threat for her sovereignty. So, she used her beauty to catch the attention of Julius Caesar, the most influential man in his times. Their union produced Caesarion. After the pre-mature assignation of Julius Caesar, Cleopatra started another love affair with Mark Anthony who commanded great respect in Rome. With all her political guiles she made sure that Caesarion grew up in comfort. He was well educated in military tactics, politics, history and other facets essential for a ruler. Cleopatra wanted him to be the supreme King one day. Even Caesarion believed himself to be the reincarnation of God and carried an air about him.

Statue of Caesarion

Statue of Caesarion dressed as a Pharaoh

 

Certain historical documents even support that Caesarion in his infancy spent a couple of years in Roman close to Julius Caesar himself. This was also a part of Cleopatra’s politics to make sure that Caesarion would succeed Julius Caesar to the throne of Rome one day. But all the plans went in vain when Julius Caesar was murdered and Octavian under the name of Emperor Augustus ascended the throne. Cleopatra on her part made the presence of Caesarion felt by pronouncing him as co-ruler of Egypt. But the mere existence of Caesarion was a threat to the power of Octavian. He had held onto his powers with guile and persuasion. But at the back of his mind he always knew that the tide could turn. People would then support the true blood of Julius Caesar in the form of Caesarion. Some historians even believe that the conflict with Mark Anthony was a staged affair to get rid of Caesarion.

Son of Cleopatra & Julius Caesar

Caesarion was the son of Julius Caesar and Cleopatra

 

The relations between Mark Anthony and Octavian broke down in 33 BC and this gave the Roman emperor an excuse to wage a war against Egypt. In 31 BC at the Battle of Actium Cleopatra and Mark Anthony were defeated by the royal forces of Rome. Both of them committed suicide to escape embarrassment. Some texts support that when the writing was on the wall and the Egyptian forces had been overpowered by Romans, Cleopatra visited Caesarion’s chamber and advised him to live Egypt in a hurry. It is believed that he left the palace in haste and journeyed towards India, where no one would know about his existence.

Battle of Actium

Egyptians were defeated in the Battle of Actium

 

After ransacking the town, Octavian learned that his prime target had already left for a safe house. So, he pricked on his shrewd brain and planned for his capture. He spread a word that if Caesarion would return to Egypt he would be reinstated to his former glory. He would be made the regent of Egypt. It did not take much time for the news to trickle to the ears of Caesarion. This prince had grown up amidst all the luxuries a person could imagine. A life away from the palace was very hard on the young Caesarion. So, he decided to meet with Roman representatives. Roman messengers arrived at his hideout and re-instated the promise of Octavian. Caesarion was completely assured.

Caesar Augustus

Caesar Augustus became Supreme Ruler after Caesarion

 

Though young Caesarion had many virtues but he was clearly not good in politics. He travelled to Alexandria and upon arriving he received a major setback. Far from returning his throne, Octavian had him immediately imprisoned. He was soon executed as Octavian believed in Arius Didymus’ philosophy “Too many Caesars is not good”. After the death of Caesarion, Octavian achieved complete control over Egypt.

 

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