In 40 B.C., Cleopatra VII (ruler of Egypt) and Mark Antony (co-ruler of the Roman Republic) welcomed fraternal twins, a boy and a girl.
The twins were named Cleopatra Selene and Alexander Helios — selene and helios being the Ancient Greek words for “moon” and “sun,” respectively — though their second names may not have been bestowed until they were around three, when they met their father for the first time (and he officially recognized them as his own).
Her surname (“the Moon”) — and that of her twin brother Alexander Helios (“the Sun”) — represents prophetic and allegorical concepts of the era in which she was born as well as her parents’ ambitious plans to create a new world order.
Both Cleopatra and Mark Antony committed suicide in 30 B.C. We don’t know what became of Alexander Helios after this, but Cleopatra Selene married Juba II of Mauretania and thereby became the queen of Mauretania until her death (circa 5 B.C.) — which, ironically, may have occurred right around the time of a lunar eclipse.
- Lorenzi, Rossella. “Faces of Cleopatra and Antony’s Twin Babies Revealed.” Live Science 21 Apr. 2012.
- Roller, Duane W. “Cleopatra Selene.” Dictionary of African Biography, Vol. 2, ed. by Emmanuel Kwaku Akyeampong and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Oxford University Press, 2012, pp. 104-105.
- Roller, Duane W. Cleopatra: A Biography. NY: Oxford University Press, 2010.
- Roller, Duane W. Cleopatra’s Daughter: And Other Royal Women of the Augustan Era. NY: Oxford University Press, 2018.