12. The King Who Married His Sister – and Murdered Her Kid on Their Wedding Night
In the second century BC, the Seleucid king Antiochus IV invaded Egypt, captured Alexandria, and made King Ptolemy VI his puppet ruler. The people of Alexandria rioted, and chose the puppet king’s obese younger brother, Ptolemy VIII Potbelly as monarch. After the Seleucids were forced out of Egypt by Roman threats, Ptolemy Potbelly agreed to a three-way joint rule, with his brother Ptolemy VI, and their sister Cleopatra II, who was also Ptolemy VI’s wife.
The arrangement did not work out. Ptolemy Potbelly was away from Egypt when Ptolemy VI died in 145 BC. Cleopatra II, the deceased king’s sister-wife, and Potbelly’s sibling as well, promptly declared her son, Ptolemy VII, as king. When Potbelly returned, he convinced his widowed sister to marry him, promising that the sibling spouses would rule jointly. However, he doubled crossed his sister/ new wife, by having her son, Ptolemy VII, murdered during the wedding feast. He also reneged on his promise to rule jointly with his sister-wife and declared himself sole ruler.