African kings, Roman rule: The life of Juba II and Cleopatra Selene of Mauretania

Kenrick, Andrew (2023) African kings, Roman rule: The life of Juba II and Cleopatra Selene of Mauretania. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Juba II (52 BC-AD 23), a North African prince, was orphaned in 46 BC by Julius Caesar and paraded through Rome, before being raised in his household. As a young man Juba fought alongside Caesar’s adopted son Octavian – the future emperor Augustus – before being placed on the throne of Mauretania. Juba’s wife, Cleopatra Selene (40 BC-5 BC), also knew what it was like to be a trophy. The daughter of Mark Antony and Cleopatra, she was taken back to Rome after Octavian defeated her parents in 30 BC. Both Juba and Selene were raised and educated as Romans, groomed to rule on behalf of Augustus. After their marriage, they were sent to North Africa to as king and queen of Mauretania. Ruling in the name of Rome, they joined a select group of independent client-kings on the borders of the Roman Empire. However, Juba’s legacy was not of tyranny but of scholarship, for he was a famed antiquarian, travel writer and explorer; he discovered the Canary Islands, wrote histories of Arabia and Libya, and led diplomatic missions to his fellow kings.

Intended for a non-specialist reader, this thesis introduces the lives of these important figures, from the death of their parents and childhood in Rome, to their reign as king and queen of Mauretania and their legacy both in North Africa and beyond. Textual sources for the lives of Juba and Cleopatra Selene are limited, causing previous studies to repeat the same well-worn histories or omit mention of them altogether. To overcome this lack of documentary evidence, I use an object-based methodology, with selected artefacts serving as lenses through which the couple’s lives may be viewed. In the introduction to the project I also investigate the advantages of such an approach when writing biographies of other ancient figures.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing
Depositing User: Nicola Veasy
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2023 14:20
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2023 14:20


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