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Arsinoe IV, Cleopatra’s sister

Ephesus was a vast Roman city on the coast of lonia, three kilometers southwest of present-day Selcuk in Turkey. The city flourished under the control of the Roman Empire, and it was one of the largest cities of Roman Asia Minor.

In 1920s, archaeologists were exploring the tomb here at the heart of Ephesus. In 1926, in a 2000-year old tomb,
known as Octagon, was first opened. Archeologists uncovered the skeleton of a young woman. They removed the skull, which was examined and measured but it had been lost during World War II in Germany.

In the early 1990s, Dr. Hilke Thur, an archaeologist, reentered the tomb and found the headless skeleton, which she believed to be a young woman.The location of the tomb was unusual because the citizens were not allowed to build the tomb in the city center except for men of great importance. She determined to discover the identity of this mysterious skeleton. She searched ancient records for a woman important enough to be buried in such an unusual tomb.

In one account, she found a reference to the Arsinoe IV.

She was Cleopatra’s younger sister, and was the youngest daughter of Ptolemy XII. She was queen and co-ruler of Egypt from 48 BC-47 BC, making her one of the last members of the Ptolemaic dynasty of ancient Egypt.

In 51 BC, the death of her father, Ptolemy XII, left her older sister Cleopatra and her brother Ptolemy XIII rulers of Egypt, but Cleopatra was removed from power by her brother. In 48 BC, Julius Caesar took Cleopatra’s side in the family fight for power, while Arsinoe, along with her mentor Ganymedes, declared herself pharaoh after aligning herself with the Egyptian army.

(To be continued) (Floro Mercene)

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