Julia Urania, queen of Mauretania

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Julia Urania

Death: Died
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Unknown father of Julia Urania and Unknown mother of Julia Urania
Wife of Ptolemy II, King of Mauretania
Mother of Drusilla of Mauretania

Managed by: Jason Scott Wills
Last Updated:

About Julia Urania, queen of Mauretania

She is variously said to have been either a Syrian Greek freedwoman or a member of the royal family at Emesa.

Julia Urania

  • Born: flourished 1st century
  • Title: Queen of Mauretania
  • Spouse: Ptolemy of Mauretania
  • Children: Princess Drusilla

Julia Urania (Greek: Ιουλìα Ουρανìа, Latin: Ivlia Urania[1], flourished 1st century) was a Roman Client Queen of Mauretania. She married the Roman Client King Ptolemy of Mauretania, who was a son of the former Mauretanian Client Monarchs Juba II and Cleopatra Selene II.[2]


Urania became Queen of Mauretania, through her marriage to Ptolemy. She married Ptolemy at an unknown date in the 1st century and had borne Ptolemy, a daughter called Drusilla who was born in 38.[3]

Urania is only known through a funeral inscription of her Freedwoman Julia Bodina found at Cherchell, Algeria.[4] Cherchell was then known as Caesaria, the capital of the Roman Client Kingdom of Mauretania in the Roman Empire. In Bodina’s funeral inscription, Bodina ascribes Urania as Queen Julia Urania. She was ascribed as Queen as a local courtesy or probably a posthumus honor as a dedication to the memory of the former ruling monarch. The inscription reveals that Bodina was a loyal former slave to Urania.

Modern historians have created two theories on the origins on the wife of Ptolemy of Mauretania. Urania may have been a mistress from the lower class. Urania was a nickname given to a favorite mistress of a harem. The nickname derived from the Muses.[5] She was probably a member of the Royal Court in Mauretania.

The other theory is that Urania could have been an Assyrian Princess from the Royal family of Emesa. The Royal family of Emesa were a Roman Syrian Client Kingdom and was at the time a leading Kingdom in the Roman East.

[edit] Name

Urania is an ancient Greek word meaning ‘Heavenly’, ‘Sky’ or ‘Universe’ and is an ancient and modern Greek name. The name Urania is of Emesene origin.[6] Two other Emesene Priest Kings shared the name Uranius, the male variant of Urania who were Uranius Antoninus who reigned from 210 until 235 and Lucius Julius Aurelius Sulpicius Severus Uranius Antoninus who reigned from 235 until 254. She wasn’t the only Queen to have the name Urania. The Parthian Queen and wife of Phraates IV of Parthia had the name Thea Urania (Astarte).[7]

[edit] References

1.^ Pir2 I 710

2.^ Ptolemaic Genealogy: Cleopatra Selene
3.^ Cleopatra’s Children and Descendants: credited by Karl Leon Ciccone at Ancient History by Suite101
4.^ Ptolemaic Genealogy: Cleopatra Selene, Footnote 10
5.^ Ptolemaic Genealogy: Cleopatra Selene, Footnote 10
6.^ Ptolemaic Genealogy: Cleopatra Selene, Footnote 10
7.^ Ptolemaic Genealogy: Cleopatra Selene, Footnote 10

[edit] Sources

Royal Egyptian Genealogy, Ptolemaic Dynasty: Cleopatra Selene
Cleopatra’s Children and Descendants at Ancient History by Suite101
E. Groag, A. Stein, L. Petersen - e.a. (edd.), Prosopographia Imperii Romani saeculi I, II et III, Berlin, 1933 - . PIR2 I 710



Urania [Julia], daughter of Phraates IV, King of Parthia, d35, &, wife, Thea-Urania


Discussion on her Unknown Parents:

Some scattered, easy-to-find references [Justin Swanström}:

1. Sir Anthony Wagner, Pedigree and Progress (1975), Pedigree 19 gives no wife for Ptolemy, king of Mauretania. This book was written before the theory that Julia Urania had any kind of notable ancestry. Wagner sees Drusilla, the wife of Antonius Felix, as the sister not daughter of Ptolemy.

2. The Augustan Society’s Descents from Antiquity (1986), Chart P1 comes down to Phaates IV, notes two of his sons, then follows a line down through an unnamed daughter who married Darius of Media Atropatene. No mention of a possible daughter Julia Urania. This book was also published before the theory that Julia Urania might have distinguished ancestry.

3. A biography of Thea Urania Musa, the speculative mother of Julia Urania. Musa was a slave who got the additional names Thea Urania (“Heavenly Urania” = the goddess Astarte) after she bore Phraates IV a son. This biography mentions her only known child, a son named Phraates V. https://archive.org/stream/AToZOfAncientGreekAndRomanWomenBySamySal...

4. A summary on the prosopography of the royal family of Parthia. Thea Urania Musa is the wife of Phraates IV. She has one known child, Phraates V. Julia Urania is not named at all, either as her child or as one of the children of Phraates IV by an unknown mother. http://www.strachan.dk/family/parthia.htm

5. A summary of the prosopography of the Antonii. Iulia Urania is the wife of Ptolemaeus. No further info, no known children. http://www.strachan.dk/family/antonius.htm

6. Will Johnson at soc.genealogy.medieval: “The attribution of Julia Urania as daughter to King Phraates is uncertain. It is mere speculation.” https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/soc.genealogy.medieval/nmxH...

7. Discussion between David Kelley and Marshall Kirk. They support Settipani’s suggestion that Julia Urania was Emesan but think she was wife of Juba II instead of Ptolemy. Part of their argument is that Elagabalus (Roman Emperor from Emesa 200 years after Julia Urania) used the name Urania for the moon goddess in his sun cult. http://www.donstonetech.com/SummerInst/EmesaTrevesSeg1.htm

8. French Wikipedia: “[Ptolémée de Maurétanie] épouse Julia Urania, dont la tradition fait soit une affranchie gréco-syrienne, soit une membre de la famille royale d' Émèse.” https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ptol%C3%A9m%C3%A9e_de_Maur%C3%A9tanie

9. German Wikipedia: (No mention of a wife of Ptolemy II of Mauretania). https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ptolemaeus_(Mauretanien)

10. Italian Wikipedia: “Tolomeo sposò Giulia Urania. Urania era una donna sira, probabilmente appartenente alla famiglia reale di Emesa (Homs).” https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tolomeo_di_Mauretania

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