Juba II (Iuba in Latin; Ιóβας (Ιóβα) or Ιουβας in Greek) or Juba II of Numidia (reigned 25 BC - 23 AD) was a king of Numidia and then later moved to Mauretania. His first wife was Cleopatra Selene II, the last Ptolemaic Monarch and daughter to Greek Ptolemaic Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt and Roman triumvir Mark Antony.
Juba II was brought to Rome by Julius Caesar and took part in Caesar’s triumphal procession. In Rome, he learned Latin and Greek, became romanized and was granted Roman citizenship. Through dedication to his studies, he is said to have become one of Rome's best educated citizens, and by age 20 he wrote one his first works entitled Roman Archaeology. He was raised by Julius Caesar and later by his great-nephew Octavius (future Emperor Caesar Augustus). Juba II while growing up, accompanied Octavius on military campaigns, gaining valuable experience as a leader. He fought alongside Octavius in the battle of Actium in 31 BC. Throughout the years, Juba II and Octavius became lifelong friends.
Augustus restored Juba II as the king of Numidia between 29 BC-27 BC. Juba II established Numidia as an ally of Rome. Juba II would become one of the most loyal client kings that served Rome. Between 26 BC-20 BC, Augustus arranged for him to marry Cleopatra Selene II, giving her a large dowry and appointing her queen.
Cleopatra is said to have exerted considerable influence on Juba II's policies. Juba II encouraged and supported the performing arts, research of the sciences and research of natural history. Juba II also supported Mauretanian trade. The Kingdom of Mauretania was of great importance to the Roman Empire. Mauretania traded all over the Mediterranean, particularly with Spain and Italy. Mauretania exported fish, grapes, pearls, figs, grain, wooden furniture and purple dye harvested from certain shellfish, which was used in the manufacture of purple stripes for senatorial robes. Juba II sent a contingent to Iles Purpuraires to re-establish the ancient Phoenician dye manufacturing process. Tingis, a town at the Pillars of Hercules (modern Strait of Gibraltar) became a major trade centre. In Gades, (modern Cádiz) and Carthago Nova (modern Cartagena) Spain, Juba II was appointed by Augustus as an honorary Duovir. A Duovir was a chief magistrate of a Roman colony or town, most probably involving with trade and was also a Patronus Colonaie.
The value and quality of Mauretanian coins became distinguished. The Greek historian Plutarch describes him as 'one of the most gifted rulers of his time'. Between 2 BC-2, he travelled with Gaius Caesar (a grandson of Augustus), as a member of his advisory staff to the troubled Eastern Mediterranean.
In 21, Juba II made his son Ptolemy co-ruler and Juba II died in 23. Juba II was buried alongside his first wife in their mausoleum. Ptolemy then became the sole ruler of Mauretania.
Among his discoveries there is a medicinal plant nowadays called Euphorbia regisjubae (‘King Juba's euphorbia’, a species of the spurge family). The Latin name of the Chile Cocopalm or Honey Palm is ‘Iubaea chilensis‘, called after him due to his interests and writings on botany. The sap of the Chile Cocopalm is used in the making of wine and sugar.
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