Berenike (c. 100s BCE – 48 BCE), also known as The Crocodile, was an elderly Greek statesperson and the Nomarch of Faiyum during the reign of Ptolemy XIII. She was also a member of the Order of the Ancients, using her control of the region to fund the organization's operations.
Around 48 BCE, Hotephres stole a ledger from a magistrate, which contained the true identity of Berenike and exposed her corrupt deeds. Apollodorus sent the Medjay, Bayek to recover the ledger from Hotephres but, unbeknownst to everyone, the latter's daughter Shadya discovered the ledger and took it with her. Having raided Hotephres' villa in Euhemeria, Berenike learned of this information and had Khenut and Shadya kidnapped and brought to the Euhemeria lighthouse. Accompanied by gladiators from the Krokodilopolis Arena, Diovicos and Viridovix, Berenike had Shadya executed by tying her feet with large rocks and submerging her in the waters near the pier, leading her to drown.
Having ensured her identity remained hidden, Berenike returned to Krokodilopolis, where she attended gladiator fights in the arena. Bayek, having learned that gladiators from the arena may have been involved in Shadya's murder, travelled to the city to track her down. The Medjay was reunited with Kensa and together, they fought and rose up the ranks to challenge the arena champions, Diovicos and Viridovix, as Berenike watched their fight. Realizing that Bayek was after her, Berenike left Krokodilopolis and returned to her villa in the Kerkesoucha Granary. She also became a patron to Kensa, promising her a luxury life in exchange of her loyalty. Bayek followed Berenike to her villa, where he killed her.
As she laid dying, Bayek accused her of killing Shadya. Berenike had no idea who the young girl was, and retorted that Bayek was unable to see what greatness lies in store for Egypt, like "all of [his] kind". Bayek told her that Shadya was Hotephres and Khenut's daughter, and the dying woman explained that the ledger would have destroyed all the Order's hopes, so she did what had to be done. In response, the Medjay vowed to destroy all she stood for and all those like her and declared she would die knowing the name of the innocent girl she murdered.
Personality and characteristics
The Crocodile believes in prosperity for Greeks and Egyptians alike, but under her iron rule. A ruthless pragmatist, Berenike has no problems with ordering the death of an innocent little girl if that meant protecting the secrets of the Order of the Ancients. Even in death, she didn't regret anything she did, considering them necessary things to do in order to advance the Order's agenda.
- Berenike is a Greek variation of the Macedonian name Berenice, which meant bearer of victory. The latter variation of the name was commonly used by various Ptolemaic and Seleucid queens and royal daughters.