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Πτολεμαῖος), usually called Ptolemy.

I. Minor Historical Persons


The nephew of Antigonus, king of Asia. He carried on war in Greece on behalf of Antigonus, but in B.C. 310 he abandoned the cause of his uncle, and concluded a treaty with Cassander and Ptolemy the son of Lagus. He soon gave offence to the Egyptian king, and was, in consequence, compelled to put an end to his life by poison, B.C. 309.


The son of Lysimachus, king of Thrace. He was the eldest of the three sons of that monarch by his last wife Arsinoë, and the only one who escaped falling into the hands of Ptolemy Ceraunus.


The son of Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, by his wife Antigoné, the step-daughter of Ptolemy Lagi. When only fifteen years of age he was left by his father in charge of his hereditary dominions, when Pyrrhus himself set out on his expedition to Italy, 280. At a later time he fought under his father in Greece, and was slain in the course of Pyrrhus's campaign in the Peloponnesus, 272.


Surnamed Philadelphus, son of M. Antony, the triumvir, by Cleopatra. After the death of Antony, B.C. 30, his life was spared by Augustus at the intercession of Iuba and Cleopatra , and he was brought up by Octavia with her own children.

II. Kings of Egypt


Surnamed Soter, the Preserver, but more commonly known as the son of Lagus, reigned B.C. 323-285. His father Lagus was a Macedonian of ignoble birth, but his mother Arsinoë had been a concubine of Philip of Macedon, on which account it seems to have been

Coin of Ptolemy Soter.

generally believed that Ptolemy was in reality the offspring of that monarch. Ptolemy is mentioned among the friends of the young Alexander before the death of Philip. He accompanied Alexander throughout his campaigns in Asia, and was always treated by the king with the greatest favour. On the division of the Empire which followed Alexander's death (B.C. 323), Ptolemy obtained the government of Egypt. In 321 his dominions were invaded by Perdiccas, the regent; but the assassination of Perdiccas by his mutinous soldiers soon delivered Ptolemy from this danger. In the following year Ptolemy enlarged his dominions by seizing upon the important satrapy of Phœnicia and Coele-Syria. It was probably during this expedition that he made himself master of Jerusalem by attacking the city on the Sabbath. A few years afterwards (B.C. 316) Ptolemy entered into an alliance with Cassander and Lysimachus against Antigonus, whose growing power had excited their common apprehensions. In the war which followed, Antigonus conquered Coele-Syria and Phœnicia (315-314); but Ptolemy recovered these provinces by the defeat of Demetrius, the son of Antigonus, in 312. In 311 hostilities were suspended by a general peace. This peace, however, was of short duration, and Ptolemy appears to have been the first to recommence the war. He crossed over to Greece, where he announced himself as the liberator of the Greeks, but effected little. In 306 Ptolemy was defeated by Demetrius in a great sea-fight off Salamis in Cyprus. In consequence of this defeat, Ptolemy lost the important island of Cyprus, which had previously been subject to him. Antigonus was so much elated by this victory as to assume the title of king, an example which Ptolemy, notwithstanding his defeat, immediately followed. Antigonus and Demetrius followed up their success by the invasion of Egypt, but were compelled to return to Syria without effecting anything. Next year (B.C. 305) Ptolemy rendered the most important assistance to the Rhodians, who were besieged by Demetrius; and when Demetrius was at length compelled to raise the siege (B.C. 304), the Rhodians paid divine honours to the Egyptian monarch as their saviour and preserver (Σωτήρ), a title which appears to have been now bestowed upon Ptolemy for the first time. Ptolemy took comparatively little part in the contest, which led to the decisive battle of Ipsus, in which Antigonus was defeated and slain (B.C. 301). The latter years of Ptolemy's reign appear to have been devoted almost entirely to the arts of peace, and to promoting the internal prosperity of his dominions. In 285 Ptolemy abdicated in favour of his youngest son Ptolemy Philadelphus, the child of his latest and most beloved wife, Berenicé, excluding from the throne his two eldest sons Ptolemy Ceraunus and Meleager, the offspring of Eurydicé. The elder Ptolemy survived this event two years, and died in 283. His reign is variously estimated at thirty-eight or forty years, according as we include or not these two years which followed his abdication.

The character of Ptolemy has been generally represented in a very favourable light by historians, and there is no doubt that if we compare him with his contemporaries and rivals he appears to deserve the praises bestowed upon his mildness and moderation. But it is only with this important qualification that they can be admitted: for there are many evidences that he did not shrink from any measure that he deemed requisite in order to carry out the objects of his ambition. Yet as a ruler Ptolemy certainly deserves the highest praise. By his able and vigorous administration he laid the foundations of the wealth and prosperity which Egypt enjoyed for a long period. Under his fostering care Alexandria quickly rose to the place designed for it by its founder —that of the greatest commercial city of the world. Not less eminent were the services rendered by Ptolemy in the advancement of literature and science. In this department, indeed, it is not always easy to distinguish the portion of credit due to the father from that of his son: but it seems certain that to the elder monarch belongs the merit of having originated those literary institutions which assumed a more definite and regular form, as well as a more prominent place, under his successor. Such appears to have been the case with the two most celebrated of all—the Library and the Museum of Alexandria. The first suggestion of these important foundations is ascribed by some writers to Demetrius of Phalerus, who spent all the latter years of his life at the court of Ptolemy. But many other men of literary eminence were also gathered around the Egyptian king, among whom may be especially noticed the great geometrician Euclid, the philosophers Stilpo of Megara, Theodorus of Cyrené, and Diodorus surnamed Cronus, as well as the elegiac poet Philetas of Cos, and the grammarian Zenodotus. To the last two we are told Ptolemy confided the literary education of his son Philadelphus. Many anecdotes sufficiently attest the free intercourse which subsisted between the king and the men of letters by whom he was surrounded, and prove that the easy familiarity of his manners corresponded with his simple and unostentatious habits of life. We also find him maintaining a correspondence with Menander, whom he in vain endeavoured to attract to his court, and sending overtures probably of a similiar nature to Theophrastus. (See Alexandrian School; Bibliotheca.) Nor were the fine arts neglected: the rival painters Antiphilus and Apelles both exercised their talents at Alexandria, where some of their most celebrated pictures were produced. See Mahaffy, The Empire of the Ptolemies (1896).

Ptolemy was himself an author: he composed a history of the wars of Alexander, which is frequently cited by later writers, and is one of the chief authorities which Arrian made the groundwork of his own history.


Philadelphus (B.C. 285-247), the son of Ptolemy I. by his wife Berenicé, was born in the island of Cos, 309. His long reign was marked by few events of a striking character. He was engaged in war with his half-brother Magas, who had governed Cyrené as viceroy under Ptolemy Soter, but on the death of that monarch not only asserted his independence, but even attempted to invade Egypt. Magas was supported by Antiochus II., king of Syria; and the war was at length terminated by a treaty, which left Magas in undisputed possession of the Cyrenaïca, while his infant daughter Berenicé was betrothed to Ptolemy, the son of Philadelphus. Ptolemy also concluded a treaty with the Romans. He was frequently engaged in hostilities with Syria, which were terminated towards the close of his reign by a treaty of peace, by which Ptolemy gave his daughter Berenicé in marriage to Antiochus II. Ptolemy's chief care, however, was directed to the internal administration of his kingdom, and to the patronage of literature and science. The institutions of which the foundations had been laid by his father quickly rose under his fostering care to the highest prosperity. The Museum of Alexandria became the resort and abode of all the most distinguished men of letters of the day, and in the library attached to it were accumulated all the treasures of ancient learning. Among the other illustrious names which adorned the reign of Ptolemy may be mentioned those of the poets Philetas and Theocritus, the philosophers Hegesias and Theodorus, the mathematician Euclid, and the astronomers Timocharis, Aristarchus of Samos, and Aratus. Nor was his patronage confined to the ordinary cycle of Hellenic literature. By his interest in natural history he gave a stimulus to the pursuit of that science, which gave birth to many important works, while he himself formed collections of rare animals within the precincts of the royal palace. It was during his reign also, and perhaps at his desire, that Manetho gave to the world in a Greek form the historical records of the Egyptians; and according to a well-known tradition it was by his express command that the Holy Scriptures of the Jews were translated into Greek. The new cities or colonies founded by Philadelphus in different parts of his dominions were extremely numerous. On the Red Sea alone we find at least two bearing the name of Arsinoë, one called after another of his sisters Philotera, and two cities named in honour of his mother Berenicé. The same names occur also in Cilicia and Syria: and in the latter country he founded the important fortress of Ptolemaïs in Palestine. All authorities concur in attesting the great power and wealth to which the Egyptian monarchy was raised under Philadelphus. He possessed at the close of his reign a standing army of 200,000 foot and 40,000 horse, besides war-chariots and elephants, a fleet of 1500 ships, and a sum of 740,000 talents in his treasury; while he derived from Egypt alone an annual revenue of 14,800 talents. His dominions comprised, besides Egypt itself, and portions of Aethiopia, Arabia, and Libya, the important provinces of Phœnicia and Coele-Syria, together with Cyprus, Lycia, Caria, and the Cyclades, and during a great part at least of his reign Cilicia and Pamphylia also. Before his death Cyrené was reunited to the monarchy by the marriage of his son Ptolemy with Berenicé, the daughter of Magas. The private life and relations of Philadelphus do not exhibit his character in as favourable a light as we might have inferred from the splendour of his administration. He put to death two of his brothers; and he banished his first wife Arsinoë, the daughter of Lysimachus, to Coptos in Upper Egypt on a charge of conspiracy. After her removal Ptolemy married his own sister Arsinoë, the widow of Lysimachus, a flagrant violation of the religious notions of the Greeks, but one which was frequently imitated by his successors. He evinced his affection for Arsinoë not only by bestowing her name upon many of his newly-founded colonies, but by assuming himself the surname of Philadelphus, a title which some writers referred in derision to his unnatural treatment of his two brothers. By this second marriage Ptolemy had no issue: but his first wife had borne him two sons—Ptolemy, who succeeded him on the throne, and Lysimachus; and a daughter, Berenicé, whose marriage to Antiochus II., king of Syria, has been already mentioned.


Euergētes (B.C. 247-222), eldest son and successor of Philadelphus. Shortly after his accession he invaded Syria, in order to avenge the death of his sister Berenicé. (See Berenicé, No. 2.) He met with the most striking success. He advanced as far as Babylon and Susa, and after reducing Mesopotamia, Babylonia, and Susiana, received the submission of all the upper provinces of Asia as far as the confines of Bactria and India. From this career of conquest he was recalled by the news of seditions in Egypt, and returned to that country, carrying with him an immense booty, comprising, among other objects, all the statues of the Egyptian deities which had been carried off by Cambyses to Babylon or Persia. These he restored to their respective temples, an act by which he earned the greatest popularity with his native Egyptian subjects, who bestowed on him in consequence the title of Εὐεργέτης (“Benefactor”), by which he is generally known. While the arms of the king himself were thus successful in the East, his fleets reduced the maritime provinces of Asia, including Cilicia, Pamphylia, and Ionia, as far as the Hellespont, together with Lysimachia and other important places on the coast of Thrace which continued for a long period subject to the Egyptian rule. Concerning the events

Coin of Ptolemy Euergetes.

which followed the return of Euergetes to his own dominions (probably in 243) we are almost wholly in the dark; but it appears that the greater part of the eastern provinces speedily fell again into the hands of Seleucus, while Ptolemy retained possession of the maritime regions and a great part of Syria itself. He soon obtained a valuable ally in the person of Antiochus Hierax, the younger brother of Seleucus, whom he supported in his wars against his elder brother. We find Euergetes maintaining the same friendly relations as his father with Rome. During the latter years of his reign he subdued the Aethiopian tribes on his southern frontier, and advanced as far as Adule, a port on the Red Sea, where he established an emporium, and set up an inscription commemorating the exploits of his reign. To a copy of this, accidentally preserved to us by an Egyptian monk, Cosmas Indicopleustes, we are indebted for much of the scanty information we possess concerning his reign.

Ptolemy Euergetes is scarcely less celebrated than his father for his patronage of literature and science: he added so largely to the library at Alexandria that he has been sometimes erroneously deemed its founder. Eratosthenes, Apollonius Rhodius, and Aristophanes the grammarian flourished at Alexandria during his reign—sufficient to prove that the literature and learning of the Alexandrian school still retained their former eminence. By his wife Berenicé, who survived him, Euergetes left three children: (a) Ptolemy, his successor; (b) Magas; and (c) Arsinoë, afterwards married to her brother Ptolemy Philopator.


Philopător (B.C. 222-205), eldest son and successor of Euergetes. He was very far from inheriting the virtues or abilities of his father, and his reign was the commencement of the decline of the Egyptian kingdom, which had been raised to such a height of power and prosperity by his three predecessors. Its beginning was stained with crimes of the darkest kind. He put to death his mother, Berenicé, and his brother, Magas, and his uncle Lysimachus, the brother of Euergetes. He then gave himself up without restraint to a life of indolence and luxury, while he abandoned to his minister Sosibius the care of all political affairs. The latter seems to have been as incapable as his master, and the kingdom was allowed to fall into a state of the utmost disorder, of which Antiochus the Great, king of Syria, was not slow to avail himself. In the first two campaigns (219, 218), Antiochus conquered the greater part of Coele-Syria and Palestine, but in the third year of the war (B.C. 217), he was completely defeated by Ptolemy in person at the decisive battle of Raphia, and was glad to conclude a peace with the Egyptian monarch. On his return from his Syrian expedition, Ptolemy gave himself up more and more to every species of vice and debauchery. His mistress Agathoclea, and her brother Agathocles, divided with Sosibius the patronage and distribution of all places of honour or profit. Towards the close of his reign Ptolemy put to death his wife Arsinoë.

Coin of Ptolemy IV. Philopator.

His debaucheries shortened his life. He died in 205, leaving only one son, a child of five years old. We find Ptolemy following up the policy of his predecessors by cultivating the friendship of the Romans, to whom he furnished large supplies of corn during their struggle with Carthage. Plunged as he was in vice and debauchery, Philopator appears to have still inherited something of the love of letters for which his predecessors were so conspicuous. We find him associating on familiar terms with philosophers and men of letters, and especially patronizing the distinguished grammarian Aristarchus.


Epiphănes (B.C. 205-181), son and successor of Ptolemy IV. He was a child of five years old at the death of his father, 205. Philip, king of Macedonia, and Antiochus III. of Syria determined to take advantage of the minority of Ptolemy, and entered into a league to divide his dominions between them. In pursuance of this arrangement, Antiochus conquered Coele-Syria, while Philip reduced the Cyclades and the cities in Thrace which had still remained subject to Egypt. In this emergency the Egyptian ministers had recourse to the powerful intervention of the Romans, who commanded both monarchs to refrain from further hostilities, and restore all the conquered cities. In order to evade this demand without openly opposing the power of Rome, Antiochus concluded a treaty with Egypt, by which it was agreed that the young king should marry Cleopatra , the daughter of Antiochus, and receive back the Syrian provinces as her dower. This treaty took place in 199, but the marriage was not actually solemnized until six years after. The administration of Egypt was placed in the hands of Aristomenes, a man who was every way worthy of the charge. As early, however, as 196, the young king was declared of full age, and the ceremony of his anacleteria, or coronation, was solemnized with great magnificence. It was on this occasion that the decree was issued that has been preserved to us in the celebrated inscription known as the Rosetta Stone (q.v.). a monument of great interest in regard to the internal history of Egypt under the Ptolemies, independent of its importance as having afforded the key to the discovery of hieroglyphics. In 193 the marriage of Ptolemy with the Syrian princess Cleopatra was solemnized at Raphia. Ptolemy, however, refused to assist his father-in-law in the war against the Romans, which was at this time on the eve of breaking out, and he continued steadfast in his alliance with Rome. But he derived no advantage from the treaty which concluded it, and Antiochus still retained possession of CoeleSyria and Phœnicia. As long as Ptolemy continued under the guidance and influence of Aristomenes, his administration was equitable and popular. Gradually, however, he became estranged from his able and virtuous minister, and threw himself more and more into the power of flatterers and vicious companions, until at length he was induced to rid himself of Aristomenes, who was compelled to take poison. Towards the close of his reign Ptolemy conceived the project of recovering Coele-Syria from Seleucus, the successor of Antiochus, and had assembled a large mercenary force for that purpose; but having, by an unguarded expression, excited the apprehensions of some of his friends, he was cut off by poison in the twentyfourth year of his reign and the twenty-ninth of his age (B.C. 181). He left two sons, both named Ptolemy, who subsequently ascended the throne, under the names of Ptolemy Philometor and Euergetes II., and a daughter who bore her mother's name of Cleopatra. His reign was marked by the rapid decline of the Egyptian monarchy, for the provinces and cities wrested from it during his minority by Antiochus and Philip were never recovered, and at his death Cyprus and the Cyrenaïca were almost the only foreign possessions still attached to the crown of Egypt.


Philomētor (B.C. 181-146), eldest son and successor of Ptolemy V. He was a child at the death of his father in 181, and the regency was assumed during his minority by his mother Cleopatra , who, by her able administration, maintained the kingdom in a state of tranquillity. But after her death in 173, the chief power fell into the hands of Eulaeus and Lenaeus, ministers as corrupt as they were incapable, who had the rashness to engage in war with Antiochus Epiphanes, king of Syria, in the vain hope of recovering the provinces of Coele-Syria and Phœnicia. But their army was totally defeated by Antiochus near Pelusium, and Antiochus was able to advance without opposition as far as Memphis, 170. The young king himself fell into his hands, but was treated with kindness and distinction, as Antiochus hoped by his means to make himself the master of Egypt. On learning the captivity of his brother, the young Ptolemy, who was then at Alexandria with his sister Cleopatra , assumed the title of king, under the name of Euergetes II., and prepared to defend the capital to the utmost. Antiochus hereupon laid siege to Alexandria, but he was unable to take the city, and withdrew into Syria, after establishing Philometor as king at Memphis, but retaining in his hands the frontier fortress of Pelusium. This last circumstance, together with the ravages committed by the Syrian troops, awakened Philometor, who had hitherto been a mere puppet in the hands of the Syrian king, to a sense of his true position, and he hastened to make overtures of peace to his brother and sister at Alexandria. It was agreed that the two brothers should reign together, and that Philometor should marry his sister Cleopatra. But this arrangement did not suit the views of Antiochus, who immediately renewed hostilities. The two brothers were unable to offer any effectual opposition, and he had advanced a second time to the walls of Alexandria, when he was met by a Roman embassy, headed by M. Popilius Laenas, who haughtily commanded him instantly to desist from hostilities. Antiochus did not venture to disobey, and withdrew to his own dominions in 168. Dissensions broke out between the brothers, and Euergetes expelled Philometor from Alexandria. Philometor repaired to Rome, and by the influence of the Roman Senate was reinstated in the sovereign power, Euergetes, however, receiving the territory of Cyrené as a separate kingdom. To Cyprus also he soon laid claim, and war broke out once more, ending in the defeat of Euergetes, who from that time remained content with Cyrené as a kingdom. The attention of Philometor appears to have been, from this time, principally directed to the side of Syria. Demetrius Soter having sought during the dissensions between the two brothers to make himself master of Cyprus, Ptolemy now supported the usurper Alexander Balas, to whom he gave his daughter Cleopatra in marriage (B.C. 150). But when Ptolemy advanced with an army to the assistance of his son-in-law, Ammonius, the favourite and minister of Alexander, formed a plot against the life of Ptolemy; whereupon the latter took away his daughter Cleopatra from her faithless husband, and bestowed her hand on Demetrius Nicator, the son of Soter, whose cause he now espoused. In conjunction with Demetrius, Ptolemy carried on war against Alexander, whom he defeated in a decisive battle; but he died a few days afterwards in consequence of an injury which he had received from a fall from his horse in this battle (B.C. 146). He had reigned thirty-five years from the period of his first accession, and eighteen from his restoration by the Romans. Philometor is praised for the mildness and humanity of his disposition. Polybius even tells us that not a single citizen of Alexandria was put to death by him for any political or private offence. On the whole, if not one of the greatest, he was at least one of the best of the race of the Ptolemies. He left three children: (a) A son, Ptolemy, who was proclaimed king after his father's death, under the name Ptolemy Eupator, but was put to death almost immediately after by his uncle Euergetes. (b) A daughter, Cleopatra , married first to Alexander Balas, then to Demetrius II. king of Syria; and (c) Another daughter, also named Cleopatra , who was afterwards married to her uncle Ptolemy Euergetes.


Euergĕtes II. or Physcon (Φύσκων), “BigBelly,” reigned B.C. 146-117. His history down to the death of his brother has been already given. In order to secure undisputed possession of the throne, he married his sister Cleopatra , the widow of his brother Philometor, and put to death his nephew Ptolemy, who had been proclaimed king under the surname of Eupator. A reign thus commenced in blood was continued in a similar spirit. Many of the leading citizens of Alexandria, who had taken part against him on the death of his brother, were put to death, while the populace were given up to the cruelties of his mercenary troops, and the streets of the city were repeatedly deluged with blood. Thousands of the inhabitants fled from the scene of such horrors, and the population of Alexandria was so greatly thinned that the king found himself compelled to invite foreign settlers from all quarters to re-people his deserted capital. At the same time that he thus incurred the hatred of his subjects by his cruelties, he rendered himself an object of their aversion and contempt by abandoning himself to the most degrading vices. In consequence of these, he had become bloated and deformed in person, and enormously corpulent, whence the Alexandrians gave him the nickname of Physcon, by which he is more usually known. His union with Cleopatra was not of long duration. He became enamoured of his niece Cleopatra (the offspring of his wife by her former marriage with Philometor), and he did not hesitate to divorce the mother, and receive her daughter instead, as his wife and queen. By this proceeding he alienated still more the minds of his Greek subjects; and his vices and cruelties at length produced an insurrection at Alexandria. Thereupon he fled to Cyprus, and the Alexandrians declared his sister Cleopatra queen (B.C. 130). Enraged at this, Ptolemy put to death Memphitis, his son by Cleopatra , and sent his head and hands to his unhappy mother. But Cleopatra having been shortly afterwards expelled from Alexandria in her turn, Ptolemy found himself unexpectedly reinstated on the throne (B.C. 127). His sister Cleopatra fled to the court of her elder sister Cleopatra , the wife of Demetrius II., king of Syria, who espoused the cause of the fugitive. Ptolemy, in revenge, set up against him a pretender named Zabinas or Zebina, who assumed the title of Alexander II. But the usurper behaved with such haughtiness to Ptolemy that the latter suddenly changed his policy, became reconciled to his sister Cleopatra , whom he permitted to return to Egypt, and gave his daughter Tryphaena in marriage to Antiochus Grypus, the son of Demetrius. Ptolemy died after reigning twenty-nine years from the death of his brother Philometor; but he himself reckoned the years of his reign from the date of his first assumption of the regal title in 170. Although the character of Ptolemy Physcon was stained by the most infamous vices, and by the most sanguinary cruelty, he still retained that love of letters which appears to have been hereditary in the whole race of the Ptolemies. He had in his youth been a pupil of Aristarchus, and not only courted the society of learned men, but was himself the author of a work called Ὑπομνήματα, or memoirs, which extended to twenty-four books. He left two sons: Ptolemy, afterwards known as Soter II., and Alexander, both of whom subsequently ascended the throne of Egypt; and three daughters: (a) Cleopatra , married to her brother Ptolemy Soter; (b) Tryphaena, the wife of Antiochus Grypus, king of Syria; and (c) Selené, who was unmarried at her father's death. To his natural son Ptolemy, surnamed Apion , he bequeathed by his will the separate kingdom of Cyrené.


Soter II., and also Philomētor, but more commonly called Lathȳrus or Lathūrus (Λάθουρος), reigned B.C. 117-107, and also 89-81. Although he was of full age at the time of his father's death (B.C. 117), he was obliged to reign jointly with his mother, Cleopatra , who had been appointed by the will of her late husband to succeed him on the throne. She was indeed desirous of associating with herself her younger son, Ptolemy Alexander; but since Lathyrus was popular with the Alexandrians, she was obliged to give way, and sent Alexander to Cyprus. After declaring Lathyrus king, she compelled him to repudiate his sister Cleopatra , of whose influence she was jealous, and to marry his younger sister Selené in her stead. After reigning ten years jointly with his mother, he was expelled from Alexandria by an insurrection of the people which she had excited against him (B.C. 107). His brother Alexander now assumed the sovereignty of Egypt, in conjunction with his mother, while Lathyrus was able to establish himself in the possession of Cyprus. Cleopatra, indeed, attempted to dispossess him of that island also, but without success, and Ptolemy held it as an independent kingdom for the eighteen years during which Cleopatra and Alexander reigned in Egypt. After the death of Cleopatra and the expulsion of Alexander in 89, Ptolemy Lathyrus was recalled by the Alexandrians, and established anew on the throne of Egypt, which he occupied thenceforth without interruption till his death in 81. The most important event of this period was the revolt of Thebes, in Upper Egypt, which was still powerful enough to hold out for nearly three years against the arms of Ptolemy, but at the end of that time was taken and reduced to the state of ruin in which it has ever since remained. Lathyrus reigned in all thirty-five years and a half; ten in conjunction with his mother (117-107), eighteen in Cyprus (107-89), and seven and a half as sole ruler of Egypt. He left only one daughter, Berenicé, called also Cleopatra , who succeeded him on the throne; and two sons, both named Ptolemy, who, though illegitimate, became severally kings of Egypt and Cyprus.


Alexander I., youngest son of Ptolemy VII., reigned conjointly with his mother Cleopatra from the expulsion of his brother Lathyrus, B.C. 107 to 90. In this year he assassinated his mother; but he had not reigned alone a year, when he was compelled by a general sedition of the populace and military to quit Alexandria. He, however, raised fresh troops, but was totally defeated in a sea-fight by the rebels; whereupon Lathyrus was recalled by the Alexandrians to Egypt, as has been already related. Alexander now attempted to make himself master of Cyprus, and invaded that island, but was defeated and slain. He left a son, Alexander, who afterwards ascended the throne of Egypt.


Alexander II., son of the preceding, was at Rome at the death of Ptolemy Lathyrus in 81. Sulla , who was then dictator, nominated the young Alexander (who had obtained a high place in his favour) king of Egypt, and sent him to take possession of the crown. It was, however, agreed, in deference to the claims of Cleopatra Berenicé, the daughter of Lathyrus, whom the Alexandrians had already placed on the throne, that Alexander should marry her, and admit her to share the sovereign power. He complied with the letter of this treaty by marrying Cleopatra , but only nineteen days afterward caused her to be assassinated. The Alexandrians thereupon rose against their new monarch and put him to death.


Dionȳsus, but more commonly known by the appellation of Aulētes, “the flute-player,” was an illegitimate son of Ptolemy Lathyrus. When the assassination of Berenicé and the death of Alexander II. had completed the extinction of the legitimate race of the Lagidae, Ptolemy was proclaimed king by the Alexandrians, B.C. 80. He was anxious to obtain from the Roman Senate their ratification of his title to the crown, but it was not till the consulship of Caesar (B.C. 59) that he was able to purchase by vast bribes the desired privilege. He had expended immense sums in the pursuit of this object, which he was compelled to raise by the imposition of fresh taxes, and the discontent thus excited combining with the contempt entertained for his character, led to his expulsion by the Alexandrians in 58. Thereupon he proceeded in person to Rome to procure from the Senate his restoration. His first reception was promising; and he procured a decree from the Senate commanding his restoration, and intrusting the charge of effecting it to P. Lentulus Spinther, then proconsul of Cilicia. Meanwhile, the Alexandrians sent an embassy of one hundred of their leading citizens to plead their cause with the Roman Senate; but Ptolemy had the audacity to cause the deputies, on their arrival in Italy, to be waylaid, and the greater part of them murdered. The indignation excited at Rome by this proceeding produced a reaction: the tribunes took up the matter against the nobility; and an oracle was produced from the Sibylline Books forbidding the restoration of the king by an armed force. The intrigues and disputes thus raised were protracted throughout the year 56, and at length Ptolemy, despairing of a favorable result, quitted Rome in disgust, and withdrew to Ephesus. But in 55, A. Gabinius, who was proconsul in Syria, was induced, by the influence of Pompey, aided by the enormous bribe of 10,000 talents from Ptolemy himself, to undertake his restoration. The Alexandrians had in the meantime placed on the throne of Egypt Berenicé, the eldest daughter of Ptolemy, who had married Archelaüs, the son of the general of Mithridates, and they opposed Gabinius with an army on the confines of the kingdom. They were, however, defeated in three successive battles, Archelaüs was slain, and Ptolemy once more established on the throne (B.C. 55). One of his first acts was to put to death his daughter Berenicé, and many of the leading citizens of Alexandria. He survived his restoration only three years and a half, during which time he was supported by a large body of Roman soldiers who had been left behind by Gabinius for his protection. He died in 51, after a reign of twenty-nine years from the date of his first accession. He left two sons, both named Ptolemy, and two daughters, Cleopatra and Arsinoë.


Eldest son of the preceding. By his father's will the sovereign power was left to himself and his sister Cleopatra jointly, and this arrangement was carried into effect without opposition (B.C. 51). Auletes had also referred the execution of his will to the Roman Senate, and the latter accepted the office, confirmed its provisions, and bestowed on Pompey the title of guardian of the young king. But the approach of the Civil War prevented them from taking any active part in the administration of affairs, which fell into the hands of a eunuch named Pothinus. It was not long before dissensions broke out between the latter and Cleopatra , which ended in the expulsion of the princess, after she had reigned in conjunction with her brother about three years (B.C. 48). Hereupon she took refuge in Syria, and assembled an army, with which she invaded Egypt. The young king, accompanied by his guardians, met her at Pelusium, and it was while the two armies were here encamped opposite to one another that Pompey landed in Egypt, to throw himself as a suppliant on the protection of Ptolemy; but he was assassinated, by the orders of Pothinus, before he could obtain an interview with the king himself. Shortly after, Caesar arrived in Egypt, and took upon himself to settle the dispute between Ptolemy and his sister. But as Cleopatra 's charms gained for her the support of Caesar, Pothinus determined to excite an insurrection against Caesar. Hence arose what is usually called the Alexandrian War. Ptolemy, who was at first in Caesar's hands, managed to escape, and put himself at the head of the insurgents; but he was defeated by Caesar, and was drowned in an attempt to escape by the river (B.C. 47).


The youngest son of Ptolemy Auletes. He was appointed by Caesar to reign jointly with Cleopatra after the death of his elder brother Ptolemy XII., 47; and although he was a mere boy, it was decreed that he should marry his sister, with whom he was thus to share the power. Both his marriage and his regal title were of course purely nominal; and in the year 43 Cleopatra put him to death.

III. Other Kings


Surnamed Alorītes, that is, of Alorus, regent, or, according to some authors, king of Macedonia. He obtained the supreme power by the assassination of Alexander II., the eldest son of Amyntas, B.C. 367, but was, in his turn, assassinated by Perdiccas III., 364.


Surnamed Apion, king of Cyrené (117-96), was an illegitimate son of Ptolemy Physcon, king of Egypt, who left him by his will the kingdom of the Cyrenaïca. At his death in 96, Apion bequeathed his kingdom by his will to the Roman people. The Senate, however, refused to accept the legacy, and declared the cities of the Cyrenaïca free. They were not reduced to the condition of a province till near thirty years afterwards.


Surnamed Ceraunus, king of Macedonia, the son of Ptolemy I., king of Egypt, by his second wife Eurydicé. When his father in B.C. 285 set aside the claim of Ceraunus to the throne and appointed his younger son Ptolemy Philadelphus his successor, Ceraunus repaired to the court of Lysimachus. After Lysimachus had perished in battle against Seleucus (B.C. 281) Ptolemy Ceraunus was received by the latter in the most friendly manner; but shortly afterwards (B.C. 280) he basely assassinated Seleucus, and took possession of the Macedonian throne. After reigning a few months he was defeated in battle by the Gauls, taken prisoner, and put to death.


Tetrarch of Chalcis in Syria, the son of Mennaeus. He appears to have held the cities of Heliopolis and Chalcis as well as the mountain district of Ituraea, from whence he was in the habit of infesting Damascus and the more wealthy parts of Coelé-Syria with predatory incursions. He reigned from about 70 to 40, when he was succeeded by his son Lysanias.


King of Cyprus, the younger brother of Ptolemy Auletes, king of Egypt, being like him an illegitimate son of Ptolemy Lathyrus. He was acknowledged as king of Cyprus at the same time that his brother Auletes obtained possession of the throne of Egypt (B.C. 80). He had offended P. Clodius by neglecting to ransom him when he had fallen into the hands of the Cilician pirates; and accordingly Clodius, when he became tribune (B.C. 53), brought forward a law to deprive Ptolemy of his kingdom, and reduce Cyprus to a Roman province. Cato , who had to carry into execution this nefarious decree, sent to Ptolemy, advising him to submit, and offering him his personal safety, with the office of high-priest at Paphos, and a liberal maintenance. But the unhappy king refused these offers, and put an end to his own life (B.C. 57).


King of Epirus, the second son of Alexander II., king of Epirus, and Olympias, and grandson of the great Pyrrhus. He succeeded to the throne on the death of his elder brother, Pyrrhus II., but reigned only a very short time. The date of his reign cannot be fixed with certainty, but as he was contemporary with Demetrius II., king of Macedonia, it may be placed between 239 and 229.


King of Mauretania, was the son and successor of Iuba II. By his mother Cleopatra he was descended from the kings of Egypt, whose name he bore. The period of his accession cannot be determined with certainty, but we know that he was on the throne in A.D. 18. He continued to reign without interruption till A.D. 40, when he was summoned to Rome by Caligula, and shortly after put to death, his great riches having excited the cupidity of the emperor.

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