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Ptolemaeus

*Ptolemai=os), king of CYPRUS, was the younger brother of Ptolemy Auletes, king of Egypt, being like him an illegitimate son of Ptolemy Lathyrus. Notwithstanding this defect of birth he appears to have been acknowledged as king of Cyprus at the same time that his brother Auletes obtained possession of the throne of Egypt, B. C. 80. But he unfortunately neglected the precaution of making interest at Rome to obtain the confirmation of his sovereignty, and had the farther imprudence to give personal offence to P. Clodius, by neglecting to ransom him when he had fallen into the hands of the Cilician pirates (Strab. xiv. p.684; Appian, App. BC 2.23). He paid dearly for his niggardliness on this occasion, for when Clodius became tribune (B. C. 58), he brought forward a law to deprive Ptolemy of his kingdom, and reduce Cyprus to a Roman province. Cato, who was entrusted with the charge of carrying 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, though he was wholly unprepared for resistance to the Roman power, had the spirit to refuse these offers, and put an end to his own life, B. C. 57. (Strab. 1. c.; D. C. 38.30, 39.22; Liv. Epit. civ.; Plut. Cat. Mi. 34-36; Appian, App. BC 2.23; Vell. 2.45; Cic. pro Sext. 26-28 ; V. Max. 9.4, ext. § 1.)

We are told that Ptolemy had disgraced himself by every species of vice (Vell. Pat. l.c.), but it appears certain that it was the vast treasures that he possessed, which, by attracting the cupidity of the Romans, became the cause of his destruction, of which his vices were afterwards made the pretext.

[E.H.B]

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