Ptolemaeus I. or Ptolemaeus Soter
), king of EGYPT, surnamed SOTER (the Preserver), but perhaps more commonly known as the son of Lagus. His father was a Macedonian of ignoble birth [LAGUS], but his mother Arsinoe had been a concubine of Philip of Macedon, on which account it seems to have been generally believed that Ptolemy was in reality the offspring of that monarch (Curt. 9.8.22
; Paus. 1.6.2
This could, indeed, hardly have been the case if Lucian's statement be correct (Macrob.
12), that Ptolemy was eighty-four years of age at the time of his death, as in that case he must have been born in B. C. 367, when Philip was not sixteen years old.
But the authority of Lucian on this point can hardly outweigh the distinct assertions of other authors as to the existence of such a belief, and we must therefore probably assign his birth to a later period. Whatever truth there may have been in this report, it is certain that Ptolemy early enjoyed a distinction at the Macedonian court to which his father's obscurity would scarcely have entitled him, and we find him mentioned before the death of Philip among the friends and confidential advisers of the young Alexander
The part which he took in promoting the intrigue for the marriage of the prince with the daughter of Pixodarus, king of Caria, gave great offence to Philip, and Ptolemy was banished, together with all the other persons concerned. (Plut. Alex. 10
; Arrian, Arr. Anab. 3.6
.) On the accession of Alexander
, however, B. C. 336, he was immediately recalled from exile, and treated with the utmost distinction.
It is remarkable that we do not find him holding any special command, or acting any important part during the first few years of the expedition to Asia, though it is clear that he accompanied the king throughout this period. Indeed, his name is only twice mentioned previous to the year B. C. 330, when he obtained the honourable post of Somatophylax in the place of Demetrius, who had been implicated in the conspiracy of Philotas. (Arr. ib.
2.11, 3.18, 27.)
But from this period we find him continually employed on the most important occasions, and rendering the most valuable services.
In the following campaign (329), after the army had crossed the Oxus, Ptolemy was sent forward with a strong detachment, to apprehend the traitor Bessus, whom he seized and brought before Alexander
. Again, in the reduction of the revolted province of Sogdiana, and in the attack on the rock-fortress of Chorienes, he is mentioned as taking a conspicuous part, and commanding one of the chief divisions of the army. (Arr. Anab. 3.29
But it was especially during the campaigns in India that the services of Ptolemy shone the most conspicuous; and we find him displaying on numerous occasions all the qualities of an able and judicious general, in command of separate detachments, or of one of the divisions of the main army.
In the conquest of the Aspasians and Assacenians, in the reduction of the fortress of Aornos, at the passage of the Hydaspes and the siege of Sangala, as well as in many minor operations, the name of Ptolemy is still among the most prominent. Nor was his personal valour less remarkable than his abilities as a general; and we find him on one occasion slaying with his own hand the chief of one of the Indian tribes in single combat. Some writers also ascribed to him a share in the glory of saving the life of Alexander
among the Malli [LEONNATUS], but it appears from his own testimony, as reported by Arrian and Curtius, that he was absent at the time on a separate command. (Arr. Anab. 4.24
; Curt. 8.10.21
Numerous evidences occur during the same period of the high favour and personal consideration with which he was regarded by Alexander
: we find him constantly in close attendance upon the king's person; and on occasion of the conspiracy of the pages it was he who, by discovering and revealing their treasonable designs, probably became the means of saving the life of his sovereign (Arr. 4.8, 13; Curt. 8.1
. §§ 45, 48, 6.22, 9.6.15; Chares ap. Athen. 4.171
According to a marvellous tale related by several writers Alexander
was soon after able to return the obligation and save the life of his friend and follower when wounded by a poisoned arrow, by applying a remedy suggested to him in a dream. (Curt. 9.8.22
; Diod. 17.103
; Strab. xv. p.723
; Just. 12.10
; Cic. de Divin.
2.66.) During the toilsome march through Gedrosia, Ptolemy once more commanded one of the three principal divisions of the army; and in the festivities at Susa was honoured with a crown of gold, while he obtained in marriage Artacama, a sister of Barsine. (Curt. 9.10.6
; Diod. 17.104
; Arr. Anab. 7.4
; Plut. Eum. 1
He is again mentioned as accompanying Alexander
on his last military enterprize, the winter campaign against the Cosaaeans, B. C. 324. (Arr. it.
From all these facts it is clear that at the death of Alexander
few among his friends and generals occupied so prominent a place as the son of Lagus, and Perdiccas appears to have looked upon him from the first as one of his most formidable rivals. But Ptolemy was too prudent to allow his ambition to lead him into any premature demonstrations of enmity.
In the first assembly of the generals he had indeed proposed that the government should be administered by a council of officers; but this suggestion being rejected, he attached himself to the party of Perdiccas during the subsequent transactions.
But he was far from losing sight of his own interests.
It is said to have been by his advice that the different provinces and satrapies were portioned out among the generals, and he took care to secure for himself in the distribution the important government of Egypt, at once the most wealthy and the most secure from foreign invasion. (Curt. 10.6
§§ 13, 16, 7.16; Just. 13.2
; Arrian apud Phot.
p. 69a; Dexippus, ibid.
p. 64a; Paus. 1.6.2
.) Thither he appears to have hastened as speedily as possible : and one of his first acts on arriving in his new government was to put to death Cleomenes, who had administered the province under Alexander
with the title of receiver-general of tributes, and had been expressly appointed by the council of generals to continue as hyparch under Ptolemy. Cleomenes had amassed vast treasures by extortion and rapine, and his execution thus tended to conciliate the minds of the Egyptians at the same time that it removed out of the way of Ptolemy a partisan of Perdiccas, and put him in possession of this accumulated treasure. (Paus. 1.6.3
; Arrian, l.c.
; Dexippus, 1. c.)
All his efforts were now directed to strengthen himself in his new position : he attached his subjects by the mildness of his rule at the same time that he raised large forces, and concluded a secret league with Antipater against their common enemy, the regent Perdiccas.
A still more overt act of disobedience was his persuading Arrhidaeus, who had been entrusted with the funeral of Alexander
, to allow his body to be transported to Egypt, instead of conducting it, as originally agreed, to Aegae in Macedonia. (Diod. 18.14
; Paus. 1.6.3
; Arrian, apud Phot.
p. 70b.) About the same time (B. C. 322) he took advantage of the civil dissensions at Cyrene to annex that important city and province to his dominions. (Diod. 18.21
; Arrian, apud Phot.
It was not till the beginning of the year B. C. 321 that hostilities actually commenced between Perdiccas and his adversaries.
The regent, justly deeming Ptolemy the most formidable of his antagonists, determined to leave Eumenes to make head against his enemies in Asia, while he himself marched against Egypt.
The result of his expedition has been already given under PERDICCAS [p. 187].
The personal popularity of Ptolemy with the Macedonian army, which had contributed essentially to his success, secured him a welcome reception by the royal forces immediately after the death of Perdiccas, but he wisely declined the office of regent, which was bestowed, by his advice, on Arrhidaeus and Pithon.
In the new arrangements at Triparadeisus, he naturally retained possession of Egypt and Cyrene; and it was probably at this period that he strengthened his union with the new regent Antipater, by marrvying his daughter Eurydice. (Droysen, Hellenism.
vol. i. p. 154.)
But the very next year (B. C. 320) we find him venturing on a bold step, in direct contravention of the arrangements then made, by seizing on the important satrapy of Phoenicia and Coele-Syria, which had been assigned to Laomedon, whom he did not scruple to dispossess by force of arms. (Diod. 18.39
; Appian. Syr.
52 ; Arran, apud Pwot.
It was probably during this expedition that he made himself master of Jerusalem, by attacking the city on the Sabbath day. (Josephus, J. AJ 12.1
, ad v. Apion.
The death of Antipater (B. C. 319) produced a great change in the relative situations of the different leaders, and Ptolemy was now induced to contract an alliance with Cassander and Antigonus against Polysperchon and Eumenes.
He at first fitted out a fleet, with which he repaired to the coasts of Cilicia, and commenced operations against Eumenes, who in his turn threatened Phoenicia (Diod. 18.62
); but the war was eventually drawn off to the upper provinces of Asia, and Ptolemy remained a passive spectator of the contest.
At length the decisive victory of Antigonus over Eumenes raised the former to a height of power which rendered him scarcely less formidable to his allies than his enemies. and his treatment of Pithon and Peucestes sufficiently betrayed his ambitious designs. Seleucus, who had himself with difficulty escaped from his hands, fled for refuge to Egypt, and by his representations of the character and projects of Antigonus awakened Ptolemy to a sense of the danger, and induced him to enter into an alliance with Cassander and Lysimachus against their common enemy, B. C. 316. (Id. 19.56; Paus. 1.6.4
The next spring (315), after ineffectual attempts at negotiation, Antigonus commenced hostilities by the invasion of Syria, quickly recovered most of the cities in Phoenicia which had fallen under the yoke of Ptolemy, and laid siege to Tyre, the most important of all, and the strength of which for a long time defied all his efforts. While he was engaged in this siege, and in the equipment of a fleet, and his nephew Ptolemy was carrying on the war in Asia Minor with great success, the king of Egypt was undisputed master of the sea, of which he availed himself to establish a footing in Cyprus, where he either gained over or subdued almost all the petty princes among whom the island was divided.
At the same time he did not neglect the affairs of Greece, whither he despatched a strong fleet under his admiral Polycleitus, and endeavoured to gain over the Greek cities by idle proclamations of liberty. Polycleitus, on his return, defeated Theodotus, one of Antigonus's admirals, at Aphrodisias in Cilicia, and took his whole fleet.
But the next year (314) Tyre at length fell into the hands of Antigonus, who now found himself undisputed master of Syria and Phoenicia, and was, consequently, able to turn his own attention towards Asia Minor, leaving his son Demetrius to protect the newly-acquired provinces.
The youth of Demetrius would have induced Ptolemy to attempt their recovery, but his attention was occupied during the year 313 by a revolt in Cyrene, and the defection of several of the princes of Cyprus.
The former he succeeded in putting down through the agency of his general Agis, while he deemed it necessary to repair in person to Cyprus, with a large force, with which he quickly reduced the revolted cities, and placed the whole island under the command of Nicocreon of Salamis, on whose fidelity he had full reliance.
After this he laid waste with his fleet the adjoining coasts of the main land, took the towns of Posideum in Syria, and Mallus in Cilieia, and withdrew again to Cyprus before Demetrius, who hastened to oppose him, could arrive on the spot.
But the following spring (B. C. 312) he determined, at the instigation of Seleucus, to oppose Demetrius in the field, and invaded Palestine with a large army.
He was met by the young general at Gaza, and a pitched battle ensued, in which Ptolemy and Seleucus were completely victorious, and Demetrius was compelled to evacuate Syria, leaving the whole country open to the Egyptian kings, who recovered almost without opposition all the cities of Phoenicia. after this he sent Seleucus at his own request with a small force against Babylon, where that general succeeded in establishing a permanent footing. [SELEUCUS.] Meanwhile, Demetrius partly retrieved his disaster by defeating Ptolemy's general Cilles, and soon rival after Antigonus himself advanced into Syria, to support his son. Ptolemy gave way before them, and withdrew into Egypt, where he prepared for defence; but Antingonus did not attempt to follow him, and spent his time in operations in Asia.
The next year (B. C. 311) hostilities were suspended by a general peace. (Diod. 19.57
; Plut. Demetr. 5
; Paus. 1.6.5
; Just. 15.1
; Appian, App. Syr. 54
Of the motives which led to this treaty we have no information, but the probability is that all parties regarded it as little more than a truce. Ptolemy appears to have been the first to recommnence hostilities, and, under pretence that Antigonus had not, pursuant to the treaty, withdrawn his garrisons from the Greek cities in Asia, he sent a fleet to Cilicia under Leonidas, who reduced many towns on the coast, but was again compelled to withdraw by the arrival of Demetrius.
The next year (B. C. 309) Ptolemy in person sailed with a large fleet to Lycia, took the important city of Xanthus, as well as Caunus and other places in Caria, and laid siege to Halicarnassus, which was, however, relieved by the sudden arrival of Demetrius. Ptolemy now withdrew to Myndus where he wintered, and the next spring (308) repaired in person to the Peloponnese, where he announced himself as the liberator of Greece, but effected little, beyond the taking possession of the two strongholds of Corinth and Sicyon, which were yielded to him by Cratesipolis ; and having placed garrisons in these he returned to Egypt. (Diod. 20.19
; Plut. Demetr. 7
This year was, however, marked by a more important advantage in the recovery of Cyrene, which had for some years past shaken off the Egyptian yoke, but was now, after the death of Ophellas, reduced once more under the subjection of Ptolemy by the arms of his brother Magas. [MAGAS.]
The next season (B. C. 307) Demetrius succeeded in establishing his authority over great part of Greece, and drove Demetrius the Phalerean out of Athens, who took refuge at the court of Egypt. Ptolemy appears to have remained inactive during these events, but it is probable that his military and naval preparations at Cyprus gave umbrage to Antigonus, who in consequence recalled Demetrius from Greece, and determined to make a grand effort to wrest that important island from the hands of his rival.
It was occupied by Ptolemy's brother Menelaus with a powerful fleet and army, but he was unable to resist the forces of Demetrius, was defeated, and besieged in the city of Salamis, the capital of the island. Ptolemy himself now hastened to his relief with a fleet of 140 ships, and a sea-fight ensued between him and Demetrius-one of the most memorable in ancient history- which terminated, after an obstinate contest, in the total defeat of the Egyptian fleet. Ptolemy was now compelled to withdraw to Egypt, while his brother Menelaus, with his fleet and army and the whole island of Cyprus, fell into the hands of the conqueror. Antigonus was so much elated by this victory as to assume the title of king, an example which Ptolemy, notwithstanding his defeat, immediately followed. B. C. Paus. (Diod. 20.45
; Plut. Demetr. 15
1.6.6; Just. 15.2
; Appian, App. Syr. 54
But the defeat at Salamis not only entailed upon the Egyptian king the loss of Cyprus, but left his for a time the undisputed master of the sea, an advantage of which Antigonus now determined to avail himself to strike a decisive blow against Egypt itself. For this purpose he himself advanced by land through Syria with a powerful army, while Demetrius supported him with his fleet. Ptolemy did not attempt to meet him in the field or oppose him on the frontiers of Egypt, but contented himself with fortifying and guarding the passages of the Nile, as he had done against Perdiccas : a manoeuvre which proved equally successful on the present occasion.
The fleet of Demetrius suffered severely from storm, and his efforts to effect a landing in Lower Egypt were frustrated, while Antigonus himself was unable to force the passage of the river : his troops began to suffer from hunger : many of them deserted to Ptolemy, whose emissaries were active with bribes and promises : and the old king at length found himself compelled to abandon the enterprise and retire into Syria. (Diod. 20.73
; Plut. Demetr. 19
; Paus. 1.6.6
.) Ptolemy was well contented to have escaped from so great a danger, and doubtless occupied in recruiting his forces, but we do not learn that he ventured to resume the offensive.
The next year however (B. C. 305), Demetrius having turned his arms against the Rhodians, Ptolemy assisted the latter with repeated supplies both of troops and provisions. So important, indeed, were his succours on this occasion, that when Demetrius had been at length compelled to raise the siege (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. (Diod. 20.81
; Paus. 1.6.6
; Athen. 15.696
During the next two years the king of Egypt seems to have been a nearly passive spectator of the contest in Greece, though in the course of it Corinth and Sicyon were wrested from his power by Demetrius : but at length in B. C. 302 the arrogant pretensions of Antigonus once more united Ptolemy and Seleucus with Cassander and Lysimachus in a league against their common foe Still, however, Ptolemy took comparatively little part in the contest, which led to the decisive battle of Ipaus, and after advancing into Code-Syria and making himself master of part of that country and of Phoenicia, he was alarmed by a false report of the victory of Antigonus, and withdrew into Egypt. (Diod. 20.106
; Just. 15.2
The defeat and death of Antigonus (B. C. 301) altogether altered the relations of the allied monarchs. Seleucus was now become almost as formidable as Antigonus had been, and the possession of Coele-Syria and Phoenicia, which were claimed by Ptolemy as the price of his adhesion to the coalition, and by Seleucus as part of the allotted reward of his victory, was near producing an immediate breach between the two. Seleucus appears to have waived his pretensions for a time, but ultimately obtained possession (in what manner we know not) of the disputed provinces. (Diod. xxi. Exc. Vat. pp. 42, 43; Plb. 5.67
.) Meanwhile, their mutual jealousy led them to form new alliances with the other monarchs; and while Seleucus married Stratonice, the daughter of Demetrius, Ptolemy sought to strengthen his connection with Lysimachus, by giving that monarch his daughter Arsinoe in marriage.
At the same time he did not refuse to be reconciled, in appearance at least, to Demetrius, to whom he even gave Ptolemais, another of his daughters, for a wife.
An alliance was at the same time concluded between them, and Pyrrhus, the fugitive heir to the throne of Epeirus, was placed at the Egyptian court by Demetrius, as a hostage for his fidelity.
The young prince quickly rose to a high place in the favour of Ptolemy, who gave him his stepdaughter Antigone in marriage, and conceived the design of raising him up as a rival to Demetrius. His nominal alliance with the latter did not prevent him from furnishing all the support in his power to the Greek cities which were opposed to him, on occasion of the expedition of Demetrius to Greece in B. C. 297 : and the following year he took the opportunity to create a formidable diversion by sending Pyrrhus, at the head of a small force, to Epeirus, where the young prince quickly established himself upon the throne. (Plut. Demetr. 32
4, 5; Paus. 1.6.8
The next year (B. C. 295) he took advantage of Demetrius being still engaged in the affairs of Greece, to recover the important island of Cyprus.
This he quickly reduced, with the exception of Salamis, where Phila, the wife of Demetrius, held out for a long time, but her husband's attention being now wholly engrossed by the prospects which hiad opened to him in Macedonia [DEMETRIUS], he was unable to render her any assistance, and she was ultimately compelled to surrender to Ptolemy.
The whole island thus fell into the power of the king, and became from henceforth an integral portion of the Egyptian monarchy. (Plut. Demetr. 35
It is not till after the lapse of a considerable interval that we again find Ptolemy engaging actively in foreign war.
But he could not remain an indifferent spectator of the events which placed his old enemy Demetrius on the throne of Macedonia : and in B. C. 287 we find him once more joining in a league with Lysimachus and Seleucus against the object of their common enmity.
The part taken by Ptolemy in the war that followed was, however, limited to the sending a fleet to the Aegaean : and the defeat and captivity of Demetrius soon removed all cause of apprehension. (Plut. Demetr. 44
10, 11; Just. 16.2
It is probable that the latter years of his reign were devoted almost entirely to the arts of peace, and to promoting the internal prosperity of his dominions.
But his advancing age now warned him of the necessity of providing for the succession to his throne.
Ptolemy was at this time the father of three legitimate sons, of whom the two eldest, Ptolemy surinamed Ceraunus, and Meleager, were the offspring of Eurydice, the daughter of Antipater, while the youngest, also named Ptolemy (afterwards surnamed Philadelphus) was the child of his latest and most beloved wife, Berenice. His attachment to Berenice, as well as the favourable opinion he had formed of the character of the young man himself, now led him to conceive the project of bestowing the crown upon the last of these three princes, to the exclusion of his elder brothers. Such a design met with vehement opposition from Demetrius the Phalerian, who now held a high place in the counsels and favour of Ptolemy : but the king, nevertheless, determined to carry it into execution, and even resolved to secure the throne to his favourite son by establishing him on it in his own lifetime.
In the year B. C. 285 accordingly, he himself announced to the assembled people of Alexandria that he had ceased to reign, and transferred the sovereign authority to his youngest son, whom he presented to them as their king. His choice was received, we are told, with the utmost favour, and the accession of the new monarch was celebrated with festivities and processions on a scale of unparalleled magnificence, during which the aged monarch himself appeared among the officers and attendants of his son. (Just. 16.2
; Athen. 5.196
.) Nothing occurred to interrupt the harmony which subsisted between them from this time till the death of the elder Ptolemy, which took place about two years after, B. C. 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. (Porphyr. apud Euseb. Arm.
pp. 113, 114; J. AJ 12.2
He was not only honoured by his son with a splendid funeral; but his body was deposited in the magnificent edifice which had been erected as the mausoleum of Alexander
; and divine honours were paid to him in common with the great conqueror. (Theocr. Idyll.
17.16-19; Strab. xvii. p.794
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 contemporary and rival potentates 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, such as the barbarous murder of Nicocles [NICOCLES], and the execution of Ptolemy, the nephew of Antigonus [see above, p. 565, No. 7], that he did not shrink from any measure that he deemed requisite in order to carry out the objects of his ambition.
But the long-sighted prudence, by which he seems to have been pre-eminently distinguished among his contemporaries, led him to confine that ambition within more rational bounds than most of his rivals.
He appears to have been the only one among the generals of Alexander
who foresaw from the first that the empire of that conqueror must inevitably be broken up, and who wisely directed his endeavours to secure for himself the possession of an important and valuable portion, instead of wasting his strength in idle attempts to grasp the whole.
But whatever were the faults of Ptolemy as an individual, as a ruler he 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, and which even many successive generations of misrule were afterwards insufficient to destroy.
He restored order to the finances of the country, encouraged commerce and industry, and introduced a system of administration which appears to have been well suited to the peculiar state of society which had so long existed in Egypt, and to the religious and social prejudices of the nation. (See on this subject Droysen, Hellenismus,
vol. ii. pp. 34-52.) 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. Among other measures for the prosperity of his new capital we find Ptolemy establishing there a numerous colony of Jews, who frequently acted an important part during the reigns of his successors. (J. AJ 12.1
With this exception, the policy of the king was mainly directed to the prosperity of his Greek subjects, while the native Egyptians, though no longer subjected to the oppressions they had suffered under former rulers, were kept in comparative obscurity. Nor do we find that the first Ptolemy showed any especial marks of favour to their religion, though to him is ascribed the first introduction of the foreign worship of Serapis, and the foundation of the celebrated temple dedicated to that divinity at Alexandria. (Tac. Hist. 4.84
; Plut. de Isid. et Osirid.
Not less eminent or conspicuous were the services rendered by Ptolemy to 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. (See Droysen, Hellenism.
vol. ii. p. 43; Geier, de Ptolemsaei Layidae Vita,
p. 61; Parthey, Das Alexandrinische Museum,
pp. 36-49; Ritschl. Die Alexandr. Bibliothek.
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, and became one of his most confidential friends and advisers.
But many other men of literary eminence were also gathered around the Egyptian king : among whom may be especially noticed the great geometer Euclid, the philosophers Stilpo of Megara, Theodorus of Cyrene, and Diodorus surnamed Cronus; as well as the elegiac poet Philetas of Cos, and the grammarian Zenodotus. (D. L. 2.102
; Plut. de Exil. 7, Apophth. Reg.
p. 189d; Suid. s. v. Φιλητᾶς
.) To the two last 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 similar nature to Theophrastus. (Suid. s. v. Μένανδρος ; D. L. 5.37
.) 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. (Plin. Nat. 35.36
; Lucian. de Calumn.
But Ptolemy was not content with the praise of an enlightened patron and friend of literature; he sought for himself also the fame of an author, and composed an historical narrative 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.
That author repeatedly praises Ptolemy for the fidelity of his narrative and the absence of all fables and exaggerations, and justly pays the greatest deference to his authority, on account of his personal acquaintance with the events which le relates. No notice of his style has been preserved to us, from which we may probably infer that his work was not so much distinguished in this respect as for its historical value. Arrian. expressly tells us that it was composed by hint after he was established on the throne of Egypt, and probably during the latter years of his life. (Arr. Anab.
The other passages in which his authority is cited are collected, and all the information relating to his history brought together by Geier, de Ptolemaei Layidae Vita et Scriptis, pp. 72-77
; and in his Scriptores Historiae Alex. Magni, pp. 1-26.
The fragments are also given in the edition of Arrian published by Didot, at Paris, 1846.)
It appears also that the letters of Ptolemy to Seleucus were extant at a later period, and were collected by one Dionysodorus, of whom nothing more is known. (Lucian. Pro Laps. in Salut.
Ptolemy had been three times married : 1. to the Persian princess Artacama [see above, p. 581], by whom he appears to have had no children; 2. to Eurydice, the daughter of Antipater, who had borne him three sons-Ptolemy Ceraunus, Meleager, and one whose name is not mentioned (Paus. 1.7.1
.), and two daughters, Lysandra and Ptolenmais; 3. to Berenice, who became the mother of Ptolemy Philadelphus as well as of Arsinoe, the wife of Lysimachus. For further information concerning his children by these marriages, see the articles ARSINOE and BERENICE. But besides these, he became the father of a numerous progeny by various concubines, of who the most conspicuous was Thais, the celebrated Athenian hetaera.
By her he had two sons, named Leontiscus and Lagus, and a daughter, Eirene, who was married to Eunostus, one of the petty princes of Cyprus. (Athen. 13.576
e. ; Paus. 1.6.8
.) Another son of Ptolemy, named Argaeus, is also mentioned, who was probably illegitimate, but his mother is unknown. (Paus. 1.7.1