II. Ancient and Classical Periods, 3500 B.C.E.–500 C.E. > D. Classical Greece and the Hellenistic World > 5. The Hellenistic World, to 30 B.C.E. > g. Ptolemaic Egypt to the Roman Conquest
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
(See 343–332)
g. Ptolemaic Egypt to the Roman Conquest
PTOLEMY I SOTER (“savior”), the son of Lagus (hence the “Lagid” house), had been governor of Egypt since 323 and king since 304. He had seized Coele-Syria in 301 and acquired from Demetrius, Pamphylia and Lycia (296–295) and Caria and the island of Cos (286).  1
PTOLEMY II PHILADELPHUS (“loving his sister”) was co-regent for two years and revived an old Pharaonic practice by marrying his sister Arsinoe II (276?). He explored the upper Nile and extended his power along the Red Sea and into northern Arabia (278) for commercial purposes.  2
In the First War of Succession (280–279) and First Syrian War (274–271), Ptolemy II secured Miletus, Phoenicia, western Cilicia, Pamphylia, and Lycia. He subsidized Pyrrhus against Antigonus (274) and aided Athens and Sparta in the Chremonidean War (268–262?). He incited Eumenes of Pergamum to revolt from Antiochus (263) and supported the seizure of Ephesus (262–259) by his own son, Ptolemy. These activities brought Antiochus II, Antigonus II, and Rhodes together to wage the Second Syrian War.  3
During the Second Syrian War (260–253?), Antigonus defeated Ptolemy in the Battle of Cos (261 or 256). Though by the resulting peace he lost Cilicia and western Pamphylia (255), he later recovered the Cyclades (250) and also Cyrene (c. 248), which had become independent in 274.  4
Ptolemy III Euergetes (“benefactor”) supported his sister Berenice II in the Third Syrian War (246–241) and acquired the coasts of Syria and southern Asia Minor, as well as some Aegean ports. But he lost the Cyclades to Antigonus through the Battle of Andros (246?). This was the height of the Ptolemaic power.  5
Ptolemy IV Philopator (“loving his father”) was a weak monarch, dominated by his minister, Sosibius. In the Fourth Syrian War (221–217) he at first lost much of the Syrian coast to Antiochus III, but the victory of Raphia (217) brought the recovery of all, save the port of Seleucia.  6
Ptolemy V Epiphanes (“god manifest”), a young boy, succeeded his father. While the Egyptian natives revolted in the Delta (201–200), Antiochus III attacked him in the Fifth Syrian War.  7
The Fifth Syrian War (202–200?) saw the defeat of Ptolemy at Panium (200). He retained only Cyprus of his Asiatic possessions. When he came of age (195), he succeeded in suppressing the native revolts.  8
Ptolemy VI Philometor (“loving his mother”) followed Ptolemy V under the regency of his mother Cleopatra I. In consequence of Ptolemy's cowardice during the Sixth Syrian War with Antiochus IV (170–168), the people of Alexandria forced him to associate his brother, Ptolemy VII, in his rule. Rome prevented Antiochus from completing his victory over Egypt (168). When Ptolemy VI was expelled by his brother (164), the Roman Senate restored him and gave Cyrene and Cyprus to Ptolemy VII, who, however, secured only Cyrene (163). Ptolemy supported Alexander Balas against Demetrius I (153–150) but then switched his support from Alexander to Demetrius II. Ptolemy and Alexander Balas were killed in this war (147–45).  9
Ptolemy VII Euergetes II (“benefactor”) or Physcon (“fat-bellied”) reunited the empire after his brother's death and restored order. At his death, he left Cyrene separately to his son Apion, who willed it to Rome in 96, though it was not actually annexed until 75. Another son, Ptolemy IX, received Cyprus, which was ultimately bequeathed to Rome and annexed in 58.  10
Ptolemy VIII Soter II or Lathyrus (“chick-pea”), son of Ptolemy VII, was eventually expelled by his brother Ptolemy IX Alexander I (108–88). The people of Alexandria, however, slew Ptolemy IX and restored Ptolemy VIII (88–80). Ptolemy X Alexander II, son of Ptolemy IX, succeeded but was at once slain by the people of Alexandria (80), who set up an illegitimate son of Ptolemy VIII, Ptolemy XI Auletes (“flute-player”) or Neos (“new”) Dionysos. Though expelled in 58, he bribed the “first triumvirate” to send Gabinius to restore him (55). On his death in 51, he left his throne jointly to his children, Cleopatra VII and Ptolemy XII (51–47). When Ptolemy expelled his sister, Caesar forced her restoration (48) and, since Ptolemy died during the fighting about Alexandria (48–47), Caesar joined with Cleopatra a younger brother, Ptolemy XIII (47–44), whom Cleopatra murdered on Caesar's death (44).  11
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.