The Ptolemaic dynasty (/ˌtɒlɪˈm.ɪk/; Ancient Greek: Πτολεμαῖοι, Ptolemaioi), also known as the Lagid dynasty (Λαγίδαι, Lagidae; after Ptolemy I's father, Lagus), was a Macedonian Greek[1][2][3][4][5] royal house which ruled the Ptolemaic Kingdom in Ancient Egypt during the Hellenistic period. Reigning for 275 years, the Ptolemaic was the longest and last dynasty of ancient Egypt from 305 BC until its incorporation into the Roman Republic in 30 BC.[6][7]

Ptolemies
Πτολεμαῖοι
Royal house
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Ptolemy I Soter, founder of the Ptolemaic dynasty, depicted as Pharaoh, British Museum
CountryAncient Egypt, Ancient Macedonia, Ancient Rome
Founded305 BC
FounderPtolemy I Soter
Final rulerCleopatra VII and Ptolemy XV
(Egypt)
Ptolemy XVI
(Syria)
Ptolemy of Mauretania
(Mauretania Caesariensis)
Final headDrusilla
TitlesPharaoh
Basileus of Egypt
King of Macedonia
King of Mauretania Caesariensis
King of Syria
King of Cyrene
DissolutionAD 79
Deposition279 BC (Macedon)
30 BC (Egypt)
AD 40 (Mauretania)

Ptolemy, a general and one of the somatophylakes (bodyguard companions) of Alexander the Great, was appointed satrap of Egypt after Alexander's death in 323 BC. In 305 BC he declared himself Pharaoh Ptolemy I, later known as Sōter "Saviour". The Egyptians soon accepted the Ptolemies as the successors to the pharaohs of independent Egypt. The new dynasty adopted the Egyptian titles and iconography, and respected local traditions, while also preserving their own Greek language and culture.[8][6] The Ptolemaic period was marked by the intense interactions and blending of the Greek and Egyptian cultures.[9] Under the Ptolemies, Hellenistic religion was largely influenced by religious syncretism and imperial cult.[10][11] Elements of Greek education became widespread in urban spaces, culminating in the foundation of the Mouseion (including the Library of Alexandria) and the Serapeum.[12] During the Hellenistic period, the city of Alexandria founded by Alexander the Great would gradually surpass Athens taking its place as the intellectual centre of the Mediterranean world.[13]

Following the earlier dynasties of Egypt, the Ptolemaic dynasty adopted the practice of inbreeding including sibling marriage,[14] but this did not start in earnest until nearly a century into the dynasty's history.[15] All the male rulers of the dynasty took the name Ptolemy, while queens regnant were all called Cleopatra, Arsinoe, or Berenice. The most famous member of the line was the last queen, Cleopatra VII, known for her role in the Roman political battles between Julius Caesar and Pompey, and later between Octavian and Mark Antony. Her apparent suicide after the Roman conquest of Egypt marked the end of Ptolemaic rule in Egypt.

Rulers and consorts edit

Dates in brackets on the Cup of the Ptolemies represent the regnal dates of the Ptolemaic pharaohs. They frequently ruled jointly with their wives, who were often also their sisters, aunts or cousins. Several queens exercised regal authority. Of these, one of the last and most famous was Cleopatra ("Cleopatra VII Philopator", 51–30 BC), with her two brothers and her son serving as successive nominal co-rulers. Several systems exist for numbering the later rulers; the one used here is the one most widely employed by modern scholars.

Family tree edit

Ptolemaic family tree
Lagus of Eordea, MacedonArsinoe of Macedon
Ptolemy I
Soter

(Kg 303–282 BC)
Berenice IPhilip
Arsinoe IIPtolemy II
Philadelphus

(Kg. 285–246 BC)
Arsinoe IMagas
of Cyrene
Apama II
Ptolemy III
Euergetes

(Kg. 246–221 BC)
Berenice II
Ptolemy IV
Philopator

(Kg. 221–203 BC)
Arsinoe III
Ptolemy V
Epiphanes

(Kg. 203–181 BC)
Cleopatra I
Syra
Ptolemy VI
Philometor

(Kg. 181–164 BC,
163–145 BC)
Cleopatra II
(Qn. 131–127 BC)
Ptolemy VIII
Physcon

(Kg. 170–163 BC,
145–116 BC)
Eirene
Ptolemy VII
Neos Philopator
Cleopatra III
(Qn, 116–101 BC)
Ptolemy
Memphites
Ptolemy Apion
Cleopatra IVPtolemy IX
Lathyros

(Kg. 116–107 BC,
as Soter II 88–81 BC)
Cleopatra
Selene
Ptolemy X
Alexander I

(Kg. 107–88 BC)
Ptolemy XII
Auletes

(Kg. 80–58 BC,
55–51 BC)
Berenice III
(Qn. 81–80 BC)
Ptolemy XI
Alexander II

(Kg. 80 BC,
for 19 days)
Cleopatra V
(Qn. 58–55 BC)
Cleopatra VI
(Qn. 58 BC)
Berenice IV
(Qn. 58–55 BC)
Ptolemy XIII
Theos Philopator

(Kg. 51–47 BC)
Cleopatra VII
Thea Philopator

(Qn. 51–30 BC)
Ptolemy XIV
(Kg. 47–44 BC)
Arsinoe IV
(Qn. 48–47 BC)
Julius
Caesar
Mark
Antony
Ptolemy XV
Caesarion

(Kg. 44–30 BC)
Alexander
Helios
Ptolemy
Philadelphus
Cleopatra
Selene II
Ptolemy of
Mauretania
Detailed Ptolemaic family tree
AntipaterLagusArsinoe of Macedon
Eurydice 
Ptolemy I
Soter

(Kg 303–282 BC)
Berenice I
(∞ Philip

Magas
of Cyrene

Apama II

See below: Berenice II)
Lysimachus
LysandraPtolemaisPtolemy CeraunusArsinoe II 
Ptolemy II
Philadelphus

(Kg. 285–246 BC)
Arsinoe I
Berenice II of Egypt
(daughter of
Magas of Cyrene,
see above: Berenice I
)
 
Ptolemy III
Euergetes

(Kg. 246–221 BC)
Berenice Syra
Antiochus III the GreatArsinoe III 
Ptolemy IV
Philopator

(Kg. 221–203 BC)
Cleopatra I
Syra
 
Ptolemy V
Epiphanes

(Kg. 203–181 BC)
 
Ptolemy VI
Philometor

(Kg. 181–164 BC,
163-145 BC)
Cleopatra II
(Qn. 131–127 BC)
 
Ptolemy VIII
Physcon

(Kg. 170–163 BC,
145–116 BC)
Eirene ?
Ptolemy EupatorCleopatra Thea 
Ptolemy VII
Neos Philopator
Cleopatra III
(Qn, 116–101 BC)
Ptolemy
Memphites
Ptolemy Apion
Cleopatra TryphaenaCleopatra IV 
Ptolemy IX
Lathyros

(Kg. 116–107 BC,
as Soter II 88–81 BC)
Cleopatra V
Selene
 
Ptolemy X
Alexander I

(Kg. 107–88 BC)
?Berenice III
(Qn. 81–80 BC)
 
Ptolemy XI
Alexander II

(Kg. 80 BC,
for 19 days)
Ptolemy of Cyprus 
Ptolemy XII
Auletes

(Kg. 80–58 BC,
55–51 BC)
Cleopatra VI
(Qn. 58 BC)
 
Berenice IV
(Qn. 58–55 BC)
 
Ptolemy XIII
Theos Philopator

(Kg. 51–47 BC)
 
Cleopatra VII
Thea Philopator

(Qn. 51–30 BC)
 
Ptolemy XIV
(Kg. 47–44 BC)
Arsinoe IV
(Qn. 48–47 BC)
Julius
Caesar
Mark
Antony
 
Ptolemy XV
Caesarion

(Kg. 44–30 BC)
Alexander
Helios
Cleopatra
Selene II
Juba II
of Mauretania
Ptolemy Philadelphus
Ptolemy of
Mauretania

Other notable members of the Ptolemaic dynasty edit

 
A seated woman in a fresco from the Roman Villa Boscoreale, dated mid-1st century BC. It likely represents Berenice II of Ptolemaic Egypt wearing a stephane (i.e. royal diadem) on her head.[19]

Health edit

 
Cameo of Ptolemaic rulers (Kunsthistorisches Museum)

Continuing the tradition established by previous Egyptian dynasties, the Ptolemies engaged in inbreeding including sibling marriage, with many of the pharaohs being married to their siblings and often co-ruling with them.[20] Ptolemy I and other early rulers of the dynasty were not married to their relatives, the childless marriage of siblings Ptolemy II and Arsinoe II[21] being an exception. The first child-producing incestuous marriage in the Ptolemaic dynasty was that of Ptolemy IV and Arsinoe III, who were succeeded as co-pharaohs by their son Ptolemy V, born 210 BC. The best-known Ptolemaic pharaoh, Cleopatra VII, was at different times married to and ruled with two of her brothers (Ptolemy XIII until 47 BC and then Ptolemy XIV until 44 BC), and their parents were also likely to have been siblings or possibly cousins.[15]

 
The Gonzaga Cameo of Ptolemy II Philadelphus and Arsinoe II from Alexandria (Hermitage Museum)

Contemporaries describe a number of the Ptolemaic dynasty members as extremely obese,[22] while sculptures and coins reveal prominent eyes and swollen necks. Familial Graves' disease could explain the swollen necks and eye prominence (exophthalmos), although this is unlikely to occur in the presence of morbid obesity. This is all likely due to inbreeding depression. In view of the familial nature of these findings, members of the Ptolemaic dynasty are likely to have suffered from a multi-organ fibrotic condition such as Erdheim–Chester disease, or a familial multifocal fibrosclerosis where thyroiditis, obesity and ocular proptosis may have all occurred concurrently.[23]

Gallery edit

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Jones 2006, p. xiii: "They were members of the Ptolemaic dynasty of Macedonian Greeks, who ruled Egypt after the death of its conqueror, Alexander the Great".
  2. ^ Jeffreys 2005, p. 488: "Ptolemaic kings were still crowned at Memphis and the city was popularly regarded as the Egyptian rival to Alexandria, founded by the Macedonian Greeks".
  3. ^ Robins 2001, p. 108: "...Cleopatra VII, the last member of the Greek Ptolemaic dynasty to govern Egypt. Although the Ptolemies were not only Greek by origin but also by culture, they adopted from the Egyptians the custom of royal brother-sister marriage".
  4. ^ Southern 2009, p. 43: "The Ptolemaic dynasty, of which Cleopatra was the last representative (...) stemmed from Ptolemy Soter, a Macedonian Greek in the entourage of Alexander the Great".
  5. ^ Depuydt 2005, p. 687: "during the Ptolemaic period, when Egypt was governed by rulers of Greek descent..."; Pomeroy 1990, p. xvi: "...while Ptolemaic Egypt was a monarchy with a Greek ruling class"
  6. ^ a b Jones 2006, p. 3.
  7. ^ Epiphanius of Salamis, however, puts the total number of years of the Ptolemaic dynasty at 306, presumably calculated from 306/5 BC to 1 AD. See: Epiphanius' Treatise on Weights and Measures – The Syriac Version (ed. James Elmer Dean), University of Chicago Press 1935, p. 28 (note 104). Compare On Weights and Measures.
  8. ^ Southern 2009, pp. 43–44.
  9. ^ Rutherford 2016, p. 4: "The second (phase of relationship between Greek and Egyptian culture) begins when Egypt is taken over by a Greek-speaking elite in the last decades of the fourth century. From then on, the two cultures coexisted, which inevitably resulted in interactions and mutual influence between them".
  10. ^ Potter 2009, p. 419.
  11. ^ Carney 2013, pp. 95–100, "Cults".
  12. ^ Holbl 2001, p. 84.
  13. ^ Jones 2006, p. 10.
  14. ^ Robins, p. 108: "...they adopted from the Egyptians the custom of royal brother-sister marriage".
  15. ^ a b Move over, Lannisters: No one did incest and murder like the last pharaohs on The A.V. Club
  16. ^ Wasson, Donald (February 3, 2012). "Ptolemy I". World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
  17. ^ Tunny, Jennifer(2001)The Health of Ptolemy II Philadelphus. The Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists/ Vol.38(1/4), pp.119-134
  18. ^ W. Huß, Ägypten in hellenistischer Zeit (Egypt in Hellenistic times). C. H. Beck, Munich 2001, p. 679
  19. ^ Pfrommer, Michael; Towne-Markus, Elana (2001). Greek Gold from Hellenistic Egypt. Los Angeles: Getty Publications (J. Paul Getty Trust). ISBN 0-89236-633-8, pp. 22–23.
  20. ^ Walter Scheidel (September 1996). "Brother-sister and parent-child marriage outside royal families in ancient Egypt and Iran: A challenge to the sociobiological view of incest avoidance?". Ethology and Sociobiology. 17 (5): 321. doi:10.1016/S0162-3095(96)00074-X.
  21. ^ Ptolemy II "Philadelphus" on Encyclopædia Britannica
  22. ^ Michalopoulos, A.; Tzelepis, G.; Geroulanos, S. (2003). ""Morbid obesity and hypersomnolence in several members of an ancient royal family"". Thorax. 58 (3): 281–282. doi:10.1136/thorax.58.3.281-b. PMC 1746609. PMID 12612315.
  23. ^ Ashrafian, Hutan (2005). "Familial proptosis and obesity in the Ptolemies". J. R. Soc. Med. 98 (2): 85–86. doi:10.1177/014107680509800224. PMC 1079400. PMID 15684370.
  24. ^ Walker, Susan; Higgs, Peter (2001), "Painting with a portrait of a woman in profile", in Walker, Susan; Higgs, Peter (eds.), Cleopatra of Egypt: from History to Myth, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press (British Museum Press), pp. 314–315, ISBN 9780691088358.
  25. ^ Fletcher, Joann (2008). Cleopatra the Great: The Woman Behind the Legend. New York: Harper. ISBN 978-0-06-058558-7, image plates and captions between pp. 246-247.

Sources edit

  • Carney, Elizabeth (2013). Arsinoe of Egypt and Macedon, A Royal Life. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195365511.
  • Jones, Prudence (2006). Cleopatra: A Sourcebook. University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 9780806137414.
  • Pomeroy, Sarah (1990). Women in Hellenistic Egypt, From Alexander to Cleopatra. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 9780814322307.
  • Southern, Patricia (2009) [2007]. Antony and Cleopatra: The Doomed Love Affair That United Ancient Rome and Egypt. Amberley Publishing. ISBN 9781848683242.
  • Potter, David (2009). "Hellenistic religion". In Erskine, Andrew (ed.). A Companion to the Hellenistic World. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 1405154411.
  • Holbl, Gunther (2001). "Ptolemaic period". In Redford, Donald (ed.). Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt. Vol. 3. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195138236.
  • Jeffreys, David (2005) [1999]. "Memphis". In Bard, Kathryn (ed.). Encyclopedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt. Routledge. ISBN 1134665253.
  • Depuydt, Leo (2005) [1999]. "Rosseta Stone". In Bard, Kathryn (ed.). Encyclopedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt. Routledge. ISBN 1134665253.
  • Robins, Gay (2001). "Queens". In Redford, Donald (ed.). Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt. Vol. 3. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195138236.
  • Rutherford, Ian (2016). Greco-Egyptian Interactions: Literature, Translation, and Culture, 500 BCE-300 CE. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0199656126.

Further reading edit

  • Bingen, Jean. Hellenistic Egypt. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007 (hardcover, ISBN 0-7486-1578-4; paperback, ISBN 0-7486-1579-2).
  • Roberta Casagrande-Kim, ed. (2014). When the Greeks Ruled Egypt: From Alexander the Great to Cleopatra. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0691165547.
  • A. Lampela, Rome and the Ptolemies of Egypt: The development of their political relations 273–80 B.C. (Helsinki, 1998).
  • J. G. Manning, The Last Pharaohs: Egypt Under the Ptolemies, 305–30 BC (Princeton, 2009).
  • Susan Stephens, Seeing Double: Intercultural Poetics in Ptolemaic Alexandria (Berkeley, 2002).

External links edit