The Ptolemaic Kingdom is an fascinating a part of historical past. Its rise and fall have been bookended by the deaths of two of probably the most well-known figures of historic historical past: Alexander the Nice and Cleopatra.
The Ptolemies have been very protecting of their lineage. They have been Greek rulers in Egypt. They typically married siblings to take care of the bloodline. Regardless of this, they weren’t shy about utilizing betrayals and assassinations to realize energy. As you will notice, the most important hazard to a Ptolemy was one other Ptolemy typically.
10 The Rise Of The Dynasty
The dying of Alexander the Nice plunged the traditional world into chaos as lots of his generals fought for energy in a collection of conflicts that lasted virtually 50 years and have been generally known as the Wars of the Diadochi (“successors”). Previous to this, although, one common named Perdiccas got here nearer than anybody to gaining management over the empire of the deceased king.
There have been two camps—one needed rule to be granted to Alexander’s half-brother Arrhidaeus, whereas the opposite one thought it ought to go to his unborn baby by Roxana, the longer term Alexander IV. In the long run, the 2 have been named joint kings whereas Perdiccas served as regent of the empire and commander of the military.
This was only a ploy for Perdiccas to consolidate his energy. He started orchestrating the deaths of his opponents. In 323 BC, the generals who supported him have been named satraps to varied elements of the empire on the Partition of Babylon.
Ptolemy I Soter was given Egypt. His governorship didn’t final lengthy, although. First, he organized the arrest and execution of Cleomenes, a strong official who was in Alexandria to serve Perdiccas’s pursuits. Then he stole Alexander’s physique to be buried in Egypt as an alternative of the tomb ready in Macedonia.
Perdiccas thought-about this an act of conflict. He tried to invade Egypt however did not cross the Nile and misplaced hundreds of males. He was assassinated by his personal officers in 321/320 BC. Some historians contend that Ptolemy might have claimed the regency of the empire for himself at this level, however he selected to start out his personal dynasty in Egypt.
9 Three Intrigues, An Execution, And An Exile
Ptolemy I used to be adopted by his son, Ptolemy II Philadelphus, however it was his daughter, Arsinoe II, who proved to be adept at intrigue and ruthless sufficient to grab energy. The true extent of her affect is debated by historians, however each courtroom she arrived at appeared to have somebody shortly lose energy in her favor.
Ptolemy II strengthened his rule by means of two diplomatic weddings with Lysimachus, king of Thrace and one other of Alexander’s Diadochi. Circa 299 BC, Lysimachus married Ptolemy’s sister, Arsinoe II, whereas the pharaoh wed the Thracian’s daughter, additionally referred to as Arsinoe.
The Ptolemaic Arsinoe gave Lysimachus three sons, however none of them was positioned for the throne because the king already had a son named Agathocles. Nevertheless, the inheritor obvious was convicted of treason round 282 BC and executed. Some historians claimed this was the work of Arsinoe to safe the kingship for her sons. This made sure cities in Asia Minor revolt towards Lysimachus. The king tried to quell the revolt however was killed in battle.
Arsinoe then married her half-brother Ptolemy Ceraunus who needed to strengthen his declare to the kingdoms of Thrace and Macedonia. She might have plotted towards him, however the queen’s plan failed and Ceraunus killed two of her sons.
Ultimately, Arsinoe made her approach again to Egypt. The Thracian Arsinoe, who was her brother’s spouse, was quickly exiled for planning to homicide the king. Once more, rumors appeared that the accusations have been the work of the pharaoh’s sister. Quickly after that, she married her brother and have become queen of Egypt.
eight A Purge Of Ptolemies
Ptolemaic Egypt is usually thought-about to have reached its peak in the course of the rule of Ptolemy III Euergetes following his triumphs within the Third Syrian Struggle. Conversely, his son and inheritor, Ptolemy IV Philopator, was described by historians as a weak ruler who was simply managed by his associates so long as they indulged his vices. His reign marks the start of the decline of the Ptolemaic dynasty.
Ptolemy IV turned king of Egypt in 221 BC when he was 23–24 years previous. He devoted himself to a lifetime of debauchery whereas the administration of the dominion was primarily dealt with by his chief minister, Sosibius. The Greek historian Polybius named the minister because the instigator behind the deaths of a number of of the younger pharaoh’s kin. They included Ptolemy’s mom, Berenice II, in addition to his brother, Magas, and his uncle, Lysimachus.
Like his grandfather, Ptolemy IV married his sister, Arsinoe III. She met her demise quickly after Ptolemy’s demise in 204 BC. This was carried out by Sosibius and one other official referred to as Agathocles to make sure that they might turn out to be regents till Ptolemy V got here of age.
7 Something For Energy
Many members of the Ptolemy household confirmed themselves able to ruthlessness and cruelty to ascend to energy, however few, if any, outdid Ptolemy VIII Physcon.
He had a decades-long battle for the throne together with his older brother, Ptolemy VI Philometor. In 145 BC, the elder Ptolemy died on marketing campaign and his sister-wife, Cleopatra II, needed her younger son, Ptolemy VII Neos Philopator, to rule.
The small print of his reign are a bone of rivalry amongst historians as some aren’t positive that he ever turned king in any respect. If he did rule, his reign was short-lived. Resulting from lack of help, Cleopatra needed to marry Ptolemy VIII and rule collectively. As soon as Neos Philopator was deposed, his uncle had him executed.
As soon as he was in energy, Physcon renamed himself Ptolemy Euergetes after his honored ancestor. He married his niece, Cleopatra III, whereas nonetheless married to her mom.
In 131 BC, the elder Cleopatra managed to stage a revolt towards Ptolemy, who left Alexandria with Cleopatra III. They stayed in exile in Cyprus for 4 years throughout which Cleopatra II served as regent till her son, Ptolemy Memphites, got here of age. This by no means occurred, although, as Ptolemy Physcon was reunited together with his son and had him murdered. He then minimize off the boy’s head, arms, and legs and had them delivered to Alexandria on Cleopatra’s birthday.
Regardless of these “squabbles,” Ptolemy and Cleopatra ultimately had a public reconciliation and dominated collectively alongside Cleopatra III till Physcon’s dying in 116 BC.
6 Violent Ends For Violent Individuals
Definitely, a black eye for the 300-year rule of the Ptolemaic household was the temporary however violent reign of Ptolemy XI Alexander II.
He took the throne in 80 BC, succeeding his father, Ptolemy X Alexander I. He additionally married his father’s spouse, Berenice III, who was additionally his cousin. Earlier than the wedding, there was a quick window the place Berenice dominated alone and managed to endear herself to the individuals of Egypt.
Nevertheless, her new husband-stepson-cousin didn’t like her. Lower than three weeks after getting married, Ptolemy XI had his spouse assassinated. This severely angered the individuals of Alexandria, and a mob stormed the palace and killed the younger pharaoh within the Gymnasium.
5 Rome Intervenes
Ptolemy XII Auletes ascended to the throne in 80 BC. By this time, Egypt was a shopper of Rome and needed to pay a considerable tribute which resulted in heavy taxes on the Egyptian individuals. His reputation reached an all-time low in 58 BC when the Romans took over Cyprus and his brother, King Ptolemy of Cyprus, killed himself.
The individuals needed Ptolemy to both demand Cyprus again or denounce Rome. He was unwilling to do both, and a rebel pressured him out of Egypt. He went to Rome the place he stayed with Pompey.
Whereas in Rome, there was speak within the Senate of going into Egypt and restoring Ptolemy to the throne. At one level, a delegation of 100 Egyptians, led by thinker Dio of Alexandria, shaped to state their case for the Roman Senate. They meant to current their complaints towards Ptolemy.
Nevertheless, the exiled pharaoh used his cash and Pompey’s connections to make sure that no envoy would make it. In response to Cassius Dio, a lot of the messengers have been assassinated, together with Dio of Alexandria, and people who survived have been bribed.
Ptolemy may need succeeded in coping with one drawback via homicide, however there was a divine problem which couldn’t be solved with violence.
As they have been recognized to do in occasions of disaster, the leaders of Rome consulted the oracles. Particularly, they turned to a set of prophecies referred to as the Sibylline Books.
In response to Cassius Dio, they stated, “If the king of Egypt come requesting any help, refuse him not friendship, nor but succour him with any nice pressure; else you shall have each toils and risks.”
four The March Gabinius
The oracle prophecies made the Roman Senate deny Ptolemy army help. However in the long run, it was greed which triumphed over godly resolutions. It was Pompey once more who despatched considered one of his generals, Aulus Gabinius, to invade Egypt. He didn’t have Senate approval, however Pompey was highly effective sufficient to keep away from penalties.
Throughout Ptolemy’s exile, his daughter, Berenice IV, dominated Egypt. She tried to safe an alliance by marrying Seleucus of Syria. He turned out to be much less influential than anticipated, and Berenice had him killed and married Archelaus.
Her new husband died when Gabinius conquered Alexandria. He reinstated Ptolemy and left him a Roman legion to guard him from future rebellions. They turned referred to as the Gabiniani.
Again on the throne, Ptolemy put his daughter to demise. He additionally killed Egypt’s richest residents to grab their fortunes as he had a big debt to repay to Gabinius and Pompey.
Alas, Gabinius couldn’t take pleasure in his plunder for lengthy. The individuals of Rome have been outraged at his defiance of the Sibylline verses and the Senate, and he was arrested when he returned. Probably the most critical cost was excessive treason.
By way of the beneficiant dispersal of affect and bribes, the Roman common was discovered not responsible. There have been different lesser costs, nevertheless. Cassius Dio claimed that Gabinius acquired too assured and too stingy together with his bribe purse as he was discovered responsible. He was exiled, and his property was confiscated.
three The Homicide Of Pompey
In 52 BC, Ptolemy XII named his daughter, Cleopatra VII Philopator, as his coregent. This is able to be the well-known Cleopatra. He needed her to rule Egypt collectively together with her brother, Ptolemy XIII Theos Philopator. Nevertheless, the younger pharaoh needed to rule alone, though he was truly beneath the heavy affect of the eunuch Pothinus, his regent. Collectively, in 48 BC, they deposed Cleopatra.
Each would-be rulers needed Roman help, however Rome had its personal issues to fret about. By this level, Julius Caesar had began the civil warfare that might finish the republic. He had simply earned a decisive victory over Pompey on the Battle of Pharsalus.
Pompey went to Egypt, anticipating help and refuge from Ptolemy XIII as he had as soon as offered to the pharaoh’s father. Ptolemy, nevertheless, most popular to ingratiate himself with Caesar.
He despatched males to greet Pompey underneath the guise of friendship. However they stabbed him, decapitated him, and threw his physique within the water. So far as who dedicated the deed, Plutarch names two Gabiniani: a former tribune named Lucius Septimius and a centurion named Salvius, alongside Egyptian commander Achillas.
The plan backfired as Caesar was disgusted when introduced with the top of Pompey and was stated to burst into tears when he acquired the seal ring of his former friend-turned-rival.
2 Warfare Of The Ptolemies
Whether or not the assassination of Pompey influenced Caesar is tough to say, however he determined to help Cleopatra. Nevertheless, he lacked the troops to stage open warfare. Subsequently, he barricaded himself in Alexandria in 47 BC as Ptolemy’s forces, led by Achillas, laid siege to the town.
One other youngster of Ptolemy XII, Arsinoe IV, acquired concerned within the struggle as she additionally had a declare to the throne. She sided together with her brother, Ptolemy XIII, however had Achillas put to demise and changed together with her tutor, Ganymedes.
Ultimately, Caesar acquired reinforcements from his ally, Mithridates of Pergamum. He was victorious towards his rivals on the Battle of the Nile in 47 BC. Ptolemy XIII drowned within the river at age 15 whereas his sister Arsinoe was first marched by way of Rome as a prisoner after which banished to the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus. She was later executed on the insistence of Cleopatra.
1 The Finish Of The Dynasty
Cleopatra regained the throne of Egypt, however Caesar made her rule collectively with one other brother, Ptolemy XIV. Their marriage was temporary. In March 44 BC, Julius Caesar was assassinated in Rome. Two months later, Ptolemy XIV died in Egypt, and a number of other historians, akin to Cassius Dio and Josephus, claimed that he was poisoned by Cleopatra.
If she did kill him, it was in order that Cleopatra might place her son as pharaoh. He was Ptolemy XV Philopator Philometor Caesar, higher often known as Caesarion. As was apparent from his identify, Cleopatra was hailing him because the son of Julius Caesar.
With the Roman chief lifeless, the Egyptian queen took on Marc Antony as her new lover. Antony was a part of the political alliance with Octavian and Marcus Lepidus which ruled Rome. The alliance was generally known as the Second Triumvirate.
In 34 BC, Marc Antony enacted the Donations of Alexandria. He bestowed lands and titles upon Cleopatra’s youngsters, which included three of his personal by that time.
Crucially, although, he acknowledged Caesarion because the professional inheritor of Julius Caesar. This didn’t sit properly with the Romans who felt that Antony had deserted them in favor of Egypt. Moreover, Caesarion being thought-about an inheritor made him a goal for Octavian who was Julius Caesar’s adopted son.
Warfare broke out between Antony and Octavian. The latter gained following his victory on the Battle of Actium and subsequent siege of Alexandria. Antony and Cleopatra ostensibly dedicated suicide, whereas Caesarion was put to demise on Octavian’s orders.
Egypt was annexed and have become a province of the Roman Empire. Octavian renamed himself Augustus Caesar and have become the primary Roman emperor. Thus ended the story of Marc Antony and Cleopatra and the rule of the Ptolemies in Egypt.