The name Ptolemy or Ptolemaeus comes from the Greek Ptolemaios, which seem to mean warlike or son of war. There have been many people named Ptolemy or Ptolemaeus, the most famous of which are the Greek-Egyptian astronomer Claudius Ptolemaeus and the Macedonian founder and ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingdom in Egypt, Ptolemy I Soter. The following sections summarise the history of the name, some of the people named Ptolemy, and some of the other uses of this name.
Etymology and history
According to Georg Autenrieth the English name Ptolemy comes from the Ancient Greek name Πτολεμαῖος (Ptolemaios), "warlike" or "son of war". Autienrieth renders the meaning of the name to be an adjective from πτόλεμος (ptólemos), explained as a Homeric form of πόλεμος (pólemos), "war". A nephew of Antigonus I was called Polemaeus, the normal form of the adjective. Ptolemaios is first attested in Homer's Iliad and is the name of an Achaean warrior, son of Piraeus, father of Eurymedon.
The name Ptolemaios varied over the years from its roots in Ancient Greece, appearing in different languages in various forms and spellings. The original form, and some of the variants, are listed here in the languages relevant to the history of the name.
|Greek Πτολεμαῖος (Ptolemaîos)|
German Ptolemäus or Ptolemaios
Hebrew and Aramaic Talmai
Early Greek rulers and generals named Ptolemy
- Ptolemy (King of Thebes) (12th century BC) – mythical ruler of the ancient Greek city of Thebes.
- Ptolemy of Aloros (ruled 368 to 365 BC) – Regent of Macedon.
- Ptolemy (somatophylax) (died 334 BC) – Macedonian bodyguard and general of Alexander the Great.
- Ptolemy (son of Seleucus) (died 333 BC) – Macedonian bodyguard and general of Alexander the Great.
- Ptolemy (son of Philip) (4th century BC) – Macedonian officer of Alexander the Great
- Ptolemy (general) (died 309 BC) – Macedonian general and nephew of Antigonus I Monophthalmus.
- Ptolemy (son of Pyrrhus) (295–272 BC) – A son of king Pyrrhus of Epirus.
- Ptolemy of Epirus (died 235 BC) – King of the Greek frontier kingdom of Epirus.
Egyptian Ptolemaic dynasty (rulers)
The Ptolemaic dynasty, of Macedonian origin, ruled Hellenistic Egypt for nearly 300 years, from 305 BC to 30 BC. The kings of this dynasty were all named Ptolemy. See Ptolemaic dynasty for details of their reigns and other ruling members of the dynasty. See also: Legacy of Ptolemy I Soter.
- Ptolemy I Soter (367 BC-283 BC) - Macedonian general of Alexander the Great
- Ptolemy II Philadelphus
- Ptolemy III Euergetes
- Ptolemy IV Philopator
- Ptolemy V Epiphanes
- Ptolemy VI Philometor
- Ptolemy VII Neos Philopator
- Ptolemy VIII Physcon
- Ptolemy IX Lathyros
- Ptolemy X Alexander I
- Ptolemy XI Alexander II
- Ptolemy XII Auletes
- Ptolemy XIII Theos Philopator
- Ptolemy XIV
- Ptolemy XV Caesarion (47 BC-30 BC) - last Ptolemaic ruler of Egypt
Egyptian Ptolemaic dynasty (descendants)
There were several members of the Ptolemaic dynasty that did not become senior rulers of Egypt. Some of them became rulers of other kingdoms. Many of the dates and other details about these Ptolemies are uncertain.
- Ptolemy Keraunos (died 279 BC) – eldest son of Ptolemy I Soter. Eventually became king of Macedon.
- Ptolemy Andromachou (3rd century BC) – probable illegitimate son of Ptolemy II Philadelphus.
- Ptolemy I Epigone (299/298 BC-240 BC) co-ruler with Ptolemy Philadelphus as he was his nephew and adopted son, later deposed.
- Ptolemy Eupator – co-ruler with Ptolemy VI Philometor; probably his son. Probably died within months.
- Ptolemy II of Telmessos (flourished 3rd century BC & 2nd century BC) – grandson of Ptolemy I Epigone.
- Ptolemy Apion (died 96 BC) – son of Ptolemy VIII Physcon. Made king of Cyrenaica. Bequeathed Cyrenaica to Rome.
- Ptolemy of Cyprus (died 58 BC) – son of Ptolemy IX Lathyros. Probable king of Cyprus.
- Ptolemy Philadelphus (Cleopatra) (born 36 BC) – son of the Roman general Mark Antony and the Egyptian Ptolemaic queen Cleopatra VII.
- Ptolemy of Mauretania (reigned 21-40 AD) – grandson of Cleopatra VII. King of Mauretania and an ally of Rome.
- Ptolemaeus of Commagene (d. 130 BC), satrap and then first King of Commagene
- Ptolemy (son of Abubus), governor of Jericho in the First Book of the Maccabees, for whom Dante named the section of Hell reserved for traitors to guests.
- Ptolemy-el-Garib, a Peripatetic pinacographer whose Life of Aristotle survives in Arabic translation
- Ptolemy (son of Dorymenes) (circa 66 BC) – soldier in the Seleucid Empire under Lysias.
- Ptolemy (son of Mennaeus) (rule ended circa 40 BC) – governor of Abilene, a district of the disputed region of Coele-Syria.
- Ptolemy (Acts of Peter) – a character in the Acts of Peter, who was a rich man trying to marry the daughter of Peter
- Claudius Ptolemaeus (circa 90-circa 168) – also known as Ptolemy, he was an author, geographer, mathematician, astronomer and astrologer who lived in the Greek culture of Roman Egypt. See also: Legacy of Claudius Ptolemaeus.
- Ptolemaeus Chennus (2nd century AD) – grammarian who lived in the Greek culture of Roman Egypt.
- Ptolemy (gnostic) (circa 180 AD) – a religious philosopher who was active in Roman Italy and Gaul.
- Ptolemaeus and Lucius, Christian martyrs
- Ptolemaeus Secundus, a Latin nickname for the Arab polymath Ibn al-Haytham.
- Ptolemy I of Tusculum (d.1126) – count of Tusculum who asserted his family's descent from the Roman Julii.
- Ptolemy II of Tusculum (d.1153) – count of Tusculum who married Bertha, daughter of Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor.
- Bernard Tolomeo (Italian spelling of Ptolemy) (1272–1348) – founder of the Olivetan Roman Catholic religious order.
- Tolomeo da Lucca (ca. 1227 – ca. 1327), also known as Bartholomew of Lucca, historian and Dominican.
- John Baptist Tolomei (Italian variant of Ptolemy) (1653–1726) – Jesuit theologian and cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church.
- Franciscus Ptolemaeus or Francesco Tolommei, 17th. century Italian erudite, author of Vetustalia seu Vetustatis admiranda, Rome: Ignatius de Lazaris, 1664.
Legacy of Claudius Ptolemaeus
- Ptolemaic system – astronomical worldview as described by Claudius Ptolemaeus.
- Ptolemy world map – map of the ancient world as described by Claudius Ptolemaeus.
- Ptolemy's theorem – mathematical theorem described by Claudius Ptolemaeus.
- Ptolemy Cluster – star cluster described by Claudius Ptolemaeus.
Legacy of Ptolemy I Soter
- Ptolemaic period – period of Egyptian history during the Ptolemaic dynasty.
- Ptolemaic dynasty – Egyptian ruling dynasty founded by Ptolemy I Soter.
- Ptolemaic Kingdom – the kingdom founded by Ptolemy I Soter.
- Ptolemais – towns and cities named after members of the Ptolemaic dynasty.
A non-exhaustive list of other, generally later, uses of the name Ptolemy includes:
- Ptolemaeus crater on the Moon – named for Claudius Ptolemaeus.
- Ptolemaeus crater on Mars – named for Claudius Ptolemaeus.
- 4001 Ptolemaeus – an asteroid named for Claudius Ptolemaeus.
- Ptolemy Project – a computing project based at the University of California, Berkeley, USA. The project started in the 1980s and is named for Claudius Ptolemaeus.
- Ptolemy Project – a project to allow surgeons in Africa to access medical texts in the online library of the University of Toronto, Canada. It started in 2001, and was inspired by the medical library of Alexandria, founded by Ptolemy I Soter.
- Tolomeo (the Italian spelling of Ptolemy) – an iconic desk lamp design produced for the Italian company Artemide in 1986.
- Alderman Ptolemy Tortoise, a character in The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher by Beatrix Potter
- Ptolemaic Terrascope – magazine (founded 1989). The name was inspired by "Ptolemy the turtle, who lives at Terrascope Towers". Various artworks and logos feature an astronomer peering through a 'terrascope', so Ptolemaic may here refer to Claudius Ptolemaeus.
- Ptolemy's Gate (published 2005) – the third book in The Bartimaeus Trilogy, a fantasy series by the English author Jonathan Stroud. The series includes a character called Ptolemy, from 2nd century BC Ptolemaic Egypt, who is nephew to Ptolemy VIII and cousin to Ptolemy IX.
- Claudius Ptolemaeus is featured as a wizard called Ptolemy, on a magical collectible card in the fictional Harry Potter universe.
- The Ptolemy (1934) – a large reed organ built by the American composer Harry Partch. This may have been named in tribute to Claudius Ptolemaeus, who summarized the musical work of philosophers like Pythagorus.
- Tolomeo (the Italian spelling of Ptolemy) – an opera by Handel, composed in 1728. It is set in Egypt around 108 BC, when Ptolemy IX Lathyros deposed his mother and joint ruler of Egypt, Cleopatra III, for his younger brother, who reigned as Ptolemy X Alexander I.
- Ptolemy Dean (20th and 21st century) – British architect, author, and television consultant.
- Ptolemy Tompkins (20th and 21st century) – American author.
- Ptolemaios - Spaceship used by the main crew in Gundam 00.
- Mount Ptolemy (disambiguation) – mountains in Canada and Antarctica.
- Barry Ptolemy (20th and 21st century) – American film director and producer
- Πτολεμαῖος. The meaning of the name Ptolemy seem to be a matter of strife; in accordance with Georg Autenrieth, A Homeric Dictionary, on Perseus
- πόλεμος, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
- The change from polemos to ptolemos is an example of a type of linguistic compounding called terpsimbrotos. The pt- in ptolemos (vs. earlier polemos) "war" is thought to arise from a re-analysis of the compound word *phere-t-polemos, metathesised to phere-ptolemos. George Dunkel, "Two old problems in Greek: ptolemos and terpsimbrotos", Glotta 70 (1992).
- Who's Who in the Age of Alexander the Great  by Waldemar Heckel
- Homer, Iliad, 4.228, on Perseus
- The disciple Nathaniel Bar-Talmai (Bartholomew) is thus thought to have been the son of a Ptolemy.
- Numbering the Ptolemies is a modern invention; the Greeks distinguished them by nickname. The number given here is the present consensus; but there has been some disagreement about which Ptolemies should be counted as reigning. Older sources may give a number one higher or lower, but the same epithet.
- Billows, Kings and colonists: aspects of Macedonian imperialism, p.110
- Bengtson, Griechische Geschichte von den AnfÃ¤ngen bis in die rÃ¶mische Kaiserzeit, p.569
- Ptolemaic Genealogy: Ptolemy ‘the Son’
- He is also identified as Ptolemy ‘the Son’ or Ptolemy Nios, Ptolemy son of Lysimachus, Ptolemy of Telmessos and Ptolemy ‘the Brother’