Talk:Ptolemaic dynasty

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it would be helpful to have the reigning dates and birth/death dates of each Ptolemy...

OK, I guess this would be a sensible place to ask about these recent Cleopatra articles: What the heck is with the multi-millenium lifespans?!? -- John Owens 01:43 Apr 4, 2003 (UTC)

Even better, this might be a good place to ask Ponyf2t to stop making things up and putting them in the Wikipedia. They won't stay around: it's a waste of his time, and it's a waste of everyone else's. -- Someone else 01:27 Apr 5, 2003 (UTC)

phew. I've got this article & talk page synchronized on the SAME capitalization. ... -- Tarquin 20:41 Apr 6, 2003 (UTC)

Why, exactly, are the Ptolemaic consorts listed together with their husbands? That makes it very difficult to put dates to the list, which would be useful. Wouldn't it be a better idea to list the reigning monarch, and then list any consorts subordinately? That would allow for putting the dates of the various Ptolemies, which would be useful, and would make the page less cluttered and more organized. john 02:18 Apr 30, 2003 (UTC)

why Cleopatra VII is said to be the last pharaoh when there is an other after her in the list and still an other more in the french wiki ? Koxinga

Arsinoe IV never actually ruled, she just opposed Cleopatra, and Ptolemy XIV and Ptolemy XV were her co-rulers, though Cleo took most of the power. So, really, she was the last Pharaoh. Matjlav 16:33, 10 Jun 2005 (UTC)

From Ptomeliac Dynasty, which I'm about to turn into a redir - these are maybe useful, maybe not:

Stan 02:14, 7 Oct 2003 (UTC)

OK, i'm just casually interested in all this... but is that family tree accurate? there seems to have been an awful lot of inbreeding going on here. didn't they realize it might not be a good idea after their kids started having 3 arms or whatever? :\

As with everything from ancient times, we don't have sufficient DNA samples to prove family relationships, but everybody at the time thought they were related, and certainly the later Ptolemies seem lacking in the brains department. It's also quite possible that some of the queens brought in fresh genetic material, heh-heh. :-) Stan 14:11, 18 Sep 2004 (UTC)


It seems to me that it would be preferable to name articles on the Ptolemies as Ptolemy I Soter, Ptolemy II Philadelphus, Ptolemy III Euergetes, and so forth, rather than the current names. Anyone agree? john k 14:09, 16 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I don't think so. We should have a title that has a little bit about who they were, and not their second names. If it's "Ptolemy I Soter," all the reader could know is that he was a king of some sort, probably. If it's Ptolemy I of Egypt, the reader knows he was probably a King of Egypt. Matjlav 16:35, 10 Jun 2005 (UTC)
So what? Ancient rulers do not have to have "of Placename" in their article titles, and these monarchs are generally known by their later names. At any rate, anybody who knows anything about the name "Ptolemy" will recognize that a Ptolemy with a number after his name was "probably a King of Egypt." Those who don't will likely not be looking for anything about Ptolemies, anyway. john k 23:40, 10 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Choice of family trees[edit]

I think I should list some of the reasons I objected to Matjlav’s genealogy.

1) Since Matjlav removed the word “Simplified” from the section heading, I concluded that this tree is meant to be comprehensive. It is anything but. Just to take the most obvious point, many children of Ptolemy I, II, III, VI, VIII and IX are omitted, as are the children of Berenice I by her first husband.

2) It is completely unclear why some individuals are included and others are not. Why an ancestry for Eurydice and Berenice I but not for Arsinoe I or Cleopatra I? How can you omit Ptolemy the Son, coregent for 8 years?

3) Matjlav’s tree is riddled with errors. Not controversial reconstructions, flat out errors. Berenice I was the daughter of Magas not Lagus (this fiction was conclusively knocked on the head by Grace Macurdy in 1932!). Berenice II was not the daughter of Arsinoe I and Ptolemy II, she was the daughter of Magas of Cyrene and Apama. Ptolemy Memphites (not “Memphitis”) was the son of Cleopatra II not Cleopatra III. Ptolemy XI was not the biological son of Berenice III (this was always doubtful, the papyrus that was once thought to say so has been reexamined and shown to be naming Ptolemy X and his “sister” Berenice III). Cleopatra V may have been the sister of Ptolemy XII or his niece, or his cousin, but she certainly wasn’t his aunt. And, while the point may still be regarded as marginally controversial, I don’t know of any modern scholar who has actually studied the issue who regards “Cleopatra VI” as having existed.

Now, the tree I’ve restored isn’t perfect. It has spelling errors (“Ptolomy” the Son) and numbering errors (Ptolemy “XIV” and “XV” for Cleopatra’s bothers). Neither tree differentiates what is known from what is conjectured and controversial. I’m not sure that I would include Antony’s children or the paternity of Cleopatra I, but I would definitely show the marriage of Arsinoe II and Ptolemy II. But this tree doesn’t imply that it is comprehensive, it includes all the rulers and coregents of Egypt (except Ptolemy Eupator, who is omitted in both trees, and is certainly the least important), it doesn’t include obscurities like the ancestries of Eurydice and Berenice, and it doesn’t have any actual genealogical errors. Its deficiencies are comparatively minor. Until I or someone with access to the source file gets around to fixing it, it is clearly the better starting point. -- --Chris Bennett 20:39, 10 Jun 2005 (UTC)

New section "other members of the dynasty"[edit]

To Carcharoth: It's not clear why this section is a good idea, since you haven't actually said anything about any of these people.

If it's just meant to be a set of cross-links, what are the selection criteria? E.g. why Apion but not Magas, also king of Cyrene, or Ptolemy, king of Cyprus? Why Keraunos king of Macedon but not his brother Meleager, also king of Macedon? Why not Ptolemy the Son? Why Ptolemy Philadephus but not Alexander Helios or Cleopatra Selene?

--Chris Bennett 02:29, 27 March 2006 (UTC)

Oops. That section was a hangover from when I was looking for somewhere to put the list I had made of other members of the Ptolemaic dynasty who were not rulers but were named Ptolemy. It kind of spun off from the Ptolemy (disambiguation) thing before the Ptolemy (name) article was created. The criteria were (a) named Ptolemy and (b) not a ruler of Egypt. You are absolutely correct that the section should either be dropped as not very relevant, or expanded to include the other (known) members of the Ptolemaic dynasty. Personally, I think it would be nice to have a section about what the other, non-ruling, members of the dynasty got up to in and outside Egypt. It gives the dynasty a bit of context within the area and history of the times. Carcharoth 14:10, 29 April 2006 (UTC)


I noted that Lagid and Lagids redirect to this page. I am puzzled with the origin of the name Lagid to refer to this dinasty? -- Pichote 11:20, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

OK, Lagids, dinasty founded by general of Alexander the Great, Ptolemy, son of Lagus. -- Pichote 11:23, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

Political designation instead of cultural designation[edit]

First of all Lagides were Macedonians (see literature below). In addition, I think some corrections that imply the Macedonian nature of the Macedonian states, from early times and down to the fall of the last Macedonian state, are needed on this page (addition of “Macedonian” at appropriate place), designating the states not only as Hellenistic but also as “Macedonian”. Some discussions on this theme, sometimes with certainly unpleasant political bias, have been carried out previously. However, these changes are supported by the latest academic literature and by the most respected authorities on the subject. Retaining “Macedonian” to designate the political nature of the states is necessary also to avoid transition from cultural, which goes far beyond political organisation and introduces a risk of neglecting far more important political characteristics of the communities and states which were of importance for the geopolitical and historical developments during Hellenistic period all over territory of the Alexander’s empire.

These, now classical works, all show that Macedonians distinguished themselves from the Greeks (Hellenes), had significantly different language (which may or may not be from the Greek family of languages – this is still disputed), and insisted very strongly on these differences. Also these academic works show, what is of particular relevance here, that the political state organisation, particularly from Philip onwards, was “Macedonian” and was preserved throughout the diadochi reign in all three late successor states or empires. In addition, the Argeid dynasty being of Macedonian (or Greek) origin – what is also disputed, was strongly attached to their Macedonian people to often express substantial doses of nationalism, probably as a result of obvious Greek repudiation of all what was barbarous, i.e. the nations that did not speak Greek. Culturally, Macedonia was early Hellenised, at least its aristocracy, but this was kept separate from the political and to great extent administrative organisation of the state or succession states. The dynasties were closed toward external world, although hetero-national polygamy was a practice, but the successions was carefully preserved between the members of the Macedonian families (sometimes to the unprecedented extremes – Ptolemy’s intermarried even with the 1st degree relatives). I give the summary of the relevant literature: NGL Hammond and FW Walbank: A History of Macedonia, volume III, particularly chapter V (The legacy of Alexander – what concerns the political Macedonian nature of the diadochi kingdoms) (1988); NGL Hammond: The Macedonian State (also implying Macedonian nature of the diadochi kingdoms), particularly the chapter X (1998); EN Borza: In the Shadow of Olympus - The Emergence of Macedon, particularly chapter 10, what concerns the nature of the Philip’s and Alexander’s reign (1990); EN Borza: Makedonika, particularly chapter 8 (on military conservative and nationalist Macedonian army); EN Borza: Before Alexander: Constructing Early Macedonia, chapter II (about Macedonian nationalism). More popular is RL Fox: The Classical World, an Epic History of Greece and Rome, particularly chapter 22, Alexander early successors (2006).Draganparis (talk) 13:59, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

This article is about the Ptolemaic dynasty, not about the Ptolemaic state or about Hellenistic kingdoms. Whether one interprets the term "Macedonian" as geographic, cultural or ethnic, it is entirely correct to describe the dynasty as being Macedonian, because that is what they called themselves. However, I think this is not the place to define exactly what the term means, because the Ptolemies never defined it, and because it means different things to different readers. As you know, the exact interpretation of the term "Macedonian" is associated with a very active modern political controversy. Many of the issues you discuss are related to that controversy. It would be more appropriate to raise them in a general context, for example the article Hellenistic civilization might reasonably include a discussion as to what extent the culture of these states should be regarded as Greek, Macedonian, or whether the question is even meaningful. --Chris Bennett (talk) 18:25, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
I agree with all what you wrote. History pages must inevitably be kept away from the present day political disputes. Since all sides that are involved operate with the concepts and their connotations that are often known only to them, these people feel offended often by some expressions that are neutral for an unbiased reader. So, it is not so easy. I am unfortunately very busy and can not carry your message further, but if you can, you have all my support.Draganparis (talk) 15:20, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
Draganparis, the culture of the Hellenistic states was what we now identify as Ancient Greek. There's no source where Macedonians distinguished themselves from the Greeks but the contrary. Your "barbarous" labeling could rather be appointed to the political stance of the Athenian society and not to the greater group of Hellenic people (Macedonians did participate in the Olympics). In order to focus in the Diadochoi states and their Hellenic character, remember how Plutarch described the founding of Alexandria "a large and populous Greek city which should bear his name". The same goes for the rest of the states were the Macedonian rulers are labeled as Yauna, Yona, Yawan which in all cases means "Greek". As for the language, you wrongly quoted Hammond, who repeatedly insisted that ancient Macedonian was a northern Greek dialect. Judging from what i've read from Borza, i doubt he is an expert in anything else than Attic Greek (if even that). Furthermore, he has been silent for several years, while other scholars have released various publications with new data. The language part is a job of linguists and the hellenic classification has a large part of that pie. Whether Macedonians spoke something else than Greek or not, it does not change the fact that in the Hellenistic years they are seen as a part of the Greek world in terms of culture, religion and language. Therefore Macedonian Greek or Greek is the most appropriate term until any political dispute is over. fkitselis (talk) 01:39, 27 July 2009 (GMT)

32nd or 34th? why?[edit]

The intro now contains the sentences "They were the 32nd and last dynasty of ancient Egypt. The Ptolemaic dynasty is sometimes called the Thirty-fourth dynasty of Egypt too." If the "34th" designation is to be mentioned here, it would helpful to know why. --Haruo (talk) 18:52, 9 May 2012 (UTC)

I can't quite figure it out. The system of numbering dynasties was developed by Manetho in the Thirtieth Dynasty, so it isn't often applied to later dynasties. But it looks like the second period of Achamenid rule, following the Thirtieth Dynasty, is sometimes called the Thirty-first Dynasty. One might count the Ptolemies as the Thirty-second Dynasty, but I don't know if any reliable sources do so. They're either called "the Ptolemaic dynasty" or "the Ptolemies" or "the Lagides". And counting them as number 32 instead of 33 would ignore the Argead Dynasty (Alexander the Great, his son Alexander IV of Macedon, and Philip III Arrhidaeus), which ruled briefly but probably as long as some of the minor numbered dynasties. I can't see any reason for counting the Ptolemies as number 34. Unless sources address the issue, I think attempts to give the Ptolemies a number should be left out of the article. A. Parrot (talk) 19:34, 9 May 2012 (UTC)
Under the circumstances I agree that leaving the numbering of dynasties altogether out makes more sense. --Haruo (talk) 21:26, 9 May 2012 (UTC)