|Dynasties of Ancient Egypt|
The Ptolemaic (//) dynasty (Ancient Greek: Πτολεμαῖοι, sometimes also known as the Lagids[pronunciation?] or Lagides,[pronunciation?] Ancient Greek: Λαγίδαι, from the name of Ptolemy I's father, Lagus), was a Macedonian Greek royal family which ruled the Ptolemaic Empire in Egypt during the Hellenistic period. Their rule lasted for 275 years, from 305 BC to 30 BC. They were the last dynasty of ancient Egypt.
Ptolemy, one of the six somatophylakes (bodyguards) who served as Alexander the Great's generals and deputies, was appointed satrap of Egypt after Alexander's death in 323 BC. In 305 BC, he declared himself King Ptolemy I, later known as "Soter" (saviour). The Egyptians soon accepted the Ptolemies as the successors to the pharaohs of independent Egypt. Ptolemy's family ruled Egypt until the Roman conquest of 30 BC.
All the male rulers of the dynasty took the name Ptolemy. Ptolemaic queens, some of whom were the sisters of their husbands, were usually 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 at the conquest by Rome marked the end of Ptolemaic rule in Egypt.
Ptolemaic rulers and consorts
Dates in brackets represent the regnal dates of the Ptolemaic pharaohs. They frequently ruled jointly with their wives, who were often also their sisters. Several queens exercised regal authority, but the most famous and successful was Cleopatra VII (51–30 BC), with her two brothers and her son as successive nominal co-rulers. Several systems exist for numbering the later rulers; the one used here is the one most widely used by modern scholars. Dates are years of reign.
- Ptolemy I Soter (303–285 BC) married first (probably) Thaïs, secondly Artakama, thirdly Eurydice and finally Berenice I
- Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285–246 BC) married Arsinoe I, then Arsinoe II Philadelphus; ruled jointly with Ptolemy I Epigone (267–259 BC)
- Ptolemy III Euergetes (246–221 BC) married Berenice II
- Ptolemy IV Philopator (221–203 BC) married Arsinoe III
- Ptolemy V Epiphanes (203–181 BC) married Cleopatra I
- Ptolemy VI Philometor (181–164 BC, 163–145 BC) married Cleopatra II, briefly ruled jointly with Ptolemy Eupator in 152 BC
- Ptolemy VII Neos Philopator (never reigned)
- Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II (Physcon) (170–163 BC, 145–116 BC) married Cleopatra II then Cleopatra III; temporarily expelled from Alexandria by Cleopatra II between 131 BC and 127 BC, reconciled with her in 124 BC.
- Cleopatra II Philometora Soteira (131–127 BC), in opposition to Ptolemy VIII
- Cleopatra III Philometor Soteira Dikaiosyne Nikephoros (Kokke) (116–101 BC) ruled jointly with Ptolemy IX (116–107 BC) and Ptolemy X (107–101 BC)
- Ptolemy IX Soter II (Lathyros) (116–107 BC, 88–81 BC as Soter II) married Cleopatra IV then Cleopatra Selene; ruled jointly with Cleopatra III in his first reign
- Ptolemy X Alexander I (107–88 BC) married Cleopatra Selene then Berenice III; ruled jointly with Cleopatra III till 101 BC
- Berenice III Philopator (81–80 BC)
- Ptolemy XI Alexander II (80 BC) married and ruled jointly with Berenice III before murdering her; ruled alone for 19 days after that.
- Ptolemy XII Neos Dionysos (Auletes) (80–58 BC, 55–51 BC) married Cleopatra V Tryphaena
- Cleopatra V Tryphaena (58–57 BC) ruled jointly with Berenice IV Epiphaneia (58–55 BC) and Cleopatra VI Tryphaena (58 BC)
- Cleopatra VII Philopator (51–30 BC) ruled jointly with Ptolemy XIII Theos Philopator (51–47 BC), Ptolemy XIV (47–44 BC) and Ptolemy XV Caesarion (44–30 BC).
- Arsinoe IV (48–47 BC) in opposition to Cleopatra VII
Simplified Ptolemaic family tree
Many of the relationships shown in this tree are controversial. The issues are fully discussed in the external links.
Other members of the Ptolemaic dynasty
- Ptolemy Keraunos (died 279 BC) - eldest son of Ptolemy I Soter. Eventually became king of Macedon.
- Ptolemy Apion (died 96 BC) - son of Ptolemy VIII Physcon. Made king of Cyrenaica. Bequeathed Cyrenaica to Rome.
- Ptolemy Philadelphus (born 36 BC) - son of Mark Antony and Cleopatra VII.
- Ptolemy of Mauretania (died AD 40) - son of Juba II of Mauretania and Cleopatra Selene II, daughter of Cleopatra VII and Mark Antony. King of Mauretania.
Contemporaries describe a number of the Ptolemaic dynasty as extremely obese, whilst 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.
In view of the familial nature of these findings, members of this dynasty likely 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.
Artwork during this dynasty
When Ptolemy I Soter made himself king of Egypt, he created a new god, Serapis, which was a combination of two Egyptian gods: Apis and Osiris plus the main Greek gods: Zeus, Hades, Asklepios, Dionysios, and Helios. Serapis had powers over fertility, the sun, corn, funerary rites, and medicine. Many people started to worship this god.
In the time of the Ptolemies, the cult of Serapis included the worship of the new Ptolemaic line of pharaohs. Alexandria supplanted Memphis as the preeminent religious city. The wealthy and connected of Egyptian society seemed to put more stock in magical stela during the Ptolemaic period. These were religious objects produced for private individuals, something uncommon in earlier Egyptian times. Most of the Ptolemaic magical stele were connected with matters of health. They were commonly of limestone; the Greeks tended to use marble or bronze for private sculpture. The most striking change in depiction of figures is the range from idealizing to nearly grotesque realism in portrayal of men. Previously Egyptian depictions tended toward the idealistic but stiff, not with an attempt at likeness. Likeness was still not the goal of art under the Ptolemies. The influence of Greek sculpture under the Ptolemies was shown in its emphasis on the face more than in the past. Smiles suddenly appear. Toward the end of the Ptolemaic period, the headdress sometimes gives way to tousled hair.
One significant change in Ptolemaic art is the sudden re-appearance of women, who had been absent since about the Twenty-sixth Dynasty. Some of this must have been due to the importance of women-such as the series of Cleopatras-who acted as co-regents or sometimes occupied the throne by themselves. Although women were present in artwork, they were shown less realistically than men in the this era. Even with the Greek influence on art, the notion of the individual portrait still had not supplanted Egyptian artistic norms during the Ptolemaic Dynasty.
The wife of Ptolemy II, Arsinoe II was often depicted in the form of the Greek goddess Aphrodite, but she wore the crown of lower Egypt, with ram's horns, ostrich feathers, and other traditional Egyptian indicators of royalty and/or deity. She wore the vulture headdress only on the religious portion of a relief.
The traditional table for offerings disappeared from reliefs during the Ptolemaic period. Male gods were no longer portrayed with tails in attempt to make them more humanlike.
Ways of presenting text on columns and reliefs became formal and rigid during the Ptolemaic Dynasty.
Cleopatra VII, the last of the Ptolemaic line, was often depicted with characteristics of the goddess Isis. She often had either a small throne as her headdress or the more traditional sun disk between two horns.
Gallery of images
- List of Seleucid rulers
- Hellenistic period
- History of ancient Egypt
- donations of Alexandria
- Ptolemaic Decrees
- Jones, Prudence J. (2006). Cleopatra: A Sourcebook. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 14. "They were members of the Ptolemaic dynasty of Macedonian Greeks, who ruled Egypt after the death of its conqueror, Alexander the Great."
- Pomeroy, Sarah B. (1990). Women in Hellenistic Egypt. Wayne State University Press. p. 16. "while Ptolemaic Egypt was a monarchy with a Greek ruling class."
- Redford, Donald B., ed. (2000). The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt. Oxford University Press. "Cleopatra VII was born to Ptolemy XII Auletes (80–57 BCE, ruled 55–51 BCE) and Cleopatra, both parents being Macedonian Greeks."
- Bard, Kathryn A., ed. (1999). Encyclopedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt. Routledge. 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."
- Bard, Kathryn A., ed. (1999). Encyclopedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt. Routledge. p. 687. "During the Ptolemaic period, when Egypt was governed by rulers of Greek descent..."
- Ashrafian, Hutan (2005). "Familial proptosis and obesity in the Ptolemies". J. R. Soc. Med. 98 (2): 85–86.
- Antiquities Experts. "Egyptian Art During the Ptolemaic Period of Egyptian History". http://antiquitiesexperts.com/egypt_ptol.html.
- Susan Stephens, Seeing Double. Intercultural Poetics in Ptolemaic Alexandria (Berkeley, 2002).
- 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).
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