Ptolemy Apion

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Ptolemy Apion
Ptolemy Apion BM 1383.jpg
Portrait of a Ptolemaic ruler, maybe Ptolemy Apion, 1st century BC, from the temple of Apollo at Cyrene, British Museum
King of Cyrene
Born150-145 BC
Cyrene (?)
Died96 BC
GreekΠτολεμαίος Απίων
HousePtolemaic dynasty
FatherPtolemy VIII Physcon
MotherEirene/Ithaca of Cyrene

Ptolemy Apion or simply known as Apion (Ancient Greek: Πτολεμαῖος Ἀπίων; between 150 BC and 145 BC – 96 BC) was the last Greek King of Cyrene and was a member of the Ptolemaic dynasty. Ptolemy was Greek and native Egyptian in descent. His second name Apion is a name of ancient Egyptian origin and could be a name from his maternal ancestry.


Ptolemy was the son of Egyptian Greek prince, Cyrenaean King and future Pharaoh of Egypt Ptolemy VIII Physcon and his third wife, Eirene (Irene).[1] Ptolemy’s paternal uncle was the Egyptian Greek Pharaoh Ptolemy VI Philometor[2] and his paternal aunt was the Egyptian Greek princess and queen Cleopatra II of Egypt.[2] His paternal grandparents were Egyptian Greek Pharaoh Ptolemy V Epiphanes[1] and Egyptian Greek Queen Cleopatra I of Egypt,[1] who was a Greek princess of the Seleucid Empire.

Ptolemy's mother, Eirene (Irene), a native Egyptian, may actually have been named Ithaca, according to the Roman Jewish historian Josephus.[citation needed] Little is known of Eirene's origins, apart from the fact she came from Cyrenaica.[citation needed] She was a mistress of Physcon's and was among his concubines.[citation needed] Eirene served as Physcon's mistress from 150 BC til 127 BC.[citation needed] Eirene accompanied Physcon in 145 BC to Egypt when he became pharaoh and succeeded his brother Ptolemy VI.[citation needed]

Ptolemy was most probably born in Cyrene, the capital of Cyrenaica, but was raised and educated in his father's court in Egypt.[citation needed] Until 116 BC, he most probably lived in Egypt. Ptolemy never held a royal Egyptian title. In 116 BC, Ptolemy's father had died. From Physcon's will, Ptolemy inherited Cyrenaica and, in that year, ascended the throne without any political opposition.

Little is recorded of Ptolemy's reign of Cyrenaica. Ptolemy died in 96 BC and he implemented the terms of his father's will for Cyrenaica. He never married and had no heirs. In Ptolemy's will, he left Cyrenaica and his ancestral royal estates to the rule of the Roman Republic. Physcon had planned this for Cyrenaica after Ptolemy’s death.

Ptolemy's ancestral estates were occupied by locals in the 1st century. The occupiers of the estates needed assistance from the Roman Emperor, Nero, to legalise the land title through their occupations, thereby vesting ownership in them.


  1. ^ a b c "Ptolemy VIII Physcon - Livius". Retrieved 2017-09-28.
  2. ^ a b "Ptolemy V Epiphanes - Livius". Retrieved 2017-09-28.

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