Ptolemy I Soter


Ptolemy I Soter
King 305-283 BC.
    When *Alexander the Great died in 323 BC and his empire was divided, his Macedonian general, Ptolemy the son of Lagos, became the satrap of Egypt, first under Alexander's half-brother, Phillip Arrhidaeus, and then under his son, Alexander IV. In 305 BC, Ptolemy assumed the kingship of Egypt in his own right and established the Ptolemaic rulership of the country. He ensured the stability of his line by associating his son with him as co-regent and by introducing the concept of consanguineous marriages: his son married his full-sister.
    Ptolemy I regarded himself as the regenerator of the country and took the name 'Soter' which meant 'Saviour'. He re-organised Egypt and began a programme of building and restoring the native Egyptian temples, a concept which later *Ptolemies developed to enforce their religious right to rule Egypt. Ptolemy I also intoduced a new god—Serapis—who was a hybrid deity combining features of the Egyptian *Osiris with those of various Hellenistic gods. He also founded a cult of *Alexander the Great at Alexandria and, eventually, a temple for his own personal cult was built at Koptos. He founded the Museum and Great Library in the palace quarter at Alexandria, and the Greek city of Ptolemais in Upper Egypt. As the first Ptolemy, he established the basis for a powerful and wealthy kingdom in Egypt, which would also have influence throughout the Mediterranean world.
BIBL. Bevan, E. A History of Egypt under the Ptolemaic Dynasty. London: 1927; Skeat, T. C. The reigns of the Ptolemies. Munich: 1969.
Biographical Dictionary of Ancient Egypt by Rosalie and Antony E. David
* * *
(c. 367–282 BC)
   Son of Lagus and Arsinoe. Macedonian nobleman and military commander under Alexander the Great. In 323 BC, upon the death of Alexander the Great, he secured the governorship of Egypt, which he virtually ruled as an independent state after disposing of Cleomenes. He expanded his control to Cyprus and parts of Syria, Greece, and Asia Minor. He assumed the title of king in 305 BC. Unlike other would-be successors of Alexander the Great, he had no pretensions to try to control the entire empire. Ptolemy I had several wives, including the Persian Artacama, daughter of Artabazus, whom he presumably abandoned; the Macedonian Eurydice, daughter of the regent Antipater; and finally Berenice I, leading to court intrigues over his succession until he made his son Ptolemy II, by his last wife, coregent. He apparently died during the first half of 282 BC.
Historical Dictionary Of Ancient Egypt by Morris L. Bierbrier

Ancient Egypt. A Reference Guide. . 2011.

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