Ptolemies


Ptolemies
Kings c.323-30 BC.
    The Ptolemies ruled Egypt from the accession of *Ptolemy I to the death of *Cleopatra VII and the fall of the country to Rome in 30 BC.
    Ptolemy I, the general whom *Alexander the Great left in charge of Egypt, was also Macedonian in origin, and he and his successors imposed Hellenistic culture on Egypt: large numbers of *Greeks came to settle in Egypt and the Greek language and customs of the conquerors became predominant, although the native population continued with their own language and traditions. Alexandria, the city founded by *Alexander the Great, became the capital and a great centre of culture and intellectualism, and other Greek cities were established throughout Egypt.
    Nevertheless, it was essential that the Ptolemies should uphold the tradition that they were pharaohs, and thus they built or reconstructed great temples to the Egyptian gods in which the wall-scenes show them as kings of Egypt, making offerings and doing obeisance to the native deities. This gave them the religious legitimacy to rule the country, but they used this power to impose heavy taxes and drain the natural resources; not surprisingly native opposition to the Ptolemies flared up on two occasions (208-186 BC and 88-86 BC) in the district around Thebes.
BIBL. Fraser, P.M. Ptolemaic Alexandria. Oxford: 1972; Bevan, E. A History of Egypt under the Ptolemaic Dynasty. London: 1927.
Biographical Dictionary of Ancient Egypt by Rosalie and Antony E. David

Ancient Egypt. A Reference Guide. . 2011.

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