Ptolemy II Philadelphus
Ptolemy II Philadelphus (Greek:Πτολεμαίος Φιλάδελφος, 309–246 BC), was the king of Egypt from 281 BC to 246 BC. He was of a delicate constitution. E.J.Bickermann (Chronology of the Ancient World, 2nd ed. 1980) gives the date of his death as January 29.
Ptolemy II maintained a splendid court in Alexandria. Not that Egypt held aloof from wars. Magas of Cyrene opened war on his half-brother (274 BC), and the Seleucid king Antiochus I Soter, desiring Coele-Syria with Judea, attacked soon after. Two or three years of war left Egypt the dominant naval power of the eastern Mediterranean; the Ptolemaic sphere of power extended over the Cyclades to Samothrace, and the harbours and coast towns of Cilicia Trachea ("Rough Cilicia"), Pamphylia, Lycia and Caria were largely in Ptolemy's hands.
The victory won by Antigonus II Gonatas, king of Macedonia, over his fleet at Cos (between 258 and 256 BC) did not long interrupt his command of the Aegean. In a second war with the Seleucid kingdom, under Antiochus II Theos (after 260 BC), Ptolemy sustained losses on the seaboard of Asia Minor and agreed to a peace by which Antiochus married his daughter Berenice (ca 250 BC).
Ptolemy's first wife, Arsinoë I, daughter of Lysimachus, was the mother of his legitimate children. After her repudiation he married, probably for political reasons, his full-sister Arsinoë II, the widow of Lysimachus, by an Egyptian custom abhorrent to Greek morality.
The material and literary splendour of the Alexandrian court was at its height under Ptolemy II. Pomps and gay religions flourished. Ptolemy deified his parents and his sister-wife, after her death (270 BC), as Philadelphus. This surname was used in later generations to distinguish Ptolemy II himself, but properly it belongs to Arsinoë only, not to the king.
Callimachus, made keeper of the library, Theocritus, and a host of lesser poets, glorified the Ptolemaic family. Ptolemy himself was eager to increase the library and to patronize scientific research. He had the strange beasts of far off lands sent to Alexandria. But, an enthusiast for Hellenic culture, he seems to have shown but little interest in the native religion.
The tradition preserved in the pseudepigraphical Letter of Aristeas which connects the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament into Greek with his patronage is probably not historical. Ptolemy had many brilliant mistresses, and his court, magnificent and dissolute, intellectual and artificial, has been justly compared with the Versailles of Louis XIV.
- Alexandrian Pleiad
- Ptolemaic period - period of Egyptian history during the Ptolemaic dynasty.
- Ptolemais - towns and cities named after members of the Ptolemaic dynasty.
- Ptolemy Philadelphus at LacusCurtius — (Chapter III of E. R Bevan's House of Ptolemy, 1923)
- Ptolemy II software
- This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.
Ptolemy I Soter
Ptolemy III Euergetes