The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Ptolemaeus Vi



popular. Gradually, however, he became estranged from his able and virtuous minister, and threw himself more and more into the power of flatterers and vicious companions, until at length he was in­duced to rid himself of Aristomenes, who was com­pelled to take poison. Polycrates, who appears to have enjoyed great influence with the king after this period, shared in his vices and encouraged him in his effeminacy, studiously keeping him aloof from all part in military affairs. The only event which is recorded to us of this period is a second revolt in Lower Egypt, which was successfully put down by Polycrates, and the leaders of the insurrection (who from their names must have been native Egyptians) were barbarously put to death by Ptolemy himself, b.c. 185. (Diod. Exc. Vales, p. 574 ; Polyb. xxiii. 16 ; and see Letronne, ad Inscr. Rosett. p. 23.)

Towards the close of his reign Ptolemy appears to have conceived the project of recovering Coele-Syria from Seleucus, the successor of Antiochus, and had assembled a large mercenary force for that pur­pose: but having, by an unguarded expression excited the apprehensions of some of his friends, he was cut off by poison in the 24th year of his reign and the 29th of his age, b. c. 181. (Hieronym. ad Daniel. xi. 20 ; Diod. Exc. Vat. p. 71 ; Porphyr. ap. Eu-seb. Arm. p. 114 ; Joseph. Ant. xii. 4. § 11.)

He left two sons, both named Ptolemy, who subsequently ascended the throne, under the names of Ptolemy Philometor and Euergetes II., and a daughter, who bore her mother's name of Cleopatra.

The auspicious beginning of his rule and his subsequent degeneracy have been already noticed. His reign was marked by the rapid decline of the Egyptian monarchy, for the provinces and cities wrested from it during his minority by Antiochus and Philip were never recovered, and at his death Cyprus and the Cyrenai'ca were almost the only foreign possessions still attached to the crown of Egypt. But he had not yet abandoned the part assumed by his predecessors in the affairs of Greece, and we find him still maintaining a close alliance with the Achaeans, and sending just before his death, to offer them the assistance of an Egyptian squadron. (Polyb. xxiii. 1,7, xxv. 7.) [E. H. B.]


PTOLEMAEUS VI. (nroAe^os), king of egypt, surnamed philometor, was the eldest son and successor of Ptolemy V. He was a mere child at the death of his father in b. c. 181, and the regency was assumed during his minority by his mother Cleopatra, who, by her able administra­tion, maintained the kingdom in a state of tran­quillity, and preserved the peace with Antiochus. But after her death, in b. c. 173, the chief power fell into the hands of Eulaeus and Lenaeus, mi­nisters as corrupt as they were incapable ; who


had the rashness to engage in war with Antio-cfyus Epiphanes, king of Syria, in the vain hope of recovering the provinces of Coele-Syria and Phoenicia, which had been wrested by his father from the Egyptian monarchy. But their pre­sumption met with a speedy punishment; their army was totally defeated by Antiochus, near Pe-lusium, and this victory laid open to him the whole of Lower Egypt, so that he was able to advance without opposition as far as Memphis, b.c. 170. The young king himself fell into his hands, but was treated with kindness and distinction, as An­tiochus hoped by his means to make himself master of Egypt. To this design Philometor appears to have lent himself a willing instrument; but on learning the captivity of his brother, the younger Ptolemy, who was then at Alexandria with his sister Cleopatra, immediately assumed the title of king, under the name of Euergetes II., and pre­pared to defend the capital to the utmost. An­tiochus hereupon advanced to Alexandria, to which he laid vigorous siege ; but was unable to make much progress, and the intervention of deputies from the Roman senate soon after induced him to retire from before the walls. He established the young Philometor as king at Memphis, while he himself withdrew into Syria, retaining, however, in his hands the frontier fortress of Pelusium. This last circumstance, together with the ravages com­mitted by the Syrian troops, awakened Philometor, who had hitherto been a mere puppet in the hands of the Syrian king, to a sense of his true position, and he hastened to make overtures of peace to his brother and sister at Alexandria. It was agreed that the two brothers should reign together, and that Philometor should marry his sister Cleopatra. But this arrangement did not suit the views of Antiochus, who immediately renewed hostilities, and while he sent a large fleet to reduce Cyprus, advanced in person against Egypt. The two bro­thers were unable to offer any effectual opposition, and lie had advanced a second time to the wails of Alexandria, when he was met by a Roman embassy, headed by M. Popillius Laenas, who haughtily commanded him instantly to desist from hos­tilities. The arrogance of the Roman deputy produced its effect; the capital of Egypt was saved, and Antiochus withdrew to his own do­minions, b.c. 168. (Porphyr. ap. Evseb. Arm. p. 114 ; Hieronym. ad DanieL xi. 21—30 ; Polyb. xxvii. 17, xxviii. 1, 16, 17, 19, xxix. 8,11; Diod. Exc. Vales, p. 579, 580, Exc. Legat. p. 624, Exc. Vat. pp. 75, 76 ; Liv. xlii. 29, xliv. 19, xlv. 11— 13 ; Justin. xxxiv. 2, 3 ; Appian. Syr. 66 ; Clinton, F. H. vol. iii. p. 318—320, 386.)

Shortly after these events we find the two bro­thers sending a joint embassy to Rome to express their gratitude to the senate for their deliverance (Liv. xlv. 13 ; Polyb. xxx. 11). But this concord did not last long: dissensions broke out between them, and Euergetes, who at first obtained the advantage, expelled his brother from Alexandria. Hereupon Philometor repaired in person to Rome, b. c. 164, where he was received by the senate with the utmost honour, and deputies were appointed to accompany him to Egypt, and reinstate him in the sovereign power. This they appear to have effected with little opposition ; and Euergetes, whose ty­rannical government had already alienated the minds of the Alexandrians, was dethroned, and fell into the power of his elder brother. Philometor,

About | First



page #  
Search this site
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of