The incursions of Ptolemy Soter into Coele-Syria and Phoenicia after the death of Perdiccas have received scant attention from scholars in recent years, and the little they have received has failed to draw some vital conclusions.(1) The sources are compressed, but unanimous, that very soon after the settlement of Triparadeisus, Ptolemy subverted and overran the region, fortified and garrisoned the cities, and returned to Egypt.(2) He seems to have held this satrapy until it became a major arena in the third Diadoch war, c.
In this paper I will demonstrate that an important chronological conclusion can be reached by determining when the sources say Ptolemy annexed Coele-Syria and by analysing them in conjunction with other material.
Here Appian transmits the crucial information: that Alcetas was in Caria, presumably at some point during this campaign, when Laomedon arrived with the news that Ptolemy was in control of Coele-Syria and Phoenicia.
On this scheme, Ptolemy would have waited until both Antipater and Attalus had departed the Levant before moving on Coele-Syria, therefore, probably not until high summer of 320.
No time scheme can be reconstructed for events in Coele-Syria, nor can it be ascertained either how long or where Laomedon was held captive.(36) Whatever the details, Alcetas was in Caria by the time the fugitive reached him.
Thus everything points to a Ptolemaic annexation of Coele-Syria and Phoenicia in the summer/autumn of 320.
Whether Ptolemy invaded Coele-Syria in 320 or 319, the dating to the archonship of Apollodorus isolates this document from all the other evidence, and is patently erroneous.
If Ptolemy Soter was annexing Coele-Syria and Phoenicia in the late summer of 320, he certainly was not fighting Perdiccas at the Pelusiac branch of the Nile, nor was he negotiating the withdrawal of the royal armies from Egypt.
5.3), and Ptolemy is well in control of Coele-Syria and Phoenicia.