Ptolemy I

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Ptolemy I

(Ptolemy Soter) (tŏl`əmē sō`tər), d. 284 B.C., king of ancient Egypt, the first ruler of the Macedonian dynasty (or Lagid dynasty), son of a Macedonian named Lagus. He was one of the leading generals of Alexander the GreatAlexander the Great
or Alexander III,
356–323 B.C., king of Macedon, conqueror of much of Asia. Youth and Kingship

The son of Philip II of Macedon and Olympias, he had Aristotle as his tutor and was given a classical education.
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, and after Alexander's death (323 B.C.) he joined the other DiadochiDiadochi
[Gr.,=successors], the Macedonian generals and administrators who succeeded Alexander the Great. Alexander's empire, the largest that the world had known to that time, was quickly built. At his death in 323 B.C. it disintegrated even more quickly.
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 in dividing and quarreling over the empire. Ptolemy received Egypt and managed to keep control of it in the midst of incessant warfare. To strengthen his position he married Eurydice, daughter of AntipaterAntipater
, d. 319 B.C., Macedonian general. He was one of the ablest and most trusted lieutenants of Philip II and was a friend and supporter of Alexander the Great. When Alexander went on his Asian campaign, Antipater was left as regent (334–323 B.C.) in Macedon.
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 (though he soon shifted his affection to her niece and his own half-sister, BereniceBerenice
, b. c.340 B.C., d. 281 or 271 B.C., consort and half-sister of Ptolemy I, king of ancient Egypt. A Macedonian, she was the widow of Philip, one of the officers of Alexander the Great, and was by this marriage the mother of Magas, king of Cyrene; Antigone, wife of
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). He defeated (321) PerdiccasPerdiccas
, d. 321 B.C., Macedonian general under Alexander the Great. After the death of Alexander (323) he ruled as regent from Babylon. He strove in vain to hold the empire together, but was opposed by others of the Diadochi.
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, and he at first supported Antigonus IAntigonus I
(Antigonus the One-Eyed or Antigonus Cyclops) , 382?–301 B.C., general of Alexander the Great and ruler in Asia. He was made (333 B.C.) governor of Phrygia, and after the death of Alexander he was advanced by the friendship of Antipater, who with Ptolemy I and
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 in the confused struggle for imperial power. He defeated EumenesEumenes
, c.361–316 B.C., secretary to Philip II of Macedon and to Alexander the Great. A Thracian Greek, he was capable, diplomatic, and eloquent and proved himself able as a general as well as a secretary.
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, then fearing Antigonus' efforts to remake the empire, allied himself with CassanderCassander
, 358–297 B.C., king of Macedon, one of the chief figures in the wars of the Diadochi. The son of Antipater, he was an officer under Alexander the Great, but there was ill feeling between them.
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 and LysimachusLysimachus
, c.355–281 B.C., Thessalian general of Alexander the Great. He was a commander in Alexander's fleet on the Hydaspes as well as his bodyguard. On Alexander's death (323 B.C.) Lysimachus took control of Thrace. He joined (314 B.C.
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. Ptolemy defeated the troops of Antigonus in 312 but he was defeated at Salamis in 306, and the ultimate defeat and death of Antigonus at Ipsus in 301 resolved the situation. Ptolemy had already declared himself king in 305. Subsequently he laid the outline for Ptolemaic administration in Egypt and did much to make Alexandria a fountainhead of culture and art by founding the library there. Through Arrian, we know that he wrote a history of Alexander.


See J. P. Mahaffy, The Empire of the Ptolemies (1895); E. R. Bevan, A History of Egypt under the Ptolemaic Dynasty (1927); P. M. Fraser, Ptomemaic Alexandria (3 vol., 1972, repr. 1984).

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Ptolemy I

called Ptolemy Soter. ?367--283 bc, king of Egypt (323--285 bc), a general of Alexander the Great, who obtained Egypt on Alexander's death and founded the Ptolemaic dynasty: his capital Alexandria became the centre of Greek culture
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
At the start of Cleopatra's reign in 51 BC, Egypt was in dire political and financial straits and scholars have interpreted her subsequent interactions with Julius Caesar and Antonius to mean that she perceived the kingdom's recovery as depending heavily upon its ability to regain the territories held under Ptolemy I Soter and his successor Ptolemy II Philadelphos.
It was ruled by the Ptolemaic dynasty, which started with Ptolemy I Soter's accession after the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and which ended with the death of Cleopatra and the Roman conquest in 30 BC.
The Ptolemaic Kingdom was founded in 305 BC by Ptolemy I Soter (Macedonian General), who declared himself pharaoh of Egypt and created a powerful Hellenistic dynasty that ruled an area stretching from southern Syria to Cyrene and south to Nubia.