PTOLEMY II PHILADELPHUS (Greek : Πτολεμαῖος
Φιλάδελφος, Ptolemaîos Philádelphos, 309–246 BCE) was
the king of Ptolemaic Egypt from 283 to 246 BCE. He was the son of the
founder of the Ptolemaic kingdom
Ptolemy I Soter and Berenice , and
was educated by
Philitas of Cos . He had two half-brothers, Ptolemy
Keraunos and Meleager , who both became kings of Macedonia (in 281 BCE
and 279 BCE respectively), and who both died in the Gallic invasion of
280–279 BCE. Ptolemy was first married to Arsinoë I , daughter of
Lysimachus , who was the mother of his legitimate children; after her
repudiation he married his full sister Arsinoë II , the widow of
During Ptolemy's reign, the material and literary splendour of the
Alexandrian court was at its height. He promoted the Museum and
Alexandria , and he erected a commemorative stele, the
Great Mendes Stela .
* 1 Reign
* 1.1 Family
* 1.2 Court
* 2 Relations with
* 3 See also
* 4 References
* 5 Sources
* 6 Bibliography
* 7 External links
Ptolemy II began his reign as co-regent with his father Ptolemy I
from c. 285 BCE to c. 283 BCE, and maintained a splendid court in
Egypt was involved in several wars during his reign. Magas of Cyrene
opened war on his half-brother (274 BCE), and the Seleucid king
Antiochus I Soter , desiring
Judea , attacked soon
after in the First Syrian War . Two or three years of war followed.
Egypt's victories solidified the kingdom's position as the undisputed
naval power of the eastern Mediterranean; his fleet of 112 ships bore
the most powerful naval siege units of the time, guaranteeing the king
access to the coastal cities of his empire. The Ptolemaic sphere of
power extended over the
Samothrace , and the harbours and
coast towns of
Cilicia Trachea ,
Caria . In
275/4 BC, Ptolemaic forces invaded
Nubia and annexed the
In 270 BCE Ptolemy hired 4,000 Gallic mercenaries (who in 279 BCE
Bolgios killed his half-brother
Ptolemy Keraunos ). According to
Pausanias , soon after arrival the
Gauls plotted “to seize Egypt,”
and so Ptolemy marooned them on a deserted island in the Nile River
where “they perished at one another’s hands or by famine.”
The victory won by
Antigonus II Gonatas , king of Macedonia, over the
Egyptian fleet at Cos (between 258 BCE and 256 BCE) did not long
interrupt Ptolemy's command of the
Aegean Sea . In a Second Syrian War
with the Seleucid kingdom, under
Antiochus II Theos (after 260 BCE),
Ptolemy sustained losses on the seaboard of
Asia Minor and agreed to a
peace by which Antiochus married his daughter Berenice (c. 250 BCE).
Ptolemy was of a delicate constitution. Elias Joseph Bickermann
(Chronology of the Ancient World, 2nd ed. 1980) gives the date of his
death as 29 January.
Ptolemy's first wife, Arsinoë I , daughter of
Lysimachus , was the
mother of his legitimate children:
Ptolemy III Euergetes , his successor.
* Berenice Phernopherus , married
Antiochus II Theos , king of
After her repudiation he married his full sister Arsinoë II , the
widow of Lysimachus, which brought him her Aegean possessions.
He also had several concubines . With a woman named Bilistiche he had
an (illegitimate) son named Ptolemy Andromachou This granite
statue depicts Ptolemy II in the traditional canon of ancient Egyptian
Walters Art Museum
Walters Art Museum ,
He had many mistresses , including Agathoclea (?), Aglais (?)
daughter of Megacles, the cupbearer Cleino, Didyme, the Chian harp
player Glauce, the flautist Mnesis, the actress Myrtion, the flautist
Pothine and Stratonice , and his court, magnificent and dissolute,
intellectual and artificial, has been compared with the Versailles of
Louis XIV .
Ptolemy deified his parents and his sister-wife after their deaths.
Cameo Gonzaga ", Hermitage
The material and literary splendour of the Alexandrian court was at
its height under Ptolemy II. Pomp and splendor flourished. He had
exotic animals of far off lands sent to Alexandria, and staged a
Alexandria in honor of
Dionysus led by 24 chariots drawn
by elephants and a procession of lions, leopards, panthers, camels,
antelopes, wild asses, ostriches, a bear, a giraffe and a rhinoceros.
According to scholars, most of the animals were in pairs - as many as
eight pairs of ostriches - and although the ordinary chariots were
likely led by a single elephant, others which carried a 7-foot-tall
(2.1 m) golden statue may have been led by four. Although an
enthusiast for Hellenic culture, he also adopted Egyptian religious
concepts, which helped to bolster his image as a sovereign.
Callimachus , 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.
The tradition preserved in the pseudepigraphical Letter of Aristeas
which connects the
Septuagint translation of the
Hebrew Bible into
Greek with his patronage is probably overdrawn. However, Walter Kaiser
says, "There can be little doubt that the Law was translated in
Philadelphus's time since Greek quotations from Genesis and Exodus
appear in Greek literature before 200 BCE The language of the
Septuagint is more like Egyptian Greek than it is like Jerusalemite
Greek, according to some."
RELATIONS WITH INDIA
Ptolemy is recorded by
Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder as having sent an ambassador
named Dionysius to the Mauryan court at
probably to Emperor
Ashoka : "But has been treated of by several
other Greek writers who resided at the courts of Indian kings, such,
for instance, as
Megasthenes , and by Dionysius , who was sent thither
by Philadelphus, expressly for the purpose: all of whom have enlarged
upon the power and vast resources of these nations." Pliny the Elder,
"The Natural History", Chap. 21
He is also mentioned in the Edicts of
Ashoka as a recipient of the
Buddhist proselytism of Ashoka.
Ancient Egypt portal
* Library of
Ptolemaic period - period of Egyptian history during the Ptolemaic
Ptolemais (other) - towns and cities named after members
of the Ptolemaic dynasty.
List of people whose parent committed suicide
* ^ Clayton (2006) p. 208
* ^ "Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt".
Ancient Egypt Online. Retrieved
May 22, 2013.
* ^ Hinds, Kathryn (2009). Ancient Celts. Marshall Cavendish. p.
38. ISBN 1-4165-3205-6 .
* ^ Ptolemy Andromachou by Chris Bennett
* ^ Ptolemy II by Chris Bennett
* ^ Scullard, H.H The Elephant in the Greek and Roman World Thames
and Hudson. 1974 pg 125 "At the head of an imposing array of animals
* ^ Theocritus: Encomium of Ptolemy Philadelphus
* ^ Walter Kaiser: A History of Israel, p. 467
* ^ Mookerji 1988 , p. 38.
* ^ Pliny the Elder, "The Natural History", Chap. 21
* Mookerji, Radha Kumud (1988) , Chandragupta Maurya and his times