Ptolemy I

(Satrap of Egypt, 323‑305BC/King of Egypt, 305-283/282 BC).

Ptolemy I-Soter I:
Ptolemy I-Soter I:

 Ptolemy I

Ptolemy I was the son of a Macedonian nobleman named Lagus. He was a youth friend of Alexander the Great, but being older than the crown prince, he probably played the role of his adviser. 

 He took part in Alexander’s campaigns, became a commander and one of the seven bodyguards of Alexander.  

He also joined Alexander on his visit to the temple of the oracle of Amun at Siwa. 

Soter I as King of Egypt

Ptolemy I declared himself king of Egypt in 305 BC. 

 He took the Egyptian name Mry-Imn stp-n-Ra “Beloved of Amun, Chosen of Re ”.

Cartouches of Ptolemy I
Cartouches of Ptolemy I

Soter I was given the title Soter I (saviour) after he helped the inhabitants of Rhodes against Antigonus. 

Lagus may have belonged to a minor branch of the Macedonian Dynasty.

Military achievements of Soter I

 In order to secure Egypt’s western borders, he occupied Cyrene (Libya).  

He also seized Judea (southern part of Palestine) and Koile Syria (Jordan, Lebanon, and southern Syria).  

Koile Syria (marked in red)
Koile Syria (marked in red)

He extended his empire by conquering Cyprus, which gave him important naval bases from which the Egyptian power could be projected into the eastern Mediterranean and Aegean Seas. 

The conquest of Cyprus and Koile Syria also gave Egypt access to important mineral and timber (wood) resources, and enabled Ptolemy I and his successors to reach important trade routes from Mesopotamia and southern Arabia.

Building Achievements of Ptolemy I

 In 290 BC, Ptolemy I began the construction of the Lighthouse Pharos in Alexandria

 He also created the famous Bibliotheca Alexandrina. 

Ancient Lighthouse of Alexandria
Ancient Lighthouse of Alexandria

Cultural and Economic Achievements

Soter I was also a historian who wrote a history of Alexander the Great.

He wanted to consolidate the religions of the Egyptians and Greeks by creating the worship of a new god triad in Alexandria consisting of Serapis, Isis, and Harpocrates.

Soter I had coins minted in his name in Alexandria. It became the standard currency under the Ptolemaic Dynasty & was reproduced with little change by his successors. It showed Ptolemy’s profile on one side, and an eagle grasping a thunderbolt on the other side, with the simple inscription Ptolemaiou Basileos [“Ptolemy, King”] .

Triad of Alexandria.
Triad of Alexandria.

His Family

 Soter I first married a Persian lady, then he married Eurydice, who gave birth to his son Ptolemy Keraunos بطليموس الصاعقة .Later on, he deserted her and married another Macedonian lady named Berenice, who gave birth to a son named Ptolemy (Ptolemy II), and a daughter named Arsinoe (Arsinoe II). 

 

Co-regency and Death of Ptolemy I

 

In 285BC, Soter I accepted his son Ptolemy II as his co-ruler. In January 282BC, the founder of the Ptolemaic Empire died, and his son Ptolemy II became King.

Ptolemy I was deified after his death. He was worshipped together with Alexander the Great. Their statues were prominently displayed in the great parade, which opened the Ptolemaia Festival; a celebration that was founded by Ptolemy II in honour of his deceased father Ptolemy I in 283 BC

 

Ptolemy Keraunos

was supposed to succeed his father King Soter I as king of Egypt, but towards the end of his reign,Soter I started to prefer Ptolemy II (Philadelphus). Keraunos left Egypt to the Macedonian court of Lysimachus (the king of Thrace, Macedonia and western Asia Minor).
Lysimachus was married to Arsinoe II(a half-sister of Keraunos) who offered Keraunos a warm welcome. However, there were family troubles in the house of Lysimachus as well.

From an earlier marriage, Lysimachus had another son named Agathocles, who was married to Lysandra (a full sister of Keraunos and a half-sister of Arsinoe II). 

It was clear that Agathocles was to succeed his father, and this meant that Arsinoe II and her children were to become the subjects of her half-sister (Lysandra). Arsinoe II started to conspire against Agathocles, and eventually, Lysimachus ordered the execution of his own son. 

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