John D Grainger

The Ptolemies, Apogee and Collapse

The second volume of this ground-breaking trilogy covers the reigns of Ptolemy II, III, IV, V and VI, who between them reigned for a century. Ptolemy III's rule brought the acquisition of Cyrenaica (through marriage) and territorial gains in Syria, the Aegean, Asia Minor and Thrace due to unexpected military successes in the Third Syrian War. These victories over the Seleukids, marked the apogee of Ptolemaic power. However, the rest of his reign was accompanied by internal trouble in Egypt.
On Ptolemy III's death, his minister Sosibius organized the accession of Ptolemy IV, had the new king’s mother and siblings murdered and continued as effective ruler for the whole reign. He also dominated that of Ptolemy V. There was a surprising success in the Fourth Syrian War but this was followed by a major rebellion and defeat in the Fifth Syrian War, with the loss of Syria/Palestine and Ptolemaic holdings in Asia Minor.
The murder of Ptolemy V in 180 was followed by the long and troubled reign of Ptolemy VI, one of the ablest of the Ptolemies, but hampered by continued trouble in Egypt and in the court. A disastrous war against the Seleukid Antiochos IV set back the Ptolemaic recovery. Ptolemy did eventually manage a complete victory, only to die of wounds received in battle. John Grainger clearly recounts and analyzes this dramatic period of war, politics, murder and court intrigue.
399 printed pages
Original publication
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