Ptolemy II

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Name of Ptolemy II
Octadrachm Ptolemy II Arsinoe II.jpg
Octadrachm with the portrait of Ptolemy II and Arsinoes II; Pergamon Museum , Berlin
Horus name
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A17 q
Hunu qeni
Ḥnw qnj
Brave young man
Wr-pḥtj whom
his father enthroned
Gold name
s xa
i t
Sechai-en su it-ef
Sḫˁj-n sw jt = f
His father made him appear
Throne name
Hiero Ca1.svg
C2 C12 wsr O34
n / a
Hiero Ca2.svg
User-ka-en-Re meri-Amun
Wsr-k3-n-Rˁ mrj-Jmn
Rich in Ka power , a Re, Amun's lover, Ptolemy
Hiero Ca1.svg
C2 C12 N36 wsr n / a
Hiero Ca2.svg
User-ka-Re meri-Amun
Wsr-k3-Rˁ mrj-Jmn
Proper name
Hiero Ca1.svg
wA rw
i i s
Hiero Ca2.svg

Ptolemy II Philadelphos ( Greek Πτολεμαῖος Βʹ ὁ Φιλάδελφος , the "sibling lover "; * 308 BC; † January 29, 246 BC), son of Ptolemy I and Berenike I , was from 285 to 246 BC Chr. Pharaoh (king) of Egypt in the Greco-Roman period . Since 285 BC Ptolemy II was co-regent of his father and thus designated successor. A short time later, he appears to have been crowned with the Egyptian double crown .


Married to Arsinoë I for the first time, followed by a sibling marriage with his sister Arsinoë II.

  • Parents: Ptolemaios I Soter and his second wife Berenike I. They ousted Queen Eurydice and her son and original heir to the throne Ptolemaios Keraunos (half-brother Ptolemy II). She received their titles in 290 and was the favorite wife of Ptolemy I.
  • Full siblings: Arsinoë II., Philothera, Theoxene
  • Half-siblings: Ptolemaios Keraunos, Meleagros, Lysandra; Lagos, Leontiskos, Eirene
  • Step-siblings: Magas, Eirene, Antigone
  • First wife: Arsinoë I of Thrace , daughter of Lysimachus and Nicaia
  • Second wife: Arsinoë II, daughter of Ptolemy I Soter and Berenike - his full sister

Domestic politics

Ptolemy was sole ruler from 283/82 and was able to essentially preserve the inherited property. He founded the ruler's cult of the Ptolemies by deifying his deceased parents as "saving gods" ( Θεοὶ Σωτήρες ). He combined the cult of his own family with the cult of the deified Alexander, founded by his father, whose priest also became that of the Ptolemies. In all likelihood, Ptolemy II was also the one who had the body of Alexander the Great transferred from Memphis to Alexandria. With the burial of its founder ( Ktistes ) in the capital of the empire, the family should be given additional legitimation as successor to Alexander on the pharaonic throne. He also promoted science and poetry in the Museion of Alexandria , had the Nile Canal to the Red Sea restored for the Indian trade and completed the Pharos of Alexandria , known as the seventh wonder of the world , which was dedicated to the "saving gods". He also founded the port city of Ptolemais Theron, among other things .

Arsinoë II and Ptolemy II next to the goddess Isis in the temple of Philae

The Greek playwright Lycophron from Chalkis is said to have been one of seven poets at the royal court. It is said that he flattered the king with an anagram by putting the letters Πτολεμαίος in the order απὸ μέλιτος ("from honey"). Since this work, Lycophron is considered the father of this rhetorical art form . The poet Theokritos dedicated a poem of praise to Ptolemy II ( Idyll XVII ).

After his first wife, Arsinoe I of Thrace, participated in a conspiracy against him in 279, she was violated in 278. His full sister Arsinoë II, who had been married to Lysimachus of Thrace , had to flee because she had killed his son Agathocles (the husband of her half-sister Lysandra). After a short interlude with her half-brother Ptolemaios Keraunos, who in turn poisoned her sons, she came to Egypt and married her full brother Ptolemaios Philadelphos there. They allowed themselves to be worshiped as godlike; anyone who did not approve of the marriage, which was scandalous for the Greeks and Macedonians, was killed by accident or murder.

After her death, his second wife and biological sister Arsinoë II was worshiped as a "sibling- loving goddess" (" Θεὰ Φιλάδελφα ").

Foreign policy

Like his father, Ptolemy II pursued a very active foreign policy that extended far beyond Egypt. In 273 diplomatic contact with Rome as the new power in the western Mediterranean region was established for the first time through mutual embassies. Ptolemy apparently also had diplomatic contacts with the Indian Maurya Empire , as a certain Dionysius is mentioned as envoy, who also wrote a now-lost work on India ( Indica ). According to the 13th Great Edict of Ashoka , the third Indian king of the Mauryas, Ashoka , sent around 250 BC. "Religious commissioner" (dharmamahāmātra) also into the kingdom of Ptolemy (Tulamaya). How far this “religion” corresponded to Buddhism of its time is questionable.

Ptolemy II led the First Syrian War (274-271) against the Seleucid Antiochus I and the Second Syrian War (260-253) against his son Antiochus II. In the Chremonideic War (267-261) he fought together with Athens and Sparta unsuccessful against the Antigonids .

See also


Web links

Commons : Ptolemy II.  - Collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. a b Werner Huss: Egypt in the Hellenistic Period 332-30 BC Chr. CH Beck, Munich, 2001; ISBN 3-406-47154-4
  2. a b The first character is to be read in reverse. In addition, the first two characters can be read above the knees without attributes.
  3. Pausanias : Helládos Periēgēsis. 1. 7. 1; Both Curtius : Historiae Alexandri Magni Macedonis. 10/10/20; Strabo : Geôgraphiká. 17.18 and Diodor : Bibliothéke historiké. 18, 28, 3 reported the transfer of corpses to Alexandria while Ptolemy I was still alive, but their information is very general and deviates greatly from one another, while Pausanias' detailed information also coincides with archaeological findings. (see EE Rice: The grand Procession of Ptolemy Philadelphus. Oxford University Press, Oxford / New York 1983.)
predecessor Office successor
Ptolemy I. King of Egypt
285–246 BC Chr.
Ptolemy III