Ptolemy III

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Name of Ptolemy III.
Octadrachm Ptolemy III BM CMBMC103.jpg
Gold octadrachm with the image of Ptolemy III, issued by Ptolemy IV in honor of his deified father, who himself did not have any coins minted
Proper name
Hiero Ca1.svg
V4 E23
M17 M17 S29 S34 D & t & tA Q3
V28 U6
Hiero Ca2.svg
Ptolmis (Ptolemaios) anch djed meri Ptah
Ptolmys ˁnḫ ḏt mrj Ptḥ
Ptolemaios, the ever-living, loved by Ptah

Ptolemy III Euergetes I. ( Greek Πτολεμαῖος Γʹ ὁ Εὐεργέτης Αʹ , "benefactor", also Ptolemy III ; * around 284 BC; † 222 BC ) from the Ptolemaic dynasty was from 246 BC. BC to 222 BC BC, in Greco-Roman times , Pharaoh (King) of Egypt .


Ptolemy III statue in the shape of Hermes with a chlamys coat

Ptolemy III was around 284 BC. Born as the eldest son of King Ptolemy II and his first wife Arsinoë I. Between 250 and 246 BC He married Berenike II , the daughter of King Magas of Cyrene . After the death of his father in 246 BC He took over the rule in Egypt.

When his sister Berenike the Younger , the widow of the Seleucid Antiochus II , asked for help shortly afterwards, Ptolemy III attacked. in the Seleucid throne disputes. Antiochus' first wife, Laodike , had done everything after his death to eliminate Berenike and her son in favor of her own son Seleucus . Even before Ptolemy arrived in Syria, his sister and nephew had been murdered. Still, he continued his attack. In the so-called Third Syrian War (or War of the Laodike ) he conquered coastal areas in Asia Minor and Thrace . The straits were thus closed to the Seleucids. For a time he also occupied Antioch on the Orontes and Babylon , but could not establish himself there permanently, since he had to return to Egypt in 243 to put down a revolt. At first he left his general Xanthippus in the east. Nevertheless, Laodike's son Seleucus II was able to establish himself as king.

In Greece , Ptolemy III tried to push back the influence of the Macedonian kings from the Antigonid dynasty by influencing the leaders of the Greek Central Powers Achaean League , Aetolian League and Sparta . Despite successes in the meantime such as the end of the Macedonian occupation of Athens in 229 BC However, in the end he had to end the hegemony of the Macedonians under Antigonus III. Recognize Doson over Greece; This is also because in the meantime there was great danger from the resurgent Seleucids.

Under Ptolemy III. the Ptolemaic empire showed its greatest display of power. In addition to the veneration of his own family, he also promoted the traditional Egyptian cults and had a magnificent temple of Horus built in Apollonopolis . He also generously supported the Museion of Alexandria and the Greek scholars who worked there. He made Eratosthenes of Cyrene head of the famous library and educator of his son and later successor Ptolemy IV.

Monumentum Adulitanum

The Monumentum Adulitanum , a Greek victory inscription from the then important port city of Adulis on the Red Sea, which was only preserved thanks to a late antique copy , also testifies that Ptolemy was also active in the south of his empire. The text, which significantly exaggerates its successes, is a very important source for the self-portrayal of the ruler, who here calls himself the Great King ( basileus megas ):

“The great king Ptolemy, son of King Ptolemy and Queen Arsinoe, the sibling gods, the children of King Ptolemy and Queen Berenice, the saving gods, on his father's side a descendant of Heracles, the son of Zeus, on his mother's side a descendant of Dionysus, the son of Zeus , took over the kingship in Egypt, Libya, Phenicia, Cyprus, Lycia, Caria and the Cyclades from his father. He went with an army of infantry and cavalry and a fleet against Asia, and with troglodytic and Ethiopian elephants, which he and his father hunted with their own hands in these areas (around Adulis), brought to Egypt and trained there for the war . Then he made himself lord over all land on this side of the Euphrates, over Cilicia, Pamphylia, Ionia, the Hellespont and Thrace, over all warriors in these countries and also over Indian elephants, and forced the rulers of all these regions to submit. He crossed the Euphrates, and after he had made Mesopotamia, Babylonia, Susiana, Persis and Media and all other countries as far as Bactria subject to his command, he searched for and left the sacred objects that had once been taken from Egypt by the Persians together with the rest of the booty from all countries to Egypt. Then he sent his troops home through the canals. "

- Monumentum Adulitanum

Canopus decree and the heliacal rise of Sirius

Heliacal rise of Sirius from the 7th to the 10th year of Ptolemy III's reign.
Observation site
Egyptian date
Possible years
July 18th
241 to 238 BC Chr.
Heliacal ascent: 30th Schemu I and
New Year's festival : 1st Schemu II ( 1st Payni )
July 19
241 to 238 BC Chr.

In the 9th year of Ptolemy III's reign. was born on Tybi 17 (March 3) 238 BC. In the Canopus decree, the introduction of a leap day was decided in the BC, which was to be inserted a year later as the sixth epagomal day in order to postpone the heliacal rising from Sirius to the 2nd Payni in 237 BC. To prevent.

The new calendar form was not able to establish itself sustainably. In addition to the new leap day calendar, the recordings were continued in parallel using the old system. After the death of Ptolemy III. and the four leap days in the meantime dated the New Year's date on August 25 in the Ptolemaic calendar, while August 29 was still the New Year's day in the ancient Egyptian calendar.

Until the introduction of the Julian calendar by Augustus both calendars without switching Tags provisions still were in use.


Web links

Commons : Ptolemy III.  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files


  1. According to the calculations of Pieter-Willem Pestman Ptolemy III. 246 BC Crowned Pharaoh on the 7th Choiak of the Egyptian calendar . The coronation date corresponds to the 25th Dios in the Macedonian calendar , January 28th in the proleptic-Julian calendar and January 24th in the Gregorian calendar . Cf. Pieter Willem Pestman: Chronologie égyptienne d'après les textes demotiques (332 av. JC - 453 ap. JC). Brill, Leiden 1967, p. 28.
  2. Inscriptions from Priene 37, 134.
  3. Ptolemy III Chronicle (English).
  4. ^ Wilhelm Dittenberger : Orientis Graeci inscriptiones selectae (OGIS). Volume 1, Lipsiae Hirzel, Leipzig 1903; unchanged photomechanical reprint, Olms, Hildesheim 1960, p. 54 = Kai Brodersen / Wolfgang Günther / Hatto H. Schmitt : Historical Greek inscriptions in translation (HGIÜ). Volume 3: The Greek East and Rome (250-1 BC) (= texts on research. Volume 71). Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 1999, ISBN 978-3-534-02245-8 , p. 403.
  5. ^ Jean Meeus: Astronomical Algorithms - Applications for Ephemeris Tool 4.5. Barth, Leipzig 2000 for: Ephemeris Tool 4.5 according to Jean Meeus: conversion program, 2001.
  6. Apparent arch of vision : 241 BC. Chr. 9.8 ° (9.5 °); 240 BC Chr. 9.6 ° (9.3 °); 239 BC Chr. 9.35 ° (9.05 °); 238 BC Chr. 9.15 ° (8.85 °). The true arc values in brackets .
  7. Apparent arch of vision: 241 BC. Chr. 9.5 ° (9.2 °); 240 BC Chr. 9.25 ° (8.95 °); 239 BC Chr. 9.05 ° (8.75 °); 238 BC Chr. 8.85 ° (8.55 °). The true arc values in brackets .
  8. Rolf Krauss: Sothis and moon data: Studies on the astronomical and technical chronology of ancient Egypt. Gerstenberg, Hildesheim 1985, pp. 54-55.
predecessor Office successor
Ptolemy II King of Egypt
246 BC BC – 222 BC Chr.
Ptolemy IV