PTOLEMY V. Epiphanes reigned 204-181), son of Philopator and Arsinoe, was not more than five years old when he came to the throne, and under a series of regents the kingdom was paralysed. Antiochus III. and Philip V. of Macedonia made a compact to divide the Ptolemaic possessions overseas. Philip seized several islands and places in Caria and Thrace, whilst the battle of Panium (198) definitely transferred Palestine from the Ptolemies to the Seleucids. Antiochus after this concluded peace, giving his own daughter Cleopatra to Epiphanes to wife (193-192). Nevertheless, when war broke out between Antiochus and Rome Egypt ranged itself with the latter power. Epiphanes in manhood was chiefly remarkable as a passionate sportsman; he excelled in athletic exercises and the chase. Great cruelty and perfidy were displayed in the suppression of the native rebellion, and some accounts represent him as personally tyrannical.
The elder of his two sons, PTOLEMY VI. Philometor (181-145), succeeded as an infant under the regency of his mother Cleopatra. Her death was followed by a rupture between the Ptolemaic and Seleucid courts, on the old question of Palestine.
Antiochus IV. Epiphancs invaded Egypt (170) and captured Philometor.
The Alexandrians then put his younger brother PTOLEMY VII. Euergetcs II. (afterwards nicknamed Physkon, on account of his bloated appearance) upon the throne. Antiochus professed to support Pliilometor, but, when he withdrew, the brothers agreed to be joint-kings with their sister Cleopatra as queen and wife of Philometor. Antiochus again invaded Egypt (168), but was compelled by the Roman intervention to retire. The double kingship led to quarrels between the two brothers in which fresh appeals were continually made to Rome. In 163 the Cyrenaica was assigned under Roman arbitration to Euergetes as a separate kingdom. As he coveted Cyprus as well, the feud still went on, Rome continuing to interfere diplomatically but not effectively. In 154 Euergetes invaded Cyprus but was defeated and captured by Philometor. He found his brother, however, willing to pardon and was allowed to return as king to Cyrene. In 152 Philometor joined the coalition against the Seleucid king Demetrius I. and was the main agent in his destruction. The protege of the coalition, Alexander Balas, married Philometor's daughter Cleopatra (Thea), and reigned in Syria in practical subservience to him. But in 147 Philometor broke with him and transferred his support, together with the person of Cleopatra, to Demetrius II., the young son of Demetrius I. He himself at Antioch was entreated by the people to assume the- Seleucid diadem, but he declined and installed Demetrius as king. In 145 in the battle on the Oenoparas near Antioch, in which Alexander Balas was finally defeated, Philometor received a mortal wound. Philometor was perhaps the best of the Ptolemies. Kindly and reasonable, his good nature seems sometimes to have verged on indolence, but he at any rate took personal part, and that bravely and successfully, in war.
Philometor's infant son, Ptolemy Philopator Neos (P) 1 , was proclaimed king in Alexandria under the regency of his mother Cleopatra. Euergetes however, swooping from Cyrene, seized the throne and married Cleopatra, making away with his nephew. He has left an odious picture of himself in the historians a man untouched by benefits or natural affection, delighting in deeds of blood, his body as loathsome in its blown corpulence as his soul. Something must be allowed for the rhetorical habit of our authorities, but that Euergetes was ready enough to shed blood when policy required seems true. He soon found a more agreeable wife than Cleopatra in her daughter Cleopatra, and thenceforth antagonism between the two queens, the " sister " and the " wife," was chronic. In 130-1 Cleopatra succeeded in driving Euergetes for a time to Cyprus, when he revenged himself by murdering the son whom she had borne him ( surnamed Memphites). Massacres inflicted upon the Alexandrians and the expulsion of the representatives of Hellenic culture are laid to his charge. On the other hand, the monument and papyri show him a liberal patron of the native religion and a considerable administrator. In fact, while hated by the Greeks, he seems to have had the steady support of the native population. But there are also records which show him, not as an enemy, but a friend, like his ancestors, to Greek culture. He himself published the fruit of his studies and travels in a voluminous collection of notebooks, in which he showed a lively eye for the oddities of his fellow kings. The old Ptolemaic realm was never again a unity after the death of Euergetes II. By his will he left the Cyrenaica as a separate kingdom to his illegitimate son Ptolemy Apion (116-96), whilst Egypt and Cyprus were bequeathed to Cleopatra (Kokke) and whichever of his two sons by her, PTOLEMY VIII. Soter II. (nicknamed Lathyros) and PTOLEMY IX. Alexander I., she might choose as her associate. The result was, of course, a long period of domestic strife. From 116 to 108 Soter reigned with his mother, and at enmity with her, in Egypt, whilst her favourite son, Alexander, ruled Cyprus. Cleopatra compelled Soter to divorce his sister-wife Cleopatra and marry another sister, Selene. Cleopatra plunged into the broils of 1 Or, according to another view, Eupator. On the obscure questions raised by these two surnames, see L. Pareti, Ricerche sui Tolemei Eupatore e Neo Filopatore (Turin, 1908).
the Seleucid house in Syria and perished. In 108 Cleopatra Kokke called Alexander to Egypt, and Soter flying to Cyprus took his brother's place and held the island against his mother's forces. The attempts which Soter and Cleopatra respectively made in 104-3 to obtain a predominance in Palestine came to nothing. Alexander now shook off his mother's yoke and married Soter's daughter Berenice. Cleopatra Kokke died in 101 and from then till 89 Alexander reigned alone in Egypt. In 89 he was expelled by a popular uprising and perished the following year in a sea-fight with the Alexandrian ships off Cyprus. Soter was recalled (88) and reigned over Egypt and Cyprus, now reunited, in association with his daughter Berenice. This, his second; reign in Egypt (88-80), was marked by a native rebellion which issued in the destruction of Thebes. On his death Berenice assumed the government, but the son of Alexander I., PTOLEMY X. Alexander II., entering Alexandria under Roman patronage, married, and within twenty days assassinated, his elderly cousin and stepmother. He was at once killed by the enraged people and with him the Ptolemaic family in the legitimate male line became extinct. Ptolemy Apion meanwhile, dying in 96, had bequeathed the Cyrenaica to Rome. The Alexandrian people now chose an illegitimate son of Soter II. to be their king, PTOLEMY XI. Philopator Philadelphus Neos Dionysus, nicknamed Auletes, the flute-player (80-51), setting his brother as king in Cyprus. The rights of these kings were doubtful, not only because of their illegitimate birth, but because it was claimed in Rome that Alexander II. had bequeathed his kingdom to the Roman people. Two Seleucid princes, children of Soter's sister Selene, appeared in Rome in 73 to urge their claim to the Ptolemaic throne. Ptolemy Auletes was thus obliged to spend his reign in buying the support of the men in power in Rome. Cyprus was annexed by Rome in 58, its king committing suicide. From 58 to 55 Auletes was in exile, driven out by popular hatred, and worked by bribery and murder in Rome to get himself restored to Roman power. His daughter Berenice meanwhile reigned in Alexandria, a husband being found for her in the Pontic prince Archelaus. In 55 Auletes was restored by the proconsul of Syria, Aulus Gabinius. He killed Berenice and, dying in 51, bequeathed the kingdom to liis eldest son, aged ten years, who was to take as wife his sister Cleopatra, aged seventeen. In the reign of PTOLEMY XII. Philopator (51-47) and Cleopatra Philopator, Egyptian history coalesces with the general history of the Roman world, owing to the murder of Pompey off Pelusium in 48 and the Alexandrine War of Julius Caesar (48-47). In that war the young king perished and a still younger brother, PTOLEMY XIII. Philopator, was associated with Cleopatra till 44, when he died, probably by Cleopatra's contriving. From then till her death in 30, her son, born in 47, and asserted by Cleopatra to be the child of Julius Caesar, was associated officially with her as PTOLEMY XIV. Philopator Philometor Caesar; he was known popularly as Caesarion. (For the incidents of Cleopatra's reign see CLEOPATRA, ARSINOE.) After her death in 30 and Caesarion's murder Egypt was made a Roman province. Cleopatra's daughter by Antony (Cleopatra Selene) was married in 25 to Juba II. of Mauretania. Their son Ptolemy, who succeeded his father (A.D. 23-40), left no issue. 2 See Mahaffy, The Empire of the Ptolemies (1895) and Egypt under the Ptolemaic Dynasty (1899); Strack, Die Dynastie der Ptolemaer (1897); Bouche'-Leclercq, Ilistoire des Lagides (1904, 1907); Meyer, Das Heerwesen der Ptolemaer und Romer (Leipzig, 1900).
(E. R. B.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)