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The Ptolemies, Apogee and Collapse (Hardback)

Ptolemiac Egypt 246–146 BC

Ancient History > Ancient Egypt & Egyptology

By John D Grainger
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 304
ISBN: 9781399090179
Published: 20th October 2023


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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 im battle. John Grainger clearly recounts and analyses this dramatic period of war, politics, murder and court intrigue.

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About John D Grainger

JOHN D GRAINGER is a former teacher and historian of great experience with a particular interest in Classical and Hellenistic Greek history. His many previous works include the following for Pen & Sword: Hellenistic and Roman Naval Wars (2011); The Wars of the Maccabees (2012); Roman Conquests: Egypt and Judaea (2013); a three-part history of the Seleukid Empire (2014-16), King’s and Kingship in the Hellenistic World 350-30 BC (2017), Antipater’s Dynasty (2018), Ancient Dynasties (2019, The Roman Imperial Succession (March 2020), The Straits from Troy to Constantinople (2021) and The Forty Sieges of Constantinople (2022). He lives in Evesham, Worcestershire.

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