Ptolemy I: King and Pharaoh of Egypt
But unlike them he had patience and cunning that arguably made him the greatest of the Successors. He built up his power base in Egypt, introduced administrative and economic reforms that made him fabulously wealthy, and as a conscious imperialist he boldly attempted to seize Greece and Macedonia and be a second Alexander. As well as his undoubted military prowess, Ptolemy was an intellectual. He founded the great Library and Museum at Alexandria, making that city the intellectual center of the entire Hellenistic age, and even patronized the mathematician Euclid.
Ptolemy ruled Egypt first as satrap and then as its king and Pharaoh for forty years, until he died of natural causes in his early eighties. On his death, his son, Ptolemy II, succeeded him, and the Ptolemaic dynasty was thus established. It was the longest-lived of all the Hellenistic dynasties, falling with Cleopatra three centuries later. As a king, soldier, statesman, and intellectual, Ptolemy was one of a kind, but, unlike Alexander, he never forgot his Macedonian roots.
Against all odds, Ptolemy fought off invasions, invaded opponents' territories, and established an Egyptian empire, making his adopted country a power with which to be reckoned. His achievements shaped both Egypt's history and that of the early Hellenistic world.
"Ptolemy I: King and Pharaoh of Egypt is a welcome addition to Ian Worthington's many distinguished contributions to the history of late fourth century BC Greece. Ptolemy I was the most successful of Alexander the Great's Successors, the founder of the longest lived Egyptian dynasty and the author of a history that is the ultimate source of most of our knowledge of Alexander's reign. Now, finally, readers have a vividly written biography of the king that is firmly based on current scholarship." -Stanley M. Burstein, author of The Reign of Cleopatra
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