Ptolemy II Philadelphus

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Ptolemy II Philadelphus (Greek: Πτολεμαῖος Φιλάδελφος, Ptolemaĩos Philádelphos" 309 BCE–246 BCE), was the king of Ptolemaic Egypt from 283 BCE to 246 BCE. He was the son of the founder of the Ptolemaic kingdom Ptolemy I Soter and Berenice, and was educated by Philitas of Cos. He had two half-brothers, Ptolemy Keraunos and Meleager, both of whom became kings of Macedonia (in 281 BCE and 279 BCE respectively). Both died in the Gallic invasion of 280-279 BCE (see Brennus).

Ptolemy II erected a commemorative stele, the Great Mendes Stela. Ptolemies III through V also erected steles.

Contents

Reign

He began his reign as co-regent with his father Ptolemy I from ca. 290 BCE–ca. 283 BCE, and maintained a splendid court in Alexandria.

Egypt was involved in several wars during his reign. Magas of Cyrene opened war on his half-brother (274 BCE), and the Seleucid king Antiochus I Soter, desiring Coele-Syria with Judea, attacked soon after in the First Syrian War. Two or three years of war followed. Egypt's victories solidified the kingdom's position as the undisputed naval power of the eastern Mediterranean; his fleet (112 ships) bore the most powerful naval siege units of all time, guaranteed the king access to the coastal cities of his empire. The Ptolemaic sphere of power extended over the Cyclades to Samothrace, and the harbours and coast towns of Cilicia Trachea, Pamphylia, Lycia and Caria.

The victory won by Antigonus II Gonatas, king of Macedonia, over the Egyptian fleet at Cos (between 258 BCE and 256 BCE) did not long interrupt Ptolemy's command of the Aegean Sea. In a Second Syrian War with the Seleucid kingdom, under Antiochus II Theos (after 260 BCE), Ptolemy sustained losses on the seaboard of Asia Minor and agreed to a peace by which Antiochus married his daughter Berenice (c. 250 BCE).

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