Ptolemy IV of Egypt

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Under the reign of Ptolemy IV Philopator (reigned 221-204 BC), son of Ptolemy III and Berenice II of Egypt, the decline of the Ptolemaic kingdom began.

His reign was inaugurated by the murder of his mother, and he was always under the dominion of favourites, male and female, who indulged his vices and conducted the government as they pleased. Self-interest led his ministers to make serious preparations to meet the attacks of Antiochus III the Great on Palestine, and the great Egyptian victory of Raphia (217), at which Ptolemy himself was present, secured the kingdom for the remainder of his reign.

The arming of Egyptians in this campaign had a disturbing effect upon the native population of Egypt, so that rebellions were continuous for the next thirty years. Philopator was devoted to orgiastic forms of religion and literary dilettantism. He built a temple to Homer and composed a tragedy, to which his vile favourite Agathocles added a commentary. He married (about 215) his sister Arsinoë III, but continued to be ruled by his mistress Agathoclea, sister of Agathocles.

Ptolemy IV is a major protagonist of the apocryphal 3 Maccabees, which describes purported events following the Battle of Raphia, in both Jerusalem and Alexandria.

External Links

  • Ptolemy Philopator I at LacusCurtius (http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Gazetteer/Places/Africa/Egypt/_Texts/BEVHOP/7*.html) — (Chapter VII of E. R. Bevan's House of Ptolemy, 1923)
  • Ptolemy IV (http://www.tyndale.cam.ac.uk/Egypt/ptolemies/ptolemy_iv.htm) — (Egyptian Royal Genealogy)


Preceded by:
Ptolemy III
Ptolemaic King of Egypt
with Arsinoe III
Succeeded by:
Ptolemy V
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