Skip to main content

Ptolemy I

Ptolemy I (Ptolemy Soter) (tŏl´əmē sō´tər), d. 284 BC, king of ancient Egypt, the first ruler of the Macedonian dynasty (or Lagid dynasty), son of a Macedonian named Lagus. He was one of the leading generals of Alexander the Great, and after Alexander's death (323 BC) he joined the other Diadochi in dividing and quarreling over the empire. Ptolemy received Egypt and managed to keep control of it in the midst of incessant warfare. To strengthen his position he married Eurydice, daughter of Antipater (though he soon shifted his affection to her niece and his own half-sister, Berenice). He defeated (321) Perdiccas, and he at first supported Antigonus I in the confused struggle for imperial power. He defeated Eumenes, then fearing Antigonus' efforts to remake the empire, allied himself with Cassander and Lysimachus. Ptolemy defeated the troops of Antigonus in 312 but he was defeated at Salamis in 306, and the ultimate defeat and death of Antigonus at Ipsus in 301 resolved the situation. Ptolemy had already declared himself king in 305. Subsequently he laid the outline for Ptolemaic administration in Egypt and did much to make Alexandria a fountainhead of culture and art by founding the library there. Through Arrian, we know that he wrote a history of Alexander.

See J. P. Mahaffy, The Empire of the Ptolemies (1895); E. R. Bevan, A History of Egypt under the Ptolemaic Dynasty (1927); P. M. Fraser, Ptomemaic Alexandria (3 vol., 1972, repr. 1984).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Ptolemy I." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Ptolemy I." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 16, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/ptolemy-i

"Ptolemy I." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved December 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/ptolemy-i

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.