Ptolemaic Dynasty

Definition

The Ptolemaic dynasty controlled Egypt for almost three centuries (305-30 BCE), eventually falling to the Romans. Oddly, while they ruled Egypt, they never became Egyptian. Instead, they isolated themselves in the capital city of Alexandria, a city envisioned by Alexander the Great. The city was Greek both in language and practice. There were no marriages with outsiders; brother married sister or uncle married niece. The last Ptolemaic queen, Cleopatra VII (l. c. 69-30 BCE), remained Macedonian but spoke Egyptian as well as other languages. Except for the first two Ptolemaic pharaohs, Ptolemy I and his son Ptolemy II, most of the family was fairly inept and, in the end, only maintained authority with the assistance of Rome.

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