The Ptolemies: The Last Pharaohs

596px-Cleopatra_VII_tetradrachm_Syria_mintPtolemy created a powerful Greek dynasty which extended from Syria to Nubia. Alexandria became the capital city and a center of Greek culture and trade. The Greek pharaohs appealed to the Egyptian populace by adopting many Egyptian customs. They named themselves pharaohs, after the rule of Ptolemy I, the siblings intermarried in keeping with the Egyptian practice, and pictured themselves in portraits in the Egyptian style.

The Ptolemies managed to maintain rule of Egypt for three centuries. Julius Caesar met Cleopatra, a direct descendent of Ptolemy I when he arrived to conquer Egypt. Instead, Cleopatra conquered Caesar. They had two children who would have succeeded their mother, if the Emperor Augustus had not ordered their death. Although Egypt came under Roman rule, the Hellenic/Egyptian culture continued until conquered by the Romans seven centuries later.  (See Cleopatra’s very Greek-appearing profile.)

Tomorrow, an Author’s Desk Rita Bay

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