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date: 06 December 2023

Ptolemy III Euergetes (“Benefactor”) I, king of Egypt, early 246 to 221 bcelocked

Ptolemy III Euergetes (“Benefactor”) I, king of Egypt, early 246 to 221 bcelocked

  • Stanley Burstein


Ptolemy III Euergetes (“Benefactor”) I, king of Egypt, early 246–February 221 bce. Born mid‑280s bce, the son of Ptolemy II and Arsinoë I, daughter of Lysimachus, married Berenice II, thereby reuniting Cyrene and Egypt. Two crises determined the course of his reign: the Third Syrian War (246–241 bce) and the first Egyptian uprising (c. 245 bce) and the accompanying famine. Initially having been begun in 246 bce in support of Ptolemy’s sister Berenice, widow of Antiochus II Theos, the Third Syrian War resulted in extensive territorial gains in Anatolia and Thrace, which Ptolemy strove to retain throughout the remainder of his reign. Almost simultaneously, the Egyptian uprising and famine that occurred c. 245–244 bce led to significant innovations in the internal governance of Egypt and relations between the government and the Egyptian priesthood, which was now required to meet annually in synods but also received important benefits, most notably an extensive temple-building program which included construction of the Serapeum at Alexandria and the temple of Horus at Edfu.


  • Greek History and Historiography
  • Near East

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