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Headword: Πτολεμαῖος
Adler number: pi,3041
Translated headword: Ptolemaios, Ptolemy
Vetting Status: high
Translation:
A general in Cyprus;[1] he was not at all Egyptian-like,[2] but sensible and practical; for he took the island over when the King was still an infant and devoted his attention to the collection of money, but he used to give absolutely none of it to anyone, although he was often asked to by the royal finance ministers, and although he was bitterly criticised for not making any payment. And when the King came of age, he put together a substantial amount of money and sent it, so that both Ptolemy and the people in the [royal court] ... thought well of him for ... his earlier economical measures and his not making any payment.[3]
Greek Original:
Πτολεμαῖος, στρατηγὸς κατὰ Κύπρον: ὃς οὐδαμῶς Αἰγυπτιακὸς γέγονεν, ἀλλὰ νουνεχὴς καὶ πρακτικός: παραλαβὼν γὰρ τὴν νῆσον ἔτι νηπίου τοῦ βασιλέως ὄντος ἐγίνετο μὲν ἐπιμελὴς περὶ συναγωγὴν χρημάτων, ἐδίδου δ' ἁπλῶς οὐδὲν οὐδενί, καίπερ αἰτούμενος πολλάκις ὑπὸ τῶν βασιλικῶν διοικητῶν καὶ καταλαλούμενος πικρῶς ἐν τῷ μηδὲν προί̈εσθαι. τοῦ δὲ βασιλέως εἰς ἡλικίαν παραγεγονότος, συνθεὶς πλῆθος ἱκανὸν χρημάτων ἐξαπέστειλεν, ὥστε καὶ τὸν Πτολεμαῖον καὶ τοὺς περὶ τὴν ... εὐδοκῆσαι ... τῇ πρότερον αὐτοῦ συστολῇ καὶ τῷ μηδὲν προί̈εσθαι.
Notes:
[1] Ptolemaios Makron, strategos (i.e. governor) of Cyprus for King Ptolemy VI Philometor from 180 to 169/8 BCE. On this official see Bagnall (below) 45-7 and 256-7. On the House of Ptolemy, see generally web address 1.
[2] This entry is a fragment of Polybius, assigned as Polybius 27.13 by modern editors. On Polybius' views about racially-caused differences in character between Greeks and Egyptians, see most famously Polybius 34.14. There Polybius describes the Egyptian race as ὀξὺ καὶ πολιτικόν , if the text is correct: a puzzling phrase, the accuracy and import of which is discussed by Fraser (below) vol.II 144 n.184). Here, anyway, the characteristic of being-like-an-Egyptian which Ptolemy Makron does not have is apparently a deficiency in shrewdness.
[3] The advantage Ptolemy Makron gained from this move seems to have been short-lived. He afterwards left Cyprus, defecting in 168 to Antiochus Epiphanes and the Seleucids, and then committing suicide in 163 because Seleucid courtiers thought him a traitor: cf. 2 Maccabees 10.12-13, and Bar-Kochva (below) 533-42.
References:
Roger S. Bagnall, The Administration of the Ptolemaic Possessions outside Egypt (Leiden 1976)
P.M. Fraser, Ptolemaic Alexandria (Oxford 1972)
F.W. Walbank, A Historical Commentary on Polybius, iii (Oxford 1979) 311-12 and index s.v.
Bezalel Bar-Kochva, Judas Maccabaeus: the Jewish Struggle against the Seleucids (Cambridge 1989)
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: biography; children; economics; ethics; geography; history; military affairs
Translated by: Paul McKechnie on 4 June 1999@01:49:05.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (supplied headword; added bibliography and keyword; cosmetics) on 31 March 2001@05:30:42.
David Whitehead (more keywords) on 4 December 2005@06:57:04.
Catharine Roth (cosmetics) on 16 September 2008@01:02:07.
Catharine Roth (supplemented note) on 22 September 2013@01:37:55.
David Whitehead (tweaking) on 23 October 2013@05:16:29.

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