Ptolemy, one of Alexander the Great's generals, was appointed satrap of Egypt after Alexander's death in 323 BC. In 305 BC he declared himself King Ptolemy I, later known as "Soter" (saviour). The Egyptians soon accepted the Ptolemies as the successors to the pharaohs of independent Egypt. Ptolemy's family ruled Egypt until the Roman conquest of 30 BC.
The dynastic history of Ptolemaic Egypt is very confusing, because all the male rulers of the dynasty took the name Ptolemy, and because many of them married their sisters, who were often called Cleopatra. The most famous member of the line was the last Ptolemaic queen, Cleopatra VII.
Ptolemaic rulers and consorts
The dates in brackets are regnal dates for the kings. They frequently ruled jointly with their wives, who were often also their sisters. Several queens exercised regal authority, but the most famous and successful was Cleopatra VII (51 BC-30 BC), with her two brothers and her son as successive nominal co-rulers. Several systems exist for numbering the later rulers; the one used here is the one most widely used by modern scholars.
Simplified Ptolemaic family tree
Many of the relationships shown in this tree are controversial. The issues are fully discussed in the external links.
Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04