« PrécédentContinuer »
half-brother of the king, revolted against him, and involved the country in another bloody war of three years. The territory was then divided between them; but war broke out afresh in 105 B. C., and continued nine years, resulting in no gain to either party, but great loss and misery to the nation. Tyre, Sidon, Seleucia, and the whole province of Cilicia became independent. The Arabs on one side, and the Egyptians on the other, ravaged the country at pleasure. At length the reign of Antiochus VIII. was ended with his life, by Hera'cleon, an officer of his court, B. C. 96.
47. The murderer did not receive the reward of his crime, for Seleucus VI. (Epiphanes), the eldest son of Grypus, gained possession of the kingdom. In two years he conquered Cyzicenus, who committed suicide to avoid capture; but the claims of the rival house were still maintained by Antiochus X. (Eu’sebes), his eldest son. Seleucus was now driven into Cilicia. Here he came to a miserable end, for he was burnt alive by the people of a town from which he had demanded a subsidy. Philip, the brother of Seleucus, and second son of Antiochus Grypus, became king, and with the aid of his younger brothers continued the war against Eusebes. This prince was defeated and driven to take refuge in Parthia. But no peace came to the country, for Philip and his brothers, Antiochus XI., Demetrius, and Antiochus XII., made war with each other, until the unhappy Syrians called upon Tigraʼnes, king of Armenia, to end their miseries.
48. Tigranes governed, wisely and well, fourteen years (B. C. 83–69); but having at length incurred the vengeance of the Romans, by rendering aid to his father-in-law, Mithridates of Pontus, he was forced to give up all except his hereditary kingdom. Four years longer (B. C. 69–65), Syria continued its separate existence, under Antiochus XIII. (Asiaticus), the son of Eusebes. At the end of that time the kingdom was subdued by Pompey the Great, and became a Roman province.
RECAPITULATION. Seleucus I. (B. C. 312-281) extended his empire beyond the Indus, built many cities, gained all Asia Minor by the defeat of Lysimachus. Antiochus I. B. C. 280-261) lost the territories of Pergamus and Galatia; Antiochus II. (261-216), those of Parthia and Bactria. Under Selencus II. (216-226), the greater part of the empire was conquered by Ptolemy, but soon recovered. Seleucus III. reigned three years (B, C. 226- 223). Antiochus III. (B C. 223-187) quelled the revolts of Molo and Achæus; had wars with the kings of Parthia and Bactria; penetrated India as far as the Ganges; punished the pirates of the Persian Gulf; wrested from Egypt the provinces of Syria and Palestine; overran Asia Minor, and invaded Greece. He was defeated by the Romans, twice by sea and twice by land. Seleucis IV. (B. C. 187-176) was murdered by his treasurer, Heliodorus. Antiochus IV. (B. C. 176-161) was prevented by the Romans from conquering Egypt; excited by his persecutions a revolt in Judæa, which became independent under the Maccabees. The short reign of Antiochus V. (B. C. 164-162) was filled with wars of the regents. His uncle, Demetrius I. (B. C. 162-151), had unsuccessful wars with the Jews and Cappadocians; was conquered by Alexander Balas, who reigned B. C. 151-146. Demetrius II. had a disputed reign (B. C. 146-140); a ten years' imprisonment in Parthia (B. C. 140-130), while his wife and his brother, Antiochus VII., ruled Syria; and a second contest with a pretender, B. C. 129-126. Antiochus VIII. (B. C. 126-96) reigned five years jointly with his mother, seven years alone, and eighteen years side by side with his brother, Antiochus IX. (Cyzicenus), who ruled Cæle-Syria and Phænicia, B, C. 111-96. Seleucus V. (B. C. 96, 95) conquered ('yzicenus, but carried on the same war with his son, Eusebes, until his own violent death. His younger brothers fought first Eusebes, and then each other, until Tigranes, king of Armenia, conquered the country and ruled it fourteen years (B. C. 83-69). Antiochus XIII, the last of the Seleucidæ, reigned B. C. 69-65.
II. EGYPT UNDER THE PTOLEMIES. B. C. 323–30.
49. The Macedonian Kingdom in Egypt presented a marked and brilliant contrast to the native empires and the Persian satrapy. By remor. ing the capital to Alexandria, the conqueror had provided for free intercourse with foreign countries, and the old exclusiveness of the Egyptians was forever broken down. While Palestine was attached to this kingdom, especial favor was shown to the Jews; and in the Greek conquerors, the native Egyptians, and the Jewish merchants, the three families of Shem, Ham, and Japhet were reunited as they had never been since the dispersion at Babel. The Egyptians, who had abhorred the Persian dominion, hailed the Macedonians as deliverers; the common people engaged with zeal in the new industries that promised wealth as the reward of enterprise, and the learned class found their delight in the intellectual society, as well as the rare treasures of literature and art, that filled the court of the Ptolemies.
50. Ptolemy I. (Soter *) received the Egyptian province immediately upon the death of Alexander, and proceeded to organize it with great energy and wisdom. Desiring to make Egypt a maritime power, hie sought at once to conquer Palestine, Phænicia, and Cyprus, whose forests were as needful to him for ship-building as their sea-faring people for sailors. The two countries on the mainland were occupied by Ptolemy in 320 B. C., and remained six years in his possession. They were lost in the war with Antigonus, and only fully regained after the battle of Ipsus, B. C. 301. Cyprus was the scene of many conflicts, of which the great naval battle off Salamis, B. C. 306, was the most severe and decisive. It was then lost to Egypt, but in B. C. 294 or 293 it was regained, and continued her most valuable foreign possession as long as the kingdom existed. Cyrene and all the Libyan tribes between it and Egypt were also annexed by Ptolemy.
51. Few changes were made in the internal government of Egypt. The country, as before, was divided into nomes, each having its own ruler, who was usually a native Egyptian. The old laws and worship prevailed. The Ptolemies rebuilt the temples, paid especial honors to the Apis, and made the most of all points of resemblance between the Greek and Egyptian religions. A magnificent temple to Sera'pis was erected at Alexandria. The priests retained their privileges and honors, being exempt from all taxation. The army was chiefly, and its officers wholly, Greek or Macedonian, and all civil dignities of any importance were also filled by the conquering people. The Greek inhabitants of the cities alone possessed entire freedom in the management of their affairs.
* He is frequently called Ptolemy Lagi, from the name of his father, Lagus.
52. Ptolemy followed the liberal policy of Alexander toward men of genius and learning. He collected a vast and precious library, which he placed in a building connected with the palace; and he founded the
Museum,” which drew students and professors from all parts of the world. No spot ever witnessed more literary and intellectual activity than Alexandria, the University of the East. There Euclid first unfolded the “ Elements of Geometry"; Eratos'thenes discoursed of Geography; Hipparchus, of Astronomy; Aristoph’anes and Aristar'chus, of Criticism; Man'etho, of Hi tory; while Apel'les and Antiph'ilus added their paintings, and Phile'tas, Callim'achus, and Apollonius their poems, for the delight of a court whose monarch was himself an author, and in which talent constituted rank. Alexandria during this reign was adorned with many costly and magnificent works. The royal palace; the Museum; the great light-house on the island of Pharos, which has given its name to many similar constructions in modern times; the mole or causeway which connected this island with the mainland; the Hip'podrome, and the Mausole'um, containing the tomb of Alexander, were among the chief. Ptolemy Soter was distinguished by his truth and magnanimity from most of the princes and generals of his age. His unlimited power never led him to cruelty or self-indulgence. He died at the age of eighty-four, B. C. 283.
53. Ptolemy II. (Philadelphus), through the influence of his mother, had been raised to the throne two years before his father's death, instead of his elder brother, Ceraunus. He had been carefully educated by several of the learned men whom the patronage of his father had drawn to the court; and he continued, on a still more liberal scale, that encouragement of science and literature which had already made Alexandria a successful rival of Athens. He so greatly increased the Alexandrian Library that he is often mentioned as its founder. Agents were appointed to search Europe and Asia for every literary work of value, and to secure it at any cost. An embassy was sent to the high priest at Jerusalem to bring a copy of the Holy Scriptures, together with a company of learned men who could translate them into Greek. The translators were entertained by the king with the greatest honor. The first fire books were completed in the reign
of Philadelphus, the rest were translated by order of the later Ptolemies; and the entire version --- still an invaluable treasure to Biblical schoiars -is known as the Sep'tuagint, either from the seventy translators, or because it was authorized by the San'hedrim of Alexandria, which consisted of the same number,
54. Ptolemy II. was engaged in various wars; first for the furtherance of the Achæan League, and the protection of the Greeks against Macedonian aggressions; afterward against his half-brother, Magas, king of Cyrene, and the kings of Syria, with whom Magas was allied. He gained possession of the whole coast of Asia Minor, with many of the Cyclades. By the wisdom of his internal policy, Egypt was meanwhile raised to her highest pitch of wealth and prosperity. He re-opened the canal made by Rameses the Great (see Book I, 2153, 154), and built the port of Arsinoë, on the site of the modern Suez. To avoid the dangers of Red Sea navigation, he founded two cities, named Berenice, farther to the southward, and connected one of them by a highway with Coptos on the Nile. Egypt thus reaped the full commercial advantage of her position midway between the East and the West. For centuries the rich productions of India, Arabia, and Ethiopia were conveyed along these various highways to Alexandria, whence they were distributed to Syria, Greece, and Rome. The revenues of Egypt were equal to those which Darius had derived from the vast empire of Persia.
55. The personal character of Philadelphus was less admirable than that of his father. He killed two of his brothers, banished a most faithful counselor, and by marrying his own sister, Arsinoë, introduced a custom which caused untold misery and mischief in the kingdom. He died B. C. 247, having reigned thirty-eight years, or thirty-six from the death of his father.
56. Ptolemy III. (Euergetes) was the most enterprising monarch of his race, and pushed the boundaries of his kingdom to their greatest extent. He gained the Cyr'ena'ica by marriage with the daughter of Magas, and annexed portions of Ethiopia and Arabia. In his war against Syria to avenge his sister Berenice (see 2% 32, 33), he even passed the Euphrates and conquered all the country to the borders of Bactria ; but he lost all this by his sudden recall to Egypt. His conquests on the sea-board, which could be defended by his fleet, remained permanently in his possession. All the shores of the Mediterranean, from Cyrene to the Hellespont, with many important islands, and even a portion of Europe, including Lysimachia in Thrace, belonged to his dominion.
He continued the patronage of art and rs, and enriched the Alexandrian libraries with many rare manuscripts. The Egyptians were still more gratified by the recovery of some ancient images of their gods, which had been carried away to Assyria by Sargon or Esarhaddon, and were brought back by Ptolemy from his eastern campaign. Euergetes died B. C. 222, after a prosperous reign of twenty-five years; and with him ended the glory of the Macedonian monarchy in Egypt. “Historians reckon nine Ptolemies after Euergetes. Except Philome'tor, who was mild and humane; Lath'yrus, who was amiable but weak; and Ptolemy XII., who was merely young and incompetent, they were all, almost equally, detestable.”
57. Ptolemy IV. was suspected of having murdered his father, and therefore took the surname Philopator to allay suspicion. He began his reign, however, by murdering his mother, his brother, and his uncle, and marrying his sister Arsinoë. A few years later she, too, was put to death, at the instigation of a worthless favorite of the king. The control of affairs was left to Sosib'ius, a minister who was equally wicked and incompetent. Through his neglect, the army became weakened by lack of discipline, and the Syrians seized the opportunity to recover their lost possessions. They were defeated, however, at Raph'ia, and gained only their port of Seleucia. A revolt of the native Egyptians occupied many years of this reign.
58. Ptolemy V. (Epiphanes) was only five years old at his father's death. The kings of Syria and Macedon plotted to divide his dominions between them, and the only resource of the incompetent ministers was to call the Romans to their aid. All the foreign dependencies, except Cyprus and the Cyrenaica, were lost; but by the good management of M. Lep'idus, Egypt was saved to the little Ptolemy. Aristom'enes, an Acarnanian, succeeded Lepidus as regent, and his energy and justice restored for a time the prosperity of the kingdom. At the age of fourteen, Epiphanes was declared of age, and the government was thenceforth in his name. Few events of his reign are known. He married Cleopatra of Syria, and soon after poisoned his late guardian, Aristomenes. His plans for a war with Syria were prevented by his own assassination, B. C. 181. 59. Ptolemy VI. (Philometor) became king at the age
of the vigorous regency of his mother, Cleopatra. She died B. C. 173, and the power passed into the hands of two weak and corrupt ministers, who involved the kingdom in war, and almost in ruin, by their rash invasion of Syria. Antiochus IV. defeated them at Pelusium, and advancing to Memphis, gained possession of the young king, whom he used as a tool for the reduction of the whole country. The Alexandrians crowned Ptolemy Physcon, a younger brother of the king, and successfully withstood the besieging army of Antiochus. The Romans now interposing, he was obliged to retreat.
The two brothers agreed to reign together, and prepared for war with Antiochus. He captured Cyprus, invaded Egypt a second time, and