Ptolemaioi as Commanders in 3rd-Century Asia Minor and Some Glimpses on Ephesos and Mylasa during the Second and Third Syrian Wars

Altay COŞKUN   211–233 | Download


Abstract: During the rules of Ptolemy II Philadelphos and Ptolemy III Euergetes, several sources attest namesakes operating in western Asia Minor in distinguished positions. On this basis, scho­lars have so far identified mostly two or even one single prominent representative(s) of the House of the Ptolemies. The prevailing unitarian reconstruction regards him as Ptolemy, son of Lysi­machos and Arsinoe II, and at the same time as the adoptive son and designated successor of Pto­lemy II; he is believed to have functioned as Ptolemaic commander-in-chief of the Aegean fleet in the 260s BC, before revolting in Ephesos in 259; pardoned by his adoptive father, he would have retired to a principality in Telmessos until his recall by Euergetes in 246. He tends to be identified with ‘Ptolemy the Brother’ mentioned in the correspondence between the local dynast Olympichos and the citizens of Mylasa in ca. 244. ‘Ptolemy the Son’ is reported to have been killed in Ephesos by Athenaios, just as a certain ‘Ptolemy epiklesin Andromachos’ (P. Haun. 6). If indeed identical, his murder occurred after the last attestation of ‘Ptolemy of Telmessos’ in ca. 239. This and similar reconstructions have always been fraught with numerous inconsistencies and anomalies, but can now firmly be rejected based on more reliable reconstructions of Seleukid-Ptolemaic interactions under Antiochos II, Antiochos Hierax and Seleukos II. As a result, we should distinguish four namesakes: first, Ptolemy, son of Arsinoe II and Lysimachos, who vanished from our sources in the 270s. Second, ‘Ptolemy the Son’, born to Arsinoe I and full brother of Euergetes, who died in a revolt in Ephesos while Antiochos II was about to capture the city in 258. Third, ‘Ptolemy epi­klesin Andromachos’ was a natural son of Philadelphos, thus identical with ‘Ptolemy the Brot­her’ of Euergetes; he was the father of Ptolemy, son of Andromachos and priest of Alexander and the Theoi Adelphoi in Alexandria 251/50; he also died in Ephesos sometime after 244. Fourth, ‘Ptolemy of Telmessos’ was another son of Philadelphos and Arsinoe I, later adopted by Arsinoe II, as attested by Theokritos. These new identifications substantially impact our reconstruction of major events and changes of power in 3rd-century Asia Minor as well as of the dynastic histories of the Seleukids and Ptolemies.

Keywords: Ptolemies; Seleukids; Asia Minor; Ephesos; Telmessos.



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