Ptah & Co

Dominic Rathbone

  • Memphis under the Ptolemies by Dorothy Thompson
    Princeton, 342 pp, $37.50, February 1989, ISBN 0 691 03593 8

In 332 BC, in the course of conquering the Persian Empire, Alexander the Great took over Egypt. In the Empire’s subsequent dismemberment by his Macedonian generals, one of them, called Ptolemy, established himself as master of Egypt, founding a dynasty which lasted for three centuries until the defeat of Cleopatra (VII) and the Roman annexation of Egypt in 30 BC. The early Ptolemies encouraged a major influx of Greek and Macedonian soldiers and civilians, who made Egypt their home. Two civilisations met head-on, and their interaction should make a splendid subject for historians, especially historians of cultural, social, religious and economic matters. Fortunately – and unusually – Egypt provides evidence to fuel detailed research.

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