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EGYPT AND THE

ALEXANDRIAN
WAR
Joe Palaski

Alexander the Great


In the 4th century BC, Alexander the Great conquered
Egypt bringing them out of Persian control
In 331 BC, Alexander laid the foundation for the city
of Alexandria
This city became not only one of the
most prosperous cities in Egypt but the
whole known world at the time

Alexandria
Located along the northern coast of Egypt on the
Mediterranean Sea
Known for:
The Lighthouse of Alexandria (Pharos)
The Library of Alexandria
Knowledge

The Library of Alexandria


Alexandria grew most during the Ptolemaic
Dynasty (332 BC 30 BC)
Construction began during the reign of Ptolemy I
and finished during the reign of Ptolemy II (3rd
century BC)
It is estimated that the library could hold about
500,000 books and 70,000 papyrus scrolls

Collecting the Books


Egyptian historians Oakes and Gahlin once wrote:
Most of the items were bought but other
means were sometimes used. In order to
procure coveted works, all ships entering the
harbour were searched. Every book found was
taken to the Library where it was decided
whether to give it back or confiscate it and
replace it with a copy.

Setting the Scene


In 48 BC, Caesar defeated Pompey in the Battle of
Pharsalus
Pompey flees to Egypt but is killed upon arrival by
Ptolemy XIII to try to gain the support of Caesar
A civil war was currently going on in Egypt:
Cleopatra VII vs. Ptolemy XIII
Caesar sides with Cleopatra

Setting the Scene


Caesar takes hold of the royal palace in Alexandria
and keeps Ptolemy captive along with the rest of
the family
Ptolemys advisor, Pothinus, who was still in the
palace, notified the Egyptian general named
Achillas of what happened
Achillas gathers 20,000 men and marches towards
Alexandria to challenge Caesar

The Alexandrian War


War breaks out in Alexandria; stalemate
In late 48 BC, the Egyptians tried to secure the harbor
and cut off Caesars supplies and potential escape route
Caesar wins the battle and sets fire to many Egyptian
ships
Fire spreads to the city of Alexandria and a large portion
of the city, including parts of the library, were destroyed

A Change in Power
Caesar discovers Pothinus told Achillas and had him
killed
Cleoptras younger sister, Arsinoe IV, manages to
escape the palace and joins the Egyptian army
Arsinoe was not fond of Achillas and had him killed
She replaced him with her beloved servant
Ganymedes

The Alexandrian War


The Roman General Calvinus arrives in Egypt to
provide reinforcements to Caesar
The war continues on but neither side gains an
advantage
Arsinoe and Ganymedes realize that the Romans
will not give up so they propose a deal
Caesar will set Ptolemy free and in return the
Egyptians will submit to Roman rule

The Alexandrian War


Caesar lets Ptolemy go but Arsinoe and
Ganymedes did not keep their end of the bargain
Thus the war continues on in a stalemate
Caesar calls upon his ally Mithridates of
Pergamum
Mithridates gathers his troops and heads for
Alexandria in early 47 BC

The Alexandrian War


Mithridates and Caesar dominate the Egyptians
Ptolemy attmpts to escape but dies attempting to
Caesar then marched to Alexandria where the city
surrendered and he was the leader of Egypt

Back to Rome
Caesar and Cleopatra return to Rome
Caesar is assassinated in 44 BC
Caesars true heir, Octavian, allies with Cleopatra to seek
revenge for Caesars murder, but eventually turn on each
other
Meanwhile, Cleopatra fell in love with Marc Antony
Octavian fought Antonys army in 31 BC and won
Octavian then travels to Egypt to eliminate the rest of
Cleopatra and Marc Antonys supporters

Octavian in Egypt
Octavian defeats the Egyptians and Cleopatra and
Marc Antony commit suicide
Caesarion, Cleopatra and Caesars son, was
currently king of Egypt
Octavion has Caesarion killed and now has
Egypt under full Roman control

Roman Egypt
Set up differently then other Roman provinces
A personal hereditary property
Senate had no power over the province

Egyptian customs were barely changed


Romans even adopted some of the Egyptian gods
Economy
Agriculture the Nile River
Textile manufacturing clothing
Egyptian contribution to the world: papyrus (or paper)