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A History of the Ptolemaic Empire Kindle Edition

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Länge: 416 Seiten Sprache: Englisch



'A fascinating introduction.' - Patricia Spencer, Egyptian Archaeology


This compelling narrative provides the only comprehensive guide in English to the rise and decline of Ptolemaic rule in Egypt over three centuries - from the death of Alexander in 323 BC to the tragic deaths of Antony and Cleopatra in 30 BC.
The skilful integration of material from a vast array of sources allows the reader to trace the political and religious development of one of the most powerful empires of the ancient eastern Mediterranean. It shows how the success of the Ptolemies was due in part to their adoption of many features of the Egyptian Pharaohs who preceded them - their deification and funding of cults and temples throughout Egypt.


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 5615 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 416 Seiten
  • Gleichzeitige Verwendung von Geräten: Bis zu 4 Geräte gleichzeitig, je nach vom Verlag festgelegter Grenze
  • Verlag: Routledge; Auflage: 1 (1. Februar 2013)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
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  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #865.154 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) HASH(0x919b0018) von 5 Sternen 6 Rezensionen
13 von 13 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x919dd2a0) von 5 Sternen Good Summary 19. März 2009
Von A. Blunk - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
Provides a good overall review of the Ptolemaic Dynasty. Covers all aspects of Greek influence on Egypt as well as a military and politcal narrative. Worth the money as it is the best source on the subject.
5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x919b0cc0) von 5 Sternen An Excellent, albeit dated study of Ptolemaic Egypt 19. August 2013
Von D. Rose - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
A text primarily for graduate students and scholars, although third and fourth year undergraduates with training in Classics / the ancient world will be able to understand this text

This 2001 book is a translation of the German original published in 1994. While there is a Bibliographical Supplement listing works published from 1990 to 1999, and the author claims to have revised the text, the study has not been fundamentally revised to incorporate scholarship after 1994.

This study has all of the precision and detail that is to be expected of German scholarship. The complexity of the period and the depth of Holbl's presentation make the text quite dense, requiring careful reading and rereading of sections. In addition, the citations in the chapters' end-notes provide excellent sources to follow up upon (although dated).

As he indicates in his foreword, Holbl seeks to set out a comprehensive history of the Ptolemaic empire that incorporates various types of evidence (texts, papyrus) and disciplines (Egyptology, Papyrology, Archaeology), and presents an overview of the entire period. As students well know, it is simply not possible to keep up with all of the specialized literature. Holbl has sampled various aspects of the specialized literature, and brings them together in a (primarily) historical study. After reading this text, a reader will have a sound understanding of the Ptolemaic empire, and many sources and directions to continue study. The other significant aspect of note is that while the book is organized chronologically, Holbl doesn't simply present a dry overview of historical events. He outlines the events and discusses their implications in a way that many historians neglect. In addition, a number of his chapters take on themes, such as "royal ideology and religious policy", rather than simple history.

Holbl's book is a great deal of work to read, but well worth the effort if one wishes to understand Ptolemaic Egypt thoroughly in preparation for continued study in the area. I picked up this book for pleasure reading, since I have a strong interest in Ptolemaic Egypt. However, it would be suitable, supplemented by more recent and specialized literature, for use in a postgraduate course on Ptolemaic Egypt.

For other authors to investigate, I recommend Lloyd Lewellyn-Jones and Andrew Erskine who both study the Hellenistic world. Lewellyn-Jones also has a particular interest in Ptolemaic Egypt, and teaches postgraduate courses in the area.
4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x919f0930) von 5 Sternen Great scholarship, but somewhat incomplete 28. April 2014
Von JPS - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
This is an interesting, and, at times, a rather fascinating book to read, although its title is a bit of a misnomer and a pretext.
This is because Gunther Hölbl, despite the title he has given to his book (“A history of the Ptolemaic Empire”), has in fact written something else than a history of this Empire. There is such a narrative at the beginning of each of the books sections, and these bits and pièces generally follow a chronological order. However, the narrative of events if essentially there to provide background and context, often in a condensed form. It is also, at times, a bit difficult to read.

The real purpose of the author seems to have been to show how the Ptolemaic dynasty sought to pose itself as continuators and use and manipulate Egyptian religion to acquire legitimacy and appear as “the last of the Pharaohs” to their native Egyptian subjects and to quote the title of a more recent book on the Ptolemaic Kingdom. This is probably the most valuable part of the book, with the author showing that reign after reign, even as the Kingdom lost the external provinces that made it into a maritime Empire and came increasingly “under the shadow of Rome”, the sovereigns (and their ministers) struggled to behave according to (priestly) expectations.

One the manifestations of this were the vast religious building programs. Another was the establishment of cults for members of the royal family, with their own priests. A third was wealth distribution to the priestly casts with the aim being to behave, and be seen as behaving as traditional Pharaohs.

Another strongpoint of this book is to show how the royal and religious ideologies interplayed and evolved over time, together with the power plays between the Sovereign and his court, and the priests. The influence of the later grew as the Empire’s difficulties grew, as Egypt faced unrest and domestic resistance, and as the Kings themselves grew weaker. However, right up to the end, the various Royals sought to blend the Egyptian and Hellenistic religious cultures and use both to promote divine kingship and their right to rule.

One issue with this book is that, because of this fascinating yet narrow focus on the regime’s ideology, it is somewhat incomplete. The pieces on Ptolemaic foreign policy are very good, but there is very little on the administration of the economy and the royal finances and not much more on the army (or the navy), although these components were, of course, major elements of the Ptolemaic power.

Finally, there are also some bits and pieces that could have been worth further developments. One would have been a discussion and a clearer presentation of whether, and to what extent, this was really a policy of integration and about acquiring legitimacy from the native Egyptians or whether it was only about being accepted by the priestly elites and getting to accept the new regime because they had stakes in it, or any combination of the two. Another, related, issue, upon which the author touches at time but never discusses thoroughly because of the chronological presentation that he has adopted, is to assess whether these politico-religious strategies worked. To what extent did they deliver the benefits that the various sovereigns expected? What were these benefits and to what extent did they involve over time?

Three stars for a good but incomplete book.
0 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x9187933c) von 5 Sternen Three Stars 8. September 2014
Von Grace - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Good for people who study Egyptology , but not so much for people who have no back ground knowledge.
13 von 24 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x91879270) von 5 Sternen A scholarly history of a disgusting empire 31. März 2010
Von Ashtar Command - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
In 332 BC, Alexander the Great conquered Egypt. After Alexander's death, his general Ptolemy was granted control over the country. His descendants would rule it for three centuries. The Hellenistic or Ptolemaic period in Egyptian history came to a dramatic close in 30 BC when Cleopatra committed suicide and her son Caesarion was murdered by the Romans.

"A History of the Ptolemaic Empire" is a study of this tumultuous period in ancient Egyptian history.

The book isn't intended for a general audience. Rather, it's a scholarly work. The causal reader will soon be lost in the labyrinthine power struggles between various members of the Ptolemaic dynasty. Incestuous relationships, orgies in the name of Dionysius and a penchant for political assassinations characterized this truly dysfunctional family, described with remarkable scholarly restraint by the author.

The book places a particular emphasis on the religious policies of the Ptolemaic dynasty. The Ptolemies (who were Greek or Macedonian) attempted to combine Greek and Egyptian notions of religion and kingship, the better to bolster their authority in a foreign land. The author analyzes the role of the Egyptian priesthoods and describes the ruler cults of the Ptolemies themselves in some detail.

An interesting chapter deals with the class struggles in the Ptolemaic Empire. Periodically, the empire was quite weak and had difficulty restraining the peasantry, which protested against high taxation either by absconding or by taking up arms. Several Ptolemaic rulers were forced to issue decrees of amnesty for peasant rebels, in order to induce people to go back to their work. There was also a rebellion in Upper Egypt, fuelled by a combination of national and social sentiments. For a short period, Upper Egypt was independent and ruled by "real" Egyptian pharaohs.

The scientific and philosophical achievements during the Hellenistic period are mentioned mostly in passing. The author makes the interesting claim that anti-Semitism was rife in Alexandria already during this time. The most sensational claim, however, is that Cleopatra had Egyptian ancestry! The author believes that both her mother and grandmother may have been Egyptian temple priestesses. However, this issue is also mentioned mostly in passing. Perhaps the author (an Austrian professor) isn't aware of the explosive political implications of this claim in the United States.

"A history of the Ptolemaic Empire" isn't the most graceful read around. General readers might be put off by the sheer amount of information about wars, assassination plots and the constantly changing religious cults. However, for advanced students of ancient history, this book might prove indispensable. After reading it, I'm more convinced than ever that the Hellenistic period, despite its scientific and philosophical achievements, nevertheless represents a low point in ancient Greek history.

This is a scholarly history of a disgusting empire.
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