The dynasty of the Ptolemies.--The founder.--Philip of
Macedon.--Alexander.--The intrigue discovered.--Ptolemy
banished.--Accession of Alexander.--Ptolemy's elevation.--Death of
Alexander.--Ptolemy becomes King of Egypt.--Character of Ptolemy's
reign.--The Alexandrian library.--Abdication of Ptolemy.--Ptolemy
Philadelphus.--Death of Ptolemy.--Subsequent degeneracy of the
Ptolemies.--Incestuous marriages of the Ptolemy family.--Ptolemy
Physcon.--Origin of his name.--Circumstances of Physcon's
accession.--Cleopatra.--Physcon's brutal perfidity.--He marries his
wife's daughter.--Atrocities of Physcon.--His flight.--Cleopatra assumes
the government.--Her birth-day.--Barbarity of Physcon.--Grief of
Cleopatra.--General character of the Ptolemy family.--Lathyrus.
--Terrible quarrels with his mother.--Cruelties of Cleopatra.
--Alexander kills her.--Cleopatra a type of the family.--Her
two daughters.--Unnatural war.--Tryphena's hatred of her sister.--Taking
of Antioch.--Cleopatra flees to a temple.--Jealousy of Tryphena.--Her
resentment increases.--Cruel and sacrilegious murder.--The moral
condition of mankind not degenerating.


The founder of the dynasty of the Ptolemies--the ruler into whose hands
the kingdom of Egypt fell, as has already been stated, at the death of
Alexander the Great--was a Macedonian general in Alexander's army. The
circumstances of his birth, and the events which led to his entering
into the service of Alexander, were somewhat peculiar. His mother, whose
name was ArsinoŽ, was a personal favorite and companion of Philip, king
of Macedon, the father of Alexander. Philip at length gave ArsinoŽ in
marriage to a certain man of his court named Lagus. A very short time
after the marriage, Ptolemy was born. Philip treated the child with the
same consideration and favor that he had evinced toward the mother. The
boy was called the son of Lagus, but his position in the royal court of
Macedon was as high and honorable, and the attentions which he received
were as great, as he could have expected to enjoy if he had been in
reality a son of the king. As he grew up, he attained to official
stations of considerable responsibility and power.

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