Ptolemy, in fact, made it a special object of his policy to accomplish
these ends. He invited Greek scholars, philosophers, poets, and artists,
in great numbers, to come to Alexandria, and to make his capital their
abode. He collected an immense library, which subsequently, under the
name of the Alexandrian library, became one of the most celebrated
collections of books and manuscripts that was ever made. We shall have
occasion to refer more particularly to this library in the next chapter.

Besides prosecuting these splendid schemes for the aggrandizement of
Egypt, King Ptolemy was engaged, during almost the whole period of his
reign, in waging incessant wars with the surrounding nations. He engaged
in these wars, in part, for the purpose of extending the boundaries of
his empire, and in part for self-defense against the aggressions and
encroachments of other powers. He finally succeeded in establishing his
kingdom on the most stable and permanent basis, and then, when he was
drawing toward the close of his life, being in fact over eighty years of
age, he abdicated his throne in favor of his youngest son, whose name
was also Ptolemy, Ptolemy the father, the founder of the dynasty, is
known commonly in history by the name of Ptolemy Soter. His son is
called Ptolemy Philadelphia. This son, though the youngest, was
preferred to his brothers as heir to the throne on account of his being
the son of the most favored and beloved of the monarch's wives. The
determination of Soter to abdicate the throne himself arose from his
wish to put this favorite son in secure possession of it before his
death, in order to prevent the older brothers from disputing the
succession. The coronation of Philadelphus was made one of the most
magnificent and imposing ceremonies that royal pomp and parade ever
arranged. Two years afterward Ptolemy the father died, and was buried by
his son with a magnificence almost equal to that of his own coronation.
His body was deposited in a splendid mausoleum, which had been built for
the remains of Alexander; and so high was the veneration which was felt
by mankind for the greatness of his exploits and the splendor of his
reign, that divine honors were paid to his memory. Such was the origin
of the great dynasty of the Ptolemies.

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