Ptolemy IV Philopator1 king of Egypt, son of Ptolemy III by Berenice II2, probably born c. May/June 2443, succeeded between 1 Thoth (Eg.) = 18 October and 15 Hathyr (Eg.) = 31 December 2224, incorporated in the dynastic cult with Arsinoe III in Year 7 (Mac.) = 216/5 as the Fatherloving Gods, Qeoi FilopatwreV5, associated Ptolemy V in the throne probably on 30 Mesore year 12 = 9 October 210 or 17 Phaophi year 13 = 30 November 2106, lost Upper Egypt to Horwennefer between 1 Thoth year 1/18 = 13 October and 29 Thoth year 1/18 = 10 November 2057, probably not attested as a victor at the Basileia in Lebadaeia7.1, reign ended after c. 23 Pachon year 18 = 2 July 204 and before c. 10 Epheiph = 18 August 2048, died of unknown causes, possibly from burns received in a palace fire9.
Ptolemy IV's titles as king of Egypt were:10
Horus Hwnw-onj sxaj.n-sw-jt.f11
Two Ladies wr-pHtj mnx-jb-xr-nTrw-nb(w) nDtj-n-Hnmnt12
Golden Horus swDA-BAot sHD-gsw-prw smn-hpw-mj-+Hwtj-aA-aA nb-HAbw-sd-mj-PtH-&ATnn ity-mj-Ra13
Throne Name jwa-n-nTrwj-mnxwj stp-(n)-PtH wsr-kA-Ra sHm-anx-(n)-Jmn14
Son of Re ptwlmjs anx-Dt mrj-Ast15
Ptolemy IV had one marriage and at least one known liaison.
Ptolemy IV married his sister Arsinoe III16, by whom he had a son, Ptolemy V17.
Ptolemy IV conducted a liaison with Agathoclea18, daughter of Oenanthe probably by Agathocles19, by whom he may had a child20.
Ptolemy IV probably did not conduct liaisons with Hippe, a courtesan21, or with Aristonica, a Samian flautist or dancer22.
 PP VI 14545. Gr: PtolemaioV Filopatwr. Philopator = "Father-loving". Earliest attestation to date: pdem Vat. 2037B, Thoth year 3 (=17 Oct. - 15 Nov. 220) -- see also here. Pliny, Naturalis Historia 7.208, says he is also called Tryphon. W. Otto & H. Bengtson, Zur Geschichte des Niederganges des Ptolemäerreiches 49 n. 3, suggest this is an error for Ptolemy III, which is particularly likely since the mention immediately follows list entries for Ptolemy I (Soter) and Ptolemy II (Philadelphus). Ý
 Paternity: Polybius 2.71.2, exedra of Thermos (IG IX, I2, I, 56b); Maternity: Polybius 15.25.2. Strabo 17.1.11 gives his mother as Agathoclea, evidently in error since Agathoclea was well-known to have been his mistress. Ý
 See discussion under his brother Magas. For the proposal of H. Henne, BIFAO 22 (1923) 191, that SEG 8.694 shows he was born on 28 Hyberetaios (= c. January in the mid 240s), see discussion under Ptolemy VI.
 Ptolemy V (as "Ptolemy the Son") first mentioned as coregent: pGurob 12 dated 25 Pharmouthi year 13 = June 5, 209. The Rosetta Stone (BM EA 24 = OGIS 90, trans. M. M. Austin The Hellenistic World from Alexander to the Roman Conquest 374 (227)) gives two different accession dates for Ptolemy V: 17 Phaophi in the hieroglyphic text, and 17 Mecheir in the demotic text; the Greek date is lost. It also gives 30 Mesore as his birthday. The date of 17 Phaophi is repeated (in hieroglyphics) in the Damanhur copy of the same decree. F. W. Walbank JEA 22 (1936) 24 suggests that 17 Phaophi, described as "the date he received the kingship from his father", was the date on which Ptolemy V was made a coregent in 210/9. E. Bikerman (CdE 15 (1940) 128). who established that Ptolemy V succeeded between 1 Mecheir and 1 Mesore, suggested 17 Phaophi was the day he was crowned king in Memphis after his accession, noting that the language was standard for a king receiving kingship from his divine father. Walbank later concurred (F. W. Walbank, Commentary on Polybius II 435). A. E. Samuel Ptolemaic Chronology 113, while accepting this as possible, prefers to think that the 17th was simply the monthly anniversary of the accession, while suggesting that 17 Phaophi was perhaps taken as the official death date of Ptolemy IV; however, the date is clearly not the date of Ptolemy IV's death. 30 Mesore is suggested as a coregency date in L. Koenen, Eine agonistiche Inschrift aus Ägypten und frühptolemäische Königsfeste 73, who argues that the birthdates of Ptolemy II and Ptolemy III are official festivals, not natural birthdates; he notes that 30 Mesore corresponds to a major Egyptian feast. Ý
 Date of death uncertain. According to Justin 30.2, and strongly implied by Polybius 15.25.3, his death was concealed for some time, presumably in order to allow time for the court cabal to dispose of Arsinoe III and to establish firm control of Ptolemy V. Following the discussion of A. E. Samuel, Ptolemaic Chronology 108ff., the Canon of Claudius Ptolemy gives Ptolemy IV 17 years, hence Ptolemy V's reign officially began in year 18 = 13 Oct. 205 - 12 Oct. 204. Porphyry in Eusebius, Chronicorum I (ed. Schoene) 161, also gives him 17 years. Samuel asserts that this implies that the accession of Ptolemy V took place in Ol. 144.1 = 204/3, and that these accounts may be reconciled by dating the accession to late summer 204. The date of the Decree embodied in the Rosetta Stone was 18 Mecheir year 9, (which perhaps influenced the accession date of 17 Mecheir given as the accession date for Ptolemy V in the demotic version), corresponding to March 27. This date is equated to Xandikos 4 (Mac.) by the Rosetta Stone. While the Macedonian calendar was rapidly losing its independent existence at this time, this equation does not correspond to any of the fixed relationships that were being established between it and the Egyptian calendar; thus F. W. Walbank (JEA 22 (1936) 24) inferred that the date was based on the original Macedonian calendar, indicating that there had been a new moon shortly before, which establishes year 9 as 196 (new moon on March 22) rather than 197 or 195, again making year 1 of Ptolemy V 205/204.
There are some minor problems with this discussion. First, Samuel misstates the facts: Porphyry does not date the accession of Ptolemy V to Ol. 144.1 = 204/3. Rather, this is the last year of Ptolemy IV according to Jerome's version of Eusebius' tables. The chronology of Porphyry gives year 17 of Ptolemy IV = 0l. 143.3 = 206/5 and year 1 of Ptolemy V = Ol. 143.4 = 205/4, in line with the Canon. Second, the date given in the Rosetta Stone appears to be wrong, due to a scribal error in transcribing II Akhet (Phaophi) as II Peret (Mecheir). However this does not significantly affect that part of the argument since both dates are aligned to the moon in year 9 (Eg.).
The latest known date for Ptolemy IV is pMed. Inv 83.03, dated to 13 Payni year 18 = 22 July 204. (The king is not named, but the papyrus names a banker Protos who is also named in documents from the same area -- Crocodopolis -- in years 12, 13 and 14 of Ptolemy IV. See G. Casanova, Aegyptus 68 (1988) 13.) The earliest dated document of Ptolemy V is UPZ 1.112, concerning the sale of taxes for the first and second years from the month of Mesore for 12 months and 5 epagomenal days. Since this is a financial transaction, E. Bikerman (CdE 15 (1940) 128) concluded that the document dates to the first financial year, starting in 1 Mecheir (Eg.). and hence that Ptolemy V must have succeeded between 1 Mecheir and 1 Mesore (Eg.), i.e. between 12 March and 8 September 204. F. W. Walbank further argues (Commentary on Polybius II 435) that 2-3 weeks must be allowed for preparation of the tax documents, implying a succession no later than mid August.
A difficulty with this argument is that the financial year appears to have been falling into disuse at this time, as the Macedonian regnal year was moving into ever closer alignment with the Egyptian civil year. By 204, the first Macedonian month Dystros was almost exactly aligned with Thoth, and double dates after the accession of Ptolemy V generally show a fixed alignment between the Egyptian and Macedonian years, suggesting that the latter was assimilated to the former about this time. The latest explicit use of it I know is 22 Mesore financial year 6 of Ptolemy IV (pEnt. 80), although a reference to the "harvest of year 8" in pStrasbourg 6.562, dated Thoth of year 8, is almost certainly to the financial year (W. Clarysse, Anc. Soc. 7 (1976) 185). If the financial year was not in use under Ptolemy V, a reference to Mesore year 1 of the civil year would be perfectly normal. However, given the more recent data of pMed. Inv 83.03, and the same time lag posited by Walbank, the succession of Ptolemy V can date no earlier than the first week of July 204.
Against a date in 205/4, F. W. Walbank (JEA 22 (1936) 24) noted two major pieces of evidence. First, the account of Ptolemy V's accession and the fall of Agathocles appears in Book 15 of Polybius, which covers events of Ol. 144.2 = 203/2, and the account of the death of Ptolemy IV, although largely lost, was clearly in Book 14, covering Ol. 144.1 = 204/3. From Jerome (Commentary on Daniel 11.13-14) we can also derive that the first full year of Ptolemy V was Ol. 144.2 (Ol. 144.3 = 202/1 in the Armenian version), though this account is regarded as ambiguous and including an error in reckoning the coregency of Ptolemy II with Ptolemy I that affected all his subsequent dates. Samuel discounts the notion that Polybius' division of books can be firmly tied to Olympic years, stating that we can only use him to recover the sequence of events. E. Bikerman (CdE 15 (1940) 128) makes a similar argument in more detail, showing that Polybius presented the events of the reign of Ptolemy IV in a cohesive narrative block in book 14 (largely lost) triggered by his death in 204/3 (= Ol. 144.1), and therefore maintained narrative continuity by discussing the accession of Ptolemy V in connection with the narrative of the fall of Agathocles, which occurred the next year (203/2 = Ol. 144.2) and was discussed in book 15.
Walbank also noted a demotic inscription added to stele Berlin 2118 published by L. Stern (ZÄS 22 (1884) 101), which states that the priest Kha'hap was born on 14 Phamenoth, year 11 and died, aged 69 years, 9 months and 20 days on 4 Tybi, year 2. Since Kha'hap was a priest of the fifth phyle, he must have died after the creation of that phyle by Ptolemy III in the Canopus Decree; by juggling the numbers it is clear that he must have been born under Ptolemy II and died under Ptolemy V. But if the reference to year 11 of Ptolemy II is based on his accession then the priest was born in May 272 and died late February 202, i.e. Ptolemy V succeeded in the Egyptian year 204/3 not 205/4. If the reference to year 11 of Ptolemy II is instead based on his coregency then Ptolemy V succeeded in the Egyptian year 206/5 not 205/4; this is flatly impossible, hence Walbank preferred the first interpretation. Further, Walbank noted an apparent absence of data for year 6 of Ptolemy V. Accordingly, he proposed that the death of Ptolemy IV occurred in late summer 204 (i.e. at the end of 205/4 (Eg.)) but was concealed for nearly a year, with Ptolemy V being proclaimed in July/August 203. Some years later, in 200/199 (year 5), after a series of defeats in Palestine, the government engaged in a propaganda campaign to revive morale, declaring the king "Epiphanes", deifying his mother, and asserting the king's legitimacy in the period between his father's death and his original accession by backdating the reign, so that 199/198 became year 7, and emphasising, with the official accession date of 17 Phaophi, that he had been chosen by his father.
In order to square this reconstruction with the canonical reign length for Ptolemy IV there should be documents dated to Ptolemy IV between December 205 and summer 203, i.e. not only for all of year 18 but also for most of year 19, but no such documents have been found. In 1936, the latest known document was dated year 15, but the gap has been filled in for year 18 with pMed. Inv 83.03. Further, there should be no documents of year 6 of Ptolemy V, but C. F. Nims, JEA 24 (1938) pointed out pMich. Inv. 4526 A1, 2 dated to Choiak of year 6 (Eg.), and O. Mørkholm in E. van't Dack et al. (eds.) Egypt and the Hellenistic World 240, 244 and n. 13, lists a tetradrachm from Joppa dated to year 6 (Mac.). Walbank essentially accepted this argument, and Bikerman's analysis of Polybius, in 1967: see F. W. Walbank, Commentary on Polybius II 434ff.
As for Berlin 2118, Samuel preferred to assume that there is an error in the calculation of Kha'hap's age in light of Bikerman's analysis of UPZ 1.112. His reasoning as given is faulty, because if Walbank's analysis is accepted then UPZ 1.112 could be consistent with an actual accession in summer 203 just as well as with summer 204. Nevertheless, it is hard to disagree with Samuel's conclusion since the preponderance of the data does not fit Walbank's scheme.
There is, perhaps, one way which allows us to avoid assuming an ancient error in Berlin 2118. N. Kruit, Fs. Pestman 37, has presented evidence from Roman census returns that the Egyptians reckoned a human as being one year old at birth at that time. While Kruit's observation relates to ages given in whole years, it seems not unreasonable to suppose it sometimes applied in other contexts. If Kha'hap's age is interpreted as being "9 months and 20 days into his 69th year", it would have to be reduced by a year to reckon as we do, which agrees perfectly with Samuel's chronology. It may be relevant that Kha'hap appears not to have been an Egyptian, but was possibly an Asiatic or Libyan in Ptolemaic service. However, L. Stern (ZÄS 22 (1884) 101) also mentions a second contemporary inscription, stele Vienna 154, of the HPM Djedhor (Teos), who was born on 29 Epheiph year 18 and died on 22 Mecheir of year 24 aged 43 years 6 months and 29 days. Stern did the math wrong and concluded that the first king died in his 38th year, when in fact he died in his 39th -- i.e. was clearly Ptolemy II. But in any case Teos counted as we do, not as we would require Kha'hap to do to reconcile his numbers. So either Samuel is right or Kha'hap's inclusive counting reflects his non-Egyptian origin. Ý
 Justin 30.2 states that his death was concealed for some time. He also states that Ptolemy had killed his wife. Polybius 15.25.2 attributes her murder to the minister Sosibius, but also states that the actual murderer was one Philammon (Polybius 15.25.12, 15.26a), appointed Libyarch on the succession of Ptolemy V. He implies that a considerable conspiracy was formed because he refers to one Deinon who received letters concerning the plot but allowed it to go ahead, an action he later regretted (Polybius 15.26a). A fragment of John of Antioch (FGrH IV.558 54) mentions a palace fire being set in connection with these events, and it has been suggested that Arsinoe III was killed by arson -- see F. W. Walbank, JEA 22 (1936) 24, 29. Polybius' description of the death of Ptolemy IV is lost, but he introduces his account of the succession of Ptolemy V (15.25.3) by the phrase "after four or five days", suggesting perhaps only a brief period of concealment. He also describes a speech by Agathocles (15.26.2) in which he says that Ptolemy IV entrusted Ptolemy V to the care of Agathoclea on his death-bed. He states (15.25.5) that Sosibius and Agathocles produced a forged will from the king appointing them joint regents. When describing how the urns of Ptolemy IV and Arsinoe III were shown to the public, he notes that Arsinoe III's contained only spices, and that during the funeral this fact became apparent and somehow alerted the public to the murder. The general opinion of modern scholarship is to suppose that Arsinoe III was killed by Sosibius and Agathocles after the death of Ptolemy IV, and that the delay in announcing Ptolemy IV's death was used to effect this murder. Walbank is inclined to dismiss Justin's story that Arsinoe III had been killed by Ptolemy IV for lack of apparent motive, but given the state of our souces this is an argument from ignorance.
At this remove it is impossible to reconstruct the truth, unless by some miracle the missing sections of Polybius 14 should be recovered. I can only say that the story as told by Polybius 15.25 doesn't make complete sense to me. It seems to me that the contents of the alleged will, the alleged death-bed speech of Ptolemy IV and the absence of the body of Arsinoe III are all consistent with a public story that Arsinoe III had in fact died before Ptolemy IV, and possibly very shortly before. If Arsinoe III was murdered after Ptolemy IV's death, then it must have been very soon after, and its not obvious why her body would be clandestinely disposed of. Walbank supposes that the fire mentioned by John of Antioch was used to explain the deaths of both Ptolemy IV and Arsinoe III, but it would seem the easiest thing in the world to prepare two urns full of ashes after a palace fire. How Polybius knew Arsinoe III's urn contained only spices is unclear, but if this was significant proof of foul play by the funeral organisers, as he suggests, it seems a remarkable oversight. It also seems that Sosibius and Agathocles were taken by surprise at public reaction to the discovery of Arsinoe III's death, since they apparently had no acceptable story to explain the absence of her ashes. In any case, despite the alleged public disquiet about her death, it is evident that the regency of Agathocles recovered from it since it lasted for a little over a year.
Is it possible to construct a case for the defence? Sosibius and Agathocles had run the government virtually since Ptolemy's accession (Polybius 5.35.7, 5.63). Their choice as regents, especially in the absence of Arsinoe III, is only natural. Suppose there was a palace fire, set in a conspiracy headed by Philammon at the agency of some unknown party who was not one of the regents. It is perfectly possible, in such an event, that the king might be rescued and live long enough to make arrangements for the regency, knowing that the queen had died in the fire -- in which her body might well have been lost. The delay in announcing his death can have had a perfectly respectable motive -- the unexpected need to organise a regency at short notice. The lack of an acceptable explanation for the absence of the ashes of Arsinoe III could reflect the truth not being believed. The execution of Deinon is a proper punishment for one who had not revealed a conspiracy against the king. Also, Polybius states (15.33.11) that Philammon returned to Alexandria three days before his own death, which was at least two days into the uprising. No reason is given for his return, but the possibility at least exists that he was brought back for investigation into his part of the conspiracy against Arsinoe III. Ý
 Transliterations follow J. von Beckerath, Handbuch der ägyptischen Königsnamen (2nd edition) 235 (4). All titles are given on an inscription in the hypostyle hall and the hall behind the pronaos at the temple of Edfu (H. Gauthier, Livre des Rois d'Égypte IV 268 (XXIIA).) The throne name narrows the assignment of titles to Ptolemy IV, Ptolemy IX or Ptolemy X. The Horus name is also given in a small temple of Isis at Aswan (A. Mariette, Monument divers recueillis en Égypte et en Nubie pl. 26a = H. Gauthier, Livre des Rois d'Égypte IV 268 (XXIA, XXIB)), begun by Ptolemy III and completed by Ptolemy IV, which assures that the names are those of Ptolemy IV. Ý
 "Who makes Egypt prosper, lights up the temples, and determines the laws like the great god Thoth, Lord of the years of Jubilee like Ptah-Tennen, King like Re". For the reasoning associating this name with Ptolemy IV, see discussion above. Ý
 "The heir of the Beneficient Gods, who is the chosen of Ptah, to whom Re has given victory, the living image of Amun". For the reasoning associating this name with Ptolemy IV, see discussion above. Ý
 There does not appear to be a completely explicit statement of this in the classical sources, but it is certain from Polybius 15.25.4+15.25.6. On the date of the marriage, see discussion under Arsinoe III. Ý
 Plutarch, Moralia 753d, names Aristonica, along with Oenanthe and Agathoclea, as a Samian flautist or dancer who was responsible for the downfall of a king. She is otherwise unknown in classical sources. Since the first two are connected with the fall of Ptolemy IV, D. Ogden, Polygamy, Prostitutes and Death 243, suggests that she was also a mistress of his. However, her total absence from the surviving accounts of the end of his reign, in which Oenanthe and Agathoclea figure prominently, makes this proposition seem very unlikely to me. The Hellenistic king she is associated with remains unknown. Ý
10 Feb 2002: Added individual trees
21 Feb 2002: Split into separate entry
16 April 2001: Note that Strabo names his mother as Agathoclea.
20 May 2002: Corrected Egyptian date equations as necessary
23 Nov 2002: Added a note rejecting Ogden's hypothesis of Aristonica as a mistress of Ptolemy IV.
18 May 2003: Added Xrefs to the Lacus Curtius edition of Polybius
23 Aug 2003: Added Xrefs to online Justin
24 Feb 2004: Added Xrefs to online Strabo, Comentary on Daniel
8 April 2004: Added classical source for the marriage to Arsinoe III.
13 Sep 2004: Add Xref to online Eusebius
13 Jan 2005: Add Xref to discussion of the "King Ptolemy Philopator" who was a victor at the Basileia.
11 Mar 2005: Added Greek transcription; noted that Bikerman's FY interpretation of UPZ 1.112 is weak because the date would be an outlier
3 Dec 2005: Adjusted discussion of Porphyry
14 Sep 2006: Add links to Packard Humanities DB, Canon at Attalus
16 Jan 2007: Added note on possible birthdate of 28 Hyperberetaios, here attributed to Ptolemy VI
27 Nov 2010: Fix broken Perseus & DDbDP links
19 Jan 2011: Transfer Hippe from Ptolemy IV to Ptolemy II
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