The Ptolemies intermarried with a large number of different families. They probably have the largest set of foreign dynastic connections of any ruling family in Egyptian history. They certainly have the most varied set of dynastic connections, ranging from Hellenic and Hellenistic dynasties to Iranian, Berber, Egyptian, and, in some ways the most alien of all, Roman lines. Descendants of the Ptolemies can, with fairly high probability, be traced for over a century after the fall of the dynasty, and, more controversially, there are proposals for outline descents covering a much longer period, possibly even to the present day.
This section of the site provides access to genealogical diagrams for all affiliated families known to me, as well as an overview of proposed Ptolemaic descents. These diagrams are all unannotated, and I have no plans ever to annotate most of them. In most cases, though not all, only outline genealogies are provided. They are also largely unlinked, except that links to the Ptolemies themselves have been activated. With the exception of the High Priests of Memphis, none of them have been researched to the depth that I have researched the Ptolemaic main line. In general, I have followed a major published chart with a certain amount of cross-checking. I have no doubt that I have accepted as fact much that is controversial or only conjectural, that I have omitted good data, and that I have made simple blunders -- feel free to tell me. So these charts should be used with care, and should not be regarded as reliable, only indicative.
The remainder of this introductory page gives a very brief background for each affiliated line, and lists the dynastic connections to the Ptolemies. The lines are given in rough chronological order. You can access them from the title of each introductory paragraph or (if you have a frame-capable browser) from the frame to the left.
The lines are as follows:
Aeacids Agathocles Antigonids Antipatrids Antonii
Archelaids Argaeads Heraclids Julii Lysimachus
High Priests of Ptah Pharnabazids Philo Seleucids Soli
The Argaead dynasty were the original ruling dynasty of Macedon. The best known members were Philip II, who created the Macedonian army as a professional fighting force and estalished hegemony over mainland Greece, and his son Alexander III, who conquered most of the then-known world. Ptolemy I was descended from a minor branch of the dynasty through his mother. Ý
The Pharnabazids were one of the leading families of Achaemenid Persia. They were a junior branch of the royal line, descended from Pharnaces, governor of Persepolis under his nephew Darius I. Several leading generals and admirals -- notably Megabazus I and II, who led the invasions of Greece under Darius I and Xerxes I, and Artabazos, who suppressed the rebellion of Inaros in Egypt -- were members of the family. Most of the heads of the family were satraps of Daskyleon in Anatolia at one point in their career. Artabazos III, father-in-law of Ptolemy I, was a maternal grandson of Artaxerxes II. A junior branch became satraps of Phrygia and Chios, and later just satraps of Chios under the Seleucids; the last satrap of Chios was also the first king of Pontus of the Mithridatid line. Ý
The kings of Soli
Soli was one of the several Greek kingdoms into which Cyprus was divided before the Ptolemaic conquest. The history of these kingdoms is not well known, and Soli is perhaps the most obscure. Ý
The Antipatrids were originally distant collateral relatives of the Argaead royal family. Antipater was regent for Macedon while Alexander III was absent conquering the Persian Empire. After the death of Alexander and the extinction of the Argaead dynasty, Antipater's son Cassander took the Macedonian throne himself, but his sons lost control to the Antigonid Demetrius I within a few years. Ý
Antigonus I and his son Demetrius I were the first of Alexander's successor to take the title of "king", after they conquered Cyprus from Ptolemy I. Antigonus was defeated by a coalition at the Battle of Ipsus in 301; Demetrius, after a varied career in Cyprus and Macedon, was eventually captured by Seleucus I. His son Antigonus II took firm control of Macedon in 276, closing out the chaos that followed the death of Lysimachus in 281. His descendants held the Macedonian throne till its conquest by Rome a century later. Ý
The Aeacids were kings of Epirus, a society very similar in many ways to early Macedon. Pyrrhus I attempted to make it a great Mediterranean power with enterprises in Sicily and Italy. He was the first Hellenistic ruler to encounter Rome. The strain and the lack of success of his efforts led to the collapse of the Aeacid monarchy within a few decades of his death. Ý
The family of Lysimachus
Lysimachus was one of Alexander's marshals, who was made satrap of Thrace after Alexander's death. He built a powerful kingdom in Thrace, Macedon and Anatolia on this basis. However, he was unsuccessful in founding a dynasty owing to the devastating family feud that resulted in the execution of his son and heir Agathocles, and his death at the hands of Seleucus I at the battle of Corupediium shortly thereafter. Ptolemy, his elder son by his second wife Arsinoe II, after briefly struggling to hold the throne of Macedon, appears to have been made coregent of Egypt by his stepfather Ptolemy II. This arrangement broke down when Ptolemy rebelled, for unknown reasons, but he eventually became master of a petty principality in Anatolia based on Telmessos. His descendants ruled Telmessos for two more generations. His last known descendent Berenice was a priestess in the cult of Antiochus III. Ý
The family of Agathocles of Syracuse
Agathocles became tyrant of Syracuse in 317, and declared himself king of Syracuse in 305. After the premature death of his son Archagathus (by a wife other than Theoxena), he declared Syracuse a democracy on his death. Theoxena and her two children by her returned to Egypt, where, it is conjectured here, they founded a family which rose to very high prominence under Ptolemy II. Ý
The family of Philo
The family of Philo is known only through the records of the canephores, i.e. priestesses in the cult of Arsinoe II. Bilistiche, canephore in 250/49, is generally presumed to be the well-known mistress of Ptolemy II. Ý
The Seleucids were another of the dynasties that succeeded Alexander III of Macedon. Seleucus I was initially made satrap of Babylon, but after many vicissitudes ended up controlling the bulk of Alexander's empire in Asia, including Iran, Babylonia, Syria and much of Anatolia. He was murdered as he was finally returning to Macedonia to claim the territory he had conquered from Lysimachus. The easternmost provices in Iran were lost in the late 250s, with the secession of Bactria and Parthia. The Iranian plateau itself was lost to the Arsacids a century later, and in 128 the Seleucids were expelled from Babylonia. After the civil war between Antiochus VIII and Antiochus IX, the Selecids were dispossessed by Tigranes of Armenia in 83, but after he was vanquished in 69 a number of minor Seleucid princes arise to claim various Syrian city-states. The dynasty was finally extinguished by the Roman conquest of Syria under Pompey. Ý
The High Priests of Ptah at Memphis
The High Priests of Ptah at Memphis were the leading Egyptian family of Ptolemaic times, and worked closely with the Ptolemies. They were also related to other Egyptian families, notably the High Priests of Letopolis. The last High Priest of Ptah of the main line died on the day of the fall of Alexandria. The office appears to have become extinct under Augustus, although there may be successor offices that are traceable till Egypt became Christian.
It has been supposed that Ptolemy VIII, as part of his apparent policy of creating closer ties between Greeks and Egyptians, married a daughter to one of the High Priests. Although the evidence for this theory has now been convincingly explained in a way that no longer supports it, I have retained the family on the website in view of their great historical importance, which is largely unrecognized except by Ptolemaic specialists.
Archelaus, second husband of Berenice IV
The Archelaids were descended from Archelaus, a general of Mithridates VI of Pontus, who defected to Sulla and was rewarded by being made hereditary High Priest of Bellona at Comana in Cilicia. The family went on to provide Roman client kings for several generations. Ý
Julius Caesar, first lover of Cleopatra VII
The Julii were one of the most ancient patrician clans in Rome, and had provided several early consuls in the fifth century. The Julii Caesares appear to have been founded in the late third century. The family fortunes of the clan revived somewhat in the second century BC after a period of obscurity. They were connected by marriage to most of the important politicians of republican Rome, including Sulla, Marius and Pompey. C. Julius Caesar, the lover of Cleopatra VII, established himself as dictator and set the stage for the imperial regime finally created by his great-nephew Augustus. Ý
Antony, second lover and probably third husband of Cleopatra VII
The Antonii were not prominent before the first century BC, but through his mother Antony was descended from the Julii. He contended with Octavian to be Caesar's political heir, and threatened to create a new state system in the Near East centered on Alexandria. Through his eldest daughter by his second marriage he became ancestor to the kings of the Cimmerian Bosporus who ruled into the fourth century AD. Through his daughters by Octavian's sister, he was ancestral to three Roman emperors. His direct line, however, died out after two generations, after his younger son was executed following an affair with Augustus' daughter Julia. Ý
The Heraclids were the descendants of the kings of the Massyles, a Berber confederacy behind Carthage. Masinissa king of the Massyles founded the Numidian kingdom after defeating Syphax, king of the rival Masaesyli confederacy, in 203. After Caesar defeated Juba I, the kingdom was temporarily abolished. However, a client kingdom of Mauretania was established for his son Juba II, which continued until the latter's son Ptolemy of Mauretania was executed by Caligula in 40 AD. Ý
Descendants of Cleopatra Thea, daughter of Ptolemy VI and queen of Syria, can be traced well into the second century AD through the marriage of her granddaughter Laodice to Mithridates I king of Commagene. From there she was probably an ancestress to the kings of Emesa and much of the aristocracy of the late classical Near East. It is also likely that, through the marriage of a Commagenian princess to a king of Media Atropatene, that she became an ancestress of later Arsacid kings of Parthia and Armenia. From these dynasties descent lines have been argued that reach into medieval Europe and the present day.
Descendants of Cleopatra VII Thea Neotera are not traceable with such certainty for so long. However, it is a reasonable conjecture that her likely great-granddaughter Drusilla married Sohaemus, king of Emesa, himself a probable descendant of Cleopatra Thea. If this is correct, then likely descendants include the later Severan emperors and Zenobia queen of Palmyra. Descendants of this line are discernable as late as the end of the fifth century AD. Ý
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