Ptolemy I Soter

Ptolemy I Soter

biographical name

(born 367/366, Macedonia—died 283/282 BC, Egypt) Ruler of Egypt (323–285) and founder of the Ptolemaic dynasty. A Macedonian general of Alexander the Great, he and the other generals divided the empire after Alexander's death, Ptolemy becoming satrap of Egypt. Alexander's successors were soon at war. Ptolemy was defeated in 306 by Antigonus I Monophthalmus, though he and the others rebuffed Antigonus's attack on Egypt. He earned the name Soter (“Saviour”) after defeating Antigonus on Rhodes (304), but Antigonus was not finally crushed until 301 at the Battle of Ipsus. Ptolemy secured and expanded his empire through alliances and marriages. He and his fellow kings won a final war (288–286) against Demetrius of Macedonia, freeing Athens from Macedonian occupation. He obtained control of the League of Islanders (including most of the Aegean islands), which formed the basis of Egypt's maritime supremacy. As king he respected Egyptian culture, blended Greek and Egyptian peoples and religions, and founded the Library and Museum of Alexandria. After his death the Egyptians raised him to the level of a god. He was succeeded by his son, Ptolemy II Philadelphus.

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