Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

condition. When he had continued in his captivity for the space of three years, he was seized with a severe distemper, occasioned by his inactivity and intemperance in eating and drinking, and died at the age of fifty four years. His son Antigonus, to whom the urn, which enclosed the ashes of that prince, was transmitted, celebrated his funeral with great magnificence. We shall see, in the sequel of the present history, that this Antigonus, who was sirnamed Gonatas, continued peaceable possessor of the kingdom of Macedonia ; and the race of this prince enjoyed the crown for several generations, in a direct line from father to son, till the reign of Perseus, the last of that family,who was divested of Macedonia by the Romans.

[blocks in formation]

PTOLEMY SOTER,' the son of Lagus, after a reign of twenty years in Egypt, with the style of king, and of near thirty nine from the death of Alexander, was desirous of transmitting the throne to Ptolemy Philadelphus," one of his sons by Berenice. He had likewise several children by his other wives, and among those, Ptolemy, sirnamed Ceraunus, or the Thunderer, who being the son of Eurydice, the daugh

A. M. 3719. Ant. J. C. 285. Justin. I. xvi. • The word signifies a lover of his brethren ; but Ptolemy received this sirname, agreeably to a figure of speech called antiphrasis, because he charged two of his brothers with forming designs against his life, and then caused them to be destroyed. Pausan. I. i. p. 12.

ter of Antipater, and the eldest of the male issite, comsidered the crown as his right, after the death of his father. But Berenice, who came into Egypt, merely to accompany Eurydice, at the time of her espousals with Ptolemy, so exceedingly charmed that prince with her beauty, that he married her ; and so great was her ascendant over him, that she caused him to prefer her son to all his issue by the other queens. In order, therefore, to prevent all disputes and wars that might ensue, after his death, which he was sensible could not be very remote, as he was then fourscore years of age ; he resolved to have him crowned in his own life time, intending, at the same time, to resign all his dominions to -him ; declaring, that to create a king was more glorious than to be so one's self. The coronation of Philadelphus was celebrated with the most splendid festival that had ever been seen; but I reserve the description of it to the end of this section,

Ptolemy Ceraunus quitted the court, and retired to Lysimachus, whose son Agathocles had espoused Lysandra, the sister of Ceraunus, both by father and mother; and after the death of Agathocles, he removed to the court of Seleucus, who received him with a goodness entirely uncommon, for which he was afterwards repaid with the blackest ingratitude, as will appear in the sequel of this history.

e In the first year of the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus, which was also the first year of the hundred and twenty fourth Olympiad the famous watch tower in the isle of Pharos was completed. It was usually called

• Plin. I. xxsvi. c. 12. Strab. 1. xvii. p. 791. Suid. in BapG

the tower of Pharos, and has been reputed one of the seven wonders of antiquity. It was a large square structure built of white marble, on the top of which a fire was constantly kept burning, in order to guide ships in their course. It cost eight hundred talents, which, estimat. ed by the Athenian money, are equal to two hundred thousand pounds, but amount to almost double that sum, if computed by the coin of Alexandria. The architect of the edifice was Sostratus of Cnidus, who, to perpetuate the whole honour of it to himself, had recourse to the artifice I have mentioned before. Pharos was originally a real island, at the distance of seven furlongs from the continent, but was afterwards joined to it by a causeway like that of Tyre.

: Much about this time, the image of the god Serapis was brought from Pontus to Alexandria. Ptolemy had been induced by a dream to demand it, by an embassy, of the king of Sinope, a city of Pontus, where it was kept. It was, however, refused him for the space of two years, till at last the inhabitants of Sinope suffered such extremities from a famine, that they consented to resign this idol to Ptolemy for a supply of corn, which he transmitted to them ; and the statue was then conveyed to Alexandria, and placed in one of the suburbs, called Rhacotis, where it was adored by the name of Serapis, and a famous temple called the Serapion, was afterwards erected for it in that place. This structure, according to Ammianus Marcellinus,

h

Plut.

f Vol. I. In the history of Egypt. A. M. 5720. Ant. J. C. 284. Tacit. Hist 1. iv. c. 83, et 84. de Isid. et Osir. p. 361. Clem. Alex. in Protrept. p. 31.

Amm. Marcell. l. xxü.c. 16.

surpassed, in beauty and magnificence, all the temples in the world, except the capitol at Rome. This temple had also a library, which became famous in all succeeding ages, for the number and value of the books it contained.

i Ptolemy Soter had been careful to improve himself in polite literature, as was evident by his compiling the life of Alexander, which was greatly esteemed by the ancients, but is now entirely lost. In order to cultivate the sciences, which he much admired, he founded an academy at Alexandria, called the Museum, where a society of learned men deyoted them. selves to philosophic studies, and the improvement of all other sciences, almost in the same manner as those of London and Paris. To this effect, he began by giving them a library, which was prodigiously increased by his successors. * His son Philadelphus left a hundred thousand volumes in it at the time of his death, and the succeeding princes of that race enlarged it still more, till at last it consisted of seven hundred thou. sand volumes.

" This library was formed by the following method. All the Greek and other books that were brought into Egypt were seized, and sent to the Museum, where they were transcribed by persons employed for that purpose. The copies were then delivered to the pro. prietors, and the originals were deposited in the library. Ptolemy Evergetes, for instance, borrowed the works of Sophocles, Euripides, and Eschylus, of the

Arrian in præf. Plut. in Alex. p. 691. Q. Curt. 1. ix. c. 8. Strab. I. svii. p. 793. Plut. in Moral. p.

1095.

k Euseb. in Chron.

I Galen.

Athenians, and only returned them the copies, which he caused to be transcribed in as beautiful a manner as possible ; and he likewise presented them with fifteen talents ; equal to fifteen thousand crowns; for the originals which he kept.

As the Museum was at first in that quarter of the city which was called Bruchion, and near the royal palace, the library was founded in the same place, and it soon drew vast numbers thither ; but when it was so much augmented, as to contain four hundred thousand volumes, they began to deposit the additional books in the Serapion. This last library was a supplement to the former, for which reason it received the appellation of its daughter, and in process of time, had in it three hundred thousand volumes.

* In Cesar's war with the inhabitants of Alexandria, a fire, occasioned by those hostilities, consumed the library of Bruchion, with its four hundred thousand volumes. Seneca seems to me to have been much displeased," when speaking of the couflagration, he bestows his censures, both on the library itself, and the eulogium made on it by Livy, who styles it an illustrious monument of the opulence of the Egyptian kings, and of their wise attention for the improvement of the sciences. Seneca, instead of allowing it to be

[ocr errors]

= Plut. in Cesar, p. 732, in Anton. p. 943. Amm. Marcell. l. xxii. c. 16. Dion. Cass. 1 xlii. p. 202.

Quadringenta millia librorum Alexandriæ arserunt, pulcherrimum regiz opulentiæ monumentum. Alius laudaverit, sicut Livius, qui elegantix regum curæque egregium id opus ait fuisse. Non funt elegantia illud, aut cura, sed studiosa iuxuria imo, ne studiosa quidem, quoniam non in studium, sed in spectaculum comparaverant – Paretur itaque librotum quantum sit, nihil in apparatum. Senec. de tranquill, anim. c. ix. VOL. 6.

6

« EdellinenJatka »