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Thread: The Ptolemaioi and Kyrene [discussion from AI expansion thread]

  1. #1

    Default The Ptolemaioi and Kyrene [discussion from AI expansion thread]

    Hello!

    I have followed EB out of a professional interest for quite some time, and even though I'm not sure wether this is the proper thread I'll just post away as what I have to say concerns how the Ptolemies seem to stomp Seleucids far too easily.

    A way to fix this oddity - and to increase the historical accuracy of EB - might be to weaken the Ptolemies by not giving them the povince(s) constituting Cyrene. Cyrene was part of the original realm of Ptolemy I, and in around or soon after 300 BC he gave it to one of his sons to govern, to Magas of Cyrene. Magas remained loyal to his father, but when Ptolemy I died and Ptolemy II ascended the throne, he rebelled against his half-brother. This took place soon after 280 BC, slightly earlier than the date of 276 BC given in the wikipedia article I have linked. Magas crowned himself king of Cyrene and took Paraitonion from his half-brother and in around 275 BC even marched on Alexandria in attempt to win Egypt. He was thwarted in this, but he remained securely in possession of Cyrene and Paraitonion until his death in te 250s. Only then did Ptolemaic Egypt regain control over Magas holdings.

    Having the Ptolemies in 272 BC in control of Cyrene and Paraitonion is thus not only wrong, giving it to Rebels might also weaken the Ptolemies sufficiently to give the Seleucids a better chance against them.

    Hmph. I tried to link to the wiki article on Magas of Cyrene, but this forum seems to have regulations that this is not allowed on a first post, so you will have to enter "Magas of Cyrene" into wikipedia's search window yourself.

  2. #2
    Peerless Senior Member johnhughthom's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1.1x AI Faction Progression Thread

    Are you sure tha Ptolemies control Cyrene? Isn't it Eleutheroi?

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    Member Member Hax's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1.1x AI Faction Progression Thread

    The Ptolemies don't control Cyrene. Have you double-checked?
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    Legatvs Member SwissBarbar's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1.1x AI Faction Progression Thread

    Last edited by SwissBarbar; 12-16-2008 at 21:48.
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    Default Re: 1.1x AI Faction Progression Thread

    Sorry, I should have explained. I don't own Rome: Total War and I have never played EB, it was merely pointed out to me some time ago by a student of mine and my interest is, like I said, merely professional. Consequently, my entire experience with EB is from screenshots and from what I have read on these forum and been shown by said student. Thus I cannot double check, but from the screenshots I have seen my impression was that Cyrene and the area imediately to the east of it, the historical region around Paraitonion, were initially under the control of the Ptolemies, which they should not be in 272 BC. If I was mistaken, my apologies for having caused a ruckus.

    Anyway, now I can at least post the link to Magas of Cyrene. As I've said before, the date given for his coronation is misleading, it was not around 276 BC but in 276 BC at the very latest.

    EDIT: Just saw SwissBarbar's post. So I was mistaken, they don't control Cyrene, but stil, their control stretches a good distance too far towards it anyhow; more than half of the area west of Alexandria coloured Ptolemaic was not Ptolemaic in 272 BC, and remained so for some twenty yeas. If there is a province that could be given to the Eleutheroi, it should.
    Last edited by Mars Ultor; 12-16-2008 at 21:45.

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    Peerless Senior Member johnhughthom's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1.1x AI Faction Progression Thread



    Ruler of Cyrene at start date.

  7. #7
    Legatvs Member SwissBarbar's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1.1x AI Faction Progression Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Mars Ultor View Post
    Sorry, I should have explained. I don't own Rome: Total War and I have never played EB, it was merely pointed out to me some time ago by a student of mine and my interest is, like I said, merely professional. Consequently, my entire experience with EB is from screenshots and from what I have read on these forum and been shown by said student. Thus I cannot double check, but from the screenshots I have seen my impression was that Cyrene and the area imediately to the east of it, the historical region around Paraitonion, were initially under the control of the Ptolemies, which they should not be in 272 BC. If I was mistaken, my apologies for having caused a ruckus.

    Anyway, now I can at least post the link to Magas of Cyrene. As I've said before, the date given for his coronation is misleading, it was not around 276 BC but in 276 BC at the very latest.

    EDIT: Just saw SwissBarbar's post. So I was mistaken, they don't control Cyrene, but stil, their control stretches a good distance too far towards it anyhow; more than half of the area west of Alexandria coloured Ptolemaic was not Ptolemaic in 272 BC, and remained so for some twenty yeas. If there is a province that could be given to the Eleutheroi, it should.

    it would be interesting what area they controled at that time, why don't you make a map?
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  8. #8

    Default Re: 1.1x AI Faction Progression Thread

    It is heartening to see that EB includes Magas, even though he should be made younger. His mother Berenike was born around in around 340 BC and married Magasí father (one Philippos) in either 325 BC or a bit later. She had two children off Philippos, Magas and Antigone, who in around 298 BC married Pyrrhos of Epeiros. In 322 or 320 BC at the latest, Berenike was widowed and came to Egypt, her two children in tow. Magas was thus born between 324 and 320 BC and must in 272 BC have been between 52 and 48 years of age.

    And drawing an accurate map of Ptolemaic Egypt at any time is impossible. Many cities in Asia Minor and on Crete and entire Greek insulas changed ownership frequently, and not all of this is recorded, a least not to the year. Often, all we know is that, say, in 276 BC, a certain city was definitely still Seleucid, and in 269 BC it was already Ptolemaic, but exactly when the change of ownership took place canít be pinned down with the extant evidence.

    Fortunately, matters are easier for the borders between Ptolemy II and Magas. In either 275 or 274 BC Magas extended his holdings eastwards, at least as far as the coastal town of Paraitonion, which he continued to occupy until his death in the very last years of the 250s, probably in 250 BC. A few years of troubled times followed, until Ptolemy II regained Cyrene at the very end of his life, in 246 BC. As Paraitonion is to be identified with the modern town of Marsa Matruh, some 240 km west of Alexandria, the border between the realms of Magas and Ptolemy II must have run somewhere between these points, in my tentative estimate(!) not very far to the east of Marsa Matruh, letís say some 200 km west of Alexandria.

  9. #9
    Member Member paullus's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1.1x AI Faction Progression Thread

    Welcome to the forums, Mars Ultor. That's great to hear that you have students using EB, I hope they're able to learn something from it.

    Do you have evidence on hand for Magas' control of Paraitonion? I've been handling most of the EB work on the Ptolemaioi in most recent times, and have attempted a couple of times to look into the possession of Paraitonion, with little success. Magas' own invasion plan against Egypt went awry and he was forced to retreat to Kyrenaia, I've as yet seen no indication that he retained possession of Paraitonion after falling back. Its a subject I'm more than willing to examine, if, for example, you could direct us to inscriptions or historical writings that demonstrate Magas' control that far east of Kyrenaia.
    "The mere statement of fact, though it may excite our interest, is of no benefit to us, but when the knowledge of the cause is added, then the study of history becomes fruitful." -Polybios


  10. #10

    Default Re: 1.1x AI Faction Progression Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by paullus View Post
    Do you have evidence on hand for Magas' control of Paraitonion? I've been handling most of the EB work on the Ptolemaioi in most recent times, and have attempted a couple of times to look into the possession of Paraitonion, with little success. Magas' own invasion plan against Egypt went awry and he was forced to retreat to Kyrenaia, I've as yet seen no indication that he retained possession of Paraitonion after falling back. Its a subject I'm more than willing to examine, if, for example, you could direct us to inscriptions or historical writings that demonstrate Magas' control that far east of Kyrenaia.
    Unfortunately, itís not quite that easy. All direct evidence is lacking, there is only circumstantial one which needs to be interpreted. Doing so thoroughly would take a whole article, but I will give you at least the bare outlines.

    1) Magas had to abandon his march on Alexandria because of a rebellion in his back, but Ptolemy II could not capitalize on this as his own Celtic mercenaries rebelled and had to be put down (Pausanias 1.7.2; Kallimachos Hymns 4. 185-187 and Scholion to this hymn 175-187). This took up the year 275 BC and was a major undertaking (at least big enough to be commemorated as heroic victory in several Egyptian official inscriptions and works of art and a huge victory procession, see the extant fragments of Kallixeinos Rhodes in FGrHist 627 F 2), so Ptolemy has had no opportunity to immediately retake Paraitonion.

    2) Magasí operation was the ill-concerted first stage of a two-front attack on Egypt he wanted to undertake together with his father-in-law Antiochos I, with whom he was closely allied (Pausanias 1.7.3; Eusebios 1. 237f.). Magas struck prematurely and had to abandon his campaign anyway, but in 274 BC the war between Ptolemy and Antiochos erupted in earnest. This was the First Syrian War from 274 to 271; Ptolemy was on the defensive throughout this war, and it did not involve Magas. So Ptolemy has had no chance in 275 to retake Paraitonion (see above), and doing so in 274 or the following years would have dragged Magas into the for Egypt already very dangerous war and exposed the country to attacks from two fronts. Magas is not mentioned as involved in the war, which makes it likely that Ptolemy did not take the imprudent step of attackig Magas while defending Palestine from the Seleucids. It is thus likely that Paraitonion remained under Magasí control until at least 271 BC.

    3) No existing record hints at any armed clash between Magas and Ptolemy II after Magasí attack upon Egypt. If Ptolemy did ever retake Paraitonion, it was either not recorded by ancient historians or none of these records have survived.

    4) Flavius Josephus writes in his Contra Apion (2.4) that it was king Magas under whom Jews in great numbers did first settle in Libya. An analysis of Flavius Josephusí writing shows that he uses both the terms Kyrene and Libya; the latter is with him bigger than the former and contains the former. This is consistent with the antique view that Libya began a very short distance west of the Nile. Flavius Josephus uses Kyrene and Libya correctly throughout his writings, so it can be surmised that he does so here as well, and when he says that Magas invited Jews into Libya he is thus referring to a larger area than Kyrene alone, which in turn implies that Magas controlled an area larger than merely Kyrene for long enough for substantial settlement to take place. This hints at a longer control of Libyan(!) Paraitonion than merely for the duration of the campaign against Egypt.

    5) The Indian king Ashoka the Great did in 251/248 BC erect a stele with his edict n. 13 which told the world that he had at the time of its erection dispatched Buddhistic missionaries to the courts of five Hellenistic kings (actually he says they had converted, but everybody agrees that it commemorates the sending of missionaries). These kings were Ptolemy II, Antiochos, Alexander II (son of Pyrrhos), Antigonos Gonatas (of Macedon), and Magas. This suggests that Magas was at that time an important king Ė not much in itself, but together with the arguments above circumstantial evidence to consider him still in control of Paraitonion.
    (And it is a hint at Magasí death date Ė in 251 BC, the earliest possible date for the edict, Indians considered him alive, so he could not have been dead for long, if at all. Sometime in 250 BC, Magas is not alive anymore, as the Macedon prince Demetrios tries to occupy the now vacant throne, as related by Eusebios 1.237f.)

    Now I have written more than I intended to. I hope you can at least use this.

  11. #11
    Legatvs Member SwissBarbar's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1.1x AI Faction Progression Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Mars Ultor View Post
    Unfortunately, itís not quite that easy. All direct evidence is lacking, there is only circumstantial one which needs to be interpreted. Doing so thoroughly would take a whole article, but I will give you at least the bare outlines.
    i'd be interested in reading such an article :-)
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  12. #12
    EB TRIBVNVS PLEBIS Member MarcusAureliusAntoninus's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Ptolemaioi and Kyrene [discussion from AI expansion thread]

    [Discussion split off from the AI expansion thread and move to its own thread.]


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