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some years, until at length the death of Philip enabled Alexander to 

recall him. Alexander succeeded his father as King of Macedon, and 

immediately made Ptolemy one of his principal generals. Ptolemy rose, in 

fact, to a very high command in the Macedonian army, and distinguished 

himself very greatly in all the celebrated conqueror's subsequent 

campaigns. In the Persian invasion, Ptolemy commanded one of the three 

grand divisions of the army, and he rendered repeatedly the most signal 

services to the cause of his master. He was employed on the most distant 

and dangerous enterprises, and was often intrusted with the management 

of affairs of the utmost importance. He was very successful in all his 

undertakings. He conquered armies, reduced fortresses, negotiated 

treaties, and evinced, in a word, the highest degree of military energy 

and skill. He once saved Alexander's life by discovering and revealing a 

dangerous conspiracy which had been formed against the king. Alexander 

had the opportunity to requite this favor, through a divine 

interposition vouchsafed to him, it was said, for the express purpose of 

enabling him to evince his gratitude. Ptolemy had been wounded by a 

poisoned arrow, and when all the remedies and antidotes of the 

physicians had failed, and the patient was apparently about to die, an 

effectual means of cure was revealed to Alexander in a dream, and 

Ptolemy, in his turn, was saved. 


At the great rejoicings at Susa, when Alexander's conquests were 

completed, Ptolemy was honored with a golden crown, and he was married, 

with great pomp and ceremony, to Artacama, the daughter of one of the 

most distinguished Persian generals. 


At length Alexander died suddenly, after a night of drinking and 

carousal at Babylon. He had no son old enough to succeed him, and his 

immense empire was divided among his generals. Ptolemy obtained Egypt 

for his share. He repaired immediately to Alexandria, with a great army, 

and a great number of Greek attendants and followers, and there 

commenced a reign which continued, in great prosperity and splendor, for 

forty years. The native Egyptians were reduced, of course, to subjection 

and bondage. All the offices in the army, and all stations of trust and 

responsibility in civil life, were filled by Greeks. Alexandria was a 

Greek city, and it became at once one of the most important commercial 

centers in all those seas. Greek and Roman travelers found now a 

language spoken in Egypt which they could understand, and philosophers 

and scholars could gratify the curiosity which they had so long felt, in 

respect to the institutions, and monuments, and wonderful physical 

characteristics of the country, with safety and pleasure. In a word, the 

organization of a Greek government over the ancient kingdom, and the 

establishment of the great commercial relations of the city of 

Alexandria, conspired to bring Egypt out from its concealment and 

seclusion, and to open it in some measure to the intercourse, as well as 

to bring it more fully under the observation, of the rest of mankind. 


Ptolemy, in fact, made it a special object of his policy to accomplish 

these ends. He invited Greek scholars, philosophers, poets, and artists, 

in great numbers, to come to Alexandria, and to make his capital their 

abode. He collected an immense library, which subsequently, under the 

name of the Alexandrian library, became one of the most celebrated 

collections of books and manuscripts that was ever made. We shall have 

occasion to refer more particularly to this library in the next chapter. 


Besides prosecuting these splendid schemes for the aggrandizement of 

Egypt, King Ptolemy was engaged, during almost the whole period of his 

reign, in waging incessant wars with the surrounding nations. He engaged 

in these wars, in part, for the purpose of extending the boundaries of 

his empire, and in part for self-defense against the aggressions and 

encroachments of other powers. He finally succeeded in establishing his 

kingdom on the most stable and permanent basis, and then, when he was 

drawing toward the close of his life, being in fact over eighty years of 

age, he abdicated his throne in favor of his youngest son, whose name 

was also Ptolemy, Ptolemy the father, the founder of the dynasty, is 

known commonly in history by the name of Ptolemy Soter. His son is 

called Ptolemy Philadelphia. This son, though the youngest, was 

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