Ptolemaios II Philadelphus, 285-246 BC


ID Number: AC01-0104
Category: Ancient Coins
Description: Ptolemaios II Philadelphus, 285-246 BC
Country or State: Egypt (region of Gaza)
Year: Minted 253-252 BC
Head of State/Ruler: Ptolemaios II Philadelphus
Reign: 285–246 BC
Currency: Tetradrachm
Face Value:  
Obverse: Diademed head of Ptolemaios right.
Obverse Legend:  
Obverse Designer:  
Reverse: Eagle facing left holding thunderbolts 
Reverse Designer:  
Edge: Irregular
Mint Mark:  
Composition: Silver (Ag)
Diameter: 25.0 mm (irregular)
Weight: 7.9 grams
Krause & Mishler Number:  
Other Catalog Number:  
State of Conservation: Very Fine (VF)

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Extremely Fine (XF) € -
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Very Good (VG) € -
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Ptolemaios II Philadelphus was the king of Ptolemaic Egypt from 283 BC to 246 BC. He was the son of the founder of the Ptolemaic kingdom Ptolemy I Soter and Berenice, and was educated by Philitas of Cos. He had two half-brothers, Ptolemy Keraunos and Meleager, both of whom became kings of Macedonia (in 281 BC and 279 BC respectively). Both died in the Gallic invasion of 280–279 BC.

He began his reign as co-regent with his father Ptolemy I from ca. 285 BC to ca. 283 BC, and maintained a splendid court in Alexandria.

Egypt was involved in several wars during his reign. Magas of Cyrene opened war on his half-brother (274 BC), and the Seleucid king Antiochus I Soter, desiring Coele-Syria with Judea, attacked soon after in the First Syrian War. Two or three years of war followed. Egypt's victories solidified the kingdom's position as the undisputed naval power of the eastern Mediterranean; his fleet of 112 ships bore the most powerful naval siege units of all time, guaranteed the king access to the coastal cities of his empire. The Ptolemaic sphere of power extended over the Cyclades to Samothrace, and the harbours and coast towns of Cilicia Trachea, Pamphylia, Lycia and Caria.

The victory won by Antigonus II Gonatas, king of Macedonia, over the Egyptian fleet at Cos (between 258 BC and 256 BC) did not long interrupt Ptolemy's command of the Aegean Sea. In a Second Syrian War with the Seleucid kingdom, under Antiochus II Theos, Ptolemy sustained losses on the seaboard of Asia Minor and agreed to a peace by which Antiochus married his daughter Berenice.