Livius.Org Anatolia Carthage Egypt Germ. Inf. Greece Judaea Mesopotamia Persia Rome Other

Ptolemy VIII Physcon

Ptolemy VIII Physcon. Koninklijke Musea voor Kunst en Geschiedenis, Brussel (Belgium). Photo Jona Lendering.
Ptolemy VIII Physcon (Koninklijke Musea voor Kunst en Geschiedenis, Brussels)
Ptolemy VIII Physcon: king of the Ptolemaic Empire, ruled from 145 to 116.


Main deeds:

  • 182/181: Born
  • 180: After the assassination of Ptolemy V Epiphanes, Ptolemy VI Philometor becomes king. His mother Cleopatra Syra acts as regent.
  • 170: Outbreak of the Sixth Syrian War. In Egypt, queen Cleopatra II and Ptolemy VIII are made co-rulers.
  • 169: The Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes invades Egypt and demands that Ptolemy VI receives other advisers (Comanus and Cineas). In Alexandria, people demand that Cleopatra II and Ptolemy VIII become king.
  • 169/168: Reconciliation between the Ptolemaic rulers.
  • 168: Second invasion of Egypt. Antiochus besieges Alexandria, but a Roman embassy, led by Gaius Popilius Laenas orders the Seleucid king to return.
  • 165: Native rebellion
  • 164: Fighting in the Fayum and Thebaid
  • 164, October: Ptolemy VI has to flee from Egypt, where Ptolemy VIII becomes more powerful; Ptolemy VI seeks Roman support.
  • 163, July: Ptolemy VI returns and declares amnesty for rebels. Ptolemy VIII is made ruler of Cyrenaica. There is some resistance.
  • 162: Rome sends a leader for the rebels (Ptolemy Sympetesis), but Ptolemy VIII is able to overcome the insurrection.
  • 156/155: An attempt to kill Ptolemy VIII is foiled
  • Ptolemy VIII makes his will, and makes Rome inheritor of his realm.
  • 154: A second, military attempt of Ptolemy VIII to become master of Cyprus also fails. Ptolemy VI tries to appease his brother by offering him an engagement to his daughter Cleopatra Thea. The marriage is not consumed.Cleopatra III
  • Ptolemy VIII launches a great building program in the Cyrenaica (hence the surname Euergetes, 'Benefactor')
  • 145, July: Ptolemy intervenes in the Seleucid Empire, but is killed in action. Ptolemy VIII is asked to return by the populace.
  • Before 8 August 145: Ptolemy VIII becomes master of Egypt; he marries his sister Cleopatra. Ptolemy VII Neos Philopator, son of Ptolemy VI, is killed, together with other potential rivals.
  • 144: Amnesty for all former enemies.
  • 141/140: Marries Cleopatra III, the daughter of his brother Ptolemy VI and Cleopatra II.
  • c.140: Birth of Cleopatra IV
  • 14/139: Birth of Ptolemy IX Soter.
  • 140/139: The two Cleopatras, mother and daughter, quarrel. An influential courtier named Galestes attempts a coup, unsuccessfully.
  • 139: To strengthen their position, Ptolemy VIII and Cleopatra III seek support from the native population.
  • c.135: Birth of Cleopatra V Selene and Tryphaena
  • 132, November: Civil war between Ptolemy VIII and his sister Cleopatra II; revolt of Harsiesi
  • 131, autumn: Cleopatra II controls Alexandria.
  • 131/130: Ptolemy is on Cyprus.
  • 130, spring: Ptolemy returns to Egypt; end of the revolt of Harsiesi
  • 128: Cleopatra II, supported by Seleucid troops (Demetrius II Nicator), attempts to recover her position, but the Seleucid expedition meets with failure near Pelusium. Ptolemy VIII supports Alexander II Zabinas, a rebel in the Seleucid Empire
  • 127/126: Ptolemy VIII punishes the Alexandrines
  • 124: Ptolemy VIII supports Alexander II Zabinas, a rebel in the Seleucid Empire; at the same time, Cleopatra II appears to have returned.
  • 124/123: Tryphaena marries to Antiochus VIII Grypus
  • 28 June 116: Death. He is succeeded by Cleopatra III and Ptolemy IX Soter; his son Ptolemy Apion is appointed as ruler of the Cyrenaica, but was unable to establish himself until 108.
Succeeded by: Cleopatra III and Ptolemy IX Soter

Information on the web:


  • 117: Composition of Jesus Sirach, the online home of Ancient Warfare magazine

This page was prepared to offer background information to the real articles on Livius.Org. One day, it will be improved. A list of completed articles can be found here.
Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2006
Revision: 21 March 2007
Livius.Org Anatolia Carthage Egypt Germ. Inf. Greece Judaea Mesopotamia Persia Rome Other