With its emphasis on the dynasty's concern for control of the sea - both the Mediterranean and the Red Sea - and the Nile, this book offers a new and original perspective on Ptolemaic power in a key period of Hellenistic history. Within the developing Aegean empire of the Ptolemies, the role of the navy is examined together with that of its admirals. Egypt's close relationship to Rhodes is subjected to scrutiny, as is the constant threat of piracy to the transport of goods on the Nile and by sea. Along with the trade in grain came the exchange of other products. Ptolemaic kings used their wealth for luxury ships and the dissemination of royal portraiture was accompanied by royal cult. Alexandria, the new capital of Egypt, attracted poets, scholars and even philosophers; geographical exploration by sea was a feature of the period and observations of the time enjoyed a long afterlife.
Kostas Buraselis is Professor of Ancient History at the University of Athens. He is the author of several books, including most recently Kos between Hellenism and Rome (2000), and is also editor/co-editor of various collected volumes and author of numerous articles and reviews, especially on topics in Hellenistic and Roman history. Mary Stefanou is currently a PhD student at the University of Athens and Professor of Philology in Secondary Education in Greece. She has acted as a co-editor to various collected volumes and has translated books on ancient history into Greek. Dorothy J. Thompson was until her retirement Newton Trust Affiliated Lecturer in Ancient History in the Faculty of Classics. She remains a Fellow of Girton College and is still actively involved in lecturing and research. She has taken part in archaeological excavations in Greece, Turkey and Egypt and is a Fellow of the British Academy and Honorary President of the International Association of Papyrologists. Her books include Memphis under the Ptolemies (1988, awarded the James H. Breasted Prize by the American Historical Association, 2nd edition, 2012) and Counting the People in Hellenistic Egypt (2006, with Willy Clarysse).
Preface; In memoriam F. W. Walbank Christian Habicht; 1. Introduction Kostas Buraselis and Dorothy J. Thompson; 2. The Ptolemaic League of Islanders Andrew Meadows; 3. Callicrates of Samos and Patroclus of Macedon: champions of Ptolemaic thalassocracy Hans Hauben; 4. Rhodes and the Ptolemaic kingdom: the commercial infrastructure Vincent Gabrielsen; 5. Polybius and Ptolemaic sea power Andrew Erskine; 6. Ptolemaic grain, seaways and power Kostas Buraselis; 7. Waterborne recruits: the military settlers of Ptolemaic Egypt Mary Stefanou; 8. Our academic visitor is missing: Posidippus 89 (A-B) and 'smart capital' for the thalassocrats Paul McKechnie; 9. Aspects of the diffusion of Ptolemaic portraiture overseas Olga Palagia; 10. Ptolemies and piracy Lucia Criscuolo; 11. The Nile police in the Ptolemaic period Thomas Kruse; 12. Hellenistic royal barges Dorothy J. Thompson; 13. Eudoxus of Cyzicus and Ptolemaic exploration of the sea route to India Christian Habicht; 14. Timosthenes and Eratosthenes: sea routes and Hellenistic geography Francesco Prontera; 15. Claudius Ptolemy on Egypt and East Africa Klaus Geus.