The Ptolemaic Egypt is a major power of the Mediterranean Sea, occupying territory in North Africa, Middle East and Cyprus.
The Ptolemaic kingdom in Egypt was founded by Ptolemy I Soter, A prominent general in service of king Alexander's army. When Alexander died, the Hellenistic empire died with him but separated into multiple nation states. Ptolemy became the pharaoh of Egypt and established the Ptolemeian dynasty, laying the foundations of a rich empire which dwarfs its predecessors.
CultureThe culture of Ptolemaic Egypt is best described as a cross of Greek and Egyptian customs. Since the dynasty was established, there had been intermarriage of these two great cultures. Public buildings are usually built in a style that incorporates Greek and Egyptian features. The government has done much to match Greek Gods with their Egyptian counterparts. Generally, Greeks are most often found in big cities and ports like Alexandria. The Ptolemy Pharaoh is a big patron of the arts and sciences. Many educational schools and institutions are found. The Grand Library of Alexandria houses over 50,000 books. Scholars from around the known world are encouraged to pursue their studies in Egypt. Recent reforms have been made to help the poor Egyptians and to raise living staus. In general, these reforms are having an ever more progressive influence. This fresco of the Nile is typical art style.
The government is an absolute monarchy. The pharaoh makes all decisions for his country.
The old Egyptian religion is dominant in Egypt, especially in rural ares. Earlier Ptolemaic pharaohs built religious temples in old style to glorify themselves and to appease their people. Many Greek immigrants have openly embraced the old style religion while some still prefer the classical Greek. Also, the religions are being integrated into a greater Greco-Egyptian one with Gods being reconciled. For instance, the Greek God Zeus is often associated with Ra. Alexandria also has a significant Jewish population.
The military of Ptolemaic Egypt is composed of Greek and Egyptian units.
The core of the army is composed of the elite phalanx divisions. They are based on the phalanx divisions of the late Alexander's empire. Soldiers of these are mainly ethnic Greeks or Egyptians who are learned how to fight in Greek style. Soldiers have large shields and very long spears. They are effective especially when archers are positioned behind who fire arrows over them at the enemy.
Cavalry is also a big portion of the Egyptian army. Horses for army are obtained from the Arabs. These horses are considered the finest and they are able to survive in high temperatures. They are useful for desert campaigns. Greeks, Egyptians, and even Berbers are expert horsemen. These divisions are considered as supporting the infantry and they play a decisive role in many battles.
The Ptolemaic Egypt employs a large guerrilla army also. Mainly Egyptians and Berbers fight in these divisions. They are skilled in ambush and nontraditional warfare, and they know the land. These soldiers were previous peasants farmers. They are given land in exchange for military service. When the Nile floods, these people are enrolled in a kind of military school. Boys are trained from a young age in archery and hand to hand combat.
The next portion of army forces consists of storm troops. They are mixed chariots and war elephants, even though elephants are used more frequently. The Ptolemaic army has even more war elephants than the Republic of Carthage. Elephants are bought from black Africans that live up the Nile. These divisions rely on speed and strength to charge and break through the enemy lines by storm, scattering and wreaking havoc. They are very effective at crushing almost all kinds of enemy forces. Only when attacking phalanxes is only slightly effective.
Ships in the navy are based on the Greek bireme, but completed with numerous Egyptian construction techniques. These ships are suited for traveling along the Mediterranean and Red Seas. Navy ships accompany trading vessels to protect them from pirates, but not always. Alexandria has a vary large port with a west and east harbor. Many naval vessels are stationed there. Recently, new ports have been built on the shore of the Mediterranean and Red seas. Egypt also has some ports on the Nile River. Naval ships have a ram on their bow to puncture enemy ships and cause them to sink. Archers are frequently positioned on Ptolemaic ships, to shoot at sailors on the decks of enemy ships during sea battles.
The Nile delta has the richest and most fertile lands of the Mediterranean. After the Nile floods, it leaves behind rich black soil (kenmet). This is the basis of Egypt's large agrarianism. Whole sections of the delta are devoted to producing wheat, vegetables, and cotton both for export and internal consumption. In times of famine, extra grain is stored in government barns and redistributed among citizens. Also there is an intricate network of canals to irrigate fields which the Nile cannot reach. Animal dung and food scraps are used to make compost and turn desert soils into arable ones. Recent land reforms have increased the productivity of agricultural. Farmers are not serfs but they own their land in exchange for military service. They are free to sell their crops at the market. Although a quota of grain is still demanded by the government for redistribution. Famine basically never affects the Ptolemaic Egypt seriously. In case of crop failure, villagers are allowed to catch fish and hunt ducks in the delta without risk.