The Ptolemaic Kingdom in 300 BC
|•||305–283 BC||Ptolemy I Soter (first)|
|•||32 - 60 AD||Ptolemy XVI|
|Historical Era||Era One, Era Two|
|•||Alexander's Empire||305 BC|
|•||Ptolemaic-Carthegian War||97-95 BC|
|•||Egyptian Civil War||53 AD|
|•||1 AD est.||4 Million|
Ptolemaic Egypt - also known as the Ptolemaic Kingdom or simply Egypt - was a Hellenistic state formed after the downfall of Alexander's Empire. Outside of its War with Carthage, it was a relatively unremarkable nation, and had little influence over the Mediterranean. However, this changed in 37 AD - the year Ptolemy XVI converted to Christianity and made Egypt the first Christian state in the world. The Civil war that followed only affirmed this new religion, and following it, Egypt would remain at the center of Christianity for centuries.
After the Christianization of Egypt, it would begin to be a more notable nation. It assisted with the wars of Christian expansion, making large swaths of the near east and Libya christian, and setting up Egypt as a powerful political force. From there, Egypt spearheaded multiple invasions of Europe, each one attempting to Christianize the continent. While these invasions were never fully successful, they made Egypt a force to be reckoned with. Until its downfall in 404, Egypt would continue to be a major power in the Mediterranean, as well as Africa and the Near East.
War with Carthage
In 97 BC, Carthage decided to seize Alexandria from Egypt to satisfy its economic ambitions in the eastern Mediterranean. While the plan was to give Egypt no time to prepare by landing right on top of the city, storms blew them off course, and as a result the invaders ended up nearly thirty miles away from the city. This of course gave the Egyptians ample time to prepare, and after evacuating government officials from Alexandria, the Egyptian army was rallied to fight the invaders. For the first few months, the fighting and economic impact of the war looked like it would shake Egypt apart. However, after the fighting showed no signs of leaving the coastal area near Alexandria, the panic died down - most citizens were able to simply continue their daily lives.
The fighting, while not widespread, was relatively intense. because of the density of soldiers on both sides, casualties were high for both sides (In retrospect, many wonder why the casualties were not higher, given the circumstances). However, even as the Egyptian army slowly fell back, the impact of the war could hardly be recognized until Alexandria itself was sacked - and even then, most citizens shrugged their soldiers and went back to work. Shortly after the fall of Alexandria, the capital was moved to Memphis, and a treaty was signed, giving the former to Carthage. In the eyes of most, the war looked over - Egypt had suffered a minor loss, and Carthage a moderate gain.
However, the long term effects of losing such an important port city could hardly have been foreseen by Egypt or its citizens. Within three years of the war ending, the Egyptian economy had tanked, and a drought came along to make matter worse. This lethal combination would lead to long term economic woes, and at times, complete anarchy to Egypt. While for much of the next 130 yeas, Egypt would be in okay shape, these periods of relative stability were always quickly broken by more civil unrest. While no other nation would be able to take advantage of this - indeed, Egypt would even see limited expansion - it was a terrible period for Egypt, and one that would not be fixed until the nation's Christianization.
Jesus and Christianization
Christianity would have a huge effect on the near east and Africa for thousands of years, but with regards to the religion, Egypt has a unique claim - it started within their borders. The process started in Judaea, and area controlled by Egypt at the time. A child named Jesus was born, supposedly to a virgin mother. While the minority Jews hailed the child as their messiah, The Egyptian government showed little interest in one birth in part of the backwaters of their Empire. Because of this the child grew up pretty much unhindered, except for an issue when he was 15, when he ran away from his parents and lived at a temple for a month. Much of the man's life continued to be seemingly unremarkable, and he pretty much drops off the historical record until around 28 AD.
By 28 AD, Jesus again appears on the historical record, this time traveling across Judaea with a entourage of disciples. While he may have been fated to be just another wandering preacher, two things conspired to catapult him to a position of prominence. The first was his reputation as messiah - despite his unremarkable life, many still remembered that detail and revered him to some extent. The second was the supposed miracles that appeared in his wake. While only rumors exist, the Bible claims he healed blind men, cured the sick, and even brought several back from the dead. Whatever the actual case was, he quickly became more and more influential in Egypt, and was drawing massive crowds of onlookers and disciples by around 30 AD. In addition, he began to create a discipleship, called the Apostles and made up of 16 men who would travel with him and assist with his preaching,.
While Jesus' message did benefit from a wider range of people to preach to, the rapid growth in popularity would create its fair share of controversy and problems. First of all the Jewish establishment viewed him as a thorn in their side, and while they couldn't prove he was explicitly suggesting the creation of a new religion, they felt it was heavily implied. In addition, some of the Jewish establishment disagreed with Jesus' teachings, and on more than one occasion, he would be denied access to temples. However, while Jesus did have problems with the Jewish establishment, his encounters with the cult of Serapis would be much worse. While few actually practiced the Egyptian state religion, there were enough fanatics to cause Jesus serious trouble.
By 30 AD, Jesus had a powerful movement behind him, and had expanded his preaching as far as Cairo. His extreme popularity only hardened the movement against him, and some of his larger gatherings even devolved into riots. Jesus, deeply saddened by the violence, almost quit preaching in 31 AD, but was encouraged to continue by his friend Peter, and (supposedly) God. after he returned the riots continued, but instead of hurting Jesus' reputation, the riots generally spread his word more effectively, and on multiple occasions gave him a convenient place to preach. In 32 AD, members of the cult of Serapis finally decided the riots wouldn't stop him, and decided to take matters into their own hands, killing Jesus. What happened next is controversial - While Jesus definitely returned to preaching for 11 more months after he supposed death, some believe he wasn't killed, while others believe he was never even stabbed. Whatever the case, Jesus appears to have used this time to begin the establishment of his own church, until his actual death in 33 AD.
After Jesus' death, the Apostles took it upon themselves to complete the founding of the church. They began to build several churches, mostly in Judea and the Sinai Peninsula. In these area, the church grew drastically, largely via converted Jews and previously non-religious citizens. Because of Jesus' popularity, the growth of the church was able to skyrocket, and by 35 AD, it was a major, if young, institution. Recognizing the rapid growth of the Church, Ptolemy XVI decided to invite peter to Memphis to pitch to new religion to him. Apparently, he was convinced enough to convert, and Christianity became the state sponsored religion of Egypt. This new religion would catch on quickly, and it would soon be the de facto religion of Egypt and much of the near east.
Anatolian Unification War
Dynastic Struggle and Collapse