Agypren zwischen innerem Zwist und tiufierem Druck: Die Zeit Ptolemaios' VI. bis VIII. Edited by ANDREA JORDENS and JOACHIM FRIEDRICH QUACK. Philippika, vol. 45. Wiesbaden: HARRASSOWITZ VERLAG. 2011. Pp. ix + 338, illus. [euro]58.
The edited volume under review constitutes the acts of a conference held at the University of Heidelberg in 2007. It was conceived as a continuation of a conference in Auckland in 2005 focusing on the reign of Ptolemy II Philadelphus (p. 3). This volume jumps to the turbulent times of Ptolemy VI Philometor and his brother Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II (ca. 180-116 B.C.E.). Bringing multiple perspectives together to study the reign of one or in this case two kings has much to recommend it. Although the contributions are disparate and sometimes highly specialized, one does come away with a multifaceted portrait of political, economic, social, and religious life in the period.
Thompson's article is colorfully written as a series of micro-historical episodes, which are supposed to highlight wider social tensions in the generation after the Great Theban Revolt. She is persuasive in interpreting the revolt of Dionysius Petosarapis as a sign of fissure within the Alexandrian elite (p. 13, cf. McKechnie, pp. 227-28), but the Greek Philippos murdering his Egyptian lover's husband arguably illustrates Greco-Egyptian intermingling more than it does social tension (p. 15). More could have been written about the skirmish between garrisons from rival towns in 123 B.C.E. Thompson interprets it as a perennial problem of law and order unrelated to tensions of the time (pp. 17-18).
Eldamaty's study of titles of Ptolemaic queens throws an interesting sidelight on political history using hieroglyphic sources. He surveys the whole Ptolemaic period and some of his most original conclusions concern the rise to power and legitimacy of Ptolemy IX and X (pp. 34-50). He shows that all queens who became co-rulers and therefore had a Horus title (except Berenike II, who ruled while Ptolemy III was in Syria) had helped to put their sons in power (p. 57). Cleopatra II, for example, was important for legitimating Ptolemy VIII's claim to power and the dual title the "Horuses" reflects her high status (pp. 33-34). Yet a queen ruling alone as a legitimate female Horus was never recognized and queens obtained cartouches only as co-rulers (pp. 50-51,57).
This last point is stressed in the article by Minas-Nerpal. She argues that the political power...