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Ptolemy Keraunos (Greek: Πτολεμαῖος Κεραυνός, died 279 BC) was the King of Macedon from 281 BC to 279 BC.

He was the eldest son of Ptolemy I Soter, ruler of Egypt, and his third wife Eurydice, daughter of Antipater. His younger half-brother, also called Ptolemy, became heir apparent and, in 282 BC, ascended to the throne as Ptolemy II. Ptolemy Keraunos had left Egypt and arrived at the court of Lysimachus, the king of Thrace, Macedon, and part of Asia Minor. His half-sister, Arsinoe, later to be named Arsinoe II of Egypt, was wife of Lysimachus.

While staying in the court of Lysimachus, Arsinoe's intrigues led to the accusation of Lysimachus' first son, Agathokles, on treason and to his execution. Keraunos sided with his other sister (from the same mother) Lyssandra, who was Agathokles' wife, and accompanied her to the court of Seleucus in the East to solicit his aid. Seeing an opportunity to intervene for his own gain in the politics of both Lysimachan Thrace and Ptolemaic Egypt, Seleucus prepared an expedition against Lysimachus shortly afterwards.

Seizes the Macedonian Throne

After Lysimachus' defeat and death in the battle of Corupedium in 281 BC, against Seleucus I Nicator, Ptolemy Keraunos murdered Seleucus I, because he saw that he had no intention to support him or his sister to gain the throne of Macedon. Then, the Macedonian army named him king. To stabilize his throne, Ptolemy asked his half-sister Arsinoe, the widow of Lysimachus, to marry him. In 281 BC he made an alliance with Pyrrhus of Epirus. His only rival, Antigonos Gonatas (Greek : Αντίγονος Γονατάς), son of the ex-king of Macedon, Demetrius I Poliorketes (Greek : Δημήτριος Πολιορκητής), was confined in the city of Demetriada, Thessaly, and so Keraunos' power extended to south Greece as well.

Arsinoe was not happy with the situation. While he was away on a campaign, she conspired against him from the capital, Cassandrea (Greek : Κασσάνδρεια), with the aid of her sons. Keraunos quickly captured Cassandrea, and killed Arsinoe's two younger sons, while the eldest fled north to the kingdom of the Dardanians and Arsinoe herself fled to Egypt, where she married her own brother Ptolemy II and became Arsinoe II.


However, although Ptolemy Keraunos was at the zenith of his power, he did not live much afterwards. He was killed in 279 b.C. in the wars against the Gauls of Bolgius who conducted a series of mass raids against Macedon and the rest of Greece. His death brought anarchy to the Greek states, since none of his successors were able to bring stability. This situation lasted about two years, until Antigonos Gonatas defeated the Gauls in the battle near Lysimachia, Thrace, in 277 BC After this victory he was recognized king of Macedon and his power extended eventually also to south Greece.

Keraunos is Greek for "Thunder" or "Thunderbolt".

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Preceded by
King of Macedon
281–279 BC
Succeeded by


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