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Tetradrachm issued by Ptolemy V Epiphanes, British Museum

Ptolemy V Epiphanes (Greek: Πτολεμαῖος Ἐπιφανής, Ptolemaĩos Epiphanḗs, reigned 204181 BCE), son of Ptolemy IV Philopator and Arsinoe III of Egypt, was the 5th ruler of the Ptolemaic dynasty. He became ruler at the age of five, and under a series of regents the kingdom was paralyzed.

Ptolemy Epiphanes was only a small boy when his father, Ptolemy Philopator, died. The two leading favorites of Philopator, Agathocles and Sosibius, fearing that Arsinoe would secure the regency had her murdered before she heard of her husband's death, which secured the regency for themselves. In 202 BCE however Tlepolemus, the general in charge of Pelusium, put himself at the head of a revolt. Once Epiphanes was in the hands of Tlepolemus he was persuaded to give a sign that the killers of his mother should be killed. According to Bevan the child king's consent was given more from fear than anything else and Agathocles along with several of his supporters being killed by the Alexandrian mob [1].

Antiochus III the Great and Philip V of Macedon made a pact to divide the Ptolemaic possessions overseas. Philip seized several islands and places in Caria and Thrace, whilst the Battle of Panium (198 BCE) definitely transferred Coele-Syria, including Judea, from the Ptolemies to the Seleucids.

Antiochus after this concluded peace, giving his own daughter Cleopatra I to Epiphanes to marry (193192 BCE). Nevertheless, when war broke out between Antiochus and Rome, Egypt ranged itself with the latter power. Epiphanes in manhood was remarkable as a passionate sportsman; he excelled in athletic exercises and the chase.

Ptolemaic Empire in 200 BC, during the reign of Ptolemy V (before the 2nd invasion of Antiochus III).

Great cruelty and perfidy were displayed in the suppression of the native rebellion, and some accounts represent him as personally tyrannical. In 197 BCE Lycopolis was held by the forces of Ankmachis, (also known as Chaonnophris) the secessionist pharaoh of Upper Egypt, but was forced to withdraw to Thebes. The war between North and South continued until 185 BCE with the arrest of Ankmachis by Ptolemaic General Conanus.

In 183 BCE/184 BCE The rebels in Lower Egypt surrendered on the basis of terms that Epiphanes had given his personal to honour. However, showing himself in the opinion of Bevan treacherous and vindictive he had them put to death in a cruel manner.[1].

The Rosetta Stone was a statement of thanks to the Egyptian priesthood for help during the crisis.

The elder of his two sons, Ptolemy VI Philometor (181145 BCE), succeeded as an infant under the regency of his mother Cleopatra the Syrian. Her death was followed by a rupture between the Ptolemaic and Seleucid courts, on the old question of Coele-Syria.

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Preceded by
Ptolemy IV Philopator
Ptolemaic dynasty
204-181 BCE
Succeeded by
Ptolemy VI Philometor

Notes

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