| Famous Men of Greece|
|by John H. Haaren|
|Attractive biographical sketches of thirty-five of the most prominent characters in the history of ancient Greece, from legendary times to its fall in 146 B.C. Each story is told in a clear, simple manner, and is well calculated to awaken and stimulate the youthful imagination. Ages 9-12 |
 ONE of Alexander's favorite generals was Ptolemy. In the
division of the Empire Egypt was placed in his charge.
Other parts of the Empire were intrusted to other generals.
One had Macedonia, another Thrace, another Syria. At first
they ruled as governors for Alexander's young son, but after
a while they became independent and were called kings.
Ptolemy and his descendants ruled Egypt for more than three
hundred and fifty years. They were a great line of
sovereigns and did much for the good of the country. We are
accustomed to think of them as Egyptians, but really they
were Greeks living in Egypt.
One of Ptolemy's first acts, and one which shows that he was
a man of affectionate feeling, was to bring the body of
Alexander from Babylon to Egypt. It was first buried in
Memphis but afterward removed to Alexandria, because, as you
 remember, this city was founded by Alexander and named after
Ptolemy made Alexandria his capital and did a great deal to
beautify the city. He founded a museum and began collecting
books for a library.
His son, Ptolemy Philadelphus, carried on this work and made
the library the largest and best in the world. Most of the
books were made of the pith of the papyrus or paper plant,
of which you have read in the story of Pisistratus. They
were written in Greek and Latin.
Ptolemy appreciated the intelligence and learning of the
Jews and treated them with so much kindness and gave them so
many liberties that great numbers of them settled in Egypt.
PTOLEMY PHILADELPHUS GIVES LIBERTY TO THE JEWS
 Two things that Ptolemy Philadelphus did are especially
worth remembering. One was to cause the Bible of the Jews
to be translated into Greek; the other was to open again a
great canal which had been dug many centuries before from
the Nile to the Red Sea, but had long been filled up by the
drifting sand of the desert. This was something like the
cutting of the Suez Canal.
Ptolemy's canal connected the Atlantic with the Indian
Ocean. Ships could sail from the Atlantic across the
Mediterranean, then through the canal and the Red Sea, and
on to India.
At that time Egypt raised more wheat than any other country
in the world, so she had a great commerce. In exchange for
her wheat she bought the products of Europe and Asia, and
Alexandria became the richest city of the world.
But, more than that, the Ptolemies, especially Philadelphus,
invited learned men to their court and gave them support so
that they might carry on their own studies and teach others.
At one time there were 14,000 students receiving instruction
in the city. Thus Alexandria became the home of learning.
It was there that pupils were first taught that the earth is
round, and one of the great astronomers who lived there
found out very nearly the length of the earth's
circumference and diameter.
 The people of Alexandria knew more about these things two
hundred years before Christ than the people of Europe did a
thousand years after. The science of
to-day about which you hear so much is only the continuation
of what was begun by the wonderful Greeks whom the Ptolemies
gathered about them in Alexandria.
One of the Ptolemy line was the celebrated Cleopatra, an
able ruler and the most fascinating woman of her time. You
will read something of her history in
"Famous Men of Rome,"
a companion volume to this book.
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