Alexander’s victories over Darius, and march to the river Indus, are no part of this history: it is enough to say that he died at Babylon eight years after he had entered Egypt; and his half-brother Philip Arridaeus, a weak-minded, unambitious young man, was declared by the generals assembled at Babylon to be his successor. His royal blood united more voices in the army in his favour than the warlike and statesmanlike character of any one of the rival generals. They were forced to be content with sharing the provinces between them as his lieutenants; some hoping to govern by their power over the weak mind of Arridaeus, and others secretly meaning to make themselves independent.
In this weighty matter, Ptolemy showed the wisdom and judgment which had already gained him his high character. Though his military rank and skill were equal to those of any one of Alexander’s generals, and his claim by birth perhaps equal to that of Arridaeous, he was not one of those who aimed at the throne; nor did he even aim at the second place, but left to Perdiccas the regency, with the care of the king’s person, in whose name that ambitious general vainly hoped to govern the whole of Alexander’s conquests. But Ptolemy, more wisely measuring his strength with the several tasks, chose the province of Egypt, the province which, cut off as it was from the rest by sea and desert, was of all others the easiest to be held as an independent kingdom against the power of Perdiccas. When Egypt was given to Ptolemy by the council of generals, Cleomenes was at the same time and by the same power made second in command, and he governed Egypt for one year before Ptolemy’s arrival, that being in name the first year of the reign of Philip Arridaeus, or, according to the chronologer’s mode of dating, the first year after Alexander’s death.
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CHAPTER II—EGYPT UNDER PTOLEMY SOTER
Ptolemy governs Egypt, overcomes Perdiccas, and founds a dynasty.
Ptolemy Lagus was one of those who, at the death of Alexander, had raised their voices against giving the whole of the conquered countries to one king; he wished that they should have been shared equally among the generals as independent kingdoms. In this he was overruled, and he accepted his government as the lieutenant of the youthful Philip Arridaeus, though no doubt with the fixed purpose of making Egypt an independent kingdom. On reaching Memphis, the seat of his government, his whole thoughts were turned towards strengthening himself against Perdiccas, who hoped to be obeyed, in the name of his young and weak-minded king, by all his fellow generals.