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Ptolemy V Epiphanes “the Apparent”

When Ptolemy IV died, his wife Arisnoe III ascended the throne although she was kept in the shadow during his reign. She put her son under her regency. Agathacoles and Sosibios hided the news of the death of King Ptolemy IV from the people of Alexandria and tried to kill Queen Arisnoe III so they hired a man called Philammon who was the lover Onanthe and Onanthe was the mother Agathacoles. Philammon succeeded in poisoning her. Then Sosibios and Agathacoles put the ashes of King Ptolemy IV’s body into silver urns then carried them announcing that both the King and the Queen died. However the people of Alexandria never believed that the Queen met a natural death. Moreover, they forged a will of the King that proclaimed both of Sosibios and Agathacoles guardians on the young king, Ptolemy V, then; they became the regents of the new King. After a short period of time, Sisobius died and Agathacoles became the sole ruler of the country. Sisobius was a wise man but Agathacoles surrounded himself with bad or notorious friends and put them in high positions and posts therefore the people of Alexandria really hated him and his family. There was a trial of an innocent Greek officer which sparked revolts in Alexandria. So as to humiliate this officer all through the trial, they forced him to stand up naked in the court. When the news reached the people of Alexandria, they rapidly began launching revolts. It was such a wild revolt that all the attendants left the court immediately. The officer found himself standing alone, then putting on his clothes, he went back to his unit. Then, the people –with the help of the royal guard– succeeded in snatching the young King from Agathacoles and his family who were in the royal palace then, they arrested both. Then the people took Agathacoles and his family to the stadium of Alexandria to be trialed. After a short trial, they were found guilty and condemned to death, but to carry out this execution, they should take the permission of the young king Ptolemy V. But since he was still a child, an officer stood behind the young King and raised one of the arms of the King as a kind of permission. Then the execution was carried out and their bodies had been torn into pieces. So as not to make the King witness a horrible death scene, one of the officers standing behind the young King covered the King’s eyes. Because Ptolemy V was still a child, he was placed under the regency of a Greek officer called Telipomus, but he wasn’t a good ruler because any word of praise turned his head, so he was replaced by Aristomines. Although Aristomines was a friend of Agathacoles, he was a good administrator. During the regency of Aristomines, Antiochus III invaded Coele-Syria and occupied it and this was called the Fifth Syrian War. However, Aristomines began negotiations with Antiochus III to avoid the war and at the end they reached an agreement. According to this agreement, King Ptolemy V was to marry the daughter of Antiochus III (she was called Cleopatra I). In return, her dowry should be the revenue of Coele-Syria given to Ptolemy V. This marriage and the coronation of Ptolemy V were recorded on the Rosetta Stone. Displayed now in the British Museum, the Rosetta Stone mentions the marriage between Ptolemy V and Cleopatra I as well as his ascension to the throne. When the King reached manhood, he married Cleopatra I and began to rule Egypt together. During his reign, the Egyptian revolts increased and the Egyptian people reached the highest positions in Egypt either in the army or in the administration.

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