Ptolemy II. Philadelphus was the son of Berenice, second wife of Ptolemy I., who had accepted him as a co-ruler in 285 BC. Ptolemy II. took over a powerful and prosperous empire from his father and even improved its state during his long (nearly forty years) reign.
Ptolemy II. respected Egyptian traditions like his father, but he much more supported all Greek. He confirmed the priviledges of the Egyptian priests, but also favored the position of Greek settlers at the same time. Ptolemy II allocated land to the temples, but even to a greater extent provided it to Greek immigrants and his Greek-Macedonian veterans.
Ptolemy II. and Arsinoe II.
Ptolemy II. married his own eight years elder sister Arsinoe II in 278 BC, who was first married to Lysimachus. She let executed his son from his first marriage in favor of her three sons. After the death of Lysimachus she fled to the Macedonian Cassandreia and was a wife of her half-brother Ptolemy Keraunos for a short time. Then she married Ptolemy II. and both of them let worship themselves as divine siblings. A principle of incest was established that way in this dynasty, as well as the brutal elimination of political competition.
Ptolemy strengthened the Egyptian dominion and took advantage of the weakening of the Seleucid Syria at the same time. Egypt included Phoenicia and Arabia (except a part of Syrian territory), Ethiopia, Cyrenaica, important areas in Asia Minor and some islands in the Aegean Sea. Ptolemy II. tried to gain a leading position for Egypt among Hellenistic states, so Egypt resemble a maritime empire, which depended on power and mobility of its fleet, at the time of its high boom in 3rd century BC. The main obstacle for the Ptolemaic dynasty were the Seleucids. The tension between them escalated into a series of conflicts known as the Syrian wars.
Ptolemy II. captured the international importance of the growing Roman power. The exchange of diplomatic delegations between Rome and Egypt in 273 BC formed the basis of friendly political contancts that strengthened Egypt and Rome in their relation to Macedonia and Syria.
Ptolemy II. Philadelphus