Egypt Ptolemy I Tetradrachm 323 - 288 BC.

Obv: Head of Alexander the Great right in elephant scalp. Rev: Athena Alkidemos standing right eagle before. Metal: Silver 15.58 grams, 28 mm diameter. Condition: good VF.

History Egypt Ptolemy I as Satrap

When Alexander left Egypt to conquer the rest of the world. He left Cleomenes as Satrap over Egypt. He later sent Ptolemy a trusted general and boyhood friend. Ptolemy discovered that Cleomenes was extorting money and robbing the temples in Alexander's name and Ptolemy had Cleomenes executed. When Alexander died and the empire was divided up, Ptolemy, anticipating rivalry, wisely chose Egypt. Egypt was the easiest province to defend and the easiest to administer. The Egyptian people had always lived at a subsistance level, with all surplus belonging to the kingdom/king. The previous Persian leaders had left an efficient infrastructure in place for accumulating the kings wealth. Ptolemy moved to Egypt officially as part of the "diadochi" (followers) and reporting to the "diodochi" council in Babylon. To legitamize his rule, he married the daughter of the previous pharaoh. Meanwhile, Alexander's body was prepared for the trip back to Macedon. Ptolemy intercepted the body en route and brought it to Egypt for burial. Alexander's body gave Ptolemy a political and religious advantage. This was observed by the rival general "Perdiccas" who took this as an excuse to invade Egypt. In 321 BC, Perdiccas attacked with a strong army of 25,000 men including 5,000 calvary, but the attack was repulsed. Over the next few years, the various Satraps consolodated their power. Ptolemy continued the Egyptian philosophy that labor could only be paid at a subsistance level "the bronze law". This law permitted the state bank of Egypt to virtually control all the enterprises in the country and the flow of all gold and silver. Power struggles amoungst the members of the "diadochi" developed. Ptolemy lost Palestine to "Antigones" and withdrew from Cyprus to protect Egypt. He held "Antigones" off but wars and alliances continued. "Antigones" agreed to a peace treaty after the battle at Gaza was lost in 312 BC. In 306 BC, Ptolemy lost a sea battle for Cyprus. In 301 BC, "Antogones" was defeated at the battle of Ipsus and as spoils Egypt got Palestine, and lower Syria.