Tryphé (Greek: τρυφἠ ) – variously glossed as "softness","voluptuousness", "magnificence" and "extravagance", none fully adequate – is a concept that drew attention (and severe criticism) in Roman antiquity when it became a significant factor in the reign of the Ptolemaic dynasty. Classical authors such as Aeschines and Plutarch condemned the tryphé of Romans such as Crassus and Lucullus, which included lavish dinner parties and ostentatious buildings. But there was more to Ptolemaic tryphé than dissipative excess, which after all can be pursued in residential or geographical seclusion, and for purely private purposes. It was a component of a calculated political strategy, in that it deployed not just conspicuous consumption but also conspicuous magnificence, beneficence and feminine delicacy, as a self-reinforcing cluster of signal propaganda concepts in the Ptolemaic dynasty.
Ancient Egypt was a civilization of ancient Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River, situated in the place that is now the country Egypt. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric Egypt and coalesced around 3100 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under Menes. The history of ancient Egypt occurred as a series of stable kingdoms, separated by periods of relative instability known as Intermediate Periods: the Old Kingdom of the Early Bronze Age, the Middle Kingdom of the Middle Bronze Age and the New Kingdom of the Late Bronze Age.
Imhotep was an Egyptian chancellor to the Pharaoh Djoser, probable architect of Djoser's step pyramid, and high priest of the sun god Ra at Heliopolis. Very little is known of Imhotep as a historical figure, but in the 3,000 years following his death, he was gradually glorified and deified.
The Ptolemaic dynasty, the Thirty-third dynasty of Egypt, sometimes referred to as the Lagid dynasty, was a Macedonian Greek royal dynasty which ruled the Ptolemaic Kingdom in Ancient Egypt during the Hellenistic period. Their rule lasted for 275 years, from 305 to 30 BC. The Ptolemaic was the last dynasty of ancient Egypt.
The 2nd century BC started the first day of 200 BC and ended the last day of 101 BC. It is considered part of the Classical era, although depending on the region being studied, other terms may be more suitable. It is also considered to be the end of the Axial Age. In the context of the Eastern Mediterranean, it is the mid-point of the Hellenistic period.
Cleopatra VII Philopator, often referred to simply as Cleopatra, was Queen of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, and its last active ruler. A member of the Ptolemaic dynasty, she was a descendant of its founder Ptolemy I Soter, a Macedonian Greek general and companion of Alexander the Great. After the death of Cleopatra, Egypt became a province of the Roman Empire, marking the end of the second to last Hellenistic state and the age that had lasted since the reign of Alexander. Her native language was Koine Greek, and she was the only Ptolemaic ruler to learn the Egyptian language.
Ptolemy I Soter was a Greek general, historian and companion of Alexander the Great of the Kingdom of Macedon in northern Greece who became ruler of Egypt, part of Alexander's former empire. Ptolemy was pharaoh of Ptolemaic Egypt from 305/304 BC to his death. He was the founder of the Ptolemaic dynasty, which ruled Egypt until the death of Cleopatra in 30 BC, turning the country into a Hellenistic kingdom and Alexandria into a center of Greek culture.
Ptolemy IV Philopator was the fourth pharaoh of Ptolemaic Egypt from 221 to 204 BC.
Antiochus III the Great was a Greek Hellenistic king and the 6th ruler of the Seleucid Empire. He ruled over the region of Syria and large parts of the rest of western Asia towards the end of the 3rd century BC. Rising to the throne at the age of eighteen in 222 BC, his early campaigns against the Ptolemaic Kingdom were unsuccessful, but in the following years Antiochus gained several military victories and substantially expanded the empire's territory. His traditional designation, the Great, reflects an epithet he assumed. He also assumed the title Basileus Megas, the traditional title of the Persian kings. A militarily active ruler, Antiochus restored much of the territory of the Seleucid Empire, before suffering a serious setback, towards the end of his reign, in his war against Rome.
Antiochus VIII Epiphanes/Callinicus/Philometor, nicknamed Grypus, was the ruler of the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire from 125 to 96 BC. He was the younger son of Demetrius II and Cleopatra Thea. He may have spent his early life in Athens and returned to Syria after the deaths of his father and brother Seleucus V. At first he was joint ruler with his mother. Fearing her influence, Antiochus VIII had Cleopatra Thea poisoned in 121 BC.
Ptolemy XII Neos Dionysos Philopator Philadelphos was a Pharaoh of the Ptolemaic dynasty of Ancient Egypt. He was commonly known as Auletes, referring to the king's love of playing the flute in Dionysian festivals. As a member of the Ptolemaic dynasty, he was a descendant of its founder, Ptolemy I.
Cleopatra V was a Ptolemaic Queen of Egypt. She is the only surely attested wife of Ptolemy XII. Her only known child is Berenice IV, but she was also probably the mother of Cleopatra VII. It is unclear if she died around the time of Cleopatra VII's birth in 69 BC, or if it was her or a daughter named Cleopatra VI who co-ruled Ptolemaic Egypt with Berenice IV in 58–57 BC during the political exile of Ptolemy XII to Rome.
The Hellenistic period spans the period of Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire, as signified by the Battle of Actium in 31 BC and the conquest of Ptolemaic Egypt the following year. The period of Greece prior to the Hellenistic era is known as Classical Greece, while the period afterwards is known as Roman Greece. The Ancient Greek word Hellas was originally the widely recognized name of Greece, from which the word Hellenistic was derived. "Hellenistic" is distinguished from "Hellenic" in that the first encompasses all territories under direct ancient Greek influence, while the latter refers to Greece itself. Instead, the term "Hellenistic" refers to that which is influenced by Greek culture, in this case, the East after the conquests of Alexander the Great.
Cleopatra II Selene was the monarch of Syria from 82 to 69 BC. The daughter of Ptolemy VIII and Cleopatra III of Egypt, Cleopatra Selene was favoured by her mother and became a pawn in Cleopatra III's political manoeuvres. In 115 BC, Cleopatra III forced her son Ptolemy IX to divorce his sister-wife Cleopatra IV, and chose Cleopatra Selene as the new queen consort of Egypt. Tension between the king and his mother grew and ended with his expulsion from Egypt, leaving Cleopatra Selene behind; she probably then married the new king, her other brother Ptolemy X.
Arsinoe of Macedon was a Macedonian noblewoman and the mother of Ptolemy, Pharaoh of Egypt.
The Ptolemaic Kingdom was an Ancient Greek state based in Egypt during the Hellenistic Period. It was founded in 305 BC by Ptolemy I Soter, a companion of Alexander the Great, and lasted until the death of Cleopatra VII in 30 BC. Ruling for nearly three centuries, the Ptolemies were the longest and most recent Egyptian dynasty of ancient origin.
Coinage was used in the Ptolemaic Kingdom during the last dynasty of Egypt and, briefly, during Roman rule of Egypt.
The early life of Cleopatra VII of Ptolemaic Egypt began with her birth in early 69 BC to reigning pharaoh Ptolemy XII Auletes and her unknown mother, and lasted until her accession to the throne by March 51 BC. During her early childhood, Cleopatra was brought up in the palace of Alexandria in Egypt and received a primarily-Hellenistic Greek education from her tutor, Philostratos. By adulthood she was well-versed in many languages, including Egyptian, Ethiopian, Hebrew, Arabic, Median, Parthian, Latin, and her native Koine Greek.
The race of Cleopatra VII, the last active Hellenistic ruler of the Macedonian-led Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, has caused some debate in scholarly and non-scholarly circles. For example, the article "Was Cleopatra Black?" was published in Ebony magazine in 2002. Mary Lefkowitz, Professor Emerita of Classical Studies at Wellesley College, traces the origins of the Black Cleopatra claim to the 1946 book by J.A. Rogers called "World's Great Men of Color." Lefkowitz refutes Rogers' hypothesis, on various scholarly grounds. The black Cleopatra claim was further revived in an essay by afrocentrist John Henrik Clarke, chair of African history at Hunter College, entitled "African Warrior Queens." Lefkowitz notes the essay includes the claim that Cleopatra described herself as black in the New Testament's Book of Acts – when in fact Cleopatra had died more than sixty years before the death of Jesus Christ.
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