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A Manual of Ancient History by A. H. L. Heeren

Cyrene was now seized by Ptolemy


3.

Ptolemy likewise extends his territory within Africa, by the capture of Cyrene; in consequence of which Libya, or the neighbouring countries betwixt Cyrene and Egypt, fell under his dominion. It is probable, also, that even in his reign the frontier of the Egyptian empire was advanced into Aethiopia; but for this assertion we have no positive authority.

The fall of Cyrene was brought about by domestic broils: at the time the place was besieged by Thimbron, a portion of the exiled nobles fled to Ptolemy; the Egyptian prince commanded that they should be reinstated by his general Ophellas, who took possession of the town itself, 321. An insurrection in 312 was quelled by Agis, Ptolemy's general: nevertheless it would appear that Ophellas had almost established his independence, when, by the treachery of Agathocles, with whom he had entered into a league against Carthage, he perished, about 308. Cyrene was now seized by Ptolemy, and given to his son Magas, who ruled over it fifty years.

4. With respect to the internal government of Egypt, our information is far from complete. The division into districts or nomes was continued; subject perhaps, in some cases, to alterations. The power of the king appears to have been unlimited; the extreme provinces were administered by governors, appointed by the sovereign; similar officers were probably placed at the head of the various districts of Egypt

itself; but hardly any document relative to the home department of that country has reached our time. High public situations, at least in the capital, appear exclusively reserved to Macedonians or Greeks; no Egyptian is ever mentioned as holding office.

There were four magistrates at Alexandria: the Exegetes, whose office was to provide for the wants of the city; the Chief Judge; the Hypomnematographus--(Registrar of the archives?)--and the [Greek: Strategos nykterinos], no doubt, the supervisor of the police, whose duty it was to watch over the peace of the city at night. We have the express testimony of Strabo, that these offices, which continued under the Romans, had already existed under the kings; whether their establishment can be dated as far back as the time of Ptolemy I. is a question that does not admit of a solution.--The number of the districts or nomes appears to have been augmented; probably with a political view, in order that no governor or monarch should be invested with too great a share of power.

5. Be that as it may, it is an undoubted fact, that the ancient national constitution and administration were not entirely obliterated. The caste of priests, together with the national religion, continued to exist; and though the influence of the former was considerably diminished, it did not entirely cease. A certain sort of worship was, by appointed priests, paid to the kings, both in their lifetime and after their death. Memphis, though not the usual residence of the court, remained the capital of the kingdom; there the ceremony of coronation was performed; and its temple of Phtha was still the head sanctuary. What influence had not the religion of the Egyptians upon that of the Greeks! It were difficult to say which nation borrowed most from the other.


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