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Anson Pens Book on Ancient Leader Ptolemy I

A UA Little Rock history professor and expert in the Hellenistic period has published a book on the history of Ptolemy I, a successor of Alexander the Great and pharaoh of ancient Egypt.

A longtime historian of Alexander the Great, Dr. Edward Anson, distinguished professor of history, added to that body of knowledge with the publication of “Ptolemy I Soter: Themes and Issues.” Bloomsbury published the 272-page book.

“He was one of Alexander the Great’s generals, and, after his death, one of his successors who created the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt which lasted from 323 BC until the death of Cleopatra VII,” Anson said. “He created the longest lasting of all the kingdoms that arose after the death of Alexander. He was likely responsible for the breakup of Alexander’s empire after the Conqueror’ death and the eventual emergence of his capital of Alexandria as the cultural center of the Greek cultural world.”

Cover of “Ptolemy I Soter: Themes and Issues”
Cover of “Ptolemy I Soter: Themes and Issues”

This book is not a standard biography, but rather an examination of the major issues surrounding Ptolemy’s reign, the major controversies and questions surrounding his career and legacy. Ptolemy’s administration of this foreign land, although privileging colonists from Greece and Macedonia over native Egyptians, maintained a level of political stability in a land with a long history of resisting foreign rule.

“He ruled a country of two very different peoples,” Anson said. “He was the traditional pharaoh for the native Egyptians and a Hellenistic king to the many Greek and Macedonian colonists. He handled both successfully.”

This work represents Anson’s 11th book. His next book will be an edited volume, “The Campaigns of Philip II and Alexander The Great,” that is due in 2023.

Anson said that he owes much of his scholarly success to research partners in Ottenheimer Library.

“My research over the years has only been possible as a result of those in the Ottenheimer Library and especially those in interlibrary loan,” he said.