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Ptolemy VIII – 145-116 BC

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Monetary History of Egypt

Ptolemaic Dynasty

Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II

(Physcon=”pot belly”)

170-163 BC & 145-116BC

Brother of Ptolemy VI – Uncle Ptolemy VII

Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II (Physcon=”pot belly”) was the eighth ruler of the Ptolemaic Dynasty. He was the younger brother of Ptolemy VI and the uncle to Ptolemy VII. He was born the son of Ptolemy V and his Syrian wife Cleopatra I.

At first, Ptolemy VIII shared the throne with his brother Ptolemy VI. When his elder brother fled to Rome, Ptolemy VIII ruled Egypt He ruled as a very unpopular king. The Alexandrians pleaded for the return of Ptolemy VI and a settlement was achieved with Ptolemy VIII leaving Egypt receiving the western province of Cyrenaica in return.

Upon the death of his brother, the throne of Egypt passed to his yound son – Ptolemy VII. However, this presented an opportunity and Ptolemy VIII invaded Egypt forcing his young nephew to share the throne. To insure his own status, he married his brother’s wife (also his sister) Cleopatra II. During the wedding feast, the plot was completed. Ptolemy VIII murdered his young nephew becoming sole ruler of Egypt.

Ptolemy VIII was still not finished. He returned to Memphis as Pharaoh and expulsed many of the Alexandrians who had sided against him. In 142 BC, he took Cleopatra II’s daughter,Cleopatra III, as his wife with whom he had several sons.

Cleopatra II naturally opposed Ptolemy VIII and even managed to raise an army, which briefly expelled him from Egypt. His reign was one of a very unpopular ruler and he died on June 26th, 116 BC leaving power to Cleopatra III and whichever of her sons she preferred.

Monetary System

Note: No coinage was struck with his own image. We also find an absence of gold coinage during his reign.


Ptolemy VIII Tetradrachm Ptolemy I

Postumous Coinage Ptolemy I

AR Tetradrachm (14.2 grams)
AR Didrachm (6.0 grams) Paphos mint

Ptolemy VIII AE Zeus

With Portrait Zeus


Monetary History of the World
 ©Martin A. Armstrong