Coregencies are a familiar feature of Hellenistic dynastic strategy, which can usually be explained as a means of avoiding crises of succession or internal conflict, and of strengthening dynastic identity and ideology. However, precisely what relationship we intend to express with the conventional term ‘coregency’ is often left undetermined. This paper explores the validity of the term ‘coregency’ in describing the relationship between the authority and ideological role of Ptolemy II, king of the Ptolemaic Empire, and an enigmatic prince, known only as Ptolemy the Son, who appears alongside Ptolemy II in the dating formula between 268/7 and 259/8 BC. Through a consideration of the Mendes Stela and other sources, Ptolemy the Son is identified and the nature of his role in Ptolemy II’s dynastic strategy is clarified. The discussion concludes that the term ‘coregency’ does not reflect the nuances of power conveyed by the source material, and masks a deliberate differentiation of Ptolemy II’s ruling authority and pharaonic identity and Ptolemy the Son’s inferior, non-ruling status.
- Cultureal interaction
- Hellenistic Period