Greek chronological framework
- 332 - 30 BC
- This period is known as the Ptolemaic period, when the Ptolemies were in
control of Egypt. "Ptolemies" is a catch-all term for the Greek rulers of
Egypt, who all descended from the founder of their dynasty, the first
Ptolemy, a general in the army ofAlexander the Great who conquered Egypt in 332 BC. The male members of
the dynasty were all called Ptolemy (I, II, III, etc.), the female members were
called ABC (Arsinoe I, II, III etc., Berenice I, II, III etc. and Cleopatra I,
II, III etc.). The famous Cleopatra was not only the seventh, but also the
- 30 BC - AD 284
- This is the period of Roman rule. Octavian (later known as Augustus) defeated
the last Cleopatra and took control of Egypt. Officially Roman rule ended only
in AD 640 with the coming of the Arabs, but AD 284 is a convenient break. That
year the emperor Diocletian started to reorganize the imperial administration,
which was in shambles.
- AD 284 - 450
- This is the long fourth century, which started with the reforms of Diocletian
and his successors (notably Constantine the Great) and ended with the death of
the emperor Theodosius II. At the same time Egypt turned Christian.
- AD 451 - 640
- This is the long sixth century starting with the church council held at
Chalcedon and dominated by the reign of the emperor Justinian I (527 - 565).
This period is also known as the late antique or early Byzantine period.
- after AD 640
- This is the period of early Arab rule. Greek was still being used for all kinds
of purposes until about the middle of the eighth century AD.
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Last updated by Suzanne Corr on 5/10/95