Ptolemy Apion
Naples Archaeology Museum (5914186263).jpg
Portrait of Ptolemy Apion from Herculaneum, presently located at the National Archaeological Museum, Naples.
King of Cyrene
Born150-145 BC
Cyrene (?)
Died96 BC
GreekΠτολεμαῖος Ἀπίων
HousePtolemaic dynasty
FatherPtolemy VIII Physcon
MotherEirene of Cyrene

Ptolemy Apion or simply known as Apion (Ancient Greek: Πτολεμαῖος Ἀπίων; between 150 BC and 145 BC – 96 BC) was the last Greek King of Cyrenaica who separated it from the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, and in his last will bequeathed his country to Rome.[1] He was a member of the Ptolemaic dynasty.


Ptolemy was the son of the Greek prince, King of Cyrene and future Pharaoh of Egypt Ptolemy VIII Physcon and his third wife, Eirene (Irene).[2] Ptolemy's paternal uncle was the Pharaoh Ptolemy VI Philometor[3] and his paternal aunt was the princess and queen Cleopatra II of Egypt.[3] His paternal grandparents were Pharaoh Ptolemy V Epiphanes[2] and Queen Cleopatra I of Egypt,[2] who was one the Greek princesses of the Seleucid Empire.

Ptolemy's mother, Eirene (Irene), may actually have been named Ithaca, according to the Roman Jewish historian Josephus. Little is known of Eirene's origins, apart from the fact she came from Cyrenaica. She was a mistress of Physcon's and was among his concubines. Eirene served as Physcon's mistress from 150 BC til 127 BC. Eirene accompanied Physcon in 145 BC to Egypt when he became pharaoh and succeeded his brother Ptolemy VI.[4]

Ptolemy was most probably born in Cyrene, the capital of Cyrenaica, but was raised and educated in his father's court in Egypt.[citation needed] Until 116 BC, he most probably lived in Egypt. Ptolemy never held a royal Egyptian title. In 116 BC, Ptolemy's father had died. From Physcon's will, Ptolemy inherited Cyrenaica and, in that year, ascended the throne without any political opposition.

Little is recorded of Ptolemy's reign of Cyrenaica. Ptolemy died in 96 BC and he implemented the terms of his father's will for Cyrenaica. He never married and had no heirs. In Ptolemy's will, he left Cyrenaica and his ancestral royal estates to the rule of the Roman Republic. Physcon had planned this for Cyrenaica after Ptolemy's death.

Ptolemy's ancestral estates were occupied by locals in the 1st century. The occupiers of the estates needed assistance from the Roman emperor Nero, to legalise the land title through their occupations, thereby vesting ownership in them.


  1. ^ "Ptolemy Apion | Ruler of Cyrenaica". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2021-09-15.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ a b c "Ptolemy VIII Physcon - Livius". Retrieved 2017-09-28.
  3. ^ a b "Ptolemy V Epiphanes - Livius". Retrieved 2017-09-28.
  4. ^ Josephus, Flavius (1889). The Works of Josephus: With a Life Written by Himself. New York: A.C. Armstrong & Son. p. 415.