Greek and Roman Rule of Ancient Egypt

When the Greeks conquered Egypt in 332 BC, the Late Period of Ancient Egyptian history came to an end. The Ptolemaic Dynasty, which the Greeks established, ruled for over 300 years, from 30 BC onward. The Romans conquered Egypt in 30 BC. Up until roughly 640 AD, the Romans dominated for more than 600 years.

Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great stormed from Greece to the Middle East and India in 332 BC, capturing most of the region. He conquered Egypt on the way. Egypt’s ruler was proclaimed to be Alexander. Along Egypt’s northern coast, he founded Alexandria as the nation’s capital.

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Alexander the Great’s generals split up his kingdom after his death. Ptolemy I Soter, one of his generals, rose to rule Egypt. In 305 BC, he founded the Ptolemaic Dynasty.

The Ptolemaic Period

The last dynasty in Ancient Egypt was the Ptolemaic Dynasty. Despite being Greek, Ptolemy I and successive kings adopted much of Ancient Egypt’s culture, including its religion. They also incorporated a number of elements of Greek culture into Egyptian society at the same period.

Egypt flourished for a long time during the Ptolemaic Dynasty’s control. Many temples were constructed in the New Kingdom architectural style. At its height, in 240 BC, Egypt had conquered much of the eastern Mediterranean Sea as well as Libya, Kush, Palestine, and Cyprus.


Alexandria rose to prominence in the Mediterranean region during this time. Between Asia, Africa, and Europe, it served as the principal trading port. Additionally, it served as the hub of Greek education and culture. With over a hundred thousand books, the Library of Alexandria held the record for greatest library in the world.

Decline of the Ptolemaic Dynasty

The Ptolemaic Dynasty started to wane after Ptolemy III’s death in 221 BC. Numerous rebellions broke out across the nation as a result of the corrupting of the administration. The Roman Empire was expanding at the same time and gaining control of most of the Mediterranean.

Battle with Rome

In order to defeat another Roman leader named Octavian, Pharaoh Cleopatra VII joined forces with Roman general Mark Antony in 31 BC. Cleopatra and Mark Antony were badly defeated when the two sides clashed at the Battle of Actium. Octavian landed in Alexandria a year later and routed the Egyptian army.

Roman Rule

Egypt officially became a Roman province in 30 BC. Under Roman administration, little changed in daily life in Egypt. As a grain supplier and a hub for trade, Egypt rose to prominence as one of Rome’s most significant provinces. For several hundred years, Rome derived a significant amount of income from Egypt. Egypt joined the Eastern Roman Empire (also known as Byzantium) after Rome’s division in the fourth century.

Egyptian Conquest by Muslims

In the seventh century, Egypt experienced ongoing eastern attacks. In 616, the Sassanids were the first to conquer it, and in 641, the Arabs were the next. Throughout the Middle Ages, the Arabs would continue to rule Egypt.

Egyptian History Under Greek and Roman Rule: Interesting Facts:

One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World was the Lighthouse of Alexandria.

The previous Egyptian pharaoh was Cleopatra VII. When the Romans took control of Alexandria, she committed suicide.

Later, as the first Roman Emperor, Octavian adopted the name Augustus.

Caesarion is the name of the boy Cleopatra and Julius Caesar had. He adopted the name Ptolemy XV as well.

The Egyptian province was known to the Romans as “Aegyptus.”