Before he became Ptolemy, Physcon married his brother’s wife and, on their wedding night, had her child (a potential rival) killed. The happy couple had a son of their own; when the boy was 12, Physcon had him dismembered and sent the pieces to the mother, legendarily on her birthday. He promoted mob rule and civil war, earning the nickname Kakergetes (”Malefactor”). His purges of intellectuals destroyed Alexandria’s famed cultural life for a century. Green writes: “This Ptolemy had huge appetites for power and every kind of sensual gratification, no moral restraints of any kind, an alarming mixture of political shrewdness and megalomaniac fantasy, and enough wealth to satisfy his every whim.” Oh yes, he also hated Jews.
Dec 31, 2008
Sure Rod Blogajevich is a fool. But he's a lightweight when compared to the political monsters of old. In Peter Green's book "The Hellenistic Age" you can read about a time when politicians turned bad decision-making into an art. Here's an excerpt from a short review in today's New York Times: