Greek and Roman Rule

When the Egyptian history came to an end, it was 332 B.C.  This was a period of time where the Greeks went to war with the Egyptians and they won.


It was during this time that the Greeks made their own dynasty and it was called the Ptolemaic Dynasty.

This dynasty lasted for almost 300 years.

It wasn’t until 30 B.C. that the Romans went to war with the Greeks and they took over the lands.

They ruled for over 600 years.  Their rule lasted until 640 A.D.

Alexander the Great

During the reign of the Greeks, Alexander the Great became their leader.  He went to war and conquered Egypt and much of the Middle East including India.

The Egyptians decided that Alexander should be the next pharaoh of Egypt and be made the capital Alexandria which was located on the boarder of Egypt.

When he died, Alexander the Great divided his kingdom to his generals and this is when his general, Ptolemy I Soter became the next pharaoh of Egypt.

He is the one who created the Ptolemaic Dynasty.

Alexander the Great

Ptolemaic Dynasty

The Greek dynasty, the Ptolemaic Dynasty was the last dynasty that was seen by the Egyptians.

This dynasty was ruled by Ptolemy I and during this time, everything changed for the Egyptians.


During the Ptolemaic Dynasty, religion changed.

Even though some of the Egyptian religious ideas stayed the same, many of the Greek ideas begin to play a role and change the ways of the Egyptians.


It was during the Ptolemaic Dynasty that many buildings and temples were built.

They were built in the Egyptian style and the land expanded to Libya, Cyprus, Palestine, Kush and past the Mediterranean Sea.

City of Alexandria

One of the biggest and most wealthy cities was Alexandria.

This was a city that was important because it was a place of trade for the Greeks.

This area was where the Greeks were able to trade with Asia, Europe and Africa.

Alexandria was a place where people could go and learn, and it was a place that had the biggest library in the world.

There were thousands of books and documents in the Alexandrian library.

City of Alexandria

Fall of the Ptolemaic Dynasty

After years of ruling, Ptolemy III died, and this caused the Ptolemaic Dynasty to start to get weak.

The government had all kinds of things going on and people were against the government and secretly fought against it.

The Roman Empire was becoming stronger and they began to take over parts of the world including parts of the Mediterranean.

Roman Battle

Pharaoh Cleopatra VII, in 31 B.C. decided that it would be best if she would join forces with the Roman general called Mark Antony.

They went to war against another Roman, a leader named Octavian.

They fought in a battle called the Battle of Actium and this is where Mark Antony and Cleopatra VII were defeated and then a year later, Octavian also fought against Alexandria and beat the Egyptian army.

Roman Empire

Egypt at this point in 30 B.C. became part of the Roman rule.

Their life changed and the Roman’s had a different culture and life than the Egyptians did.

Rome was a place that was a trade place and was one of the most important areas during the time.

Since this place was so important, Egypt helped to bring a lot of wealth to the Romans.

In the 4th century though, things changed, and Rome decided to split.

This is when Egypt became part of the Eastern Roman Empire.  The Eastern Roman Empire was called Byzantium.

Muslim Rule

During the 7th Century, Egypt was always being attacked.

These attacks mostly happened in the east.  In 616, they were attacked by the Sassanids and they were defeated.  Then in 641, they were defeated again by the Arabs.

Egypt became under the rule of the Arabs until the Middle Ages.

More Facts About Greek and Roman Rule:

  • One of the Seven Wonders of the World is found in Alexandria. It was a lighthouse.
  • Egypt was called “Aegyptus” by the Romans.
  • Octavian changed his name to Augustus when he became the first Emperor of Rome.
  • Cleopatra VII was the last pharaoh that ever ruled in Egypt.
  • Cleopatra VII died by killing herself when Octavian took control of Alexandria.
  • Julius Caesar and Cleopatra VII had a son together and his name was Caesarion.
  • Caesarion also was called Ptolemy XV.

What Did You Learn?

  1. When did the Egyptians lose their total power?  The Egyptians lost total power in 332 B.C.
  2. Who were the first people to beat the Egyptians? The Greeks were the first people to beat the Egyptians.
  3. Who beat the Greeks? The Romans beat the Greeks.
  4. What was the dynasty called that the Greeks formed? The Greeks formed the Ptolemaic Dynasty.
  5. Who was the ruler that was Greek but was called the pharaoh of Egypt? Alexander the Great was the Greek that was called the pharaoh of Egypt.
  6. What was an important city that was a trade area with Asia, Europe and Africa? Alexandria was a trade area and an important city to many.