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After the death of Alexander, the Macedonian general Ptolemy Lagos became first Satrap (323 bc) and then King of Egypt. The Ptolemaic dynasty turned out to be the most enduring of the major Hellenic kingdoms, surviving until Cleopatra VII was defeated at the batle of Actium (31 bc).

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Ptolemy I

Under the Ptolemies Alexandria became the greatest Greek city. Its Pharos was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, and its magnificent Museum held a world-famous library. Alexandria was a major cultural center for more than 600 years, before the Museum was destroyed by the Roman Emperor Theodosius.

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