Ptolemy (Son of Mennaeus), king of Chalcis, in the region of the Lebanon (c. 85–40 B.C.E.). Josephus relates that the inhabitants of Damascus despised Ptolemy, and preferred as king of Coele-Syria the Nabatean king, Aretas. Ptolemy's position in the area, however, was firmly established, and the Judean queen Alexandra's armed attempt to weaken that influence brought no results. During Pompey's campaign in Syria, the territory under Ptolemy was devastated, but Ptolemy held fast to his principality though he was compelled to pay a ransom of 1,000 talents to the Roman conqueror. Following the Roman conquest of Judea, Ptolemy assumed guardianship over Antigonus, the son of the Hasmonean prince, Aristobulus, and his sisters. They were brought to Ptolemy at Ashkelon by his son, Philippion, who eventually married one of the princesses, Alexandra. Philippion, however, was subsequently slain by his father on account of Alexandra, after which Ptolemy married the princess himself. Meanwhile, with the gradual subjugation of Judea under Herod, Antigonus gathered an army and with Ptolemy's assistance returned to his country, only to be defeated by Herod and again driven out of Judea. Ptolemy was succeeded as king of Chalcis by his son, Lysanias, who continued to support Antigonus.
Klausner, Bayit Sheni, 3 (19502), 169f., 257f.; Schuerer, Hist, 112; A. Schalit, Koenig Herodes (1969), 819f. (index), S.V. Ptolemaios, Sohn des Mennaios.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.