The First full-pledged University

The Founder of the First University

We all know that a university is a large and diverse establishment where higher learning is housed including administrative and living quarters as well as facilities for research and teaching.

Ptolemy I Soter, the king of ancient Egypt is believed to be the founder of the “First University” with full-pledged facilities that a modern university now has.  

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  • Who is Ptolemy I?

Ptolemy I is a close childhood friend and general of Alexander the Great. After Alexander’s death, he took charge of Egypt and became the king of Egypt. Thus he founded the Macedonian dynasty in Egypt.

Having Suffered from a feverish illness for two weeks (either malaria or typhoid) Alexander the Great died on 10 June 323 B.C.E.

His empire was divided up between the three of his leading generals viz. Perdiccas, Seleucus, and Ptlemy I. It is said that they fought one another to establish dominance.

Initially Ptolemy was a Satrap (a governor of a province in ancient Persia) and said to have married the daughter of the previous pharaoh, Nectanebo II.

As was said above the power crisis between the three generals led to several years of war and finally Ptolemy took the control of Egypt and became the King in 305 after Alexander’s death.

His dynasty ruled Egypt for 300 years until Romans captured it.

Ptolemy’s Major Contributions as the king of Egypt

Ptolemy like Alexander the Great was a great learner and was much interested in literary and scientific works. His major contributions are listed below:

Development of Alexandria, the capital city of Ancient Egypt:

The port city Alexandria which was founded by Alexander the Great was developed as the new capital as for Alexander’s plans.

Pharos: The Great Lighthouse of Alexandria.

Ptolemy was a patron Euclid (a Greek geometer who specialized in geometry).

He appointed the famous philosopher Strabo to teach his son.

Ptolemy visited Euclid regularly to build the Great Lighthouse of Alexandria called Pharos. It is said to be one of the wonders of the ancient world.

The Great Library of Alexandria:

Ptolemy was greatly influenced by the classical Greek civilization of the Hellenistic age.

He was fond of books and learning. He created a great library at Alexandria. Later it became one of the glories of the classical world.

The First University:

He also established a great museum in Alexandria also called as the “Museum”.  

It was the first research center and famous for many scientific and literary works. It was built near to the royal palace with large complex of buildings and gardens with lecture halls. Salaries and all the costs were borne by the king.

It is later considered as the First University of the world as having all research and educational facilities and having ample grants from the king.

The noted Alexandrian Library was a part of the university. It seems that the university was continued until the 5th century.

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