Presenter: Carlos Robinson (Confirmation seminar)

This paper aims to demonstrate that the deification of the Ptolemaic Queen Arsinoë II (c.316 – 270 BC) as the maritime goddess Aphrodite Euploia in the third century BC was at least partly intended to further the political and naval policies of Ptolemy II. I aim to analyse and map the locations of the surviving altar plaques to Arsinoë Aphrodite and to examine their correlation to the Ptolemaic ‘League of Islands,’ the political institution which the early Ptolemies used to administer the Aegean islands. In order to establish the political context of the deification of Arsinoë II, the first part of this paper will argue that primary sources demonstrate that possessing naval power (ναυτικὴν δύναμιν) and naval supremacy (θαλασσοκρατεῖν) were important goals of some of the early Hellenistic Kings. It will be argued that Ptolemy I pursued a persistent goal of achieving naval supremacy (thalassokratia) throughout his reign, laying the foundations of the maritime empire of Ptolemy II.