When Alexander the Great was marching southwards and then towards the heart of the Persian empire and finally India, the Cypriot Kings assisted him in many ways especially with their ships in the siege of Tyre. In appreciation, Alexander set them free. This period, however, was very brief since the Macedonian King died soon and Cyprus became the bone of contention for his successors. Finally, Cyprus was won over in 294 BC by Ptolemy who ruled Egypt where he established a dynasty that lasted for three centuries.
The Ptolemaic rule was rigid and exploited the island's resources to the utmost, particularly timber and copper. A great contemporary figure of Cypriot letters was the philosopher Zeno who was born at Kition about 336 and founded the famous Stoic School of Philosophy at Athens where he died about 264 BC.