An exhibition examining the complex interactions between cultures in ancient Egypt during Greek rule was launched at the New York University’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World on October 8, 2014.
The exhibition entitled “When the Greeks Ruled Egypt: From Alexander the Great to Cleopatra” deals with the diversity of cultures that co-existed in Egypt, and the ways in which the Ptolemaic dynasty manipulated longstanding traditions of cultural and religious expression—as well as their own family ties—in order to maintain power and inspire loyalty among the conquered population.
It features 150 objects and focuses on the ways in which the Greek and Egyptian cultures were brought together, creating new forms of expression.
The exhibition includes royal portraiture, religious and funerary objects and writings on papyrus, offering a comprehensive presentation of cultural hybridism as it was embraced by the dynamic Hellenistic royal house.
The royal portraits are placed in both religious and civic settings in order to reach the widest possible audience. The exhibition includes some 20 examples, illuminating the careful exploitation of iconography and style to legitimize Ptolemaic rule and position it within Egypt’s historic line of pharaohs.
A series of manuscripts on papyrus demonstrate the languages spoken in Egypt, both before and during Ptolemaic rule.