Egypt Archaeology – The Hellenistic and Roman Age

By | January 11, 2022

The arrival of the Ptolemaic dynasty led to the construction of new urban centers, such as Alexandria, where the Hippodamian orthogonal urban planning scheme was applied, which however does not seem to have been adopted everywhere. The architecture lacked a synthesis of the two cultures: temples dedicated to the Egyptian gods were erected according to the typical patterns of local architecture, while temples dedicated to the Greek gods were built according to the Hellenistic style. Even in civil architecture this distinction was maintained with Egyptian-type houses (with several floors) and Greek-type houses, while typical elements of Greek urban planning were included in the cities, such as the agora, public baths, the gymnasium. Apart from some variations – with a tendency towards greater plasticity – of the Saitic formalism, Egyptian art, too committed to its tradition, it does not produce truly great works. In Edfu, in Dendera, in Kom Ombo, in Thebes, in Madīnat Ḥabū there are imposing temples, covered with reliefs and inscriptions, which attest, in the Ptolemaic age, a particular flowering of architecture, according to traditional forms and schemes; some innovations are made in some secondary elements of the decoration (capitals with multiple plant elements). Considerable for its funerary architecture is the example of the Gabbari necropolis (in operation from the 3rd century BC to the 7th AD), where it is possible to observe the types and burial rituals of the first residents of Alexandria. The tombs are dug underground and consist of a variable number of rooms, sometimes with peristyle. The decoration, the inscriptions in Greek and the objects found testify that it is a Greek necropolis; references to the Egyptian religion are very rare, even if the discovery of some mummies attests that local funerary customs spread among the Greeks of Alexandria.

According to usprivateschoolsfinder, the Romans now find the local artistic tradition agonizing, and if statues sculpted according to the ancient style are still produced, very rarely are there any worthy of mention among them. Among the newly founded cities, only Antinoopolis deserves to be mentioned, with its orthogonal planimetry centered on the two fundamental lines of the cardo and the decumanus ; the typology and style of the buildings is classic with theater, racecourse, public baths, triumphal arch, gymnasium and temples dedicated to Dionysus, Antinous and a Cesareum. Many Egyptian templar complexes were enlarged in Roman times: important examples are the kiosk of Trajan in File, the mammissi and the prònaos of Dendera, the prònaos of Esna, the temples of Deir-el-Sheluit (Thebes), Shanhur, el-Qala, Aswan. In the centers of the Fayyum, new small and medium-sized temples were built dedicated to the local cult of the crocodile god. The construction techniques of these sacred buildings in stone are the traditional Egyptian ones, with isodomic stone blocks worked on the construction site, smoothed only in the visible parts and bound together by a mortar. In the Eastern Desert a Roman site was excavated (late 20th century) at Mons Claudianus where the largest number (over 9000) of Ostraka was found (inscribed shards) found in Egypt, as well as those of the Roman necropolis of Qenā, in the central Delta. Another very important discovery of the late 20th century. it is that of the Greco-Roman necropolis of the Bahriyah Oasis by Egyptian scholars. In the south-eastern part of the Delta, Tell Ibrahim Awad, a settlement with a continuity of life from pre-dynastic to Roman times, has been excavated since 1984 by Dutch researchers: a necropolis, a temple and many votive objects, including models of archaic sanctuaries and a model ship containing three baboons. From the Ptolemaic period the production of terracotta molded statuettes continued, which lasted until the 4th century. AD Among the new iconographic motifs appear Horus on horseback, female figures in prayer or dancing; some are characterized by engravings and applications of elements (hair, eyes, jewels) and painted. The private and imperial statuary does not differ much from the Ptolemaic production. The emperor is depicted as a pharaoh, according to the classic canon and with clothes and insignia of Egyptian royalty, but the type of the Roman portrait also spread throughout the territory.

Egypt Archaeology - The Hellenistic and Roman Age