Naukratis: Greeks in Egypt

Alexandra Villing, Marianne Bergeron, Giorgos Bourogiannis, Alan Johnston, François Leclère, Aurélia Masson and Ross Thomas

With Daniel von Recklinghausen, Jeffrey Spencer, Valerie Smallwood, Virginia Webb and Susan Woodford

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Supported by

The Leverhulme Trust
  • The Shelby White - Leon Levy Program for Archaeological Publications
  • Christian Levett and the Mougins Museum of Classical Art
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Greek and Roman sculpture

 

Ross Iain Thomas and Peter Higgs

Classical Greek, Hellenistic and Roman sculpture was a rare find at Naukratis, comprising mainly small statuettes and a few fragments of full or half-life-sized statues. There are also a small number of relief sculptures from temples and grave monuments. Some Greek and Roman-style sculpture was also created from Egyptian raw materials, using Egyptian tools and techniques and sometimes displaying Egyptian subjects. An unusual group of 22 marble and limestone cats, a rare subject in Greek art, were dedicated to a 3rd-century BC temple of Boubastis in Naukratis. Parallels from a contemporary Boubasteion in Alexandria shed light on how the Greek elite at Naukratis participated in the cult of this Egyptian goddess. Her worship was associated with the dynastic cults of the deified Ptolemaic queens Arsinoe II and Berenike II, which integrated Greek and Egyptian religious practices as an expression of Ptolemaic dynastic propaganda.

 

Marble male cat from Naukratis, c. 330–200 BC. British Museum, 1905,0612.7 and 1905,0612.18