Multiculturalism in ancient Egypt

Friday 27 July 2018,
BP Lecture Theatre
Tickets £5
Members/Concessions £3

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Although multiculturalism is sometimes thought of as a modern phenomenon, in fact it functioned in many societies across the ancient world.

One such example was Ptolemaic Egypt (323–30 BC) where, for the three centuries from Alexander the Great to Cleopatra VII, Greeks ruled Egypt not so much as foreign conquerors but as the next dynasty in the long line of pharaohs. Instead of imposing Greek culture, the new rulers oversaw an early and generally successful experiment in multiculturalism. In this lecture, Heba Abd el Gawad, Durham University, introduces how multicultural society functioned in Ptolemaic Egypt, not only as a social reality but also as a ‘soft’ political process of governance.

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Stela of Ptolemy IV (r. 221–204 BC) showing the pharaoh worshipping the gods Amun-Ra, Horus, Isis, Sekhmet and Harpocrates.