Egypt: 300 Cleopatra Era Artifacts Displayed for First Time At Egyptian Museum

Queen Cleopatra.

The Egyptian Museum in downtown Cairo is hosting a temporary exhibition of 300 artifacts from the era of Queen Cleopatra.

The display's inauguration on Wednesday 18/4/2018 was attended by Minister of Antiquities Khaled al-Anany.

The antiquities were excavated by a Dominican archaeological mission who has been operating in Egypt for about 10 years in the Taposiris Magna area in Alexandria.

Anany hailed the exhibition as "unprecedented and distinguished".

One of the most important pieces of the exhibition is a unique painting inscribed with hieroglyphic and demotic writing, reminiscent of the gifts given by Ptolemy the Fifth to the priests of the Isis Temple, said the Director General of the Egyptian Museum Sabah Abdel Razek.

Head of the Dominican mission Kathleen Martinez said Taposiris Magna was a vital location for Queen Cleopatra as it included statues of goddess Isis. Coins and paintings with many inscriptions dating back to the era of Cleopatra were found in the site, she said.

The exhibition also includes some distinctive pieces, including a bronze piece in the form of a fly that was dedicated by the king of Ptolemy to a soldier due to his bravery and dedication in battle, and a number of bronze coins inscribed with Isis on the front, and Cleopatra's name on the back.

Martinez said the discovered pieces so far are a reminder that there is still much to be discovered about the mystery of Cleopatra VII rule as well as the mystery surrounding the burial of many Ptolemaic rulers of her predecessors.

The expedition also found during excavations a large cemetery outside the building of the temple dating back to the Greek Ptolemaic period. Mummies covered with gold were found in the coffins at the cemetery with their heads looking towards the temple as if an important person was buried in the temple.

Martinez believes that Cleopatra and Mark Antonio were buried inside the temple of Isis and Osiris in the area of Taposiris Magna, about 45 km west of Alexandria, due to the religious and political importance of the temple.

After the death of Alexander the Great, who invaded Egypt in 332 BC and founded the city of Alexandria, the Macedonian state in the Ptolemaic era was established, according to Martinez.

Over the course of about 300 years of Ptolemaic rule of Egypt, Egypt flourished culturally and mixed ancient Egyptian and Greek art, religions and languages.

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