Amyrtaeus, only pharaoh of the Twenty-eighth Dynasty, shook off the shackles of Persian rule in 404 BCE; a little over seventy years later, Ptolemy son of Lagus started the ‘Greek millennium’ (J.G. Manning’s phrase) in Egypt―living long enough to leave a powerful kingdom to his youngest son, Ptolemy II, in 282.
In this book, expert studies document the transformation of Egypt through the dynamic fourth century, and the inauguration of the Ptolemaic state. Ptolemy built up his position as ruler subtly and steadily. Continuity and change marked the Egyptian-Greek encounter. The calendar, the economy and coinage, the temples, all took on new directions. In the great new city of Alexandria, the settlers’ burial customs had their own story to tell.
In the Hellenistic and Roman world intimate relations existed between those holding power and the cults of Isis. This book is the first to chart these various appropriations over time within a comparative perspective. Ten carefully selected case studies show that “the Egyptian gods” were no exotic outsiders to the Hellenistic and Roman Mediterranean, but constituted a well institutionalised and frequently used religious option. Ranging from the early Ptolemies and Seleucids to late Antiquity, the case studies illustrate how much symbolic meaning was made with the cults of Isis by kings, emperors, cities and elites. Three articles introduce the theme of Isis and the
longue durée theoretically, simultaneously exploring a new approach towards concepts like ruler cult and