Temple find shows sway of ancient Egyptian religion

Tue Jan 19, 2010 3:14pm GMT
 

CAIRO (Reuters) - Relics in a newly discovered Greek queen's temple in Alexandria show how Egyptian deities were still revered by Egypt's later Greek conquerors, archaeologists said on Tuesday.

The temple of Queen Berenike, wife of Ptolemy III, dating back to the 3rd century BC, was discovered along with 600 statues in the Kom el Dikka area of the Mediterranean city, the Supreme Council of Antiquities said.

Alongside those Greek-era finds, a large collection of statues of Bastet, the ancient Egyptian goddess of protection and motherhood, was found along with bronze and ceramic statues of Egyptian deities such as Harpocrates and Ptah, indicating Egyptian religious beliefs remained influential.

Ruins of cities, palaces and ships from Pharaonic and Greco-Roman times lie preserved around Alexandria, one of the richest excavation sites in the Mediterranean.

The remains of the temple, 60 metres (200 ft) in height and 15 metres wide, are the first trace of the location of Alexandria's royal quarter, Mohamed Abdel Maqsoud, who led the archaeological mission, said.

Also discovered was the base of a granite statue of a senior official during the rule of King Ptolemy IV (205-222 BC) which was believed to have been made to celebrate Egypt's victory over the Greeks during the battle of Raphia in 217 BC.

Clay pots and a Roman water cistern were also found in different areas of the site.

Ptolemaic rule spanned from 305 BC until the Roman conquest in 30 BC.

 
Powered by Reuters AlertNet. AlertNet provides news, images and insight from the world's disasters and conflicts and is brought to you by Reuters Foundation.