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Granite monolithic shrine dedicated to the goddess Isis of Philae by
Ptolemy IX (?), Euergetes II, B.C. 147-117. [Southern Egyptian Gallery, Bay 30, No. 962.]
fated a cert et poed the protectied the krilometo
Frenchman Champollion read the name Cleopatra, and formulated a correct system of Egyptian decipherment. (For details see page 41 ff.) During the reign of Ptolemy V, the Egyptians invoked the protection of Rome.
Ptolemy VI, Eupator, died the year he became king. During the reign of Ptolemy VII, Philometor (B.C. 173), the Jews were permitted to build a temple at Onion, Onias being high-priest. (For a stele on which are sculptured figures
Head of a statue of one of the Ptolemies, about 1.c. 300. [Southern Egyptian Gallery, Bay 27, No. 947.] of Ptolemy VII and the two Queens Cleopatra, see Bay 27, No. 961.) Ptolemy VIII was murdered. Ptolemy IX, Euergetes II, B.C. 147-117, finished the temple of Edfu, and repaired many temples both in Egypt and Nubia. From one of these came the fine monolithic granite shrine (see Plate L) in which a sacred bird or animal was kept (Bay 30,
PolePtolemy Sataracz conferred the base it had been the ruir
No. 962). It was found lying on its side among the ruins of a Coptic church on the Island of Philae; it had been utilized by the builders of the church as the base of a Christian altar. Ptolemy X, B.C. 117, conferred great benefits on the temples of the First Cataract (see Bay 29, No. 963); Ptolemy XI and Ptolemy XII were killed in B.C. 87 and 81 respectively ; Ptolemy XIII, B.C. 80-51, began to build the temples of Denderah and Esna; Ptolemy XIV, B.C. 51, and his sister Cleopatra were left by their father, Ptolemy XIII, under the guardianship of the Roman Senate, and Pompey was made their guardian. After the battle of Pharsalia, Pompey Aled to Egypt, and was murdered at the instance of Ptolemy XIV, who had banished his wife Cleopatra. In B.C. 48, Julius Caesar landed in Egypt, defeated Ptolemy, who was drowned, and reinstated Cleopatra. Ptolemy XV was appointed co-regent; but he was murdered by Cleopatra's orders in B.C. 45, and Ptolemy XVI, Caesarion, son of Julius Caesar and Cleopatra, was named co-regent in his stead. After the defeat of Antony by Octavianus and the death of Antony and Cleopatra, Egypt became a Roman Province, B.C. 30.
The Egyptian antiquities of the Ptolemaïc Period in the British Museum consist chiefly of Stelae inscribed with funerary texts; they are comparatively small in size, and are painted in bright colours. The reliefs, in which the figures of the gods are represented, are delicately cut, and the hieroglyphics have the slender form which is one of the chief characteristics of the inscriptions of the period. The texts often contain the ages of the deceased persons, and details concerning the length of time occupied in the process of mummification, which are wholly wanting in the funerary monuments of an earlier period. Among the gods mentioned on the stelae is Serapis, who represents a fusion of the old Egyptian gods, Osiris and Apis. (For figures of this god in terra-cotta see Table-case M in the Fourth Egyptian Room. The stone coffins of the period are in the form of a mummy, a nd are usually carefully cut and finished. We have already seen that two important edicts of the priests of Memphis and Canopus were cut on stelae in two forms of Egyptian writing, viz., hieroglyphic and demotic, and in Greek; there are also several examples of funerary monuments in the British Museum in which the hieroglyphic text is followed by a rendering in demotic and Greek. In the case of small objects, e.g., mummy labels, the inscriptions are in demotic and Greek only.
Among the noteworthy monuments of this period are: A statue of the goddess Isis, holding before her a figure of Osiris,