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TRINTalks: The Politics of the Hellenistic Period and Greek/Egyptian Inscriptions
Event Type:Presentation
Location:Vernon Social Stage
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Lectures and Presentations,Student Life,
Laura Rogalski
Department:Vernon Programming Board
with Leanna Boychenko, Visiting Assistant Professor of Classics
After the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BCE, a new cultural center emerged in the recently founded city of Alexandria, Egypt. Succeeding Alexander, Ptolemy I embraced his new role as ruler of Egypt, erecting decrees in Egyptian Hieroglyphs and statues depicting him in traditional pharaonic style. At the same time, he continued to be depicted in traditional Greek style and founded the famous library of Alexandria filled with volumes of Greek literature. His successors continued and expanded this duality of self-presentation, with Ptolemy III publishing the first trilingual inscription–of the type made famous by the Rosetta stone–in Hieroglyphs, Demotic, and Greek. These trilingual inscriptions contain traditional rhetorical elements of praise from both cultures, creating a new discourse precisely crafted for the politics of the times. This discourse appears not only in official decrees, but also in the encomiastic poetry of the scholar-poets working in the Ptolemaic court. Examining these sources side-by-side illuminates the complex relationship between the two cultures of Hellenistic Egypt as well as demonstrating how to praise a Ptolemaic pharaoh in Greek and Egyptian.
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