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Save the Date! New Exhibition Opens October 8

By Kristen Soule

When the Greeks Ruled Egypt: From Alexander the Great to Cleopatra examines the interactions between Greek and Egyptian cultures during the nearly 300-year period when Egypt was under Greek rule. With some 150 objects, the exhibition reveals the many and diverse ways in which cultural tropes were strategically used by Egypt’s Ptolemaic rulers as a means of asserting power and provoking loyalty among the conquered population. In the process, it also reveals the intense familial intrigue and jockeying for position that characterized the Ptolemies as they sought to maintain their position.

In exploring the ways in which two long-lasting, very different cultural traditions were brought together, the exhibition shines a light on the fluidity of the very idea of specific cultural identity. Indeed, When the Greeks Ruled Egypt has great contemporary resonance, reminding us that the use of culture—and family—for political ends is hardly unique to our era.

The original presentation of this exhibition was organized by the Art Institute of Chicago with support generously provided by the Jaharis Family Foundation, Inc. The ISAW version was made possible by the support of the David Berg Foundation, Mary and Michael Jaharis, the Joseph S. and Diane H. Steinberg Charitable Trust, and the Leon Levy Foundation. Additional funding was provided by Magda Saleh and Jack Josephson.  The Brooklyn Museum graciously provided special loans.

Save the Date! New Exhibition Opens October 8

Octadrachm. Obverse: Bust of Ptolemy III. Gold, Minted in Alexandria. 221-205 BCE. Gift of Martin A. Ryerson. Courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago.