Overview Greco-Roman Monuments in Egypt
Egypt was once ruled by Greek rulers after invading the Persians, and Alexander the Great was now the new ruler. The Greek brought with them a large number of changes in Egypt and overlaid the Egyptian society with their own culture. The Greek rulers followed the ancient Egyptian tradition of having defied as gods, built temples and statues in their honor. Even today the remains in the form of statues, reliefs and funerary objects give a glimpse of the Greek rule in Egypt.
Romans too played a part in shaping Egypt’s history; their rule began after the death of Cleopatra. The ascension of Roman Emperor Constantine marked the beginning of a new era with Alexandria. The Romans even initiated the practice of two rulers in Egypt.
Egypt was conquered by Alexander the Great in 332 B.C. and by Romans in the year 30 B.C. The unique geography of Egypt made the country, the most prized possession of Roman Empire.
Greco-Roman Monuments in Egypt
The Greek and the Romans during their rule constructed a number of monuments that have helped in making Egypt’s history so enriched and popular across the globe. The monuments still stand in Egypt, which are visited by tourists from across the globe on their Egypt travel itinerary. Few main regions which are home to such monuments include Alexandria, Aswan, Cairo, Luxor and more.
Greco-Roman Monuments in Aswan
There are many temples and archeological places in Aswan that date back to the Roman-Greek era.
The temple started constructing in Ptolemy III reign, but had numerous changes made by the Roman Ptolemic rulers. The temple has a famous painting of Queen Cleopatra and Caesaron. Horoscope inscriptions are a central attraction. The temple of Hathor at Dendera was constructed in 125 BCE and belongs to the Greco-Roman period. Dendera since then has become a cult centre. The Birth House of Nectanebo is 200 years older than this temple.
The temple was shifted to its new location in 1970 alongside other Nubian monuments. This touts to be the highest sandstone temples located in Nubia and has walls covered with inscriptions and texts showcasing Egyptian deities like Osiris, Isis and others. The temple was moved due to the threat created by establishment of Aswan High Dam and is dedicated to the Lower Nubian Sun God Mandulis.
This beautiful temple complex lies to the south of Aswan and the temple is dedicated to goddess Isis and was constructed during 3rd century B.C. The island of Philae and the temples were threatened during the turn of the century when Aswan dam was constructed. Destined to get drowned and disappeared forever under the water, fortunately a new Coffer Dam was constructed in 1977 that helped in pumping the water out. Agilkai was modified to resemble Philae and temples were reassembled which was open to public again in 1980.
Greco Roman monuments in Cairo
The history of Fort Babylon in Cairo dates back to Pharaonic times, but the fortress was built after the Persian occupation of Egypt only after which the need raised and was purely for military superiority. The fortress is named so since Roman times. After getting occupied by Copts there were many churches and monasteries built within the enclosure and much of the original construction remained so till 19 century. But after British conquest of Egypt most of it was demolished with just towers and gates remaining.
Greco Roman monuments in Alexandria
Alexandria, which is the second largest city and major port in Egypt, was built by Greek architect Dinocrates by the orders of Alexander the Great. The town has many monuments dating back to the Greek-Roman era.
Constructed in honor of Emperor Diocletain, it once stood as a magnificent structure rivaling Caesareum and Soma. Near this are subterranean galleries where three Apis bulls were buried and three sphinxes. The pillar is believed to serve as a container of Pompey’s head who was murdered in 48 B.C. The Pompey’s Pillar is the tallest ancient monuments of Alexandria.
Greco- Roman Museum
The museum is a historical treasure having vast collection from the 3rd century B.C. till the 3rd century A.D. and spans the Roman and Ptolemaic periods.
The Catacombs of Kom es- Shouqafa
The tombs represent the last major construction of ancient Egyptian culture that is still standing. The artisans and architects involved in its construction are believed to be versed with Greco-Roman style. The monument touts to have an amazing integrated art that’s difficult and unseen elsewhere.
The Roman Theater
This Roman Theater remains was uncovered after a long excavation and is well preserved with galleries, mosaic flooring and marble seats with room for 800 viewers. During Ptolemaic times, the area was a pleasure garden and the Park of Pan. The theater once served as an Odeon for musical performances. Inscriptions indicate this to be a wrestling arena as well. The theatre has 13 semi-circular tiers made from white marble which was imported from Europe. Moving out one can see walls of stone, substantial arches, bricks of Roman baths and remains of Roman houses.
Next to the Roman Theater there are many Egyptian antiquities some of which display the Romanian bathrooms which showcase special historic character of that era.
Built by Cleopatra, VII, this was named after Mark Antonyos. There were two oblique’s transferred from own temple in the entrance having names of the Pharos rulers Tohotmos III and Sitty I and Ramses II.
The Greco-Roman monuments in Egypt can be found at many places, but Alexandria seems to have the largest collection of the remaining vestiges of the Greek and Roman influence of Egypt. Being the capital of Egypt during that era, this seems to be normal. So, these monuments clearly depict what strong influence these two civilizations had on Egypt’s history and historical past.
Dynasties that were a part of the Greek-Roman period in Egypt include Macedonian Kings (332- 304 BC), Ptolemaic Kings (304-30 BC) and Roman Emperors (30 BC-396 AD).
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