Pharaoh Of The Strong Arm, The Lost Name Of Ptolemy I


Ptolemy I, founder of a dynasty that would end with the most famous of the Cleopatras, the VII, as good pharaoh, had five names or formal titles in addition to family, although until now only four were known. One after another, the curator of the Egyptian Museum Luis Manuel Gonzálvez is pointing out on three stone blocks that occupy about three meters the symbols that identify them in hieroglyphic writing , a vulture, a cobra, a falcon (Horus) …:

“Great in power “,” He who takes power with his strength “(not in vain did he survive the hard struggle for the succession of Alexander the Great, of whom he was one of his generals, rising king of Egypt in 305 BC.),” Chosen of Ra , Beloved of Amun “,” Son of Ra “and …, in the middle, the finding:, a name that had not yet been identified and that is part of the discovery of the remains of the lost temple of Ptolemy in Hut-nesut (current Sharuna), announced a few months ago , by the expedition of the Archaeological Foundation of Jordi Clos and the Barcelona museum together with the German University of Tübingen and the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt.

To document this “‘grand prix’ ‘”, with which, says Clos, have entered the history of Egyptology, and to show other details of the excavation of the temple, such as the exact reconstruction in 3D (after taking 40,000 photographs) The new exhibition of the Egyptian Museum ‘Ptolemy, Pharaoh of Egypt’ deals with different parts of it, which also delves into the reign of the Ptolemies (350-30 BC.) thanks to some 50 pieces from the collection of the center on that period.

The temple of Ptolemy I, which the mission has found out was called The Noble Palace of the Great Lord and was dedicated to Horus and possibly Isis or Hathor , had been documented in 1838 by the Egyptologist and painter Nestor L’Hôte but later lost the trail.

Until in 1984 some peasants began to find remains and, in 2018, the Egyptian expedition, which had been excavating in Sharuna since 2006, found seven of the 60 large stone blocks that they have recovered to date and that were part of the lost construction. . They had been reused by workers from the 6th century AD to build a Coptic church and, protected from the elements and vandalism, they had been preserved in perfect condition, he points out.the businessman and collectors Jordi Clos .

Now, the museum directed by Maixaixa Taulé exhibits precise life-size replicas of 20 of the original blocks, which allow us to appreciate the upper cornice and the moldings of up to four rows of stones from the temple, which could have a perimeter of up to 60 meters, Gonzálvez calculates. , who remembers how to extract them they had to deal continuously pumping and draining the water in the area, which reached a depth of one meter.

Three centuries of prosperity
If one part of the sample is dedicated to discoveries and excavation, the other explains through various works the Ptolemaic period, a dynasty of pharaohs of foreign origin that guaranteed three centuries of economic, military, cultural and social prosperity in Egypt, in those that shone the capital, Alexandria, the “queen of the Mediterranean”, the valley of the Nile was exploited and temples were built, one of them the rediscovered in Sharuna. Among the pieces, a stela in which appears the famous Cleopatra VII, the last of the dynasty, and after her, Ptolemy XIII or XIV. Clos tells how Dr. Jean Yoyotte identified her during a visit to the museum half a century ago, since only a great queen like her could be represented in front of the pharaoh.

An imposing statue of the god Bes (protective deity of children and pregnant women but also of music, sex and dance), coins with the effigy of Ptolemy I and Alexander the Great, a decorated box to keep the viscera of the deceased (in earlier times were preserved in canopic jars), a bicentennial plaster copy of the Rosetta stone , a funerary mask next to a coffin cover presided over by the jackal god Anubis, are part of the tour. Also beautiful nude sculptures of queens or goddesses, one of them, most likely by Arsinoe, daughter of Ptolemy I, yes, “the one with the strong arm”.

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