Cross-regional identity display at the dawn of a new age? Legacies from Achaemenid Egypt

Wasmuth, M. (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk


The reign of Alexander in Egypt marks a turning point in the historiography of Egypt. While the Achaemenid Empire is still included into the counting of Egyptian dynasties (the 2nd Persian period tends to be referred to as 31st dynasty), this system is given up with Alexander, the Argeads and the Ptolemies. Manetho, who lived in the early Ptolemaic period, could have included the latter into the system as he did for the Teispians and Achaemenians, but he didn’t. In consequence, or at least in good correlation, the academic subject areas dealing with the periods before and after Alexander change at this turning point. Though still marginalised, the time of the Achaemenid Empire – especially the period between the Persian dominations – is taught and researched as part of Egyptology, while the Ptolemaic period is predominantly covered by Ancient History and Classics.
The paper discusses whether this dawn of a new age is mainly a historiographical invention or can be seen also in the ancient primary record. For this, I will take up a small number of sample case studies of cross-regional identity display from the Ptolemaic period, which draw on iconographical strategies from the time before the advent of Alexander. Characteristically, they can be used to testify both, continuity and major changes.
Period14 May 2019
Event titleThe Ancient Near Eastern Legacy and Alexander vs. Alexander’s Legacy to the World
Event typeConference
Conference number13
LocationWrocław, Poland
Degree of RecognitionInternational