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Egypt Announces Discovery of Ancient Royal Temple

Article by Anne Jackson Hart

Egypt‘s Supreme Council of Antiquities announced today that a statue of a Bastet Cat goddess dated to 200 BC has been discovered in Alexandria. The discovery is important because its location may be the first sign of the location of the royal quarter of ancient Alexandria.

Bastet was the protector goddess of ancient lower Egypt. The ancient Egyptians saw cats as symbols of protection because cats would eat the rats and mice that threatened the Egyptian stores of grain that was so critical to survival. In Egyptian mythology, Bastet was represented as a cat to symbolize her role as a protector.

Alexandria was the port city of ancient Egypt. The city was founded by Alexander the Great, and later ruled by the Ptolemaic dynasty that included legendary figures such as Cleopatra. But, archaeologists have never been able to precisely pinpoint exactly where in the city the royal families lived.

The discovery of this Bastet Cat statue may change that. The statue was found in a temple that the experts believe belonged to Queen Berenice II. Queen Berenice was the wife of Ptolemy III; she and her husband ruled Egypt between 246 BC and 222 BC.

The statue is one of several Bastet Cat statues found in the temple. It suggests that the goddess Bastet was worshiped well into the era when the Greeks ruled Egypt. And, because it was found with statues of several other ancient Egyptian gods and goddesses, it also suggests that the Egyptian pantheon was still worshiped despite the arrival of the Greeks.

The temple is in the Kom el-Dekka area of Alexandria. That’s near the main train station, and near some ruins attributed to the Romans such as an amphitheater. The temple was hard to find, apparently because much of its original stone had been taken away from the temple over the years and used to construct other buildings.

However, now that the location of the temple has been established and its importance certified, archaeologists are getting straight to work. They hope to develop further understanding of the map of ancient Alexandria, the cultural practices of the era, and to find additional statues dating to the era of the Greeks in Egypt.

Despite their apparent differences, Ancient Egypt and ancient Greece shared strong artistic and religious connections. Greek culture, which arose after Egypt had already reached its heights, adopted many Egyptian gods and goddesses as its own. Greek art and Greek statues incorporated many Egyptian techniques into the classic Greek style.

About the Author

Anne Jackson Hart is a dealer in original and reproduction art.

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My second improvised song on my 7 string lyre. (Please be indulgent!) Tuned to Bb – D – Eb – F – Gb – A – Bb. Dedicated to the Goddess, Bastet. Music by me, pics taken from all over the web (no copyright infringement intended!)
Video Rating: 4 / 5

Posted in Cats, Egypt.

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