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Gallery 20: Case 10

Roman and later Egypt

In 30 BC, after the death of Cleopatra VII, Egypt became part of the Roman Empire. As in the Persian periods, the country was run by largely absentee rulers.

The Roman pharaohs, however, continued many of the traditions of the Ptolemaic kings. They financed new building projects and were depicted on the walls of temples, making offerings to the Egyptian gods, and so carrying out the traditional role of the Kings. At this time the more generic title of 'Pharaoh', rather than the current ruler's own names, frequently appeared in cartouches.

Individual emperors showed varying degrees of interest in Egypt. Vespasian, Domitian and Hadrian all appear to have been genuinely interested in the province and its culture. These emperors founded sanctuaries to Egyptian gods not just in Egypt but also in Italy, and so helped to increase awareness of Egyptian culture in the wider world.

In AD 642 Islamic rulers took control of Egypt, founding a new city at el-Fustat, now a suburb of modern Cairo.

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