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Gallery 19: Case 12

New religions in Egypt

The traditional Egyptian gods were not the only ones worshipped in Egypt. At different times the worship of other gods was permitted in specific places.

From about 600 BC Greek traders at Naukratis in the Nile established sanctuaries to their own gods, including Apollo, Artemis, and Hera. From 332 BC, when Egypt was ruled by Macedonian Greeks, sanctuaries throughout Egypt were dedicated both to Greek gods and to Hellenised versions of established Egyptian deities.

According to tradition, Christianity was brought to Alexandria by the Apostle Mark in AD 69. During the reign of the Emperor Theodosius (AD 379-94), it became the official religion of the entire Roman Empire, including Egypt. Egyptian Christians are known as 'Copts', a corruption of the Greek word for Egyptians, Aiguptioi.

Egypt came under Islamic rule in the mid-seventh century AD, and the country remains predominantly Islamic today.

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