The Reception of Egypt in the Graeco-Roman World


Ancient Greeks and Romans found Egypt to be an exceptionally enthralling world, in terms not only of its physical features but also of its people, monuments, and traditions. This course will explore how different views of Egypt emerged in the Graeco-Roman world; it will also investigate the possible reasons for the remarkable popularity and allure of Egypt and things Egyptian as reflected in the writings of Greek and Roman authors as well as in the art and architecture of the Mediterranean world in Classical antiquity. In this seminar, we will read primary literary sources (in translation) that focus on the reception of ancient Egypt and, more specifically, its history, religion, and customs. Several of these sources also offer a privileged viewpoint to investigate how the perception of notable Egyptian figures -- chiefly Cleopatra -- was shaped by Rome to suit a specific agenda. In addition to the written sources, we will look at the artistic and archaeological evidence that best showcases the impact of Egypt's legacy on Graeco-Roman traditions. The readings assigned for each class will also provide a broad sample of secondary sources, consisting of some of the most significant scholarship on the image of Egypt in Classical antiquity.
Course Attributes: EN H; BU IS; AS HUM; AS LCD; FA HUM; AR HUM

Section 01

The Reception of Egypt in the Graeco-Roman World
INSTRUCTOR: Aravecchia
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