Tête de pharaon, probablement Ptolémée III
Limestone. Wear and minor dents.
Egypt, Ptolemaic period, late 4th - early 3rd B.C.
H. 6.4 cm
The reign of Ptolemy III Evergetes is still considered the golden age of the Lagid period.
He succeeded in reuniting the largest territory of his dynasty under his reign.
Highly involved in international politics, and taking advantage of internal tensions between rival powers, the king constantly sought to restore Egypt to its former glory.
In particular, he had to contend with the Seleucid power, whose dynastic problems had largely undermined its unity.
Also seeking to protect his thalassocratic hegemony, stretching from the Mediterranean to the Aegean, Ptolemy III interfered in Hellenic geopolitics by allying himself with the Aetolian League in the face of Macedonian incursions.
His recourse to the gold mines of Nubia enabled him to undertake numerous works, notably on the second pylon of the Temple of Amun at Karnak, but also at Hermopolis with the construction of the monumental gateway in front of the Temple of Khonsu.
This Pharaonic head reveals Evergetes' strong desire to return to a certain archaism through the shape of the high nemesis, reminiscent of that used in the 18th Dynasty, but also displays the characteristics typical of the faces of these Greek kings (full face, wide-set eyes opening onto a slightly blunt nose and a discreetly smiling mouth).
- P.E. Stanwick, Portraits of the Ptolemies - Greek Kings as Egyptian Pharaohs, Texas University, 2002,
- G. Hölbl, A history of the Ptolemaic empire, New York 2001, p.79.