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And With Zeus Make End, Ye Muses

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Chapter Summary

This chapter finds a very different situation when we turn to the reign of Ptolemy II Philadelphus, to whom our sources attribute up to eleven courtesans in all, more than to any other Hellenistic king. It describes the problem of the Ptolemaic sibling marriage. The chapter argues that the key to understanding Ihweret's role in the tale is to recall that the only female character who is consistently encountered in major speaking roles - including many instances of first-person narration - in a wide variety of Egyptian compositions and genres is the goddess Isis. It proceeds on the basis that most of what we hear about the Ptolemaic courtesans, for good or ill, comes to us because, at some point prior to their entry into the texts, the women were indeed publicly promoted, in some shape or form, by their kings. For Egyptians, Serapis was often nothing other than an interpretatio Graeca of Osiris.

Keywords: Egypt; Hellenistic king; Ihweret; ptolemaic sibling marriage; Ptolemy II Philadelphus; Serapis

10.1163/ej.9789004170896.i-488.34
/content/books/10.1163/ej.9789004170896.i-488.34
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