The photograph, taken with a cell phone, is strange: a very real marble head, in straight profile, seems to be looking at another saturated with light behind the protection of a window. On October 13, what a pleasure to discover two portraits of Emperor Augustus together at the Greco-Roman Museum of Alexandria, the day it reopened to the public after eighteen years of closure! I saw again with pleasure the colossal marble Augustus discovered in Athribis, who knew these rooms well, where it was exhibited before the museum closed for renovation, but the portrait in the shelter of a glass case had barely come arriving at the artificial light of the new museum: discovered in Kôm Bahig by Aude Simony and her team from the Center for Alexandrine Studies, the CEAlex, with Georges Soukiassian, it saw the light again on May 25, 2022, cleared by the raïs, the foreman, on the edge of the berm, under the admiring eyes of Marie-Dominique Nenna, who then directed the Center, who came to visit this promising excavation of Maréotide, the region of Lake Mariout to the west of Alexandria, in the company of the former director of the Greco-Roman Museum, Mervat Seif el Din, and aprofessor of the University of Alexandria, Mona Hagag. I did not have the chance to be present but what a pleasure to have been able to study this portrait thanks to the excellent photographs and photogrammetric views of Étienne Forestier, the photographer of CEAlex, founded by Jean-Yves Empereur: the publication was to appear , all matters ceasing, in the next issue of the Bulletin of the French Institute of Oriental Archeology and this was possible with all the support of the new director of CEAlex, Thomas Faucher, the director of the French Institute of Oriental Archeology, Laurent Coulon, now holder of the Champollion chair at the Collège de France, and the director of publications, Burt Kasparian, with obviously the constant help of Marie- Do; Aude was able to quickly write the introduction and the article was superbly published in August 2023 and is also available online (link below). How many names, it will be said, and how many very recent dates for Augustus as pharaoh, before whom he had fled in 27 BC. BC in Actium, the last queen of the Lagid dynasty! But all this beautiful world of archaeology, which did not know the imperial court, is very much alive behind this pale apparition in a window. And the new director of the Greco-Roman Museum, Dr Wallaa Abd el Atif, must be thanked for having offered visitors all the exceptional treasures of a museum founded in 1892, which houses very recent finds.
Augustus as pharaoh at the Greco-Roman Museum of Alexandria