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Triumphal Inscription of Ptolemy III at Adulis

Alessandro Rossini    Università degli Studi di Verona, Italia    



The complex triumphal inscription of King Ptolemy III of Egypt (246-222/221 BC) ‘Great King descended from Heracles and Dionysus’ stands out among the great epigraphic documents of the Ptolemaic dynasty. It includes the official genealogy of the sovereign, a panorama of the territories inherited from Ptolemy II and, above all, the list of the conquests of the first phase of the Laodicean war (246-245 BC), which culminated in an anabasis up to Central Asia. We know this historical and meta-historical document only through the autopsy of the Alexandrian merchant Cosmas Indicopleustes, who saw it in Adulis (Kingdom of Axum), in the heart of ancient Aithiopia, in 547-549 AD. The inscription raises numerous questions, and must be examined keeping in view the concepts of memory and tradition. Added to this is the fascinating intellectual history of his reception, which played a role in the birth of the concept of ‘Hellenism’ itself.

Dec. 10, 2021
Oct. 25, 2021
Aug. 5, 2021

Keywords: MemoryLaodicean warAxumPtolemy IIIPropagandaHellenismTriumphAdulisCosmas IndicopleustesTradition

Copyright: © 2021 Alessandro Rossini. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.