Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cat God Temple Found in Alexandria - The One in Egypt

"Temple to cat god found in Egypt"
BBC (January 19, 2010)

"Archaeologists in Egypt have discovered a 2,000-year-old temple in Alexandria dedicated to a cat goddess.

"The temple is the first trace of the royal quarters of the Ptolemaic dynasty to be revealed in Alexandria.

"The find confirms the Greek dynasty of Egyptians continued the worship of ancient animal deities.

"Many more ruins of the ancient capital of Hellenistic Egypt lie preserved under the modern city, yet to be unearthed, archaeologists say.

"The temple, discovered in the Kom el-Dekkah neighbourhood of the city, is believed to belong to Queen Berenike II, wife of Ptolemy III who ruled Egypt in the third century BC, Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities has said...."

Third century BC: That'd be about 23 centuries ago. That's a long: but Egypt had been around for about 2,700 years when Alexander came through, founded the city that still bears his name, and set up Greek Pharaohs who lasted until Rome took over management from Cleopatra.

There's Ancient, and There's Ancient

Maybe this'll put in perspective. Londinium is about 1,960 years old.

There was a sort of property value crisis after the fifth century, when Rome pulled out. About two centuries after that, the place got going again under the name of Lundenwic: A bit west of the original site.

These days, we're calling it London: and, on the whole, the city has been doing rather well. (more, at "London History," "Anglo-Saxon London")

Another three and a half centuries, give or take, and Londimium will be as old as Alexandria is now. Another three thousand years, and it'll be as old as Ancient Egypt would be, if it was still a going concern.

Back to Bast

That Bast temple is old, and an important archaeological find. But it's from the time when Ancient Egypt was on its last legs - with only about three centuries to go before it became another Roman province.

The BBC article gives a pretty good overview of 3,000 years of Egyptian civilization and culture, and how it related to the rest of the ancient world.

It got me to wondering: what will, say, Los Angeles look like in another couple millennia? Which is another topic.

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