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Beyond the Nile: Egypt and the Classical World

  • Edited by Jeffrey Spier, Timothy Potts, and Sara E. Cole

    From about 2000 BCE onward, Egypt served as an important nexus for cultural exchange in the eastern Mediterranean, importing and exporting not just wares but also new artistic techniques and styles. Egyptian, Greek, and Roman craftsmen imitated one another’s work, creating cultural and artistic hybrids that transcended a single tradition. Yet in spite of the remarkable artistic production that resulted from these interchanges, the complex vicissitudes of exchange between Egypt and the Classical world over the course of nearly 2500 years have not been comprehensively explored in a major exhibition or publication in the United States. It is precisely this aspect of Egypt’s history, however, that Beyond the Nile uncovers.

    Renowned scholars have come together to provide compelling analyses of the constantly evolving dynamics of cultural exchange, first between Egyptians and Greeks—during the Bronze Age, then the Archaic and Classical periods of Greece, and finally Ptolemaic Egypt—and later, when Egypt passed to Roman rule with the defeat of Cleopatra.

    Beyond the Nile, a milestone publication issued on the occasion of a major international exhibition, will become an indispensable contribution to the field. With gorgeous photographs of more than two hundred rare objects, including frescoes, statues, obelisks, jewelry, papyri, pottery, and coins, this volume offers an essential and interdisciplinary approach to the rich world of artistic cross-pollination during antiquity.

    This volume was published to accompany an exhibition on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum at The Getty Center March 27 to September 9, 2018.

    Jeffrey Spier is senior curator in the Department of Antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum. He is the author of Ancient Gems and Finger Rings (Getty Publications, 1993). Timothy Potts is director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. Sara E. Cole is curatorial assistant in the Department of Antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

    Alfred H. Barr Jr. Honorable Mention for Distinguished Catalogue in the History of Art

    “Excellent productions standards, as one expects.”
    —Gocha R. Tsetskhladze, Ancient West & East

    This large-format and more-than-sumptuously illustrated book is without doubt a magnificent contribution to our understanding of the nature and extent of mutual interactions between the ancient civilizations that surrounded the Mediterranean sea: old Egypt, and classical Greece and Rome. Numerous short and longer contributions by renowned specialists cover almost every essential aspect, evince a range of approaches and conclusions, and make use of a wide spectrum of evidence: archaeological, literary, epigraphic, and art-historical. This is a readable, handsome book which will satisfy any scholar, and certainly all general readers and students.”
    Archiv Orientální

    “The lavishly illustrated colour catalogue to which more than 50 scholars have contributed informative essays and which is accompanied by an extensive bibliography makes this an excellent introduction to the theme of intercultural contacts and their extent during this time period.”
    Bryn Mawr Classical Review

    “All in all, this is an excellent exhibition catalogue, well designed, well written, and well-illustrated . . . the volume as a whole is a very welcome addition to the ever-growing number of publications which examine the phenomenon of cultural interaction in the ancient Mediterranean World.”
    The Art Newspaper

    “One of the most impressive exhibition catalogues this reviewer has seen in quite a while, the present volume (and by all accounts the superb exhibition it accompanies) is one of the best treatments of its ambitious subject.”
    Ancient Egypt Magazine

    “The catalogue is a treat, with authoritative, elegant essays complementing the sumptuously illustrated artefacts.”
    Times Literary Supplement

    “In sum, the catalogue is a rich trove of material, presented in a way that will engage all manner of readers, from the specialist to students to those with merely a passing interest in the place and people of Egypt in the Classical period. I heartily recommend it to any university or community library.”
    New England Classical Journal

    “As thoroughly enjoyable as it is thoughtful and informative. . . . Beyond the Nile is highly recommended as it has something for everyone: from Bronze Age material to late Roman; from epigraphy to painting; from sculpture to coins; from portraits to pottery.”
    Classical Journal

    The scale of this particular project is unprecedented, not least in the United States: arranged into four chronologically organized sections, the book’s sixteen essays explore some 2,500 years of history, stretching from the Bronze Age into the late Roman Empire; in total, some fifty-two scholars have contributed either essays or catalogue entries. Particularly impressive is the quality of the colour illustrations, including all 191 of the show’s exhibits (not just statues, reliefs, and pottery, but also papyri, gems, coins, jewellery, and wall paintings).”
    —Michael Squire, Art and Archaeology

    360 pages
    9 1/2 x 11 1/2 inches
    328 color and 19 b/w illustrations, 1 table
    ISBN 978-1-60606-551-8

    Getty Publications
    Imprint: J. Paul Getty Museum