When the Greeks Ruled: Egypt after Alexander the Great

Throughout the first millennium B.C., the ancient Greeks visited Egypt often as tourists, traders, diplomats, and soldiers. But it was not until Alexander the Great (d. 323 B.C.) conquered the Persian Empire that Greeks took over as rulers of the wealthy province of Egypt. Ptolemy, one of Alexander’s generals, installed himself as pharaoh and established a dynasty that governed Egypt for the next 300 years. The dynasty ended with the suicide of Cleopatra VII (d. 30 B.C.) and the subsequent advent of Roman rule.

All of these political shifts influenced the artwork that was produced for Egypt’s upper classes, which was at that time comprised of Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. This confluence of cultures is the subject of When the Greeks Ruled: Egypt after Alexander the Great, a display of over 75 artworks, including gilded mummy masks, luxury glass, magical amulets, and portraits in stone and precious metals, that demonstrates the integration of foreign styles while also paying tribute to the enduring legacy of ancient Egypt’s distinctive visual culture.

Exhibition Opening

Event Details:


  • When: 

    Thursday, October 31, 2013

  • Where: 

    The Art Institute of Chicago
    111 South Michigan Avenue
    Gallery 154
    Chicago, IL

  • More information: 

    Event website.

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