Wednesday, January 28, 2015


Room III - 131/138 AD
Reconstruction of the Serapeum and Canopus of Hadrian's Villa with statues:

“Two-faced Osiris/Apis (Serapis) born from the lotus flower” erroneously restored in the eighteenth century with a female lower part

“In the Serapeum of the Canopus Hadrian implements a brave attempt at religious reform, deifying his favorite Antinous drowned in the canal known as Canopus which linked Alexandria to the main branch of the Nile, through assimilation with Osiris, the god who dies and is reborn in turn formerly associated by the Ptolemies with Serapis, Alexandrian divinity of salvation” (Web site of the Vatican Museums -

“Priests and priestesses” participating in the ritual of the birth of Osiris

“God Nefertum”

“God Ptah”

“Antinous/Osiris” from the Pecile of Hadrian's Villa, found in 1736

“Isis-Sothis-Demeter” from the Palestra of Hadrian's Villa, found in about 1550

“She was considered to be the bearer of the flood of the Nile River. The bust would hung over a fountain powered by a large tank which, driven by complex hydraulic mechanisms, was able to replicate a sort of Nile flood in the Canopus. The association of Isis with Sothis is also motivated by the fact that in 139 it began a new sothiac era (every 1465 years) and Hadrian had planned a series of festivities for the occasion” (Web site of the Vatican Museums -

Room IV - I/II century AD - Egypt and Rome


Statues and a relief Roman imitations of Egyptian originals

“Dog-headed Thoth” from Rome

“God Anubis” in white marble from Villa Pamphilj in Anzio

“God Anubis, lord of mummification, who led the dead to the underworld, represented here in the Roman style wearing a toga, but following an 'Egyptianising' iconography. In his right hand he holds a sistrum, while the left has the caduceus of Hermes, which served to guide the souls in Greek-Roman religion” (Web site of the Vatican Museums -

“Hapy God of fertility” found in Veii in about 1812

Room V - 2000 BC/100 AD - Masterpieces of Pharaonic Statuary


“Two statues of the Goddess Lioness Sekhmet” sitting 1390/1352 BC in gray granite, from the Temple of Mut (equivalent to Sekhmet) at Karnak, reign of Amenhotep III, XVIII Dyn

Eight more statues of the same goddess are outside on the hemicycle of the Cortile della Pigna (Courtyard of the Pine Cone)

They were part of two series of 365 statues each on display in the Temple of Mut at Karnak built by Amenhotep III himself

“Head of Mentuhotep II” 2010/1998 BC, XI dynasty from Thebes in yellowish sandstone with face painted red

“Statue of the great priest of Ra Hor-Udja” about 600 BC from Heliopolis, XVI din.

“Colossal statue of queen Tuya mother of Ramses II” (1297/1213 BC) in dark granite with yellowish-red spots, from Thebes

“The Queen Tuya, an important historical figure, was wife of Pharaoh Seti I (1294/1279 BC) and venerated mother of his successor, Ramses II (1279/1213 BC). The work was dedicated in the temple of the latter, the Ramesseum, at Thebes, and from there it was brought to Rome by Caligula (AD 37/41), along with statues of Ptolemy Philadelphus and Arsinoe II (in the room) to adorn the gardens of Sallust, where they were discovered in the eighteenth century, in the neighborhood of Piazza Fiume” (Web site of the Vatican Museums -

“Colossal statues of Ptolemy Philadelphus and Arsinoe II” from Heliopolis in red granite, found along with that of the queen Tuya near Piazza Fiume

“Colossal statue of Arsinoe II-Drusilla” dating back to the reign of Caligula (37/41 AD) from the gardens of Sallust in Rome

Tacitus and Suetonius report of an incestuous relationship between Caligula, faithful follower of the Egyptian religion, and his sister Drusilla that he wanted to celebrate just like an Egyptian goddess

“Genius Bes” protector of pregnant women, I/II century AD from Rome

“Bust of Serapis” second century AD from Rome

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