Statuette of Arsinoe II for her Posthumous Cult

Period: Ptolemaic Period

Date: ca. 150–100 B.C.

Geography: From Egypt

Medium: Limestone, paint, gold leaf

Dimensions: H. 38.7 cm (15 1/4 in); W. 9.6 cm (3 3/4 in); D. 13.2 cm (5 3/16 in)

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1920

Accession Number: 20.2.21


In traditional Egyptian manner, the queen stands in a striding pose against a back pillar, at the same time as her representation incorporates Hellenistic elements like the hairstyle and cornucopia, a Greek symbol for divinity.

Since the inscription on the back of this figure refers to Arsinoe II as a goddess, it was probably made after her death in 270 B.C. when her cult was established by her brother and husband Ptolemy II, the forerunner of a phenomenon that is distinctive to the Ptolemaic dynasty. Indeed, stylistic considerations suggest a considerably later date for this statuette, in the second half of the second century B.C., reflecting the continuing importance of the cults of Arsinoe II and other Ptolemaic queens.