Classic Court

Aegyptus (Egypt)

Roman, probably from Hawara, the Fayum, in the province of Aegyptus, Portrait of a Woman. Tempera on linden-wood panel, about 50 CE. Toledo Museum of Art

Egypt was taken under Roman control in 30 BCE by Octavian (later Emperor Augustus) after his defeat of the tragic lovers Mark Antony and Cleopatra. The pride of the Roman Empire, Egypt was a major producer of grain, fine crafts, and new sculpting materials such as granite and other fine stones. Egypt awakened a fascination in the Roman people for Egyptian antiquity as they began incorporating Egyptian architectural forms, such as obelisks, into their own building plans. The two cultures influenced each other in many ways, from the Empire-wide adoption of some Egyptian gods, to classicizing trends in Egyptian art, to Greco-Roman cultural and burial practices being adopted in Egyptian cities.