Opening of the exhibition Egyptian cults along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast
On 2nd of June 2022 (Thursday) at 6:30 p.m. at the Regional History Museum – Varna was held the opening of the exhibition Egyptian Cults along the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast organized by the Institute of Balkan Studies with Center for Thracology “Prof. Alexander Fol” at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences with the assistance of the Regional Historical Museum – Varna, New Bulgarian University and the Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt in Bulgaria.
The monuments presented in the exhibition originate from the ancient cities along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast: Apollonia Pontica (Sozopol), Messambria (Nessebar), Anchialus (Pomorie), Odessos (Varna) and Dionysopolis (Balchik) and are divided into five sections according to their type: Amulets, Epigraphic monuments, Terracotta, Bronze, Numismatics. They are selected to illustrate the penetration of Egyptian cults into Ancient Thrace. Due to the communicative location of these cities in relation to its interior, this penetration took place initially here, probably already at the beginning of the 1st millennium BC. The earliest known monuments with Egyptian influence were the amulets found in the Greek colonies of Apollonia Pontica (Sozopol) and Messambria (Nessebar).
The conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great and the rise to power of the Macedonian Ptolemaic dynasty marked the beginning of the Hellenistic Age (3–1 BC), during which some Egyptian cults entered the Greek world as well as Apollonia Pontica (Sozopol), Messambria (Nesebar), Anchialus (Pomorie), and later in Odessos (Varna) and Dionysopolis (Balchik). The focus of these cults was on the worship of the divine family of Isis, Sarapis and Harpocrates, which was imposed by the Ptolemaic dynasty (305–31 BC) throughout the Hellenic world in order to assert their royal power. Although the roots of these deities were Egyptian, their appearance and nature were Hellenized, ie. adopted Hellenic characteristics and features of Greek art. Therefore, there are monuments of various types related to their cult and their study helps us to understand their nature.
The exhibition Egyptian Cults on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast is the result of the scientific research Egyptian Cults in Ancient Thrace, which is part of the project of the Institute of Balkan Studies with Center for Thracology “Prof. Alexander Fol” at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences: Thrace and Egypt in the Greco-Roman world led by Assistant Professor Dr. Vesela Atanasova.
Curator of the exhibition: Assistant Professor Dr. Vesela Atanasova
Scientific editors: Prof. Sergey Ignatov, Prof. D.Sc. Vanya Lozanova-Stancheva
Technical assistant: Dr. Stefan Yanakiev
Design and preprint: Victoria Videvska
English translation: Mariana Revenska.