Ptolemaic women’s patronage of the arts

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Although there is no explicit evidence of queen patronage in the first generations of Ptolemies, the frequent dedication of encomiastic poems to queens (especially Arsinoe II, Berenice II) by Alexandrian learned poets suggests an involvement of royal women in shaping of their public image as patrons and lovers of the arts, in full agreement with the cultural program of their husbands. The queens are presented as Muses or Graces, goddesses who traditionally protect poetry. Not only learned poetry was likely to be endorsed by some queen, but also more “popular” (although refined) forms of entertainment, like lyric song performed in public cults (Theoc. Id. 15). Inscriptions also suggests that the fourth Ptolemaic couple, Arsinoe III and Ptolemy IV, funded literary competitions (Museia).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to Women and Monarchy in the Ancient Mediterranean World
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Alexandria
  • Callimachus
  • Egypt
  • Hellenistic
  • Posidippus
  • Ptolemies
  • court poetry


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