An Egyptian Pendant from the Settlement «Chayka» (North-Western Crimea) and the Posthumous Divinization of Arsinoe II Philadelphos

Ladynin Ivan A., Popova E. A.

In 1993 the excavations of Farmstead Two of the Greek settlement «Chayka» (near Evpatoria, North-Western Crimea) brought to light from the strata of the Hellenistic period a pendant of blue glass. The pendant is double-sided, showing on its sides a male and a female face that form evidently a couple; the male face has a stylized Pharaonic beard and an also stylized kerchief around it (one should note the absence of uraeus); the female face is surrounded with rather long curling hair (possibly, the «corkscrew locks» of Ptolemaic women sculpture) and had a decoration on the forehead (now absent; but it was an uraeus rather than an Isiac solar disc between horns, which would have made th eobject more fragile). The style of the pendant attests its Egyptian origin, though the Egyptian features of the object seem to be well Hellenized (an authentic Egyptian male image of the kind would have probably been impossible without uraeus): the pendant was probably intended to serve as an amulet. The paired images could show a couple of deities, i.e. Sarapis and Isis, or royal consorts; the latter option must be chosen, as the male face has nothing in common with the iconography of Sarapis. To identify the royal couple one should pay attention to the uraeus on the forehead of the queen contrasting to its absence with the king; an analogy can be drawm with a number of Egyptian reliefs and sculptures showing queens with double uraei, probably as a sign of greater divine power as compared to rulers marked with single uraeus. If this is the case with the images of the pendant, it is intended to show the queen possessing a greater sacral power than the king. This allows to assume with high probability that the pendant presents a couple of «Brother-and-Sister Gods», Ptolemy II and Arsinoe II Philadelphoi, the latter deceased about 270 BC and deified by her brother (two uraei being a distinctive feature of her Egyptian statues after her death). The presence of her husband’s face on the object makes it possible to date it still to his lifetime (i.e. between 270 and 246 BC). The protective force of the object can be best of all connected with the Ptolemaic propaganda of deified Arsinoe as a benefactress of sea-farers. A number of evidence tells us about Ptolemaic interest in the contacts with the North Black Sea states at the time of the 2nd Syrian War (260– 254 BC) and, probably, its aftermath: objects connected with Arsinoe are likely to have been given as amulets of sea-farers by the Ptolemaic naval officers to their local contractors at the region. Finally, one has to consider the fact that the Egyptian features of the pendant, though stylized, are distinctive: a tense interrelation with Egyptian tradition, somewhat premature within the entire evolution of the Ptolemaic ideology, is specific of the cult of Arsinoe II.

Keywords: Arsinoe II Philadelphos, Ptolemy II Philadelphos, Chayka, North-Western Crimea, pendant