Little is known about Nefertiti, the Egyptian queen whose name means “a beautiful woman has come.” She was the wife of Akhenaten, the pharaoh who ushered in the dramatic Amarna Age, and she bore him at least six children. She played a prominent role in political and religious affairs, but after Akhenaten’s death she apparently vanished and was soon forgotten.
Yet Nefertiti remains one of the most famous and enigmatic women who ever lived. Her instantly recognizable face adorns a variety of modern artifacts, from expensive jewelry to cheap postcards, t-shirts, and bags, all over the world. She has appeared on page, stage, screen, and opera. In Britain, one woman has spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on plastic surgery in hope of resembling the long-dead royal. This enduring obsession is the result of just one object: the lovely and mysterious Nefertiti bust, created by the sculptor Thutmose and housed in Berlin’s Neues Museum since before World War II.
In Nefertiti’s Face, Egyptologist Joyce Tyldesley tells the story of the bust, from its origins in a busy workshop of the late Bronze Age to its rediscovery and controversial removal to Europe in 1912 and its present status as one of the world’s most treasured artifacts. This wide-ranging history takes us from the temples and tombs of ancient Egypt to wartime Berlin and engages the latest in Pharaonic scholarship. Tyldesley sheds light on both Nefertiti’s life and her improbable afterlife, in which she became famous simply for being famous.
New texts from Greek antiquity continue to emerge on scraps of papyrus from the sands of Egypt, not only adding to the surviving corpus of classical and Hellenistic literature, but also occasionally offering a glimpse into how these poems were studied in antiquity. New Literary Papyri from the Michigan Collection: Mythographic Lyric and a Catalogue of Poetic First Lines presents three such new texts: an innovative lyric poem on the Trojan cycle, a scholarly anthology of lyric verses, and a brief but enigmatic third text. Cassandra Borges and C. Michael Sampson offer the original Greek text of these pieces, along with their scholarly commentary, analyzing their features in a variety of contexts—historical, cultural, poetic, mythological, religious, and scholarly.
The fragments collected here are of considerable antiquity (late third to second century BCE) a fact that is significant inasmuch as it places them among the oldest Greek papyri, but all the more so because in this period, a scholarly community was thriving in Ptolemaic Alexandria, the political and cultural capital of Hellenistic Egypt. The fragments bear witness to that scholarly activity: not only is their anthology of poetic verses consistent with other scholarly selections, but the very survival of these texts may well be at least partially indebted to the work of the Alexandrians in studying and propagating Greek literature in Egypt.
This edition supplements the 1970s work of Reinhold Merkelbach and Denys Page. Recent digitizing for the APIS project revealed a previously unsuspected join with other material, however, which alone warrants a new, comprehensive edition and analysis.