Wine Jug with Berenike II, Ptolemaic, 243–221 BC, faience
The J. Paul Getty Museum
Female Narrator: The queen shown on this Greek wine jug is mirroring the actions of the person who would have used this vessel.
[Ancient music strums, with a shimmer of small bells]
Getty Villa Curatorial Assitant Sara Cole explains.
Sara Cole: What we're looking at here is a vessel type called an Oinochoe, and we believe that these vessels were probably used by participants in the cults of these queens to pour libations over altars, and so what we're seeing on the vessel, which is the queen herself pouring a libation over an altar that is dedicated to her, is very self-referential.
Female Narrator: The vessel is a melding of Greek and Egyptian influences.
Sara Cole: Although the vessel shape is Greek it's made in an Egyptian material, faience, which is a vitreous quartz-based glaze which when fired, produced beautiful blue and green shades, and it's made using Egyptian manufacturing techniques.
Female Narrator:The woman on the vessel is Queen Berenike the Second who was the wife of pharaoh Ptolemy the Third. The Ptolemies were Greek rulers in Egypt who integrated themselves into Egyptian society and religion, partly through establishing cults to their queens. Cult followers would worship these queens alongside Egyptian deities in the temples.
Take a closer look. Berenike, wearing Greek garments, stands between two altars, holding a shallow libation vessel in her right hand and cradling a cornucopia, or Horn of Plenty, in her left.
Sara Cole: What we're seeing in terms of the iconography is the integration of the Ptolemaic ruler cult into Egyptian religion.