Discovered in 1714 in Rome, in Vigna Verospi, the ancient site of the “Gardens of Sallust”, the statues portray, according to the traditional pharaonic iconography, Ptolemy II and his sister-wife Arsinoë II. Originally erected in Heliopolis, they were consecrated by the Lagid sovereign to celebrate the deification of Arsinoë following her premature death in the year 15 of Ptolemy.
It is believed that the two statues were brought to Rome, along with the statue of Queen Tuya (cat. 22678) by the emperor Caligula, who had them erected in the “Gardens of Sallust” to decorate a building consecrated to his royalty and to his sister-wife Drusilla, who had also died prematurely and was deified in the same way as Ptolemy II had deified his sister-wife Arsinoë. To reinforce the parallel with Ptolemy II, Caligula ordered the production of a second statue of Arsinoë II, which he consecrated, however, to his sister Drusilla (cat. 22683).