Room VII. Alexandria and Palmyra

Room VII houses a vast repertoire of Hellenistic and Roman Age small bronzes and clay figurines, dating from between the fourth and second century B.C., mostly originating from Alexandria and previously forming part of the Grassi Collection.
In the same room there is a fragment of a portrait of Ptolemy III Euergetes, testimony to a historical phase of great change in the political and cultural system of the country. The Ptolemaic dynasty came to power following the conquest of Egypt in 332 B.C. by the Macedonian king Alexander the Great. After his death his generals divided the conquered territories and Ptolemy, son of Lagos, ascended to the throne, the first of a line of sovereigns who governed the country from the new capital Alexandria for around three centuries, until the battle of Actium (321 B.C.).
Part of the room is dedicated to a series of funerary portraits, from the rock tombs of the Syrian caravan city of Palmyra, a tributary city of the Roman empire. The city represented for the Romans a sort of bridge to Iran, as indicated also by archaeological evidence. The burial reliefs are a clear example of this. Eleven of these were bequeathed by Federico Zeri in 1999 and were immediately displayed as part of the new layout of the room in 2000.