Roman pharaoh

Egyptian relief at Dendera depicting Emperor Trajan (right, reigned 98–117 AD) in full pharaonic garb, sacrificing goods to the goddess Hathor and her son Ihy

The Roman pharaohs, rarely referred to as ancient Egypt's Thirty-fourth Dynasty, is the term sometimes used for the Roman emperors in their capacity as rulers of Egypt, especially in Egyptology. After Egypt was incorporated into the Roman Empire in 30 BC, the people and especially the priesthood of the country continued to recognize the Roman emperors as pharaohs, according them traditional pharaonic titularies and depicting them with traditional pharaonic garb, engaging in traditional pharaonic activities, in artwork and at temples throughout Egypt.

Cartouches of Emperor Tiberius (reigned 14–37 AD)

Although the Egyptians themselves considered the Romans to be their pharaohs and the legitimate successors of the ancient pharaohs, the emperors themselves never adopted any pharaonic titles or traditions outside of Egypt, as these would have been hard to justify in the Roman world at large. Most emperors probably cared little of the status accorded to them by the Egyptians, with emperors rarely visiting the province more than once in their lifetime. Their role as god-kings was only ever officially acknowledged by the Egyptians themselves. This was a sharp contrast to the preceding dynasty of pharaohs of Hellenistic Ptolemaic Kingdom, who had spent the majority of their lives in Egypt, ruling from Alexandria. Pharaohs before Egypt's incorporation into the Achaemenid Empire in the Late Period had also all ruled the country from within Egypt. However, Roman Egypt was governed differently from other Roman provinces, with emperors hand-picking governors for the region and often treating it more like a personal possession than a province.

Though not all Roman emperors were recognized as pharaohs, Egyptian religion demanded the presence of a pharaoh to act as the intermediate between humanity and the gods. The Romans being seen as pharaohs proved to be the most simple solution, and was similar to how the Persians had been regarded as pharaohs centuries prior (constituting the Twenty-seventh and Thirty-first dynasties).

Though Egypt continued to be a part of the Roman Empire un... more

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