From Alexander to Cleopatra: An exploration of Ptolemaic Egypt

Ref: C3530642

Ptolemaic Egypt can be suggested to be a country of two cultures, of Greeks in Egypt manifested as Egyptian Pharaohs. Taught from an Egyptological perspective we will examine this fusion of two worlds and the at times uneasy fusion of two worlds. Considering the period from the arrival of Alexander the Great in 332 BCE until the demise of Cleopatra VII's administration in 30 BCE we will study the internal turmoil of the Ptolemaic dynasty over these three centuries. It is a period in which Egyptian religion and representation lives on providing us the opportunity to consider temples such as Edfu as well as texts, art and artefacts from the period to build a broad history of the society beyond the general historical outline.

Additional information about this course

NB there is no session on 07/11/19

Course aim

This course aims to cover the three centuries known as Ptolemaic Egypt, introducing the history, culture, art, texts and buildings of Egypt from Alexander the Great until Cleopatra VII.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for beginners
  • This course is for improvers
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Identify three rulers of the Ptolemaic Dynasty
  • Describe the contents of the Famine Stela
  • Discuss a Ptolemaic scene from an Egyptian temple
  • Outline an example of cultural fusion

How will I be taught?

  • The sessions will be based around well illustrated and interactive presentations with occasional readings of texts. Students will have the option (but not requirement) to prepare a short presentation to the class on a relevant topic.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • Informal feedback with no exams or tests

What else do I need to know?

  • A pen and paper for notes

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre-study is required but especially for those new to the subject reading a general introduction to Egypt may be beneficial, a full but optional reading list will be provided on week 1.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Progression to lectures from groups such as the Southampton Ancient Egypt Society or online study for a certificate or diploma in Egyptology.

Download full course information sheet

From Alexander to Cleopatra: An exploration of Ptolemaic Egypt

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This course is not available for online enrolment.


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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