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Copyright © 2019 - American Research Center in Egypt / New York
ARCE NY logo courtesy of Dr. Ogden Goelet


The American Research Center in Egypt, New York Chapter (ARCE/NY) presents on Wednesday, December 11, 2019 the following lecture in its Fall / Winter Lecture Series:

“Becoming an Isis Initiate.” 

Upcoming Egyptology Lectures in New York

December 5, 2019. ISAW Lecture. Dr Ann Macy Roth. A Tale of Two Stories: Mythological Texts as a Source of Ancient Egyptian Gender Roles. 6:00 PM at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World. RSVP required.

January 30, 2020. ARCE NY/Barnard College Lecture. Dr. Solange Ashby. Sacred Dancers: Nubian Women as Priestesses of Hathor. 6:00 PM at 223 Milbank Hall (Ella Weed Room), Barnard College. RSVP required.  

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Dr. Paul Stanwick is a specialist in Greek and Roman Egypt and a Visiting Scholar at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. He received his PhD in Egyptian and Roman art and archaeology from the Institute of Fine Arts. He also holds a BA in Classical archaeology from Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges. He currently serves as Board Treasurer for the American Research Center in Egypt.

SPEAKER: Dr. Paul Stanwick is a Visiting Scholar at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.

LOCATION: Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, 7 Times Square, New York, 23rd floor. [Entrance on Broadway at 42nd St, between The Loft and The Counter. Photo ID required. Proceed to 5th Fl Sky Lobby and take second elevator bank to 23rd Fl.]


ABSTRACT: What did it mean to be an initiate of the Isis mystery cults in the Roman Empire? One needed to be devoted to the worship of Isis, Serapis and other Isiac gods. Personal wealth was probably required. Most importantly, Isis herself needed to call you to initiation, possibly in a dream. We have only hints of what happened during an initiation, which was likely highly experiential. Initiation occurred over time in stages, similar to what is known about the training of ancient Egyptian priests. 

The Serapeum temple in Alexandria and the Iseum (et Serapeum) Campense temple in Rome were among the most important sanctuaries of the Roman Empire and likely highly active centers of the Isis mystery cults. Using material remains from these temples, principally statuary, this talk will examine possible dedicatory and ritual narratives of Isiac devotees and initiates more specifically. In particular, the talk will address the question of why New Kingdom and Late Period Egyptian statues were appropriated from traditional temples in Egypt and moved to the Alexandria Serapeum and the Iseum (et Serapeum) Campense of Rome.