The blessed lands of Egypt are filled with priceless treasures that come from foreign lands and tell stories for faraway cultures. An archaeological mission in the Polish-American joint excavation in the city of Berenice, on the Red Sea coast, has revealed a statue of the Buddha from the Roman era. The mission has been working at the site since 1994 which was under the keen eye of the supervision of the epic Supreme Council of Antiquities. This year's excavation season has yielded several important indications of commercial links between Egypt and India during the Roman era. Egypt was in a central position on the trade route linking the Roman Empire to many areas of the ancient world, including India. There were several ports on the Red Sea coast in Egypt during the Roman era that participated in this trade, the most important of which was Berenice, where ships arrived from India loaded with products such as pepper, semi-precious stones, textiles, and ivory.
Dr. Mariusz Gwiazda, the head of the Polish side of the mission, Archaeologists have recently discovered a statue in the ancient city of Berenice in Egypt. The stone of this epic statue is known to have been taken from the southern area of Istanbul, or it could have been carved entirely in the area of Berenice itself. It is thought that the statue was dedicated to be placed in a temple by one or more of the wealthy Indian traders who were known to have visited the city during ancient times. The discovery of this statue provides valuable insight into the cultural and commercial exchanges that took place between different regions of the ancient world. The statue is 71 cm high and depicts the Buddha standing, holding a part of his garment in his left hand. There is also a magical halo around his blessed head with sun rays that indicate his enlightened mind, as well as a lotus flower beside him. Two metal coins dating back to the 2nd century AD were also found in the Satavahana Indian Kingdom.
Dr. Stephen Sidebotham, the head of the American side of the mission, also explained that the mission has discovered an inscription in the Sanskrit language that dates all the way back to the Roman Emperor Philip the Arab a.k.a Marcus Julius Philippus (244-249 AD) during its work at the temple. This marvelous inscription does not seem to belong to the same period as the statue, and it may indicate the continued use of the temple and its adaptation to serve the changing religious practices of the people of Berenice over time.
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