Standing in the center, draped in red, is Octavian — soon to be named Augustus — who used a combination of politics and war to wrest for himself control of the Roman Empire in the aftermath of Julius Caesar’s assassination. He stands over the mummified remains of a much older, long-dead conqueror. The incredibly preserved body, dressed in white clothing, outfitted with armor, is that of Alexander the Great, whose remains were brought by Ptolemy I Soter for entombment in Alexandria.
Octavian’s war against Marc Antony and Cleopatra brought him to Egypt, where the latter two took their own lives while under siege in 30 BCE. After Octavian’s victory over his two deceased rivals, he stayed behind in Egypt to shore up his control over the region, and to do some sightseeing — including, as seen above, a visit to the tomb of Alexander the Great. More on this painting
Gustave-Claude-Étienne Courtois, also known as Gustave Courtois (French: [18 May 1852 in Pusey, Haute-Saône — 1923 in Neuilly-sur-Seine) was a French painter, a representative of the academic style of art…
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