"This exhibition will bring together some 264 artworks that were created through the patronage of the royal courts of the Hellenistic kingdoms, with an emphasis on the ancient city of Pergamon. Examples in diverse media—from marble, bronze, and terracotta sculptures to gold jewelry, vessels of glass and engraved gems, and precious metals and coins—reveal the enduring legacy of Hellenistic artists and their profound influence on Roman art. ... Numerous prominent museums in Greece, the Republic of Italy, other European countries, Morocco, Tunisia, and the United States will ... be represented, often through objects that have never before left their museum collections."
|Inscription by Claudius Balbillus, Alexandria|
Why I mention this? Because the Hellenistic kingdoms presented in this exhibition feature prominently in our novels. The object called "Opus Gemini" that plays such a central rôle was held by Tiberius Claudius Balbillus, a historical character related by marriage to the royal house of Commagene, one of the last Hellenistic kingdoms to become absorbed by the Roman Empire. His also historical grandchild Iulia Balbilla, who calls herself basilíssa, "of royal descent", is the instigator of the plot against the Emperors that is told in the second story arc of the "Romanike" series.
The "Opus Gemini", by the way, is a close cousin of the Antikythera Mechanism, copies of which have in winter been on display in Basel, Switzerland. Some objects of the Antikythera shipwreck that hosted the Mechanism are now also in the Met. You may see the findings and then read the books to find out about a potential story behind them!