Discovering the bust of Neilos from the Ancient Egyptian city of Canopus

Neilos appealed to Egyptians and Greeks alike – he was the Greek version of Hapy, the Egyptian personification of the annual Nile flood that brought prosperity and fertility to the country. Neilos played a significant role in one of the most popular festivals in Egypt when the beginning of the annual flood marked the Egyptian New Year.

This bust was once mounted into a large decorative shield and adorned a temple in the ancient Egyptian city of Canopus. It was discovered by underwater archaeologists at the base of the wall on which it once hung.

Bust of Neilos. Canopus, AD 100–200. Maritime Museum, Alexandria
Photo: Christoph Gerigk. © Franck Goddio/Hilti Foundation