Queen Berenice II of Egypt was the wife of Ptolemy III Euergetes (the Greek word for benefactor). There is very little known about Ptolemy’s youth before his marriage to Berenice II, daughter of Magas, the king of Cyrene in 245 BC. The marriage is said to have reunited Egypt and Cyrenaica, which had been divided for 13 years.
Berenice feared for her husband’s life whilst he was away on a military expedition in Syria to avenge the murder of his sister. The statue depicted here illustrates a legend told of Berenice’s famously beautiful hair – Berenice’s tresses – which she offered to the gods in exchange for her husband’s safe return.
Berenice’s Tresses is an Italian late nineteenth-century sculpture by Ambrogio Borghi in white marble on gilded white and grey veined marble that stands just under three metres tall on a revolving column and wood base.