Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II must have been very willing to allow himself to be depicted in an ancestral ritual, thus demonstrating his legitimacy as king and, perhaps more importantly, the legitimacy of the Ptolemaic Dynasty, reaffirming its right to govern Egypt. By worshipping his Ancestors he established a link between himself and those who had been kings of Egypt since time immemorial. From the point of view of the priesthood, this was a desirable thing. It did not matter to them that the king whose legitimacy was being proclaimed on the Naos of Edfu Temple was a Macedonian, a foreigner, a fact that is made abundantly clear in the scenes in which Euergetes II is depicted wearing Greek dress. To the priests of Egypt, especially those devoted to Horus, the royal god par excellence, it was Kingship itself and not any individual king that was all-important.
– The House of Horus at Edfu: Ritual in an Ancient Egyptian Temple, Barbara Watterson
I found this hilarious because I happened to read that chunk a couple of days after my latest Hills of the Horizon column was posted: A Defense of Sacred Kingship. Which approaches a similar point from a catastrophically different angle.
(The passage in the Watterson goes on to note that the priesthood was interested in preserving the customs of Egyptian ritual kingship until they could get rid of the %$*&# Greeks, mind, which is oblique of the thing I found funny.)
(… please excuse weird errors in my transcription, there’s some damn autocorrect on and it changed the author name and introduced other errors and WTF.)