Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Ptolemaic Greek funerary traditions in Alexandria, Egypt

During the Ptolemaic period a distinctive type of subterranean tomb for multiple burials proliferated in the cemeteries around the city of Alexandria. Underground chambers cut into the living rock radiated from a central courtyard open to the sky. Most chambers contained a number of loculi, long narrow niches cut into the walls, which served as burial slots. Some loculi were sealed with painted limestone slabs in the form of small shrines. Here, a lively depiction of a man trying to bridle a horse, while a boy stands behind him, commemorates a man from Thessaly in Northern Greece, who must have been one of the many foreigners who congregated in the wealthy, cosmopolitan Ptolemaic capital. - Metropolitan Museum of Art

Image: Painted limestone funerary slab with a man controlling a rearing horse 2nd half of 3rd century B.C.E. at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
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