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.
Inscription: Painted inscription: “Pelopides, a Thessalian”
Found in a tomb near Alexandria, Egypt, in 1884
1884, found in a tomb in Alexandria, Egypt; 1884, purchased by Elbert E. Farman, New York; after 1887, purchased by Darius Ogden Mills from Elbert E. Farman; until 1904, collection of Darius Ogden Mills; acquired in 1904, gift of D.O. Mills.
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