Abstract: Egypt as Metaphor: Decoration and the Afterlife in the Monumental Tombs of Ancient Alexandria


Egyptian Alexandria was founded as a Greek city yet, from their inception, its monumental tombs incorporated Egyptian architectural elements into their hellenically based fabric. Shortly thereafter, these Egyptian elements were expanded to embrace decorative, figurative, and architectural motifs. In succeeding centuries, these Egyptianized components became more complex and more nauanced, complying with an increasing Alexandrian awareness of the Egypt with which the city was geographically associated.

This talk explores the intersection of Egyptian and Greek (or Roman) decorative elements and motifs in Alexandrian monumental tombs and the eschatological climate that permitted and encouraged the convergence. It argues that Greeks adopted and adapted Egyptian modes of expression in order to fill a void in their own visual repertoire at a time when visualizing the road to the afterlife became more acutely essential.

Dig Deeper

Email the AIA Facebook Instagram YouTube Twitter
Subscribe to the AIA e-Update

Sign Up!