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Final Farewell: The Culture of Death and the Afterlife

The Spectacle of Death: Funerary Customs in Ancient Greece and Italy

back to Greece & Italy section homeCineray Urncineray amphoraLekythos (pot)Mask of MedusaSiren FigurineRhytonHydriaAutumn statuestele of boyfunerary statuehead from grave stele to Suicide in Greece & Rome section

Funerary Stele of Standing BoyFunerary Stele of Standing Boy

The boy commemorated here holds objects that reveal the fusion of Egyptian-Christian and Graeco-Roman religious beliefs in a period when Christianity and pagan religion flourished side by side. Traditionally a Christian symbol, the grapes refer to Christ’s blood and thus his cycle of death and resurrection. Grapes also occur in the symbolism of the Graeco-Egyptian cult of Osiris-Dionysos. The object in the boy’s right hand may be a floral garland, a symbol found on stelai of deceased followers of the goddess Isis. The stele may thus be understood as one representing pagan or Christian belief, or perhaps even a combination of the two.

Funerary Stele of a Standing Boy
Coptic
3rd or 4th c. C.E.
Egypt, Antinoopolis (modern Sheikh ‘Ibada)
Limestone
(59.21)
Chorn Memorial Fund

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