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The stele was purchased in Cairo at Eli Albert and Joseph Abermayor by soldiers of the Polish Independent Carpathian Rifle Brigade during WW II. The scene depicts a deceased man lying on a klinai and a female orant standing opposite. The man lying in the bed is dressed in a short-sleeved chiton and a himation rolled at the waist, wrapped around his left hand. In his right, outstretched hand he is holding a kantharos. The woman standing in front of him is depicted en face, she is dressed in the same way as the man and is raising her hands in a gesture of prayer. Under the scene an inscription is placed. The name of the deceased has been preserved only partially; perhaps it was Sosas. The name of his father was Chairemon; the name of Isidora is also there, popular in Egypt in the Roman period. The figures are bound together by family ties.

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The stele was purchased in Cairo at Eli Albert and Joseph Abermayor by soldiers of the Polish Independent Carpathian Rifle Brigade during WW II. The scene depicts a deceased man lying on a klinai and a female orant standing opposite. The man lying in the bed is dressed in a short-sleeved chiton and a himation rolled at the waist, wrapped around his left hand. In his right, outstretched hand he is holding a kantharos. The woman standing in front of him is depicted en face, she is dressed in the same way as the man and is raising her hands in a gesture of prayer. Under the scene an inscription is placed. The name of the deceased has been preserved only partially; perhaps it was Sosas. The name of his father was Chairemon; the name of Isidora is also there, popular in Egypt in the Roman period. The figures are bound together by family ties.
The stelae from Kom Abu Billou, placed on tombs in the necropolis in Terenuthis, come from the 1st–3rd century. On the stelae, features characteristic of the Christian and pagan religions can be distinguished. There are Egyptian deities — Anubis, Horus, but also figures raising their hands in a gesture of prayer. The iconography on the steles has a combination of Greek and Egyptian features. The idea of the feast scene with the deceased lying on the bed is of Greek origin, the same refers to the costume, whereas the manner of depicting frontally a figure with no sign of age is typical of the Egyptian tradition.

Elaborated by Krzysztof Babraj (Archaeological Museum of Kraków), editorial team of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums, © all rights reserved

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Stele of the son of Chairemon and Isidora from Kom Abou Billou

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