of a central open-air court, surrounded by burials in its walls. Burials were placed either inside a funerary kline-sarcophagus, a method preserved for the most prominent member or in narrow holes cut into the wall known as loculi, and afterwards covered with a funerary slab. Entering from the stairs to the underground court of Mustapha Kamel I, one faces to the south the façade of a funerary temple in Doric order. The south façade has a triple-doorway arrangement with a rectangular opening above each doorframe. The central opening is covered with a slab presenting five figures, possibly the most prominent inhabitants of this familial tomb: three Macedonian-style cavaliers and two Tanagra-style females,77 related to the Greek Alexandrian aristocracy, making libations. At first sight, the message seems clear: this tomb belongs to Alexandrian elites of Greek origin. Yet, considering more carefully some aspects of the façade the picture gets more complicated. The three Egyptianising doorways are guarded by six Egyptian sphinxes. Thus, the message has to be redefined. These people are elite Alexandrians who were born, lived and died in Alexandria, the Hellenistic capital of Egypt - this city and country was their home whatever their family provenance (3rd century BC).
2ND AND 1ST CENTURIES BC: THE EMERGENCE OF THE AEGYPTO-ALEXANDRIAN IMAGE AND THE ROLE OF THE GREEK TRADITION Major political, cultural and social developments occurred in Alexandria during the 2nd and 1st centuries BC. The Ptolemaic Empire seemed to fall into deep decline due to the continuous wars among the Hellenistic kingdoms as well as the unstoppable internal conflicts among members of the Ptolemaic family. Meanwhile, Greco-Egyptian interaction – both physical78 and cultural - had reached an advanced level. The different ethnic groups79, considerably Greeks and Egyptians went through an intensive course of cross-cultural exchange and interaction, even fusing the cores of their funerary customs. Hence, Greeks were gradually initiated into Egyptian culture more and more, while Egyptians could reach the upper classes or high positions in state administration and the army, after a process of Hellenisation, largely in terms of lifestyle, name and education. This process 77
The famous so-called Tanagra figurines are terracotta statuettes presenting Alexandrian females during the 3rd century BC. Hundreds of them have been discovered in Hellenistic cemeteries of Alexandria, such as Hadra and Chatby. Breccia, 1940, 55-136, Pl. XXXII-XXXVI. 78
There was advance physical interaction in between Greeks and Egyptian of the low and middle level rd classes, already since the middle of the 3 century BC, see Fraser, 1972, 71-72, and 75-76, which continued nd st in the 2 and 1 centuries BC, La‘da, 2003, 166-167; Goudriaan, 1988, 118. 79 Goudriaan, 1988.