Mummy of a man


These Egyptian mummies may well have been the first ever seen in Europe. A traveller brought them to Rome in the seventeenth century, and later they were acquired by August the Strong. Unusually, the mummies do not have death masks, but portraits of the deceased painted directly onto the linen bandages. The high status of the figures is underlined by the exquisite gold jewellery. Both of these figures lived in the third or fourth century AD in the major city of Memphis, at that time part of the Roman Empire. They are also painted as Romans, yet were among the last followers of the Ancient Egyptian gods, venerated for thousands of years. Their beliefs are evident from the traditional vulture goddess Nekhbet* protecting the man’s chest. In Memphis, many of their neighbours would have worshipped the Roman deities, or practiced the Jewish or Christian faiths.

Material & Technique
Linen, stucco, painted and gilt, mummified body
Late 3rd to mid- 4th cent. CE
Inventory number
Aeg 777