A Byzantine Egyptian comb

byzegyptcomb This is an elephant ivory comb found in Antinoe, Egypt which dates from the 5th century C.E. At that time Egypt was under the Byzantine Empire. The comb is 6.7 cm long and 17 cm high. Whilst many of the teeth are not remaining, the carved picture remains. byzegyptcombfrontdetail The carving is of a pantomime or dance competition. There are three figures (one man and two women) as well as a Greek inscription. byzegyptcombreverse The Greek inscription says “Long live Helladia’s fortune and the Blues! Amen!”. The central figure would have been the actress Helladia, with the comb inscribed to celebrate her victory in the competition. The Greek inscription also has a reference to the Blues, known as one of the Circus factions of Egypt. The comb is in the Louvre Museum.

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