Monday, September 01, 2008


My year nine class has recenlty been exploring Alexandria, it's culture and history around the first century A.D. One of the really interesting sources to survive from Alexandria are a series of portraits attached to mummies which (supposedly) show us what the person used to look like. Some of these appear on pages 116-7 of their textbook, but they (and many others) can also be found in this on-line gallery.

I love these pictures, because they show the diversity of peoples present in Alexandria at the time- Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, Africans, Jews and more. I also find them really expressive, particularly looking into their eyes- you feel they have a story to tell.

My task for my year nine class then is this: choose one of the portraits either from your textbook or from the on-line gallery, and write a short (50-100 words) biography for them in Latin. Think about what we've read about the culture and history of Alexandria, and use the expressions on the portraits to help you imagine what their lives may have been like. To start off, you might like to think about the following:

  • What race is your chosen person?

  • Is s/he rich or poor?

  • Is s/he young or old?

  • What kind of emotions can you see on her/his face?

You might also like to look at the British Museum site which has some more faces, with a bit more information as well. William Whitakers Words can help you with any Latin vocab you need.

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