This, the fourth in the British Museum's series of terracottas catalogues, features terracottas found in Egypt and dating from the victory of Alexander in 332 BC and the succeeding Ptolemaic and Roman periods until the Arab conquest in AD 641. The typical terracottas of the Ptolemaic and Roman periods, in all their exuberant variety, are known mainly from catalogues of unprovenanced material and not much is known of their chronology. No doubt purchased by both Greek and Egyptian members of the population, most such terracottas probably came from the houses of city- and village-dwellers, and, placed in a house-shrine, would have been thought by their owners to have a protective function over their households in everyday life and in childbirth. They would also enhance the fertility of fields and animals. Some 830 terracottas and objects, arranged thematically, are discussed and illustrated. The introduction describes the scope and content of the material; its function and distribution within the villages and cities of Egypt; its religious context; the difficulties of dating it; and manufacturing techniques.
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