This ivory pyxis (round box) shows the saint Menas with camels. His shrine near Alexandria in Egypt was a popular pilgrim site in the Byzantine Empire. Menas, an Egyptian soldier, was executed by Emperor Diocletian (reigned 284-305 CE) for practising Christianity. When the camels carrying his body to burial refused to move beyond a certain spot, it was taken as a sign that he should be buried there. Byzantine, 6th century CE. Made in Alexandria, Egypt. Found in Italy, Rome, San Paolo Fuori le Mura. (The British Museum, London).
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