“DIONYSIA, YOU WORTHY WOMAN, FAREWELL!”
In THE DEADLIEST LIE, Miriam brags about living in the finest neighborhood of Alexandria:
Of the three residential quarters in Alexandria, the Jewish quarter is the district Ptolemy I pledged to our people to encourage us to settle here. We’re on the coast and farthest from the main necropolis. Alexandrians have been burying their dead there for more than a century, whether in multi-chambered underground tombs of stone decorated with the scenes and symbols of Egyptian funerary art or in simple, earth-covered pits. But in our quarter, we can inhale the scent of the sea instead of the stench of the embalming workshops.
The tomb pictured here has many loculi, burial niches hollowed out of the walls. Each niche was closed with a limestone slab and sealed with plaster until it was reopened to make room for another corpse. Up to ten might be stored in a single niche. Some were painted with elaborate designs or words of sendoff such as “Dionysia, you worthy woman, farewell!”
Accessed by a stairway cut down through the rock, the tomb was built to mimic a monumental building with a court open to the sky and an altar there for sacrifices. The burial chambers were arranged around the court.
THE DEADLIEST LIE is more than a maddening search for a set of high-stakes documents that takes Miriam into the underbelly of Alexandria during the Roman occupation. The Amazing Kreskin calls it “an action thriller set it in ancient times…. [where] one gets a feeling of life in ancient Egypt.” Click here to find out more.