Coptic Museum

views updated


cairo museum of antiquities from the roman and byzantine eras.

Founded in 1908 by Marcus Simaika, the Coptic Museum in Cairo has the world's greatest collection of antiquities reflecting the culture that flourished in Egypt after the introduction of Christianity in the first or second century. Many of the objects reflect the influence of pharaonic and Greco-Roman artistic styles on early Coptic art. Among the categories of approximately 14,000 antiquities are textiles, sculpture, relief, icons, woodwork, metalwork, glass, ceramics, ivories, and manuscripts. Perhaps the most famous works in the collection are the Coptic gnostic texts known as the Nag Hammadi Gospels, named after the town in southern Egypt near their site of discovery between 1945 and 1948.


Gabra, Gawdat, and Alcock, A. Cairo: The Coptic Museum and Old Churches. Cairo: Egyptian International Publishing Company, 1993.

Reid, Donald Malcolm. Whose Pharaohs? Archaeology, Museums, and Egyptian National Identity from Napoleon to World War I. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002.

Donald Spanel

Updated by Donald Malcolm Reid