The Istanbul Archeology Museum



A Land Rich In Antiquity

Published on 1-April-2012 by Ray Fried


This land was the home of the Hittites, the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, the Latin Empire, and the Ottoman Empire. Additionally it experienced a rapid and significant transition to become a Christian "empire" during the time of Constantine - taking 200 years to transition from a society that killed Christians for the sport to one that accepted Christianity even at high political levels. Now it is predominantly Muslim. All these changes result in artifacts and old buildings.

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A sarcophagus is a funeral receptacle for a corpse, most commonly carved or cut from stone. The word "sarcophagus" comes from Greek. Sarcophagi were undoubtedly used by the Egyptians prior to the building of the Great Pyramid, but it was not until after the days of Trojan that the Greeks and Romans produced the monumental and richly sculptured examples which are found in the museums of Europe today. Sarcophagi were most often designed to remain above ground, hence were often ornately carved, decorated or elaborately constructed. Some were built to be freestanding, as a part of an elaborate tomb or series of tombs, while others were intended for placement in crypts.

Often the images on the sarcophagus told a story. Some stories were very complex. One such story reminded us of Joseph and Potiphar's wife as recorded in Genesis 39.