The scene narrates the moment of the saint’s martyrdom. To the left is the prefect ordering the execution and a soldier holding a diptych. The executioner stands with his sword raised, grasping the hair of Menas, while an angel sweeps in on the right with hands covered to receive his soul.


  • Title: Ivory pyxis with St Menas
  • Date Created: 500/600
  • Location: Alexandria, Egypt
  • Physical Dimensions: H. 7.9 cm
  • Subject Keywords: mammal; devotee/worshipper; saint/martyr; arms/armour; angel
  • Place: Found/Acquired San Paolo fuori le Mura
  • Period/culture: Early Byzantine
  • Material: elephant ivory
  • Copyright: The Trustees of the British Museum
  • British Museum website: 1879,1220.1

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