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Object of the Month: Toy Horse from Egypt

Many objects from Egypt have survived the centuries and ended up in museums around the world. This month, we look at this toy horse of a child who lived nearly 1500 years ago, currently on display in the Hellenic Museum!

Head of Paris of Troy from the Gods, Myths & Mortals exhibition at the Hellenic Museum

Can you guess why this toy horse, which dates back to 400–700 CE (during the Byzantine Empire), has a hole through its nose? Not unlike some children's toys today, it was made so that it could be dragged along on a string! However, unlike the materials modern toys are often made from, this toy was carved out of bone and coloured with paint. It was discovered buried under dry Egyptian sands, which explains why it is still in very good condition – there, protected from moisture, its materials did not degrade and the toy looks as good as new!


Do you know any famous horses from Greek mythology or history? Perhaps the child playing with this toy imagined Bucephalus, the horse of Alexander the Great. Alexander loved Bucephalus so much that when his steed died during the Battle of the Hydaspes – far away from Greece, in what is now Pakistan – Alexander honoured him by building a city where he died and naming it Alexandria Bucephalous. This city stood by what is known today as the Jhelum River, which flows from the Himalayas to Pakistan.

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