The Tomb Paintings of Kızıbel: Man or Myth

Sara K. Chumbley

In 1998, when M.J. Mellink published the paintings discovered in the Kızıbel Tomb she identified some very interesting mythological representations.  These paintings include a scene of Troilus being stalked by the hero Achilles, as well as a scene of the beheading of Medusa together with her offspring Chrysaor and Pegasus.  Mellink is unwilling to subject any of the remaining paintings within the tomb to an interpretation with mythological or funerary implications.  She maintains that all the paintings, except those with Troilus and Achilles and Medusa and her offspring, are representations of the life of the deceased person. 

In this paper I would like to suggest a new interpretation that focuses on the mythological and funerary interpretations of these paintings.  I propose that on the West Wall of the tomb there is another scene with Achilles, in which the hero is shown departing from Lycomedes on Skyros, with Athena and his mother Thetis looking on.  I believe that the top register of this wall shows another scene related to Achilles, the execution of the Trojan Prisoners.  On the North Wall it seems to me that all the scenes are related to the underworld.  There is in the bottom register a journey to the Isle of the Blest, in the second register the deceased and demons with Persephone and in the central register, the deceased with the king of the underworld Hades.  The Hunting, Boxing, Banqueting and other such scenes within the tomb also have a funerary significance.  These suggestions will be supported with evidence from funerary art from around the Mediterranean. 

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