"In 332 BC, Alexander the Great conquered Egypt and for the next three centuries, the Macedonian dynasty of the Ptolemies ruled the country from its capital Alexandria. In 31 BC, the Romans defeated the last Ptolemaic ruler, Queen Cleopatra VII. Egypt fell to Octavian Caesar but Greek remained the official language. In the cross-cultural Roman Egypt that emerged. For some reason Libyans, Romans, Greeks and Jews all developed a taste for mummy portraits. "
These finds are not recent. Several such portraits were discovered in the 1880s but were then dispersed worldwide and ignored. Talented Greek painter, Euphrosyne Doxiadis explains, "Archaeologists declined to comment on their quality as works of art. Art historians have been shy of archaeology. To Egyptologists they are not Egyptian. To specialists in Greco-Roman art they are. They are strictly too early for Byzantinists who see them as predecessors of icons".