Alexander the Great Sacrifices at Ilium. A.M. 3670.

WAG 7716


This is one of a group of drawings by British artist and book illustrator Edward Francis Burney, depicting scenes from Greek and Roman history and mythology. In Greek biographer Plutarch's 'The Life of Alexander', Alexander the Great (356 - 323 BCE) travels to Ilium to make a sacrifice to Athena. Plutarch writes that "the gravestone of Achilles he anointed with oil, ran a race by it with his companions, naked, as is the custom, and then crowned it with garlands [...]". Burley's drawing may be an amalgamation of both events. The cow in the image may be intended as a sacrifice to Athena, and the garlanded sculpture the grave of Achilles.