No, The Ancient Greeks Didn’t Have Laptop Computers

A photo being widely shared on social media shows what some claim is a laptop computer in a funerary relief from ancient Greece.

Unlike many images that get passed around in conspiracy circles, the photo of this 2,100-year-old relief hasn’t been altered or “digitally enhanced.”

At first glance, the relief from the J. Paul Getty Museum’s collection does, sorta, look a bit like someone holding open a laptop:

The notion of this sculpture featuring a laptop raises all kinds of obvious questions. What did it plug into? Did they have wifi? Netflix and chill? Why a laptop and not an tablet? And where did it come from? Was it made by an ancient Steve Jobs, left behind by a time-traveling Bill Gates or was it a gift from ancient aliens?

In reality, the sculpture of course does not show a laptop — and those holes aren’t USB ports, either. The museum said the relief, which is titled “Grave Naiskos of an Enthroned Woman with an Attendant,” depicts a slave holding a shallow chest.

“The depiction of the deceased reaching out for an item held by a servant has a long history in Greek funerary art and probably alludes to the hope of continuing earthly pleasures in the afterlife,” the museum wrote in the description.

In the book “Greek Funerary Sculpture: Catalogue of the Collections at the Getty Villa,” author Janet Burnett Grossman described the woman in the relief as reaching for “the lid of an open flat box or mirror.”

Of course, anyone inclined to believe it’s a laptop computer in the first place probably isn’t going to believe that it’s a flat box or a mirror.

The truth is out there.

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