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Currently on view at: Getty Villa, Gallery 110, Stories of Trojan War
Sarcophagus with lid and 4 unjoined fragments
Unknown maker, made in an Attic workshop
Athens, Greece (Place created)
180 - 220
134 x 211 x 147 cm (52 3/4 x 83 1/16 x 57 7/8 in.)
Four separate episodes from the life of the Greek hero Achilles decorate the sides of this Roman
On the lid, a man and a woman recline on an upholstered couch. As was the common practice, the heads of the figures were left unfinished so they could be carved as portraits of the deceased when the sarcophagus was purchased. In this instance, however, the portraits were never completed; the reason is unknown.
Burial in a sarcophagus was a popular custom during the period from about 150 to 250 A.D. Sarcophagi were mass produced in a few centers, one of which was Athens. Athenian sarcophagi were carved on all four sides and often surmounted with reclining figures.
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Oakley, John. Die attischen Sarkophage. Faszikel 3. Andere Mythen (Gebr. Mann Verlag. Berlin, 2011). p. 29-31, 60, 81, cat. no. 37, pl. 30.2.
Russel, Ben. The Economics of the Roman Stone Trade. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. pp. 302, fig. 7.26.