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Athenian sarcophagus with a hunting scene

Date ca. 225–250
Object type relief
Medium, technique carved, marble

205 x 96.5 cm

Inventory number 51.31
Collection Classical Antiquities
On view Museum of Fine Arts, Basement Floor, Classical Antiquity, Hellas – Italy – Rome

All four sides of this sarcophagus, found in Salona, an important Roman port on the Dalmatian coast, are decorated with a single scene. The most likely setting is a forest, where men on horseback and on foot, armed with spears, bows and clubs and accompanied by dogs, hunt wild boar, wild goats and stags. The sarcophagus was produced in one of the Athenian workshops established around 150 A.D. and flourished for a century, exporting to all parts of the Roman Empire. In accordance with the usual workshop practice, the front of the chest and one of the ends were worked in high relief while the back and the other end were flatter and more roughly executed. The figures of a recumbent couple were probably carved on the lid, which is lost. Most of the sarcophagus came to the Hungarian National Museum from Fiume in 1886 as the gift of Archduke Joseph; smaller, but significant parts of it are held in the Archaeological Museum in Split.

János György Szilágyi

This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.

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