Frontal panel of a sarcophagus with scenes of lions hunting. The right scene.

Marble. 220270 CE.

Spoleto, Piazza del Duomo

From palazzo Campello. Donated to the Duomo by Contessa Guglielmina Campello in 1954 on occasion of repavement of piazza del Duomo. Mounted in the right wall of the piazza at the suggestion of archbishop Raffaele Mario Radossi.
The motif of the final scene is heroic death. The attacking lioness knocks down the hunter from his horse. The falling hunter tries to cover himself with a shield; he is defenceless because his right arm with weapons is blocked by the falling horse. His fellows do their best to help him, but will they manage to?

Death of a civil person at hunt was considered as honorable as death of a military man in a battle. Hunting for a wild beast was standard metaphor of virtus of the deceased in funerary sculpture. The most dangerous was hunt for a lion or for a wild boar. The latter is much more common in sarcophagi reliefs because the resembling myths of Meleager and Adonis were widely used in funerary art; and besides the natural habitat of the wild boar was the whole Roman Empire that made this choice actual for any region. And vica versa the choice of a lion as an object of hunt grounds the assumption that the deceased lived and possibly died in the Asia Minor or North Africa.

2010. Photo and description: Ilya Shurygin.



Keywords: marble sarcophagus sarkophag sarcofago with scenes of lions hunting hunt for lion Spoleto piazza del Duomo sarcofago con caccia al leone paludamentum horse lioness shield