Funeral banquet.

Funerary stele.
Marble. About 470-460 BCE.
Inv. No. 1947 (Cat. Mendel 578).

Istanbul, Archaeological Museum

From Thasos, Ionia.

Rectangular marble slab. Two pilasters with capitals and without bases support an epistyle made by a smooth architrave.

In the center of the scene, a dead man is lying on a bed with high legs; his chest is bare and slightly in three-quarters, his legs are stretched toward left and covered with a drapery. The bearded head is portrayed exactly in profile. The man’s left arm is leaning on two pillows, while the right arm is stretched in front of him, and his hand is holding a “kylix”, used to receive the wine tapped with an “oinochoe” by a naked youth from a large “dinos” placed on a cylindrical support.

At the right corner of the slab, a young woman is sitting on a chair; her lowered head is portrayed in profile toward the left, and the left arm is bent at right angle: her left hand is holding an alabastron, and the right a small and indistinct object, presumably a buffer or a recipient for perfume. The young woman is wearing a chiton with sleeves and a himation covering the lower part of her body and the legs; the feet wear thin sandals.

In front of the bed a trapezoidal table is carved. Under the table, a greyhound is eating some food remains fallen on the floor.
On the right upper part of the scene, above the young woman, a round mirror is shown; to the left side, above the head of the youth, a Corinthian helmet and a Thracian shaped shield (“pelta”) are carved.

This work is remarkable both for the quality of the composition and for the skill of the artist; an atmosphere of nobility and serenity pervades from this bas-relief: this carved slab shows the happiest qualities of the Ionian art and the achievement of a masterwork.

The bas-relief might be dated about 470-460 AD.

(Source: Catalogue Mendel, Tome 2 (page 304), Notice 0578)
© 2012. Photo: Egisto Sani.
© Text: Catalogue Mendel, Tome 2 (p. 304), Notice 0578.
Keywords: marble relief bas-relief funeral funerary stele feast meal banquet revelry for the repose of the dead man youth servant cupbearer girl woman dog greyhound bird quail wine Corinthian helmet headpiece Thracian shield pelta furniture chair table footstool bed-spread bedspread bed pillow pillows female clothes clothing garments hair-dress hairdo hairstyle hairdress hairdo footwear foot-gear food flat foodstuffs mirror beard kylix oinochoe dinos alabastron buffer recipient bottle for perfume support himation sandal sandals chiton with sleeves epistyle Stele funeraria Banchetto funebre marmo rilievo bassorilievo Inv No 1947 Cat Mendel 578
History of Ancient Rome