Sarcophagus with a matrimonial ceremony (so-called wedding or marriage sarcophagus, or a sarcophagus of the spouses)
3rd cent. CE.
Inv. Nos. ГР-4222 / A 433.Saint Petersburg, State Hermitage MuseumPhoto by Ilya Shurygin

Sarcophagus with a matrimonial ceremony (so-called wedding or marriage sarcophagus, or a sarcophagus of the spouses).

3rd cent. CE.
Inv. Nos. ГР-4222 / A 433.

Saint Petersburg, State Hermitage Museum
(Санкт-Петербург, Государственный Эрмитаж).

Private collection, Campana.
Entered the Hermitage in 1862 from the Campana collection.

115. Sarcophagus

Rome Late second century A. D. Marble. Length 230 cm. Height 116 cm. Formerly in the Campana Collection. Acquired in 1862. Inv. No. A 433.

The relief on the front wall of the sarcophagus shows a newly wedded couple in the act of offering a sacrifice, with the gods, girls carrying gifts, and attendants bringing to the temple a sacrificial bull. The goddess Concordia is blessing the union; Virtus, the goddess of valour, is crowning the husband; Venus and Hymen promise happiness to the bride and the bridegroom.

This is a so-called biographical sarcophagus. But the relief is not merely an illustration of an episode of the life of the deceased. The three main virtues of Roman citizens are praised here: piety, valour and family consent. The use of allegory reflects an influence of the reliefs carved on triumphal columns and arches. The relief is executed with splendid mastery. The faces of the characters are rendered with great attention to their individual features.

© 2012. Photo: Ilya Shurygin.
Info: museum annotation.
© 1975. Description: X. Gorbunova, I. Saverkina. Greek and Roman Antiquites in the Hermitage. Aurora Art Publishers, Leningrad, 1975. P. 114—115, cat. no. 115.
Keywords: γλυπτική sculptura sculpture sculptural scultura skulptur ρωμαϊκό roman romana romano romani römisch römische römisches römischen römischer romain romaine romains romaines κηδεία funeral funerary funeraria funerario begräbnisskulptur beerdigung funéraire ανακούφιση relief rilievo ελληνική μυθολογία mythologia graeca greek mythology mitologia greca griechische mythologie grecque ρωμαϊκή ὠκεανός ωκεανός oceanus okeanos god dio divinità oceano gott gottheit dieu divinité océan μινέρβα minerva goddess dea göttin déesse minerve γιούνο juno iuno giunone junon γιούπιτερ jupiter iupiter juppiter iuppiter jovis iovis jove giove ὑμήν υμήν υμέναιος hymenaios hymenaeus hymen imene imeneo hyménée σελήνη μήνη selene luna mondgöttin mond séléné lune ἥλιος ἠέλιος ήλιος θεός deus helios helius elio elios hélios σαρκοφάγος σαρκοφάγους sarcophagus sarcophagi sarcofago sarcofagi sarkophag sarkophage sarcophage sarcophages ἕσπερος έσπερος hesperus hesperos vespero hespéros concordia βιογραφική σαρκοφάγος vita humana biographical biografico biografischer lebenslauf-sarkophag biographique wedding marriage nuziale hochzeitssarkophag de mariage marble marmo marmor marbre μάρμαρο from the campana collection collezione sammlung husband marito mann ehemann mari vir σύζυγος wife moglie ehefrau femme épouse uxor uxorem γυναίκα married couple marrieds spouses coppia sposata coniugi ehepaar ehegatten verheiratet marié mariés mariées conjoints παντρεμένο ζευγάρι matrimonio nozze hochzeit noce γάμος with lid of pietas sacrificio inv no гр-4222 a 433