Attic marble sarcophagus with hunting scene from Salona

90 × 93 × 203 cm
ca. 225–250
Production place
Szilágyi, J. Gy., Antik Gyűjtemény, 160–161, fig. 116; Szilágyi, J. Gy., Ancient Art, 183, fig. 119; Marin 1992

The most sophisticated sarcophagi of the 3rd century AD were carved in Athenian workshops, and were widely exported. This piece was found in one of the cemeteries of Salona (Split) in Dalmatia in the 1860s. Some of its fragments were brought to Budapest, while others remained in Split (these are replaced here by plaster casts of the originals).
Athenian sarcophagi were carved on all sides, with two of them elaborately carved, the other two decorated in less detail. Each sarcophagus is a unique composition.
The sarcophagus from Salona is adorned with scenes of a hunt for wild sheep, boar, and deer. In antiquity, hunting was considered a test of masculinity and courage. The hunters here are, exceptionally, not mythological figures but everyday people.

Marble analyses conducted by Danielle Decrouez (Geneva, Museum of Natural History) and Karl Ramseyer (University of Bern, Institute of Geological Sciences) have shown that the sarcophagus was made of Pentelic marble. Click here for the detailed results.