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ORESTES SARCOPHAGUS

Classification
Dimensions
53 x 182 x 12 cm
Date
early 20th century
Period
Material
Inventory
Ag.319.1-2., Ag.330
ID
Hyp-6139
References
Hekler, Gipszgyűjtemény, no. 495

The sarcophagus depicts a Greek myth like a cartoon. The protagonist is Orestes, the son of Agamemnon, who stands at the centre of the relief, with a naked sword in hand. He has taken revenge on the murderers of his father, whose bodies lie beside him: Klytaimnestra — his own mother — and her new husband, the dethroned Aigisthos. Female figures are asleep on the left: the avenging Erinyes, who will shortly wake to chase the matricide. The story ends on the right (here missing). Orestes arrives at the sanctuary of Apollon at Delphi (marked by the tripod), the place of his atonement. The shorter side of the sarcophagus is decorated with a sphinx, its forepaw poised above a ram's head. The winged, woman-headed mythological creature serves as the guardian of the tomb.