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Roman Sarcophagus Essay

676 words - 3 pages

Introduction Paragraph:

When it comes to dealing with a deceased person, the body can be treated in two different ways. You can either cremate the dead body, which consists of burning it to such extent that the only thing remaining would be its ashes, or you could burry the body which is known as inhumation. In ancient western civilizations, deciding wether to burry or burn the body was determined by the tradition and culture of a civilization in a particular period of time. Although the method of commemorating the dead varied throughout different societies, it was clearly an important topic to all ancient Mediterranean societies. Due to its importance, a lot of cultures devoted a great amount of time to create marvelous artefacts that would commemorate the dead. A great example of this was the Roman sarcophagus, which was widely used during the 2 century A.D. This bathtub shaped coffin made of marble usually adorned by intricate ...view middle of the document...

The Marble Sarcophagus of Dionysus is an antique object made of pure white marble. The sarcophagus is approximately 47 ½ inches high and its width is about 92 ½ inches. Its shape is somehow rectangular since the width is greater than the height. However the edges are not straight edges, they are rounded up giving it a feeling of a cylindrical and rectangular shape. What’s interesting about this object is that the marble is carefully carved into fine high relief sculptures Some of the sculptures may be more 3 dimensional than others giving the viewer a more dynamic feel and a greater sense of depth towards the object. The carvings on this smooth white marble consist of, humans, animals and plants. Judging by the number of carvings you can see that it is a highly decorated structure which may have symbolized at that time luxury and power. The figures on this structure are all interacting with each other. There isn’t a single static figure. The sarcophagus contains five central figures that are at a bigger in scale than the others. This five figures all are naked young men. The figure in the center, which is supposed to be Dionysus, is sitting over a big panther. Both of ther’e looking each other. You can tell that the figure in the middle has great importance since it is the only one holding a throne with a robe covering from the waist below. Its interesting that he is the only one that has half of the body covered by a robe since the remaining four men just have robes covering their shoulders. The humans carved on the object are a clear example of the importance of the anatomical beauty in Rome. Every muscle and body part is perfectly carved into the sarcophagus. At one of the rounded sides of the sarcophagus there’s also a big carved woman sitting down on the edge of the object. While in the other end of the object there is a man carved in the same position. Both of them are looking towards the middle, where Dionysus is carved in. Surrounding this main objects are figures of small men possibly children interacting with them offering them food, interacting with the animals and interacting with one another. Overall, this piece conveys movement and also a story.

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