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Museum of Classical Archaeology Databases

Belvedere Sarcophagus

This deep relief is the side panel of a large sarcophagus. The violent action and subject matter, a battle between goddesses and giants set in a rocky landscape, is reminiscent of the large frieze of the Altar of Zeus from Pergamon.

It is unusual that no male gods are shown in the battle. The goddesses can be identified on the basis of their attributes: Artemis on the left has a bow and hunting dog, and Hekate, on the other side of the snake-legged giant, holds flaming torches.

The relief is not quite as it was when made: there are graffiti, with the date 1693 scratched into the middle of the left hand slab, and many of the fine details are restorations

Location of Original: 

Rome, Vatican, Cortile del Belvedere 38

1.08 x 2.55m

Amelung: Catalogue of the Vatican Museum II (1908), 94, pl. 10

c.130-150 CE

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