In the millenary tale of Greek mythology, studded with heroes and superhuman feats, the Twelve Labours of Hercules play a central role: the labours – at the end of which the hero is taken up to Olympus, becoming immortal – are an example of virtue and a sign of the glory that is acknowledged to those who face trials and sacrifices with dedication. The killing of the Nemean lion, the victory over the Lernean Hydra, the fight with the Erymanthian wild boar, the capture of the Hind of Ceryneia, the dispersion of the Stymphalian birds, the retrieval of the belt of the Amazon Hippolyta and the theft of the golden apples from the Garden of Hesperides are the Herculean labours that decorate the Torlonia sarcophagus. The theme, probably dear to the deceased, is reinforced by the repetition of the figure of Hercules, which also decorates the short sides of the case and the lid.
Inventory: MT 422
Material: White marble
Technique: Work sculpted through the use of: chisels (also square-tipped and toothed) rasps
Dating: Imperial era
Origin: Estate of Roma Vecchia on Via Latina