Strigilated Sarcophagus with Lions
The Torlonia sarcophagus is a fine marble example of a strigilated sarcophagus of the lenòs type (tub-shaped), popular between the third and fourth centuries AD. The shape of the coffer recalls the tub, used for the pressing and fermentation of the grape, it recollects the Dionysian mythic surrounding and relates it to the funerary context. The large sarcophagus has on each side a decoration consisting of a tamer holding a large lion intent on capturing an animal, an antelope on the left side and a ram on the right. On the front side, S-shaped spiral fluting converge towards the center until they form a centrale lozenge that encloses inside an amphora with a modern inscription consisting of two letters: T D. The sarcophagus was missing of the right side, which was recomposed with an ancient fragment with the head of a lion coming from another sarcophagus of the same type. The theme of lions with tamers may suggest the status of the deceased, probably a magistrate in charge of organizing venationes, or fighting with beasts that were held within amphitheaters or circuses.
Inventory: MT 417
Material: White marble
Technique: Work sculpted through the use of: chisels (also square-tipped and toothed) rasps
Dating: Imperial age
Origin: From Palazzo Savelli, then in Villa Torlonia on Via Nomentana until the transfer to the Lungara Museum by 1876.