Marble sarcophagus with the contest between the Muses and the Sirens

Period: Late Imperial, Gallienic

Date: 3rd quarter of 3rd century A.D.

Culture: Roman

Medium: Marble, Pentelic

Dimensions: Overall: 21 3/4 x 77 1/4 x 22 1/2 in. (55.3 x 196.2 x 57.2 cm)

Classification: Stone Sculpture

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1910

Accession Number: 10.104


On the front, the deities Athena, Zeus, and Hera, assembled at the far left, preside over a musical contest between the Muses and Sirens. The Muses, associated with man's highest intellectual and artistic aspirations, are defeating the Sirens, creatures that are half woman and half bird who lured men to destruction with their song. On each side is a rampant greyhound, the coat of arms of the Del Nero family, probably added in the seventeenth century.