Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History



  • Sarcophagus with a Greek physician, early 300s
    Roman; Ostia, Italy
    Marble
    Inscribed in Greek: If anyone shall dare to bury another person along with this one, he shall pay to the treasury three times two thousand [whatever the unit was]. This is what he shall pay to [the city of] Portus, but he himself will endure the eternal punishment of the violator of graves.
    Gift of Mrs. Joseph Brummer and Ernest Brummer, in memory of Joseph Brummer, 1948 (48.76.1)

    The tomb's owner is shown seated with an open scroll, the pose of a philosopher, demonstrating that he is a learned man. His profession can be identified by the open case containing surgical tools on the cabinet top. Other scrolls and a basin for bleeding patients within the cabinet offer further proof of his profession. The style of his dress and the language of the inscription indicate that he was one of the many Greeks living in Italy. Beginning in the 300s, Christians would adopt in their art the philosopher pose and the undulating motifs, or strigils, that appear on the sides of the sarcophagus.

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    On view: Gallery 300
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  • Sarcophagus with a Greek physician, early 300s
    Roman; Ostia, Italy
    Marble
    Inscribed in Greek: If anyone shall dare to bury another person along with this one, he shall pay to the treasury three times two thousand [whatever the unit was]. This is what he shall pay to [the city of] Portus, but he himself will endure the eternal punishment of the violator of graves.
    Gift of Mrs. Joseph Brummer and Ernest Brummer, in memory of Joseph Brummer, 1948 (48.76.1)

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