Verdex
Verdex
21 January, 23:04

Ancient Roman sarcophagus from Badminton House

Ancient Roman sarcophagus from Badminton House
This ancient Roman sarcophagus was once part of the collection of the English Dukes of Beaufort and was located in their main residence - Badminton House. It is known that Henry Scudamore, the third Duke of Beaufort, acquired the artifact from the Spanish Cardinal Julio Alberoni. The inscription on the back wall, which remains smooth and contains no images, indicates that the sarcophagus was brought to the estate in 1733, and in 1955 it was bought by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The sarcophagus was made in the 3rd century AD. e. from marble, which was probably brought from the eastern Mediterranean. The front and sides of the sarcophagus are decorated with images of people and animals. In the center is Dionysus sitting on a panther, next to him are four more of the same large figures, two to the right and two to the left. They symbolize the four seasons: winter, spring, summer and autumn. Often the seasons are presented in the form of female figures, here the author depicted strong young men. On one of the side parts of the sarcophagus is Mother Earth in the company of a satyr and a young man with fruit in his hands. On the opposite side is a bearded man who may be a river deity.
Only the richest and most powerful Romans could afford such a luxury. The images are unlikely to carry any particular meaning and have been chosen purely for decorative purposes. Another similar sarcophagus with Dionysus and the incarnations of the four seasons is known: it is located in the German city of Darmstadt. Despite the similar composition, both products differ significantly in carving. The sarcophagus from Badminton House is a very rare find, since, with the exception of the lack of a lid, it has survived intact to this day.

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