A Roman marble sarcophagus
Circa 2nd century A.D.
Carved in high relief on the front panel with an elaborate mythological scene depicting the 'Rape of Persephone'; the scene on the left with a horse-drawn chariot, the horses rearing as winged Athena urges them on, behind her standing on the chariot, another female figure, probably Aphrodite, baring her breasts, while her drapery falls in folds partially extending around the corner to the end panel, a figure shown trampled underfoot by the horses, then a figure of Persephone shown on her knees, her hands held up in defence as Pluto grasps her from behind, two other figures with flowing drapery look on at the scene from behind, the scene on the right of the sarcophagus showing Persephone being taken by Pluto on a quadriga, a helmeted Athena and Aphrodite struggle with Pluto in an attempt to rescue Persephone, a diminutive winged figure above the chariot, another figure trampled underfoot, a further male figure, naked except for his chlamys to the right of the scene, another naked male figure in relief at the corner and extending to the end panel, over-turned baskets of flowers along the baseline; the two end panels decorated in low relief, the left end depicts a cursorily carved shield-bearing figure on the back corner, with two bound captives on the panel being led by another figure who merges into the front corner; the right end panel shows two shield-bearing gladiators in combat amid architectural elements, 51in. (129cm.) wide, 157/8in. (39.8cm.) deep, 13in. (32.8cm.) high, a section of the undercoated back panel missing 13 x 7½in. (33 x 19cm.), some chipping along the top edge and repairs; the side panels worn along the top edge, the right hand side of the front panel corner chipped, some wear to some of the figures