Marble sarcophagus lid with reclining couple

Period: Imperial, Severan

Date: ca. A.D. 220

Culture: Roman

Medium: Marble

Dimensions: length 91in. (231.1cm)

Classification: Stone Sculpture

Credit Line: Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1993

Accession Number: 1993.11.1


The couple are shown as semidivine personifications of water and earth. Like Hellenistic and Roman images of river gods, the bare-chested man holds a long reed, and a lizard-like creature crouches beside him. The woman holds a garland and two sheaves of wheat, attributes of Tellus, goddess of the earth. At her feet is a furry-tailed mammal with a small Eros on its back. While the man’s head is carefully
portrayed, his wife’s head has been left unfinished, suggesting that he predeceased her, and no one added her portrait after she died.