Limestone funerary relief

Period: Hellenistic

Date: ca. 325–300 B.C.

Culture: Greek, South Italian, Tarentine

Medium: Limestone

Dimensions: H. 23 1/16 in. (58.5 cm); width as preserved 21 1/8 in. (53.6 cm)

Classification: Stone Sculpture

Credit Line: Fletcher Fund, 1929

Accession Number: 29.54


Tarentum (modern Taranto) was a wealthy Greek colony on the southeast coast of Italy, a pivotal location along the trade routes between Greece and Italy. During the fourth century B.C., ostentatious grave monuments in the form of small temple-like buildings decorated with painted sculpture filled the city cemetery. This relief must come from such a building. It represents a young warrior and a woman standing by an altar. Between them is a vase for pouring a libation on the altar. On the wall behind them hang a cuirass, a helmet, and a sword, presumably the arms of the dead warrior for whom they mourn. It has been suggested that the relief illustrates a scene from Greek tragedy.