Sarcophagus with a Greek Physician

Date: early 300s

Geography: Made in Ostia, Rome

Culture: Roman

Medium: Marble

Dimensions: 21 3/4 x 23 1/4 x 84 7/8 in. (55.2 x 59.1 x 215.6 cm)

Classification: Sculpture-Stone

Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Joseph Brummer and Ernest Brummer, in memory of Joseph Brummer, 1948

Accession Number: 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.