Unknown artist, Roman
Sarcophagus (coffin), 2nd century CE
Marble (from Dokimeion)
Trough: 85.7 x 233.1 x 107.6 cm (33 3/4 x 91 3/4 x 42 3/8 inches)
Museum Appropriation Fund 21.074
The fragments of this coffin (sarcophagus) were found in Rome at the beginning of the twentieth century. More than one hundred pieces were reassembled before 1921, when RISD acquired it. This is one of only a few sarcophagi bearing scenes of the Trojan War, thought to have occurred in the thirteenth or twelfth century BCE. At left, on one of the four sides decorated in high relief, the Greek hero Achilles battles the bearded Trojan prince Hektor. To the right, the goddess Athena (patroness of Achilles), Hector’s father King Priam, and Hector’s wife Andromache (seated) watch as Achilles in his chariot drags Hektor’s corpse around Troy’s walls. These scenes occur in Book 22 of the Iliad, an epic poem ascribed to the Greek poet Homer (eighth century BCE).