Fragment of a Roman sarcophagus
- Ancient Roman art
- Cent. 4th A.D.?
- Baptistery of Saint John
- Specific location
- Exterior, apse, south side, below
- White marble
Fragment of an ancient Roman sarcophagus in white marble.
This quadrangular fragment, worked in bas-relief with scenes of the grape harvest, treading grapes in a vat, and navigation, is probably from the sarcophagus of a producer and merchant in wines. The sculpted scenes would have served in commemorating his accomplishments, and symbolising the journey of his soul to the underworld. In the Middle Ages fragments of ancient stonework were often reused, and the iconography of this piece, with grapes and the harvest, was well-suited to interpretation in new Christian and Eucharistic keys. The area where the Baptistery rose had been used for tombs since ancient times, and in the Middle Ages such practices continued.