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A sarcophagus (pl.: sarcophagi or sarcophaguses) is a coffin, most commonly carved in stone, and usually displayed above ground, though it may also be buried. The word sarcophagus comes from the Greek σάρξ sarx meaning "flesh", and φαγεῖν phagein meaning "to eat"; hence sarcophagus means "flesh-eating", from the phrase lithos sarkophagos (λίθος σαρκοφάγος), "flesh-eating stone". The word also came to refer to a particular kind of limestone that was thought to rapidly facilitate the decomposition of the flesh of corpses contained within it due to the chemical properties of the limestone itself.
Sarcophagi were most often designed to remain above ground.[ citation needed ] The earliest stone sarcophagi were used by Egyptian pharaohs of the 3rd dynasty, which reigned from about 2686 to 2613 B.C.
The Hagia Triada sarcophagus is a stone sarcophagus elaborately painted in fresco; one style of later Ancient Greek sarcophagus in painted pottery is seen in Klazomenian sarcophagi, produced around the Ionian Greek city of Klazomenai, where most examples were found, between 550 BC (Late Archaic) and 470 BC. They are made of coarse clay in shades of brown to pink. Added to the basin-like main sarcophagus is a broad, rectangular frame, often covered with a white slip and then painted. The huge Lycian Tomb of Payava, now in the British Museum, is a royal tomb monument of about 360 BC designed for an open-air placing, a grand example of a common Lycian style.
Ancient Roman sarcophagi—sometimes metal or plaster as well as limestone—were popular from about the reign of Trajan,and often elaborately carved, until the early Christian burial preference for interment underground, often in a limestone sepulchre, led to their falling out of favor. However, there are many important Early Christian sarcophagi from the 3rd to 4th centuries. Most Roman examples were designed to be placed against a wall and are decorated on three sides only. Sarcophagi continued to be used in Christian Europe for important figures, especially rulers and leading church figures, and by the High Middle Ages often had a recumbent tomb effigy lying on the lid. More plain sarcophagi were placed in crypts. The most famous examples include the Habsburg Imperial Crypt in Vienna, Austria. The term tends to be less often used to describe Medieval, Renaissance, and later examples.
In the early modern period, lack of space tended to make sarcophagi impractical in churches, but chest tombs or false sarcophagi, empty and usually bottomless cases placed over an underground burial, became popular in outside locations such as cemeteries and churchyards, especially in Britain in the 18th and 19th centuries, where memorials were mostly not highly decorated and the extra cost of a false sarcophagus over a headstone acted as an indication of social status.[ citation needed ]
Sarcophagi, usually "false", made a return to the cemeteries of America during the last quarter of the 19th century, at which time, according to a New York company which built sarcophagi, "it was decidedly the most prevalent of all memorials in our cemeteries".They continued to be popular into the 1950s, at which time the popularity of flat memorials (making for easier grounds maintenance) made them obsolete. Nonetheless, a 1952 catalog from the memorial industry still included eight pages of them, broken down into Georgian and Classical detail, a Gothic and Renaissance adaptation, and a Modern variant. The image shows sarcophagi from the late 19th century located in Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The one in the back, the Warner Monument created by Alexander Milne Calder (1879), features the spirit or soul of the deceased being released.
In the Mekong Delta in southwestern Vietnam, it is common for families to inter their members in sarcophagi near their homes, thus allowing ready access for visits as a part of the indigenous tradition of ancestor worship.
In Sulawesi, Indonesia, waruga are a traditional form of sarcophagus.[ citation needed ]
Nearly 140 years after British archaeologist Alexander Rea unearthed a sarcophagus from the hillocks of Pallavaram in Tamil Nadu, an identical artifact dating back by more than 2,000 years has been discovered in the same locality.
Phoenician and Paleochristian sarcophagi have been found in the Iberian Peninsula.
A crypt is a stone chamber beneath the floor of a church or other building. It typically contains coffins, sarcophagi, or religious relics.
Porphyry is any of various granites or igneous rocks with coarse-grained crystals such as feldspar or quartz dispersed in a fine-grained silicate-rich, generally aphanitic matrix or groundmass. In its non-geologic, traditional use, the term porphyry usually refers to the purple-red form of this stone, valued for its appearance, but other colours of decorative porphyry are also used such as "green", "black" and "grey".
The Alexander Sarcophagus is a late 4th century BC Hellenistic stone sarcophagus from the necropolis near Sidon, Lebanon. It is adorned with bas-relief carvings of Alexander the Great and scrolling historical and mythological narratives. The work is considered to be remarkably well preserved, and has been used as an exemplar for its retention of polychromy. It is currently in the holdings of the Istanbul Archaeology Museum.
A hypogeum or hypogaeum is an underground temple or tomb.
The study of Roman sculpture is complicated by its relation to Greek sculpture. Many examples of even the most famous Greek sculptures, such as the Apollo Belvedere and Barberini Faun, are known only from Roman Imperial or Hellenistic "copies". At one time, this imitation was taken by art historians as indicating a narrowness of the Roman artistic imagination, but, in the late 20th century, Roman art began to be reevaluated on its own terms: some impressions of the nature of Greek sculpture may in fact be based on Roman artistry.
Etruscan art was produced by the Etruscan civilization in central Italy between the 10th and 1st centuries BC. From around 750 BC it was heavily influenced by Greek art, which was imported by the Etruscans, but always retained distinct characteristics. Particularly strong in this tradition were figurative sculpture in terracotta, wall-painting and metalworking especially in bronze. Jewellery and engraved gems of high quality were produced.
Funerary art is any work of art forming, or placed in, a repository for the remains of the dead. The term encompasses a wide variety of forms, including cenotaphs, tomb-like monuments which do not contain human remains, and communal memorials to the dead, such as war memorials, which may or may not contain remains, and a range of prehistoric megalithic constructs. Funerary art may serve many cultural functions. It can play a role in burial rites, serve as an article for use by the dead in the afterlife, and celebrate the life and accomplishments of the dead, whether as part of kinship-centred practices of ancestor veneration or as a publicly directed dynastic display. It can also function as a reminder of the mortality of humankind, as an expression of cultural values and roles, and help to propitiate the spirits of the dead, maintaining their benevolence and preventing their unwelcome intrusion into the lives of the living.
The Tomb of the Scipios, also called the hypogaeum Scipionum, was the common tomb of the patrician Scipio family during the Roman Republic for interments between the early 3rd century BC and the early 1st century AD. Then it was abandoned and within a few hundred years its location was lost.
Rhodiapolis, also known as Rhodia (Ῥοδία) and Rhodiopolis (Ῥοδιόπολις), was a city in ancient Lycia. Today it is located on a hill northwest of the modern town Kumluca in Antalya Province, Turkey.
In the burial practices of ancient Rome and Roman funerary art, marble and limestone sarcophagi elaborately carved in relief were characteristic of elite inhumation burials from the 2nd to the 4th centuries AD. At least 10,000 Roman sarcophagi have survived, with fragments possibly representing as many as 20,000. Although mythological scenes have been quite widely studied, sarcophagus relief has been called the "richest single source of Roman iconography," and may also depict the deceased's occupation or life course, military scenes, and other subject matter. The same workshops produced sarcophagi with Jewish or Christian imagery. Early Christian sarcophagi produced from the late 3rd century onwards, represent the earliest form of large Christian sculpture, and are important for the study of Early Christian art.
The royal necropolis ofAyaa was a group of two hypogea housing a total of 21 sarcophagi of kings and nobles of the city of Sidon, a coastal city in Lebanon, and a prominent Phoenician city-state. The sarcophagi were highly diverse in style, ranging across Egyptian, Greek, Lycian and Phoenician styles. The Phoenicians exhibited diverse mortuary practices that included inhumation and cremation. While written records about their beliefs in the afterlife are scarce, archaeological evidence suggests they believed in an afterlife known as the "House of Eternity." Burial sites in Iron Age Phoenicia, like the Ayaa necropolis, were typically located outside settlements, and featured various tomb types and burial practices.
Antiphellus or Antiphellos, known originally as Habesos, was an ancient coastal city in Lycia. The earliest occurrence of its Greek name is on a 4th-century-BCE inscription. Initially settled by the Lycians, the city was occupied by the Persians during the 6th century BCE. It rose in importance under the Greeks, when it served as the port of the nearby inland city of Phellus, but once Phellus started to decline in importance, Antiphellus became the region's largest city, with the ability to mint its own coins. During the Roman period, Antiphellus received funds from the civic benefactor Opramoas of Rhodiapolis that may have been used to help rebuild the city following the earthquake that devastated the region in 141.
Phellus is the site of an ancient Lycian city, situated in a mountainous area near Çukurbağ in Antalya Province,Turkey. The city was mentioned by the Greek geographer and philosopher Strabo in his Geographica. Antiphellusserved as the city's port.
The Tomb of Payava is a Lycian tall rectangular free-standing barrel-vaulted stone sarcophagus, and one of the most famous tombs of Xanthos. It was built in the Achaemenid Persian Empire, for Payava, who was probably the ruler of Xanthos, Lycia at the time, in around 360 BC. The tomb was discovered in 1838 and brought to England in 1844 by the explorer Sir Charles Fellows. He described it as a 'Gothic-formed Horse Tomb'. According to Melanie Michailidis, though bearing a "Greek appearance", the Tomb of Payava, the Harpy Tomb and the Nereid Monument were built according to the main Zoroastrian criteria "by being composed of thick stone, raised on plinths off the ground, and having single windowless chambers".
Roman funerary art changed throughout the course of the Roman Republic and the Empire and comprised many different forms. There were two main burial practices used by the Romans throughout history, one being cremation, another inhumation. The vessels used for these practices include sarcophagi, ash chests, urns, and altars. In addition to these, mausoleums, stele, and other monuments were also used to commemorate the dead. The method by which Romans were memorialized was determined by social class, religion, and other factors. While monuments to the dead were constructed within Roman cities, the remains themselves were interred outside the cities.
Konya Archaeological Museum is a state archaeological museum in Konya, Turkey. Established in 1901, it had been relocated twice before moving to its present location in 1962. One of the most prominent displays in the museum is of sarcophagi and other antiquities from the ancient city of Çatalhöyük. Other exhibits relate to the Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Classical, Hellenistic, Roman and the Byzantine periods; artifacts consist of ceramic ware, stone and bronze wares, ornaments and inscriptions. Among the objects displayed is a marble sarcophagus of the 3rd century AD, with elaborate relief sculptures depicting the life of Hercules. In the outer open yard of the museum there are a number of small sculptures, sarcophagi, column capitals, and samples of epigraphy.
Xanthos, also called Xanthus, was a chief city state of the Lycians, an indigenous people of southwestern Anatolia. Many of the tombs at Xanthos are pillar tombs, formed of a stone burial chamber on top of a large stone pillar. The body would be placed in the top of the stone structure, elevating it above the landscape. The tombs are for men who ruled in a Lycian dynasty from the mid-6th century to the mid-4th century BCE and help to show the continuity of their power in the region. Not only do the tombs serve as a form of monumentalization to preserve the memory of the rulers, but they also reveal the adoption of Greek style of decoration.
The Lycian sarcophagus of Sidon is a sarcophagus discovered in the Ayaa necropolis, in Sidon, Lebanon. It is made of Parian marble, and resembles the shapes of ogival Lycian tombs, such as the Tomb of Payava, hence its name. It is now located in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum. It is dated to circa 430–420 BC. This sarcophagus, as well as others in the Sidon necropolis, belonged to a succession of kings who ruled in the area of Phoenicia between the mid-5th century BC to the end of the 4th century BC.
Isinda was a town of ancient Lycia. Isinda was part of a sympoliteia with Aperlae, Apollonia and Simena.