So-called Sarcophagus of the Poet
Collections OnlineGregorian Etruscan MuseumRoom IV

So-called Sarcophagus of the Poet

Tarquinia
3rd cent. BC.
nenfro
height cm 45; length cm 217; width cm 63
cat. 14561

The casket of the sarcophagus is decorated in bas-relief on all four sides. On the front are scenes of the saga of the Atrides which are read starting from the right: Orestes and Pylades are in an excited state near the body of Aegisthus, lover of Clytemnestra, after having killed him. In the centre, Clytemnestra lies on the altar, killed by her son Orestes in revenge for the assassination of his father Agamemnon; near the altar sits Electra, Orestes' sister and inspirer of the double vendetta. On the left in the following scene, Orestes is pursued by the Erinyes. On the back part there are scenes of the Theban saga: the duel of Eteocles and Polynices, in the presence of funerary demons with torches, Oedipus blind and Jocasta sitting and meditating suicide. On the short sides: Telephus in the Greek camp threatens the young Orestes with death; Neoptòlemus sacrifices Polyxena on Achilles' (?) tomb. The lid, that does not belong, represents the deceased lying with a volumen (book on a scroll) in his hand.