Essay heading: A Study of a Dionysiac Sarcophagus

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July 1, 2009






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It is tub shaped with dimensions of 2.1 meters long and 1 meter wide, standing 0.6 meters from the ground. The shape is similar to tubs used for trampling grapes which had spouts ornamented with lions' heads to vent the wine(3). Being shaped like a wine vat makes the sarcopagi a transformative force in its own right by symbolically turning the person interned within into wine ! bringing him closer to the god...
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Unlike other sarcophagi of the period the back of this piece has not been left unhewn, but instead a strigal pattern of repeating "S" shapes has been carved, suggesting that the piece may have stood in the center of the mausoleum. Unlike other more famous and elaborate Dionysiac sarcophagi, such as the Seasons sarcophagi and the Triumph of Dionysos in Baltimore which portray specific pivotal events in the mythos of Dionysos, this piece gives us instead a somewhat generic slice of Bacchic life(Matz, 5)...
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