Part of a marble sarcophagus dedicated to Proclus, a prizewinner in rhetorical competitions, by his widow Rufina. Proclus perhaps appears to the left of the inscribed panel. The Greek text is written in the style of Homer. Made of marble from Proconnesos.
The figure leans casually with his right forearm on a plainly moulded pillar. His left arm, partially draped in a himation which also covers his body from waist to ankle, is apparently bent behind his back. Behind him (held in his left hand?) is an olive-branch. The man is clean-shaven, with long, thick hair. The expressive use of the drill here suggests a tousled, poetic appearance. Since the left end of the lid is missing, it is not clear whether he was portrayed alone, inspired by a Muse, or impressing a mortal audience.
- 250-310 (circa)
- Made in: Rome (probably)
- (Europe,Italy,Lazio,Rome (province),Rome)
- Found/Acquired: Aix-en-Provence (said to be from)
- (Europe,France,Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur,Bouches-du-Rhône,Aix-en-Provence)
- Height: 42.5 centimetres
- Length: 72 centimetres
- Thickness: 11.6 centimetres
Inscription Content'Ρουφείνης έμέθεν Πρόκλος πόσις ένθάδε κεΐσαι,
Μοιράων βουλήσι λιπών β'ιον ήδέ με χήρην
τεύξα δέ τοι μέγα σήμα περισκέπτω ένι χώρω
θηητόν πάντεσσι, θύρας δ' έπέθηκα φαεινός,
5 εϊδωλόν τ' έθέμην πανομοίιον, σχήμα τ' έθηκα,
οίον έχων ρητήρσι μετέπρεπες Αυσονίοισι,
έν τ' αύτοϊς ύπάτοις κλέος έλλαβες έξοχον άλλων.
Άλλ' ούτοι νόσφιν γε σέθεν ποτι κείσομαι αυτή
ώς πριν δ' έν ζωοϊσιν όμό[ς] δόμος άμμι τέτυκτο,
10 ώς και τεθνειώτας όμή σορός άμφικ[αλύψει\.
CIG 6779; IG XIV, 2469; Kaibel 590; Smith, III, 324-5 no. 2314; Cagnat, IGRR I, 16; GIBM 1106; W. Peek, Griechische Versinschriften I. Grab-Epigramme (Berlin 1955), 192 no. 735; Verzeichnis der Gedicht-Anfänge und vergleichende Ubersicht zu den griechische Versinschriften (Berlin 1957), 27; Griechische Grabgedichte (Berlin 1960), 228-9 no. 400; G Koch, BJ 177 (1977), 258; L. Moretti, IGUR III (1979), 171-2 no. 1316; Walker, Memorials 17 fig. 7.
Said to be from Aquae Sextiae (Aix-en-Provence).(1)
The subject is most likely Proclus, for whom the sarcophagus was commissioned. He is described in the adjacent text as an outstanding rhetorician who distinguished himself in competition with 'Ausonian' colleagues. His devoted wife Rufina had built for her husband 'a magnificent tomb in a prominent site, a wonder to all, with gleaming doors', containing a statue exactly resembling the victorious Proclus.
The lettering is deliberately cramped to fit the long text into the frame. The style of the figure's hair and drapery, and of the olive branch, may be compared to that of the figures in the hunting scene on the sarcophagus of Julius Achilleus.(2) The form of the lid may be compared to that of Koch and Sichtermann, no. 131, from Rome, dated by them to the late third or early fourth century.(3)
Though the provenance is uncertain, the reference to Proclus' success amongst the 'Ausonian' rhetors suggests that he was of non-Italian origin. If so, the text is of interest in offering evidence of the high level of provincial culture in late antiquity.(4) The hexameters, Homeric in style, were clearly meant to impress, and the Greek is of a high standard. Unhappily the composer of the verse (Rufina?) is anonymous. Proclus himself is equally obscure. He has been identified as Pontius Proclus Pontianus, Cos. Ann. 238, his distinction having been won in the senate.(5) Such an identification is unlikely in view of the date of the relief. ύπατοι may well suggest 'noble' in a more general sense, but Moretti cites instances of its use to describe nobiles distinguished in rhetoric.(6)
1. A drawing made at Aix by the collector van Millingen is noted by Franz: CIG 111 1035.
2. Koch-Sichtermann, fig. 124. For the date, see p. 258.
3. Idem 115.
4. See Peek op. cit. above (1960), 34-42 for a discussion of this form of epigram. I am indebted to Professor A. Cameron for her comments on the text.
5. Thus Franz, loc. cit. (n. 1).
6. Moretti, 172.
Unrestored. Broken at the sides, base and upper right corner.
Greek & Roman Antiquities
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Object reference number: GAA8979
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