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Identification and Creation

Object Number
Funerary Stele
Work Type
c. 14-68 CE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe
Roman Imperial period, Early
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Greek island marble
65.5 x 38.8 x 10 cm (25 13/16 x 15 1/4 x 3 15/16 in.)

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Transfer from the Department of the Classics, Harvard University, Gift of Massachusetts Historical Society, 1910
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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Published Catalogue Text: Stone Sculptures: The Greek, Roman and Etruscan Collections of the Harvard University Art Museums , written 1990

Funerary Stele

The relief is broken away and is missing at a rough line of the two adults' heads. The figures are in the inset relief. The area below is blank, prepared for the inscription. The boy's face is somewhat weathered.

A man in a himation stands facing, at the left; a woman in a chiton and himation stands next to him. At the extreme right is a small boy in a short tunic and a cloak around his left shoulder. The boy holds a handful of fruits in his cloak with his left hand.

The tombstone belongs to a widespread class of funerary monuments that represents the last manifestations of tradition going back through the big East Greek Hellenistic tomb reliefs to the last Attic stelai of the decade before their traditional curtailment in 317 B.C. Tombstones such as this example were commonly found in the Greek islands (the Aegean), Crete, sometimes North Africa including Egypt, and, above all, the cities along and inland on the western coast of Asia Minor. They also appear in Macedonia and Thrace, but these regions soon changed to a form of monument with busts or just heads in rectangular and circular (tondo) frames.

A good representative collection of these reliefs is in Leiden, including examples from Smyrna and Ilion on the plain of Troy (Bastet, Brunsting, 1982, I, pp. 86-93, nos. 163-173, II, pls. 44-47).

Cornelius Vermeule and Amy Brauer

Publication History

  • Cornelius C. Vermeule III and Amy Brauer, Stone Sculptures: The Greek, Roman and Etruscan Collections of the Harvard University Art Museums, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990), p. 118, no. 106

Verification Level

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