Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2004.11.22

Paul Zanker, Björn Christian Ewald, Mit Mythen leben. Die Bilderwelt der römischen Sarkophage.   Munich:  Hirmer, 2004.  Pp. 389; ills. 309.  ISBN 3-7774-9650-2.  €75.00.  

Reviewed by Susan Wood, Art and Art History, Oakland University (
Word count: 3962 words

Any student of Roman funerary sculpture will approach a book from Paul Zanker, Björn Ewald, and Hirmer Press with very high expectations, which this volume fulfills. Zanker has authored or co-authored many important works about Roman sculpture, although to date most of his scholarship has focused on portraiture and on the political significance of public sculpture rather than on the more private world of the funerary monument.1 His co-author here, Björn Christian Ewald, is a younger scholar, but has an impressive list of publications to his credit on the subject of Roman funerary sculpture.2 Hirmer, of course, specializes in books that are both scholarly and physically well produced, with extensive and high-quality illustrations. One might legitimately ask, however, whether another volume about mythological Roman sarcophagi, even a lavishly illustrated one by distinguished scholars, provides us with any new information. An enormous literature exists on the subject of Roman funerary sculpture, and mythological sarcophagi have received extensive treatment, both in comprehensive surveys and in monographs that examine specific mythological themes. The answer is yes: this volume does, indeed, have much original interpretation to contribute, specifically in its approach to iconology.

Iconography, the study of subject material and the various visual formulae for representing subjects, has long concerned scholars of Roman funerary sculpture iconology. Interpreting the personal motives and beliefs that inspired the choice of those subjects, however has largely been left to scholars of religious history, in the tradition of the great Franz Valery Cumont. Zanker and Ewald approach this aspect of funerary sculpture as art historians and archaeologists, concerned not only with literary texts but with the physical contexts in which these sarcophagi were placed. The authors therefore examine the architectural structures in which sarcophagi were found and the rituals that dictated how and when viewers saw them. The conclusions that they draw are both illuminating and eminently sensible.

Zanker identifies certain recurrent themes that appear in mythological sarcophagi, regardless of the broader narrative to which the scenes belong. These include motifs of untimely death or sudden abduction by the gods, of grief, of love, and of sorrowful partings, as one might expect. They also include implied parallels between the virtues of the deceased and those of mythological heroes or heroines, such as the bravery of a man, the beauty of a woman or the precocious promise of a child. They can also, however, include images of joyous celebration, by the followers of Dionysus or by sea nymphs and marine monsters -- themes that mirror the happy gatherings of survivors when they celebrate the feasts in honor of the dead. Both authors, however, are profoundly skeptical that much imagery in these works reflects specific beliefs about the afterlife of the deceased. They believe that viewers of Judaeo-Christian backgrounds have projected such readings inappropriately onto pre-Christian monuments. In their opinion, the appearance of such messages in early Christian sarcophagi marks a sharp break with earlier funerary sculpture.

Cumont and many scholars since have interpreted Roman sarcophagi through close readings of their narratives, supplemented by attention to philosophical texts.3 Zanker and Ewald argue, on the contrary, that any symbolic meaning in these monuments had to be readily accessible to the ordinary viewer. Not every part of these stories was necessarily appropriate to a funerary context. Rather, patrons "cherry-picked" a few themes out of the visual narratives to reflect the situation of the deceased or the survivors. Other parts of the stories that contain these motifs, however, tend to be ignored or suppressed. The myth of Niobe, for example, offers a dramatic image of innocent young people dying suddenly and thus might appeal to parents who had lost a son or daughter. These patrons would hardly have wanted to pursue the parallel with Niobe too far, however, since it would have implied that their own hubris had brought divine retribution on the child.

The adaptations of some other myths can seem downright bizarre to the modern viewer. A large and lavishly carved sarcophagus in the Vatican, for example, places the portrait face of the deceased woman on the body of Penthesilea, and that of her husband on Achilles.4 Viewers ignorant of the myth would easily recognize that a heroic-looking man is supporting the body of a dying woman. Knowledge of mythology would allow them to understand that the Amazon's beauty and courage had won the hero's love. But she would also have to ignore the other clear implication of the story -- that the husband, like Achilles, had killed the woman he now mourns! Obviously, no such parallel with the mythical couple could have been intended.

The Achilles and Penthesilea sarcophagus is unique, but more than one sarcophagus represents the story of Phaedra and Hippolytus. The standard format depicts the hero turning away from the love-struck Phaedra, and departing for the hunt. At least one example adds a third scene in which Theseus learns the news of his son's death. In certain respects, the appeal of the story is obvious: if Hippolytus represents the deceased, then his rejection of vice and his valor in the hunt honor his virtues, while the story of his untimely death adds an elegiac element. At least one surviving example, however, shows that the face of Phaedra, as well as Hippolytus, was roughed out (although not completed) for a portrait.5 She was, presumably, to represent the wife, or even the mother, of the deceased, sorrowfully averting her gaze as he parts from her. A viewer who knew the Euripidean tragedy would have to ignore a central element of the narrative: that Phaedra's adulterous lust and treachery brought about the hero's death.

Even the sarcophagi that do not give Phaedra a portrait face seem to suppress references to her deceitful character, emphasizing instead her beauty and dignity. At least one example suggests through body language that their parting grieves Hippolytus as much as Phaedra.6 Scholars have long been aware that Nicola Pisano modeled his Virgin Mary, in several scenes on the Pisa Baptistery pulpit, on the Phaedra of a Roman sarcophagus.7 Art history students often find this choice of prototype comical. Perhaps, however, Roman sculptors would have been less surprised than we at the Gothic artist's response to their work. Clearly, Nicola admired the regal dignity of the figure and did not recognize her as a mythological adulteress.

These rather Procrustean adaptations of mythology need not surprise us too much if we recall how people today often use popular songs to express meanings wildly at variance with their actual lyrics. Every American has heard Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A." played as a patriotic anthem at rallies. Ronald Reagan was probably alluding to this song during a 1984 campaign speech, when he said, "America's future rests in a thousand dreams inside our hearts. It rests in the message of hope in the songs of a man so many young Americans admire: New Jersey's own Bruce Springsteen."8 Yet despite its powerful refrain "Born in the U.S.A., I was born in the U.S.A.," the song is emphatically not an uncritical hymn of praise to the United States. On the contrary, Springsteen describes the bitterness of an unemployed Viet Nam veteran who feels that his country has betrayed him.9

The book is divided into two sections: six chapters of analysis and interpretation, by Zanker, followed by a 102-page appendix by Ewald. The latter, entitled "Dokumentation zu Mythos und Ikonographie," provides a catalogue of mythological subjects, in alphabetical order by subject. The monuments listed here are easy to locate by subject material, but the entries would have been more helpful if they included page references to relevant sections in the earlier chapters. The lack of an index by mythological names and subjects, unfortunately, will make Zanker's chapters more difficult to consult than Ewald's catalogue. The volume does include an index by location and museum (pp. 387-88), but a reader who seeks information on an iconographical topic rather than a specific monument will have difficulty locating it.

The first chapter, "Bilder mit einer langen Geschichte," traces the influence of Roman sarcophagi on later art (the Hippolytus sarcophagus in Pisa and the Pisa Baptistry pulpit provide prime examples); the re-use of the sarcophagi themselves as architectural ornament; and the growth of antiquarian and scholarly interest in these objects. The subsection "Sarkophag und Grab" examines archaeological evidence for the forms of Roman mausolea, the placement of sarcophagi in them, and the implications of placement for the ways that they were decorated. This section also surveys literary evidence for how, when and why surviving relatives visited these tombs. Mausolea were the scenes not only of funerals but also of family gatherings several times a year, on the Parentalia in February, the Violaria in March, and the Rosalia in May and June. Families probably also celebrated the anniversaries of their loved ones' births and deaths at the family burial place.

The section "Mit Mythen Leben" examines the familiarity of these myths to the average Roman observer, who would see them not only in tomb sculptures but also in the painted and mosaic decoration of private houses and public buildings. Familiarity with these stories was a mark of education and status, as was the ability to apply the lessons of mythology to one's own life. Greek and Roman literature had a long tradition of invoking myths as prototypes for every imaginable human experience. Significantly, these included grief and loss, and the comforting assurance that life would go on despite personal tragedy. The final section, "Die Bilder selbst sprechen lassen," introduces the hypothesis that Zanker will expound in the remaining chapters: ancient viewers read episodes from these myths selectively rather than understanding the entire story as a metaphor for the patron's beliefs. He argues that mythological sarcophagi can best be understood if we compare the themes that different stories share.

Chapter 2, "Klage, Trauer und Trost. Mythen as Trauerhilfe," carries out several comparisons of this sort. First, Zanker demonstrates the parallels between tomb reliefs that represent actual funerary rituals -- the ceremonial invocation of the deceased's name (conclamatio), lying in state, and lamentation -- to mythological sarcophagi that represent the same rituals. Meleager sarcophagi frequently show the hero's companions carrying his body home; the lying in state of Patroclos and Meleager both appear on sarcophagi; and at least one example depicts Andromache and the Amazons mourning the death of Hector, just as the women of a family would ritually bewail the death of a relative.

The myths of Niobe, Medea, the sack of Troy, and the fall of Phaeton all share the theme of sudden and untimely death. In every case, these sarcophagi emphasize different aspects of the stories than do the surviving literary treatments: Medea becomes the impersonal agent of cruel fate; her victim Creusa is the protagonist, appearing in two scenes of the narrative. At the left, she appears as a young bride, while her terrible death occupies the compositional center of every Medea sarcophagus. In Euripides' and Seneca's tragedies, the princess never appears onstage, and her death is only a prelude to the even more terrible murder of Jason's children. On sarcophagi, it becomes the climax of the narrative. Medea sarcophagi might be appropriate for tombs of young women, while those with the myth of Phaeton might be chosen for young men, especially those who had died in accidents. All of them contain a rhetorical message of comfort for survivors: that others have suffered even worse sorrows than they, that even a god like Helios had to endure the death of a son.

"Raub und Entrükung" discusses a metaphorical treatment of the same theme: abduction of a hero or heroine by a god. The immense popularity of Persephone sarcophagi requires no explanation; this is the prototypical story of untimely death allegorized as rape. The rape of the Leucippidae appears on a much smaller group of monuments. One unique and very idiosyncratic example depicts the rape of Hylas by the nymphs. The portrait faces on this sarcophagus identify not only Hylas but his attackers with members of the family; the women, presumably, represent relatives who have predeceased him and are now taking him into the ranks of the dead.10

Zanker differs from Cumont and the scholars of Cumont's tradition in refusing to see these stories as allegories of apotheosis. Persephone becomes the bride of Hades, and the Leucippidae are worshipped along with their divine consorts, but that does not imply that ordinary mortals can hope for an afterlife. One might note, however, that at least one of these stories, the myth of Persephone, implied a "happy ending" in the goddess's annual return to earth, although this part of the story is never represented. Nonetheless, the myth was very well known, and obviously popular. Persephone's appearance on so many sarcophagi might imply nothing more than the comforting assurance that life will continue in its familiar seasonal rhythms, despite the loss of a loved one. The use of the same iconography by early Christian artists, on the other hand, might suggest other resonances. The 4th century mausoleum of Vibia, for example, represents Hades in his chariot attacking the deceased, in the familiar formula from the iconography of the Persephone myth. Vibia kneels, picking flowers, as Hades approaches her, while the inscription identifies the scene as "Abreptio Vibies." On another lunette of the same cubiculum, her entry into Paradise, escorted by an Angelus Bonus, bears the inscription "Inductio Vibies," a deliberately parallel construction both in words and in imagery. Christian audiences would certainly understand an eschatological meaning in Persephone's familiar iconography. Whether that interpretation was a new one or a survival from pagan belief, however, remains debatable.11

The myths of Alkestis and of Laodamia both share scenes of sorrowful parting, which in every Alkestis sarcophagus occupies the center of the composition. The other theme that both stories share, of a return from death, is significantly far less prominent, appearing sometimes on the short sides but only once on the front of an Alkestis sarcophagus. On one of the two Protesilaos sarcophagi, the couple's reunion (in the center) takes the timeless, iconic form of the "dextrarum iunctio" that solemnizes the marriage bond. Directly to the right, however, we see the couple's emotional farewell. The relative rarity of sarcophagi that depict these two myths might indicate that most Roman patrons were reluctant, rather than eager, to suggest the possibility of return from the dead. On the other hand, one of the two extant Protesilaos sarcophagi, the handsome example in Naples, devotes the entire front to a joyous reunion between the couple, and relegates the scene of their farewell to a short end.12 This work, however, rather than expressing belief in afterlife, might share one of the implied themes of Endymion sarcophagi, that grieving survivors can see their deceased loved ones in dreams. The latter group of monuments also idealize death as a pleasant, eternal sleep but, again, imply nothing further about afterlife.

It is surprising that Zanker does not discuss the great Velletri sarcophagus in this chapter, since it incorporates no fewer than three of the mythological themes that he analyzes here. The rape of Persephone occupies the entire lower register of the front, while the returns of Alkestis and of Protesilaos from the underworld form pendant compositions on either side of the enthroned underworld gods in the upper register. Zanker discusses the architectural form of this extraordinary monument in his first chapter, but devotes relatively little attention to its rich and complex imagery. As he observes, the lavish architectural format implies a palace, perhaps of Hades himself. The choice of subjects, all of which concern underworld gods or myths involving the underworld, would support such an interpretation. But they suggest, in addition, the permeability of the boundary between the dead and the living, a theme repeatedly emphasized by figures passing through open doors. Alkestis, Protesilaos, and Herakles with Kerberos all emerge from doors like the one at which a mourner pours a libation to his ancestors. The patron undoubtedly hoped his survivors would perform this same ritual for him on festivals like the Rosalia. The images suggest, if not a coherent belief in afterlife, at least the sentimental hope that the dead and the living can continue to communicate through ritual. We have no way of knowing how many Romans literally believed that the spirits of the dead were invisibly present among them at the Rosalia and how many simply found it a comforting fantasy. We do know that similar beliefs and customs survive to this day in festivals like the Mexican Day of the Dead and the Japanese o-bon.

Chapter 3, "Glücksvisionen," turns to a happier group of subjects: marine thiasoi of nymphs and sea-creatures; Dionysiac revels or triumphs; banquets, especially outdoor meals, and related scenes in idyllic surroundings. Such monuments often include love scenes: the flirtation of the sea-nymphs with the hippocamps who carry them, the awestruck admiration of Dionysus for the sleeping Ariadne, or the mutual affection of Dionysus and his bride as they gaze at one another. Sea creatures sometimes carry a portrait of the deceased in a tondo or shell. When the deceased is a woman, her pose and drapery, or nudity, can suggest a parallel with Aphrodite. Portraits on Dionysiac sarcophagi are somewhat less common since they imply drunkenness, which does not conform well to the dignified image of a Roman citizen. Nonetheless, such portraits do occasionally appear on figures of Dionysus or his frequent companion Herakles. The sleeping Ariadne is an especially appropriate subject for identification with a deceased woman. Here, as in Endymion sarcophagi, the choice implies an idealized image of death as a peaceful sleep. The joyous scenes on these reliefs also invite surviving relatives to identify with the mythological revelers, as they celebrate festivals and enjoy meals together at the grave sites.

Chapter 4, "Selbstdarstellung, Rollenbilder und Wertvorstellung," examines in more detail the use of portrait faces on sarcophagi, comparing those on mythological figures with more straightforward self-presentations. The latter include Republican-era reliefs with their rows of frontal portrait busts and imperial sarcophagi with "biographical" scenes that epitomize a citizen's virtues. The standard biographical format includes a battle or hunt, (virtus), mercy to captives (clementia), public sacrifice (pietas), and marriage (concordia). Portrait of the deceased in their own personae could also appear on the lids of sarcophagi, as figures reclining on banquet couches. Such figures probably allude to the belief that the dead could join their living relatives at the festivities in their own honor.

Self-identification with mythological figures, however, was popular, not only in sarcophagi but in funerary statues. These personae also represented icons of virtue similar to those on biographical sarcophagi, but offered a broader range of possibilities from which to choose, depending on the sex, age, and social status of the deceased.13 As I have argued elsewhere, the biographical sarcophagi represent episodes of an aristocrat's career that were not appropriate for a patron of lower social status. Mythology, on the other hand, was in the public domain. Implied comparisons to the virtues of mythological figures were available to anyone, including freedmen. Women's portraits usually identified them with archetypal wives: the self-sacrificing loyalty of Alkestis, the devotion of Selene to Endymion or Aphrodite to Adonis, the beauty and sexual appeal of Ariadne or Rhea Silvia. As noted above, even the adulteress Phaedra could embody devoted love and inconsolable grief. The role of mother is somewhat rarer, but one unique sarcophagus identifies a woman with the mother of Cleobis and Biton.14 The latter take the form of young children, rather than the strapping young men whom Herodotus describes, and the narrative ends with their running to their mother's arms. We may conclude that the deceased woman had lost two young sons with whom she is now reunited in death. Men, like women, could appear as love objects, in the guise of Endymion, Adonis, or the handsome Achilles, revealed in his masculine glory to the admiring daughters of Lykomedes. But they could also appear in more active roles as hunters or warriors.

Children, finally, could be identified with adult heroes or heroines, in scenes enacted entirely by putti rather than adult figures; but the most popular themes celebrate how the deceased boy had excelled at his studies, the one area in which children could display promise. Many scenes of education are biographical, but some are allegorical, presenting the child as a little philosopher among muses. A common motif on child sarcophagi is the three fates marking out a short life-span at the moment of birth. The Fates offer a comforting assurance that his death was predestined and that the parents could therefore have done nothing to avert it.

The final chapter, "Bilder und Wertvorstellung im Wandel," traces the changes both in style and in subject that take place from the 2nd to the 4th centuries C.E. The "Stilwandel" of the Antonine and Severan periods is abundantly represented on sarcophagi that use elongated figures and distorted proportions to dramatic emotional effect. By the middle of the third century, portraits -- both mythological and non- mythological -- reach their greatest popularity, while use of mythological narratives is on the decline. Scenes of the Calydonian boar hunt give way to lion-hunting scenes with no recognizable mythological reference. The deceased is, of course, most unlikely to have hunted such game in reality, but he appears in his own persona rather than that of Meleager. When portraits appear amid divine figures, the latter are usually timeless allegories rather than characters in a narrative: the four seasons gain particular favor in the 3rd and 4th centuries. When Constantine legalizes Christianity, many of the long-established decorative motifs, such as the seasons, continue in use but with the gradual introduction of new imagery and meanings. Now for the first time we can recognize coherent allegories of belief in an afterlife rather than an emphasis on experiences during life. Until this point, the emphasis of most sarcophagi had been retrospective: praise of the dead person's virtues and accomplishments, depiction of the love and sorrow of the surviving relatives. Christian imagery takes on a forward rather than backward looking emphasis.

Each entry of Ewald's section, "Dokumentation zu Mythos und Ikonographie" begins with a summary of the myth or legend, followed by a detailed description of at least one sarcophagus which illustrates this story. Wherever there are divergent traditions of representation, an effort is made to list and illustrate a characteristic example of each version. For example, the sarcophagi that illustrate the slaughter of Niobe's children appear to follow two distinct prototypes. Ewald chooses the example in the Munich Glyptothek to illustrate the version that sets the event in a domestic interior.15 A sarcophagus in the Vatican represents the other version, in which Apollo attacks the young men as they are riding in the countryside.16 Scholars and students familiar with Helmut Sichtermann's and Guntram Koch's books on mythological sarcophagi will recognize this format.17 The mythological subjects listed here include: Achilles, Adonis, Aktaion, Alkestis, Bellerophon, Dionysos, Endymion, Hippolytos, Iliupersis, Leukippidai, Medea/Kreusa, Sea-creatures (Meerwesen), Meleager, Niobids, Orestes, Pelops, Persephone, Phaeton, Protesilaos, and Theseus. Some of these heroes appear in several different narratives. The entry on Achilles, for example, has three subdivisions: Achilles among the daughters of Lykomedes, Achilles slaying Hektor and mourning for Patroklos, and Achilles slaying Penthesilea. A fairly thorough bibliography follows each catalogue entry, although there is no comprehensive bibliography for the volume as a whole. This omission, like that of an index by mythological subject, is one of the few ways in which I would fault these authors for their scholarly thoroughness.

University and college libraries should without doubt acquire this book. Scholars doing research on funerary sculpture or on mythological iconography will certainly also want it, despite its cost, for their personal libraries. It will be an indispensable reference for many years to come.


1.   Zanker's major publications include the catalogue of Roman portraits in the Capitoline Museums that he co-authored with Klaus Fittschen (Katalog der römischen Porträts in den Capitolinischen Museen und den anderen kommunalen Sammlungen der Stadt Rom, Mainz am Rhein: Von Zabern, 1983-1985), a study of the sculptural programs of the Forum of Augustus (Forum Augustum; das Bildprogramm, Tubingen: Wasmuth, 1968), a study of the Forum Romanum as restored by Augustus (Forum Romanum; die Neugestaltung durch Augustus, Tubingen: Wasmuth, 1972), and a comprehensive study of public imagery during the principate of Augustus (Augustus und die Macht der Bilder, Munich: C.H. Beck, 1987).
2.   Björn Ewald, Der Philosoph als Leitbild. Ikonographisches Untersuchungen an römischen Sarkophagreliefs,34, Erganzungsheft Römische Mitteilungen, Mainz, 1999; "Sarkophage und Marmorkleinfunde," RM 106 (1999), 265-269; "Bildungswelt und Bürgerbild. Ikonographische Elemente magistratischer und bürgerlicher Repräsentation auf den römischen Musen-Philosophensarkophagen," in G. Kock, ed., Akten des Symposiums '125 Jahre Sarkophag-Corpus,' Sarkophag-Studien 1 (1998), 39-51; "Zwei Fragmente kaiserzeitlichen Sarkophage in Göttingen," AA 1992, 469-474.
3.   Scholars who have tended to follow Cumont's tradition include the present reviewer: Susan Wood, "Alcestis on Roman Sarcophagi," AJA 82 (1978), 499-510, reprinted in Roman Art in Context, Eve D'Ambra, ed. (Englewood Cliffs, 1993), pp. 84-103. The republication, however, includes a postscript that reaches conclusions more in conformity with those of Zanker and Ewald.
4.   Rome, Musei Vaticani, Cortile del Belvedere Inv. 933. Discussed by Zanker and Ewald pp. 52-54 and cat. no. 3, 285-88, figs. 36 and photo page 286.
5.   Rome, Museo Nazionale Romano Inv. 112444, Zanker and Ewald pp. 328-29, photograph p. 329, cat. no. 17.
6.   Florence, Uffizi Gallery, Zanker and Ewald p. 214, n. 60 with earlier literature; figs. 82, 192.
7.   Pisa, Campo Santo museum, sarcophagus re-used in 1076 for the tomb of Beatrice of Tuscany. Zanker and Ewald, pp. 9-10, figs. 1-2, n. 1 p. 267 with earlier references.
8.   Todd Leopold, "Analysis: the Age of Reagan," CNN, June 16, 2004.
9.   Wedding singers also complain about the gratingly inappropriate lyrics of some selections that couples choose for wedding ceremonies. For example, in the song "I don't know how to love Him," from the musical Jesus Christ, Superstar, the repentant Mary Magdalene sings "I've had so many men before in very many ways, He's just one more." "Do these couples have a clue?" asked one appalled commentator (Jim Lopata, "Choosing Wedding Songs," Morning Edition, National Public Radio, June 20, 1998. I am greatly indebted to the staff of Morning Edition for their prompt and generous assistance in obtaining a transcript of this broadcast segment.). Obviously, however, the bride chose this musical selection because it is a song about spiritual Christian love. She either did not notice or chose to ignore other implications.
10.   Palazzo Mattei. Zanker and Ewald, pp. 96-98, figs. 80-81, n. 50 p. 270 with earlier literature.
11.   Bernard Andreae, Studien zur römischen Grabkunst (Heidelberg, 1963), 49-50; Maurizio Borda, La Pittura Romana (Milan, 1958) 347, photo p. 348; J. Wilpert, Die Malereien der Katakomben Roms (Freiburg im Breisgau 1903), 144, 392, pl. 132. See also my earlier discussion, S. Wood, "Mortals, Empresses and Earth Goddesses," I Claudia II: Women in Roman Art and Society (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2000), 92.
12.   Naples, Church of Sta. Chiara. Zanker and Ewald 101, figs. 85-86, n. 57 p. 270 with earlier literature.
13.   See my discussion of social status in "Alcestis on Roman Sarcophagi: Postscript" (supra n. 3), 1993, 98-99.
14.   Venice, Museo Archeologico. Zanker and Ewald pp. 216-17, fig. 195, n. 63 p. 274 with earlier literature. The story of Cleobis and Biton appears in Herodotus I.31.
15.   Munich, Staatliche Antikensammlungen und Glyptothek Inv. 345. Zanker and Ewald, cat. no. 28, pp. 356-57, with photographs and earlier literature.
16.   Vatican, Museo Gregoriano Profano inv. 10437, Zanker and Ewald, cat. No. 29, pp. 357-59, with photographs and earlier literature.
17.   Hellmut Sichtermann and Guntram Koch, Griechische Mythen auf Römischen Sarkophagen, Tubingen: Wasmuth, 1975, and Römische Sarkophage, Munich: Beck, 1982.

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