Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus (359 CE)

Museum of St. Peter’s Treasury, Rome; Marble.  (Note a copy located in the Vatican is plaster)

Junius Bassus held the position of Praefectus Urbi (he was responsible for the administration of the city of Rome).  As a member of a senatorial family, upon his death at 42, this sarcophagus was commissioned.

This sarcophagus represents iconography and symbolism of Christianity, most evident by the center upper register with Christ represented from Roman Imperial art (giving perception of law, now given to Christ and not an emperor). Representations are given with Jesus young and older, taken from New and Old Testament, as well as styles taken from Greek and Roman intermixed with Christianity.

Traditio legis, Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus, 359 C.E., marble, (Treasury of St. Peter’s Basilica

Christ’s Entry into Jerusalem, Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus, 359 C.E., marble, (Treasury of St. Peter’s Basilica)

Adam and Eve, Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus, 359 C.E.,

Sacrifice of Isaac, Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus, 359 C.E.

Judgment of Pilate, Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus, 359 C.E

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Erotes harvesting grapes from the Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus

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