The Domus Aeternae

The sarcophagus of the Child

Established with the advent of the cult of burial in the 2nd century AD, sarcophagi were very precious objects that only patrons with considerable economic availability could afford.
These artefacts, often very valuable, had the function of guarding people’s memories and manifesting the values of a gens to all those who observed them. In the area surrounding the Tomb of Theron a marble sarcophagus of the Hadrian period (2nd century AD) was found, carved on three sides and probably destined to be placed against the wall of a burial chamber.

The sarcophagus of the Child
The sarcophagus of the Child (2nd century AD) was scolpled on three sides with bas-relief representations of everyday life, which create suggestive light-focurred effects on the white marble. On the front, about 2 metres long, there is the main scene, the death of a child lying to the bed and surrounded by family members. Particularly touching are the figures of parents who, sitting on the opposite sides of the bed, bow the head covered by a veil in an act of great pain. At the same time, a woman, probably the nurse, placed behind the bed of the deceased, approaches him and with tenderness seems to touch his face.

Called the Sarcophagus of the Child, with extreme delicateness, skilful chisels have told stories of the daily life of the boy, who probably died in adolescence.
zoom sarcofago del FanciulloOn the front is the scene of his death, with the young boy lying on his bed and surrounded by his parents and other individuals; the effect of a woman leaning in to caress his face is particular.
On the other hand, the two sides depict the moment of his birth and a moment of play, with the baby on a small cart pulled by two sheep. Today the sarcophagus is kept at the Regional Archaeological Museum “Pietro Griffo”, where there is also another sarcophagus, of which only the front is preserved, on which stand out two theatrical masks that inspired the bronze sculpture placed on the tomb of Pirandello, at his birthplace in the Caos locality.

The life of young people in Roman times

The Kolymbetra Garden

Cicero’s account: Agrigentum in In Verrem

The wellness centres of the Romans

Hellenistic heritage on the streets of Agrigentum

The forum in the city of the Akragantines

An exceptional discovery: the thermal baths of Agrigentum

The Oratory of Phalaris

Breathing in world heritage together

Roman affairs

From Akragas to Agrigentum

The Punic Wars and the final conquest of Akragas

The Hellenistic-Roman quarter

The centre of politics in Agrigentum

The Living Almond Museum

The provincial layout of Sicily

The driver of Agrigentum’s well-being

Vegetation in the Gardens

Works for the muses: the mosaics of the Hellenistic-Roman quarter

The Romans settle in Agrigentum

The Roman necropolis

The sarcophagus of the Child

The cult of the Emperor

The theatre of origins

The tomb of Theron

A Sanctuary for the Latin gods

The gods of Agrigento

Mens sana in corpore sano: the gymnasium of Agrigento

Moments of leisure: the theatre

Politics comparison: Akragas and Agrigentum

The domus, guardians of private life

The ancient port of Agrigentum