Encoffined Bodies: the role of decorated sarcophagi in funerary customs of Roman Phoenicia

Activiteit: Academic presentationAcademic


In this paper, I explore the theoretical approaches from a PhD project investigating the functionality of sarcophagi from Roman-period Phoenicia. Through a contextual and holistic approach, my aim is to examine how the materiality of sarcophagi in Roman Phoenicia functioned within local funerary customs and ritual activity. To do so, I use recent methods in Roman sarcophagi studies that have not yet been applied to the Phoenician context. There has been no comprehensive study of the sarcophagi of Roman-period Phoenicia and thus far, scholars have predominantly studied sarcophagi of the region as status symbols and through how their appearance, especially iconography, was governed by imperial networks. It remains unclear how applicable pre-existing methods (tailored to the empire’s centre) are to the local repertoire. After briefly exploring the methodologies employed, I examine primarily one sarcophagus from the Al-Bass Necropolis of Tyre, south Phoenicia. This permits a thorough investigation of the sarcophagus’ functionality through its material and visual components: material, form, decoration, and text, and ultimately the ways in which the sarcophagus could interact with the living community, notably mourners. The paper also raises interpretative challenges concerning the identification of patrons and phases of use at Tyre.
EvenementstitelOIKOS Masterclass 2023: Mapping social life in ancient Rome: contextual approaches to power relations in Antiquity
LocatieRome, ItalyToon op kaart
Mate van erkenningNational