Sarcophagus with Fighting Amazons

unknown330 BC - 310 BC

Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien

Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien
Vienna, Austria

The chest-like box of the sarcophagus is in the shape of a long building, with two steps at the bottom and corner pilasters. The lid, which has not been preserved, probably imitated a saddle roof. The subject of the reliefs, which were originally painted, is combat between the Greeks and Amazons (Amazonomachy). Symmetrically structured, the dramatic individual scenes depict the struggle of the Greek heroes against the mythical female warriors. On the long sides, there is a central group of three combatants flanked on either side by a group of two, with a fallen Amazon linking each group. The Greeks are depicted in their heroic nakedness, clad only in a mantle, while their equipment and weapons are those of a heavily armed foot soldier (hoplites). The dress and equipment of the Amazons are Persian; they are wearing long trousers with attached shoes, a belted, long-sleeved chiton and mantle as well as a cap (tiara). Their weaponry consists of a short sword, double axe, spear and the crescent-shaped shield (pelte) that was characteristic of the Amazons. All of the horses are wearing a panther-skin caparison. The unknown owner of this sarcophagus must have been a relative of the last kings of Soloi. Possibly it was Stasicrates, who took part in the campaign of Alexander the Great at Tyre in 332 BC. Perhaps that struggle is related to this Amazonomachy, which may depict an actual historical event in the guise of mythology. © Kurt Gschwantler, Alfred Bernhard-Walcher, Manuela Laubenberger, Georg Plattner, Karoline Zhuber-Okrog, Masterpieces in the Collection of Greek and Roman Antiquities. A Brief Guide to the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna 2011


  • Title: Sarcophagus with Fighting Amazons
  • Creator: unknown
  • Creator Death Place: unknown
  • Creator Birth Place: unknown
  • Date Created: 330 BC - 310 BC
  • Style: Greek, late Classical
  • Provenance: found in 1557 in the ancient royal city of Soloi, Cyprus, taken the following year to Venice, in 1567 acquired by the Fugger family; in the 1st half of the 17th century purchased by the Habsburgs
  • Place Part Of: Cyprus
  • Physical Dimensions: w2648 x h914 x d1040 cm (entire)
  • Inventory Number: ANSA I 169
  • Excavation: Soloi (Morphou), Cyprus
  • Type: sculpture
  • External Link: http://www.khm.at/en/collections/collection-of-greek-and-roman-antiquities
  • Medium: Marble

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