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Tyre


Sarcophagus of the Drunken Cupids. National Museum, Beirut (Lebanon). Photo Jona Lendering.
Sarcophagus of the Drunken Cupids.
Tyre (Phoenician רצ, ṣūr, "rock"; Greek Τρος; Latin Tyrus): port in Phoenicia and one of the main cities in the eastern Mediterranean.

History Photos Texts

Sarcophagi

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Sarcophagus of the Drunken Cupids. National Museum, Beirut (Lebanon). Photo Jona Lendering.
Sarcophagus of the Drunken Cupids: griffins.
The most beautiful and most important objects from Tyre's Al-Bass Cemetery have been brought to the National Museum in Beyrut, where they are now on display. These include the three sarcophagi on this page.

The first of these is the Sarcophagus of the Drunken Cupids, which is perfectly preserved and - as you can see - still has the statues of the deceased. Drunkenness and extacy were the gifts of the god Dionysus or Bacchus, and are a common motif in funerary art. The symbolism of the cupids is self-evident when a couple wants to be buried together. Other motifs on the sarcophagus are a couple of griffins.

Achilles sarcophagus. Dishonoring the corpse of Hector. Sarcophagus in the National Museum, Beirut (Lebanon). Photo Jona Lendering. Achilles sarcophagus. Killing the captives. Sarcophagus in the National Museum, Beirut (Lebanon). Photo Jona Lendering. Achilles sarcophagus. Washing the body. Sarcophagus in the National Museum, Beirut (Lebanon). Photo Jona Lendering. Achilles sarcophagus. Lions. Sarcophagus in the National Museum, Beirut (Lebanon). Photo Jona Lendering.
Achilles sarcophagus: the corpse of Hector. Achilles sarcophagus: killing the captives. Achilles sarcophagus: washing the body. Achilles sarcophagus: lions
Sarcophagus in National Museum, Beirut (Lebanon). Photo Jona Lendering.
Fighting scene
The Achilles Sarcophagus is a beautiful work of art, based on the concluding book of Homer's Iliad. On the front side, we can see the dead body of Hector, which Achilles has dragged behind his chariot, and the ransom that king Priam has brought. The central figure may be Hermes, who is mentioned in the Iliad as Priam's guide, but was also believed to be the guide of the dead souls, and a fitting figure on a sarcophagus. On one of the short sides, we see Priam being brought to Achilles, while on the other side, we see how the Trojan women, having received back the body, wash it.

The third sarcophagus has a fighting scene and is, compared to the two other sarcophagi, a bit disappointing.


History Photos Texts
Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2012
Revision: 11 Aug. 2012
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