Relief of Centaur



Relief panel from a sarcophagus showing a centaur attacking a panther. On the reverse of the panel is an earlier defaced relief, inverted, with a border at the top and bottom along which an inscription may have run, only the letters Μ and Α surviving. Although very badly damaged, the defaced relief once represented Athena, her right hand outstretched and a snake at her feet. She is approached by two male worshippers, one on a larger scale. This scene would have been made no later than the 5th century BC as Athena is of the type of Parthenos or even later type. If the panther scene is of the 4th century, it could be that the sculptor used the back of the earlier sculpture of the Athena which was never dedicated or finished. For the panther scene the sculptor may have copied an earlier archaic work and inserted his work into the wall of his private house or workshop. This is the explanation Bernard Ashmole offered as to what he considered a trivial theme and noted that battles between centaurs, tigers and leopards were more common in mosaics.