Relief Panel



Marble relief panel from a tomb wall that illustrates scenes from a vintner’s everyday life, telling a story of the activities associated with the production and sale of wine. At the left he and his wife can be seen holding hands, a gesture to show they are legally married. To their left, shown at a smaller scale, staff are busy in the vineyard. At the bottom right a customer tries a sample of wine taken from a large ceramic vessel (dolia), partly buried in the soil to keep the wine cool. In the middle two men fill an amphora with wine taken from a large dolia. Above them a man carries an amphora on his left shoulder, full of wine ready to be sold. At the top right corner the owner is shown at a table keeping accounts of sales from his vineyard. On the left, on a rock with the vine stands a woman fully draped lifting a corner of her cloak with her left hand; her right hand holds that of a a bearded man in a tunic and a small cloak over his left arm. He has a roll in his left hand. At the woman’s feet there is a large partially buried jar(dolia) covered with a flat lid (opercula). The man and the woman are the principal figures as they are portrayed in a large scale; and the relief is likely to be from their funerary monument/tomb (according to Blummer and Angelicoussis). To the right of the couple are several leafy shoots of vines with three covered dolia, arranged one above the other, and beside these are three more dolia stacked in the same way (the middle one is uncovered). At the far right corner there are two more dolia, one covered and one with no lid. Within this scene are six figures of workmen, carved at a smaller scale than the owner and his wife, clothed in short tunics, busy at work. Nearby, overseeing the work, stands a man in a loose tunic, holding in his left hand a scroll, perhaps an account book of the vineyard’s yield. He is bearded and larger than the surrounding figures, and is most probably another depiction of the vineyard owner. At the upper right corner of the relief there is a tiled roof, beneath which is a man seated behind a counter. He holds an open book in his lap, perhaps a sales ledger. This is probably another image of the owner, this time showing him engaged in financial calculations. Another small figure stands in between the counter and two vases and he is also holding an opened book and the right hand laid on an oval plate which stands on the counter and two round objects on it. At the upper end of the counter a similar figure is unrolling a roll and seems to be conversing with the seated man behind the counter. On the upper border of the relief there are two square tablets perhaps sign boards. The tablet next to the roof has a snake rearing itself and above it are eight puntelli. The tablet at the middle of the scene has fours square fields with a circular cavity in each one of them. This square could be a window. Michaelis interpreted it as an aerial view of vases similar to the sepulchral relief of M. Vergillius Eurysaces in Porta Maggiore in Rome. At the lower end of the relief a strip is left bare perhaps for the inscription. The border is narrower to the top and right side but to the left there is a smooth join. It is possible that the couple were positioned at the centre of the relief and that to their right there was a similar scene to the one on the left, perhaps another child of the couple concluded the scene. A small piece of the top right corner is a restoration, the two oblong dowel holes on the top also appear to be modern. The back of the relief has been left rough; two holes at the top show where the marble had been attached to the wall of the tomb (Angelicoussis).