Paris and his dog

relief sculpture of a man and his dog 

This is the end panel from a Roman sarcophagus (eating the flesh), the marble coffins used in Roman antiquity. It is one of the 400 items from the collections of Henry Blundell donated to World Museum in 1959. 

The panel shows a seated young man wearing a short chiton and what is known as a Phrygian pointed hat, a symbol of his non Greek identity. He brings to his mouth a short pipe instrument, often associated with shepherds and known as a syrinx. By his feet stands his dog, often an animal included in shepherds’ representation.

The other end panel of the sarcophagus shows the goddess Aphrodite. The main long panel would be the Judgement of Paris, a story told in Cypria, an epic poem about the preliminaries of the Trojan War. The long panel may have come from the sarcophagus included in a wall relief in the 17th century Villa Pamphili. 

  • 3rd century AD
  • Accession number 59.148.263