Iconography and the Dynamics of Patronage: A Sarcophagus from the Family of Herodes Atticus

by Ellen E. Perry

Hesperia, Volume 70, Issue 4
Page(s): 461-492
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3182055
Year: 2001


A sarcophagus from the estate of Herodes Atticus in Kephisia commemorates the intimate connections of the family with the city of Sparta, the Battle of Marathon, and the cult statue of Nemesis at Rhamnous. The iconographic allusions to Marathon also reflect the priorities of the Second Sophistic, an intellectual movement that appealed to the past to establish cultural and political superiority. The unusual and meaningful decorative program suggests that the family commissioned this sarcophagus. The earlier view that the more unusual Attic sarcophagi were prefabricated, but that their themes simply proved unpopular, should be modified in light of this study.