|Thursday| Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus
The Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus is a marble Early Christian sarcophagus used for the burial of Junius Bassus, who died in 359. It has been described as “probably the single most famous piece of early Christian relief sculpture.” The sarcophagus was originally placed in or under Old St. Peter’s Basilica, was rediscovered in 1597, and is now below the modern basilica in the Museo Storico del Tesoro della Basilica di San Pietro (Museum of Saint Peter’s Basilica) in the Vatican. The base is approximately 4 x 8 x 4 feet.
Together with the Dogmatic sarcophagus in the same museum, this sarcophagus is one of the oldest surviving high-status sarcophagi with elaborate carvings of Christian themes, and a complicated iconographic programme embracing the Old and New Testaments.