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Mausoleum of Galla Placidia: Sarcophagus of Valentinian

Sarcophagus of Valentinian

Detail of the so-called Sarcophagus of Valentinian III in the west (right) niche of the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia. The mausoleum dates from around 430 AD, making it one of the oldest monuments in Ravenna. The tomb in the right arm, traditionally associated with Valentinian III (d.455) but now dated to the beginning of the 6th century, has a front panel carved into three niches. The side niches have fluted columns and an arch enclosing a shell and a cross; the central one has a pointed roof instead of an arch. Inside it are two doves perching on the arms of a tall cross, which stands on a rock from which four rivers flow and on which the Lamb of God stands. The back has a similar design, but was done much more quickly and simply. The lid is carved with a pattern like overlapping fish scales over the top and Greek crosses within medallions on the end.