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Photo of Mausoleum of Galla Placidia

Sarcophagus of Valentinian: Lamb

Detail of a lamb on the so-called Sarcophagus of Valentinian III in the west (right) niche of the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia. Traditionally associated with Valentinian III (d.455) but now dated to the beginning of the 6th century, the tomb 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.

Photo © David Joyal.

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