Early Roman Empire   :|:   Document

Sarcophagus of Captain Eudemos

ref. : en.888.2013 | 16 September 2013 | by Francis Leveque
sarcophage | End of IIe century AD
Lycie ( Turquie )
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This marble sarcophagus is still in Olympos (60km south west from Antalya, Turkey). It sits under a canopy with another one.

The face of the sarcophagus is decored with 2 greek inscriptions and a relief of a hull of a vessel. The whole is surmounted by the head of Medusa in the tympanum. The Greek inscription in the frame states that the tomb belonged to captain Eudemos. It explains too that the sarcophagus was used at the end of the 2nd century AD and was used for a second time in the 5th century.

Le ship is a merchant ship without without mast or sail or oars. At the bottom sternpost of the boat there was a relief of goddess Aphrodite born in Mediterranean. One of responsibilities of this goddess of love and beauty was to protect sailors.

Translation of greek inscriptions :
“I Eudemos, know from my captainship the way between the ways
From one Pontos to the other, the discovery of Pallas.
All the people from Chalcedon town of Bythinia decreed…
My fortunate homeland seeing me fit gave me the duty of office.
The people of Lycia were of the same mind; and I was a member of the council of Elder.”

“The ship sailed into the last harbour and anchored to leave no more, / As there was no longer any hope from the wind or daylight, / After the light carried by the dawn had left Captain Eudemos, / There buried the ship with a life as short as a day, like a broken wave.

Olympos was the second most important harboring city following Phaselis, on the southern coastline of Antalya. The city was established in the Hellenistic Age. In 100 B.C., the city became one of the six primary members of the Lycian League. Coins were struck there during 2nd and the 1st centuries BC. Then it became a place where pirates, defeated in 78 B.C. by the Roman governor Publius Servilius Isauricus accompanied by the young Julius Caesar, in an open-sea battle, which Olympos and the surrounding area became a Roman province.