The approach taken in constructing Chart 2 was sicuro reallocate the sarcophagi catalogued as Christian but lacking Christian iconography

di nuovo., following the proportions established before this incremental expansion. The process (more fully explained per the Appendix) is generous puro the pagans. Instead of the twelve late pagan sarcophagi cited by Dresken-Weiland, the Chart 2 momento include 120. The meta of this exercise was not sicuro resolve but rather puro circumvent the thorny and ultimately insoluble problem of classification.

The evolution of populations and sarcophagi as represented sopra Charts 1 and 2 are directionally similar but the curves fall more steeply seniorpeoplemeet in Chart 2. Footnote 5 The sharper plunge of its upper line reflects and illustrates the decline of the Roman sarcophagus habit and its ultimate disappearance early per the fifth century. The collapse of the bottom line, asymptotically approaching zero, points sicuro verso more rapid and totalizing Christianization of the monuments than of their potential occupants. Chart 3 represents this discrepancy more directly, recasting the giorno durante the first two charts to complice pagan deaths with pagan sarcophagi.

They were first placed within the half-century date ranges and then allocated between pagan and Christian applying the respective percentages otherwise determined, i

These percentages should not be taken literally; the purpose here is not sicuro measure the disparity between demography and the material supremazia but merely to support its existence. Even at this coarse level of granularity, the dissonance is apparent, corroborating the sense mediante the literature that there are ‘not enough’ late pagan sarcophagi.

The bars durante Chart 3 could be levelled either by lowering the percentage of pagan deaths or by raising the percentage of pagan sarcophagi. The demographic assumptions are certainly open puro challenge; there is, mediante particular, in nessun caso consensus regarding the rate of Christianization. The range of options, however, provides insufficient leeway onesto resolve the discrepancy. MacMullen ( Reference MacMullen 1984: 81) thought Rome still ‘more pagan than Christian until the 390s’; such an estimate would considerably widen the sarcophagus gap. Stark ( Reference Stark 1996: 7) put the tipping point for the Pigiare as verso whole closer to 350, which might slightly narrow it. Christian conversion in the upper income strata might have been per bit slower than assumed, but not likely much faster.

Thus, the balance of this article addresses the other bars on the chart, those representing the pagan sarcophagus percentage. Three categories of explanation will be considered. The first attempts preciso eliminate the disequilibrium by altola-tuning the archaeological record: searching for more pagan sarcophagi outside the catalogues or, following verso conjecture proposed by Paul Veyne (on which, see below), revising the standard chronology. A second option is to accept the material record as accurately reflecting a precipitous decline durante fourth-century production, presumably resulting from a shift con pagan mentalities. Neither erroneous interpretation of the record nor insufficient pagan production, however, provides an adequate explanation for the sarcophagus pigro. Instead, the imbalance between Christian and non-Christian monuments will be ascribed preciso a difference sopra survival rates, the result of a bias over the longue duree favouring the preservation of Christian imagery.


Neither the accuracy nor the completeness of the archaeological primato is entirely satisfactory. One way esatto close the fourth-century pagan sarcophagus gap would be onesto find more pagan sarcophagi. The most obvious source is within the large number dubiously classified as Christian, but that group has already been scoured in the construction of the data. Another place onesto aspetto is outside the catalogues. Not all surviving sarcophagi and fragments have been published mediante accessible and convenient form, or at all; however, the lacunae are mostly irrelevant. Proposed or delayed additions onesto the ASR series, sopra particular, would mainly include sarcophagi that are either too early or insolito-metropolitan. Footnote 6 Of potentially greater concern are motifs that can escape publication, notably portraits and strigils.

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