Exact location unknown; close to the crypt of St Peter, Rome.
A large, white marble sarcophagus, decorated with figurative reliefs on three sides. The front of the sarcophagus is organised into a “double-register,” with reliefs on two levels. The top level of reliefs are situated underneath an entablature, and divided by carved Corinthian columns to create five niches. Beneath these are a further five niches, divided again by columns, but set within an arch and gable register. The ten niches contain scenes of biblical characters and stories; on the top level, from left to right, the scenes depict the sacrifice of Isaac, the arrest of Peter, Christ enthroned, with disciples to each side, the arrest of Christ, and the judgement of Pilate. On the lower level, the scenes are (from left to right): Job’s distress, Adam and Eve, Christ arriving in Jerusalem, Daniel in the lion’s den and the arrest of Paul. Within the spandrels of the lower register – now badly damaged – scenes from both the Old and New Testaments are depicted, with lambs acting symbolically in the place of men, which are believed to represent the three youths in the fiery furnace, the striking of the rock, the multiplication of the loaves, the baptism of Christ by John, the receiving of the Law, and the raising of Lazarus (Malbon, The Iconography of the Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus, p. 5). The short ends of the sarcophagus are decorated with traditional pagan scenes representing the Four Seasons, with putti or Cupids harvesting. The lid survives only in very fragmentary form; the main dedicatory inscription was inscribed along the front edge of the lid, with a tabula placed on top and in the centre originally containing a funerary epigram (CIL VI, 41341a = EDR109751), describing Bassus’s career and funeral, but which is again much damaged. Fragments of carved reliefs survive on either side of this inscription, with the right side potentially identified as a funerary banquet, or kline meal for the dead. The remains of a mask representing Luna, the moon, at the right-hand end of the lid is presumed to have complemented one of Sol, the sun, at the far left end (Malbon, The Iconography of the Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus, p. 5).