Highlight: Stone Sarcophagi of the Roman Empire
Barry Ferst Ph.D., professor of philosophy at Carroll College, recently made available a collection of more than 3600 images of Roman sarcophagi which he took over the course of twenty-five years of trips to Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. This is the largest known single collection of such images in the world, and depicts Roman art from a wide range of at-risk archaeological sites. Barry has made the entire collection openly available for research and teaching in Carroll Scholars as "Stone Sarcophagi of the Roman Empire". An accompanying book is available at Amazon.com and Xlibris Booksellers.
"I first noticed Roman sarcophagi in 1984 during a tour of Europe. After more travels, I decided to inventory the sarcophagi I came across, focusing on whole sarcophagi or entire front panels (at least three-quarters complete) and not bothering with fragments. To date I have driven a hundred thousand miles across four continents visiting museums, churches, city parks, archeological sites, catacombs, castles, palaces, and villas--any place that might have what I was after. I found sarcophagi re-used as flower boxes, water troughs, cisterns, altar tables, wall décor, and once, as corner blocks on an Ottoman fortress. Sometimes, completely by chance, I found a sarcophagus in a parking lot or under a clutter of bushes.
The imagery, symbols, and signs on sarcophagi are an unparalleled source for understanding the sentiments of upper- and professional- class Romans, and those in the lower classes who had secured some degree of financial success. Though not the focus of this website and accompanying book, Stone Sarcophagi of the Roman Empire, I have tried to understand what the iconography reveals about the beliefs operative in the Roman Empire, whether those be various cultic creeds, religions, superstitions, social perspectives, or metaphysical philosophies."
BARRY FERST PH.D