Old Iconography, New Meanings? The “Christianized” Roman Hunt Sarcophagus of Bera in San Sebastiano ad Catacumbas.


  • Sarah Hollaender Humboldt University of Berlin


Roman Sarcophagi, Virtue, Gender, Christianity


This article surveys the takeover of Roman Hunt Sarcophagi by Christians in Late Antiquity, with a special focus on the monument for Bera in San Sebastiano ad Catacumbas . It is typically argued that their selection of these monuments was motivated by the same “worldly” concerns as their pagan neighbours. This assumption will be challenged here by exploring the potential for resemanticization in a new Christian context, and – in the case of Bera in particular – the complex intersections of gender, virtue and religion in this period.


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Author Biography

Sarah Hollaender, Humboldt University of Berlin

I completed my PhD programme in Classical Archaeology at the University of Alberta (Edmonton, Canada) in September 2021. I wrote my doctoral dissertation "Portraits of Women as Goddesses and Heroines in Cross-Gendered Dress from the Roman Imperial Period" under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Steven Hijmans and Prof. Dr. Margriet Haagsma. I then received my doctor title in November 2021. I am currently working as a postdoctoral research assistant, under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Katharina Pyschny, at the Chair of Biblical Theology, Institute for Catholic Theology, Humboldt University of Berlin (Berlin, Germany). 


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How to Cite

Hollaender, S. (2022). Old Iconography, New Meanings? The “Christianized” Roman Hunt Sarcophagus of Bera in San Sebastiano ad Catacumbas . Figura: Studies on the Classical Tradition, 10(01), 6–47. Retrieved from https://econtents.bc.unicamp.br/inpec/index.php/figura/article/view/16003