THE HALL OF THE SARCOPHAGI
Some of the best sarcophagi of the necropolis, or burial grounds of Perge are displayed in this hall, recently opened to the visitors after being renovated. At the middle there is the striking columnar sarcophagus of Domitias Philiskas (third century A.D.) It has a flat lid in the Sidemara style in the shape of a couch. In the front, seated figures of two nuda children decorate the corners of the lid. The deceased couple is shown reclining on top of the lid. The sides of the sarcophagus itself are decorated in high relief with standing or seated male and female figures. There is also an inscription bearing the name of the deceased. On one end of the sarcophagus is a false door in relief which is presumably one of the gates to Hades. A sacrifical altar and the sacred fire flanked by two figures are shown before this gate.
Reliefs of the twelve labors of Hercules decorate two sarcophagi of the second century A.D. The first sarcophagus has a gable - shaped lid. Each pediment is decorated with floral acroteria at three corners. Three is a head of Medusa in the center. The roof tiles with antefixes are in the shape of lion heads. Along three sides, the sarcophagus proper is divided into panels by means of twisted columns with Corinthian capitals. Within the panels, the twelve labors of Hercules are represented in high relief. On the first of the two long sides of the sarcophagus there are the scenes of the killing of the Nemean lion, the capture of the wild boar of Erymanthos, the Ceryneian hind, and the Stymphalian birds. On the first end, the cleaning of the Augean stables and the Hesperides' bringing the golden apples ara depicted. On the second longer side of the sarcophagus, Hercules is depicted in combat with the Cretan bull. Scenes that follow depict the stealing of the horses of Diomedes, the defeat of the Amazons, the killing of Geryoneus, and the capture of the dog Cerberus. On the second end of the sarcophagus, the relief of a false door, presumably one of the gates to Hades, shows the gate guarded by the Dioscuroi.
The second sarcophagus which is without columns also shows the labors of Hercules in twelve friezes. A sculpture from one of these friezes was exported illegally to the United States and later returned to Turkey by the Paul Getty Museum, and two short sides from the Schwarzkopf collections from Germany.
It is amazing that the sarcophagus depicting the scenes of the war of Trajan on one of its long sides has been captured on the verge of being smuggled illegally and it has recently been added to the pieces displayed in the Hall. (Sarcophagus of Aur. Botiane Demetria)
Another sarcophagus entitled the "madallion" type of sarcophagus has sides decorated with winged figures supporting the head of Medusa.
The marble sarcophagus lid, having the figure of Ariadne in reclining position on, is the one of the recent finds of PERGE.
The most noteable find which has recently been discovered is the "dog sarcophagus" which was made from lime - stone brought from Termessos ancient city. The ephitaph on the sarcophagus revealed that is was built dog called Stephanos.
According to the researchers, the marble in white colours of the sarcophagi was brought from the quarries of Prokennessos Ancient City on the Island of Marmara and Dakimeion Ancient City in the vicinity of Afyon, which are reowned with their marble.
Not only has the Museum of Antalya gained more reputation after these sarcophagi being added to but it has also been attracting the attention of the public as almost all of the sarcophagi represent the sculpture of Perge of the 2nd century A.D.