Fragment of relief with Lavinian sow

Inv. Scu 1891

Monumental relief, originally sculpted on superimposed marble blocks (about 2 m high), of which only the bottom part is preserved. It belonged probably to the decoration of a tomb.
The figured relief, flanked by pilasters, is the most ancient representation of the omen of the white sow and the 30 piglets, the mythical episode of the Aeneid that marks the end of Aenaeas’ peregrinations , when the hero learns where to find Lavinium Lavinium or Alba Longa (the prodigy was an omen for both cities).

The animal is depicted suckling its piglets and, with its ears pricked, is clearly wary of the human presence: three men are in the background (only the legs are visible) and the central figure is to be identified with Aenaeas.
This scene differs from the other rare depictions of the episode (i.e.: Altare del Belvedere; Ara Pacis) and it is also unattested in funerary representations; it must therefore be the result of a precise choice in order to communicate a specific message. It is possible that the defunct was connected with Lavinium or Alba Longa.

It can be dated about 50-40 BC, on stylistic and technical grounds; the relief was found near the via Appia.