Returning now to our proper subject, we may begin with the latest and most magnificent of the sarcophagi found at Sidon. This belongs somewhere near the end of the fourth century. It is decorated with relief-sculpture on all four sides and in the gables of the cover. On the long side shown in our illustration the subject is a battle between Greeks and Persians, perhaps the battle of Issus, fought in 333. Alexander the Great, recognizable by the skin of a lion's head which he wears like Heracles, instead of a helmet, is to be seen at the extreme left. The design, which looks crowded and confused when reduced to a small scale, is in reality well arranged and extremely spirited, besides being exquisitely wrought. But the crowning interest of the work lies in the unparalleled freshness with which it has kept its color. Garments, saddle-cloths, pieces of armor, and so on, are tinted in delicate colors, and the finest details, such as bow-strings, are perfectly distinct. The nude flesh, though not covered with opaque paint, has received some application which differentiates it from the glittering white background, and gives it a sort of ivory hue. The effect of all this color is thoroughly refined, and the work is a revelation of the beauty of polychromatic sculpture.
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