Relief with an old man and a siren

The upper left third, including the head of the "Lasa" and the left elbow of the sleeping man, is missing. The surfaces are worn and discolored with incrustation.

A winged female with large bird feet is about to bestride a sleeping old man. He has spread his cloak in a rocky landscape, a tree with Pan-pipes hanging from a branch, a rustic altar and a herm of Pan appearing at the upper right. The old man's staff, wicker produce basket, and sack for food or water lie beside him, the basket being used as a partial pillow. The winged creature holds a small vessel in her extended left hand. She is pouring something, perhaps a draught of the potion or drug which brings nightmares or perhaps a superabundance of wine that induced the old man's dream.

Scientific Analysis:

Harvard Lab No. HI777: Isotope ratios - delta13C +2.11 / delta18O -2.00, Attribution - Hymettos, Justification - Fine grained marble with greenish sparkle in surface.

Label text:

The Siren, a winged female with bird's feet, descends upon a sleeping old traveler, who has spread his cloak in a rocky landscape beside a rustic sanctuary. His straw purse, his staff, and his sack lie beside him. The Siren pours something over him, perhaps wine or a drug to induce dreams. A rough altar and a herm of Pan, god of the fertility of flocks, appear at the upper right. Pan-pipes hang from a tree or vine springing from the altar.


By date unknown: with Edward Perry Warren (according to his records: formerly in the Greau and Froehner collections and bought in Paris); 1908: gift to MFA from Fiske Warren and Edward Perry Warren; accessioned 1910

Credit Line

Gift of Fiske Warren and Edward Perry Warren

Relief with an old man and a siren

  • Roman, Imperial Period, 2nd century A.D.
Overall: 40.3 x 40 x 10.2 cm (15 7/8 x 15 3/4 x 4 in.) Weight: 20.41 kg (45 lb.) Mounted: 12.7 cm (5 in.)
Medium or Technique
Marble, probably from Hymettos
Catalogue Raisonné
Sculpture in Stone (MFA), no. 115; Sculpture in Stone and Bronze (MFA), p. 109 (additional published references).
Accession Number
Not on view