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Collezione Paestum
The Tomb of the Diver

The Tomb of the Diver is a rare example of funerary art in Magna Graecia consisting of internal wall paintings of a tomb from around 480 BC. The tomb was discovered in 1968, south of Paestum in a small necropolis, and contained the few remains of a young man, some pottery, and a lyre. The five slabs of the box tomb, dismantled, are preserved in the National Museum of Paestum.

The covering slab depicts a diver who seems to fly over the water to pass to a horizon of knowledge different from the earthly one, perhaps the passage to the afterlife. Columns can be seen, perhaps the mythical columns of Hercules.
The wall slabs, on the other hand, represent a symposium, perhaps a banquet in the afterlife, with ten participants seated in pairs on couches, except for one, perhaps because he is the deceased who is yet to arrive. The symposium was the phase of the banquet dedicated to the consumption of wine, with music, songs, and poetry. The other slabs depict a young woman playing the aulos, a wind instrument, two young people looking at each other as lovers, a young man engaged in the Kottabos, a game that involved hitting a bronze target with the wine left in the glass, and the figure of a bearded man, perhaps a teacher.

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