The first five figures show Hercules and Orpheus, young men dancing, a Bacchante
and a Muse, some of whom are holding musical instruments. These art
works are closely related to the cult of Bacchus: dance leads to
ecstasy which explains why such themes were commonly used to decorate
tombs. There is a certain development from the ecstatic orgiastic
celebration to a kind of ethereal philosophical view of death.
In the first pictures hercules is shown here as the leader of the muses (Hercules
musarum), thus combining strength with beauty. This white marble relief
was probably used as a part of a tomb (2nd century A.D.) and is
currently conserved in Seggau Castle.
The relief on the second picture on a marble block shows a dancing satyr with an Aulos,
i.e. a wind instrument with two oboe-like tubes (2.-4. century A.D.).
It is currently kept at Seggau Castle.
Also preserved at Seggau Castle is the relief of a drum-playing
dancing menade (tympanon = frame drum), dating from the 2nd to the 4th
The relief of the muse of stringed instruments is located at the
church of St. Johnnear Herberstein (Styria) 3rd c. A.D.
The dancing boy originally came from the cornerstone of a Roman
mausoleum and is currently in the outer wall of St. John's church near
In the last picture the large stone plate decorated with a relief
is known as the Orpheus of Enns. It was taken from a roman tomb and
used as the top of an early Christian stone box grave but with the relief
facing down. (E. Stadler)