ish figures called erotes
were a regular feature of Roman funerary
art, and provide inspiration for the image of the winged angel
are ministers of the dead
, and help to transport the soul
s to the land of the dead or the Christian heaven
. They are based on the myth of Psyche
(soul), who marries Eros
(erotic love). They function as "eros psychophoros," or "escorts of the soul." Sometimes they are called genii
," comparable to the Daemon
, though the association is not entirely accurate).
were common on sarcophagi
and funerary altar
s into the early centuries post-Christ. They were portrayed in pairs, either standing or hovering, and carrying one of three items: a gorgoneion, or Minerva
's shield with the severed head of the Gorgon
, which was believed to be a powerful amulet
; an inscribed tablet
; or an image of the deceased. Typically they were shown nude, with mantles reaching down to the feet.
often were depicted along with Victory
, another early inspiration for the winged angel
. They also were associated with the winged Roman
(Eternity), who functioned as a psychopomp to the dead.
source for additional reading/information:
Berefelt, Gunnar. A Study on the Winged Angel: The Origin of a Motif. Stockholm: Almquist & Wiksell, 1968.