While visiting Palazzo Altemps in Bella Roma this summer I suddenly stood in front of this masterpiece of ancient art, the famed Ludovisi Sarcophagus, largest and most elaborate of the third century Battle Sarcophagi. The identity of the deceased, who must be the young hero in the centre of the battle scene between Romans and Barbarians, is still not clear. While most of the literature seems to attribute it to Hostilian, this seems to be highly unlikely as the young general does not resemble the childlike features of Decius younger son, who is furthermore not known to have taken any part in military actions during his short tenure as Caesar and Augustus. Portrait on rare Sestertius of Hostilian as Augustus, 251 Some attribute the Sarcophagus to a slightly later date which would make Valerian II a candidate, but this is contradicted by the female portrait featured on the cover of the Sarcophagus (which is now in Mainz, Germany) which is said to bear a close resemblance to Herennia Etruscilla, wife of Decius. This should make her other son, Herennius Etruscus, the most likely contender. This is made more plausible by the fact that Hostilian´s elder brother in was indeed in charge of military comand against the Goths as soon as 250 and did perish during the battle of Abrittus in the first week of July, 251, having just been promoted to the rank of Augustus the month before. On Herennius´coinage he is never shown with the slight beard the of the deceased, but that might me either a result of later reworking or meant to resemble a sign of mourning. Herennius Etruscus as Caesar, 251 So what do you think?