In the painting, Hypnos (Sleep) is depicted on the left and Thanatos (Death) on the right, transporting the deceased Trojan hero and demigod Sarpedon, who was the son of Zeus (king of the gods), to his home in Lycia. The Greek god Hermes can be seen in the background observing the scene.
Sarpedon’s burial place
Lycia was an ancient region located on the southwestern coast of Anatolia, in what is now modern-day Turkey. Its people spoke the Lycian language and were known for their skilled archers and seafarers. The region was home to several important cities, including Xanthos, Patara, and Myra, and was ruled at various times by the Persians, Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines. The Lycian culture and language began to decline in the early Middle Ages, and the region was eventually absorbed into the Ottoman Empire. Today, the ancient ruins of Lycia are a popular tourist destination.