The sarcophagus is of Lucius Cornelius Scipio Barbatus, the celebrated conqueror of the Etruscans in 298 BC. It was discovered in 1780 in the Tomb of the Scipios on the Appian Way, and later transported by Pius VI to Rome's Pio-Clementino Museum.
It is inscribed with Barbatus's epitaph: 'Lucius Cornelius Scipio Barbatus, the son of Gnaeus, a courageous and wise man; he was a consul censor, and councillor in your country. He conquered Taurasia and Cisauna, in the Samnium, and subjugated the whole of Lucania, whence he brought back hostages'.
Scipio Barbatus was consul in Rome in 298 B.C.