What Was Kept in Urn in Ancient Greece?

In ancient Greece, urns were a common way to store the remains of the dead. These urns would be placed in tombs or other burial sites, and often contained a variety of objects that were meant to accompany the deceased into the afterlife.

One of the most common items found in these urns was ashes. The ancient Greeks believed that the body was made up of four elements – earth, air, fire, and water.

When someone died, their body would return to these elements. The ashes that remained were seen as a symbol of this transformation.

What else was kept in urns?

In addition to ashes, ancient Greeks would often place other objects in urns as well. These objects could include:

  • Jewelry: Rings, bracelets, and other forms of jewelry were often placed in urns as a symbol of wealth or status.
  • Clothing: Some Greeks believed that clothing had special powers that could help protect the dead in the afterlife.
  • Coins: It was common practice to place coins in an urn to pay for passage across the river Styx.
  • Food and Drink: Some Greeks believed that the dead would need food and drink in the afterlife. They would place small amounts of food and drink – such as grain or wine – in an urn.
  • Weapons: Warriors who died in battle might have their weapons placed in their urn as a symbol of their bravery.

What did these objects represent?

Each object that was placed in an urn had a specific meaning. For example:

Ashes:

The ashes represented the transformation of the body into its elemental components.

Jewelry:

Jewelry represented wealth and status.

Clothing:

Clothing represented protection and warmth in the afterlife.

Coins:

Coins were meant to pay for passage across the river Styx.

Food and Drink:

Food and drink represented the need for sustenance in the afterlife.

Weapons:

Weapons represented bravery and honor.

Conclusion

In ancient Greece, urns were a common way to store the remains of the dead. These urns would often contain a variety of objects that were meant to accompany the deceased into the afterlife.

Each object had a specific meaning, and was chosen carefully to represent the beliefs and values of the person who had died. Today, these urns serve as a reminder of this ancient culture, and continue to be studied by scholars around the world.