What Was Used as a Grave Marker in Ancient Greece?

In ancient Greece, grave markers played an important role in commemorating the dead. These markers served as a way to remember the departed and honor their memory. Let’s take a look at what was used as a grave marker in ancient Greece.

Ancient Greek Grave Markers

Grave markers in ancient Greece were typically made out of stone, marble, or terracotta. The most common type of grave marker was the stele, which was a tall, vertical slab of stone or marble that was often decorated with reliefs or inscriptions.

Stele

The stele was the most popular type of grave marker in ancient Greece. It was usually rectangular in shape and stood upright on a base. Steles were often inscribed with the name of the deceased, along with an epitaph or short message.

Kiones

Another type of grave marker used in ancient Greece was the kione. This was a small column that stood on a base and was often topped with a sculpture or relief depicting the deceased. Kiones were commonly used in Athens during the 4th century BCE.

Lekythos

The lekythos was another type of grave marker that was popular during the 5th century BCE. It was a small, slender vase that was usually decorated with scenes from daily life or funerary motifs.

  • Stone: Most gravestones were made out of stone.
  • Marble: Marble gravestones were more expensive and reserved for wealthier families.
  • Terracotta: Terracotta gravestones were cheaper and more affordable for lower-income families.

The Importance of Grave Markers

Grave markers were an important part of ancient Greek funerary customs. They served as a way to remember the dead, and were often decorated with symbols or scenes that represented the deceased’s life or beliefs.

In addition to serving as a memorial, grave markers also had a practical purpose. They marked the location of the grave and prevented it from being disturbed. Grave robbers were a common problem in ancient Greece, and grave markers were one way to deter them.

Conclusion

Grave markers were an important part of ancient Greek funerary customs. The most common type of grave marker was the stele, which was often inscribed with the name of the deceased and an epitaph. Other types of grave markers included kiones and lekythoi.

Whether made out of stone, marble, or terracotta, these grave markers served as a way to remember the departed and honor their memory.