Perhaps you’ll remember the old pizza commercial— what do you want on your Tombstone? Well the ancients who had any resources at all wanted to honor their dead, not least because they believed their spirits or genii were still out there in the afterlife. The more elite persons or wealthy freedmen spared no expense in marble sarcophagi with all kinds of images on them. For instance, if you were a famous gladiator you might show what your trade was on your sarcophagus….
Or if you were a soldier you might show all the booty and battle armor that you were once capturing or wearing.
Priests might prefer to show the largest animal they regularly sacrifices, namely a bull….
Statesmen, such as emperors or senators or ambassadors, might depict a famous meeting or negotiation they had with foreign rulers…. could that be a pharaoh who came to discuss things?
Religious processions, like the ones from Ephesus out to the temple of Artemis are depicted, and give us an idea of how women and men dressed on formal religious occasions.
Sometimes on temples, like the Parthenon or the Temple of Artemis there would be friezes depicting mythological scenes.
And sometimes at a small family shrine which doubled as an altar where incense could be burned, we see a scene of mourning, in this case with a flute player….