Ancient Egyptian Greek and Roman Stele Essay

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Ancient Egyptian Greek and Roman Stele

Just as we use tombstones to mark graves and commemorate our dead, so too did ancient civilizations. One way to do so in the ancient world was through the use of steles. A stele is a stone slab, usually decorated in relief and inscribed, that honored the death of a person. Three of the ancient cultures that had implemented the use of the stele were the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. In comparing an example from each civilization, it is possible to see the evolution of the stele from one period to another and the different influences each civilization had on a single element.

The Egyptians had many ways to honor their dead, including the stele. Wealthy Egyptians, especially officials and
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The Greek grave-markers of the 3rd-1st century BCE are almost wholly restricted to the East Greek World. The most common type is tall, with architectural elements, and a big figure of the deceased with small attendants. Another type, a short and broad rectangle, depicts the deceased at a feast - the "Death Feast" or "Totenmahl reliefs." (Rothermel 354)

The Western Asia Minor Funerary Stele is one Greek stele that falls under these distinctions. (University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology) It is from Asia Minor (part of the East Greek World) during the 1st century BCE. It shows the deceased, a man, lying on a dining couch under an arch. He is leaning on his left elbow and holds up a funerary wreath with the right hand. It is said that the woman on the left is his wife. She appears to be thinking, probably of her dead husband. There are also two attendants, one on either side of the arch, and a table in front of the deceased loaded with food. This stele has all the distinct characteristics (mentioned previously) of the grave-markers from the eastern part of the Greek Empire. The architectural elements (the arch), an image of the deceased (the man on the couch), the broad rectangular shape of the stele, and the "Death Feast" are all present within this stele. (Rothermel 354)

Since this stele was created during the Hellenistic period, it has the…