Volume 54 Number 1
  • ISSN: 0165-8204
  • E-ISSN: 2667-1573



This article offers a brief introduction to the most frequent type of inscription: funerary inscriptions or epitaphs. The article offers a chronological overview from the Archaic period to late Antiquity, with an emphasis on Athens. It opens with a brief discussion of the archaeological and ritual contexts in which funerary inscriptions were set up, followed by a discussion of archaic epigrams and the social strategies that lay behind them. This is followed by a discussion of public and private graves that shows how epigraphic habits changed over time. The article continues with a discussion of funerary epigraphic habits outside Athens and closes with a few examples of Christian epitaphs.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Arrington, N.T.2015. Ashes, Images, and Memories. The presence of the war dead in fifth-century Athens, Cambridge.
  2. Bakker, M. de, N.Koopman, P.van Uum en S.Willigers. 2021. ‘Poëzie op steen in Athene’, Lampas54, 11-38.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Baziotopoulou-Valavani, E.2002. ‘A Mass Burial from the Cemetery of Kerameikos’, in M.Stamatopoulou en M.Yeroulanou (eds), Excavating Classical Culture, Oxford, 187-201.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Boardman, J. en D.Kurtz. 1971. Greek Burial Customs, Londen.
  5. Boegehold, A.L. en A.C.Scafurro (eds). 1994. Athenian Identity and Civic Ideology, Baltimore en Londen.
  6. Burzachechi, M.1962. ‘Oggetti parlanti nelle epigrafi greche’, Epigraphica24, 3-54.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Cannon, A.1989. ‘The Historical Dimension in Mortuary Expressions of Status and Sentiment’, Current Anthropology30, 437-458.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Clairmont, C.1983. Patrios Nomos. Public burials in Athens during the fifth and fourth centuries B.C. The archaeological, epigraphic-literary and historical evidence, Oxford.
  9. Dagron, G. en D.Feissel. 1987. Inscriptions de Cilicie. Travaux et Memoires du Centre de Recherche d’Histoire et Civilisation de Byzance. Monographies 4, Parijs.
  10. Day, J.W.2010. Archaic Greek Epigram and Dedication. Representation and reperformance, Cambridge en New York.
  11. Garland, R.1985. The Greek Way of Death, Londen.
  12. Garland, R.1989. ‘The Well-Ordered Corpse. An investigation into the motives behind Greek funerary legislation’, Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies36, 1-15.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Garland, R.S.1982. ‘A First Catalogue of Attic Peribolos Tombs’, The Annual of the British School at Athens77, 125-176.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Heller, A.2021. ‘Ereinscripties. Volk en elite, gemeenschap en individu’, Lampas54, 67-91.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Hortsmanshoff, H.F.J. (ed.). 1994. Pijn en balsem – troost en smart. Pijnbeleving en pijnbestrijding in de Oudheid, Rotterdam.
  16. Humphreys, S.C.1980. ‘Family Tombs and Tomb Cult in Ancient Athens. Tradition or traditionalism?’, The Journal of Hellenic Studies100, 96-126.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Knigge, U.1988. Der Kerameikos von Athen. Führung durch Ausgrabungen und Geschichte, Athene.
  18. Kokkinia, C.2000. Die Opramoas-Inschrift von Rhodiapolis. Euergetismus und soziale Elite in Lykien, Bonn.
  19. Loraux, N.1986. The invention of Athens, Cambridge MA.
  20. MacMullen, R.2009. The Second Church. Popular Christianity, A.D. 200-400, Leiden.
  21. McLean, B.H.2002. An Introduction to Greek Epigraphy of the Hellenistic and Roman Periods from Alexander the Great down to the Reign of Constantine (323 B.C.-A.D. 337), Ann Arbor.
  22. Morris, I.1987. Burial and Ancient Society. The rise of the Greek city-state, Cambridge.
  23. Morris, I.1994. ‘Everyman’s Grave’, in A.L.Boegehold en A.C.Scafurro (eds), Athenian Identity and Civic Ideology, Baltimore en Londen, 67-101.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Nielsen, T.H., L.Bjertrup, M.H.Hansen, L.Rubinstein en T.Vestergaard. 1989. ‘Athenian Grave Monuments and Social Class’, in Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies30, 411-420.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Oliver, G.J.2000. ‘Athenian Funerary Monuments. Style, grandeur, cost’, in G.J.Oliver, The Epigraphy of Death. Studies in the history and society of Greece and Rome, Liverpool, 59-80.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Oliver, G.J. (ed.). 2002. The Epigraphy of Death. Studies in the history and society of Greece and Rome, Liverpool.
  27. Patlagean, E.1977. Pauvreté économique et pauvreté social à Byzance 4e-7e siècles, Parijs en Den Haag.
  28. Pleket, H.W.1994. ‘Troostdecreten. Een maatschappelijk verschijnsel’, in H.F.J.Hortsmanshoff (ed.), 147-156.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Rhodes, P.J. en R.Osborne. 2007. Greek Historical Inscriptions, 404-323 BC, Oxford.
  30. Richter, G.M.A.1960. Kouroi. Archaic Greek youths. A study of the development of the Kouros type in Greek sculpture, Londen.
  31. Stamatopoulou,M. en M.Yeroulanou (eds). 2002. Excavating Classical Culture, Oxford.
  32. Stroszeck, J.2014. Der Kerameikos in Athen. Geschichte, Bauten und Denkmäler im archäologischen Park, Möhnesee.
  33. Strubbe, J.1997. ΑΡΑΙ ΕΠΙΤΥΜΒΙΟΙ. Imprecations against desecrators of the grave in the Greek epitaphs of Asia Minor. A catalogue, Bonn.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Tybout, R.2003. ‘“Bittere letters”. Griekse visies op dood en hiernamaals in grafepigrammen op steen’, Hermeneus75, 113-124.
    [Google Scholar]
  35. Vestergaard, T.2000. ‘Milesian Immigrants in Late Hellenistic and Roman Athens’, in G.J.Oliver (ed.), 81-110.
    [Google Scholar]
  36. Von Moock, D.W.1998. Die figürlichen Grabstelen Attikas in der Kaiserzeit. Studien zur Verbreitung, Chronologie, Typologie und Ikonographie, Mainz.
  37. Whitehead, D.1990. ‘Abbreviated Greek Demotics’, Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik81, 106-161.
    [Google Scholar]
  38. Zuiderhoek, A.2009. The Politics of Munificence in the Roman Empire. Citizens, elites and benefactors in Asia Minor, Cambridge.

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error