Claudia Braswell: Roman Funerals

The earliest Roman grave sites were first noted around 900 B.C.  The Romans originally derived their burial rituals from the Greek cultures.  In the west, they preferred to be cremated.  However, in the east, most were buried.  People in the Roman Empire thought that respectful burial rituals allowed the dead to enter the next world and protected the living from misfortunes.  Because they believed it was important to rest underground, people who were cremated would then be placed in urns and buried.  The dead would sometimes have items placed in their graves for use in the afterlife.  These items included cooking pots, lamps, weapons, and sometimes armor.  Those who attended the funeral usually ate a meal at the burial site and would try to share the meal with the dead.  Some tombs were even built with pipes or holes in order for food and drinks to be passed to the deceased.

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