Posts Tagged ‘greek’

Continuing our visit to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, I photographed this stele – gravestone. The museum identifies the origin of the stele as the Kerameikos, tombs that sat just outside of the city of Athens. Like the Roman box in my last post, this is also marble, dated to the 5th century B.C.

5th c BC Greek Grave Stele (2)//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

5th c BC Greek Grave Stele (3)//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

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A while back, I posted a photograph of this monument, and someone commented jokingly how nice it was of the family to provide a bench for people to rest. (I’ve actually never seen anyone sitting on one of these convenient benches.) This monument style is ancient, according to Stories in Stone. Called an exedra, the bench monument dates back to the ancient Greeks.

Massiello Monument

Greek customs dictated that the family returned over the years to the burial site of their relative to perform rituals and leave offerings. Thus was born the custom of having stone benches as part of a memorial, often followed by a stone table. I haven’t found any exedra in the ancient Greek style, with curved benches and a table tomb, but there are a number of families in Lake View whose monuments take the ancient form of the bench.


Some are more modest, with only the bench itself as a marker, while others incorporate the bench into a much larger architectural masterpiece.

Gina C. Hughes

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