The word 'sarcophagus' derives from the Greek word for 'flesh-eater.' These stone burial boxes were employed for millennia in ancient Egypt, the Hellenistic world, and the Roman Empire. Their use even continued into the Christian era, when they became a medium for religious iconography.
These upper-class coffins are typically ornately adorned - not only with depictions of the deceased but images of their hopes, dreams, and fears. These images often reflect societal and spiritual ideals, along with cross-cultural stylistic influences.