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Roman relief from a marble tomb, 201-300 CE

Roman tombs and graves were often carved with symbols, giving an indication of the person’s life or profession whilst on earth. Asklepios, the Greco-Roman god of medicine and healing is carved accompanied by a snake. This would suggest that the occupant of the tomb was a physician. Asklepios was often pictured with a snake who was his messenger. Snakes were also believed to have healing powers.

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Glossary: relief

Use for images, especially pictorial compositions, executed in relief - a surface that has been carved, molded, or stamped so that an image or design projects from or is sunk into a continuous surface.

Glossary: physician

In the UK, a specialist in internal medicine, in the USA, the title refers to a general medical doctor.

Glossary: sarcophagus

A stone coffin, most notably used by the ancient Egyptians and Romans.