Two thousand years ago, funerals weren’t the quiet, somber affairs we have today. They were loud, boisterous shows that started with a massive procession of people parading down the streets, pounding away at musical instruments and trying to get everyone around to stop and watch the show.
They’ve been called “ carnivalesque” – they were big productions full of life, joy, and laughter. Hired actors would walk behind the musicians of the funeral processions and put on shows that, today, might sound ridiculous.
But for the Romans, death wasn’t just a time for mourning. It was a time to celebrate the person who once lived – and they pulled out all of the stops.