Engraved pieces of foil aimed to ensure the spirits of worthy dead people made it safely to Elysium.
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO ensure a spot in paradise? To some ancient Greeks, the answer was burying themselves with golden tablets engraved with ritual texts. These served as passports by confirming the initiates’ identity and purity and allowing them to move easily between the mortal and divine realms, protecting the dead from any evils that might haunt them along the way.
For the ancient Greeks, paradise was just one part of the Underworld, the domain ruled by Hades and his child bride, Persephone. In theory, only humans and heroes of semi-divine lineage, like Heracles, Orpheus, and Odysseus, get to enter the Underworld by descending through caves and subterranean locations, then scooting past Cerberus, Hades’s three-headed guard dog.