As we have just seen in the case of Rome, the cemetery in the Mediterranean had long existed as the abode of the departed where the realms of the living and the dead merged. Funerary and mourning customs, along with the rituals of annual observances like the Parentalia, ensured that each new generation experienced and encountered the deceased in the graveyard as a living presence on earth. Graveside meals and other rituals dened a locus where the imaginal paradise and immortality promised in the ancient mysteries were realized in vivid and enduring form.