The wall-paintings of Early Christian basilicas (e.g. at Dion and at Argos Orestikon) and houses (in Thessalonike) consist of large rectangular panels imitating marble slabs and alternating with pillars or columns. Similar, plainer decoration has been found in tombs. The funerary wall-paintings are not a Christian innovation but a pagan survival.
In the early tombs there are symbolic depictions of Christ (e.g. Good Shepherd, Lamb etc.) and idolatrous themes (flowers, fruits, animals and birds) endowed with new Christian meaning; images of the dead are occasionally found.
From the 4th century the thematic repertoire is enriched with scenes from the Old and New Testaments. All these subjects are encountered in the funerary wall-paintings of Thessalonike, the affinity of which with the wall-paintings in the Roman catacombs is certain.