The visual aspects of sepulchral culture in Livonia in the Late Medieval and Early Modern period have been thoroughly studied by art historians. They have analysed the spread and condition of tombstones and epitaphs, as well as the pictorial programmes of monuments. Less attention has been paid to records inscribed on tombstones, which are known both from surviving examples and from old manuscripts. According to Estonian art historians, Lutheranism changed the pictorial programmes of tombstones, and only in the second half of the 16th century put the word into the central position on them. The article seeks to verify this statement on the basis of broader material than has been used so far. For this purpose, the author uses data on all Latin tombstone records known today from Estonian churches (from the 14th century to 1918, they are held in the yet unpublished database Corpus Electronicum Inscriptionum Latinarum Estoniae), and analyses the oldest Livonian occasional poetry (manuscript and printed) from the first half of the 16th century. The article shows that the attempts to write long texts for grave monuments and place them in the dominating position on the tombstone were made in Livonia already before the Reformation, and can be considered a result of the impact of Renaissance humanism.