Given a commutative ring $R$, there is a category whose objects are
epimorphisms surjective ring homomorphisms $R \to S$ and whose morphisms are commutative triangles making two such epimorphisms surjections compatible, and the skeleton of this category is a partial order that can be identified with the lattice of ideals of $R$. Now, I have always been under the impression that anything one can say about ideals one can phrase in this purely arrow-theoretic language: most importantly, the intersection of ideals is the product in this category and the sum of ideals is the coproduct. (Since we're working in a partial order, product and coproduct are fancy ways to say supremum and infimum. The direction of the implied ordering on ideals may differ here from the one you're used to, but that's not important.)
However, Harry's made some comments recently that made me realize I don't know how to define the product of two ideals purely in terms of this category, that is, via a universal construction like the above. It would be really surprising to me if this were not possible, so maybe I'm missing something obvious. Does anyone know how to do this?