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Archaeology of Religion 7.docx

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CLAS 2531
Illaria Battiloro

Death and Funerary Rituals  death was incorporated into the life of the community to a degree that would likely strike many people today as morbid- it as a part of daily life  people usually died at home or on the battlefields  if death occurred at home, it was the duty of the relatives to prepare the body  the habit of taking care of the dead is due to the belief that in the period between death and burial the deceased are in need of care and attention of their relatives  until cremation or inhumation, they are in a "liminal" stage, as they are between two worlds  entry to Hades occurred as the consequence of activity on the part of the living  the unburied dead was considered at risk, and was therefore helped to reach Hades o there is no division for the afterlife of the good and of the bad- the concept of "sin" and Hell as eternal damnation was introduced by Christianity o Hades is imagined as being surrounded by the River Styx- a symbolic crossing of the river to cross over from the world of the living to the world of the dead  the primary obligation upon the living was to perform the burial  to fail in this sacred duty was to condemn the dead to wander up and down the banks of the river Styx which surrounded Hades  when Achilles delays burying Patroklos because of his overwhelming grief, his ghost appears to Achilles and urgently requests that he buries him as soon as possible (from the Illiad)  The Greek Funeral: o prothesis: laying out of the body in the home o ekphora: the funeral procession from the home to the place of the burial- symbolic transition from home to final resting place o burial  mourning the deceased was mandatory- recall from Women in Antiquity- professional female mourners- "prefiche" Burial Customs  transformation over time  the most ancient rites privilege the cremation of the body remains o cremated remains were buried, not given to the family o cremation was safer in terms of health o could possibly be related to symbolically offering the body to the gods (parallels to meat sacrifices)  during the Classical age, in Greece the inhumation (full body buri
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