Death: Antiquity and Its Legacy
Personal and yet utterly universal, inevitable and yet unknowable, death has been a dominant theme in all cultures, since earliest times. Different societies address death and the act of dying in culturally diverse ways; yet, remarkably, across the span of several millennia, we can recognize in the customs of ancient Greece and Rome ceremonies and rituals that have enduring present-day resonance. For example, preparing the corpse of the deceased, holding a memorial service, the practice of cremation and of burial in 'resting places' are all liminal processes that can trace their origin to ancient practices. Such rites - described by Cicero and Herodotus, among others - have defined traditional modern funerals. Yet of late there has been a shift away from classical ritual and sombre memorialization as the dead are transformed into spectacles. Ad hoc roadside shrines, 'virtual' burials, online guest-books and even jazz memorial processions and firework displays have come to the fore as new modes of marking, even celebrating, bereavement. What is causing this change, and how do urbanisation, economic factors and the rise of individualism play a part? Mario Erasmo creatively explores the nexus between classical and contemporary approaches to dying, death and interment. From theme funerals in St Louis to Etruscan sarcophagi, he offers a rich and insightful discussion of finitude across the ages.
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ancestors ancient Greece ancient Rome antiqvity Appia Aurelianic Wall banquet Basilica body buried catacombs centre century BCE ceremony Chapter Christian cinerary Classical Classical antiquity Coarelli coffin columbaria commemoration contains corpse cremated remains cremation crematorium culture dark tourism dead deceased deceased’s decorated depicted dining display disposal effigy embalming Emperor epitaph Erasmo Etruscan evokes example family members famous flowers funeral home funerary monuments gates grave marker graveside Greek grief house tombs Imperial inhumation inhumation burials Kerameikos lament Lanciani landscape Latin libations living located London marble mausoleum meals memorial modern mourners mourning Museo Necropolis Neoclassical ofthe one’s pagan painted Parentalia periphery Peter’s plaques Pope Porta Porta Capena portraits preserve Protestant Cemetery prothesis pyramid pyre reclining relief religious rites role Roman funerary sarcophagus scenes sculpture Sebastiano serve shrine Staglieno Cemetery survivors symbolic tion traditional urban urns Vatican Museums Vergil’s Via Labicana Via Latina Via Laurentina women York