"Reading" Greek death: to the end of the classical period

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Clarendon Press, 1995 - Literary Criticism - 489 pages
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This book offers a series of in-depth studies of some aspects of the beliefs, attitudes, and rituals surrounding death in ancient Greece from the Minoan and Mycenean period to the end of the classical age. Drawing on every kind of available evidence - from literary texts to burial customs, inscriptions, and images in art - the author sheds new light on many key, still essentially problematic, aspects of Greek life, myth, and literature: including the world of the dead in Homer; the perceptions associated with grave monuments and articulated in their images and epigrams; the myths of Charon, Hermes, and the journey of death; and the shifting attitudes towards death in a changing society. The book is also a sophisticated critique of the methodologies appropriate for interpreting the various kinds of evidence for ancient beliefs, and there is discussion of these in the light of insights from anthropology and other disciplines that can help us reconstruct the ancient Greek discourse of death, while minimizing the intrusion of our own culturally determined assumptions which reflect modern thinking rather than ancient realities.

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Death and the World of the Dead in Homer

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About the author (1995)

Christiane Sourvinou-Inwood holds a D. Phil. from the University of Oxford in Classics. She is the author of several volumes on the classics, including 'Reading' Greek Culture: Texts and Images, Rituals and Myths (1991), and 'Reading' Greek Death (1996).

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