The Death Rituals of Rural Greece

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Princeton University Press, 1982 - History - 169 pages
3 Reviews

This compelling text and dramatic photographic essay convey the emotional power of the death rituals of a small Greek village--the funeral, the singing of laments, the distribution of food, the daily visits to the graves, and especially the rite of exhumation. These rituals help Greek villagers face the universal paradox of mourning: how can the living sustain relationships with the dead and at the same time bring them to an end, in order to continue to live meaningfully as members of a community? That is the villagers' dilemma, and our own. Thirty-one moving photographs (reproduced in duotone to do justice to their great beauty) combine with vivid descriptions of the bereaved women of "Potamia" and with the words of the funeral laments to allow the reader an unusual emotional identification with the people of rural Greece as they struggle to integrate the experience of death into their daily lives.


Loring M. Danforth's sensitive use of symbolic and structural analysis complements his discussion of the social context in which these rituals occur. He explores important themes in rural Greek life, such as the position of women, patterns of reciprocity and obligation, and the nature of social relations within the family.

 

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Contents

DEATH IN POTAMIA
9
THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF DEATH
25
DEATH AS PASSAGE
35
METAPHORS OF MEDIATION IN GREEK FUNERAL LAMENTS
71
WOUNDS THAT NEVER HEAL
117
BIBLIOGRAPHY
153
INDEX
163
PHOTOGRAPHS
171
Copyright

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About the author (1982)

Alexander Tsiaras is President and CEO of Anatomical Travelogue Inc. His is a scientist, artist and journalist. As a technological innovator, he has participated in the development of the lens that enabled the first photographs of human fertilization and the recording of the development of the fetus. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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