Roman funerals and burial

Roman funerals and burial

In Ancient Rome, important people of the time had elaborate funerals. The funerals themselves were part of a tradition from the early Roman Republic, whereby the achievements of the dead man were celebrated alongside those of his ancestors. Hired mourners were at the front of the procession. These mourners would wear the masks (imagines) of the dead's descendants who had served as magistrates. The emphasis of the funeral therefore, was put on the achievements of the dead. The body of the dead person was behind the mourners. A eulogy (praise for the dead person) was read during the procession. After the funeral, the body was buried or cremated (burnt). If the body was cremated, the ashes were put in a container and the container was buried. If a family did not have enough money to afford a proper funeral, they simply put the corpse in a casket and threw it in a creek where other poor dead people had been thrown. The Egyptian goddess Isis promised the Romans life after death, but this was a much later addition to the Roman belief system, and was not present during the Republican period.

During the first and second centuries AD, cremation was the most common burial practice in the Roman Empire. Ultimately, inhumation would replace cremation; a variety of factors, including the rise of Christianity among Romans and changes in attitudes to the afterlife, would contribute to this marked shift in popular burial practices.

Also, coins would be placed under the tongue or over the eyes to ensure a safe journey to the underworld. This was, so we are informed by several ancient sources, most notably Virgil in Aeneid Book 6, to pay the boatman Charon, to take them across the river Styx into the underworld itself. There would be food and drink offerings to the dead, for it was thought that the dead could impact the living. Festivals would be held for important members of the family.

External links

* [*/Funus.html Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, article "Funus"]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужен реферат?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Olla (Roman pot) — An olla appears in the right hand of the Gallo Roman mallet god; the shape of the fragment suggests that the pot itself might have been an olla In ancient Roman culture, the olla (archaic Latin aula or aulla, Greek χύτρα, chutra[1 …   Wikipedia

  • Burial — This article is about human burial practices. For other uses, see Burial (disambiguation). Inhume redirects here. for the band, see Inhume (band). Underwater funeral in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea from an edition with drawings by… …   Wikipedia

  • Christian burial — Ascension Parish burial ground, Cambridge, UK. A Christian burial is the burial of a deceased person with specifically Christian ecclesiastical rites; typically, in consecrated ground. Until recent times Christians generally objected to cremation …   Wikipedia

  • Glossary of ancient Roman religion — This is an incomplete list, which may never be able to satisfy particular standards for completeness. You can help by expanding it with reliably sourced entries. Ancient Roman religion …   Wikipedia

  • Death and funeral of Corazon Aquino — The funeral procession of former President of the Philippines Corazon Aquino Participants People of the Philippines Location …   Wikipedia

  • Death and funeral of Otto von Habsburg — His Imperial and Royal Highness Archduke Otto of Austria, Prince Royal of Hungary[1][2] and his wife Princess Regi …   Wikipedia

  • Liturgical books of the Roman Rite — The liturgical books of the Roman Rite at the beginning of the twentieth century, writings designed to specify the way the religious services of that liturgical rite of the Roman Catholic Church were then held, are described in this article. For… …   Wikipedia

  • PURITY AND IMPURITY, RITUAL — (Heb. וְטָהֳרָה טֻמְאָה, tumah ve toharah), a symbolic system according to which a pure person or object is qualified for contact with the Temple and related sancta (holy objects and spaces) while an impure person or object is disqualified from… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway — The Duke of Wellington s train and other locomotives being readied for departure from Liverpool, 15 September 1830 The opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway (L M) took place on 15 September 1830 …   Wikipedia

  • Religion in ancient Rome — Ancient Roman religion Marcus Aurelius (head covered) sacrificing at the Temple of Jupiter …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”