Greek Customs

  1. funeral customs of the ancient greeks
    • death beliefs
    • preparation of the body
    • burial customs
  2. death beliefs
    • *that of resignation & fear & not of anticipation of glorious afterlife
    • *they belived in hades or the Elysian fields like Netherworld
    • *ceremonies of deceased must make journey across the River Styx to the land eternity
    • *a coin placed i the mouth to pay the toll to the ferryman, Charon, who protected the River Styx. (without payment, the soul was doomed to wander the shores of the River Styx for a hundred years)
    • * A honey cake placed beside the deceased to appease Cerberus, the 3 headed dog which guarded the entrance of Hades
  3. preparation of the body
    • was made by family memebers
    • Greeks feared premature burial. 3 day delay before burial could take place & was custom
    • Embalming was not practiced by Ancient Greeks
  4. Preperation of the bodyies customary Procedures:
    *body would be washed first w/ warm water

    • (sanitary purpose also helped determine if they were dead or not, since it awaken those in comas)
    • (washing was performed by female relatives, as were most of the body preperation procedures)
    • (then the body would be anointed with oils, spices & perfumes for the disembodied soul)

    *body would be clothed in white

    (dark & subdued colors were symbolic of grief & mourning & worn by the living)
  5. burial customs:
    • early method was earth burial
    • 1,000 B.C. creamation started
    • (liberation of the soul, Greeks are the first culture to practice cremation)
  6. Burial Customary procedure:
    • a day after death, the body-washed, anoitned, dressed & ready for burial-was laid out in state.
    • * relatives & friends then viewed the body
    • * to quarantee against premature burial
    • *ritualistic wailing, by hired female mourners
    • *funeral procession was formed
  7. To avoid contamination of the daylight, the procession would set out a good hour before?
  8. The processional order was:
    • deceased on a bier carried by relatives or friends or hired "Corpse bearers"
    • * fraternity members
    • *Immediate Family
    • *Hired Female Mourners
    • *Hired Dirge Singers
    • *Distant Relatives & Friends
  9. Any male wishing to join the procession along the way was
    allowed to do so.
  10. Females were not allowed to join the procession unless
    they had passed their 60th year or were connected w/ the deceased by blood & over sixteen.
  11. Greeks were the first to set the standard at funerals and graves by
    the use of Flowers
  12. The final steps included:
    • *a funeral feast which broke the bereaved's fast
    • *offering of sacrifices at the sepulcher on a specific day
  13. Greeks can be credited w/ establishing the use of
    • urn-like containers
    • (they were larger then today's urns styles)
  14. When earth burial & entombment were practiced:
    • *baked clay coffins were the first type of burial receptacles used
    • *Chest of Cypress wood, "Eternal Wood" were later developed
    • *the most popular type was the heavy stone coffins
  15. Types of tombs:
    • "Stelae" or shafts
    • "Kones" or columns
    • "Trapezae" or square cut tombs
    • "Nardia" or temple like structures
  16. Heavy stone coffins were only used and at the grave or tomb but never
    carried in procession
Card Set
Greek Customs