Make your own free website on Tripod.com
The Library
Welcome to the library.Here you can find articles about death,cemeteries and a history of burial.
Please come back sometime as the library will expand as more articles are added.
Articles in the Library:
A history of burial and views on death.
A history of burial and views on death
A 100.000 years ago the first human did nothing to bury their dead.They were simply put aside.
Later the Neanderthal buried their dead with flowers and objects like food and flints.
The bodies were sometimes laid in a flexed position and in some of the graves bones of bears
are found.This was probably done to get some of the bear's power.
Mesapotamian people didn't believe that a soul lived on when somebody died.Their graves are simple
without many decorations.
The Egyptians seemed to devote all their life in taking care of the dead.They believed the fate of the
soul was tied to the fate of the body.A persons vital life energy,the kao,needed to be reunited with
the spiritual energy,the bao,inside the tomb.Therefore it was important to keep the body in a good
shape.Organs were taken out of the body and put in seperate jars.
Burial rites and procedures were written down in the Book of Dead.These texts were put on tombwalls,coffins and
written on papyrus rolls.Judgement was important for ancient egyptians.Good deeds were measured against sins.
Items from a former life were needed in the next one.That's why Egyptian tombs are so richly decorated with
objects.
The Greeks took some of their views on death from the Egyptians.They feared dead and the afterworld,Hades,a lot.
Their dead were bathed,anointed with oil and dressed,but not mummified.
Greek cemeteries were located along the main roads outside the citywalls.Large vases were often used as a grave-
marker.
Until 1000 B.C.E. they buried their death,then cremation started slowly to be more common.In the beginning this
was most used on the battlefield to make it easier to take the killed soldiers back.
For the Romans cremation was most often used.Only important persons were buried inside a sarcophagus.Ordinary
people's ashes were shoved in a hole in the ground.
Around 100 A.D cremation was less used because the early Christian church didn't approve of it.
Until the 6th century people were usually buried outside towns.Later when churches and chapels 
were being built next to martyr's graves people wanted to be buried next to them.
In the Middle Ages cremation was banned by the church and the deceased people were buried inside churches.
Although in the beginning the Church wasn't too happy with burials inside churches,this changed when they
started to charge money for it.Then more and more graves came inside churches.
Common people however were mostly buried outside the church in churchyards.
Those weren't the quiet places they became later.In the Middle Ages people used the churchyards as meeting places,
to trade goods and perform plays.
Before the 14th and 15th century coffins were usually used to collect the deceased,transport him into church,
and take him to his grave.There he(or she)was lifted out of the coffin,wrapped in a shroud and lowered into
the grave.However for the not so rich this was not done,their bodies were transported without a coffin,on a 
stretcher.Sometimes coffinlike structures were built on a stretcher.
Then in the 15th century more and more people were buried in a coffin.This happened especially in Northern
Europe(Holland,West Germany).In Austria and Southern Germany a lot of people were still buried without a coffin.
For the people the moment of death itself was important.When they were dying,or thinking they were dying,family and friends
gathered around the deathbed.They was a priest present for the confession and making of a will.
Quite often on the day of the burial meals were eaten,although this was not approved by the government.
Continue on the next page