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October 5 - October 5 2007 Death in Ancient Greece Death...

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October 5, 2007 Death in Ancient Greece Death and demography o Evidence: recurring problems Patchy archaeological record Economics: little record of slaves, poor Social/religious beliefs Battlefield burials Archaeologically invisible funerals o Ex: Sparta in the classical period Infants, children (ex: apotropaic burial of infants) Subjectivity of interpretation (“Motel of the Mysteries”) o Death Lifespan 30-50 years in classical period Factors: social status, gender Major causes: disease (malnutrition, famine), childbirth High infant mortality: by inference (few infant burials) Context of absence of primogeniture (gamble) Familiarity: range of responses Indifference, pessimism, religious devotion, carpe diem Ancient Greek funerals o 1) mourning, laying out body ( prothesis ) Fasting, ritual defilement, cut hair (symbolic death) Funeral song ( threnos )-gender roles o 2) funeral procession ( ekphora ) Mourners conduct deceased to cemetery o 3) interment
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