Greek and Christian cultures of death Maria koliopoulos

Originally, the Greeks thought that earth burial was the only way to protect the body's spirit.

Cremation eventually became the standard means of handling the dead. It is unsure whether this was for health or prevention of body decay.

Various urns and other Ancient Greek paraphernalia

The story of Hector's body being completely disrespected by Achilles is likely the most logical reason for the Greeks turning to cremation.

a representation of the Trojan horse, a critical part in the war which ended with Hector's body violently disrespected

Being cremated was a privilege. If one committed suicide or was struck by lightning, they couldn't be cremated.

Don't anger Zeus, the Greeks won't cremate you

When it comes down to it, historians don't actually know what the Greeks expected out of cremation, but their exclusive treatment indicated beliefs that burial and cremation affected the spirit differently.

In regards to Christianity, early Christians tended to go with the death traditions of the cultures surrounding them.

Those residing amidst Jews tended to go with entombment

Generally, cremation was uncommon amongst early Christians, as they has been accustomed to burial and cremation still often held a stigma of disrespect for the body being cremated.

It was misconceived by those persecuting the early Christians that if the body was destroyed, the Christian's belief in resurrection would be destroyed with it.

From the 1300s to the 1900s, cremation was highly disputed and discouraged by church officials. Some of the rights of those cremated were taken away.

By 1963, the church decided cremated dead could receive the Rites of the Dead, resolving a multiple century long conflict about death, and how to treat it.

Burial is still the most popular christian form of attending to the dead.


Created with images by Arcaion - "sculpture emboss ancient" • Pexels - "blur close close-up" • nathanh100 - "Map of Greece, Undated" • Martijn.Munneke - "Thessaloniki" • Patrick Denker - "IMG_1032" • Fæ - "Attic Black-Figure Lekythos with (Body) Dionysos between Maenads and Satyrs and (Shoulder) a Seated Man between Women and Men LACMA 50.9.43" • ccarlstead - "Trojan Horse" • Vasnic64 - "Zeus" • nuzree - "cave rock entrance" • Alexas_Fotos - "konzentrationslager dachau crematorium" • geralt - "cross sunset sunrise" • Pexels - "cemetery cross grass"

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