Monday, 5 October 2015

Killed by lightning

"The Burial Customs of the Ancient Greeks"

Frank Pierrepont Graves
"....  burial was denied, or at least entombment with others was refused, to those who had been killed by lightning. This, from the modern point of view, seems more extraordinary than the other cases of forbidden sepulture that have been mentioned, but the ancients considered any one who was killed in that manner as struck by a god, who knew of some crime that had been hidden from mortal eye. Theseus, who was renowned for his piety, in speaking of those slain at Thebes, declared that he would burn the corpse of Capaneus apart, because he was struck by the flame hurled from Zeus’s own hand, but that he would burn all the others on a single funeral pyre. Plutarch declares that the bodies of those who have been killed by that means never putrefy, and that “many people never burn nor bury such bodies, but let them lie above ground with a fence about them, so that every one may see that they remain uncorrupted.” In some cases, on the other hand, the remains of these wretched beings were cremated and then interred. We must bear in mind, however, that the prohibition of burial or a separate entombment in the case of a man struck by lightning, did not necessarily signify disgrace, but was,[16] in a certain sense, indicative of distinction. His corpse was considered “sacred” or appropriated to the gods, and, as such, could not be dealt with in the conventional way."

No comments:

Post a Comment