Friday, 2 October 2015


"The Burial Customs of the Ancient Greeks"

Frank Pierrepont Graves
Project Gutenburg
"Those who destroyed their own lives became felons, but were not so hardly dealt with as those who had been executed for crime. Interment was allowed the suicide, but the hand which committed the deed was chopped off and buried apart from the body. A modern scholar attributes this treatment to the fear which the Greeks had that the corpse might become a vampire; but the sentimental reason of Josephus, that the felonious hand was considered alien to the body, appears much more like the ancient manner of thought. As an additional degradation to the corpses of suicides, Plato recommends that they be buried without honor apart from the other dead in an uncultivated and nameless region, and that their place of interment be unmarked by any pillar or name, From this suggestion and the fact that burials sometimes did take place after dark, as when Cassandra prophesied to Agamemnon that “being a base fellow, basely shall you be buried at night, and not in the day,” Becker has concluded that “the witching time of night” might have furnished the occasion for the entombment of self-destroyers. That is certainly reasonable".

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