Trimvirate Death Source Material

raw internet research material

Base belief

Funeral Rites were essential if the soul of the dead was to be allowed into the Underworld. If the dead did not recieve the Rites they would be doomed to wander the banks of the River Styx.
According to Homeric belief, when a person died, his or her vital breath or psyche left the body to enter the palace of Hades, king of the dead. The psyche once it had fled the body existed merely as a phantom image, perceptible but untouchable. The wall separating the living from the dead was virtually impenetrable…
Funerals were held to be sure that the dead person's soul arrived safely in the Underworld (Hades).

The ancient Greeks believed in some kind of life after death. Elaborate funerals were held to help the deceased person's soul find its way to the afterlife. According to Greek mythology, the god Hermes led the soul to the River Styx, which separated the world of the living from the Underworld, sometimes called Hades after the god of the Underworld.
A ferryman named Charon waited to take souls across the river to Hades. The trip cost one Greek coin, which the dead person's family usually placed on the corpse so that he or she would be able to pay for their journey.

In Hades the dead joined a community of souls who could be reborn in a new body. While waiting for rebirth, they depended on their living relatives to tend them in certain ways, such as offering them food and drink at special times of the year.
These responsibilities were gladly carried out by the family, who wanted to do their part in making sure that the deceased rested comfortably.

The Greeks believed that at the moment of death the psyche, or spirit of the dead, left the body as a little breath or puff of wind. The deceased was then prepared for burial according to the time-honored rituals. Ancient literary sources emphasize the necessity of a proper burial and refer to the omission of burial rites as an insult to human dignity (Iliad, 23.71).
Hermes took to the entrance of Hades the dead persons soul. Many believed Hades was under the Earth. Later on the christian religeon converted and distorted Hades and called it Hell. However, Hades was nothing like Hell. Entry to Hades was not automatic. To gain entry the dead person`s soul needed the proper funeral rites and fare to pay the ferryman. The gateway to the underworld is gaurded by Cerberus, a three headed dog. No living soul is allowed into Hades past him and no dead souls out. Judegment by the Gatekeepers followed. However, any souls sentenced to eternal damnation by the Gods in Tartarus had already been sent there by the Gods. A few fortunate souls went to Elysium. However most went to the Plain of Asphodel. After drinking from the Pool of Lethe they lost all memory of their former selves

Funeral Rite

During the funeral a coin was placed in the dead persons mouth so as to pay the fare to Charon who was the ferryman of dead souls across the river Styx.
Women members of the family always cut their hair short and friends always wore black. During the funeral special professional mourners were hired.
Upon a person's decease, the eyes and mouth are shut to secure the release of the psyche from the body.[11] A ritual washing of the body is performed by the women of the household. The funeral ritual consummates with laying out the corpse at the prothesis on a kline (bed) where it remains on view for two days
When mourners paid their respects to the deceased they dressed in black. In wearing dark clothing similar to the deceased, the mourners exemplify honor and respect by identifying with the dead. During this principal ceremony, women would sing ritualized laments . After the prothesis the corpse is removed for the burial at the ekphora before the dawn of the third day after death.
Before burial, the body was prepared and laid out on a couch with its feet facing the door. This way the spirit would be able to leave. The corpse was escorted to the cemetery by a procession of mourners wearing black robes and making gestures of grief (tearing at their clothes and hair).
the prothesis (laying out of the body), the ekphora (funeral procession), and the interment of the body or cremated remains of the deceased. After being washed and anointed with oil, the body was dressed and placed on a high bed within the house. During the prothesis, relatives and friends came to mourn and pay their respects. Lamentation of the dead is featured in early Greek art at least as early as the Geometric period, when vases were decorated with scenes portraying the deceased surrounded by mourners. Following the prothesis, the deceased was brought to the cemetery in a procession, the ekphora, which usually took place just before dawn

Burial

Each family had it`s own plot.
During cremations the ashes of the dead were buried in jars in the grave.
Personal belongings for use in the next world were left with the corpse
Whether the body is inhumed or cremated, the dead are buried along with gifts and offerings such as pottery, stone vases, mirrors, and other personal belongings

Each family had a burial plot at the cemetery, which was located outside the city walls. The body was either cremated or buried with the dead person's favorite belongings, food, and drink

Very few objects were actually placed in the grave,.

Remembrance

but monumental earth mounds, rectangular built tombs, and elaborate marble stelai and statues were often erected to mark the grave and to ensure that the deceased would not be forgotten Immortality lay in the continued remembrance of the dead by the living. From depictions on white-ground lekythoi, we know that the women of Classical Athens made regular visits to the grave with offerings that included small cakes and libations.

While waiting for rebirth, they depended on their living relatives to tend them in certain ways, such as offering them food and drink at special times of the year.
These responsibilities were gladly carried out by the family, who wanted to do their part in making sure that the deceased rested comfortably.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 License.