Fear Of Death In Ancient Culture

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Many cultures have shown the same fears throughout history, and often they have had the same reactions to these fears, especially the fear of death. Myth is a common structure of ancient and modern cultures. Mythology surrounding death, and what happens after death, has long been a way for many cultures to try to make sense of the unknown and to confront their fear of it. However, in ancient societies, myths about death had a more immediate and visible effect on the people and their daily activities. Though not geographically close, the Egyptians, Greeks, and Scandinavian or Norse cultures all had myths that made these effects visible, and are still visible to us today. Although all these cultures had myths regarding death, there were…show more content…
As stated, the soul needed to recognize the body in order to continue on after its death. This was an extensive process that led to the creation of an entire craftsman class. The body was ritually washed, eviscerated, dried, preserved, and wrapped (History). Special substances were used in this process, and valuable items included in the wrappings. Priests acting as the god Anubis performed rituals over the body to make sure it could eat and talk in the underworld (History). Again, this took considerable skill, time and effort on the part of those involved and clearly shows the effect that the myths about Osiris and Anubis had on the living, by their feeling required to put so much effort into the art and rituals surrounding the deceased. The myth states that the soul must be able to recognize the body in order to be of use in the afterlife, so the mummification process would have been necessary for this to happen. Additionally, mummification of the dead links directly to the myth of Osiris judging the dead, and his requirement for proper ceremony. Again they placed high value on providing whatever was necessary for the deceased to reach the underworld and continue…show more content…
Since the person and the deeds would need to be remembered in order to continue on in the underworld, plaques or carved stones were placed at the burial sites to remind the living of the deeds of the dead (Mark). This also continued in the form of regular visits to the burial site long after death to show further remembrance. Again, there was considerable effort needed to be put forth by the living. The rituals performed over the body took time and funds to complete. The funerary plaques placed at the burial site required craftsmanship and time. However, the most impactful of the effects of the myths was the need to continually remember the dead. This had a drastic effect due to their belief that the psyche could not continue without this assistance in the underworld. Greek myth again comes into play, as funerary plaques detailing the deeds of the dead, and the yearly remembrance of the dead were a requirement for the soul to remain in whichever underworld they attained, according to myth. Therefore, there are similarities with the Egyptians in that there were specific rituals to be performed at the burial and there was some emphasis on the creation of art to accompany the dead. However, in Greek culture the rituals extended far past burial and had a lasting influence on their lives daily, and there was not the same emphasis placed on material goods being placed with the body beyond new clothing and
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