In ancient Rome, it was believed some humans were transformed into special, empowered beings after death. These deified dead, known as the manes, watched over and protected their surviving family members, possibly even extending those relatives’ lives. But unlike the Greek hero-cult, the worship of dead emperors, or the Christian saints, the manes were incredibly inclusive—enrolling even those without social clout, such as women and the poor, among Rome's deities. The Roman afterlife promised posthumous power in the world of the living.
While the manes have often been glossed over in studies of Roman religion, this book brings their compelling story to the forefront, exploring their myriad forms and how their worship played out in the context of Roman religion’s daily practice. Exploring the place of the manes in Roman society, Charles King delves into Roman beliefs about their powers to sustain life and bring death to individuals or armies, examines the rituals the Romans performed to honor them, and reclaims the vital role the manes played in the ancient Roman afterlife.
Death in England provides the first ever social history of death-from the earliest times to Diana, Princess of Wales. As we discard the taboos surrounding death, this book charts the fascinating story of how people have coped with this fundamental aspect of their daily lives.
Peter C. Jupp and Clare Gittings reveal how attitudes, practices, and beliefs about death have undergone constant change, as well as how, why, and at what ages people died. Examining how death touches all aspects of society, they cover topics such as plagues and violence; wills and deathbeds; funerals and memorials; and beliefs and bereavement. This wide-ranging analysis is lavishly illustrated with photographs and drawings, their diversity reflecting the breadth of issues and periods covered.
The contributors are all specialists in their own fields, including archaeology, history, and sociology. The ten chapters cover: earliest times to the Bronze Age; the Iron and Roman Ages; the Early Middle Ages; from the advent of Purgatory to the Black Death; the Later Middle Ages and the Reformation; from Elizabeth I to the Civil War; the "Age of Decency"; the Enlightenment; the Victorian era; and the twentieth century.
With the pervasive depiction of death through the media and the ensuing public awareness of this topic, Death in England will be of interest not only to the general reader but also to students of archaeology, art, history, medicine, and sociology.
With Digging Up the Dead, Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Michael Kammen reveals a treasure trove of fascinating, surprising, and occasionally gruesome stories of exhumation and reburial throughout American history. Taking us to the contested grave sites of such figures as Sitting Bull, John Paul Jones, Frank Lloyd Wright, Daniel Boone, Jefferson Davis, and even Abraham Lincoln, Kammen explores how complicated interactions of regional pride, shifting reputations, and evolving burial practices led to public and often emotional battles over the final resting places of famous figures. Grave-robbing, skull-fondling, cases of mistaken identity, and the financial lures of cemetery tourism all come into play as Kammen delves deeply into this little-known—yet surprisingly persistent—aspect of American history.
Simultaneously insightful and interesting, masterly and macabre, Digging Up the Dead reminds us that the stories of American history don’t always end when the key players pass on. Rather, the battle—over reputations, interpretations, and, last but far from least, possession of the remains themselves—is often just beginning.
The death of her grandfather sets Neni Panourgiá and her readers on a path through the rituals of mourning and memory in modern urban Greece. Blending emotional richness and intellectual rigor, the anthropologist returns home in this exploration of kinship and identity within her own family and native city of Athens. What emerges is not only a new anthropological view of contemporary Greek culture, but also a reflective consideration of the self and subject.
Following men and women grappling with questions of mortality, Panourgiá moves through the streets and neighborhoods of Athens, seaside resorts and pistachio groves, the corridors and rooms of the Cancer Institute, wakes in apartments and observances in cemeteries. She mingles popular culture, venerable traditions, and contemporary theory as she considers how individuals define their identity as Athenians, as members of a family, as subjects of a polity, in sickness and in health, in death or in mourning. Memory is their guide as it negotiates their relationships with a personal, collective, and cultural past—and the memory of many deaths challenges and reaffirms, deconstructs and reconstructs who they are.
As intellectually ambitious as it is moving, Fragments of Death, Fables of Identity reconfigures the subject and object of anthropological study and recasts the line where experience ends and analysis begins.
The Japanese have ambivalent attitudes toward death, deeply rooted in pre-Buddhist traditions. In this scholarly but accessible work, authors Iwasaka and Toelken show that everyday beliefs and customs--particularly death traditions--offer special insight into the living culture of Japan.
Remembering the Dead in the Ancient Near East is among the first comprehensive treatments to present the diverse ways in which ancient Near Eastern civilizations memorialized and honored their dead, using mortuary rituals, human skeletal remains, and embodied identities as a window into the memory work of past societies.
In six case studies, teams of researchers with different skillsets—osteological analysis, faunal analysis, culture history and the analysis of written texts, and artifact analysis—integrate mortuary analysis with bioarchaeological techniques. Drawing upon different kinds of data, including human remains, ceramics, jewelry, spatial analysis, and faunal remains found in burial sites from across the region’s societies, the authors paint a robust and complex picture of death in the ancient Near East.
Demonstrating the still underexplored potential of bioarchaeological analysis in ancient societies, Remembering the Dead in the Ancient Near East serves as a model for using multiple lines of evidence to reconstruct commemoration practices. It will be of great interest to students and scholars of ancient Near Eastern and Egyptian societies, the archaeology of death and burial, bioarchaeology, and human skeletal biology.
From antebellum slavery to the twenty-first century, African American funeral directors have orchestrated funerals or “homegoing” ceremonies with dignity and pageantry. As entrepreneurs in a largely segregated trade, they were among the few black individuals in any community who were economically independent and not beholden to the local white power structure. Most important, their financial freedom gave them the ability to support the struggle for civil rights and, indeed, to serve the living as well as bury the dead.During the Jim Crow era, black funeral directors relied on racial segregation to secure their foothold in America’s capitalist marketplace. With the dawning of the civil rights age, these entrepreneurs were drawn into the movement to integrate American society, but were also uncertain how racial integration would affect their business success. From the beginning, this tension between personal gain and community service shaped the history of African American funeral directing.For African Americans, death was never simply the end of life, and funerals were not just places to mourn. In the “hush harbors” of the slave quarters, African Americans first used funerals to bury their dead and to plan a path to freedom. Similarly, throughout the long—and often violent—struggle for racial equality in the twentieth century, funeral directors aided the cause by honoring the dead while supporting the living. To Serve the Living offers a fascinating history of how African American funeral directors have been integral to the fight for freedom.
Soldier, hero, and politician, the Duke of Wellington is one of the best-known figures of nineteenth-century England. From his victory at Waterloo over Napoleon in 1815, he rose to become prime minister of his country. But Peter Sinnema finds equal fascination in Victorian England’s response to the duke’s death.
The Wake of Wellington considers Wellington’s spectacular funeral pageant in the fall of 1852—an unprecedented event that attracted one and a half million spectators to London—as a threshold event against which the life of the soldier-hero and High Tory statesman could be re-viewed and represented.
Canvassing a profuse and dramatically proliferating Wellingtoniana, Sinnema examines the various assumptions behind, and implications of, the Times’s celebrated claim that the Irish-born Wellington “was the very type and model of an Englishman.” The dead duke, as Sinnema demonstrates, was repeatedly caught up in interpretive practices that stressed the quasi-symbolic relations between hero and nation.
The Wake of Wellington provides a unique view of how in death Wellington and his career were promoted as the consummation of a national destiny intimately bound up with Englishness itself, and with what it meant to be English at midcentury.
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