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Title: The Burial Customs of the Ancient Greeks
Author: Graves, Frank Pierrepont
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  MAY 1891.


The author of this thesis does not lay claim to profound scholarship
or extended research. It may contain errors that are perceptible to
a careful student of Greek archaeology, even without subjecting the
paper to a minute scrutiny. The material has been found scattered
through the writings of ancient and modern authors and in the records
of many excavations and the treasures of many museums. In the process
of gathering from so extended a field, it is but natural that mistakes
should have crept into the work. The effort has been made to exclude
as many errors as possible and to weed out those that could be
discovered with as great diligence as the inexperience of the author
permitted. The labor of compilation has been undergone in the hope
that a connected account of these ancient burial customs might breed
an interest in the subject and prove an incentive to a more extended
examination by some whose curiosity might not be strong enough or whose
leisure time might not be sufficient to gather what was so widely


Besides the writers of ancient Greece, the following authorities have
been consulted in the preparation of this dissertation:

 =ANACHARSIS=, Travels of, Par l’abbe Barthélemi. English translation,
 London, 1800.

 =BECKER, W.= Adolph, Charicles, or Illustrations of the private life
 of the Ancient Greeks. Excursus on Burials.

 =BENNDORF=, Griechische und Sicilien, Vasenbilden.

 =BOS=, Antiquities of Greece, London, 1772.

 =CORPUS INSCRIPTIONUM GRAECARUM=, Edidit Augustus Boeckhius, Berolini.

 =COULANGE=, La Cité Antique.

 =DODWELL=, Edward, Classical and Topographical Tour through Greece,
 London, 1819.

 =FEYDEAU=, Histoire générale des usages funébres et des sepultures des
 peuples anciens, Paris, 1858.

 =FORBIGER=, Populäre Darstellung des öffentlichen und häuslichen
 Lebens der Griechen und Römer. I Band, Leipzig, 1876.

 =GARDNER=, Percy, Journal of Hellenic Studies, vol. v.

 =HERMANN=, Lehrbuch der Griechischen Privatalterthümer von K. F.
 Hermann. Dritte Auflage von Dr. Hugo Blümner, Freiburg, 1882.

 =MAHAFFY, J. P.=, Rambles and Studies in Greece, second edition 1878.

 =MERRIAM, A. C.=, American Journal of Arch. v. Icaria.

 =MILLIN, A. L.=, Peintures de vases antiques vulgairement appelés
 Etrusques tírées des differentes collections.

 =MITCHELL, LUCY M.=, History of Ancient Sculpture.

 =MILLINGEN, J. V.=, Painted Greek Vases, London, 1822.

 =PERROT et CHIPIEZ=, Histoire de L’art dans L’antiquité, Tome premier,

 =POTTIER, EDMOND.= Étude sur les Lecythes Blancs Attiques á
 Représentations Funéraires. [Bibliothéque des écoles françaises
 d’Athénes et de Rome, Tome 30.]

 =ROBERTS, E. S.= Introduction to Greek Epigraphy, Cambridge, 1887.

 =SCHREIBER=, Bilderatlas and Commentary.

 =STACKELBERG=, Baron. Die Graeber der Hellenen, Berlin, 1837.

 =ST. JOHN=, History of the Manners and Customs of Ancient Greeks, Vol.
 III, London, 1842.

 =TEGG=, The Last Act. London, 1877.



DUTY OF BURIAL: Burial of an enemy--Duty toward parents.


BURIALS EXTRAORDINARY: Burial of criminals--Of suicides--Of
traitors--Of those struck by lightning--Special ceremonies for violent
deaths--For persons drowned.


PREPARATION FOR BURIAL: Former features--Reforms--The passage
money--The bath--The unguents--The wreaths--The honey-cake--The


THE LYING IN STATE (_Prothesis_): When this took place--Regulations of
Ceos--The women who took part--The scarf, the fan, and the bird--The
place--The position of the corpse--The _kline_--The _lecyths_--The
_ardanion_--Two purposes of the prothesis.


OUTWARD GRIEF: By whom rendered--Only a form--Excesses--Laws against
excess--Their result.


THE PROCESSION, (_ekphora_): Third day the set time--Exceptions to set
time--Hour of the day--The _kline_--Who carried the bier--The dirge
singers--Who might attend the procession--Military funeral processions.


BURNING OR INHUMATION? The extreme views--The two methods
contemporary--Cremation at every period--Burial also existed--Custom
at Sparta and Sicyon--Comparison with modern methods--Details of
cremation--Place of cremation.


THE COFFINS: Early coffins--Those of stone--Of cypress--Shape and


THE TOMBS: The varieties--Heaps of earth--The stêlæ--Decorations--The
_kion_--The _trapezae_--The herôum--Early entombments--Later cost
and regulations against it--Inscriptions on the tombs--Epitaphs to
children--Trinkets placed in the tomb--The public cemetery--Tombs of
the richer class--Burials outside of the city--The motive--Laws at
Sparta and other States.


THE FUNERAL FEAST (_Perideipnon_): Its purpose--The host--The
place--Praise of deceased’s virtues--Consecration of fragments.


SACRIFICES AT THE GRAVE: Performed by relatives--The two
varieties--Increase in expense--The _trita_--The _ennata_--The
sacrifices of the Argives--Of the Spartans--When mourning ceased--The
basket--Other utensils--What was employed for sacrifices--Women
performed sacrifices--Grief less noticeable than at prothesis--Customs
at the tomb--General attention to the graves.


FURTHER CEREMONIES: The _genesia_--The _nekysia_--Funeral games--Duty
of visiting the grave--General conduct of a mourner--Black garments and
polling of the head--Custom at Sparta--Conclusion.




The task of investigation in this field of Grecian antiquities is
akin to that of a blind man, patching together the fragments of a
shattered vase with no guidance but the rough outline of innumerable
pieces. Every nook and corner of Greek literature must be explored,
every exhumed inscription, monument, statue and vase must be carefully
scanned, to find a hint here and there to illustrate and illuminate
the subject. Using the word _monument_ in a broad sense, it is from
monuments, rather than literature, that we get the most trustworthy
information on Greek burial customs. Ancient literature reveals the
thought of the superior minds. The common people speak through the
memorials that have been left in sculptures, inscriptions, and vases,
of their attachment to life and their despondency and gloom in view of

In nothing, is the refinement of the Greek more clearly shown than in
his reverence for the dead and in the ceremonies which surrounded the
burial. He spoke of burial as “the customary,” “the fitting,” or “the
right.” Even those persons were remembered who were stricken by sudden
death at the wayside. The law of Athens required any one who chanced
upon a corpse at least to cover it with earth[1]. Although one had
entertained the bitterest enmity toward the deceased while he lived,
all remembrance of the feud must be thrown aside when death intervened
and due attention must be shown the dead. That is the motive of the
magnanimity of Theseus toward the dead Argives who had been slain
at Thebes. They had been dragged away by the Thebans, whom they had
injured, to be left unburied. The king of Athens was contemplating
their interment, when a herald was sent out from Thebes, to rebuke him
for interfering on behalf of those whose arrogance had been the sole
cause of their misfortunes. Then it is that the poet[2] makes Theseus
blaze forth with a sentiment to which all Greece responded; “Not,”
says the hero, “in order to injure the city or bring upon it a bloody
strife, do I deem it right to bury these dead bodies, but rather to
preserve the law of all the Greeks.” Rather than abate, in the least,
his high ideal of duty, the heroic king incurs a war with Thebes and
the impious Thebans suffer well-merited disaster.

The general opinion of Greece strongly condemned an animosity so
lasting as to extend to neglect of the dead. Isocrates made a telling
point when, appealing in behalf of the Plataeans to the Athenians
against the Thebans, he exclaimed[3]: “It is not an equal misfortune,
for the dead to be denied burial and for the living to be deprived of
their country, since the former is yet more disgraceful to those that
forbid the funeral rites than to those who suffer the inhumanity.”

Under any circumstances, there was a stigma on him who left any dead
body without a proper final resting-place; but he who neglected to bury
a parent, a relative or near friend, was deemed an outcast and unfit
to live with the rest of the community. Isaeus urges that misconduct
as a reason why Chariades should not receive the property, intended
for him by the will of Nicostratus. The testator had given everything
to Chariades, but the orator declares him unworthy the inheritance and
incapable of taking under the will, since he had neither cremated nor
even collected the bones of his deceased benefactor[4]. In another case
of a disputed inheritance, the same advocate introduces witnesses,
to show that the proposed heir was disqualified from receiving the
property, on the ground that, when he discovered where the property of
the deceased was secreted, he ran off immediately to secure the goods,
and neglected the burial[5].

Disregard of the dead was urged even as a disqualification for office.
A certain Philon, having been chosen senator by lot, is challenged at
the _dokimasia_ as not worthy the dignity. The strongest objection
against him was that his mother, when she was dying, fearing that he
would not attend to her funeral, left money and directions for her
burial to a perfect stranger. “If then,” queries the orator, “a mother,
who naturally is always indulgent toward the faults of her children,
and is guided by her heart alone, feared that the avarice of her son
would control him, what must _we_ think of such a son[6]?”

According to the law of Solon, a father might by his bad conduct become
unworthy of filial affection and the son of such a father might be
freed from the obligations due an honorable parent. But, even in so
extreme a case as that, where a son had been relieved of all duties
during the life of the parent, the obligation revived at death and
there remained the same legal duty to attend to the burial of the
father. On that ground, Aeschines declares that “It is not compulsory
for a youth to support or furnish a home for a father who has let out
prostitutes, but, if the parent die, let the son bury him, and perform
the customary duties[7].”



So stringent was the law concerning the duty of burial among the
ancient Greeks. Yet there were extreme cases where burial was
forbidden. It was the severest aggravation of the penalty of execution
for a crime that the body of the criminal was denied interment. Such
corpses, both at Athens and Sparta, were cast with the halter and
their garments into a pit in an allotted quarter of the city, where
the flesh might decay or be eaten by carrion birds. At Athens this
_barathrum_[8], as it was usually called, was situated in the quarter
called _Melita_, very near the house of Themistocles, and the temple
which he had erected to Artemis _Aristobule_[9]. Sparta also had a pit
or underground cavern, called Caeadas[10], to which were consigned the
corpses of malefactors. After the Lacedemonians had kept Pausanias
confined till he was starved to death, they first meditated throwing
his remains into this disgraceful place, but afterwards, changing their
minds, they buried him in the ground somewhere thereabouts[11].

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[12]. A modern scholar[13]
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[14]. 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[15],” Becker has concluded that “the witching time
of night” might have furnished the occasion for the entombment of
self-destroyers[16]. That is certainly reasonable.

From the fate of many traitors, the conclusion is warranted that those
who were guilty of the heinous crime of treason were refused burial in
their native land. For this reason, the heroes Polynices, Palamedes and
Telamonian Ajax, on the conclusion of their mythical career, were each
prevented from burial at home[17]. Even the bones of Themistocles,
according to some, were interred secretly at Athens, without the
knowledge of the Greeks, “for,” says Thucydides, “it was against the
law to bury him there, as he had been outlawed for treason[18].”

Lastly, 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[19]. 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[20].” In some cases, on the
other hand, the remains of these wretched beings were cremated and
then interred[21]. 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, 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[22].

In opposition to the circumstances under which burial was denied,
were the cases and conditions which called for extraordinary funeral
ceremonies. Special pomp was displayed in honoring those who had
suffered a violent death at the hand of a murderer. As the funeral
procession moved slowly and solemnly along to the grave, an upright
spear was carried in advance, to typify the manner of the unfortunate
one’s death[23]. On arriving at the place of entombment, this spear was
set up in the grave. That was done even when, for lack of means, no
procession had been conducted[24]. After that, proclamation was made
at the tomb, to discover, if possible, whether the deceased had any
relatives who might avenge the murder. Afterward the grave was watched
for three days[23].

A peculiar ceremony was also observed when a person was drowned, or
where, through any other mischance, it happened that the body could not
be recovered. Under those circumstances, the ancient law of the Greeks
bade them erect a cenotaph[25]. The following bit, a portion of a most
pleasing little epigram, written in memory of a youth lost at sea, and
admirably illustrating this law, we owe to Callimachus:

  “The surges toss his breathless frame,
  An empty tomb preserves his name[26].”

In one of Euripides’s plays, by means of this custom and various other
ceremonies, which Helen declares to be part of the Grecian religion,
Theoclymenes is outwitted and the triumphant husband and wife, once
more reconciled, succeed in returning to their native land[27].

If Chariton, who was a very late writer, is to be trusted, it would
seem also to have been the custom, when the body could not be found,
to carry along in the procession, upon a bier, an image in lieu of
the actual corpse[28]. Reiske, in his commentary, does not appear to
consider this evidence as conclusive, but thinks that Chariton is, in
this case, confounding Grecian with Roman ceremonies. The commentator
alludes to the custom at Rome, in the apotheosis of the emperor, and
even in other funerals, of bearing along an effigy[29].

Were Chariton the only authority on the subject, his statement might be
disregarded as of little value, but Herodotus[30] mentions this same
custom of the effigy as having been observed on the death of a Spartan
king, who had died abroad. Yet that fact establishes nothing more than
a mere possibility. It is a well-attested fact, however, that the
Athenians were wont to carry one sumptuous empty bier as representative
of those who had been slain in battle, but whose bodies had not been

The sentiment of honoring those whose mortal remains eluded search
was, in itself, very beautiful, but woe betide the man who came back
after his friends had supposed him dead and had performed his funeral
rites. His superstitious brethren would not allow him to take part in
their sacrifices, nor even to approach those solemnities. They avoided
his company as carefully as if he had been a spectre from the nether



With the exception, possibly, of one or two features, survivals of
their ancient religion, a description of the burial customs of the
representative Greeks during the historic period, would, to-day, in no
way, seem barbarous nor even extraordinary.

In the Homeric times, the blood of men and animals was regarded as
the nourishment most agreeable to the dead. Achilles, on the tomb of
Patroclus, slew twelve young Trojans, four horses, two dogs and a herd
of cattle and of sheep[33]. Ulysses, sacrificing the sheep on the side
of the pit he had dug, called on the shades of the dead heroes, and
the shades, gathering about him in swarms, drank eagerly this bloody
libation[34]. Human sacrifices are referred to as occurring in the
prehistoric period. But these barbarous customs no longer existed when
veritable history commenced. The law of Solon forbade the sacrifice of
an ox in the funeral ceremonies[35].

In the sixth century, B. C., the law of Ceos still permitted the
sacrifice of victims according to the ancient rite[36], but, in the
fifth century, those sacrifices appear to have become the privilege of
the gods and of the dead heroes[37].

But, excepting the relics of this traditional ceremony of occasionally
sacrificing at the grave, almost everything connected with the
interment of the dead seems essentially modern. To be sure, this had
not always been the case. The authors who wrote in the classical and
later periods, afford much evidence of the long strides that this
progressive people had made away from their old rude customs. Plato[38]
relates that, formerly, it was the fashion for the relatives of the
deceased to send for women whose business it was to collect the bones
of the dead in jars; while still earlier, as he informs us, the Greeks
buried their dead at home.

At Athens, Solon[39] made great improvements. He it was that forbade
men to speak ill of the dead, on the ground that piety required them to
consider the dead as sacred. Such a doctrine against the perpetuation
of hatred is not many removes from the dispensation of the nineteenth
century. Sparta also had a reformer in Lycurgus, but his measures,
as we should expect of one who was trying to rear a race of warriors
and law-abiding citizens, looked more to the intellectual and social
advancement than to religious progress. His aim was to do away with
all foolish superstitions and femininities of sentiment[40]. He even
allowed the monuments to be erected near the temples that the youths
might become accustomed to seeing them.

The best connected account of the ceremonies under discussion is to be
found in Lucian’s “_de Luctu_.” In spite of the cynical view and the
satirical comment indulged in by that author, there seems, if we may
judge by other writers, to be nothing exaggerated in his descriptions;
and the customs depicted therein were probably little changed
throughout the whole course of Greek history.

As soon as death had laid hands upon the victim, the relatives or
friends, after gently closing the eyes of their loved one, inserted,
in the dead man’s mouth, the _obol_, a coin valued at about three half
pence, or about three cents of our money, which was to serve as passage
money over the Styx. They were very careful not to overlook this
duty, since it was believed that, if old Charon could not collect his
ferriage, the unlucky shade would be sent back to life[41].

They also examined the coin closely, to see whether it would pass
current among the inhabitants of the lower world[42].

An admirable verification of this custom was, in this century,
excavated in the town of Samos in Cephallenia. A tile coffin dug up at
that place was found to contain the bones of an initiate of the Bacchic
mysteries and between the back teeth of the skull, the _danake_, a
coin, somewhat more in value than an _obol_, was still firmly lodged.
The late excavations in Italy, Greece and Asia have revealed numerous
coins in the tombs[43]. The painting on a vase, which is described by
Pottier, shows a small coin held between the thumb and fore finger of
the figure which represents the deceased[44].

In the “Frogs” of Aristophanes, Dionysus is told by Heracles, who has
returned from the lower regions, that he will be obliged to pay two
_obols_ as ferriage, since his servant, Xanthias, is with him[45].

It seems to have been believed that the sooner this money was provided
the corpse, the earlier would his voyage over the Styx take place. In
a dialogue of Lucian, a shade who has been left behind, because Charon
finds his craft already too full, declares that he will prosecute the
boatman, since, by leaving a corpse who was provided with the _obol_
and now a day old, he was acting contrary to the laws of his superior,
Rhadamanthus[46]. With the hope, then, of hastening the voyage, the
fare was inserted as soon as possible.

The next stage of the ceremonies was the preparation of the deceased
for his journey. Fearing that there was insufficiency of water in the
lower world, the corpse was thoroughly bathed. Then it was anointed
with sweet smelling unguents and crowned with flowers in their season.
Finally the friends dressed it in magnificent garments that it might
not take cold on the road or appear naked before Cerberus[47].

At Rome, the dressing of the corpse was performed by a hired undertaker
called the _pollinctor_, but, among the Greeks, this delicate task was
looked after by the nearest female relatives and was considered a very
sacred duty[48]. The paintings that have been found on the funeral
vases, exhibit a remarkable superiority, in numbers, of the women at
the ceremonies preparatory to interment. Only a single _lecyth_ has
been found on which a man is depicted as taking part in the preliminary
stages of the preparation. It is to the women that was given the care
of making the toilet of the dead body, of washing it, perfuming it and
wrapping it in the shroud. This custom is referred to by Homer when
Diomede is lightly wounded by Paris and cries out that he “knows how
to strike an enemy more forcibly, that a man touched by his spear is a
dead man and that around him the vultures are more numerous than the
women[49].” At the funeral ceremonies of Hector, the chief part is
assigned to the women[50].

When the tyrannical Creon forbade the burial of Polynices, Antigone,
his sister, demanded the privilege of bathing the corpse, and, in spite
of the king’s opposition, she endeavored to bury her brother with her
own hands[51].

It appears to have been an established custom to furnish wreaths for
the dead[52]. We have already learned from Lucian that these wreaths
were made of flowers, if the death occurred during the right season,
and we have other good authority for believing that the parsley
plant was often employed as a substitute at a time unfavorable for
flowers[53]. As in modern burials, these wreaths were sent by the
relatives and friends of the deceased[54], and were especially numerous
at the funerals of young people. This latter fact is established by the
complaint of a woman of ill-repute, who exclaims: “I have a mourner,
not a lover; he sends me wreaths and roses, just as he would for an
untimely death[55].”

A honey cake was also given to the deceased[56]. Whether this cake was
intended as a sop to the three-headed guardian of the lower regions,
the dog, Cerberus, is not certainly known; although a scholiast of
Aristophanes informs us that “the honey-cake was given to the corpses
for Cerberus, as the _obol_ was for the ferryman, and the crown as for
those who had won a prize in life[57].”

Lucian thinks it was the intention of the Greeks[58], by the flowers
and their perfume, to overcome the repulsiveness of death. By too
critical an inquiry into the motive of offering flowers to the dead,
there is danger of losing the sense of the poetic charm of the ceremony.

As to the dress worn by the corpse, there has been some little
discussion in respect to its color, whether it was white or black. If
we are to be guided solely by the ancient authors, there is very little
difficulty in accepting the former color. A scholiast has concluded,
from an episode in Lucian[59], where some young fellows try to give
Democritus a scare by dressing “in a black garment in a _death-like_
way,” that the ancient Greeks dressed their corpses in black robes.
The passage hardly warrants the assumption, and is no valid proof
against the conclusion that the deceased was dressed in white, since
the frolickers may have been trying to impersonate Death himself, “the
black-robed king of the departed,” who is sometimes depicted in “a garb
of sable hue[60].”

Becker adds a more serious objection. He argues from a passage in which
Plato explains that the laying-out, the procession and the burial of a
deceased priest are different from those observed for other citizens;
and then mentions, among these differences, that the whole of his
funeral robe must be white[61]. Pausanias also remarks[62] that, when
Aristodemus dreams that his murdered daughter came to him and gave him
a golden crown and a white vestment, he believes the vision to portend
his death, since “it is the custom among the Messenians to bury the
most illustrious persons crowned and wrapped in a white garment.” If
we take those statements as correct readings, the only way to explain
the apparent exception to the general rule, is to note that the white
robe is, in each case, a mere incident among the peculiarities awarded
the mighty who have died, and the color, of itself, is not necessarily
extraordinary. But it is almost certain, in the case of Becker’s
citation, that he has taken an old reading, that has now been replaced
by a more satisfactory text. By the addition of another word, the
discrepancy disappears and the obviously correct rendering is, “and
let every one [of those who attended the funeral] wear a robe entirely

On the other hand, even if we should disregard the fact that black
seems usually to have been the color of the mourner’s dress, and the
necessary consequence that the shroud of the deceased could hardly have
been of the same color, we certainly still have other good authority
for supposing the dead person to have been robed in white.

Archilochus points one of his verses with a beautiful metaphor by
indirectly likening the whiteness of the ashes to which the corpse has
been reduced to the “pure robe” of death[64].

Artemidorus states clearly in his work on the interpretation of dreams
that the appearance to a sick man of “white garments indicates death,
because the dead are wont to be buried in white; while the black dress
prophesies safety, since not those who have died, but those who are in
mourning use the latter dress[65].” Finally, in the scene where the
Greeks prepare the body of Patroclus for burial, after drawing on some
underwear of fine linen, over all they cover the hero’s body with a
snowy funeral robe[66]. The Cean inscription directs that the dead
be wrapped in three white cloths[67]. Aeschines arraigns Demosthenes
because he appeared in a white garment when he should have been in
mourning for his only daughter[68].

Yet it might be a hasty inference to conclude that the dress of the
mourners was absolutely and unqualifiedly black. In some of the
paintings, on the vases, which have been discovered, the colors are
remarkably well preserved. On the lecyths, only one woman has been
found wearing a dead black robe[69]. It will be noticed that the
expression employed by the ancient authors, does not apply strictly to
the color _black_, as we generally understand it. In this connection,
a black robe need not imply anything more than a dark shade of garment
in contrast with the whiteness of the material in which the dead body
is robed. Homer says “black wine,” “black sea,” and “black blood[70].”
The color black is very rare in the vase paintings, and particularly
in funeral scenes. On one lecyth, the ornamental bands which lie over
and hang down from the funeral bed, and the covering of the bed, are
painted in violet[71], on another lecyth, the shroud is dark green; the
undergarment of one of the women is dark green, and her outer garment
is brown; on another lecyth, a man is represented wearing an outer
garment of dark lilac, and a woman has a mantle of brown[72].

These white lecyths, by the way, were small vases, the body of which
is generally of a white or gray color. They varied in height from four
inches to twenty inches and more[73]. They were simply filled with
perfumes and placed near the funeral bed, that they might envelop it in
their fragrant emanations[74]. They held the myrrh, of which Plutarch
also speaks, in his description of the funeral rites in honor of those
who died at Plataea, and which filled the urns borne by the young
people in the processions[75]. Some beautiful specimens of the white
lecyths are to be found in the museums at Athens, in the Louvre, at
Vienna, London, Berlin, at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, and in
some private collections. On the body of the vase, are painted scenes
connected with the funeral ceremonies. Their authority is final as to
the burial customs which they portray, and, on many of them, the colors
are brilliant, clear and unaffected by time.



After the body had been made ready for burial, it was laid out in
state. This was called the _prothesis_, and probably took place on
the day after the death, in order that the corpse might have an early
burial. From the statement of Pollux[76] concerning the order of
the ceremonies, it must be inferred that this was the proper time.
That author states that the _prothesis_ came first, and was followed
successively by the _ekphora_ or procession and the tertial sacrifices.
Those sacrifices came on the fourth day, that is, the third after the
day of the demise[77], and the procession came on the day following
the _prothesis_[78]. Therefore, it is necessary to conclude that the
prothesis, procession and sacrifices came respectively on the first,
second and third day after the decease. The basis for that calculation
is found in Antiphon’s oration on the death of the chorus singer[79].
Probably that order of events was established by the law of Solon,
which is reported somewhat imperfectly in Demosthenes[80]. In the
case of those Athenians, however, who had fallen in battle, the
lying-in-state took place three days before the procession[81].

This desire which the Greeks had for an early burial, was due to
the same solicitude that caused them to be in haste to provide the
passage-money for crossing the Styx.

Socrates is made to say that, when the soul has departed, men carry
away the bodies of their near friends and bury them as soon as they
can[82]. The spirit of Patroclus, weary of the long delay, while the
struggle continued over his mortal remains, and angered by the criminal
apathy of his friend, beseeches Achilles to bury him as speedily as
possible, that he may the sooner pass the gates of Hades[83].

Most truly it has been said that in the eyes of the Greeks, “a quick
burial is a propitiation of the deceased[84].”

Since the lying-in-state took place a day and a half in advance of
burial, and since it was necessary that this ceremony should be
performed on the next day after the person had died, it was set down
as a great stigma on a man’s character that preparations for the
_prothesis_ of his relative were not made in due time[85].

A law of Ceos, enacted probably in the latter part of the sixth
century, and resembling the law of Solon very closely, regulates the
matter of burials with considerable particularity. This law aims to
restrain the excessive cost of funeral ceremonies. It limits the
wrappings of the dead to three white cloths, of which the total price
shall not exceed one hundred drachmas, about twenty dollars of our
money; the body must be laid on a bed with slender legs, and must not
be entirely concealed by the draping, a precaution against violent
deaths[86]. In the paintings, the face and the upper part of the breast
are uncovered. The color of the wrappings or shroud on the lecyths
are not uniformly white, for some of violet and some even of green,
are seen on these white vases, which belong to the fourth and fifth
centuries before our era, and which are found almost exclusively in the
tombs of the Athenians[87].

It has already been stated that the women who took part in the funeral
rites were required to be near relatives of the deceased. This legal
requirement is illustrated by a painted _terra-cotta_ plaque, published
by Benndorf, on which are inscriptions near the figures. By these
inscriptions, it appears that the persons about the bed of the deceased
are the grandmother, the mother, and the sisters, the father and the

The relatives who, in the pictures, stand about the funeral bed or
bier, display gestures of some violence, indicating that time has not
yet softened the keenness of their sorrow. They hold various objects
in their hands, which are intended as offerings at the tomb. A sort
of narrow scarf is very frequent[89]. It is composed of a flat band
of cloth, terminating in a fringe at each end, and the color is by no
means uniform; red, black and violet appearing in different instances.
This long, narrow scarf was employed in all religious ceremonies,
sacrifices, thanksgivings and consecrations. Its significance is
difficult to determine. The purpose of the fan, however, in the hands
of a mourner of the period of the white lecyths, was undoubtedly to
guard the body from the attacks of flies during its exposure[90].

Another singular object which is present at various scenes of mourning
and burial is a bird. Its use is a matter of surmise, and the fact that
the bird is of no one species, but sometimes a dove and, at times, a
duck or some other bird, makes the interpretation of its presence none
the less puzzling. The most satisfactory suggestion is, that it is
simply intended as a pleasant reminder to the deceased of an object
familiar to him in the life just closed[91]. As companions and sources
of amusement and pleasure, the dog and the bird played a prominent part
in the in-door life of the Greeks. On that account, probably, the young
man with his dog and the young girl with her bird are very often seen
in funeral bas-reliefs.

A scholiast remarks on this custom of _prothesis_, or lying-in-state,
that “the ancients laid their corpses before the doors and beat their
breasts[92].” Becker finds considerable difficulty in reconciling
this with Solon’s law ordering “the dead man to be laid out within
the house according as he left orders.” If we were to interpret the
expression, “before the doors,” as indicating that the ceremony took
place outside the house, it would indeed be difficult to harmonize
the two authorities; but modern scholars generally have seen that it
is not a strained construction to interpret the phrase as meaning the
vestibule or fore part of the house[93].

In the entrance-hall of the house, then, the body was laid out with the
feet turned toward the door, to indicate, perhaps, that he was about to
go forth on his last journey, never again to return to the habitations
of the living[94]. From the fact that the head was placed on a rest[95]
of some sort, it has been inferred[96] that the corpse was laid out on
a _kline_ or bed. There is no passage in any author to substantiate
this, but the paintings on the white lecyths present the fact very
clearly[97]. There is also an account of a _prothesis_ in which they
strew sweet marjoram and broken vine branches underneath the body[98].

Near the body[99], were placed the _lecyths_ or cruses which have
been already in part described. These were afterwards to be burned or
buried with the corpse. According to a scholiast, these lecyths were
used by the Athenians as vessels for holding the unguents with which
the dead were to be anointed, but their use for containing perfumes is
now conceded[100]. There was a class of men at Athens whose occupation
consisted in the manufacture and decoration of white lecyths[101].
These vases were not baked as hard as most other earthen vessels but
were fashioned with great delicacy of manipulation. They were soft and
fragile and rested on a circular broad base, they narrowed abruptly as
they rose, then expanded suddenly into a cylindrical body of about the
same diameter as the base, then contracted into a short neck on which
was supported a cup-shaped mouth piece from the side of which started
the small round handle that was attached at its lower end to the body
of the vase. The upper and lower part were covered with a black coating
or enamel[102].

The centre or body was painted white and, on that background, were
drawn and painted the funeral scenes with considerable artistic skill
and more or less accuracy of drawing and detail according to the grade
of article that the artificer desired to make. The ultimate design
of the workman was not to produce a work of art but an article of
commerce, although, incidentally, figure-painting of a high order of
merit was often attained[103]. They were not manufactured later than
the second century before the Christian era[104], and represent the
customs of the Athenians for a period extending through the fifth and
fourth centuries.

When the _lecyths_ were once buried with the corpse, it was considered
a very serious offence to disturb them. On a lecyth that was unearthed
in a grave at Cumae, there is a curse of blindness invoked on any one
who might venture to steal it[105]. The custom of leaving objects of
value at the tombs made them liable to depredations and many funeral
inscriptions conveyed threats of punishment against those who should
take or disturb whatever was thus offered to the dead[106].

Just outside the door of the house within which the body was laid out,
stood an earthen vessel of lustral water, so that the visitors who
went to look on the features of their friend for the last time, could
purify themselves from any pollution which they might have incurred by
entering a home defiled by death. Since everything appertaining to the
stricken house was held to be contaminated, the purifying water had to
be obtained from another house[107]. This vessel which contained the
water was variously styled an _ostrakon_[108], an _ardanion_[107] or a

This exposure of the body to the view of the friends was not merely for
display but served often as a police regulation, and, at the same time,
it prevented the lamentable mistake of burial where unconsciousness had
simulated death. To some extent, it took the place of our coroner’s
inquest, for we learn from Pollux[107] that “the laying out was for
this reason, too, that the corpse might be seen not to have suffered
violence.” The utility of this measure was promoted by the law which
ordered the prothesis not to be for a longer or shorter time than to
show whether the person was in a trance or really dead[110].



The outward manifestations of grief were very marked. At this point, it
is necessary to notice only the lamentation and exaggerated grief which
took place at the laying-out and in the procession. A consideration of
the signs of mourning exhibited in the dress, should properly be made
after a discussion of the other features of the burial.

This lamentation was rendered, to a large extent, by the women[111].
It must be regarded rather as a necessary form than as a genuine
expression of woe. There were, of course, cases where real sorrow
and affection called forth the tears and lamentations of thousands.
Such a tribute to Timoleon’s character was paid by his countrymen,
the Syracusans[112]. In the great majority of cases, however, this
excessive grief was but a species of empty pageantry. Plato would have
had wailing altogether forbidden, as being too common place, at the
death of a priest[113]. In the earlier days, this fashionable excess
grew to such an alarming extent that Solon was obliged to interfere by
a law, to cut down these demonstrations. He forbade the survivors to
tear themselves and ordered them to dispense with the hired mourners,
whose lamentable notes were intended to excite sorrow[114]. He also
commanded that no woman under sixty who was not at least a second
cousin to the deceased should enter the house before the interment[115].

Charondas, the celebrated law-giver of Catana and Magna Graecia,
made a law, which so far surpassed Solon’s in rigor as to forbid all
lamentation. He thought it better that respect for the dead should
be shown by decking their graves and otherwise keeping their memory
green[116]. It is very unlikely, however that these laws had any
permanent effect on the habits of the people. For a time, they may have
checked excesses, but there certainly are many late proofs that this
custom of violent and loud lamentation was long continued. We find
all through the tragedies that the women still tear their hair[117],
whenever any of their relations have left this life, and, wound their
breasts[118], rip open their cheeks[117], and cry with sorrowful
voices[119]. It is possible that the poets intended, in these passages,
merely to portray the former customs, or, it might be, that the action
is exaggerated to heighten the stage-effect; but, since there are many
other proofs that these old barbarities remained in vogue outside the
mimic life of the stage, it is unnecessary to speculate on the purpose
of the dramatists. Lucian declares that the beating of the breasts,
lacerating of the cheeks, pouring of ashes on the head and knocking
the head upon the ground always occurred, so that the living were
more to be pitied than the dead[120]. Again, we have in Plutarch’s
consolatory letter to his wife, on the loss of their little girl, a
severe invective against this practice in his time. His philosophy is
worthy of the Christian era. “But since,” says he, “our little daughter
afforded all our senses the sweetest and most charming pleasure, so we
ought to cherish her memory, which will conduce in many ways, or rather
manifold, more to our joy than to our grief.” Then, after praising his
wife for not disfiguring herself or her maids, or indulging in any
other dramatic expression of grief, he goes on to say: “For a virtuous
woman ought not only to preserve her purity in riotous feasts but also
to reason thus with herself that, in violent grief, the tempest of
the mind, must be calmed by patience, and this does not intrench on
the natural love of parents toward their children, as many think, but
only struggles against the disorderly and irregular passions of the

Morever, many of the works of art which have descended to us also prove
that this excess of lamentation was not altogether abolished by the law
of Solon. On the lecyths which represent the _prothesis_, it will be
observed that the women have their hands on their heads as if tearing
their hair[122] although this gesture may be only a conventional sign
of mourning[123] adopted to indicate grief in the funeral monuments and
vases just as an interior may be symbolized by a door or a pillar that
supports the roof, a temple by an altar and the fact that the scene was
out of doors was indicated by foliage in some form or by the branch of
a tree[124].



By the third day[125], it was thought that time enough had elapsed
to show whether life was really extinct[126]. A procession was then
formed to accompany the body to the tomb. After a time, this delay of
three days may have been less rigidly observed for the interment was
permitted on the day immediately following the decease. Callimachus
sings of a youth “whose friends saw him alive one day, and the next
day they wept at his grave[127].” Again, Pherecydes, the philosopher,
eaten up by disease, invites his physicians to attend his funeral on
the morrow[128]. But, when a distinguished and worthy man, such as
Timoleon, died, and it was necessary to make extensive preparations
for the funeral, and to send notice to the neighboring inhabitants and
strangers, the time intervening between the death and the burial was
probably extended[129].

The hour set for the _ekphora_, or funeral procession, was in the
early morning, before sunrise[130]. Bos[131] cites the cases of
Patroclus[132] and Achilles[133] as proof that it was only those who
died in the flower of youth that were buried before sunrise. Yet there
are other passages[134] sufficient to convince us that the time for all
funerals was usually the hour before dawn.

We know that the body was carried to the grave on a _kline_ or
bier[135], presumably that on which the _prothesis_ had been
accomplished, but who conveyed it thither is in doubt. It would
naturally be expected that it was borne by relatives or friends of
the deceased, yet no authority has been found to support the surmise.
There is, on the contrary, a passage in Pollux[136] which might be
construed to indicate that there was a class of men who were called,
professionally, “corpse-bearers” or “buriers,” and whose sole business
was pall-bearing. Pollux is rather late authority, but, on turning back
to the tragedies, Electra appears, telling her brother to let the crows
and dogs act as “buriers” of Ægisthus[137]. Furthermore, it is a number
of trained slaves that carry Alcestis to the tomb[138].

When a man of prominence died, he was borne to the grave by youths
chosen by the people[139]. There is a reported instance of the
burial of a priest, where one hundred youths[140], trained in the
gymnasium, were selected by the relatives of the deceased. It was
the custom for members of a fraternity to act as pall-bearers for one
of their fellows. Demonax[141], when he died, was borne along by his
brother philosophers. That custom survives to our time in the funeral
processions of the _free-masons and odd-fellows_.

In the van of the procession, just before the corpse[142], or
immediately behind, came the hired dirge-singers, pouring forth their
doleful lays[143]. Plato, perhaps through carelessness, speaks of
these hired singers in the masculine gender[144]; but Hesychius is
undoubtedly correct in stating that women[145] habitually took that
part. They were first brought over from Caria[145], and hence the
significance of the allusion to a dirge as a “Carian melody[144].”

The late authors, Pollux[146] and Sextius Empiricus[147], confounded
the dirge-singers with the Roman _praeficae_ and thought that they were
flute-players. The flutes of ivory which have been discovered in some
of the Grecian graves, would seem to support that view[148]. Schreiber
has a picture of a funeral procession, in which a flute-player is seen
behind the rude wagon that bears the body of the deceased[149].

Any _man_ might join in the dismal march to the grave, but every
_woman_ was debarred the melancholy privilege, unless she had passed
her sixtieth year[150], or was connected with the deceased by blood and
was over sixteen years of age. There are two instances mentioned in
literature when this law was violated. Lysias[151] refers to a daughter
who followed her stepmother to the grave; while Terence, whose plays
are adaptations and almost translations of the Greek comedies, makes
poor Glycerium attend the funeral of her adopted sister, the beautiful
Andrian[152]. Even in those cases, the exception is rather apparent
than real; for, in each instance, affection has transmuted a nominal
into an actual kinship.

There are some intimations of military funerals on the monuments,
amphoras and vases that have been found in Grecian soil, as well
as references to such pageants in the Greek authors. On a stamped
plaque of _terra cotta_, in the collection of M. Rayet[153], appears
a procession with two young men in military dress, possibly sons of
the deceased, who march behind the women that surround the funeral
car. The black figures on an amphora[154], represent the cortege as
composed of women and some armed men mounted on chariots. A beautiful
amphora from Cape Colias[155], is painted with some red figures. There,
beside the scene of _prothesis_, are some knights preparing to follow
the funeral convoy. They have lowered the points of their lances, in
sign of mourning. It is not improbable that these soldiers escort a
companion-in-arms to his last resting place. A passage from Plato[156],
prescribing the order of the cortege for the interment of the first
citizens of the state, directs that there shall march, at the head of
the procession, young unmarried men, clothed in military costume, then
that the boys go before the bier and sing the national hymn, with the
girls following behind, and such of the women as happen to be beyond
the age of child-bearing. Plutarch[157] writes, that armed soldiers
escorted the urn which contained the ashes of Philopoemen.



Did the Greeks burn their dead like many nations of the ancient world,
or did they bury them immediately like the majority of people since the
Christian era? The question has been vigorously debated. Lucian, in
a general way, declares that the fashion of the Greeks as contrasted
with the various customs practiced respectively among the Persians,
the Indians, the Scythians, and the Egyptians, was to cremate their
dead[158]. Some have accepted this statement in a literal sense; on the
other hand, a German scholar[159] of no little repute insists that “in
the historic period, interment was universal.” The truth, as usual,
lies between these extremes. Burial and cremation existed together at
every period.

The ancient authors mention many cases outside of the Homeric
period where the dead were burned. Let us take up the instances in
chronological order and see whether they will not cover every era.
Plutarch preserves a couplet of Archilochus, in which the writer
bewails the drowning of his brother-in-law and declares that he would
not so mourn, if his bones had been properly cremated[160]. Again,
although Plutarch has properly stamped as incredible and legendary the
story that the ashes of Solon were strewed about Salamis, still the
fact that the tale received any credence shows that such a disposition
of his remains was possible and probable[161]. Two centuries later,
Isaeus gives as proof of the utter invalidity of Chariades’s claim to
the property of Nicostratus, the fact that he had not cremated the
body of the deceased nor even collected his bones[162]. The case of
Timoleon is historical. His remains were not immediately laid away but
were first incinerated[163]. When Philopoemen died, almost fifty years
afterward, a similar fate befell his body[164]. Probably, following
such precedents, Lycon, the philosopher, whose period of activity
is unknown, left directions in his will, that his heir of the same
name, together with two others, should attend to the expenses of his
cremation and to the other customary solemnities[165]. It is safe,
then, to conclude that the funeral pyre was used through all periods of
Grecian history.

If, in a similar manner, a review is made of the cases of inhumation
that are recorded, it will be found, in spite of those who accept
Lucian so literally[166], and notwithstanding others who believe that
inhumation was employed only in the mythical period[167], that the
custom of immediate burial existed during every century and was always
contemporaneous with cremation. In the first place, the graves that
have been opened in modern times reveal the fact that burial without
burning existed at a very early period[168].

The Athenians being ordered by an oracle to take up the bones of
Theseus and lay them in an honorable place at Athens, were directed to
the supposed grave by an eagle and there they found the coffin of a man
of extraordinary size, with a sword and lance lying by it[169].

Again the pretty myth of Alcestis would be completely spoiled, if we
venture to assume that her body was burned. Even Lucian seems to admit
exceptions to his rule that the Greeks always burned, when he speaks of
an old man as “having one foot in the grave, if not the other[170].”
That the Athenians of Solon’s time did sometimes, at least, employ
burial is shown by the clever argument put forward by Solon, and the
brilliant reply by Hereas in the dispute between Athens and Megara for
the possession of Salamis. Solon contended that the island belonged
rather to the Athenians on the ground that “the manner of burying in
Salamis is in accordance with the custom of Athens and not that of
Megara, for the Megarians inter the dead with their faces to the east,
and the Athenians turn theirs to the west.” Hereas of Megara begs leave
to differ, asserting that the Megarians likewise turn the faces of the
dead toward the west; and, what is more, like the people of Salamis,
they put three or four corpses in the same tomb, whereas the Athenians
have a separate tomb for each[171]. Further reading shows that there
was a law among the Athenians which compelled any man coming upon an
unburied corpse, to bury it so that it may look toward the west[172].

At Sparta, inhumation was probably the prevailing custom, since we know
that Lycurgus ordered the corpses to be buried in the city, that the
people might become habituated to the sight of death[173].

We also know, to take a specific case, that the Spartan general
Pausanias was buried in the area before the temple of Artemis[174].
To the same purport, is the description given by a Greek traveler of
the simple custom among the Sicyonians of burying without inscribing
the name of the deceased person’s father and we may assume that burial
without cremation was resorted to in other states than Athens and

This examination leads to the conclusion that burial and cremation
existed throughout the entire history of Greece side by side. A
certain old miser, choosing between the two methods, prefers to be
simply buried, in order that his money, which he has hidden in his
grave-garment, may go with him to the next world[176]. Plato makes
Socrates in one of his dialogues speak as if he were quite uncertain
whether his body would be burned or immediately interred[177]. Finally,
apart from the evidence of manuscripts, we have an undeniable
verification in the fact that tombs have been excavated both in Magna
Graecia and in Greece itself in which the skeletons are flanked on
either side by funeral urns, thus exhibiting both customs as taking
place in the same family[178].

Probably burial and cremation stood with the Greeks somewhat in the
relation which they seem about to attain with us. Although both methods
may exist, the one may hold the supremacy and be, by far, the more
frequently employed. Neither custom was ever entirely abandoned by the
Hellenes, until the influence of the early Christian church was felt
favoring interment after the Jewish practice. At present, there is a
shrinking from cremation on the part of the great body of the civilized
world, but who can tell what may be brought about when we have had such
advocates of burning as Sir Thomas Browne, Dr. Lord, and Sir Henry
Thompson? Our great countryman, Hawthorne, too, has given evidence of
a predisposition, on his part, toward incineration although there is a
touch of humor in his final suggestion. In his “English sketches,” he,
characteristically, says “Among the classic marbles, I peeped into an
urn that once contained the ashes of dead people, and the bottom still
had an ashy hue. I like this mode of disposing of dead bodies, but it
would be still better to burn them and scatter the ashes, instead of
hoarding them up--to scatter them over wheat-fields or flower-beds.”

Most of the accounts which we have of the details of cremation are
found in Homer. That great bard gives some idea of the minor customs
which found place about the funeral pyre. From the account given
to Achilles by Agamemnon, as being a later arrival in the land of
shades, the Greeks were wont, it would seem, to sacrifice “fat sheep
and crooked-horned oxen” about the pyre and cover the deceased with
unguents and honey[179]. Costly garments were also burned together
with the corpse. In a play of Euripides, Hector tries to console the
Muse-mother of Rhesus, by promising to burn with that departed warrior,
“the splendor of ten thousand robes[180].”

This custom of burning with the deceased the garments most esteemed in
life is mentioned by Lucian as one of the weaknesses that “mortal flesh
is heir to[181].” With a great soldier, such as Eetion or Elpenor,
the armor was also burned[182]. If the deceased were a distinguished
general, like Patroclus or Achilles, all present marched thrice around
the blazing body[183].

As long as the pile continued to throw out fitful gleams and to
consume the corpse, even if it lasted all night, the friends of the
deceased never ceased pouring out libations[184] and calling upon
his _manes_[185]. Just before the flames had entirely vanished, wine
was poured on to extinguish the pyre, and whatever bones were left
unconsumed were collected with the rest of the ashes into a vessel and
buried. In the burials both of Patroclus and of Hector, this vessel
is made of pure gold and the remains of the Greek are covered with a
double layer of fat, while soft purple robes perform the same office
for the Trojan[186].

There has been some little doubt expressed as to whether the body was
entombed at the place where it was burned. In Terence’s Andria, where
the Greek burial is depicted, both ceremonies are conducted in one
spot[187]. On the other hand, in the Electra of Sophocles, Orestes, to
deceive his perfidious mother, has an urn brought to her that is said
to contain his ashes after he had been incinerated in Phocis[188].
Again, as a matter of history, we know that after Philopoemen had been
cremated, his remains were carried back to the city in a triumphal
procession[189]. So, on the whole, it is quite likely that the Roman
poet mixed the habits of the Romans with the customs of the Greeks.
Perhaps he was inaccurately informed on the subject. The entombment
probably took place in quite a different section from that in which the
body was burned.



Numerous excavations and the close scrutiny which modern scholars
have given to Grecian graves have made it possible to state with
considerable accuracy the materials employed for coffins, and the
various styles of coffins, tombs and monuments used in ancient Hellas.

The earlier coffins were usually made of baked clay[190], but the
authors inform us that, in the case of those Athenians who fell in
battle, and whose bodies were not found, chests of cypress-wood were
buried as cenotaphs[191]. Stone coffins, also, were probably used among
the Greeks. There are preserved traces of a letter to Plato, from two
of his friends, in which they speak of this burying stone, as found at
Assos, in Lydia[192]. The elder Pliny mentions this stone of Assos,
called the _sarcophagus_, or flesh-eating. He assigns, as the reason
for its name, the fact that “within forty days, it is known certainly
to consume the bodies which are placed in it, skin, flesh, bones, and
all else save the teeth[193].”

The coffins of baked clay were rudely fashioned, as might be expected
from such coarse material. One of the oldest kind of coffins was that
in which Dionysus, according to the fable, laid away whatever was
mortal of the beautiful Ariadne. That rude contrivance was composed of
three flat plates of clay, forming a kind of triangular prism[194], so
that this casket of the wine god’s wife must have been as picturesque
and shapely as a piece of sewer-pipe. Sometimes, however, these pottery
coffins were very highly decorated. They were painted in brilliant
colors[195], with representations of lily-leaves and palms, the
flowering acanthus and the lotus, and with wreaths and arabesques and
intricate tracery.

At a later period, the sides of the triangle assumed a curved shape.
A section of the coffin was a spherical triangle, and the coffin
became more complicated and durable. Stackelberg gives a very careful
description of the construction of this style, together with an
illustration[196]. On the under layer of curved tiling, rest the bones
of the deceased, at the sides are double layers of tiling, with one at
the top. Two upright tiles close the ends. Another specimen of great
interest is the coffin of a child, unearthed at Athens by Stackelberg,
in the beginning of the present century. It has an elliptical form, and
looks like a movable bath-tub. Many utensils were found in this coffin,
packed away with the skeleton. They will be described hereafter[197].



Of the tombs themselves, the recent excavations have also made us
acquainted with the construction and the varieties. Cumanudis[198], a
Greek archæologist, now living at Athens, enumerates eight distinct
types of tombs. His classification is rather too minute in some
respects. For all practical purposes, there were four kinds of tombs,
differing from each other in general form. They were variously known
as (a) the _stelae_ or shafts, (b) the _kiones_ or columns, (c) the
_trapezae_ or square-cut tombs, and (d) the _naidia_ [heroia] or
temple-like structures. There were also tombs which were merely heaps
of earth. These mounds were not, however, unimportant; for it was
possible to display there a lavish expenditure. The tomb of Alyattes,
the father of Crœsus, according to Herodotus[199], was six stadia
in circumference, that is, about two-thirds of a mile. It was made
entirely of earth, except a base formed of great stones, and was
declared by Herodotus to be a monument of art, second to none but
those of the Egyptians and the Babylonians. This mass was raised by
merchants, laborers and young women who obtained their money in a
questionable manner. On many of the white lecyths, the mound can be
seen to exceed the height of the persons depicted[200]. In a dialogue
of Lucian[201], Hermes and Charon, from the top of Parnassus and Oeta,
piled one on the other, contemplate the world and that which attracts
their attention in the cemeteries of the large cities are the heaps of
earth, the pillars and the funeral pyramids.

The _stelae_ proper were slabs of stone, standing upright in the
ground. They were often made of marble[202]. The shape was frequently
that of a little chapel, and they were usually of one piece, the upper
part being designated the _epithema_[203]. This epithema was sometimes
rounded like a coping tile, and sometimes fashioned like a gable.
The latter form of the triangular arch was suggestive of a religious
purpose and the attributing of divine honors to the dead, for this
pediment belonged to the house of a deity. It was usually adorned with
acanthus leaves, worked into arabesques, closely resembling those on
the coffins[204]. The stele of a warrior, found in the Attic deme of
Icaria during the excavations by the American School in February, 1888,
has been an object of considerable interest to archæologists[205]. The
slab of stone had been broken into three parts, but when compared with
the well-known stele of Aristion, (found in 1838) the Icarian relief
was found to correspond very closely with the older monument. The
Icarian stele, when complete, must have been about eight feet high, and
about a foot and a half wide at the base, tapering slightly as it rose.
The figure is of a warrior in armor, holding an upright spear. There is
unmistakable evidence that the details of the relief had been painted.
The Lyseas stele (found in 1839) had a uniform surface, on which had
been painted Lyseas, draped in a long himation, and engaged in pouring
out a libation.

The _stelae_ and the tombs were frequently adorned with reliefs in
which the details were probably finished by painting. The chapel-like
form was convenient for the artist in carving the relief, since this
afforded a retreating background, and gave the figures the appearance
of being within the chapel or temple.

A favorite subject was an idealistic representation of the dying
scene[206]. The occupation of the deceased is also indicated, and a
mounted horseman is cut in relief on the tomb of a knight who fell
at Leuctra[207]; on the tomb of an athlete is seen his figure, with
his strigil and dog[208]; one who had taken prizes for declamation,
music, ball-throwing and ring-tossing is represented with a scroll, a
lyre, the ball and the ring[209]. Many similar carvings and paintings
have been recently discovered. Pausanias refers to this custom of
decorating the tombs, and mentions the picture at Sicyon, on the
monument of Xenodice, who died in child-birth, as particularly worthy
of examination[210].

Many tomb-stones were evidently intended for general application, since
the inscription sometimes fails to correspond in every respect with the
relief, but other scenes were wrought out for the particular occasions
on which they were erected. To this latter class must have belonged
the monument at Athens[211], where the figures are of heroic size,
representing a youth in the full vigor of early manhood, accompanied by
an old man, leaning on a cane. In the hand of the young man is a stout
club, an attendant is sleeping at his feet, while his dog is watchfully
alert. There is no inscription to inform us who is commemorated by
this monument, nor what artist has left this wonderful evidence of his
genius and skill, but the subject is treated with marvellous vigor and

The siren was a familiar figure on the tombstone either singly or in
couples, signifying that, by their song, the dead were constantly
lamented and the living consoled. A small tombstone in the Berlin
Museum contains a lady engaged in her toilet with the assistance of an
attendant maid and, above them, two sirens are engaged in playing, the
one on the lyre and the other on the flute.

Very frequently the scene represented typifies the separation of the
deceased from the relatives who stand sorrowfully about. To the Greek,
there was a solemn dignity in death and that sentiment finds expression
in these reliefs by the representation of the deceased as seated
and rather larger than the other persons of the group. The nearest
relative bids farewell to the seated figure by clasping hands. In the
particulars that have been mentioned, the scene, in every instance,
is nearly the same but, in other details great variety is introduced.
Now, it is a husband who holds the hand of his departing wife while
her sister stands by her side and the long sleeved servant is behind
the chair resting her hand upon the back of it, as if ready to render
instant service. Again a mother is going away from her little daughter
and, at the moment of departure, has placed her arm tenderly about the
child and bends sadly over her. The servant stands as usual behind the
deceased. In another scene, the infant in the arms of one of the group
would suggest that distressing incident in family history, the death
of the young mother in, or near child-birth. In this group too, there
remains the hand and long sleeve of the servant. In all these pictures,
if it is a lady who is commemorated, she is represented as holding her
veil in a peculiarly graceful manner, which occurs so frequently as to
suggest a symbol of departure.

Some of the monuments present scenes of every day domestic life or of a
lady engaged about her toilet. In a relief, found at Athens, some kind
of a repast or feast is shown. A bearded man reclines upon a couch and
holds a plate or saucer in his hand, his wife is seated at his feet and
a naked cup-bearer is near at hand. A friend stands at the head of the
couch and the dog lies under it.

The lecyth was not an uncommon form of the funeral monument. The
sculptor, in that case, made the vase of colossal size and decorated
it with scenes of curious interest. On one of them Hermes Psychopompe
is leading away a beautiful figure to the land of shades. The form of
some of the monuments and the inscriptions on them indicate that they
had a double purpose to serve and that, in addition to being memorials
of the dead, they were votive offerings to the departed, who had become
objects of worship.

In this connection, it may be instructive to refer to the vigorous
contest which has been waged between different archaeologists over
the interpretation of the representations of feasts on the sepulchral
monuments, reliefs and pictures. The most probable explanation seems
to be that the central figures are not deities[212] but the deceased
receiving that nourishment which he required, as well after death as
while living, that the patera or the wine cup is extended to receive
the libation or the food, that the horse and dog were the images of
those faithful domestic animals whose usefulness would be as great in
the Elysian fields as during life. The pomegranate in the hand of the
feaster confirms the opinion that he is a deceased mortal, that fruit
being appropriate to the dead after the analogy of Persephone who was
subtly induced by the god of the lower world to taste the pomegranate
and thereafter could never return entirely to the upper light. The
presence of the serpent is more difficult to explain, although the
incident of the large snake that twined about the body of Cleomenes in
Egypt and drove away the birds of prey may assist in clearing up the
mystery. Plutarch says that some of the Alexandrians being terrified
at the sight of the serpent clinging to the body of Cleomenes, it was
pointed out that as bulls develop bees after death, and horses produce
wasps, so the human body, as it decayed, turned into snakes. The wife
of the deceased is seated because the reclining posture at the table
was peculiar to the men and was never assumed by a modest woman.

The second species of tomb, the _Kion_ or column was very shapely,
having a double base and an Ionic fluting at the top. In the
representations on some of the lecyths, are the figures of the friends
of the deceased who have come to the _Kion_ to offer services in
various ways. The objects that are seen in their hands are varied,
being mostly offerings for the dead, although some are articles
necessary for the performance of the funeral rites, while others are
articles of the toilet.

The third division of the tombs is the so-called _trapezae_. It was a
tomb of this species that was used to mark the resting-place of the
orator Isocrates and his immediate[213] relatives. It was probably this
style of tomb that Cicero called the _mensa_, the expense of which
Demetrius Phalereus limited[214].

The _heroum_ or fourth division of the tombs, possessed many of the
features of the Greek temple, with which every student of art or
literature is familiar. The imposing façade was always present, even
when other parts were wanting, in consequence of the situation’s
forbidding elaborate development of the rest of the exterior. The
structure which the moderns have united in designating as a “chapel”
bears the closest resemblance to the _heroum_. Indeed, the _heroum_
differed from many small temples only in that its opening faced toward
the west, while the entrance to the temple looked in the opposite

There is a marked difference in this latter respect, between the
Egyptian and the Grecian Tombs. In the great necropolis of the ancient
Egyptians at Memphis and Thebes, the door, the external inscriptions
and the entablatures of the tombs, almost without exception look
toward the east; while, at Abydos the tombs often face the south; but,
in neither place do they open to the west[216]. So general is this
disposition of the opening that Champollion and other writers on the
subject have made the fact the basis of an elaborate “assimilation”
between the life of man and the career of the sun, declaring that the
dead yearns toward the rays that shall illumine his night and draw him
from his long sleep[217]. Accordingly he is placed so that he shall
catch the first beams of the morning, or at noon behold the full vigor
of the god of day.

The _heroa_ must have been very numerous in Greece. That fact is
indicated by a chapter from the history of the Peloponnesian war[218].
From the earliest times, the Athenians had been accustomed to live
in the country and, before the time of Theseus, Attica was occupied
by independent towns, each of which had its own king. So that in the
Peloponnesian war, when Archidamus, the Spartan king, approached
Athens, about the year 430, B. C., Pericles advised the Athenians who
lived outside the walls to bring their families and their effects into
the city. They followed the advice of Pericles but the city was crowded
and, since they were without shelter they were obliged, with very few
exceptions, to take up their abode in the temples and the _heroa_.

The Greeks were very proud of these elaborate monuments, which were
reminders to the world of the virtues of their ancestors and relations,
and these sepulchres passed down from generation to generation as
an inheritance which the heir expected to transmit when he had been
received therein[219].

These _heroa_ as a rule, however, were erected in memory of some great
man at that period when death had brought about an indefiniteness
and haziness of view which exaggerated his achievements into heroic
proportions. The Theseum was a notable instance of such a monument.
Here, it was believed, were deposited the bones of Theseus after they
had been brought back to Athens, and here was a general asylum for
criminals[220] who fled from the penalty of their misdeeds. One of
these tombs was erected over the remains of Lycus[221]; and a certain
Germanicus, a _didaskalos_ or school master, apparently obtained so
great a reputation that a _heroum_ was built in his honor[222].

A whole family was often buried in the same _heroum_. There is
reported an instance of a man’s buying one of these temple-tombs for
himself, his wife and child[223]; and, in the third century, a rich
woman, probably of Thera, left by her will three thousand drachmas,
almost six hundred dollars for the erection of a _heroum_ (which she
terms a _museum_), in honor of herself, her husband and her two sons.
She directed that sacrifices shall be offered to them as heroes for
three days in each year[224]. In the early period, when Athens was
under Cecrops, the burials were simple and inexpensive, but, shortly
after Solon’s time, it became so common to spend vast sums on the
tombs that a law was passed to check the outlay. Cicero says that the
elaborateness of the grave was limited to what ten men could accomplish
in three days[225]; but Plato, in prescribing the limit which should
be observed, states, as has been before mentioned, that it should only
be as high as five men could build in five days[226]. Plato would add
the further restriction that no stone monument should be built larger
than to receive four hexameters in praise of the deceased[226]. From
many indications in literature, however, there is reason to believe
that Plato’s suggestion was not adopted. Diogiton, who was doing his
best to defraud his wards of their money by spending as little as
possible for their needs, purchased a memorial for their father at
twenty-four _minae_ (about five hundred dollars). This seems to have
been considered a niggardly sum for the purpose[227]. On the other
hand, the tomb which Phormio erected in honor of his wife cost him over
two talents, which is over two thousand five hundred dollars[228]. In
memory of Isocrates, there was erected a monument forty-five feet high,
on which was a siren ten feet and a half in height, emblematic of his

It was such expenditures as these that led Demetrius Phalereus, about
the beginning of the fourth century before Christ, to make another
attempt to check funeral extravagance. He tried to set a limit to the
new tombs by forbidding any tomb but the _kion_ to be more than four
and a half feet high and by putting a special officer in charge of the
matter, but all his efforts proved vain[230].

The inscription that was carved on the tomb contained, as is still the
custom, the name and a few notices about the life of the departed. In
addition to those details, the Greeks, at a later period, sometimes set
forth a curse on any one who should presume to desecrate the grave in
any way. Although this peculiar protection of the last resting-place
is not at present resorted to among us, yet it is but a few centuries
since the custom was not uncommon in England. It will be instructive to
compare one of the older imprecations of the Hellenes with the famous
inscription on the tomb of Shakespeare, composed possibly by the bard
himself. The Englishman wrote:

  “Good friend, for Jesus’ sake forbeare,
  To digg the dust enclosed heare;
  Bless be he yt spares these stones,
  And curst be he yt moves my bones.”

That is somewhat more concise, if not quite as pointed as some Greek
inscriptions, one of which reads as follows:

“I summon to the guardianship of this tomb the lower gods, Pluto,
Demeter, Persephone and all the others. If any one despoils it,
opens it, or in any way disturbs it, by himself or an agent, may his
journey on land be obstructed, on the sea, may he be tempest-tossed
and thoroughly baffled and driven about in every way. May he suffer
every ill, chills and fevers, remittent and intermittent, and the most
repulsive skin diseases. Whatever is injurious and destructive in life
may it fall on him that dares remove anything from this tomb[231].”

On the other hand, some of the Grecian tombs, like that of the English
poet, contain also all manner of blessings and wishes for the absence
of evil for him and his posterity who may guard the tomb and perform
the sacrifices and other customary rites[232].

To make sure that no one disturbed the bones, directions were sometimes
left in wills that the grave of the testator be watched by slaves[233].

These inscriptions, if they contained imprecations so elaborate as that
presented above, must have been rather extended. In some states of
Greece, the inscription was very short. The Sicyonians, on the columns
which they raised to the dead, usually placed the name of the departed,
without stating his ancestry, but exhorting the passer-by to wish well
to his remains[234]. Lycurgus would not permit the Spartans to inscribe
the name of the deceased on the tomb, unless he had fallen in battle;
or if the deceased were a woman, unless she had died in some sacred

At Athens, there are found monuments inscribed to deceased children
and it would seem that this honor was bestowed without reference to
the age of the dead. A tomb has been discovered with an inscription to
a child of seven that was lost on a mountain[236]. Two other epitaphs
are dedicated to children who were but two years old ere “disease had
stopped their life[237].”

If we still possessed the book of Diodorus, or according to some,
Heliodorus, entitled “About Monuments,” it would undoubtedly prove a
mine of information. Plutarch has referred to him, to determine the
places of sepulture both of Themistocles[238] and Hyperides[239].

In the tomb, with the dead body, were placed various vessels and
trinkets. In the coffin found at Same, were two small _lacrimatories_
of unbaked clay; a wine beaker; the _kylix_, a kind of libation
vessel; the _prochoos_, a pitcher usually having two handles and used
for holding pure wine or water; an alabaster box for jewels, called
the _kylichne_; and a bacchic mirror cover[240]. The child’s coffin,
previously mentioned[241], disclosed eleven different vessels and
four clay images of _Gaea Olympia_ in a sitting posture. The vessels
were three _lecyths_, two large _cotyli_, one small _cotylus_, used
for catching the blood of the victim which was sacrificed, a lamp, a
_diota_, and a sort of child’s plaything[242].

Besides these vessels, tombs have been found in which all sorts of
jewelry figured as parts of the contents, such as golden finger rings
set with garnets, gold ear-rings wrought in fantastic shapes, and
cornelian ear-rings. Some of the tombs contain wreaths of laurel, oak,
olive, or myrtle, sometimes interwoven with gold; while a brass buckle
with an allegorical representation of Cupid in the palestra, a golden
girdle, female statues, figures of Persephone and Hecate, a statue of
a priestess of Dodona with a dove on her shoulder, and mirrors with
brazen handles and backs have all been found[243].

This custom of interring valuables with the deceased was very old.
When the so-called grave of Alcmene was opened by Agesilaus, there
were discovered within, a small brazen armlet and two jars, containing
earth which had become petrified. This grave must have been dug in
very ancient times, for tablets of brass were found within written in
unintelligible characters[244].

This practice of burying various articles with the dead must have
continued during the best period of art in Greece. That fact is
attested by the workmanship of the vases that have been exhumed.
They are many of them of the finest quality and artistic excellence.
The custom however, had died out before the Christian era, for the
colonists whom Caesar had sent out to restore Corinth, in moving the
ruins and digging open the sepulchres, came across works of pottery and
brass, the workmanship of which was greatly admired and the vessels
sold readily at fabulous prices as curiosities[245].

There seems to have been no one place at Athens selected for the
situation of all the tombs except for those who died in poverty. Those
Athenians who left no land or money behind them were entombed in a
public cemetery. This place was situated just outside the city[246] on
one of the roads to the Peiraeus[247]. The Itonic gate, through which
the bodies of these paupers were carried, was, on this account, called
the “gravegate[248].” The people of the richer classes, when they
possessed a bit of land, often directed that they should be interred
therein; so it happened that there was no large assemblage of graves
at any one place. In one of Demosthenes’s orations, the stone-cutter
comes to the house that he may complete the tomb in the neighboring
field[249]. More frequently the graves were constructed by the side of
some much traveled road where the passer-by might observe the monument.
From an inscription on a child’s tomb, we learn that “her parents
sorrowfully buried her at the junction of three roads[250].” The square
cut tombs of Isocrates and his relations, which have been described,
were situated near the Cynosarges, the great exercising ground[251],
while Thucydides was buried in the family burying ground of Cimon[252],
near the Melitic gate[253].

The place of interment, as one might suppose, belonged exclusively to
the family, and strangers were forbidden burial there by some well
accepted law of the Athenians[254]. This law, together with that making
it a crime to destroy a tomb, is attributed by Cicero to Solon[255].
Accordingly, from the fact of a person being buried in the tomb of a
certain family, the orators sometimes argued his relationship with that
family, for the purpose of establishing the connection of some direct
descendant. By that method, Demosthenes sought to prove the descent of
Eubulides from Buselus[256], and, in the same manner, demonstrated to
the court the citizenship of Euxitheus[254].

In the earliest times, the reason for selecting the former residence
of the deceased as a place of burial was that the departed might be
near his family[257]. Later, however, in many of the states, there were
enactments passed which prohibited interments within the city limits.
At Delos, after 425 B. C., the Athenians cleared the whole island of
those already interred there, and commanded that, thereafter, all
corpses should be carried to the adjoining small island of Rhene[257].
Among the Sicyonians, there was an ancient law against burials within
the city walls, and it had been so religiously observed that even when
the great Aratus died, the people hesitated about entombing him in
the city until re-assured by a special dispensation from the Delphic
oracle[258]. The Athenians were so particular about preserving the very
letter of a similar law that even the cenotaphs of those who had been
slain in battle were erected in a beautiful suburb of the city[259] on
the way which led to the Academy[260].

The motive of these states in requiring burial outside the walls, was
without doubt, to avoid the ceremonial contamination supposed to arise
from the proximity of corpses.

Possibly, as was the case in ancient Rome, the effect on the sanitary
condition of the city made it desirable to remove the burying
ground[261]. The very existence of such laws indicates that the
citizens must, at some time, have experienced the ill effects of
burials within the city.

There were states, however, which, for various reasons, preferred that
the interments should be within the walls. That was the case at Sparta,
where we should naturally expect to find laws directly the contrary.
Lycurgus even permitted the Spartans to raise tombs near the temples.
This he did that he might insure the graves against the violence of
the enemy[262], and that, at the same time, he might accustom the
youths to the sight from infancy, so that they might have no horror
of death[263]. Again, the Tarentines, in compliance with an oracle,
buried all their dead within the walls in a part of the city toward the
east[264]. The Megareans also had within their city, the sepulchres
of those who had fallen in the war against the Medes, and likewise a
heroic monument called the Aesymnium. The origin of this custom was as
follows: Aesymnus, having been sent to Delphi to ask the oracle what
the Megareans should do to be happy, returned with the response that
this might be if a number of them were “congregated together.” This
they interpreted to mean the burial of their dead in one place, and
accordingly, they instituted a new cemetery in the city[265].



During the days of preparation for burial and that on which the
departed was entombed, his relatives either overcome by sorrow or bound
down by the usages of the time, had been fasting. This abstinence had
the usual effect, and, by the time the remains of the dear one had been
laid under ground, his immediate family were almost ready to faint with
hunger. That they might no longer thus afflict themselves and that
their friends might offer them suitable comfort, the Greeks instituted
the _perideipnon_, or funeral feast[266]. At this feast, the dead
man was considered the host and it was regarded as his expression of
thanks to his comrades for their courtesy in burying him[267]. Since
it was the duty of the nearest surviving relative to provide for all
the customary obsequies[268], properly this entertainment was provided
at his house[269]. When the question of a funeral feast in honor of
Patroclus was considered, Achilles, being his nearest friend then
present, prepares for it in his own tent. The _perideipnon_ for all
those who had lost their lives in behalf of Greece at the disastrous
battle of Chaeronea was held at the house of the orator Demosthenes.
That was for the reason, as he himself states, that although each was
nearer to his own kin than the orator, yet no other man was so near to
them collectively[270].

The perideipnon was the beginning of a series of feasts or
ministrations having for their object the nourishment of the dead in
their new state of existence[271]. It was a belief common to some other
earlier nations as well as the Greeks that those who had experienced
the change of death were still in need of food and drink and it was
conceived to be the duty of the living to satisfy the desire for
sustenance of that nature. The ancient Hindus believed that, at the
feasts, the _manes_ of their ancestors seated themselves at the table
near the living and enjoyed the viands set before them. The Greeks
seem to have entertained the same belief and to have followed the same
custom. Those rites long outlasted the beliefs which gave rise to the
observances. The provision of material food for the dead was not only
regarded as a duty but was viewed as a means of propitiating their good

If the funeral repasts were not continued at frequent intervals, it
was believed that the spirits became malevolent and came out from the
tombs, that the wandering shades could be heard in the silent night,
reproaching the survivors with impious negligence and that they sought
to punish their recreant relatives with sickness and unfruitfulness of
the soil, until the neglected office was resumed.

It was the habit of the Greeks at these festivals, to recount whatever
virtues the deceased may have possessed, but, quite contrary to the
modern notion of the obituary and the epitaph, no exaggeration or
embellishment was allowed, for it was reckoned impious to lie on such
occasions[272]. It was from this usage of presenting the best view of
the dead, that there arose the sarcasm applied to bad characters, “you
would not be praised even at your funeral entertainment[273].” At this
supper, whatever fragments might chance to fall from the table were
always consecrated to the _manes_ of the departed[274]. Pythagoras,
having in mind, perhaps, the belief that all which fell to the floor
belonged to the dead, strictly forbade his disciples to pick up the
particles they may have dropped in any of their feastings[275].



The last step, or rather steps, in the obsequies, were the succession
of sacrifices which were performed in honor of the deceased at his
grave. No one but a relative was allowed to offer these sacrifices
since a person visiting a strange tomb was suspected of a design to
steal the bones for superstitious purposes[276]. This oblation to the
dead was discriminated among the Hellenes from the ordinary sacrifices
to the gods by a word peculiarly appropriated. The word which indicated
this species of offering was _enagisma_ and the idea implied in it may
best be rendered into English by the word “purification[277].” The
_enagisma_ seems to have been divided, according to its character,
into two kinds of sacrifice; namely, the _choe_, or “libation,” and
the _haimacouria_ or “blood-propitiation.” The _choe_ or milder form,
consisted merely of a libation of water, milk or wine, together with
an offering of olives, honey and wreaths of flowers, “the offspring of
all-producing earth[277].” At the _haimacouria_, on the other hand,
before the wine was poured, it was the custom to slay a black ram[278]
or a black bull[279]. This blood sacrifice, however, was probably
used only when they were sacrificing in honor of a number of men. For
instance, the warriors who were slain in Boeotia, while defending
Greece from Mardonius, had that ceremony, on the anniversary day of
each year, performed at their graves by the archon and the inhabitants
of Plataea[279]. By the law of Solon, heifers, as victims, were
proscribed in these solemnities[280].

The offerings, however, were gradually made more and more expensive
until, on some occasions, a regular feast was laid out and consumed by
fire. In a Greek dialogue that has come down to us, the old ferryman,
Charon, who had come to the upper world to view the customs of men,
expresses his surprise at these sepulchral propitiations. “Why then,”
says he, “do they crown these stones and perfume them with unguents?
Why do they heap up funeral pyres before the graves and burn these
expensive feasts and pour wine and a mixture of honey and water into
this trench[281]?”

The sacrifices at the sepulchre took place on stated days. At the first
of these ceremonies, called the _trita_, from the fact of its falling
on the third day[282] after the interment, a lunch was brought out for
the corpse[283]. Following that tertial offering, came another, the
_ennata_, on the ninth day. This ninth day sacrifice, since Aeschines
speaks of it as if it were the only one to be considered[284], and
since Isaeus mentions the great expense connected with it[285], was
very probably of more importance than the others. It is uncertain of
what it consisted, since it is not specified in any of the Grecian
authorities; but, if any reliance can be placed on the description of a
Roman author, it was a regular banquet prepared for the deceased[286].
The _ennata_ among the Athenians, inasmuch as we find no mention
of anything farther in our ancient writers, probably concluded the
customary ceremonies. The Argives, varied these rites by omitting the
_trita_ and _ennata_, and substituted a sacrifice on the first and on
the thirtieth day. It was their custom upon losing one of their kindred
or friends to sacrifice immediately to Apollo and thirty days after to
Hermes[287]. The Spartans, on the other hand, always moderate in all
their passions, limited their sacrifices to one on the twelfth day to
Ceres, after which they ceased to mourn outwardly[288]. But, with the
Athenians, the completion of the obsequies by no means ended all the
customary observances of a mourner. The thirtieth day, however, seems
to have been the limit set at Athens for the public manifestation[289].
Any semblance of happiness on the part of the mourner before that time
was strongly disapproved. Aeschines makes a serious accusation against
Demosthenes when he denounces him for having offered sacrifices of
thanksgiving for the death of Philip when his daughter had been dead
only seven days[290]. Euphiletus, an every-day citizen of Athens, has
his suspicions of his wife’s infidelity intensified and corroborated,
because one day, before her brother had been dead thirty days, he
discovered her with her cheeks painted[291].

Of the objects that were employed in the sacrifices and services at the
tomb, the basket that serves to carry the offerings to the column is
always in the hands of a woman. It is always the same in appearance,
long, without a cover and shallow. This basket is often mentioned in
the descriptions of religious ceremonies[292], where it is called
_kanoun_, _kanes_ and _kaniskion_. It appears on the bas-reliefs as
well as on the vases. The young girls who carry the offerings at the
Panathenaia are called _canephorae_[293] from the name of this basket.

The casket, which the women hold in the paintings, is usually a
quadrangular box with a flat cover, and sometimes has little projecting
feet to support it. This casket sometimes contains a precious offering,
such as a golden statuette or a lyre of ivory[294].

The vases, of all the accessories of the funeral, are the most varied
in form and usefulness. The _hydria_ was used to mix the liquids for
funeral libation, the _oenochoe_ and the _prochoos_ contained the pure
wine or water, the _phiale_ was a kind of shallow plate employed for
making the libation, the _phlemochoe_ was a vase having the form of
a top (a rim placed inside this vase retained the solid part of the
contents and permitted only the purest part of the liquid to be poured
out), the _alabastron_ and the _aryballa_ held the oil which was poured
on the stone column for anointing it and perfuming it, as if it were
the dead person himself[295].

The repast prepared for the dead was presented in two forms: (a) fruits
or cakes placed in a basket, (b) a libation poured out on the steps of
the pillar. It is difficult to determine the nature of these fruits or
this food. Our only knowledge is obtained, for the most part, from the
paintings on the vases and the resemblance of an egg to a pomegranate
is so close that the object in the picture may be mistaken for either.
The delineation of the cake is not altogether clear, although without
doubt the honey-cake, the _melittouta_, is intended. This cake is
mentioned by Aristophanes[296], and was composed of meal and honey. For
the libation, they used water or pure wine or milk, and sometimes a
liquid made from honey[297]. The pictures that have been mentioned have
no representation of the libations of blood nor holocausts of victims
that occur in the authors.

With rare exceptions, the basket containing the offering is borne by
women, and it is women who bind the bands around the pillar and place
the crowns on the base. Their gestures are, in general, calmer and
more measured in the ceremonies at the grave than in the _prothesis_.
Some of them, however, are yet seen carrying their hands to their
heads, as if to tear out their hair, but their usual attitude is
tranquil. There is less of the expression of grief than of religious
respect and melancholy resignation. Yet one of the gestures appears to
signify something more than vague regret and reverence. In a certain
number of the paintings, the characters depicted extending their hands
toward the tomb, or raising them to their faces bring together the
thumb and forefinger, in a manner specially noticeable. In the museum
of Dresden, there is an ancient monument representing the seizure
of the tripod of Delphi by Hercules; a priestess is attaching some
bandalettes to it; she raises her right hand, pressing together the
thumb and forefinger. The vases, also, offer other examples of this
gesture, which is plainly ritualistic.

M. Benndorf regards, also, as a ritualistic gesture, the open hand
extended toward the pillar, with the palm turned downwards. He supports
this opinion by a citation from Euripides[298], where the slave of
Admetus extends his hand after that manner. Another verse[299] of the
same poet, evidently alludes to this custom. All these attitudes appear
on the paintings of the white lecyths, and confirm the opinion that
they express religious homage rendered by the living to the dead, and
were part of the funeral ceremony.

Another peculiar observance is seen where the mourners extend their
hands toward the tomb, with a motion which seems to indicate that they
talk to the dead. These are the pictures of familiar conversation,
bearing the formula of adieu, _chaire_, or a little dialogue between
the deceased and a passer-by.

There appears, also, to have been a custom of making music at the foot
of the tomb, for the purpose of cheering the deceased in his solitude.
The instrument used is the lyre. On one of the paintings, it is a young
man, probably the deceased, sitting, who holds the lyre while the
assistants appear to listen.

Such were the practices of the Greeks while the bereavement was recent,
but it was always the duty of the survivors, as long as their lives
might last, to tend their ancestors’ graves. Socrates, to rebuke his
son, who has been angered with his mother, and to impress upon him how
necessary it is properly to respect one’s parents in their lifetime,
reminds him that it is the custom for the state, in its examination of
candidates for the archonship, to inquire if they have kept in good
condition the graves of their ancestors[300].

Leocrates, who, in violation of the law, had left Athens during the
critical period following the battle of Chaeronea, is arraigned by
Lycurgus for having abandoned his native land, having neglected
the religion of his country, and having deserted the tombs of his
forefathers[301]. To the Athenian mind, Isocrates made a most touching
appeal, when he represented the Plataeans as being in such a decimated
condition that not enough of them were left to tend the graves of those
who had defended Greece against the Persians. After this master-stroke,
nothing was left for the Athenians to do but to make war on the
impious Thebans, who had so mercilessly reduced their allies[302].
Finally, listen to the exhortation which Aeschylus, in “The Persians,”
attributes to the herald before the battle of Salamis:

“Advance! O, sons of Greece! preserve the freedom of your native land;
keep from foeman’s grasp your children, your wives, the temples of
your ancestral gods, and the sepulchres of your progenitors. Now the
struggle is for all[303].”



In addition to the appointed sacrifices, there were apparently other
celebrations held at stated times beside the tomb. These seasons
Plato euphemistically called “days not to be mentioned,” and he did
not, think it right at that time to hear sorrows of any kind[304].
These latter celebrations seem to have consisted for the most part
of libations to the dead, and to have been celebrated by a cessation
from the ordinary duties[305]. One of these mourning holidays was that
called _genesia_[306]. From its apparent derivation, it may be assumed
to have been the celebration of the birthday of the deceased. This
conjecture is strengthened by the will of Epicurus, found in Diogenes
Laertius[307], in which he directs his heirs to arrange offerings
to the _manes_ of his father, mother, brothers and himself, and to
celebrate his birthday each year on the tenth of the month _Gamelion_.
Herodotus also mentions the fact that the Greeks, like the Issedones,
had annual sacrifices for the dead. Whether he refers to the _genesia_
or to another yearly offering known as the _nekysia_ or to both is

This _nekysia_ was a general holiday for all Athens and was dedicated
to all the dead. It consisted of the same sort of sacrificing as that
which took place on the anniversary of the birthday[309]. Besides these
ceremonies, it was customary, in the very early times, to institute
funeral games in honor of the deceased shortly after the burial. On
the death of Azan, according to the myth, son of Arcas, the king from
whom Arcadia received its name, these games were first established in
Greece. In his case, probably, the only contest was horse-racing[310].
But in the Homeric times, although the chariot race was the most
important, there were also a boxing match, wrestling, a foot race, an
armed combat, competition in weight-casting, a trial at archery and a
contest of javelin throwing[311]. There were suitable prizes in each
event for every one of the contestants. If the games which the Greek
chieftains arranged in memory of Achilles, when he died, were any more
elaborate than these, as Agamemnon maintains they were, they must have
occupied considerable time[312].

These celebrations occasionally occurred in the historic period.
Plutarch tells us that, after Timoleon’s death, the people of Syracuse
determined to honor him with funeral games forever, to be celebrated
with performances in music, horse-racing and wrestling[313].

It was the duty of every good citizen to visit the graves of his dead
not only on the days established for special services, but to come
there much oftener since the Greeks believed that the deceased was
always pleased by the presence of his friends of the former life. On
the same principle the dead were supposed to be tormented by the visits
of those formerly inimical. The claimant to the estate of Astyphilus
is made by Isaeus to declare that it was generally accepted that the
presence of his father would be pleasing to the deceased, and so the
parent was carried out to the grave although in feeble health[314].
Further along in his speech the same man asserts that the father of
Astyphilus had strictly forbidden the father of the defendant or any
one connected with him to come near his tomb[315]. The same belief
causes Teucer to restrain Odysseus from touching the grave of Ajax lest
he offend the deceased hero[316].

It is proper now to consider the conduct and dress during the period
of mourning. As with us, the predominant manifestation of sorrow was
abstinence from every pleasure[317]. Admetus weepingly declares to his
wife that, when she is gone, he will put an end to all the feasts and
meetings in his house, at which they had been wont mutually to enjoy
wine, garlands, and song[318].

The other tokens of bereavement were the cutting of the hair and the
wearing of black garments. These customs seem to have been practiced
at a very early period and to have lasted well down through Grecian
history. The tragic poets bear witness to their prevalence. Orestes
shears his hair, and his sister is dressed in black[319]; Helen mourns
her husband with both these signs of grief[320]; the chorus consider
the advisibility of employing the badges of sorrow while Alcestis is
still hovering between life and death[321]; and Iphigenia begs her
mother not to mourn her by severing her locks and donning robes of
sable hue[322]. Even for a long time after Grecian independence had
been lost, the same customs existed. Plutarch praised his wife for not
defiling herself or her maids nor putting on a black garment[323].
Artemidorus, in his work on the interpretation of dreams, says that a
black dress is used for mourning[324]. Athenaeus is authority for the
fact that in his time the mourner still polled his head[325]. Plutarch
seems to differ about this clipping of the hair. He says: “In the case
of mourning among the Greeks, the women have their hair cut close,
but the men wear it long since it is customary for the men when not
afflicted by grief to have it cut short and for the woman to let it
grow long[326].” In another place he declares that you may take away a
man’s signs of mourning _by cutting his hair_ and drying his tears, and
still bring him no comfort[327]. Undoubtedly, in Plutarch’s time, the
fashion had changed and the later Greeks were wont to let their hair
grow long to indicate their sorrow.

The underlying thought in this matter of mourning was that one
manifested his sympathy with the dead by making himself appear as
hideous as possible[325]. In the early times, when the Greeks wore
beards and long hair, the desired effect might be gained by polling
but, when the Roman fashion of close-cutting had been adopted, it
must have looked as odd to see the hair streaming down the neck of a
bereaved man, as one of the enormous ruffs worn by Raleigh would appear
in New York to-day. Whatever may have been the custom in the Romanized
era of Plutarch, it is very certain that black robes and shorn hair
betokened bereavement during the largest portion of the history of

It was, perhaps, in imitation of the Persians, that the Greeks, on the
death of a general, clipped even the manes and tails of their horses.
When, on the expedition of Mardonius, his trusted commander, Masistius,
was slain, the Persians mutilated their horses after that fashion[328].
At the death of the gluttonous young Hephaestion, in consequence
of disobedience to his physician’s orders, Alexander, thoroughly
orientalized, ordered all the mules and horses to be clipped[329]. Not
satisfied with this, he must needs tear down all the battlements of
the neighboring cities, so that they, too, might have the appearance
of being shorn[330]. Aelian, very suitably, terms this latter
extravagance, “grieving according to the custom of the barbarians[331].”

The other distinguishing feature of the mourning, the adoption of black
robes, although it usually indicates actual bereavement, was sometimes
employed before the loss had really come, but when it was impending.
Thus, when the sister-in-law of Lysias was summoned to the prison
where her husband awaited death, she came clad, as was befitting, in
a black garment[332]. It was this fashion at Athens, of wearing black
to show the death of a relative that gave point to Pericles’s dying
assertion: “None of my fellow citizens have, through me, been obliged
to assume a sable garb[333].”

White was worn sometimes on the death of a great general or other high
official. Timoleon was borne to the grave accompanied by a procession
of Syracusans, crowned with garlands and clothed in white. Pure
white[334] is also the color which Plato directs to be worn on the
death of a priest[335].

It may not have been the rule in all the states of Greece, as it was
at Athens, to make black the mourning color. Sparta, perhaps out of
a feeling of antagonism to Athens, appears to have employed white
mourning, referred to by Socrates as “robes rinsed in water[336].”

It was the custom among the Greeks, when a good character like
Alcestis, had departed, to pray that the earth might rest lightly upon
the mortal frame[337], but where a man had done nothing except evil,
they wished that mother earth, like a huge night-mare, might pin him
down[338]. The ancient Greeks have departed, and, except when the
prying hand of the archaeologist has torn away their surroundings, they
have lain undisturbed for many centuries in the bosom of the earth. Let
it be _our_ wish that she still continue to rest lightly on good and
bad alike.


[1] Aelian, Var. Hist. V. 14.

[2] Eurip., Sup. 524.

[3] Isoc., Plat. 416.

[4] Isaeus, de Nicos. Her. 78.

[5] Isae., de Phil. Her. 143.

[6] Lysias, in Philon 883.

[7] Aeschines, in Tim. 40.

[8] Hdt., 7, 133, Plat., Gorg. 516 E, and Ar., Nub. 1450.

[9] Plut., Them. 22.

[10] Pausan., 4, 18, 4.

[11] Thucyd., 1, 134.

[12] Aeschin., in Ctes. § 245.

[13] Simcox, ibid.

[14] Plato, Legg. IX., 12.

[15] Eurip., Troad. 446.

[16] Becker, Char. p. 401.

[17] Philostrates, Heroics 7, 8, 10.

[18] Thuc., I., 138.

[19] Eurip., Suppl. 934-37.

[20] Plut., Symp. 4, 2 and 3.

[21] Artemidorus, Oneirocritica, II., 9.

[22] Artemid., ibid.

[23] Demos. in Euerg. p. 1160.

[24] Eurip., Troad. 1137.

[25] Chariton, de Chaerea et Callirrhoe, IV., 1, 12.

[26] Callimachus, Epic. 18, cf. Epig. 19.

[27] Eurip. Helen. 1241.

[28] Chariton, IV, 1.

[29] Tacitus, Annales, 3, 5.

[30] Herodotus, 6, 58.

[31] Thucyd. 2, 34.

[32] Plut., Rom. Quaest. 5.

[33] Iliad, XXIII. 166.

[34] Odyssey, XI. 23, 50.

[35] Plutarch, Solon § 21.

[36] Koehler, Mittheilungen des deutschen Inst. 1. S. 143.

[37] Pindar, Olymp. 1, 90.

[38] Plato, Min. p. 315.

[39] Plutarch, Solon, 12.

[40] Plut., Lyc. 27.

[41] Eurip. Hecub. v. 430. Eurip. Phoeniss. v. 1400. Homer, Iliad, XI

[42] Lucian, De Luctu 10. Od. XI 425 and XXIV, 295.

[43] Seyffert, de nummis in ore defunctorum repertis, Dresden 1712.
Ross, Arch. aufsatze, 1, 3, 29, 32. Stackelberg, Graeben der Hellenen.
S. 42.

[44] Pottier, Étude sur les lecythes blancs attiques, p. 49.

[45] Aristophanes, Ranae, 140.

[46] Lucian, Cataplus, 18.

[47] Lucian, De Luctu, 11.

[48] Isaeus, de Philoctem., Her. p. 144. Isaeus, de Ciron. Her. p. 209.

[49] Iliad, XI. v. 395.

[50] Iliad, XXIV. v. 707-805.

[51] Eurip., Phoeniss. 1660.

[52] Aristoph., Eccles., 538.

[53] Plutarch, Timoleon, 26.

[54] Aristoph., Lysist., 602. Aristoph., Eccles. 538. Eurip., Phoeniss,

[55] Alciphron, Epist. 1, 36.

[56] Aristoph., Lysist. 601.

[57] Aristoph., Lysist. 601.

[58] Lucian, de Luctu, §11.

[59] Lucian, de Luctu, §11.

[60] Eurip., Alcestis, 843.

[61] Legg., 12, p. 947.

[62] Paus., 4, 13, 1.

[63] Plato, Legg. p. 947.

[64] Archilochus, in Plut. de Aud. Poet 6.

[65] Artemid., Oneirocr. II. 3.

[66] Iliad, XVIII. 353.

[67] Koehler, Mittheil. der deutsch., etc. I. S. 140, 255.

[68] Aeschines, in Cets. 77.

[69] Heydemann, Mittheil., aus Antik. S. 57.

[70] Iliad, XXIV. 79. Odyssey, V. 265.

[71] Museum of Varvakeion of Athens, Benndorf, S. 7.

[72] Museum of Art and Industry at Vienna, Benndorf, 33.

[73] Pottier Appendix.

[74] Schol. Plato, Hipp. min. p. 368 C.

[75] Plutarch, Aristides §21, p. 332.

[76] Pollux. VIII. 146.

[77] Aristoph., Lysist. (with Scholia), 613.

[78] Demosth., Macart., p. 1071.

[79] Antiphon, de Chor. p. 782.

[80] Demosth., Macart., p. 1071.

[81] Thucyd., 2, 34.

[82] Xen., Mem. 1, 2, 53.

[83] Iliad, XXIII., 71.

[84] Eustathius ad II. VIII., 410.

[85] Isaeus, de Philoc. Her. p. 143.

[86] Koehler, Mittheilungen des Deutschen Archaeologischen Institutes
in Athen, I. S. 140, 255.

[87] Dumont, Peint. Ceram., p. 55.

[88] Benndorf, Gr. u. Sicil. Vasenb. taf. I, S. 3.

[89] Benndorf, Gr. und Sicil. Vas. taf. 17, 2, 25.

[90] Benndorf, Gr. und Sicil. Vas. taf. 33, V. p. 12. 5.

[91] Anthology, Greek, VII., 199, 203-206.

[92] Ad. Aristoph., Lysist. 611.

[93] Bos. p. 410, chap. XIX.; Herman--Blümner, p. 364, §39; St. John,
p. 416.

[94] Eustath. ad Il. XIX. 212.

[95] Lysias, in Eratosth. p. 395.

[96] Becker, page 387.

[97] Pottier, plate I.

[98] Aristoph., Eccles. 1030.

[99] Aristoph., Eccles. 996.

[100] Schol. ad Plat. Hip. Min. p. 368 C.

[101] Ar., Eccles. 1032.

[102] Pottier, Plate p. 92.

[103] Pottier, p. 105 and Plates in Appendices.

[104] Dumont, Peint. ceram., p. 55.

[105] C. I. G. 8337 cf. 8346 K.

[106] C. I. G. 916. Kaibel, Epigrammata Graeca, 502, 523 Pottier, p.
70. Vidal-Lablache, De tit. fun. p. 58-67.

[107] Pollux VIII, 65. cf. Schol. ad Aristoph. Nub. 838.

[108] Aristoph., Eccles., 1033.

[109] Eurip., Alc. 99 et seq.

[110] Plato, Legg. 12, 959.

[111] Iliad XI., 395 and Iliad XXIV.

[112] Plutarch, Tim. 39.

[113] Plato, Legg. 12, 947.

[114] Plut., Sol., 12 and 21.

[115] Demos., Macart., p. 1071.

[116] Stob., Tit. 44. 40.

[117] Aesch., Choeph. 20-28.

[118] Eurip., Hecuba, 323.

[119] Aesch., Sept. cont. Theb. 323.

[120] De Luctu, 12.

[121] Plut., Consol. ad ux. 3; Midgley’s translation.

[122] Benndorf, Gr. und Sicil. Vas. taf. 17, 1, 33. Benndorf taf. I. S.

[123] Mitchell, Hist. Anc. Sculp. p. 491.

[124] Pottier. p. 56.

[125] Antiphon, Choreut., 34. Pollux, VIII., 146.

[126] Plato, Legg. 12, 959.

[127] Callimachus, Ep. 15.

[128] Diog. Laert., 1, 122.

[129] Plut., Tim. 39.

[130] Demosthenes, Macart., 1071. Theocr. 15, 132. Plato, Legg. 12, 960.

[131] Bos. p. 414.

[132] Iliad, XXIII., 226.

[133] Od., XXIV., 72.

[134] Demos., Macart. 1071; Plato, Legg. 12, 944; Plato, Legg. 12, 960.

[135] Plato, Legg. 12, 947.

[136] Pollux, VII, 195.

[137] Soph., Electra, 1488.

[138] Eurip., Alcestis, 607.

[139] Plutarch, Tim. 39.

[140] Plato, Legg. 12, 947.

[141] Lucian, Demon. 67.

[142] Iliad, XXIV., 721.

[143] Lucian, De Luctu, 19.

[144] Plato, Legg. 7, 800.

[145] Hesychius, s. v. Karinai.

[146] Pollux, IV., 75.

[147] Sext. Emp. adv. Mathem. VI., 18.

[148] Raoul. Rochette, p. 582.

[149] Bilderaltas, taf. XCIV., pl. 5.

[150] Demosth., in Macart. p. 1074.

[151] Lysias, De Caede Erat. p. 11.

[152] Terence, Andria, I., 1, 90.

[153] Catalogue of the Collection of M. Rayet, No. 26. Gaz. des
B--Arts, 1878.

[154] Annali, 1872; Monumenti, IX., tav, 39, 40.

[155] Micali, Monumenti, &c., tav. 96.

[156] Plato, Legg. XII. p. 947; C.; VII. 6, p. 796, C.

[157] Plutarch, Philopoemen, §21. 5.

[158] Lucian, De Luctu, 21.

[159] Wachsmuth, Hellen. Alterth. II. 2. p. 79.

[160] Plutarch, de Aud. Poet. 6.

[161] Plutarch, Solon, 12.

[162] Isaeus, De Nicos. Hered. p. 78.

[163] Plutarch, Tim. 39.

[164] Plutarch, Philop. 21.

[165] Diog. Laert., V. 70.

[166] Boettiger.

[167] Bos.

[168] Stackelberg, Pl. 7.

[169] Plut. Thes.

[170] Hermot. 78.

[171] Plut., Solon 10. Ael., Var. Hist. VII, 19. Diog. Laert., 1. 48.

[172] Ael., Var. Hist. V. 14.

[173] Plut., Lyc. 27.

[174] Thucyd., I. 134.

[175] Paus., 2. 7. 3.

[176] Athenaeus, IV. 49.

[177] Plato, Phaedo. p. 115.

[178] Stackelberg.

[179] Odys. XXIV. 70.

[180] Rhesus, 960.

[181] Lucian, Nigrin., 38.

[182] Il. VI, 418. Ody. XI. 74.

[183] Il. XXIII, 13, Ody. XXIV. 68.

[184] Il. XXIII. 220. Lucian, De Luctu 19.

[185] Aesch., Choeph. 86 and 128. Il. XXIII. 222.

[186] Il. XXIII. 250. Il. XXIV. 791.

[187] Andria, I. 1, 100.

[188] Soph., Elect., 54, 747, 1113.

[189] Plut., Philop. 21.

[190] Stackelberg, Pl. 7 and 8.

[191] Thucyd. II., 34.

[192] Pollux, X, 150.

[193] Pliny, Nat. Hist. 36, 17; 2, 96.

[194] Stackelberg, Pl. 7, No. 3.

[195] Stackelberg, Pl. 5 and 6.

[196] Stackelberg, Pl. 7, No. 1 and 2.

[197] Stackelberg, Pl. 8. See also _supra_, p. 62.

[198] Cum., Attic Sepulchral Inscriptions, Prolegomena.

[199] Herodotus, 1, 93.

[200] Benndorf, Gr. u. Sicil., Vasenb. taf. 24, 2.

[201] Lucian, XII., 22.

[202] Stackelberg, Pl. 5, No. 1.

[203] Pausanias, II., 7, 3.

[204] Stackelberg, Pl. 5, No. 1.

[205] Am. jour. arch. 5, p. 13.

[206] Stackelberg, Pl. 1, Nos. 2 and 3.

[207] Stackelberg, Pl. 2, No. 1.

[208] Stackelberg, Pl. 2, No. 2.

[209] Stackelberg, Pl. 2, No. 3.

[210] Pausanias, II., 7, 4.

[211] Milchhöfer, Die Museum Athens, S. 9.

[212] Journal of Hellenic Studies, V, 105.

[213] Plut., Dec. Orat., p. 364.

[214] Cic., Legg. II, 26, 66.

[215] Schol. ad Pind. Isth. 3, 110.

[216] Perrot, Hist. de l’Art, p. 161.

[217] Champollion, Lett. V, 185.

[218] Thuc. II, 17.

[219] C. I. G., 4278 (b.)

[220] Ar., Equit. 1312. and Ar., Ran. 477.

[221] Ar., Vesp. 829.

[222] C. I. G., 4278 (e.)

[223] C. I. G., 4278.

[224] C. I. G., 2448.

[225] Cic., Legg. II, 26.

[226] Plat., Legg. 12, p. 959.

[227] Lysias, in Diog. §21.

[228] Demos., in Steph., p. 1125.

[229] Plut., Dec. Or. Vit., p. 364.

[230] Cic., Legg. II, 26.

[231] C. I. G. 916.

[232] C. I. G. 989.

[233] Lucian, Nigr. 30.

[234] Paus. 2, 7, 4.

[235] Plut., Lyc. 27.

[236] C. I. G. 997.

[237] C. I. G. 632 & 942.

[238] Plut., Them. 32.

[239] Dec. Or. Vit. p. 406.

[240] Stklbrg. Pl. 7.

[241] _Infra_ p. 48.

[242] Stklb. Pl. 8.

[243] Stklb. Pls. 72-74. cf. Aristoph. Nub. 398.

[244] Plut., de Gen. Socr. 5.

[245] Strabo, 8, 6, 23.

[246] Pollux, 9, Seg. 15.

[247] Ety. Mag. at word.

[248] Ety. Mag. at word.

[249] In Euerg. p. 1159.

[250] C. I. G. No. 1003.

[251] Plut., Dec. O. V. p. 545.

[252] Plut., Cim. 2.

[253] Marcellinus.

[254] Demos., in Eubul. p. 1307.

[255] Cic. Legg. II, 26.

[256] Demos., in Macart. 1037.

[257] Plat. Min. p. 315.

[258] Thucyd. III. 104.

[259] Plut., Arat. 53.

[260] Paus., I, 29, 4.

[261] Thucyd. II, 34.

[262] Plut., Apoth. Lac. I. p. 954.

[263] Plut., Lyc. 27.

[264] Polyb., VIII. 30.

[265] Paus., I, 43, 2.

[266] Lucian, De Luctu, 24.

[267] Artemid., Oneir. V, 82.

[268] Demos., in Macart. 1071.

[269] Demos., de Corona, p. 321.

[270] Demos., de Corona, p. 321.

[271] Coulanges, La cité antique, chap. II.

[272] Cicero de Leg. II, 25.

[273] Suidas, at that phrase.

[274] Athen. X, 7, p. 427.

[275] Diog. Laert. VIII, 14.

[276] Plut. Solon. 21.

[277] Aesch. Pers. 615.

[278] Paus., V. 13, 2.

[279] Plut. Aris. 21.

[280] Bockh. ad Pind. Olymp. 1, 90.

[281] Lucian, Charon seu Cont. 22.

[282] Aristoph. Lysist. 610-612.

[283] Aristoph. Schol. ad Lysist. 612.

[284] Aeschin. in Ctesiph. p. 617.

[285] Isaeus, de Ciron. Her. p. 224.

[286] Plautus, Aul., II, 4, 45.

[287] Plut. Quaest. Gr. 24.

[288] Plut., Lycurg. 27.

[289] Pollux; I, 7, 66.

[290] Aesch. in Ctes. p. 468.

[291] Lysias; I. p. 15.

[292] Aristoph. Peace. 948. Eurip. Elec. 805-1142. Acharnians, 241.
Hercules Fur. 320.

[293] Michaelis, Der Parthenon, taf. 12, 5; 14, 5.

[294] P. Girard, Bull. de corr. hellen. II., p. 73.

[295] Plut. Aris. §21.

[296] Aristoph. Lysist., 601.

[297] Aeschy. Pers. 615. Eurip. Iph., 160, 632. Lucian, Char. §32. C. I.
G., No. 2248.

[298] Alcestis, 783.

[299] Suppliants, 782.

[300] Xen. Mem., II, 2, 13.

[301] Lycurg. in Leocr., p. 141.

[302] Isoc., Plat., p. 418.

[303] Aeschy., Pers., 408.

[304] Legg. 7, p. 800.

[305] Timaeus, Lex p. 41.

[306] Hesychius, genesia.

[307] Diog. Laert. X.

[308] Hdt. IV, 26.

[309] Hesychius, nekysia.

[310] Paus., 8, 4.

[311] Il. XXIII, 265-897.

[312] Od. XXIV, 85.

[313] Plut., Tim. 39.

[314] Isaeus, de Astyph. Her., p. 75.

[315] Isaeus, de Astyph. Her., p. 77.

[316] Soph., Ajax, 1372.

[317] Lucian, De Luctu, 20.

[318] Eurip., Alc. 334.

[319] Aeschyl., Choeph. 7.

[320] Eur., Helen. 1087.

[321] Eur., Alc. 215.

[322] Eur., Iphigen. Aul. 1416.

[323] Plut. Consol. ad Ux. 4.

[324] Artem., Oneir., II, 3.

[325] Athen, XV. ch. 5.

[326] Plut., Rom. Quaest. 14.

[327] De Superst. 7.

[328] Hdt. 9, 24.

[329] Plut., Alex. 72.

[330] Plut. Pelop., 33.

[331] Aelian, Var. Hist. VII, 8.

[332] Lysias, XIII, 40.

[333] Plut., Per. 38.

[334] Plut., Tim. 39.

[335] Legg. 12, 947.

[336] Plut., Quaest. Rom. 26.

[337] Eur., Alc. 462.

[338] Callimachus, Ep. 28.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber’s Note:

Italic text is denoted by _underscores_ and bold text by =equal signs=.

The punctuation in the table of contents has been regularized.

The positioning of footnote anchors has been regularized to precede
adjacent punctuation.

The punctuation in the footnotes has been regularized.

Variations in spelling and hyphenation remain as in the original unless
noted below.

  Page 5, comma added after “London” (“London, 1800”).
  Page 5, comma changed to period after “1882” (“Freiburg, 1882.”).
  Page 5, superfluous period removed in “La Cité Antique.”
  Page 6, “d Athénes” changed to “d’Athénes” (“d’Athénes et de Rome”).
  Page 8, “varities” changed to “varieties” (“The two varieties”).
  Page 12, double quotation mark added after “perform the customary
  Page 15, superfluous quotation mark removed after “says Thucydides,”
  Page 28, missing footnote anchor inserted after “twenty inches and more.”
  Page 31, period added after “near the figures.”
  Page 31, “uniformily” changed to “uniformly” (“the lecyths are not
    uniformly white”).
  Page 37, comma added after “lacerating of the cheeks.”
  Page 38, “convential” changed to “conventional” (“conventional sign of
  page 47, superfluous quotation mark removed after “a separate tomb for
  Page 48, “verifiation” changed to “verification.”
  Page 56, “typefies” changed to “typifies” (“the scene represented
  Page 63, “abont” changed to “about” (“about the beginning of the
  Page 63, “extravagence” changed to “extravagance” (“to check funeral
  Page 64, “frend” changed to “friend” (“Good friend, for Jesus’ sake”).
  Page 64, double quotation mark added after “he yt moves my bones.”
  Page 69, missing footnote anchor inserted after “remove the burying
  Page 77, missing footnote anchor inserted after “descriptions of
    religious ceremonies.”
  Page 81, “mercilesly” changed to “mercilessly” (“so mercilessly reduced
    their allies”).
  Page 81, “attibutes” changed to “attributes” (“attributes to the herald
    before the battle”).
  Page 85, footnote anchor following “let it grow long” regularized.
  Note 42, “DeLuctu” changed to “De Luctu.”
  Note 44, “Etude” changed to “Étude.”
  Note 93, “Blumner” changed to “Blümner.”
  Note 111, “liad” changed to “Iliad.”
  Note 297, “Eschy” changed to “Aeschy.”
  Note 325, “Plnt.” changed to “Plut.”

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