Death in the ancient world – as in all pre-industrial societies with a high degree of mortality – was part of everyday life. This blogspace is affiliated with a third-year BA course at the University of Groningen. Our aim is to investigate the different strategies that the Greeks and Romans developed in order to cope with death. We study different types of evidence – archaeological, textual, and visual – in order to reconstruct the mortuary rites, and focus on monumentality, funerals, gender- and status differences, and mourning rituals. Tombs, the cemeteries, funerals and commemorative rituals including banquets, sacrifice, and ancestor worship are key in understanding how Greeks and Romans expressed relationships with the dead, the supernatural, and with each other.
This site was developed in the spring of 2016 as part of the third-year BA course ‘Death in Antiquity’, for students of Classics, History, and Archaeology at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, and taught by Dr. Lidewijde de Jong (Groningen Institute for Archaeology) and Dr. Christina Williamson (Ancient History). The course focused on attitudes to death and the funerary ideology underlying the treatment of the dead in the Greek and Roman world, as well as current theoretical debates and methodological discussions. Students were acquainted with a wide range of primary sources -archaeological, epigraphical, iconographic, literary- and the kinds of information that they can provide. This website draws on research done by the individual participants, which they also delivered in workshop sessions and in essays, and is an exercise in communicating their results online to a wider audience.
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