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By Emily Vermeule

The traditional Greeks committed a good portion in their poetic and inventive strength to exploring topics of loss of life. Vermeule examines the proof and fictions of Greek loss of life, together with burial and mourning, visions of the underworld, souls and ghosts, the worth of heroic loss of life in conflict, the search for immortality, the associated powers of dying, sleep, and love, and extra.

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3~ The only element of metaphysical belief which presents itself seems to be the occasional representatiorl of the PSJ'che as a bird, the renowned soul-bird whose native habitat is Egypt. who is at home until the late classical period in Greece also, Sophokles' Eint-rEpor Opvtr "one after the other like a lovely-winged bird you may see them rushing faster than ravening fire to the shore of the western god " (OT 174}. T he famous tcrracotta funeral cart from rural Attica (fig. 12) FlO. J 2 The procession to the grave with mourners) a child, and a sou) ..

Copyngilted rJai nal D EATH IN T HE BRONZE AGE 45 Mycenaean gold masks are only elaborations of this old effort to preserve individual features in memory; classical eye ba nds stamped with open. I. • Wherever earth-buria l was even a sporadic custom, it was common p ractice to spread stones over the body in a light screen, to keep animals otT (fig. 3). A stone was often placed near the head, sometimes as a pillow, sometimes in the mout h; 3 stone became closely associated with the de-ad for its durable and protective q ualities.

327), an image trans· ferred from thrown spears or raised swords. He has heavy hands once (XXI. 414), but die impact of that formula is softened, a.. f]s, a mist or darkness, as a wave overwhelms a ship. Thanatos can make an ugly noise, Sv07Jris, but never docs so when a ma n dies; the noise is in the minds of gods who fear fo r particular men, like anxious parents liste ning for a crash. l. :rf)p l-rl-rawE 1"~av-ra. Tot<>. as Zeus setS the keres of death in the gold scale-pans to affirm externally the identity of die one who will die.

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