4 Weird Ancient Greek Beliefs About the Dead

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Trivial Diversions

4 Weird Ancient Greek Beliefs About the Dead

4 Weird Ancient Greek Beliefs About the Dead

In Ancient Greece, for the dead, things are a little different from Christian belief. For one thing, everyone goes to the Underworld. For another thing…

  1. You can’t touch them

There’s one thing you can say for sure about the dead in Greek myth – the living can’t touch them. In the Odyssey, when Odysseus goes to consult the deceased prophet Tiresias at an entrance to the Underworld, Odysseus sees his dead mother, and rushes to hug her. Odysseus can’t touch her – she drifts out of reach every time he tries.

  1. They get strength from blood

Despite the sad episode with his mother, Odysseus did come to speak to Tiresias. However, Tiresias was too weak to speak, so Odysseus killed a sheep and poured its blood into a ditch in the ground. Once Tiresias drank some of the blood, he was able to speak.

  1. If they weren’t buried, they weren’t in

Greek burials were very, very important – refusal to bury a person was seen as an affront to humanity. The reason for this is that, if left unburied, the soul of the dead person would never be allowed to enter the Underworld, stuck forever on the wrong side of the river Styx.

  1. Their existence had everything to do with remembrance on Earth

Another important part of funerals is remembering the ancestors. They only remained themselves in the afterlife so long as they were remembered by living people. Usually, this lasts only two generations or so, until they joined the ranks of the general dead.

Related topics ancient, dead, greece
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