History Paper Burial Practices, Concept of After Life Ancient Romans and Egyptians

1046 Words May 27th, 2013 5 Pages
The concept of afterlife existed among many ancient civilizations. It was met as a way of understanding the present or as a way to predict the future depending on their needs. As such, in order to explain the unknown phenomenon that impacted their daily life, early tribes saw natural events as simple as the rain and the winds or birth and death and regarded them to be controlled by supernatural powers related to the gods, demons, the moon, the sun or other external driving forces. Ancient people sought protection for survival and power to maintain order with the tribes by practicing rituals which were aimed to invoke the spirit of the deceased. However, as civilizations evolved with time, their beliefs became more complex and profound. …show more content…
However, the suffering in the other world would end eventually. Romans’ funeral rituals usually included washing the corpse, laying it flat on a sofa or bed, and dressing it with the finest clothes that individual had ever possessed. A coin would then be placed under the tongue or on the eyes so that he could pay the “ferryman Charon” for rowing him to the land of the dead.

The marble urn I observed at the Met dated from mid 1st – 2nd century A.D. was used to place the ashes of the deceased after the body was cremated. As time went by, they came to understand that the dissolution of the body was inevitable and the physical body was only a temporary host of the soul. This piece of artifact provided evidence that in ancient Romans’ point of view, the remains of the physical body had to be disintegrated in order for the soul to begin a new life. It is reasonable to conclude that Romans regarded cremating the body of the dead as a naturally faster way to begin the life in the other world than slow disintegration of the corpse.

On the other hand, Egyptians believed that the person’s physical body was more than a temporary host and it had to remain intact, a condition necessary to attain the afterlife. Moreover, they contemplated the idea that a person was the combination of several elements such as, the “ba”, which was the non physical part of the individual and the “ka” which was a universal force shared by all.

Furthermore, in
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