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Death-Ritual and Social Structure in Classical Antiquity by Ian Morris

By Ian Morris

The executive objective of this publication is to teach how burials can be utilized as a uniquely informative resource for Greek and Roman social heritage. Burials allow a much wider diversity of inference and perception than the literary texts produced by way of and for a slim social elite, and by means of learning them intensive Dr. Morris is ready to supply new interpretations of social swap in Graeco-Roman antiquity. the foremost interdisciplinary value of the booklet lies in its try to holiday down boundaries among archaeologists and historians of other societies and cultures.

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Additional info for Death-Ritual and Social Structure in Classical Antiquity (Key Themes in Ancient History)

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Was it just the quantity that changed, or did their distribution change too? Vague impressions are useless; only accurate quantification will do. Sometimes statistical tests will show that the patterns scholars thought they saw are not really there at all, but quantification is not a substitute for historical thought: it is a method to clarify it. I suggest five axes along which we can range the evidence in searching for patterns and their significance. In practice, we look along all axes at once.

D. 115)). Three hundred years later, though, Macrobius could say that cremation was the sort of thing that people only read about in books (Sat. 5). Two interesting stories, to be sure. There are strict limits on what we can do with them, but they hint at the biggest single event in ancient burial, the change in 'the Roman custom' from cremation to inhumation. 1 This is the first of two linked chapters dealing specifically with the body. The body is a uniquely powerful medium for ritual communication, furnishing a set of 'natural symbols', as some would call them.

What he says is more likely to be, 'This is odd. This is ritual. Why do they do it like that? There is more to this than meets the eye. ' (G. Lewis 1980: 7-8) Lewis shows us two ways to interpret symbolism, which I will call 'direct' and 'linguistic' interpretations. The first is simple: action A signifies idea B, etc. Symbolism is just a code. We find out what A means, and our job is easy. This is a well-established tradition. Cumont's work is the best example in classics of the reduction of symbolic analysis to a series of equations: the snake means death, the olive means life, the egg is a sign of rebirth and so on.

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