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Burial Practice

Post  Nikoletta on Tue Jun 09, 2015 12:02 am

Now I know that no one wants to think of their own death but I was curious if anyone had any information on the Hellenic burial rites? Such as what kind of coin is to be placed under the tongue for passage in the afterlife? Were most people cremated such as the vikings or were they buried as the dead are today? Are there rules on whether or not we can be cremated or buried in a special way.

I only ask because like many of you the people of my family are not  followers of Olympianism, and I wanted to draw up how I am to be buried should something happen to me while they are the ones who would be carrying out my burial.

Thanks for any information.

Nikoletta

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Re: Burial Practice

Post  DavidMcCann on Tue Jun 09, 2015 1:45 pm

As with us, the choice between burial and cremation was a matter of fashion. In the Bronze Age, the Greeks buried, then cremation came in, and by Roman times they were burying again.

The practice of giving a coin obviously started after the introduction of coinage and probably as part of the practice of putting gifts in the grave or with the ashes, like a piece of jewelry or a dress. The "fee for Charon" idea grew up later.

The funeral was always followed by a meal for the guests.

The book "Hellenic polytheism: household worship" gives details of what the Labrys group in Greece do today, complete with suggested prayers to Hermes, Hekate, and Hades.


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Re: Burial Practice

Post  Nikoletta on Tue Jun 09, 2015 11:07 pm

Is there a specific kind of coin that we should use that you know of? Does it have to be Greek or of a certain value?

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Re: Burial Practice

Post  DavidMcCann on Wed Jun 10, 2015 12:56 pm

I shouldn't think so. As I said, Greek did without a coin for centuries because there were no coins: they were unknown to Hesiod and Homer, and the latest fad to Pythagoras. The smallest value in Classical Greece was the obol, which would buy a pound of bread.

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Re: Burial Practice

Post  Erodius on Sun Jun 14, 2015 1:28 pm

The 'Charon's obol' is a common practice from Classical interment, but is not universal. Though traditionally called 'Charon's obol' it was not inherently any particular type of coin; an obol was simply a particularly easily available coin. Some coins used had greater value, whereas others were essentially tokens, made expressly for funerary purposes.

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