Monday, January 16, 2012

Romans hated their dead

Well, that's a bit harsh. ets say they could have given a rat's a** about them. Literally. The places were strewn with trash and garbage. Our cemeteries tend to be well manicured and tended areas. Sacrosanct. A place where we go to remember the dead and well, other stuff.

The Romans were not so concerned with the dead, or more particularly, the places they were buried. This article on Pompeii provides some inside and what I consider a well thought out cultural interpretation of the finds.

"In general, when a Roman was confronted with death, he or she was more concerned with memory than with the afterlife. Individuals wanted to be remembered, and the way to do that was a big tomb in a high-traffic area. In other words, these tombs and cemeteries were never meant to be places for quiet contemplation. Tombs were display -- very much a part of every day life, definitely not set apart, clean or quiet. They were part of the 'down and dirty' in life."

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