Hannah R. Zegel
Mrs. Hannah Zegel
20 Oct. 2014
When They Die
Death is all around us. Death happens to everyone no matter if he wants it or not. Every religion has a different way of treating the dead. Some believe in reincarnation, the afterlife, and Hell. Though everyone’s beliefs are different,not all bury their dead, not all have ceremonies, and not all respect their dead. Homer’s epic poem “The Odyssey” did support the death, burial ritual, and belief systems of the Ancient Greek civilization. In ancient Greek religion, one belief was when someone dies he needed to receive at least a rudimentary burial to go on to the afterlife.Then the god Hermes would bring the soul and body to the underworld , but the river Styx would not allow him to pass unless he was given coins (“Death”).
In earlier times, the afterlife was thought to be a joyless and somber existence, though the underworld was not a place of punishment (“Greek Religion”). Unless one was someone who had offended the Gods personally, then he would be punished. The most important thing to do in life was to believe in the gods and perform the proper sacrifices and rituals. This would avoid reprisals both from gods and fellow human beings(“Greek mythology”). The main way ancient Greeks expected to build a good relationship with the gods was by sacrificing animals.
Sacrificing was usually offered to the Olympian Gods, at dawn outside a temple. A sacrifice represented a gift to the Gods for forgiveness or just happiness. Sacrifices were also made to Chthonic Gods. These sacrifices were of only black animals, and the sacrifice was performed in the evening.Unlike other animals, none of the sacrifices that went to the Chthonic gods were eaten (“ Greek Religion”). When sacrificing an animal, prayers would be said, the animal would be killed, and then burned in the fire. Only the main parts of the animals would be given to the gods. The rest of the animal would go to the priest to eat. Some animals were: the cows for Hera, the bulls for Zeus, and the pigs for Demeter ( “Greek Religion”). In “The Odyssey”, Odysseus did sacrifice animals.He did this when he went down to the underworld to hear about his future journey home from Teiresias (Fitzgerald 914: 585). When Odysseus went down to the underworld he had to sacrifice a black lamb into a fire pit just to talk to the prophet. So “The Odyssey” did support the death, burial ritual, and belief systems of the Ancient Greek civilization, by sacrificing to the gods because that was one thing the Greeks thought strongly about.
The Greeks believed if one went against a god he could not go into the afterlife(“Mythology”). So all of Odysseus’ men that ate the sacred cattle of the Sun God. The men would not go to the afterlife, they would be put in the underworld or be punished as that was what the ancient Greeks believed about everyone who sinned. Even if the men were good to the gods all their lives, one bite into the cow changed everything! In ancient Greek times the gods were like Nicki Minaj now a days but the gods were a bit more harsh. Everyone loved them, would do anything they said,and worshiping them would change one’s future.
The Greek culture and many others buried their dead along with supplies of food and other stuff for the “afterlife”. They also prepared the body for burial, including washing the body and dressing it in a special garment (“Death”). Ancient Greeks and Romans believed that the dead was carried across the ocean to be brought to the gods to determine if one would go to the underworld or afterlife.When zeus hit Odysseus's ship and the men went into the water, the God probably already knew to punish them. In “The Odyssey” the characters who died were not treated specially (“Mythology”). ...
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