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DEATH AND BURIAL THROUGH THE MIDDLE AGES AND RENAISSANCE

CHRISTIAN INFLUENCES
Dead brought to church for Requiem Mass
Simplicity and Dignity were important
Became more elaborate after 1066 AD
Especially for the wealthy
CHRISTIAN FUNERALS
Tolling the bell
Embalming or anointing
Wrapping body in fine linen
Lying in state
Use of black draperies, torches and candles
Three day vigil
CHRISTIAN FUNERALS
Requiem Mass
Burial
Funeral feast

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CHURCH AND CEMETERY
Became prevalent after Constantine’s “Edict of Toleration” (313 AD)
Worship and burial became public
“Concern for sanitation” replaced by “Concern of Sentiment”
Burial within the city walls
ATTEMPTS TO END INTRAMURAL BURIAL
Theodosius in 381
Justinian in 534
Pope Gregory the great in 590
Charlemagne in 742
* all were ignored.
PROBLEMS WITH CHURCH BURIALS
Included “intramural” burial
In wall, under altars and floors
Use of incense, myrrh other fumigates
Eventually
only clergy and famous people
Remaining individuals in church cemetery
PROBLEMS WITH DISEASE
“Miasma theory”
Dead infected the air
Required burial in “clean” church cemetery
Church cemeteries became overcrowded
No embalming or coffins
Use of communal plots
THE PURGATORIAL DOCTRINE
The Catholic doctrine of purgatory
Those souls not perfectly cleansed required ” cleansing” before entering heaven
Place of temporary punishment
Led to formation of leagues of prayer
Steward of the Guild made arrangements
Church was paid “soul shot” or “mortuary fee”
THE WAKE
The vigil (wake) of the dead was originated out the Hebrew practice
Avoid premature burial
Act of Piety (reverence)
Said prayers for the dead
By 10th century, included riotous and drunken behavior
“Rousing the ghost”
THE WAKE
Primarily to pray for the dead
Secondarily it served as an opportunity for those present at death to clear themselves of foul play
Those not present to ensure no foul play had taken place
FUNERAL FEAST
Another action of the wake
Old world for funeral feast is “averil” or “arvel” meaning
– “Heir ale” or “succession ale”
Divided the state
Drank ale with the new heir
STATE FUNERALS
Royalty and other dignitaries
Lasted one week or more
Used “effigy” or wax death masks
Replaced decomposing body
Included “bone burial” (Henry V)
TOMBS AND MONUMENTS
Began with use of stone coffins
Lids formed pavement outside church
Some with carvings such as a cross for piety or an emblem of occupation
Effigy of the deceased
THE PLAGUE
Bubonic plague or “Black death”
Great plague of London (1664-65)
15% of the population died (68,596)
No funerals
Cemeteries overloaded (trench graves)
People feared handling the dead
Still no cremation (pagan practice)
SOCIAL DEVELOPMENTS
Elaborate funerals became popular
Burial clubs formed (quarterage)
“Burial in Woolen Act” (1666)
Repealed in 1814
Mourning colors (white,black and purple)
Widow’s behavior and clothing
LOCAL CUSTOMS
Sprinkled dirt on the body or coffin
Sprig of rosemary
Buried with feet towards east
“Sin-eater” (bread and beer)
PRE-OCCUPATION WITH DEATH
Physical side of death
Charnal houses (bones or burial)
– A house where bones or bodies are deposited
Executed bodies left hanging
Death poems and art
“momento mori” (“Remember that thou wilt die”)
Death Dances
EMERGENCE OF THE SEXTON
Importance of burial in church cemetery
Seton caretakers of church property
Ringing the church bell
Dug Graves
Eventually responsible for the cemetery
HEART AND BONE BURIAL
Heart and other organs
Martyrs and saints
“Holy Relic”
Bones of soldiers killed in battle
Returned home for burial
EMBALMING
Considered Mutilation
Rarely practice (less than 1%)
Evisceration
Spices,drugs and wrappings
Cerecloth (cered up)
Very expensive
SURGEONS AND ANATOMIST
Shortage of cadavers
Experimented with embalming
Evisceration
Dried and filled with various materials
Wrapped with cloth

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DEATH AND BURIAL THROUGH THE MIDDLE AGES AND RENAISSANCE
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CHRISTIAN INFLUENCES Dead brought to church for Requiem Mass Simplicity and Dignity were important Became more elaborate after 1066 AD Especially for the wealthy CHRISTIAN FUNERALS
2017-10-27 13:19:15
DEATH AND BURIAL THROUGH THE MIDDLE AGES AND RENAISSANCE
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