Get 20M+ Full-Text Papers For Less Than $1.50/day. Start a 14-Day Trial for You or Your Team.

Learn More →

Picking over the bones: the practicalities of processing the Athenian war dead

Picking over the bones: the practicalities of processing the Athenian war dead AbstractThucydides’ account of the Athenian war dead creates a false image of a clean and efficient, systematic processing of the dead. To look beyond his description it is necessary to assess the practicalities involved in the process. In so doing, it has been necessary to reassess our own historical models. The logistics of identifying the dead accurately, combined with the amount of wood necessary to offer a complete cremation for hundreds of bodies, brings into question the notion that the war dead were cremated by tribe and kept separate up to their public burial. Similarly the notion of ash or bone returning to Athens is too clean, so use of the term “cremains” is proposed to offer an accurate terminology and bring ancient history in line with archaeological practices. When the practicalities and logistics involved in the processing of the dead are considered, some significant issues are raised concerning not only our own presumptions, but also the narrative that Thucydides himself offers. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Ancient History de Gruyter

Picking over the bones: the practicalities of processing the Athenian war dead

Journal of Ancient History , Volume 6 (2): 18 – Nov 27, 2018

Loading next page...
 
/lp/de-gruyter/picking-over-the-bones-the-practicalities-of-processing-the-athenian-L3s9LfB7F0
Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston
ISSN
2324-8114
eISSN
2324-8114
DOI
10.1515/jah-2018-0002
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

AbstractThucydides’ account of the Athenian war dead creates a false image of a clean and efficient, systematic processing of the dead. To look beyond his description it is necessary to assess the practicalities involved in the process. In so doing, it has been necessary to reassess our own historical models. The logistics of identifying the dead accurately, combined with the amount of wood necessary to offer a complete cremation for hundreds of bodies, brings into question the notion that the war dead were cremated by tribe and kept separate up to their public burial. Similarly the notion of ash or bone returning to Athens is too clean, so use of the term “cremains” is proposed to offer an accurate terminology and bring ancient history in line with archaeological practices. When the practicalities and logistics involved in the processing of the dead are considered, some significant issues are raised concerning not only our own presumptions, but also the narrative that Thucydides himself offers.

Journal

Journal of Ancient Historyde Gruyter

Published: Nov 27, 2018

There are no references for this article.