"Death may be universal, but just as every culture has found ways of living life differently, they have also found different and sometimes extraordinary ways to deal with dying and the effects that it has on the people left behind. This wide-ranging book examines the compelling subject of death and burial in varied cultures, societies and ages. It considers the rituals surrounding death, from the drama of medieval French royal funerals to the live burials of the Dinka in the Sudan, and from facing death with the 5000 strong terracotta army, as the first Chinese Emperor Shihuangdi did in 260BC, to the elaborate mausolea of wealthy Victorians. Covering all periods in history and religions, 'The history of death' also examines the differing approaches to funerals, whether solemn, celebratory, drunken or even sexually promiscuous. It illuminates the combination between the earthly and spiritual in funeral rites, the practices of human sacrifice and ritual killing, as well the processes of grieving, burial, cremation, remembrance and the differing concepts of life after death. But far from being a morbid study, 'The history of death' balances grim facts with intriguing details drawn from many continents and epochs. An intriguing yet sensitive treatment, 'The history of death' includes more than 100 remarkable photographs and artworks of representations of death and funerary rituals." -- dust jacket.
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