Chapter

Greece and Rome

John Casey

in After Lives

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780195092950
Published online February 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199869732 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195092950.003.0005
Greece and Rome

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In ancient Greece a new idea of immortality emerges—hope, not for personal survival, but fame and eternal memory. This becomes an official doctrine of both Greece and Rome, but one might doubt how far it was truly believed in. The melancholy underworld of the shades, conscious only if they drink sacrificial blood, makes the “official” doctrine of civic virtue, with a readiness to die for the city both heroic and scarcely possible. Skepticism about civic virtue, especially in some Greek and Roman epitaphs, is explored, as is the hope of future life in the religion of Orphism. The chapter ends with discussion of Lucretius, Horace, Plato, and Aristotle.

Keywords: underworld; civic virtue; fame; skepticism; Orpheus; epitaphs; Lucretius; Plato; Aristotle

Chapter.  16857 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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