CHAPTER 3 Death and Burial Through the Middle Ages and Renaissance
Christian Influence During the Early Middle Ages • Timeline- 400AD-1400AD
Funeral Schemes 668-690 AD • Carry dead to the church for Requiem Mass • Anoint them with holy water • Celebrate the masses • With chanting they carried the body to the grave • Placed in the tomb where a prayer was offered • Covered with earth or stone
Funeral Schemes 668-690 AD • Persons were buried in costumes that indicated their position in life. • What are some of the “Costumes” that we might see used today? • Are there any costumes that you might consider inappropriate? • What function does the “costumes” serve?
400AD The Anglo-Saxon Period • What is an Anglo-Saxon? • Anglo-Saxon can be used in various contexts to mean people predominantly descended from the English ethnic group, in England as well as other Anglophone countries • They Placed the body on bier • The book of the Gospels were placed as a symbol of faith at the funeral • The cross was used as a symbol of hope • A pall of silk or linen was on the body • Friends and family followed the body to the place of interment
400AD The Anglo-Saxon Period • A mass was sung in the morning if the grave had been reached in the evening. • The soul shot or mortuary fee was paid • Body was laid in the grave • Alms given to the poor • What do you think about the mortuary fee being paid before burial?(now that we have had a week to think about it)
After Norman Conquest in 1066 • Funeral might last a full week • Tolling of the bells began at the moment of death • Embalming first appeared which consisted of anointing w/ herbs and spices • Body wrapped in winding sheet of fine linen, often a wedding present
After Norman Conquest in 1066 • The body was carried from the death chamber into the great hall of the manor or palace (for nobility only) • Lie in state with black hangings and wax torches • as many as 400 candles burned at one burial even though it was very expensive • After 3 days body was sealed in a lead coffin
After Norman Conquest in 1066 • Taken to church for a mass • Deceased’s clothes were distributed to the poor • Body was buried • Went back to the hall for “Funeral Baked Meats” • Was this a precursor to the wake?
Burial • They went back and forth about whether or not to have burial inside or outside the city. They did both. Intramural Extramural
Disposal and Contagion • They believed that the dead infected the air. • They used precautions such as: • special removal of the corpses • the depth of the graves (6 Feet, not likely at this time) • prohibition of exposing the dead on the streets(“bring out your dead”) • a guard against visiting ships
The Purgatorial Doctrine Formation of League of Prayer • Doctrine- Those souls which are not perfectly cleansed undergo a process of cleansing before they can enter heaven. • Steward of the Guild- made necessary funeral arrangements including Requiem Mass, burial, payment of the mortuary fee, distribution of the alms. • Soul shot=Mortuary fee
The Purgatorial Doctrine Formation of League of Prayer • Death Watch- the Crier or Death Crier was the person who rang the bell and told of the death.
The Wake • Used as a precaution against premature burial. • During the 11th century began rioting and drunkenness. • During the 14th century they played a game called “Rousing the Ghost.”
Funeral Feasts • Welcomed the principal heir to his new estate • Placed a cup of wine in the coffin next to the corpse and the mourners drank it as a symbol of communion with the dead.
Funerals of the State • Waxen death masks were called a waxen effigy. They were used in place of the real body. • More hygienic • More aesthetic • Henry V was boiled. • He died in France where his flesh was buried. • His bones were returned to Westminster Abbey.
Tombs and Monuments • Stone coffin lids laid side by side to form the pavement of the churches and were marked with a carved symbol like a cross, or with the occupation of the deceased preceded by a carved effigy of the person.
Plagues and Black Death • The cycles of epidemic in the 14th century in England were known as Black Death. • Plague of London, 1664-1665, out of 460,000 people, there were 68,596 death in 1665 alone. • Effect of plague on cemeteries • The dead were buried at night until there wasn’t enough time to bury all of them at night so they had to start burying in the day as well.
Plagues and Black Death • In August of 1563, 5000 people a week were dying and the tolling of the bell was halted. • There were so many people dying that Christian burial rites were stopped. • Estimated 50,000 bodies were buried in the present Charter House in London. • BUT NO CREMATION WAS CONSIDERED BECAUSE OF RELIGIOUS REASONS!!!!
Introduction of Coffin Burial • Coffin is from the Greek word Kofinos meaning basket, coffer or chest. • The Roman coffin was called an arca and the patera (a cup) was placed in the coffin for drinking.
Social Developments and Funeral Practices • The end of the middle ages found an increase in ostentation. What is ostentation?
Burial Clubs • Mostly in the form of guilds they • provided prayers • masses • yearly reminders • a pall or “mort” cloth • paid a fee for the chaplain and candles and other equipment and supplies.
Burial Clubs • The people paid a fee to be in the club. • It was a full-time occupation of inviting people to the funeral. • A bell ringer also came from the club. • What type of help does the church provide today? • What are burial/cremation societies like today? • What do they do?
Shrouds • The burial shroud was changed from linen to wool. • The Burial in Woolen Act of 1666 • What do you think they wanted the linen for?
Mourning Colors • Egyptian and Burmese were yellow • Persians, brown • Armenians and Syrian, light blue • Chinese was white as a symbol of hope • Modern is black but white for children.
Widow in the Middle Ages • Code of conduct • a widow was expected to retire to a convent • only the young were allowed to remarry • Required clothing • Babre was like a covering for the face • The widow’s bonnet was like a nun’s habit • Wore white cuffs
Influence of Local Customs • Custom of the Protestants to sprinkle a handful of dirt on the corpse • Jewish custom was to place a bag of earth in the coffin • “Sin-eater” ate a loaf of bread, and drank a bowl of beer, took 6 pence from the family and took the sins of the deceased on himself to keep the ghost from wandering.
Influence of Local Customs • Burial for Christian clergy was toward the east because Christ will return in the East.
Preoccupation • The medieval people had a preoccupation with the physical side of death. • The decomp made it an issue rather than the soul. • They had mortality plays and a death dance.
Emergence of the Sexton • He was an underofficer of the church. • He took care of church property, rang the bells, and dug the graves. • The Christians did not like embalming because they felt it was mutilation but still did it because: • When in Rome do as the Romans do. • They wanted to be buried in the church so they had to embalm because it stunk.
Special Burials • Independent Heart Burial • the hearts of saints and martyrs were preserved as holy relics and buried in the churches. • Independent Bone Burial • Used honey for transit. • Boiled the body and buried the bones. • Who did we learn about earlier that had independent bone burial?
Embalming During the Middle Ages • When practiced it was for sanitary reason • Procedure- bandaged and spiced
Introduction of the Surgeon and Anatomist • Why do you think they were interested in embalming? • Embalming procedure • Remove the intestines, stomach, liver, pancreas, kidneys, and esophagus because they decomposed first. • Opened the body and washed with water, alcohol, and rose-water.
Introduction of the Surgeon and Anatomist • Dried and filled with spices, cotton, and chemicals. • Filling the body let it smell better, dry out, and helped preserved its shape.
Reformation • Influence of the reformation in Christian funeral beliefs and practices • Rejection of the Doctrine of Purgatory was given by Martin Luther. What did Martin Luther find that led him away from Catholicism? • Decrease of the Burial Clubs because of the rejection of prayers for the dead. • Decrease in ostentation.