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Death

(3,898 words)

Author(s): S.LU. | Walde, Christine (Basle) | Englhofer
[German version] I. Ancient East and Egypt A range of archaeological and textual sources from varied walks of life bear eloquent testimony to the intensity of the attempts of coming to term with death in ancient eastern cultures ( Burial and mourning rituals and the related cult of the  dead), as displayed in forms of  funerary architecture, burial objects and the extensive  funerary literature. As is evident from textual sources, this struggle occupied a large part of everyday human existence [5]. On …

Birth

(3,568 words)

Author(s): King, Helen (Reading) | Englhofer, Claudia (Graz)
[German version] I. Medical In antiquity people had differing opinions as to how long an embryo took to develop in the womb and even with regard to the length of a normal pregnancy. Some believed that the foetus had all the necessary body parts seven days after conception (e.g. Corpus Hippocraticum, Carn. 19 = 8,612 L.), others were of the opinion that the male foetus required 30 days to form and the female 42 days, with the expulsion of the lochia after birth of correspondingly different duration […

Birthday

(1,255 words)

Author(s): Englhofer, Claudia (Graz)
(γενέθλιος ἡμέρα; genéthlios hēméra, natalis dies). A. Greece [German version] 1. Private birthday celebrations In Greece birthday celebrations were closely connected with religious views. They were less concerned with the person himself than with the ἀγαθὸς δαίμων γενέθλιος ( agathòs daímōn genéthlios), his personal tutelary divinity -- it was not considered that he had been born with him at the same time, as [3. 217] believes, but that he would pick him at birth (Pl. Phd. 107d; Resp. 617e) and accompany him through his whole life (Me…

Ultima verba

(640 words)

Author(s): Englhofer, Claudia (Graz)
[German version] ('last words'). The citation of true or fictitious ultima verba (UV) was popular in Antiquity and appeared as a literary topos, esp. in biographic and historiographic literature, in rhetorical literature and in purely literary works ([1. 7-22] with examples). It was intended to illustrate the character and attitude of the dying person. Occasionally, a conversation was transmitted which the person in question was claimed to have had with a confidant during his last hours ([2]; cf. Xenophon'…