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Pitt ANTH 0538 - Lecture 10

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I. Sumerian Deathways Summarya. Must put body in ground to start soul on journeyi. Relation between disposition of corpse and fate of soul (#2)ii. Sumerian punishment for worst crimes: Body impaled and cremated or left unburied – prevents soul from journeyb. Journey (intermediary period)i. Liminal, transitional, and dangerous period for the deceased and livingii. Voyage symbolism: boatsc. Sumerian info teaches us a new point about intermediary periodi. Actions of survivors are critical to fate of deceased (dead depends on the living, as in the Berawan case)d. Length of Sumerian Intermediary?i. Berawan – how long it takes for the body to rotii. For Sumerian – filling of Royal tombs was a “protected process”1. Were post-burial ceremonies rites of passage?e. Netherworld – not replicate life on earthi. Soul when fully dad, doesn’t need any grave goods once they get into the Netherworld, so the family reclaims them1. Fits the archeological recorda. Grave goods: traveling stuff to get the dead to Netherworld, then grave goods reclaimed at the end of intermediary periodf. Why Human Sacrifices?i. Woolley: they were royal retainers to continue serving the deadruler in the afterlife, but Sumerian Netherworld doesn’t work that wayii. Attendants/guards for dead ruler on journey to Netherworldiii. Rulers are high maintenance1. Puabi needs ladies in waiting and king needs harem of 64 wivesiv. Hertz: sacrifice – need to disappear from this world to the nextv. Souls were presented as gifts for NergalII. Is the Theater dead? (Not when the dead are theater)a. A performative perspective on funeral ritualb. Role of Rituali. Communicate and express ideas, values, attitudes1. Shape perceptions and interpretations of theseii. Create modal experiences (feelings)1. Emotionally charged ideas, values, etc2. Thinking of them later summons emotional statec. Analyzing from theatrical perspective helps us think of deathways as aperformance:i. Shift attention tomb objects to details of deathwaysii. Recreate funeral as sensory experience (activities create emotion)iii. Provides a set of categories for comparative viewpointd. Death Pit funerals would have made a great theater!i. Staging, death pits, massive setsii. Rare sightiii. Lots of labor (audience involvement in digging pit)iv. Ostension (movement, sightlines)v. Procession of people down rampsvi. Descending into the Underworldvii. Most of the audience couldn’t see the bottom of the pitviii. Action, plot, gripping drama, human sacrifices, costumes, lavishdress and adornment, visual emphasis of social distinctions, props, Standard of Ur, power symbols, multimedia, sensory experience, music, foodix. Audience: public level spectrum for burialx. Framing (length of acts)xi. A Great SpectralIII. Role of Deathways in Societya. Old View – funeral ceremonies, passive and reflectivei. Funeral “about the deadii. Grave goodsiii. Deathwaysb. New View – ceremonies, active in making social statementsi. Funeral “about” statements survivors making about the deadc. Woolley: What all this stuff tells us about Puabi?d. Today: What all this stuff tells us about what the people burying Puabi think?i. Death Pits about Power1. Images of power2. Clothing, jewels, rampant ram3. Sceptersii. Secular Power1. Not stressing religion2. Not buried in temples3. No images of gods4. Opposite of Egyptian royal tombsiii. Death of ruler is a transfer of leadership1. Kingship survives (king is dead…long live the king)2. Dangerous time politically3. Dead ruler buried by new ruler, so…deathways make statements about:a. Continuity in power of dynastyb. Legitimacy of successorc. Ancestry as claim to authorityd. Special nature of ruling class4. Royal funerals more “about” kingship than dead kinga. Ex. King Tut’s Tomb not a memorial to Tutb. More about Ayiv. Royal Burials1. Royal funerals = public theater2. Ancient “media events”3. Propaganda opportunity4. Successor to throne gains from organizing funeral pageant:a. Community solidarityb. Exercise authority5. Role of royal deathways  Creation of


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