Greek and Roman Ghost Stories

Greek and Roman Ghost Stories

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The ancients strongly believed that those who died without proper burial could not cross the River Styx for at least one hundred years. According to Virgil, they were doomed to wander the banks until the years had elapsed. In Homer's Odyssey, Odysseus, in the course of practicing a rite to safely enter Hades, spoke briefly with a ghostly warrior to whom he promised a fitting burial on his way home. Ghosts were tied to murders and violent deaths. Suetonius, in The Twelve Caesars describes how Nero arranged to have his mother killed, yet "often admitted that he was hounded by his mother's ghost..." Suetonius also records that Nero "set Persian magicians at work to conjure up the ghost and entreat its forgiveness." Persians and Egyptians had long reputations for magic, divination, and the ability to deal with the supernatural. Magic and even the assistance of gods and goddess as in the case of Odysseus were often vital. As Daniel Ogden writes, "contact with ghosts...could often be fatal to the living." In Jean-Claude Schmitt's detailed Ghosts in the Middle Ages, a group of ghosts carousing around a church altar suddenly attack and kill a priest who had come late at night to witness the phenomena. Ghosts and Demons Contrasted by the Early Church In the Gospel of Mark (5.1-20) Jesus arrived at Gerasenes and was confronted by a "man from the tombs with an unclean spirit." In the ancient world, it was a common belief that ghosts inhabited tombs. Many of these ancient tombs lay outside the communities of the living, necropoleis containing the sarcophagi of the deceased. The man confronting Jesus was said to have "had his dwelling among the tombs" and was infected with many demons. For many reasons, ghosts could be viewed as "unclean" spirits. The differentiation with the notion of "demon" as a separate evil spirit associated with the legions of Satan is a Christian more

Product details

  • Paperback | 74 pages
  • 215.9 x 279.4 x 4.32mm | 249.47g
  • Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 148269185X
  • 9781482691856