Barnskrik i Hades? : Attityder till döda spädbarn i antika Grekland.

Detta är en Master-uppsats från Uppsala universitet/Antikens kultur och samhällsliv

Sammanfattning: In Homer’s work Iliad, Achilles is harassed in the sleep by the ghost of his friend Patroclus who demands a burial by him to be able to find peace. From this we get an understanding of how important it was for the ancient Greeks that their dead were given a proper burial for the soul to enter Hades and be able to find peace. If the deceased body was not buried, the soul became restless that harassed and had the power to harm the living. Infants belong to the group of individuals that do not appear to have had any consistent way of how to deal with them after they died. Some of them did not receive anything even close to a burial that a deceased adult would have received. Why infants were handled differently in certain contexts and locations is a mystery and begs the question of whether they were not considered to be people when they died and what was required to be considered worthy of a funeral when being dead. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether infants ended up in Hades or not, with the ancient Greeks' view of death and dead bodies as a theoretical starting point. To fulfill the purpose, the following questions were asked; how were dead infants handled? Were they considered to be 'real' individuals? How do the dead infants relate to the notions of becoming restless dead? To be able to answer these questions, I researched material from three different categories of evidence. The discussion has been divided into archaeological, iconographical, and literary sources. There are many different answers to the questions of this thesis as the different sorts of source material indicate diverse answers and attitudes to infants. It all probably depends on the different geographical places, economy, and status in society. These different answers also generate different attitudes to infants and whether they in fact were a real person. But through this thesis I have displayed factors that can support my theory about infants in Hades and that they – in worst case scenario – could end up like restless dead.

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