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DISPOSAL OF THE DEAD.


Both in Greece and Rome earth-burial and cremation were employed for the disposal of the dead. Near the Temple of Faustina in the Roman Forum, under the Via Sacra, have been found the graves of some of the dwellers of the hills before Romulus founded the city. In Rome, burial within the city was forbidden from the time of the Twelve Tables. Exceptions were made in the case of emperors, vestal virgins, and famous men, such as those who had been honoured with triumphs. The large cemetery for the poor lay on the east side of the city and the tombs of the rich were along the roadsides. The remains of some of these can now be seen along the Appian Way. One of these tombs is the Tomb of the Scipios, which, as Byron wrote, "contains no ashes now." Near the Tomb of the Scipios can be seen a door with high steps which leads to the columbaria. These are little rooms provided with pigeon-holes for the reception of the ashes of the freedmen of notabilities. Inscriptions show that some of these freedmen were physicians, and others musicians and silversmiths. The shops of the perfumers stood in a part of the Forum on the Via Sacra. Perfumes were much used at incinerations to disguise the smell of decomposition before the fires were kindled. The Christians opposed cremation and favoured earth burial, and in time the business of the perfume-sellers failed, and Constantine bought their shops.

The Catacombs were used almost entirely by the Christians. If all the passages of the Catacombs could be placed in line, it is said that they would extend the whole length of Italy. They were hewn out of volcanic soil very well suited for the purpose, and were probably extensions, in the first place, of quarries made for the purpose of obtaining building cement. They were used by the Christians, not only for the religious rite of burial, but also as secluded meeting places. The bodies were laid in loculi, sometimes in two or three tiers, the loculi being filled in with earth and stone.

Many of our public health regulations had their counterpart in ancient times, for instance, any factory or workshop in Rome which created a public nuisance had to be removed outside the city. The spoliarium of the Coliseum was an ancient morgue.

A detached building or room, valetudinarium, was provided in large houses for sick slaves. This was for the purpose of preventing infection as well as for convenient attendance on the sick.


Footnotes:

[42] "Dict. of Gr. and Rom. Antiq.," Smith, vol. i, p. 150, to which the author is indebted for much of the information herein supplied.



Table of Contents


  OUTLINES OF
  GREEK AND ROMAN
  PREFACE.
  EARLY ROMAN MEDICINE.
  EARLY GREEK MEDICINE.
  MACHAON (SON OF ASKLEPIOS),
  HIPPOCRATES.
  "THE LAW.
  "THE OATH.
  PLATO, ARISTOTLE, THE SCHOOL OF ALEXANDRIA AND EMPIRICISM.
  THE ALEXANDRIAN SCHOOL.
  ROMAN MEDICINE AT THE END OF THE REPUBLIC AND THE BEGINNING OF THE
  IN THE REIGN OF THE
  PHYSICIANS FROM THE TIME OF AUGUSTUS TO THE DEATH OF NERO.
  THE FIRST AND SECOND CENTURIES OF THE CHRISTIAN ERA.
  GALEN.
  I.--WORKS ON ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY.
  II.--WORKS ON DIETETICS AND HYGIENE.
  III.--ON PATHOLOGY.
  IV.--ON DIAGNOSIS.
  V.--ON PHARMACY, MATERIA MEDICA, AND THERAPEUTICS.
  VI.--SURGERY.
  THE LATER ROMAN AND BYZANTINE PERIOD.
  INFLUENCE OF CHRISTIANITY ON ALTRUISM AND THE HEALING ART.
  ROMAN HOSPITALS.
  GYMNASIA AND BATHS.
  GYMNASTICS.
  GREEK AND BATHS
  SANITATION.
  THE WATER-SUPPLY.
  DRAINAGE.
  DISPOSAL OF THE DEAD.
  APPENDIX.
  FEES IN ANCIENT TIMES.
  INDEX.


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