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3 - Essay Example

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Honored in Life, Remembered in Death 1. Introduction and thesis All humankind is mortal, but the annals of history are replete with objects that manifest people’s defiance of what should have been their imminent descent into obscurity after death. It is a universal desire that people be remembered in death for the work and good deeds they have performed in life…
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Download file to see previous pages... What makes this search relevant and novel is that people of all cultures and all ages around the world honor their beloved dead (while seeking to dishonor those considered enemies by the social order) and commemorate them by setting up markers, tombstones, mausoleums, pyramids, and other tangible testaments. While the means and methods are culture-specific, the desire to keep the memory – and sometimes, even the mortal remains – of those who pass away, appears to be universal and all-inclusive. 2. Tombstones One of the simplest and most common testaments to the life and deeds of the deceased is the tombstone which marks his/her resting place. The Roman tombstones typically narrate something of the lives of the deceased whether they be statesman or slave, men, women or children – whatever their walk of life. The photograph below is one such tombstone. A Roman tombstone from Cirencester http://www.bbc.co.uk/ahistoryoftheworld/objects/oILetHj3S0-bRtrlSZERxw The Cirencester tombstone bore an inscription which said: “Sextus Valerius Genialis, trooper of the Calvary Regiment of Thracians, a Frisian tribesman, from the troop of Genialis, aged 40, of 20 years' service, lies buried here. His heir had this set up.” It is estimated that Genialis could probably have died in the year 60 A.D. or thereabouts (BBCa, n.pag.). Looking at these tombstones, one is inspired to contemplate on the lives of the simple people buried there, whose stories have survived the millennia thanks to the family and friends who have taken care to immortalize their memories in stone. 3. Mausoleums There are instances when the erection of simple tombstones is deemed not sufficient to honor some of those who passed away. In such instances, which usually involve the deceased being among the elite, families have grand mausoleums constructed to serve as testament to the deceased. Probably the most famous of mausoleums is the Taj Mahal in India, which marks the resting place of Mumtaz Mahal the wife of Shah Jahan who was known for her beauty and the undying love between her and the Shah. The Taj Mahal, by day and night. http://www.tajmahal.com/ It was said that the Taj Mahal took 22 years to build (1631-1653) and involved 20,000 workers (TajMahal.com, n.pag.). The marble structure displays design traditions of Persian and earlier Mughal architecture, such as its central dome and its four minarets, and is renowned for its remarkable beauty both during the day and the night, when it exhibits different but equally breathtaking views. It was constructed by the grieving Shah, and today is counted as one of the wonders of the world (Dept. of Tourism, n.pag.) 4. Pyramids The Great Pyramid of Giza The King’s Chamber holding an empty sarcophagus The Pyramids of Giza, http://www.culturefocus.com/egypt_pyramids.htm When discussing monuments to the deceased, there is probably no greater or more famous monument as that of the pyramids in which were buried the pharaohs of ancient Egypt. Of these, the most renowned are the Pyramids of Giza, shown here as encountered in one of the cyber journeys. Built around 4,500 years ago, on a rocky desert plateau adjacent to the Nile River, these imposing structures were more than just grandiose tombs for kings. They were actually believed to be stairways to the great beyond to where the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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