Approval of Cremation in modern Hellas

ATHENS NEWS: Approval for cremation gathers pace — The approval of the law allowing cremation in Greece paves the way for thefirst incineration facilities to be built within two years

Now this is important to Hellenic polytheists who are also Greek nationals because cremation was, at various points in ancient Hellas, the most common (though hardly the only) “disposal method” (for lack of a better term) employed in death rites. Originally, the Hellenes practised inhumation, or natural burials (as opposed to embalming prior to burial, as the Babylonians and Aegyptians practised each practised some form of), and it’s believed that cremation was a practise imported from Asia Minor that quickly became popular in the cities. During the Roman era, cremation was the preferred method of treating the corpses of the upper classes of both Rome and Hellas.

When Christianity finally dominated the political climate of Europe, cremation practically disappeared — in part because Christianity’s Jewish roots forbids it, and in part because it was viewed as a distasteful remnant of paganism that had no place in a Christian society. Thus, even though there are no written laws either condoning or condemning cremation amongst ancient Hellenic polytheists, many Pagans (many who employ reconstructionist methods, many others who do not) may choose cremation over burial as a means of psychologically strengthening the bonds that one has with the ancient polytheists of Greece and Rome — thus, Hellenistai and Roman polytheists may feel an especial urge to be cremated. Cremation may also seem especially attractive to the urban Hellene because the dense populations make for limited burial space within the city limits, or for even the rural Hellenistos, where the dominating cemeteries may be Christian and not municipal.

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