Portal:Death/Selected article

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Instructions

The layout design for these subpages is at Portal:Death/Selected article/Layout.

  1. Add a new Selected article to the next available subpage.
  2. The "blurb" for all selected articles should be approximately 10 lines, for appropriate formatting in the portal main page.
  3. Update "max=" to new total for its {{Random portal component}} on the main page.

Selected articles list

Portal:Death/Selected article/1

Jean-Paul Laurens, Le Pape Formose et Étienne VII, 1870.

The Cadaver Synod (also called the Cadaver Trial or, in Latin, the Synodus Horrenda) is the name commonly given to the posthumous ecclesiastical trial of Pope Formosus, held in the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome during January of 897.

Before the proceedings the body of Formosus was exhumed and, according to some sources, seated on a throne while his successor, Pope Stephen VI, read the charges against him (of which Formosus was found guilty) and conducted the trial. The Cadaver Synod is remembered as one of the most bizarre episodes in the history of the medieval papacy.


Portal:Death/Selected article/2

Illustration of the Black Death from the Toggenburg Bible (1411)

The Black Death was one of the deadliest pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. It is widely thought to have been an outbreak of bubonic plague caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, but this view has recently been challenged. Usually thought to have started in Central Asia, it had reached the Crimea by 1346 and from there, probably carried by fleas residing on the black rats that were regular passengers on merchant ships, it spread throughout the Mediterranean and Europe. The Black Death is estimated to have killed 30% to 60% of Europe's population, reducing the world's population from an estimated 450 million to between 350 and 375 million in 1400. This has been seen as creating a series of religious, social and economic upheavals which had profound effects on the course of European history. It took 150 years for Europe's population to recover. The plague returned at various times, resulting in a larger number of deaths, until it left Europe in the 19th century.


Portal:Death/Selected article/3

The Etruscan "Sarcophagus of the Spouses", at the National Etruscan Museum in Italy

Funerary art is any work of art forming or placed in a repository for the remains of the dead. Tomb is a general term for the repository, while grave goods are objects—other than the primary human remains—which have been placed inside. Such objects may include the personal possessions of the deceased, or objects specially created for the burial, or miniature versions of things needed in an afterlife. Our knowledge of several cultures is drawn largely from these sources.

Funerary art can serve many cultural functions, although generally they are an aesthetic attempt to capture or express the beliefs or emotions about the afterlife. It can play a role in burial rites, serve as an article for use by the dead in the afterlife, and celebrate the life and accomplishments of the dead, as part of practices of ancestor veneration. Funerary art can also function as a reminder of the mortality of humankind, as an expression of cultural values and roles, and help to propitiate the spirits of the dead, preventing their unwelcome intrusion into the affairs of the living. Many cultures have psychopomp figures, such as the Greek Hermes and Etruscan Charun, who help to conduct the spirit of the dead into the afterlife.


Portal:Death/Selected article/4

A condemned prisoner being dismembered by an elephant in Ceylon. Drawing from An Historical Relation of the Island Ceylon by Robert Knox (1681).

Execution by elephant was, for thousands of years, a common method of capital punishment in South and Southeast Asia, and particularly in India. Asian elephants were used to crush, dismember, or torture captives in public executions. The trained animals were versatile, able to kill victims immediately or to torture them slowly for a prolonged period. Employed by royalty, the elephants were representative both of absolute power and the ruler's ability to control wild animals.

The use of elephants to execute captives often attracted the horrified interest of European travellers, and was recorded in numerous contemporary journals and accounts of life in Asia. The practice was eventually suppressed by the European empires that colonised the region in the 18th and 19th centuries. While primarily confined to Asia, the practice was occasionally adopted by western powers, such as Rome and Carthage, particularly to deal with mutinous soldiers.


Nominations

Adding articles
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