Games as a component of funerary practices

A recent find from Tanagra in Greece lends credit to the funerary character of chariot racing during the Mycenean period: On a painted larnax, chariot scenes and bull-leaping scenes are portrayed together with a row of mourning women accompanying the corpse of the dead. Although these chariot scenes do not necessarily imply chariot racing, we are rather sure that chariot races were held in these early times.

In addition, various scenes from the Homeric period (8th century BC), lend credit to the funerary character of chariot racing: often, in the two or three registers of the same amphora, mourning women are accompanied by chariots. By the beginning of the 8th century BC, there was a common subject on vases with scenes portraying the laying-out of the dead.

Although the games were not exclusively funerary in this period, it remains a matter of conjecture, on how the games became a component of funeral practices. Different opinions offer alternative interpretations for understanding the origins of this custom:

Back : Mycenean Greece

Back : Homeric Age