http://www.beastcoins.com/Architecture/ ... alPyre.htm
mowgli wrote: And arent they usually just a bunch of sticks? Really, I dont know.
http://www.carpe-diem-travel-cambodia.c ... es_sb.html
One of the most amazing architectural types on Roman Imperials is the ustrinum or "funeral pyre".
It consists of four tiers; the lowest most of which represents a plain podium with pilasters at the angles; having loosely-hanging drapery in front, with three large festoons, and the profile of a festoon at each end.
The next tier forms the sepulchral chamber for the reception of the dead body. In the center is a pair of panelled folding doors, flanked by two niches on each side with statues and surmounted by a cornice.
The tier above has five square-headed niches with statues and a cornice represented by beads; and the upper forms a lofty plain attic with hanging drapery in front, the folds of which are very marked.
A lit torch flanks each end of the upper tier, which forms a pedestal surmounted by the quadriga of the deceased, with his statue in the chariot and holding a palm leaf in his left hand. All the tiers diminish in width from the base upwards so as to assume a pyramidal form.
Marvin Tameanko, retired architect and specialist in ancient architectural coins comments:
"To cremate a body, bones and all (but not the teeth) you need lots of sustained heat. The Romans used a pyre, called a 'rogus', which was built with log cribworks, like a hollow log cabin, erected in stages, getting smaller at the top where the body was placed. The rogus was filled with straw and kindling and set alight. It acted as a chimney and funneled the heat to the top, incinerating the corpse. Herodian, the Roman historian describes the rogus in detail. After the cremation, the ashes were placed in a stone building, called a ustrinum, made to look like the wedding-cake shaped rogus or the Maussoleum of Hailcarnassus and built near the cremation site.
The most spctacular and well-known of the temples, Angkor Wat was built during the first half of he 12th century as a funeral pyre for the god Vishnu. Covering an area of over a square kilometre, it is surrounded by a moat and approached via a huge stone walkway. The temple is comprised of three "levels", one inside the other - originally the upper level was only accessible to kings and high priests, with the middle level being designated for meditation. The first level leads to anoher stone walkway, some 350 metres long, bordered by ponds which can offer excellent reflected images of the main temple. Climb if you wish to the top level for an excellent all-round view, or explore the many passageways and small rooms.
A good description of the cremation of a Viking king can be found in the "Risala", an account which has been written by the Arabian explorer Ibn Fahdlan, other good descriptions of cremation customs can be found in the Beowulf saga.
A dead body was laid on a pile of wood, the bodies of famous men were burned with particular types of wood but what types this were is unknown, the funeral pyre was either placed on a ship or on an altar, though this depended on tradition and location, sometimes a wagon was also used.
The dead person was then surrounded with his or her personal belongings, weapons, and some food which the person would need for his or her journey to the afterlife, after some rituals the pile was lit (in the case of a boat it was often pushed into the water after it was lit), after the funeral there was some mourning but also celebrations in honour of the deceased; too much mourning would be inappropriate since the person was now in a peaceful afterlife (Helheim) where he or she was received by friends and family members who had already passed away.
In the oldest cremations the ashes of an important person was placed in a gravehill, the ashes of less-important persons were often buried in an urn, a special type of urn was the "face-urn"; an urn with a human face on it which represented the dead person.
There were many different forms of cremation:
# cremation and placing of the ashes under a gravehill
# cremation and dispersal of the ashes
# cremation and dispersal of the ashes into water
# cremation and burial of the ashes
# cremation and placement of the ashes in an urn
# cremation and burial of the ashes in an urn
# cremation of a body and ship together
# cremation and burial of the ashes in an intact ship
Of course this are only some examples, there were many local variations of this customs.
Always watch out for local variations.
Of course, some of us are prepping for our own funerals