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What the Greek classics tell us about grief and the importance of mourning the dead

in THE CONVERSATION

Joel Christensen  Associate Professor of Classical Studies, Brandeis University

As the coronavirus pandemic hit New York in March, the death toll quickly went up with few chances for families and communities to perform traditional rites for their loved ones.

A reporter for Time magazine described how bodies were put on a ramp, then onto a loading dock and stacked on wooden racks. Emergency morgues were set up to handle the large number of dead. By official count, New York City alone had 20,000 dead over a period of two months.

Months later, our ability to mourn and process death remains disrupted due to the ever-present fear of the threat of the coronavirus and the need to observe social distancing.

As a scholar of classical studies, I tend to look to the past to help understand the present. Ancient literature, especially ancient Greek epics, explore what it means to be human and part of a community. CLICK TO CONTINUE

SheVille Team

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