ABSTRACT

Life and light arc only to be found in this world; z Death, to which we are all " owing ", 3 leads the soul into a realm of nothingness. 4 Inarticulate, voiceless, the dead man lies in the grave like a statue.5 Upon earth, and not in any shadowy hereafter, is completed that judgment 6 which divine Justice passes upon the criminal himself, or upon his descendants in whom something of him still lives on. It is the lack of such descendants that forms the bitterest pang, as he goes down to Hades, of the man who passes childless out of this life. 7

not say-of the state of things hereafter. The greatest period of lyric poetry was by that time already fading into the past, and yet whoever wished in speaking before a citizen assembly to meet ~ith general agreement and understanding was still obliged to refrain from speaking of the blessed immortality, the eternity and divinity of the soul. The Orators 16 never pass beyond the conceptions of the survival, power, and rights of the souls of the departed which were called forth and maintained in existence by the cult of the soul. The continued existence of the souls in the nex:t world is not called in question ; but the opinion that the souls still preserve their consciousness and have any knowledge of what happens on this earth is only expressed with the most cautious avoidance of defmiteness.1 7 What-apart from the sacrificial offerings of their relatives-still binds the dead to the life upon earth, is little more than the fame accorded to them among the living.18 Even in the elevated language of solemn funeral orations the consolations offered to the survivors omit all mention of any enhanced state of being, any thought of immortal life in fully-conscious blessedness, that might belong now to the glorious departed.l 9 Such high visions and hopes for the future were still, it appears, as little necessary or demanded for the comfort of the people as they had been in the times of the great wars of liberty.20 The beloved dead who had given their lives for their country in those wars, as well as many others of the time whom death had overtaken, were the recipients of the epitaphs composed by Simonides the master of brilliant and condensed inscriptions. Nevertheless, not once does he vouchsafe a word that might point forward to a land of blessed immortality for the departed. There is a vestige of life still remaining for the dead-but it is in this world : the memory of the living and their own great name honoured by after generations is all that can prolong their existence.