Burial customs

The cemetery of ancient Corcyra spread beyond the city walls, on the sandy beach of Garitsa, on the slopes of the hill of Soter as well as around the Hyllaic port. It is characterized by its large extent, the density of the burials, the variety of burial practices (burial in sarcophagus, in cist grave or covered with roof tiles, in pit or in pot and incineration), as well as the long duration of its use, from the Archaic to the end of the Hellenistic period.

Over the graves Corcyreans used to set up simple or elaborate monuments, which marked the position of each tomb and commemorated the deceased. The museum's collection contains some important funerary monuments of the Archaic period, such as the famous limestone lion, which was located close to the Menecrates' cenotaph and thus originally thought to have been placed at its top, or the stone stele of Arniadas or the votive capital of Xemvares.
 
In the showcases of this hall a rich collection of grave offerings found at the ancient necropolis, is also displayed. The objects, which usually accompanied the deceased, were clay vessels, figurines and objects of daily use, such as strigils, mirrors, jewellery and bucklers. Of particular interest are the 'danakes', golden sheets resembling coins that were placed on the deceased for the payment of the fare to the Underworld, as well as the 'katadesmoi', lead tablets with curses and magical spells wrapped around and sealed with a nail. The katadesmoi were placed in the graves, so that their message would find its way to the Underworld by means of the deceased.


'Lion of Menecrates' Funerary lion, work of a Corinthian sculptor. Late 7th c. BC. It was considered to have crowned the public monument of Menecrates
Inscribed grave stele of Arniadas The epigram, carved boustrophedon (in a bi-directional way of writing) in Homeric hexameter verse, refers to the death of Arniadas in a battle close to the ships, by the banks of Arachthos river. Early 6th c. BC
Capital of Xemvares. Doric inscribed capital. It belonged to a grave column, placed on the tomb of Xemvares, son of Meixis. The inscription on the abacus in hexameter verse to the left. 1st half of the 6th c. BC
Amphora covered and sealed with leaden leaves. Hellenistic period.
Bronze urns (lebes and lekanis). End of 7th-6th c. BC
Tanagra figurine. End of the 4th - 3rd c. BC
Leaden curse tablet. Hellenistic period
Bracteate (charonios ovolos). Hellenistic - Roman period
         
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efaker@culture.gr
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