common among the ancients, who allowed no graveyards within their cities.
The Potter's Field
was without the walls of Jerusalem
, and in the Twelve Tables it was prescribed “that the dead should neither be buried or burned in the City
” of Rome
states, “that the custom of burying in churches and near about them, especially in great cities, is a novel presumption, indecent, sordid, and very prejudicial to health; it was not done among the Christians in the primitive ages;” and was forbidden by the Emperors Gratian
, Valentian, and Theodosius
, and never sanctioned until the time of Gregory
The Eastern Christians do not now inter the dead within their churches.
During the age of the patriarchs, groves were selected as places of sepulture.
When Sarah died, Abraham purchased “the field of Ephron, in Machpeiah, with all the trees that were therein and the borders round about, as a burying place,” and there he buried his wife; “and there they buried Abraham, Isaac, Rebekah and Leah;” and when Jacob had blessed his sons, “he said unto them, I am to be gathered unto my people: bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron.”
“was buried beneath Beth-el under an oak,” and the valiant men of Jabesh-gilead removed the bodies of Saul
and his sons from the wall of Bethshon and “ buried them under a tree.”
was buried in “a valley in the land of Moab
;” Joseph, in “a parcel of ground in Shechem
;” Eleazer, the son of Aaron, “in a hill that pertained to Phinehas;” and Manassah, with Amon “in the garden of Uzza.”
The planting of rose-trees upon graves is an ancient custom: Anacreon
says that “ it protects the dead ;” and Propertius
indicates the usage of burying amidst roses.