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CHAP. 55. (54.)—BURIAL.

The burning of the body after death, among the Romans, is not a very ancient usage; for formerly, they interred it.1 After it had been ascertained, however, in the foreign wars, that bodies which had been buried were sometimes disinterred, the custom of burning them was adopted. Many families, how- ever, still observed the ancient rites, as, for example, the Cor- nelian family, no member of which had his body burnt before Sylla, the Dictator; who directed this to be done, because, having previously disinterred the dead body of Caius Marius, he was afraid that others might retaliate on his own.2 The term "sepultus"3 applies to any mode whatever of disposing of the dead body; while, on the other hand, the word "humatus" is applicable solely when it is deposited in the earth.

1 It would appear, from Dalechamps and Hardouin, that this statement, respecting the period when the custom of burning the body after death was first adopted by the Romans, is incorrect, Lemaire, vol. iii. p. 219. There is much uncertainty as to its origin, and the source from which they borrowed it. We learn from Macrobius, that the practice was discontinued in his time, i. e. in the fourth century after Christ.—B.

2 We have the same remarks, respecting the antiquity of the custom of interring the body, the continued adoption of it by the Cornelian family, and the supposed notion of Sylla, in ordering his own body to be burnt, in Cicero, De Leg. B. ii. c. 22, from whom it is probable Pliny may have borrowed them.—B.

3 We have no English term that will preserve the distinction which Pliny makes between the two modes of disposing of the body after death. —B.

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