Sarcophagus


Sarcophagus

A sarcophagus is a funeral receptacle for a corpse, most commonly carved or cut from stone. The word "sarcophagus" comes from the Greek σαρξ "sarx" meaning "flesh", and φαγειν "phagein" meaning "to eat", hence "sarkophagus" means "flesh-eating"; from the phrase "lithos sarkophagos" (λιθος σαρκοφάγος) the word came to refer to the limestone that was thought to decompose the flesh of corpses interred within it. [ [http://www.wordinfo.info/words/index/info/view_unit/520/?letter=C&spage=19] WordInfo etymology. As a noun the Greek term was further adopted to mean "coffin" and was carried over into Latin, where it was used in the phrase "lapis sarcophagus", referring to those same properties of limestone.] [http://www.mcah.columbia.edu/medmil/pages/non-mma-pages/text_links/burialpractices.html] Columbia University Dept. of Archaeology]

Common forms

Sarcophagi were most often designed to remain above ground, hence were often ornately carved, decorated or elaborately constructed. Some were built to be freestanding, as a part of an elaborate tomb or series of tombs, while others were intended for placement in crypts. In Ancient Egypt, a sarcophagus formed the external layer of protection for a royal mummy, with several layers of coffins nested within, and was often carved out of alabaster.

Sarcophagi – sometimes metal or plaster as well as limestone – were also used by the ancient Romans until the early Christian burial preference for interment underground, often in a limestone sepulchre, led to their falling out of favor.

Other meanings

The word "sarcophagus" is also commonly used to describe the large concrete structure erected around the remains of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant to isolate it from the environment, following the Chernobyl disaster.

The fly family "Sarcophagidae" derives its name similarly, and the roots of the word similarly translate to "flesh eater", though the meaning is different.

In the popular television series "Stargate SG-1", the original sarcophagi were device which could heal a human body placed inside - even bringing a person back from the dead.

ee also

* List of Egypt-related topics
* List of burials in the Valley of the Kings

Death related
* Coffin
* Ossuary
* Tomb
* Burial
* Funeral
* Canopic jar
* Mummy

Places
* Great Pyramid of Giza
* Cologne cathedral
* Catacombs of Rome
* Wentworth Woodhouse
* Clazomenae
* Aachen Cathedral
* Hatshepsuts Temple
* Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor #4

People
* Alyattes II
* Balbinus
* Minos

Other
* Alabaster
* Jewish symbolism

References

External links

* [http://files.pripyat.com/chernobyl/Shelter_dark_side.mpg Chernobyl. Dark side of sarcophagus.] - video (233 MB)


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  • SARCOPHAGUS — in Inscr. veter. apud Gruterum p. 689. L. Iulii Marcelli, qui vixisle dicitur ann. 5. diebus 31. Corpus. integrum. conditum. Sarcophago. et apud Iuvenalem Sat. 10. v. 172. ubi de Alexandro, Qui figulo postquam munito intraverit urbem, Sarcophago… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Sarcophagus — Sar*coph a*gus, n.; pl. L. {Sarcophagi}, E. {Sarcophaguses}. [L., fr. Gr. sarkofa gos, properly, eating flesh; sa rx, sa rkos, flesh + fagei^n to eat. Cf. {Sarcasm}.] 1. A species of limestone used among the Greeks for making coffins, which was… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • sarcophagus — stone coffin, c.1600, from L. sarcophagus, from Gk. sarkophagos limestone used for coffins, lit. flesh eating, in reference to the supposed action of this type of limestone (quarried near Assos in Troas) in quickly decomposing the body, from sarx …   Etymology dictionary

  • Sarcophăgus — (v. gr.), so v.w. Sarkophagos …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • sarcophagus — ► NOUN (pl. sarcophagi) ▪ a stone coffin. ORIGIN Latin, from Greek sarkophagos flesh consuming …   English terms dictionary

  • sarcophagus — [sär käf′ə gəs] n. pl. sarcophagi [sär käf′əjī΄] or sarcophaguses [L < Gr sarkophagos < sarx, flesh (see SARCASM) + phagein, to eat (see PHAGOUS): because the limestone caused rapid disintegration of the contents] 1. among the ancient… …   English World dictionary

  • sarcophagus — sar·coph·a·gus (sär kŏf’ə gəs) n. pl. sar·coph·a·gi ( jī′) or sar·coph·a·gus·es ▸ A stone coffin, often inscribed or decorated with sculpture. ╂ [Latin, from Greek sarkophagos, coffin, from (lithos) sarkophagos, limestone that consumed the flesh… …   Word Histories

  • sarcophagus — [17] A sarcophagus is etymologically a ‘flesh eater’: the word comes via Latin sarcophagus from Greek sarkophágos, a compound formed from sárx ‘flesh’ (source of English sarcasm) and phágos ‘eating’. This originated as the term for a particular… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

  • sarcophagus — [[t]sɑː(r)kɒ̱fəgəs[/t]] sarcophagi, sarcophaguses (plural) N COUNT A sarcophagus is a large decorative container in which a dead body was placed in ancient times. ...an Egyptian sarcophagus. Syn: casket …   English dictionary

  • sarcophagus — UK [sɑː(r)ˈkɒfəɡəs] / US [sɑrˈkɑfəɡəs] noun [countable] Word forms sarcophagus : singular sarcophagus plural sarcophaguses or sarcophagi a stone box, used in some ancient cultures for putting a dead body in …   English dictionary


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