Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov, later known as Lenin, was born in Russia on April 22, 1870. As the leader of Russia in the Bolshevik regime, he tried to install a socialist economic policy and develop the New Economic Policy. Lenin was known for his harsh treatment of those who opposed him but also his intelligence in leading Russia.
Lenin was a reader and believer of Karl Marx and the idea of communism. He believed that everyone was equal and, as such, the poor needed a voice in the government. Therefore, he and the group of intellectuals that he created were the voice for these poor who could not represent themselves and stand up for themselves against the elite/rich. In life, Lenin wanted to help the poor peasants. He wanted equality between the classes rather than having an elite over the peasantry. http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/vladmir_lenin.htm
Please watch this clip for more information on Vladimir Lenin.
His health had been declining for many years after an assassination attempt in 1918. After other health complications, he eventually died on January 24, 1924.
Despite his personal and his family’s wishes, his corpse was embalmed and placed in a mausoleum on Moscow’s Red Square where the public was able to freely view him. The mausoleum was placed outside of the Kremlin walls, which is symbolic because it shows that Lenin was for the lower class citizenry. He preferred to be with the common peoples (The High School Journal). Those who decided on this type of treatment of his corpse wished his body to remain an important symbol for the masses. Lenin died rather unexpectedly, despite his numerous illnesses, at the age of 54. Again, despite his and his family’s wishes, the people who worked on his funeral decided to have him embalmed and presented to the public so that the public could see him every day. The embalming and continual presentation of the body requires constant maintenanc and thus much time and money was put towards maintaining Lenin’s corpse.
Lenin’s corpse has been a powerful symbol for the Russians and remains revered by them despite the numerous people who were killed during his rule. His funeral procession was rather large due to the love his people had for him. He greatly helped the lower classes, and this can be seen in his placement of the body. Because it is outside of the Kremlin walls, nearer to the common people, Lenin is perceived as a commoner which he seemed to want in life as well. He believed in the communist idea of equality. His symbolic placement in death as well as his embalming and constant viewing show how important he was to his people and remains today.
This clip shows Lenin’s power both in life and death. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUkdZGeIsZU
After his death, which has been blamed on a few things including strokes, syphilis, and a brain hemorrhage, this city of Petrograd was renamed Leningrad in his honor. Joseph Stalin succeeded Vladimir Lenin.
In conclusion of this blog, we the authors would like to thank you for taking an interest in famous peoples across the world and how they have been treated in death. Throughout this blog, we have looked at different famous people, including Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Ted Williams, Walt Disney, Elvis Presley, King Tut, and how they were seen and represented in life and in death. We have described their funerals as well as how the corpse has been taken care of after the funeral. This treatment ranges across the board. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were both entombed; their graves are visited today in order to pay respect to their memories. Walt Disney, who was believed to have been cryogenically frozen, was in fact cremated. Ted Williams was cryogenically frozen. And King Tut, as many Egyptian pharaohs were, was mummified and placed in a tomb, though not grand pyramids like many other pharaohs. This different treatment of those figures in history who are important in the eyes of the public shows how cultural aspects influence how we perceive these figures in death.
Foust, Clifford. “Lenin.” High School Journal. 46.4 (1963): 135-141. Web. 26 Apr. 2012. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/40366280.pdf?acceptTC=true>.
Lenin Sleeps. YouTube.com, 2008. Film. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUkdZGeIsZU>.
“This Day in History: Vladimir Lenin Dies.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, LLC, 1996-2012. Web. 26 Apr 2012. <http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/vladimir-lenin-dies>.
“Vladimir Lenin.” BBC History. BBC, 2012. Web. 26 Apr 2012. <www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/lenin_vladimir.shtml>.
“Vladimir Lenin.” History Learning Site. History Learning Site, 2000-2012. Web. 26 Apr 2012. <http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/vladmir_lenin.htm>.
“1924: Death of Lenin.” Seventeen Moments in Soviet History. Seventeen Moments in Soviet History, 2012. Web. 26 Apr 2012. <http://www.soviethistory.org
Ethnoarchaeology defined as the branch of archaeology that studies contemporary primitive cultures and technologies provides a way of comparing patterns of prehistoric cultures to the subject matter one is interested in. (Dictionary.com: 2003). The use of ethnoarchaeology introduces both anthropologists and archaeologists to the diversified cultural meanings of artifacts, people, and places. Most compose ethnographies about other cultures by approaching these cultures with preconceived notions of “others.” However, through analysis this blog will attempt dissect the culture surrounding the death of one of the most famous American rock stars. This “King of Rock ‘n Roll,” known as Elvis Presley, left behind not only an array of the biggest musical hits in Hollywood history, but also a more physical legacy which stands to this day: Graceland, Tennessee. Although ethnoarchaeology is generally centered around ancient cultures and societies, we could use this branch to help us identify and analyze more modern communities and the cultural upheaval surrounding his death.
Elvis Presley was found dead on his bathroom floor on August 16th, 1977, as a result of years of heavy drug use. His funeral took place two days later on August 18th in his home of Memphis, Tennessee, and was attended by over 80,000 people who gathered to view his open casket. For a monetary fee, a friend of Presley’s unethically authorized the National Enquirer magazine to photograph his body. This controversial image then became the cover of the National Enquirer’s next issue, which soon became their best selling issue. (View here: http://tinyurl.com/772fq2v). WHY is this important? How does this relate to articles we have discussed? He was buried alongside his mother and grandparents at the Meditation Garden. A few days later, there was an attempted theft of his corpse. Naturally, his fan base was extensive, so in an extreme display of emotion, one of his fans may have wanted his body for unexplainable reasons.
Graceland in Memphis Tennessee
By analyzing Graceland through an ethnoarchaeological lens, we are able to draw conclusions regarding American popular culture in the 1950s. Graceland is one of the largest exhibits focused on one star located in Memphis, Tennesse. Recently on this site has launched an additional exhibit which marks one of the largest on the property. Elvis’ home, museums, and personal exhibits, all tell us not only about his life, but also about American culture of rock ‘n roll in his time. These exhibits feature artifacts such as the producer’s Golden Globe award, jewelry, stage clothing worn, rarely-seen photos, videos and more. Emphasize how the items play a significant role in his burial site. By using our imaginations and attempting to analyze Graceland as a “remain” of Elvis Presley, we may draw appropriate conclusions. Though we cannot necessarily excavate artifacts, there are still many details of Presley’s life preserved in order to make conclusions about the lasting impact of Presley’s musical contributions to people all over the world, and consequently, American pop culture in the 70s. We know that “it remains necessary to look to symbolic interpretations in order to understand the meaning of rituals.” (Metcalf 1981: 563).
Today, Graceland is a tourist destination accommodating hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. The exhibit celebrates Elvis’ status as a music pioneer and icon that paved the way for many of today’s artists and celebrities. Not only does he site contain sacred artifacts before his time of death but it also includes special items from artists that Elvis paved the way. For example there are “ittems on display in this exhibit include Bono’s “MacPhisto” suit from U2’s Zooropa performances, Bob Dylan’s leather jacket that appears on the album cover “Real Live,” James Brown’s jumpsuit and vest worn in concert in the 1970s, along with artifacts from Elton John, Trisha Yearwood, Joan Jett, Wanda Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, The Beatles, Katy Perry and many others” (Presely Enterprises). he place of his birth and death has become completely commercialized, as people are eager to learn about and experience elements of Presley’s life. His burial site not only reflects his death, but also represents the years and moments of his life, in the home where he grew up. There is much symbolic importance to take away from this. Like Thomas Jefferson and his home in Monticello, Elvis Presley’s Graceland serves as a reminder of his contributions during his life as opposed to highlighting his death. The decisions of his family members to turn Graceland into a tourist destination alludes to the idea that they wanted his good times to be honored and remembered, by giving tourists a chance to be a part of his life. To this day, Graceland stands as an everlasting reminder of the great achievements of not only Presley’s life, but also how he chose to use the lively and buzzing Graceland as the place of his permanent departure from the world.
Dictionary.com. (2003). Ethnoarchaeology. Retrieved April 10, 2012, from Dictionary.com’s 21st Century Lexicon: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/ethnoarchaeology
Metcalf, P. (1981). Meaning and Materialism: The Ritual Economy of Death. Man, New Series, Vol. 16 , 563-578.
Presley, Enterprises. “Icon: The Influence of Elvis Presley Exhibit Opens at Graceland in Memphis.” Business Wire (En
What do you think of when someone says archaeology? Most people tend to think of dinosaurs or Ancient Egyptian mummies. While archaeology is much more than these two fields, dinosaurs and Ancient Egyptian mummies are the first things that come to mind when archaeology is mentioned due to the mysterious, almost other-worldly, aspect that they present to the modern world. This post will focus on the mummification process for Egyptian pharaohs in Ancient Egypt and the life and death of King Tutankhamen.
The Mummification Process
During the reign of a pharaoh, the construction of the burial place would begin before the actual death. Most often times these burial places were known as the modern day pyramids. After the pharaoh died, the mummification process would begin. The entire mummification process can be viewed at the British Museum website at this link: http://www.ancientegypt.co.uk/mummies/story/main.html. The Egyptians practiced the evisceration of bodily organs from the body after the announcement of death. However, instead of removing all the organs the heart was the only organ that was left within the body. This process was much like the practice of burying entrails and other body parts in separate places as described in Weiss-Krejci’s article from 2005 titled “Excarnation, Evisceration, and Exhumation in Medieval and Post-Medieval Europe” . After the mummification process was completed, a funeral would be held for the mourners, followed by the “Opening of the Mouth” ceremony where an incision would be made at the mouth of the mummy in order to aid in the afterlife. Meskell cites John Baines in his “The Egyptian Ways of Death” (2001) as stating that through the construction of the pyramid, the rituals directly after the death of the pharaoh, the funeral and burial of the pharaoh, and the rituals that may take place afterward, the idea of death was dispersed over the population rather than just including a few people closest to the pharaoh (John Baines 1991). This is much like many political leaders throughout history where, upon their death, the entire population may mourn.
The pharaoh, after going through the enduring process of mummification and burial, was believed to begin his, or her, trip through the Underworld where his, or her, heart would be judged. Depending on the outcome, the pharaoh’s heart would then either be eaten by Ammit, the monster of the Underworld, or the pharaoh could continue to the “Field of Reeds” where he would reside for the rest of eternity. All of this information was found on the website “Mummification” by The British Museum. This website provides a great view of the mummification process as well as an interactive guide in the afterlife. Please check it out! http://www.ancientegypt.co.uk/mummies/story/main.html
The famous “Boy Pharaoh”, also known as King Tut, was uncovered by Howard Carter in 1922 (http://www.kingtutone.com/tutankhamun/) . Mystery still circles this famous young pharaoh. Did he simply die, or was he murdered? Why was he not buried in a more elaborate tomb? Questions abound about this mysterious young pharaoh. The question of his death is in part due to the type of tomb in which he was buried. Rather than a large, elaborate tomb like many other pharaohs, King Tutankhamen’s tomb was small and was placed within three coffins. When archaeologist Howard Carter discovered the tomb in 1922, much of the possessions were still intact which included numerous pieces of jewelery, amulets, and a small number of paintings. These paintings are often perceived by others to have magical powers suggesting that the mummy inside the tomb could return to life and seek revenge. Other rooms inside the tomb were crammed with furniture statuary, clothes, chariots, weapons, staffs, and numerous other objects (History.com). The reason for these valued possessions could be the Egyptian belief that the Pharaoh could take these items with them in his or her afterlife. Some believe that the tomb was actually meant for someone else but used for King Tutankhamen at his untimely death (KingTutOne.com). This is one reason, some believe, that the tomb was not looted as much as the other, larger tombs. In addition, since the death of the pharaoh did not seem anticipated, the question arises to what was the exact cause of death?
The entire process of mummification was painstakingly done because Ancient Egyptians believed that their pharaohs journey into and through the afterlife relied upon a proper mummification so that the pharaoh could eventually re-inhabit his body. The tombs were built to help protect the pharaoh after mummification. Everything done to a pharaoh’s body after death was to help aid and protect him in the afterlife so that his heart would not be eaten by Ammit. As Meskell states in his article “The Egyptian Ways of Death” (2001), Ancient Egyptians believed that parts of their body lived on in the afterlife and would help them in their travels through the afterlife.
Check out this video about the mystery surrounding King Tut’s death!!!!!!
Today, many people worldwide travel long distances just to see this famous Egyptian pharaoh. It is believed that his tomb is cursed and mythical beliefs suggest that those involved with the discovery of his tomb died shortly after their discovery. However, much of the truth and fiction are blended into contemporary stories surrounding King Tut. So much mystery enshrouds King Tutankhamen due to his death, the question of how he died, and his age of ascendency to pharaoh and young age at death. His death is looked as This mystery draws millions of people in. This young pharaoh, King Tutankhamen, will forever be a wonder to the world.
Another interesting video on the mummification process!!!!!!!!
The British Museum, . “Mummification Story.” Mummification. The British Museum, n.d. Web. 26 Mar 2012.
Destination 360. 2012. Photograph. n.p. Web. 26 Mar 2012. <http://www.destination360.com/africa/egypt/ancient-egypt>.
Meskell, Lynn. “The Egyptian Ways of Death.” (2001): n. page. Web. 29 Mar. 2012. <https://collab.itc.virginia.edu/access/content/group/d6f4c969-e57b-4e05-8721-ef759d347065
N.d. Photograph. n.p. Web. 26 Mar 2012. <http://www.site-ology.com/egypt/KT.HTM>.
“Tutankhamun.” King Tut. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Mar 2012. <http://www.kingtutone.com/tutankhamun/>.
“Tutankhamen Video.” History.com. A&E Television Networks. Web. 29 Mar. 2012. <http://www.history.com/topics/tutankhamen/videos>.
Weiss-Krejci, Estella. “Excarnation, Evisceration, and Exhumation in Medieval and Post-Medieval Europe.” (2005): n. page. Web. 29 Mar. 2012. <https://collab.itc.virginia.edu/access/content/group/d6f4c969-e57b-4e05-8721-ef759d347065/Weiss-Krejci_2005.pdf>.
2000-2011. Photograph. Royalty Free PicturesWeb. 26 Mar 2012. <http://historylink101.net/egypt_1/rf-k-egyptian-mummy.htm>.
Disney productions are one of the most memorable joys that people share throughout their childhood. As one of the leading entertainment business, these memories can be attributed to the co-founder known as Walter Elias Disney. Together, he and his brother, Roy Disney, created the multibillion dollar corporation today known as The Walt Disney Company ( Biography.com 2012). Walt Disney was born on December 5, 1901. It was not until his creation of some of the most well known fictional characters today such as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck in the 1920’s did he strike his fame and fortune. Over the course of his lifetime, Walt Disney won 950 honors nationwide for the creation of Disney world, the longest running prime time television series (1954-1983), and the creation of an empire that instills beliefs of pursuing dreams (NY times 1996).
On December 15, 1996, Walt Disney died from lung cancer. Widespread urban legends about his death state that Walt Disney had his remains cryonically frozen “hoping that future generations would be able to discover a cure for his illness and revive him from cryonic suspension.” However, legal documents disprove this urban myth and state that his remains were cremated shortly after his death. Today his ashes remain locked in a marked vault at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale,California ( Seeing-Stars 2012).
Many believe that Walt Disney had his body cryonically frozen similar to this.
Cremation, the disposal of the body by fire, can be traced back to the early Stone Age most likely in Europe around 3000 BC evidenced through the early finds of decorative pottery urns (Everlife Memorials 2004). The practice of cremation was prominent and widely accepted in the Roman Empire from 27 B.C. to 395 A.D. In the late 19th century, the practice of cremation gained favor and the first crematory in the United States was built (Prothero 15). The fire produced during the procession was thought to be a purifying agent to the next world much like Van Genneps’s belief of rites of passage. Many believe burning the body prevents the spirit from returning and helps with the shortage of land issue. Modern practices of cremation differ from the early practices used in the Roman Empire. The earliest practice of cremation used the log pyre, in which the body is actually set on fire. Modern practices eliminate the body’s direct exposure to fire and instead expose the body to high heated temperatures until the remains turn to ashes (“Cremation 2011”).
Theodore Samuel Williams known for paving the way for players like Babe Ruth, Sammy Sosa, Alex Rodriguez, and other current famous baseball players was born on August 18, 1918. Ted William’s list of achievements include two-time player of the year, playing in 18 all star games, named player of the decade and inducted into the Hall of fame in 1966. On July 5, 2002 Ted Williams passed away in Florida. He is remembered most for his contributions in the military and to” America’s favorite past-time,” baseball.
Williams asked to be cremated and have his ashes sprinkled within the Florida Keys. Instead, he was cryopreserved, or in short, “frozen.” Believers of cryopreservation argue that biomedicine will be able to one day revive them as medical advancements continue over the years. “The practice involves the concepts that believe since several living functions of the body are stored in the cell structures that they will be able to withstand the medical declaration of death (Romain 195).” Objections to cryonics include “it is ‘against nature’, and would change the very concept of death; no friends or family of the ‘freezee’ will be left alive when he is revived; the considerable expense involved for the freezee and the future society that will revive the environmental cost of maintaining suspension(Shaw 15). In several science-fiction movies and books this technology, it is commonly used before death to enable time-travel. As of today, we have not seen anyone revived who was cryo-preserved. Several of the premises of cryonics rely on the development of “future” technologies. The concept ties into the survival of the fittest mentality. The cell structures in the brain which encode long term memory and personality can only be preserved for future usage or revival with cryonic technology(Shaw 19). Opposition to cryonics immediately draws attention to the degree of relevancy of cryonic premises in modern society. Moreover, it relies heavily upon future technology. Ultimately cryonic preservation is just another way to pay homage or preservation for the “dead”.
This video shows the modern day arguments against cryonic and its’ process.
“Cremation.” Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6Th Edition (2011): 1. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 15 Mar. 2012.
“Forest Lawn Glendale: Stars’ Graves.” SEEING STARS: The Ultimate Guide to Hollywood & Celebrities. Gary Wayne, 2012. Web. 10 Mar. 2012. <http://www.seeing stars.com/buried2/forestlawnglendale.shtml>.
“The History of Cremation.” Everlife Memorials. Classic Memorials, 2004. Web. 10 Mar. 2012. <http://www.everlifememorials.com/v/urns/urns-history.htm>.
“Welcome to the Official Ted Williams Website.” Welcome to the Official Ted Williams Website. Green Diamond Sports, 2007. Web. 12 Mar. 2012. <http://www.tedwilliams.com/>.
Prothero, Stephen R. Purified By Fire [Electronic Resource] : A History Of Cremation In America / Stephen Prothero. Berkeley : University of California Press, c2001., 2001. LC2, the library catalog. Web. 15 Mar. 2012.
SHAW, DAVID. “Cryoethics: Seeking Life After Death.” Bioethics 23.9 (2009): 515-521. Academic Search Complete. Web. 15 Mar. 2012.
Winslow, Natalie. “Religion Compass.” Religion Compass. Worldpress.com, 2010. Web. 12 Mar. 2012. <http://religion-compass.com/2010/02/10/news-britain-approves-open-air-funeral-pyre/>.
As students at the University of Virginia, we value integrity and the ideals of Thomas Jefferson. For the purposes of this blog, we will not explicate upon the countless achievements of Jefferson, including but not limited to authoring the Declaration of Independence, as we are all aware of the numerous contributions Jefferson has made to American life, including his beliefs about concepts of idealistic liberty and the pursuit of happiness. He championed these causes in authoring the declaration of independence on the 4th of July in 1776. He bred his last breath on the 4th of July in 1826. Many will debate the mystic purposes of Jefferson’s symbolic death date, but research merely suggests that his death was due primarily to old age.
His funeral was a private affair at his home in Monticello. He was buried nearby at Monticello Graveyard, which to this day remains a tourist site. Alongside the grave of Thomas Jefferson lie the graves of his wife, children, and other immediate family members. As a part of his remembrance, the Monticello estate is now a World Heritage Site. Tourists are routinely guided through Jefferson’s home and his beautiful gardens. The Jefferson Memorial in Washington D.C. serves as a tourist attraction that includes a 19-foot statue of Jefferson. The venue also exposes engravings of passages from his writings (National Park Service, 2012). The University of Virginia stands as an everlasting memory of Mr. Jefferson and his high regard for the attainment of knowledge. In the present moment, thousands of students enter every year in the hopes of becoming a part of Jefferson’s heralded community of trust.
John Adams was our nation’s second President. He was among the 47? who signed the Declaration of Independence. Adams also helped with the construction of the Treaty of Paris, which largely helped to bring about the end of the Revolutionary War (History.com, 2012).
John Adams also died on July 4th, 1826, the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, just hours after Thomas Jefferson had passed, even though he had not showed decline in his preceding days (Colonialhall.com, 2008). His famous last words were, supposedly, “Thomas Jefferson survives” though Jefferson had in fact passed a few hours before Adams (homeofheroes.com, 2012). Adams’ burial is not as well-known unlike Jefferson’s burial at Monticello. He is buried at United First Parish Church in Quincy, Massachusetts alongside his wife and son John Quincy Adams (presidentsgraves.com, 2005).
Americans celebrate July 4th, which is symbolically marked by the death of Jefferson and Adams, every year, all over the world. On this day, freedom is celebrated, and our founding fore-fathers are honored for their sacrifices and contributions to the United States of America. Daniel Weber states in his article, “On the of Deaths of John Adams & Thomas Jefferson”, “But the concurrence of their death, on the anniversary of independence, has naturally awakened stronger emotions(Daniel 3). Both had been presidents, both had lived to great age, both were early patriots, and both were distinguished and ever honored by their immediate agency in the act of independence.”There has not been much research done about the particular modes through which their bodies were physically facing or seated. What is the mystical implication of these symbolic deaths? What are the implications surrounding the death of these men on a date that has been remembered both historically and in the contemporary for representing freedom and equality?
Our most inevitable ritual that we all fear will happen to us all at one point in our life. What is this inevitable process? Death. Death in modern day society has become a feared process that all know will occur at one time but are unprepared for when it does happen. The sudden catastrophe of death for society’s most profound individuals stuns our population. We are left in shock, yet we still hold emphasis on their bodies, and in that sense they are given immortality. Over the course of this blog, we will be examining the ceremonial and archaeological features present in the rituals performed after the death of the most profound individuals of modern day and past societies. Furthermore, we will be comparing how the image of death for famous leaders differs from the average population. Looking at famous leaders such as Thomas Jefferson, Walt Disney, and King Tut will exemplify the worldwide attention for care of one person. Through an anthropological lens we will dissect the variations shown in the deceased of different cultures around the world. Much of our research will include how the deceased body was treated during the first moments of death, what ceremonial processes occurred over their death period, and how their grave site is treated today.
The way the dead are buried gives us insight into the way they were seen in life. It is for this reason that the burials of well-known political figures is so fascinating. When a man becomes a household name, he becomes something beyond human: in some ways, reduced to a fixture of everyday life; in others, elevated to a place of incredible importance, bordering on godliness. Because neither a god nor a poster can experience death, the death of a public figure, even at the most timely, is met with shock and confusion. So numerous are those who feel familiarity or animosity toward the deceased that ethical dilemmas arise regarding the publicity of a funeral. Who will be permitted attendance? How will those outside of the guest list feel connected with the proceedings? Is it ethical to screen guests, to film a funeral?
Further, the immortality of those already thought to be immortal gives us insight into the adaptation of semi-religious sentiments in modern culture. In the renowned, we see reflections of the regard with which polytheist traditions pay tribute to those above humanity. We see the transformation of a normal human being, however flawed they openly and privately are, into an ideal. This ideal is interpreted into representations of the dead, be they in the form of eulogies, memorials, funeral proceedings, or obituaries.
This blog will follow the deaths of significant political figures systematically, exploring their reputations in life; the transformation of public opinion as their current or former leader, revolutionary, or figurehead leaves the political scene and enters memory; the proceedings surrounding the funeral and burial of the figure, and the way modern audiences interact with the figure and his/her grave site, be it as a memorial, a monument, or a theme park.