History of the Devil
By Paul Carus, 
THE IDEA OF SALVATION IN GREECE AND ITALY.
ἀλλὰ ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ ποηροῦ.
Matt. vi. 14.
THE first century of [this] era is a time in which the fear of evil leads to the organisation of religious institutions having in view the atonement of sin and the redemption of the soul from the terrors of hell.
The ideas evil, sin, hell, salvation, and immortal life were familiar to the Greek mind even before the days of Plato, but were still mixed up with the traditional mythology. When philosophers began to wage war against the gross idolatry of Greek polytheism, a fermentation set in which prepared the Greek nation for the reception of Christianity. We say “prepared,” but we might just as well say that it resulted in the formation of the Christian Church as an institution to deliver mankind from evil.
The fear of punishment in the life to come led in the days of savagery to human sacrifices as a vicarious atonement. This barbarous practice was abandoned in the progress of civilisation by a substitution of animal victims. But the idea lingered in the minds of the people and was retained in Christianity, where, Continue reading
Judges of the Dead
RHADAMANTHYS, MINOS and AIAKOS (Aeacus) were the judges of the dead, three demi-god ministers of Haides. They were originally mortal men, sons of the god Zeus, who were granted their station in death as a reward for establishing law and order on earth.
Individually, Aiakos was guardian of the keys of Haides and judge of the men of Europe, Rhadamanthys the lord of Elysion (Elysium) and judge of the men of Asia, and Minos the judge of the third and final vote. According to some Triptolemos was a fourth judge who presided over the souls of Initiates of the Mysteries.
The name Aiakos was derived from the Greek words aiaktos and aiazô, “wailing” and “lamentation.” The etymology of the other names is obscure.
The mortal lives of the three judges is not detailed on this page only their role in the afterlife.
ENCYCLOPEDIA Continue reading
Aeacus and Telamon by Jean-Michel Moreau le Jeune.
Aeacus (or Aiacos; Greek: Αἰακός) was a mythological king of the island of Aegina in the Saronic Gulf.
Aeacus was the son of Zeus and Aegina, a daughter of the river-god Asopus. He was the father of Peleus, Telamon and Phocus and was the grandfather of Achilles (son of Peleus) and Ajax (son of Telemon).
Aeacus was born on the island of Oenone or Oenopia, where Aegina had been carried by Zeus to secure her from the anger of her parents; afterward, this island became known as Aegina. Some stories related that, at the time when Aeacus was born, Aegina was not inhabited, and that Zeus either changed the ants (μύρμηκες) of the island into the men (Myrmidons) over whom Aeacus ruled, or he made the men grow up out of the earth. Ovid, on the other hand, Continue reading
From THE ORANTE AND THE GODDESS IN THE ROMAN CATACOMBS
The Orante or Orans, generally a female figure with open eyes and upraised hands, is a pervasive symbol in early Christian art, perhaps “the most important symbol in early Christian art.”1 Found frequently in the late second-century art in the Roman catacombs, as well as in sculpture, her head is almost always covered with a veil, and she wears a tunic. She exists both as a separate symbol and as the main figure in a number of Biblical scenes, but rarely in masculine form with male clothing. Instead, she frequently stands in for male figures in scenes of deliverance—she becomes Noah in the ark, Jonah in the boat and spewed out of the whale, Daniel between the lions, and the three young men in the fiery furnace. In one instance, she does represent a female figure— Susannah as she is saved by Daniel.2
It is the salvation/deliverance aspect that appears to be the most common in early Christian art. Her exact meaning and usage, however, are debated, since there is no ancient literature to tell us exactly how her image was employed. Before considering the range of meanings she might have had, it is necessary to discuss the primary context of her image – the Roman catacombs. Continue reading
Jewish Magic and Superstition
by Joshua Trachtenberg, 
5 THE SPIRITS OF THE DEAD
THE ties that bind man to his home and his associates are insoluble—even death cannot part them. Long after the body has departed this life, the spirit still frequents its ancient haunts, maintaining a shadowy connection with the world it knew and loved. This is the conception of death that has prevailed since man first had ideas on the subject, and it persists to this day more or less overtly.
Among Jews it was never completely ousted by the doctrine of the immortality of the soul. After all, according to the prevailing polypsychism of the Middle Ages, man is possessed of several spirits: the Continue reading
Shakyamuni being tested by the Daughters and Children of Mara under the Bodhi tree.
By the Wanderling
Centuries ago the coming Buddha sat under the Bodhi-tree and vowed not to move until he learned to eradicate suffering, unfolding Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi, the Consumation of Incomparable Enlightenment. But Mara, the personification of evil, tried to usurp his plans by sending his three daughters Tanha (desire), Raga (lust), and Arati (aversion), to seduce him and break his concentration. However, the coming Buddha was too strong for Mara.
In Buddhism Mara is the lord of misfortune, sin, destruction and Death. Mara is the ruler of desire and Continue reading
Funeral Ceremonies of the Ibo
By Karen Hauser (1992) [Edited]
The Ijaw and Ibo perform intricate burials and funeral ceremonies. The most elaborate performances are for the chiefs, and there are several types of death that are considered shameful and are not given any burial at all.
In the Kalabari, when a chief dies, his family takes his body to a special funeral compound (“Oto Kwbu”) to be washed. This involves a painstaking ceremony in which special pot of water and cloths are brought in, both of which are forbidden to touch the ground. Then the chiefs sisters tie an Okuru around his waist and his legal wives dress him with special cloths. Continue reading