tomb


tomb
tombal, adj.tombless, adj.tomblike, adj.
/toohm/, n.
1. an excavation in earth or rock for the burial of a corpse; grave.
2. a mausoleum, burial chamber, or the like.
3. a monument for housing or commemorating a dead person.
4. any sepulchral structure.
v.t.
5. to place in or as if in a tomb; entomb; bury.
[1225-75; ME tumbe < AF; OF tombe < LL tumba < Gk týmbos burial mound; akin to L tumere to swell. See TUMOR, TUMULUS]

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I
Home or house for the dead.

The term is applied loosely to all kinds of graves, funerary monuments, and memorials. Prehistoric tomb burial mounds, or barrows (artificial hills of earth and stones piled over the remains), were usually built around a hut containing personal effects for use in the afterlife. Burial mounds were a prominent feature of the Tumulus period in Japan (3rd–6th century); these often spectacular monuments consisted of earthen keyhole-shaped mounds surrounded by moats. Burial mounds, sometimes shaped like animals, were characteristic also of Indian cultures of eastern central North America с 1000 BC–AD 700. With more advanced technology, brick and stone tombs appeared, often of imposing size. In Egypt tombs assumed great importance, especially in the form of pyramids. In medieval Christian thought, the tomb became a symbol of a heavenly home; this concept appeared in the Roman catacombs, whose walls display scenes of paradise. Since the Renaissance, the idea of the tomb as a home has died out in the West, except as a faint reminiscence in the mausoleums or vaults of modern cemeteries. See also beehive tomb, cenotaph, mastaba, stele.
II
(as used in expressions)
Ch'in tomb

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▪ funerary architecture
      in the strictest sense, a home or house for the dead; the term is applied loosely to all kinds of graves, funerary monuments, and memorials. In many primitive cultures the dead were buried in their own houses, and the tomb form may have developed out of this practice, as a reproduction in permanent materials of primeval house types. Thus prehistoric tomb barrows were usually built around a round hut, in which the body was placed, along with tools and other personal effects for use in the next life. With the more advanced technology of early civilizations, brick and stone tombs appeared, often of great size, but still preserving primitive house forms. They were sometimes domical and sometimes rectangular, depending on which form was in common domestic use when the tombs began to be built. Being thought of as houses, such tombs were often lavishly provided with clothes, utensils, and furniture, so that they are major sources of knowledge about the cultures that built them.

      In very early times, royal dead were apparently provided not only with all manner of necessary objects but also with actual servants, who were put to death at the time of the burial so that they might continue to serve their master. Typical is the tomb of Queen Shub-Ad of Ur (Early Dynastic Period in Mesopotamia, c. 2900–c. 2334 BC), which contained the bodies of more than 60 attendants. It became more common, however, to substitute statues or painted images for human beings. This was the practice in most Egyptian (Egypt, ancient) tombs; and from such painted pictures and statuettes, particularly in Old and Middle Kingdom tombs, a vivid picture of Egyptian life can be gained.

      In many cultures and civilizations the tomb was superseded by, or coexisted with, monuments or memorials to the dead; sometimes, as in ancient Greece, the bodies were burned and the ashes put in funerary urns. In medieval Christian thought, the tomb was considered an earthly prototype and symbol of a heavenly home. This concept appeared in the Roman catacombs, the walls of which were decorated with scenes of the resurrected in paradise. The church building itself sometimes functioned as a tomb (e.g., Hagia Sophia in Istanbul was the tomb of Justinian). Throughout the Middle Ages it was common to inter bodies in churches, monasteries, and chapels, with depictions of the deceased on carved or painted plaques, or as life-size gisants (reclining sculptured figures, usually lying on their backs) placed above them. The deceased were represented not as corpses but as souls living in heaven, with their hands pressed together in adoration and the symbols of their salvation beside them. During the 15th century it became a common Christian practice to represent such figures as dead (usually on biers). This foreshadowed a general revival of the Greek practice of erecting funerary monuments, rather than tombs, during the 16th century. Since the Renaissance, the idea in the West of the tomb as a home has died out, except as a faint reminiscence in the mausoleums sometimes erected above graves or serving as burial vaults in modern cemeteries. See also barrow; dolmen; effigy mound; gisant; sarcophagus.

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Tomb — • A memorial for the dead at the place of burial, customary, especially for distinguished persons Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Tomb     Tomb      …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Tomb — Tomb, n. [OE. tombe, toumbe, F. tombe, LL. tumba, fr. Gr. ? a tomb, grave; perhaps akin to L. tumulus a mound. Cf. {Tumulus}.] 1. A pit in which the dead body of a human being is deposited; a grave; a sepulcher. [1913 Webster] As one dead in the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Tomb — Tomb,, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Tombed}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Tombing}.] To place in a tomb; to bury; to inter; to entomb. [1913 Webster] I tombed my brother that I might be blessed. Chapman. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • tomb — [to͞om] n. [ME toumbe < Anglo Fr tumbe (OFr tombe) < LL(Ec) tumba < Gr tymbos, tomb, funeral mound < IE * tu , var. of base * teu , to swell > THUMB, TUMOR] 1. a vault, chamber, or grave for the dead 2. a burial monument or… …   English World dictionary

  • tomb — [tu:m] n [Date: 1100 1200; : Anglo French; Origin: tumbe, from Late Latin tumba pile of earth under which a body is buried , from Greek tymbos] a stone structure above or below the ground where a dead person is buried ▪ the family tomb …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • tomb — (n.) late 13c., from Anglo Fr. tumbe, O.Fr. tombe (12c.), from L.L. tumba (Cf. It. tomba, Fr. tombe, Sp. tumba), from Gk. tymbos burial mound, grave, tomb, from PIE root *teu to swell (see THIGH (Cf. thigh)). The final b began to be …   Etymology dictionary

  • tomb — ► NOUN 1) a burial place, especially a large underground vault. 2) a monument to a dead person, erected over their burial place. 3) (the tomb) literary death. ORIGIN Greek tumbos …   English terms dictionary

  • tomb — Mot Monosíl·lab Nom masculí …   Diccionari Català-Català

  • tomb — [ tum ] noun count * a GRAVE where a dead person is buried, especially one consisting of a large stone structure …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • tomb — [n] burial place box, burial, burial chamber, catacomb, coffin, crypt, grave, mausoleum, monument, pit, sepulcher, trough, vault; concept 305 …   New thesaurus


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