Momento Mori

Since life’s inception human kind has meditated on mortality to motivate and inspire. In ancient Rome celebrations of triumph in battle were typically led with the return of a victorious military officer. The victor wore a crown and resplendent garments, leading a parade with a horse chariot through the streets lined with citizens chanting “io Triumphe!” The chants of praise were accompanied by the whisper of slave, positioned in the chariot behind his master’s throne, “Memento Mori, Memento Mori, Memento Mori,” the slave repeated. “Remember thou art mortal.” “Remember, you too must die.” A humbling reminder that even the most celebrated among us all come to the same end. “Memento mori - remember death! These are important words. If we kept in mind that we will soon inevitably die, our lives would be completely different. If a person knows that he will die in a half hour, he certainly will not bother doing trivial, stupid, or, especially, bad things during this half hour. Perhaps you have half a century before you die-what makes this any different from a half hour?” - Leo Tolstoy, ‘Path of Life,’ p. 209, 1909.

Momento Mori

Angle on a grave marker covered in lichen at Green Wood Cemetary, Brooklyn, New York.

Photograph

#death  #momento mori  #research