|Home||Ecology||Eagle Facts||History||Folklore||Migration||Save The Eagle Game||Pictures||Links||Teacher's helper|
Eagles and Death
The Roman Emperor Augustus died in A.D. 14,
his body was decorated and carried to the Campus Martius. There a
towering pyramidal funeral pyre had been built, and the Emperor was placed
upon it. As the torch was applied to the base of the pyre, men in
the surrounding crowd cast their adornments into the flames. The
flames crept upward and an eagle was released from the summit of the burning
mound, symboling the ascent of Augustus's soul to the gods.
Other people also associated eagles with death and the journey of souls to the clouds. The Welsh ledgend told of how the brave warriors souls flew to heaven in the form of eagles. In the ancient Sumer, the eagle brought childrens souls to this world and carried the departed souls to the underworld. In Syria, the eagle crried souls to its master, the sun. The Hopi in the southwestern United States believe that the dead rose to become clouds drifting in an eagle ruled sky. Those who died could be reborn not just as clouds but as eaglets. The Hopi kept captive golden eagles, believing them to be messengers that could take there prayers to the spirits.
Eagles played the role of soul bearers for many ancient cultures. Others associated them with death, too, but in different ways. The Aztecs identified the eagle with the sun and with one of the main ways of nourishing the sun-human sacrifice.
Take a quiz