Few poems are nobler in expression and content than the Epic of Gilgamesh. Its Sumerian hero was famous throughout the Near East from about 2000 B.C.E.

Gods and Goddesses of Life and Death

The One God of the Near Eastern monotheisms— Judaism, Christianity, Islam—is both the creator and stern but loving father of humankind. He cares for his creation from birth to death and beyond.

Good Death, the

What is the good life? Most people would prefer health to illness, affluence to poverty, and freedom to confinement.

Gravestones and Other Markers

Tracing the development of differing objects of memory provides a general background for understanding the development of gravestones and other markers from colonial times to the present in North America. Based on this overview, three broad traditions emerge: memento mori markers, markers that evoke the phrase, "in memory of," and ignoratio mori markers.

Greek Tragedy

Greek tragedy, created in the city-state of Athens in the last thirty years of the sixth century B.C.E., is the earliest kind of European drama. Its subject matter is normally drawn from mythology, except that for the ancient Greeks "mythology" was a kind of historical saga, often perfectly credible oral history, including stories about gods and other supernatural beings, handed down from generation to generation by word of mouth.


A suffering, a distress, a wretchedness, a pain, a burden, a wound. These were among the meanings associated with the word grief in its premodern French origin.

Grief and Mourning in Cross-Cultural Perspective

Most contemporary writing about grief and mourning is based on research with people living in twentieth-century North America and Western Europe. The research uses theories and methods that grew from the same geographical area and historical period.

Grief Counseling and Therapy

How individuals and families cope with dying, death, grief, loss, and bereavement is as unique as a fingerprint. The response to the death of a family member, relative, or close friend places one in the category of "bereaved." Those who are bereaved experience grief, a person's response or reaction to loss, which encompasses physical, psychological, social, and spiritual components.


Heaven is usually thought of as some sort of afterlife, a view provoking hopeful belief on the one hand and skepticism on the other. Yet heaven is much more complicated and diverse than that.

Heaven's Gate

Marshall Herff Applewhite and Bonnie Lu Nettles founded Heaven's Gate, which was a cult that "combined Christian and some Theosophical doctrines with beliefs in UFO's [and] extraterrestrials" (Wessinger 2000, p. 233).

Heidegger, Martin

One cannot fully live unless one confronts one's own mortality. This hallmark of existentialist thought owes much to the works of Martin Heidegger.


Most ancient societies and religions had an idea of an afterlife judgment, especially understood as a "weighing of souls," where the gods would reward the faithful worshipers, or honor the great and mighty of society. In later times this notion of afterlife was refined more and more into a concept of the public recognition of the worth of a person's life, its moral valency.

Hertz, Robert

Robert Hertz was born to a Jewish family near Paris on June 22, 1881. As an anthropologist and politically active socialist, Hertz provided a new way of interpreting funerary ritual and sought to relate sociology to the practical flourishing of community life.


The Hindenburg was an 804-foot-long German dirigible and the largest rigid airship ever constructed. It was first launched in Friedrichshafen, Germany, in April 1936.


In India "death in the midst of life" is a literal, not figurative, notion. Along the Ganges River, for instance, bodies are regularly cremated, and the odor of burning flesh fills the air.

Hippocratic Oath

The recitation of the oath attributed to Hippocrates is an integral part of medical school graduation in the Western world. Referred to as either the Hippocratic oath or the oath of Hippocrates, the oath exists in a variety of forms and has been translated and revised over the centuries.


The term holocaust, with origins in the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, translates the Hebrew expression olah as holokauston, meaning "a burnt sacrifice" (Berenbaum 2000, p. 31).

Homicide, Definitions and Classifications of

Early legal codes, including English common law, defined homicide as the killing of a human being and included suicide. As the American legal system evolved, suicide was excluded and homicide became "the killing of one person by another" (Allen and Simonsen 1998, p.

Homicide, Epidemiology of

Homicide, the killing of one human being by another human being, has always been a concern in human society. It is a major social problem in the United States, where violence is endemic.

Horror Movies

According to the film critic William K. Everson, the horror film is the most unique of any film genre because rigid guidelines do not have to be followed as closely by the director or, for that matter, the screenwriter.

Hospice, Alzheimer Patients and

"Dying the good death" is a care-giving goal, regardless of the presumed immediate cause of death, site(s) of the dying process, or cultural and ethnic differences among the dying person, their family, the community, and the health care providers. At the close of life, the patient, family members, and clinicians face decisions regarding the degree of intensive medical care to be provided for treatment of diseases, withdrawal of invasive interventions, initiation of hospice, and treatment of a range of chronic medical conditions.

Hospice around the World

Known initially as "palliative care," the modern hospice movement began in the 1970s. Over time it has sought to provide end-of-life care in the home or a specially designated unit with a special focus on the patient's physical, psychological, social, and spiritual needs.