Like many other words, the cenotaph comes from Greek. It is formed by the root kenos, which means emptiness, and taphos, which means tomb. Therefore, a cenotaph is a tomb in which there is no deceased person .
In many national pantheons around the world there are some forms of this type of burial, as the tombs of famous personalities have simply a symbolic value and do not incorporate the corpse of the illustrious individual .
The important thing about these tombs is the honorific meaning and memory of the person, regardless of where their authentic remains are found.
The first cenotaphs are historically located in Ancient Egypt and, since then, these symbolic constructions are present in all civilizations, especially to remember those killed in wars or to honor the memory of some illustrious personality . Cenotaph
The Italian poet Dante Alighieri has an honorable tomb in the Santa Croce Church in Florence, as his real tomb is in the city of Ravenna.
The numerous tombs dedicated to unknown soldiers are also examples of cenotaphs. A large number of ancient Egyptian pharaohs are remembered for this type of burial.
In the city of Jaisalmer, India, there is a collective burial called Bada Bahg, and this type of funerary deals with symbolic constructions. In this sense, they have the appearance of tombs, but in reality the corpses were cremated and their ashes thrown into the river. Cenotaph
In the city of Madrid there is a monument that remembers the national heroes who resisted the French attack during the episode of May 2, 1808. In Argentina there is a similar monument to remember those killed in the Malvinas War in 1982. Cenotaph
Cenotaph, epitaph and other words related to death
The cenotaph and the epitaph share the Greek word taphos. Thus, a cenotaph indicates that the tomb is empty, while the epitaph is an inscription on the tomb intended to honor the deceased. In both cases there is a component of respect for the deceased.
There are epitaphs for all tastes. The ironic “Sorry, I don’t get up” by Groucho Marx; the poetic “The Starry Sky Above Me” and “The Moral Law in Me” by Immanuel Kant, and the emotional “We’ll see you in the next life, baby” and “Don’t be long” by Jimi Hendrix.
In the context of sexual fixations or paraphilias, there is necrophilia, which consists in obtaining sexual pleasure from corpses. Cenotaph
Finally, thanatology is the discipline that studies everything related to death.