The Bizarre Afterlives of Ancient CIVILIZATIONS

The Bizarre Afterlives of Ancient CIVILIZATIONS


What happens after we die? It’s a question we’ve all probably pondered at
least once in our life, because it’s one of life’s greatest mysteries. And it will also probably stay that way until
we leave this world ourselves. Throughout history, different civilizations
have also thought about what happens when someone dies. As varying cultures, they developed complex
systems about what happens after we take our last breaths. While some of them are very different from
each other, there are also a shocking amount of similarities between the afterlives of
these cultures that were spread out all over the world. 10. The Mesopotamians The Mesopotamia civilization was located in
and around modern day Iraq, and it is considered the cradle of civilization. The Mesopotamian afterlife was based on their
creation of man story. Man was created by a deity named We-ilu, who
mixed clay and blood from a god together. God’s blood made us part immortal, so when
the body dies, it is buried and returns to clay. However, the immortal part remains on Earth
as a spirit before traveling to the underworld. In the underworld, the soul passes through
a demon-infested plain, then crosses the Khuber River with the assistance of a being called
Silushi (“Quick, take [me] there!”), and they have to get through the seven gates of
the netherworld city with the permission of the gatekeeper, Bidu (“Open Up!”). Upon arrival in the underworld, the immortal
part of the person was “judged” by the court of deities and then given a place in
the afterlife. Even in heaven there was social structure,
and where someone is placed in the great city of dead depended on two factors. The first was their social stature when they
were alive, and the second depended on how their body taken care of after death. So in ancient Mesopotamia, you definitely
wanted to treat your family nice while you were alive. 9. The Aztecs The Aztec civilization emerged in the early
13th century in what is today modern Mexico. Their afterlife was different than many other
cultures, because where a soul ended up depended on how the person died, and it was not based
on the way they lived their lives. The Aztec afterlife was split into four sections
that were based on the four cardinal directions. In the east, there was an afterlife for women
who died during childbirth. In that afterlife, they would help the sun
emerge from the underworld. The people who died from diseases like leprosy,
or were killed by lightning, or drowned, went to the afterlife in the south. It was a beautiful place where there was plenty
to eat and drink. In the north, the afterlife was called Mictlan
and it was for people who died naturally, such as from old age. They had four years to make it through eight
different levels of challenges. If they did, their soul would find peace on
the ninth level. As for warriors who died in combat, their
heaven was in the west. In Aztec culture, the sun was important, and
at times the Aztecs thought it was possible that the sun would enter the underworld and
never re-emerge. So when a warrior died, he went to the heaven
in the west, where he would help their god Huitzilopochtli, who was one of the two principal
gods of the Aztecs and the sun and war god. Together, they would fight against the darkness
to ensure that the sun would rise. They spent four years doing this, and then
they returned to Earth as a hummingbird. 8. The Maoris The Maori people arrived in what is today
New Zealand in waves of canoes between 1250 and 1300 AD. When someone dies in the Maori culture, the
spirit goes as far as someone can walk in New Zealand, which is the tip of Cape Reinga. There, the spirit slides down a Pohutukawa
tree and into the ocean and eventually rejoins its ancestors. Their afterlife consisted of at least two
different realms, sometimes as high as 12. Each level was ruled over by one of their
gods. How the Maoris lived didn’t really effect
which afterlife they went to because the Maoris did not believe that spirits were punished
for their behavior on Earth. The Maoris apparently weren’t overly concerned
with the afterlife. What they did worry about was that someone’s
spirit might not slide down the tree, and this could negatively affect people in the
land of the living. 7. The Celts The Celts were first mentioned in texts about
2,500 years ago, and what we know about their early days comes from writings by other civilizations,
like the Greeks and the Romans. Because of that, it is highly debatable where
the Celts’ real roots are. Many people believe they originated in the
British Isles, while others believe they migrated there from mainland Europe. Nevertheless, what we do know is that when
the Celts migrated to what is today Ireland, they incorporated their religious beliefs
with the inhabitants who already lived there. They believed that after death, their soul
went to an afterlife called the Otherworld, which consisted of several different supernatural
kingdoms. This included Tír na nÓg (“The Land of
the Young”), Mag Mell (“The Plain of Honey”), and Tír Tairngire (“The Promised Land”). However, all the kingdoms were woven together,
like the way scenes are meshed together in a dream, so they can be in the different kingdoms
all at the same time. 6. Native Americans It’s believed that the ancestors of the
Native Americans migrated from Russia to modern day Alaska about 12,000 years ago. They settled across South and North America,
and by the time Europeans reached the Americas, there were 50 million inhabitants; 10 million
living in the United States. Since there were so many people, spread over
such a big area of land, the tribes developed their own very unique cultures. North American tribes were generally divided
into different cultural areas that all had a different view on the afterlife. For the tribes of the Plains, they believed
in an afterlife called the Happy Hunting Ground, where there was plenty of buffalo to hunt. The Pueblo Indians’ afterlife was just a
continuation of this one; they simply went to another town where they meet up with dead
people they knew in life. They also weren’t punished for anything
they did in the previous life, because it was simply a continuation of that life. Similarly, the Omaha Indians of the Central
Plains and the tribes of New England believed the afterlife was just a continuation of this
one and there was no reason to punish the person in the afterlife. Then, finally, there are the Cheyenne Indians
of the Northern Plains, who believed that the spirit had to find a trail where the footprints
all pointed in the same direction. They would follow the trail to the Milky Way
until they got to a camp of the dead, which was in the stars, and they were greeted by
dead friends and relatives when they got there. 5. The Ancient Chinese In the ancient Chinese afterlife, when someone
died, messengers carried their soul to Cheng Husand, who was the God of Walls and Moats. There, the soul was judged, and if the person
was virtuous, then they would go on to paradise. However, only people who were kings on Earth
got to experience true paradise. Other people went to a lower part of paradise,
or they would be reincarnated. There was also an underworld, called the Yellow
Spring. Evil souls go there for a fixed amount of
time, where they are punished for bad deeds. Once they have done their time, they are given
the Elixir of Oblivion, and then they are reborn. 4. The Incans The Incan empire started in the 12th century
in the Andean area of South America. Their empire spanned from Ecuador to central
Chile with about 12 million inhabitants. Huk vida, the Incan term for the afterlife,
was three horizontal levels. On top was Hanan Pacha, “The Upper World,”
which is where people who lived righteous lives went after they died. Next was Kay Pacha, which literally means
“This World.” Finally, there was Uku Pacha, which is the
“Below World” or the “Inner World.” It’s where people who weren’t good enough
to go to Hanan Pacha go to live. Unlike in many other underworlds, Uku Pacha
isn’t a place of punishment. Instead, it’s associated “with the feminine
earth mother and the bones of the ancestors.” Also, the Incans did not believe that the
worlds were completely separated. Things like lightning were the Upper World
connecting with This World, while mountains reached from This World upwards. As for the gateway to the Inner World, that
was through holes and caves. 3. The Vikings When a Viking warrior died, it was possible
for him to go to Valhalla, which means “The Hall of the Fallen.” It is a great palace and the roof is made
of shields, and it’s guarded by wolves and eagles. When a warrior gets there, he is welcomed
by the god Odin, and they share a glass of mead, which is a sweet honey-based drink. In Valhalla, the fallen warriors eat freshly
slaughtered boar, which is made whole again at evening. Also, there is unlimited mead. Yep, that’s right: in Valhalla, it’s an
open bar. Best afterlife ever. They also constantly battled each other. However, it was for sport, because they needed
to keep training for their doomsday, called Ragnarök. When that happens, the warriors will exit
the 540 doors of the hall to fight alongside Odin against Norse mythology’s most infamous
wolf, Fenrir, who is the son of the god Loki and the giantess Angrboða. It was said that when a brave warrior dies,
it is because Odin needed another warrior to fight during Ragnarök. So… maybe not quite the best afterlife ever. But still, open bar! However, not every warrior made it to Valhalla. The warrior had to be an honorable person
and they had to die in battle. This gave them strong motivation to give it
their all in their battles, because they had no fear of death; they were going to a better
place if they died. As for people who didn’t die on the battlefield,
there were different afterlives. For example, the Vikings were seafaring people,
and if someone died at sea or drowned, they would go to the hall of the sea god Aegir. He was known for hosting parties for the gods. If someone wasn’t honorable, they went to
a hall that has woven snakes which spew rivers of venom. People who got sick or, Odin forbid, died
of old age had the worst afterlife. They went to a foggy place where they had
to eat terrible food with the goddess Hel, who is decaying. Finally, there are warriors who weren’t
lucky enough to make it to Valhalla, which was supposedly half the soldiers. The other half went to a meadow or field ruled
over by the goddess Freyja, called Fólkvangr. Life was more peaceful there than Valhalla. They made art, told stories, and were companions
to women who died as maidens. 2. The Greeks and The Romans The Greeks and the Romans share a very similar
afterlife, because Romans borrowed the Greek system of gods. So for simplicity’s sake, we’ll just look
at the Greek’s afterlife. In Greek mythology, when someone dies they
go to the Underworld, which is deep in the Earth. It’s ruled by Hades and his queen, Persephone. Hades is always looking for more souls, and
there is always room for more. The soul’s guide in the Underworld is Hermes,
an Olympian god who is the son of Zeus. The guide is needed because the Underworld
is surrounded by five rivers; the Acheron (“River of Woe”), the Cocytus (“River
of Lamentation”), the Phlegethon (“River of Fire”), the River Styx (“River of Hate”),
and the Lethe (“River of Forgetfulness”). To get the Underworld, a soul had to be ferried
across the Rivers Styx by the boatman Charo, if they had the fare. The fare needed to be placed on the deceased
people’s lips by relatives. If someone doesn’t have the fare, they stayed
in limbo between the two worlds. On the other side of the river is a giant
three headed dog named Cerberus. He let’s people in, but let’s very few
leave. Kind of like a mythological roach motel. After entering the gates, there are three
judges named Rhadamanthus, Minos, and Aeacus, and the deceased tell their life stories. Then there are three possible outcomes. The first is they go to the Fields of Asphodel,
which is where most people go. It’s a gloomy and gray place where souls
wander around aimlessly. Kind of like Seattle. The second is for the souls of heroes and
the blessed dead, who went to Elysium, which was considered a paradise. On the other end of the spectrum from Elysium
is the Pit of Tartarus, which is located in the deepest part of the Underworld. It also sounds like ‘tartar sauce’ so
you know it can’t be good. It’s the same place where the 12 Olympian
gods held the Titans, the former rulers of the world. It’s a miserable place that’s dark and
cloudy all the time. There are even storms that sweep people up,
and they can’t touch the ground for at least a year. 1. The Egyptians When people in ancient Egypt died, they believed
that their soul, called a ba, would return periodically to the body. That’s why they mummified the remains. When the ba left the body, it traveled through
the afterlife and had to pass through several gates, all guarded by deities. Once they got through the gates, the ba entered
the Hall of Two Truths. The hall is long, and supported by columns. At the end of the hall is the god of the underworld,
Osiris. Surrounding the ba are 42 gods with names
like Bone-Breaker and the Eater of Entrails. The ba then must proclaim the sins they did
not commit to the specific god. For example, the ba has to turn to the god
Fire-embracer and say, “O Fire-embracer who came forth from Kheraha, I have not robbed.” And the ba would go on and do a specific sin
for a specific god. One of the worries for the ancient Egyptians
was knowing what sin was associated with what god. Also, they needed to know what sins they couldn’t
commit. So scrolls called the Book of the Dead were
developed as a guide to the afterlife. What’s interesting is that there was no
standard Book of the Dead and often variations were quite drastic. After getting through the Hall of Two Truths,
the ba goes through another ceremony called the “Weighing of the Heart.” The ancient Egyptians believed that the heart
was a record of the deceased person’s life. The heart was put on a scale and on the other
scale was the feather from the goddess Ma’at, which was a symbol for truth and justice. If the feather was heavier than the heart,
then the person wasn’t virtuous and they were fed to Ammut the Devourer. If the scale balanced, then they were taken
to Osiris and welcomed to the afterlife called the Field of Reeds, where they were given
a plot of land that they were expected to work. So, you know… not quite as awesome an afterlife
as Valhalla, with its open freaking bar.

100 thoughts on “The Bizarre Afterlives of Ancient CIVILIZATIONS

  1. Cape Regina??? If you said "Re-ing-a" I'd understand your mispronunciation. But, no. It's pronounced, Ri-ang-a. And I can't imagine it being that hard to google.

  2. Quite interesting. Thanks. The title though led me to think you might be researching a different topic, which might be best called remnants of ancient cultures. So Astrology is a holdover from ancient Babylonian religion, Gnosticism and it's many relatives from Persian religion, ancient Rome survives in the Roman Catholic Church etc. You get the idea. Think about doing a top ten on that.

  3. In Egyptian mythology, it was the other way around–you were fed to the eater of souls if the heart was heavier than the feather.

  4. 4:50 They migrated from Siberia, not Russia – -big difference!
    Eastern Siberia was part of the Chinese Empire until Czarist Russia took it away from them in the early 19th century. Chinese migrants(illegal aliens) are now taking it back.
    5:20 That picture of Native Americans hunting buffalo on horseback is wrong! The horse was introduced(reintroduced) into the Americas by the Spanish whom taught the Indians how to ride them.

  5. Much appreciation for these varied, informational vids. Glad to hear u don't listen to the trolls. After all, I doubt any of them have 2 successful YouTube channels and host yet another. Well done!!

  6. Darn. I was hoping it would be about things today that we do that are tied to ancient civilisations.

    For instance pretty much no one worships the gods the days of the week are named after in English. And yet there they are all week long.

  7. I found this video very informative Top Tenz. Great work. And I didn't mind Simon's pronunciations. I think he did a decent job with them.

  8. sigh Aztec were "Native Americans". The word "America" was used for almost 300 years before the U.S. declaration of independence from the UK. Even your map of "Native Americans" includes territory that wasn't part of the USA until almost a century after 1776. Is the idea that the Comanche were not "Real" Native Americans until the Federal government legally granted them citizenship? It boggles the mind that an indigenous person born 10 feet across the border into Canada or Mexico is no longer a Native American. "But the USA is AMERICA!"? Which then means that indigenous Hawaiians or Chamorro's from Guam are Native Americans?

  9. There is an island of the coast of Chile where the natives believed that, if you drowned, you were picked up by a ghost ship that always had a party going on and worked as a smuggler.

  10. Was expecting someone to argue that he pronounced "Celts" wrong and claim that it is pronounced like an "S" sound, but no one argued that… D:
    It's actually correct both ways…

  11. Simon, Tartarus is the deepest part of the Underworld (Hades.) You forgot to mention the Fields of Punishment. The placplace where evil souls go. Tartarus was kind of like Isolation for Hades.

  12. No more bizare than the Abrahamic faiths where we sit around all day singing praises to the dear leader in a celestial North Korea….

  13. Hey I love your videos. You always tell great facts and are always sensitive to other cultures and particularly the pronunciation of words. You have a great channel. Can't wait to see more videos from your crew and you.

  14. Hi Simon, there's a lot to be said in the Chinese afterlife than what you had mentioned or covered in the video. In the Traditional Chinese belief, every soul is equal and could reach heaven if they are good, clean and pure during their time on earth and that goes the same to the emperor as well. If a soul is not good, it will be send to hell to be judge by Hell King from 18 different levels that will carry out different kind of punishment for different crimes or reasons committed in the past by the soul. The deeper the level goes, the more painful punishment applies. The afterlife of the traditional Chinese is far more complicated and the facts of your video is really wrong. I am a fan, but i have to point it out to you cause i always believe that your channel will deliver correct and true facts to fans and not fictional or fake one that will confuse the public when it comes to other races and religions belief.

  15. ONE CAN SEE HOW THE EVOLUTION OF THESE CULTURAL VARIATIONS ON THE AFTERLIFE HAVE ALL BECOME MORE OR LESS SIMILAR IN OUR CURRENT AGE.
    A TUNNEL, A KNOWING OF BEING IN A TIMELESS DIMENSION,SEEING DECEASED LOVED ONES&USUALLY A POST EARTH LIFE REVIEW IS THE NORM.ITS THE MOST PRIMITIVE CULTURES THAT DIFFER.MOSTLY THEY WALK ALONG A JUNGLE TRAIL WHICH LEADS TO A VILLAGE NOT TOO DISSIMILAR FROM THEIR OWN.
    THE MORE CIVILIZED SOCIETIES REFLECTS A PARADIGM SHIFT AWAY FROM A MULTILEVEL AFTERLIFE TOWARD A MORE HOMOGENEOUS REALM.THAT SUGGESTS AN EXPANDED STATE OF A UNIFYING CONSCIOUSNESS, INSTEAD OF A FRAGMENTED ONE.

  16. you forgot the indian hell. It has many different parts and where you are sent depends on the degree of your crime. Like being boiled alive so and so

  17. Going to Helheim is not bad. The goddess Hel did made sure those that where without any honour in life was punished.
    One more thing. Freya and Odin agreed to share the fallen warriors due a dispute between the Aesir and the Vanir.
    Not all Vikings where warriors, and the word viking is to go on a journey that also included trade. A right of passage for my ancestors.

  18. Hel is not necessarily a bad realm, as a heathen myself Hel is just another realm you go to be with your ancestors. The nasty food part I don't know where he got that from.

  19. For wackiness the prize has to go to the Aztecs.
    Some quite specific deaths there.
    I suppose the incinerated, then ground down, before ending up in an urn to be dealt with at a later date is pretty boring, but it will have to do.

  20. I thought you did an excellent job, sir! I don't know anyone that could pronounce all names correctly and that is in part because a lot of different cultures pronounce a lot of the same words differently.

  21. Haven't they now got best evidence that Natives probably came by boat to the Americas? Way earlier than previously estimated. There's natives in South America that have a percentage of black African DNA even, No? Thought I saw on PBS or something…Clovis people maybe.

  22. I believe we go to the Summerland where we ponder on the life we had and think through it all and if we feel we have more to learn we are reincarnated

  23. What puzzles me the most is the fact the there is so much taling about the after life and so little, if none at all about the pre-life … still NOBODY dares to say that the soul is created the moment the sperm fertilize the egg.

  24. Are these as bizarre as people believing they will be sitting on a cloud eating grass with pandas and jamming with celebrities gone? Or as bizarre as believing theres 72 virgins and 15 servant boys waiting for you?

  25. Actually, Hel, while a goddess, is not a physical afterlife in and of itself. Hel is mainly used and translated as "ground" or "grave". In most Nordic beliefs, Hel is literally the grave or mound one is buried in after death.

    Source: Am Nordic Pagan with many Nordic Pagan friends

  26. So many videos with an explanation of the pronunciation. Your doing fine and most of us get what you mean. Stop apologizing to the assholes of the internet.

  27. So according to some ancient beliefs, you can be a murder/rapist in this life as long as you die a certain way or was rich, you're granted paradise? wtf?

  28. Valkyrie come and take you to Valhalla …where there is AN OPEN BAR! Gotta love it…thanks for the incredible information that this video shared. I just wish I would have seen this months ago, during a talk between friends about various differences within cultures. ~Susan

  29. I'm so damn sick of this..
    It's not Valhalla. It's Valhall.
    Or in old norse Valhöll. There were never no A at the end. Why do people insist on getting this wrong all the time? And it's Odin in old norse Odinn not Oden, there is no damn E in the name. So remember people Valhall (Valhöll) has no damn A at the end and Odin (Odinn) has no damn E. Got that? "" It ain't that hard.

  30. Native are Aborigines……so how did the Native American migrate from Russia and clearly Indians are not pale………Aborigines is a Latin word for beginning…..Ab means from the beginning and orginies mean original……….Aborigines are dark skin people

  31. You know what, just this once, I’m gonna see what all the hype is about and have a go at Simon in the comments.

    HOW COULD YOU MESS THIS UP?? YOU THINK THIS IS A GAME?? DO I COME TO YOUR HOUSE AND BURN YOUR PANCAKES??

    This wasn’t as fun as I had hoped

  32. cape reinga bro not regina pronounced rla-ieng-ah also maori is maadi or mowdi ka mihi ki a koe, mahi te mahi

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