Kirakos's description of the Mongols' burial practices

What can be learned about the Mongols' religion and ideas about death and the afterlife from Kirakos' account of their burial customs? Recall our discussion of Islamic burial customs and our discussions of the meaning of particular burial customs.

The account of the Mongol's burial by Kirako suggests that by the beginning of the sixth century, their belief system and ideas about death and the afterlife were well-established. In fact, the description makes it abundantly clear that Mongols, by virtue of their faith and worldview, view death as a catastrophe that only befalls the bad people in society. For example Kirakos says that when someone has died or simply put to death, such persons are being carried with them for several days claiming that devil had entered him or her. This is more similar to the Islamic burial practices which according to the, the practice of carrying the dead person is very significant as a sign of tormenting the person the evil things he has done before dying. According to them, failing to conduct the prolonged procession would end up seeing the people he left behind or the society getting tormented badly and thus disrupting the peace of the community. Just like Islamic burial practices, Mongol sometimes considers two types of burial practices; that is, burying in deep graves or burning, which according to Kirakos, is a sign of complete disposal of the evils that possessed the person.

Besides, they ensure the man is buried with all his belonging including his clothing, silver, gold and anything else that would belong to him simply because Mongol believes the is still another life after death known as the afterlife and the dead is still in need of all his or her belongings since it is believed they continue to use the belongings as before the death. Nevertheless, it is also clear that the description by Kirakos also reveals that Mongols, based on their religion and conception about death, life seems to continue as usual. The reason for which they consider burying they people with all their earthly belongings. In fact, for the great men especially those who even had both men and maid servants including horses, they were to be buried with him inside the tomb. Something which though was barbaric, but was right according to their religion and as far as their conception about death and afterlife is concerned. Kirakos describe the burial practice while quoting exactly what they have always said that the horses would help the departed or the death in fighting the fierce fights in which are there after the death-in the new world which someone proceeds immediately after dying and living this world.

In according to Kirakos, Mongol's religion and perceptions, just like it is enshrined in Islamic burial practices, considers death for evil people as a form of punishments which their god issues to them while for the great men is perceived as part of life passage which promotes him or her from one life to another.

Document B

Questions: In reading the two versions of her petition, the early one and the later one,

one wonders why, two months after the first, she appealed to the head of the Jews again. The

first petition is mostly formulaic, but the second contains new information that (probably)

bolstered her case. What new information is presented and how does it make her case more

sympathetic to the Gaon?

Cairo Geniza presented two case about her afflictions caused to her by her new family members which began shortly after her husband passing away. However, of the two cases she presented the later one presents more detailed information which ends up bolstering her plea which would be evidently witnesses when it appealed more to the Gaon who is the high most person in charge of the hearing. This section will thus outline into details certain important or significant information that made her second appeal to be stronger than it was in her first petition.

Cairo properly documents all the suffering and mistreatments her in-laws had subjected her to; first she puts it clearly that all estates that her husband left a will for her inherit were already snatched aways from her by the slaves and the sons of her husband including the her dowry which the Jewish marriage laws clearly dictates that belongs her in event of divorce or death of her husband as it is the actual case here. This being contrary to the Jewish's law on inheritance in case of husbandry death, invoked much sympathy from the Gaon who apparently considers the acts of the slaves and sons of the deceased husband as inhumane. Furthermore, the Jewish law on inheritance requires that widow to inherit all the importance properties belonging to the husband including the house; however it became extremely worse in the ears of Gao when Cairo reported in her second petition information that they in-laws, particular the sister in law had kicked her out of the house and she and her son did not then had even a house sleep.

The widow also included that her in-laws has also denied her the home compound that she was gifted by her husband, the beginning of the problem which ultimately reached serious proportion. She reported that, they did not only denied possession of the property that were rightfully left for her by her departed husband, they in-laws including the family slaves went as far as engaging Cairo and her orphan son in severe physical violence, and desolateness, actions which attributed to her poor living conditions characterized by the grilling poverty. This make made her case to be more sympathetic to Gaon. In fact, it become more sympathetic to the Gaon when the window said that they, she and her son have been barred for more than three month from entering the their house. Also, the violence posed on her by her husband's son whom his main intension was to severely harm her by inflicting pain on her particularly in her most vital body organs drew Gaon's sympathy and was therefore more than willing to intervene in rescue of the young widow.

Document C

Question: What can the two sources tell us about the formal and informal practices of medieval ophthalmology and their associated physical risks? How did the muḥtasib intervene to regulate these various practitioners?

The two sources tell us how the difference between the formal and informal practices of medieval ophthalmology as well as the kind of health or eye risks associated with them. The selection from Ibn al-Ukhuwwa's 14th century muhtasib manual presents the informal practice which indeed is true that was very regulated by the market inspector or the muhtasib who had to qualify each ophthalmologist. This ensured only those people who had perfect knowledge of the structure layers of the eyes are allowed to practice or treat people's eyes' illness. According the informal practice, for one to qualify as an ophthalmologist, he must first have to know how he would mix the drug and compounds the collyria and all these are assigned to the muhtasib to ensure all the qualifications or requirements are met before the one is allowed to set out for treating people's eyes. Informally, the ophthalmologist were not expected to neglect anything concerning the instrument of his art of treatment such as pterygium, lancet for bleeding, hook for pannus as well as a case of collyrium applicator among other thus telling how they practice was demanding and had strict requirements to be made before beginning the practice, thus would perhaps ensure safety of patients. However as much as muhtasib struggles to ensure it lessen the difficulties that is likely to experienced by the clients coming for the treatment of their eyes, but there are associated physical risks which is either partial or complete damage to the eyes depending on the what each of the uses to prepare their medicaments with. This is true because majority of the uses burned myrobalan seeds and peppers, and some with horned poppy which is usually made into paste using gum which is neither healthy nor safe for the human eye.

For the formal practice, specialized surgeons perform the ophthalmology. However, majority of them are extremely arrogant and proud and can easily mess up with a clients eyes since they are commonly known to be too rough and rigid at certain point. They would also carry quite number eye operation equipment in bags including scissors, shears, syringes, herpodermic injections and zools among others. In addition, the ophthalmologist also did not have any regulating market body and therefore were reckless in handling eyes of clients. They would mostly boast and show their false capabilities in seeking unjustified recognition for their crooked act of handling people's eye. This is has been associated with the risks of eyeball infection and even blindness as one of ophthalmologist is quoted in poem saying how he would have been able to subject silk merchant who later on became as wild as an animal. Therefore, the muhtasib have always intervened by setting out strictly qualification requirements to ensure only the knowledgeable people who are well conversant with structure of the layers of the eye are allowed to practice ophthalmology.

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