How the living influenced the dead
in Death, life, and religious change in Scottish towns, c.1350–1560
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This chapter investigates people’s preparations for their own deaths and their sense of responsibility toward those who had already died. Although they sometimes feared death, people did not despair, for they also believed that death was not the end of a person: while the body was part of this world and therefore material and apt to decay, the soul was eternal. With sections on the fear of death, the idea of a ‘good death’, and the importance of remembrance, this chapter shows that Scottish townspeople made arrangements for their own souls to pass as painlessly as possible into a blessed eternity, and that they attended to the souls of those already deceased, especially to the souls of their blood kin and their civic brethren.

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