Open main menu
Skull and crossbones.svg

Introduction

Statue of Death, personified as a human skeleton dressed in a shroud and clutching a scythe, from the Cathedral of Trier in Trier, Germany

Death is the cessation of all biological functions that sustain a living organism. Phenomena which commonly bring about death include aging, predation, malnutrition, disease, suicide, homicide, starvation, dehydration, and accidents or major trauma resulting in terminal injury. In most cases, bodies of living organisms begin to decompose shortly after death.

Death – particularly the death of humans – has commonly been considered a sad or unpleasant occasion, due to the affection for the being that has died and the termination of social and familial bonds with the deceased. Other concerns include fear of death, necrophobia, anxiety, sorrow, grief, emotional pain, depression, sympathy, compassion, solitude, or saudade. Many cultures and religions have the idea of an afterlife, and also hold the idea of reward or judgement and punishment for past sin.

Selected article

A condemned prisoner being dismembered by an elephant in Ceylon. Drawing from An Historical Relation of the Island Ceylon by Robert Knox (1681).
Execution by elephant was, for thousands of years, a common method of capital punishment in South and Southeast Asia, and particularly in India. Asian elephants were used to crush, dismember, or torture captives in public executions. The trained animals were versatile, able to kill victims immediately or to torture them slowly for a prolonged period. Employed by royalty, the elephants were representative both of absolute power and the ruler's ability to control wild animals.

The use of elephants to execute captives often attracted the horrified interest of European travellers, and was recorded in numerous contemporary journals and accounts of life in Asia. The practice was eventually suppressed by the European empires that colonised the region in the 18th and 19th centuries. While primarily confined to Asia, the practice was occasionally adopted by western powers, such as Rome and Carthage, particularly to deal with mutinous soldiers.

Selected image

Death and the Maiden
Credit: Till.niermann

Death and the Maiden is a common motif in Renaissance art. It developed from the Dance of Death. The new element was an erotic subtext.

...Archive/Nominations

Subcategories

To display all subcategories click on the ►


Michiel Jansz van Mierevelt - Anatomy lesson of Dr. Willem van der Meer.jpg
Danse macabre by Michael Wolgemut.png
Rudolf Schiestl (1878-1931) - Tod von Basel.jpg

Anniversaries of death

Obituaries

Disasters and accidents

Did you know...

Quote

"If we were sensible we would seek death — the same blissful blank which we enjoyed before we existed."

H. P. Lovecraft "Nietzscheism and Realism"

Major topics

Death project

WikiProject Death outstanding articles


The Death WikiProject is a collaboration that helps to assemble writers and editors interested in Death.
The aim of this project is to standardize and improve articles related to Death, and to create any missing articles
To become a member of this WikiProject (anyone may join), simply click here - and add {{user|username}}.
More info on project....

Related portals

Associated Wikimedia

The following Wikimedia Foundation sister projects provide more on this subject:

Wikibooks
Books

Commons
Media

Wikinews 
News

Wikiquote 
Quotations

Wikisource 
Texts

Wikiversity
Learning resources

Wiktionary 
Definitions

Wikidata 
Database