Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
In general, a sarcophagus is a stone container that houses either another smaller coffin or a corpse. The word derives from the Greek words sarks , meaning “flesh,” and phagein, meaning “to eat,” and literally translates as “flesh eating.” It is said that Herodotus (or Pliny) observed that the stone used to construct sacrophagi in Troy, in Asia, consumed the flesh of the corpse inside. Hence, all such structures were referred to as sarcophagi. However, in ancient Egypt, the word used to designate the outer stone container for the body is transliterated as nb'nkh and translates to “lord of life,” a reference to Osiris (Ausar) who Osiris ...