MORTMEDIT. Death and Mediterranean civilizations: historical and anthropological analysis

  • Section: Modern and Contemporary Periods
  • Director: Marcello Massenzio, president of the Associazione Internazionale Ernesto de Martino; Giuseppe Vacca , president of the Fondazione-Istituto Gramsci; Riccardo Ciavolella, researcher, CNRS 


The ritual practice of funeral lamentation, peculiar to ancient Mediterranean civilizations and analyzed in the light of European folk traditions, constitutes the starting point for this research, which, from a general point of view, focuses on the problem of the anthropology of death in the West. With regard to both the theoretical dimensions and the methods of analysis, the programme is based on Observations sur le "Folklore" (Cahier 27, 1935) by Antonio Gramsci and on the classic work of Ernesto De Martino, Morte e pianto rituale. Dal lamento funebre antico al pianto di Maria (Einaudi, Torino 1958), which is translated into French.


Funeral lamentation; rites of passage; nature/culture.


This research is part of the “Franco-Italian scientific cooperation in human and social sciences” between the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, the École française de Rome, the Associazione internazionale Ernesto De Martino, La Fondazione-Istituto Gramsci, the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. 

Calendar of events

  • Seminar devoted to the work of Ernesto De Martino during the presentation of La fin du monde (The End of the World): last week of November; 
  • Translation of the first part of Morte e pianto rituale; 
  • Classification of the photographic archives of Ernesto De Martino looking at ethnographic analysis into funeral practices in southern Italy.


Page translated from French, 2020/11/18

Laboratoire International Associé (LIA)