The Myth of Er
is an eschatological
legend that concludes Plato
's The Republic
(10.614-10.621). The story includes an account of the cosmos and the afterlife that for many centuries greatly influenced religious, philosophical and scientific thought.
The story begins as a man named Er (, gen
.: Ἠρός; son of Ἀρμένιος - Armenios from Pamphylia
) dies in battle. When the bodies of those who died in the battle are collected, ten days after his death, Er remains undecomposed. Two days later he revives when on his funeral-pyre and tells of his journey in the afterlife
, including an account of reincarnation
and the celestial spheres
of the astral plane
. The tale introduces the idea that moral people are rewarded and immoral people punished after death.
With many other souls as his companions Er had come across an awesome place with four openings, two into and out of the sky and two into and out of the earth. Judges sat between these openings and ordered the souls which path to follow: the good were guided into the path in the sky, the immoral were directed below. But when Er approached the judges he was told to remain, listening and observing in order to report his experience to mankind.
Meanwhile from the other opening in the sky, clean souls floated down, recounting beautiful sights and wondrous feelings. Others, returning from the earth, appeared dirty, haggard and tired, crying in despair when recounting their awful experience, as each was required to pay a... Read More