The ancients adorned their sarcophagi with the emblems of life and procreation, and even with obscene symbols; in the religions of antiquity the sacred and the obscene often lay very close together. These men knew how to pay homage to death. For death is worthy of homage as the cradle of life, as the womb of palingenesis.
Thomas Mann (1875–1955), German author, critic. Originally published as Der Zauberberg, Fischer (1924). The Magic Mountain, ch. 5, p. 200, trans. by Helen T. Lowe-Porter, The Modern Library, McGraw-Hill (1955).
Settembrini's expatiation on the pre-Christian celebration of life and death.