On the death of Herod in 4 B.C. Archelaus kept open house for mourners as the Jewish custom, which reduced many Jews to beggary, prescribed.
His grave was surrounded by a large crowd of mourners, among whom were Gladstone, Bright, Milner Gibson, Charles Villiers and a host besides from all parts of the country.
By this he wished to check the extravagance which had become associated with arrangements for the disposal of the dead, and his end was attained; for his example became the rule, and it also became the custom to commemorate him in the words of consolation addressed to the mourners (Kethub.
After publishing The Mock Mourners, intended to satirize and rebuke the outbreak of Jacobite joy at the king's death, he turned his attention once more to ecclesiastical subjects, and, in an evil hour for himself, wrote the anonymous Shortest Way with the Dissenters (1702), a statement in the most forcible terms of the extreme "high-flying" position, which some high churchmen were unwary enough to endorse, without any suspicion of the writer's ironical intention.
Among the mourners who followed him to the grave were many French officers from Napoleon's army, which was then occupying Vienna.
His remaining years were full of troubles and persecutions nobly borne, till at last, worn out by them, he died on the 17th of November 1668; and the mourners, remembering their beloved minister's words while yet with them, "If I should die fifty miles away, let me be buried at Taunton," found a grave for him in St Mary's chancel.
Immediately on death the corpse is turned towards Mecca, and the women of the household, assisted by hired mourners, commence their peculiar wailing, while fikis recite portions of the Koran.
They consist chiefly in the manufacture of sea-salt, of varied and admirable paper, thin and poor silk, horse-hair crinoline for hats, fine split bamboo blinds, hats and mats, coarse pottery, hemp cloth for mourners, brass bowls and grass-cloth.
Among Greeks and Arabs, mourners also cut themselves with knives and scratched their faces; the Hebrew law forbade such mourning, and we find the prohibition repeated in many canons of the Eastern churches.
At the beginning of the 4th century a system came into use by which penitents undergoing discipline were divided into four grades, the lowest being the mourners, then the hearers, the kneelers and the consistentes (standing).