The Reaper is a frightening creature embodying the god or angel of Death. They are represented as a skeleton dressed in a long black robe. This entity appears when your time to die has come and reaps your soul before sending you to the afterlife. Although their personality and work are as mysterious as Death itself, one thing is sure: this is not someone you want to meet anytime soon!
This allegory of Death exists in every culture, and throughout all the history we know. Our ancestors took a friendlier approach to Death. For example, our ancestors adopted a more friendly approach to Death:
• Thanatos (Greek god of Death) was an attractive young man with a noble heart.
• The Valkyries (Nordic mythology) were beautiful and heroic women who decided which Nordic soldiers should die on the battlefield.
The turning point in our attitude and way of thinking towards Death came in the 14th century when a significant part of Europe was ravaged by the Black Death. In some cities, one in five people died. The decaying corpses piled up in the streets, and everyone had loved ones to mourn.
During the Black Death, artists painted Death as a horrible figure coming from a mysterious shrine. Armed with deadly tools, Skeletons danced among the plague victims in the street or rode white horses with wagons full of corpses.
Finally, a figure in a black cloak (the first recognizable Great Grim Reaper) began to appear at the head of these abominable processions. His black tunic and curved scythe may have been inspired by plague doctors. They wore a black shroud and bird-shaped masks to protect themselves from contamination.
The name “The Great Grim Reaper” appeared only in the 19th century, although “The Grim Reaper” was the nickname of Death since the 13th century.