A Cultural History of the Human Heart

Please note: This part of the website is still under construction!

Why “Heart burial and heart symbol”?

Why would one deal with such a remote topic as “Heart burial and heart symbol”? One thing came after another: For many decades I, being a cardiologist, have been dealing with the history of cardiology. The intensive examination of the heart symbol and heart ornamentation in literature, art and philosophy inevitably led me to the phenomenon of heart burial. Heart burial means the interment of the heart separated from the rest of the body, usually in a different place. The largest part of this website is dedicated to this apparently macabre custom.

Armin Dietz, Kardiologe und Experte für Herzbestattung
Armin Dietz, Kardiologe und
Experte für Herzbestattungen

How the (red) heart symbol, which superficially has little in common with the anatomical heart, has developed over thousands of years, is explained in the section “The heart symbol”. A gallery illustrates the interesting development from the ivy leaf to the red playing card heart.

About me

I was a cardiologist and senior internist consultant at the Burghausen clinic until April 2007. I have studied the history of cardiology for many years.

The texts published on this website are partly taken from my book “Ewige Herzen – Kleine Kulturgeschichte der Herzbestattungen” (“Eternal Hearts – a short cultural history of heart burials”, our of print), published 1998 in MMV Medien und Medizin Verlag, Munich.

I am currently working on a book on “Heart burials in Europe”.

I am always thankful for hints, especially for such on heart burials. Please write to ad@herzsymbol.de.

Prof. Dr. Armin Dietz