Osama Bin Laden: The power of shrines

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Osama Bin Laden's body was buried at sea to deny his followers a shrine, it has been widely reported. But why do the graves of leaders matter so much?

For a man who had been the world's most wanted, it was a deeply undistinguished final resting place.

The remains of Osama Bin Laden met an inauspicious fate - his body dropped into the ocean from an American aircraft carrier ..

It's a motive with clear historical antecedents. Victorious regimes, particularly when confronted with ideological movements with charismatic leaders, have often been anxious to deny their defeated enemies a rallying point, a place where sympathisers can gather to venerate their dead.

The partially-cremated corpse of Adolf Hitler was dug up by invading Soviet forces from its initial burial site in Berlin before being moved several times - its ultimate fate being shrouded in mystery, with some accounts claiming his skull and jawbone were taken to Moscow.

The Berghof, the dictator's home in the Bavarian alps, was demolished in the early 1950s by the West German government, who feared it would become a focal point for neo-Nazis. Other Nazi leaders executed at the Nuremberg trials by the Allies were cremated and their ashes were scattered in the Conwentzbach river to frustrate any attempt to by latter-day sympathisers to commemorate them. .....

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