Getting the most out of life was especially important to the Greeks, since their version of the afterlife was not something to look forward to. Similar to the Mesopotamians, they believed that the soul (psyche) descends to the underworld after death, where it let an empty and unsubstantial existence.
When Odysseus visited the underworld in the Odyssey, he was horrified seeing the swarming crowds of the dead, who didn’t even remembered who they were. When Odysseus sacrificed an animal and allowed the ghost of Achilles to drink its blood, he was temporarily able to remember his past.
Odysseus told him: ‘No man has ever been more blessed than you in days past, or will be in days to come. For before you died, we Achaeans honored you like a god, and now in this place, you lord it among the dead.’
Yet Achilles’ response was less positive:
‘Don’t gloss over death to me in order to console me. I would rather be above ground still and laboring for some poor peasant man than be the lord over the lifeless dead.’
"The Great World History Book"