(urth) Soldier of Sidon writeup

David Stockhoff dstockhoff at verizon.net
Tue Apr 3 05:57:33 PDT 2018

That may well be the case, but it would have happened long before the 
Iron Age. I'm not suggesting that animal sacrifice came first, but 
pointing out that the use of stone and bronze blades came first, and 
arguing that iron blades were kept apart from those rituals even when 
they were the center of them, like the akinakes.

Also, it still holds that victims killed "in anger" by any means are not 
acceptable to a god---not even Ares.

On 4/3/2018 8:14 AM, Ab de Vos wrote:
> It is hypothesized in anthropology that human sacrifice came first and 
> all other forms of animal and plant sacrifice came later. Animal 
> husbandry and food planting supposedly took place originally within 
> the confines of the ritual-sacrificial system. War among the Aztecs 
> was for the purpose of human sacrifice. Myth further was the 
> verbalization of sacrifice and only later took on a life of its own as 
> in the Homeric vision of the Gods.
> Rene Girard says the sacrificial mechanism of the scape goat is the 
> basis of human culture. He analyses Greek tragedy and the Gospels as 
> forms of discourse in which this mechanism reaches the threshold of 
> cultural awareness after millennia of simply being lived. The 
> development of human culture is basically the evolution of the 
> sacrificial mechanism and the way it structures and channels violence. 
> It suffuses all aspects of culture and has its own logic of 
> differentiation. Some classicists consider his theory 'gnostic' 
> because it is a master key to analyzing human culture and not 
> historically specific. Girard has developed the theory of mimetic 
> desire and violence as the core of his anthropological and literary 
> criticism.
> I guess "it's all about Eve".
> Op 3-4-2018 om 02:55 schreef David Stockhoff:
>> Expanding on my comments of yesterday (apologies if they were 
>> long-winded), because I find the topic fascinating and relevant to 
>> the Christian syncretistic theme.
>> Marc goes on to quote Herodotus about the Scythians' human sacrifices 
>> to Ares:
>> ">[62] … [I]n Ares’ case things are different. In every district, 
>> within each province, a sanctuary has been constructed to Ares. … 
>> Bundles of sticks are piled together into a block about three stades 
>> by three stades wide, but not so high off the ground. … Each year 
>> they add a hundred and fifty cart-loads of sticks, to make up for the 
>> subsidence caused by the winter’s storms. On top of this structure 
>> the inhabitants of each district plan an ancient iron *akinakes* [a 
>> small, straight sword of Scythia and Persia], which is taken to 
>> represent Ares. The festival takes place once a year, and at it they 
>> offer this *akinakes* more domestic animals and horses as sacrificial 
>> victims than all the other gods receive. They also sacrifice 
>> prisoners of war to this *akinakes*, though the method is different 
>> from when domestic animals are the victims. One prisoner in every 
>> hundred is selected; they pour wine over the prisoners’ heads, cut 
>> their throats so that the blood spills into a jar, and then carry the 
>> jars up on to the pile of sticks and pour the blood over the 
>> *akinakes*. While the jars are being taken up there, something else 
>> is happening down below, by the side of the sanctuary: they cut off 
>> the right arms of all the slaughtered men – the whole arm, from 
>> shoulder to hand – and hurl them into the air. Then they sacrifice 
>> all the rest of the victims and leave. The arms are left lying 
>> wherever they fall, detached from the corpses. (255)"
>> One can't help but notice that there are really only two slight but 
>> very deliberate---and almost illogical---differences between the 
>> sacrifices of animals and these humans. I say "illogical" because it 
>> seems easier to simply kill the victim directly with the sacred 
>> sword, as Elric would wield Stormbringer. But:
>> (1) Wine is poured on the victim's head. Maybe this is in token 
>> exchange for the blood? Is wine then a kind of blood equivalent, with 
>> life symbolism?
>> (2) The victim's drained blood is applied to the iron sword rather 
>> than the reverse.
>> So what is so important about this overly complicated means of 
>> getting blood in contact with the iron sword? Truly, this is hardly a 
>> "different method" at all. The victims are slashed at the throat and 
>> drained as in any animal sacrifice. It is plainly important that this 
>> part of the normal cult ritual be maintained; it may satisfy unknown 
>> requirements, it may be the oldest part of the ritual, it may have a 
>> specific magic effect, or all of these.
>> But the description also suggests that the victims' throats are *not 
>> *cut with iron blades, because that would logically interfere with 
>> the most sacred, symbolic, and difficult part of the ritual: applying 
>> the blood to the sword. Especially if iron has its own magical 
>> significance, you'd want to keep it away from the blood. Whatever 
>> value the blood carries must reach the sword intact, as though iron 
>> interferes with it in a way that stone and bronze do not. And since 
>> the soul departs the body long before the blood reaches the sword, 
>> you have to wonder if this segregation also serves some sort of 
>> hygienic purpose regarding the spirit.
>> We can conclude from this that if the Scythians actually performed 
>> these sacrifices, the ritual use of an iron sword was grafted onto 
>> older rituals involving animals and stone or bronze blades. For 
>> Wolfe, the Great Mother has good reason to disdain iron blades. But 
>> Herodotus shows her distaste is not for violence or the worship of 
>> Ares. *Even Ares doesn't want the blood of men killed with iron.
>> *For some reason, iron must be kept away from all sacrificial victims 
>> for all the gods. And this seems to hold for the bog people too.
>> ---
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