(urth) Soldier of Sidon writeup

David Stockhoff dstockhoff at verizon.net
Tue Apr 3 07:48:50 PDT 2018

I am of course speaking in extreme generalities. But "in anger" usually means fighting, and rituals have to be followed carefully to count as such. Generally a sacrifice is understood to be carried out without overt hostility, even if the victim is a slave, a deformed person, or a king. 

On April 3, 2018 9:49:18 AM EDT, Ab de Vos <foxyab at casema.nl> wrote:
>I agree with your first remark. I thought you meant animal sacrifice 
>came first.
>As to your second remark I'm not sure. People get worked up in a 
>sacrificial context. It may even be demanded they show a ritualized
>of anger. Myth, ritual and drama usually went together and some sort of
>story was being acted out. Often connecting the community to the times 
>of the "beginning" and effecting  a renewal. An initiation rite being a
>new birth for instance.
>Op 3-4-2018 om 14:57 schreef David Stockhoff:
>> 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
>>> 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
>>>> 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
>>>> taken to represent Ares. The festival takes place once a year, and 
>>>> at it they offer this *akinakes* more domestic animals and horses
>>>> 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.
>>>> 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
>>>> 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
>>>> 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
>>>> *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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