Archaeology of Religion 8.docx

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CLAS 2531
Illaria Battiloro

7. Funerary Ritual (p. 49-57)  funeral rites are a human action which may vary from culture to culture but within a single community proceeds according to the same scheme with great constancy over many generations  the Paleolithic era, in which burial evolved, was also the age of hunting  thus, the ritual of hunting and sacrificing accompanied the funerary ritual from the start, each influencing the other  dead men and dead animals are treated alike  essential elements of funerary ritual derive from the ritual of hunting and sacrificing  did man come to understand death through the paradox of killing?  when another dies, the frightening confrontation with death and the pleasurable shock of survival leave a deep impression  the most widespread element in funerals... is the role played by eating, i.e. the funerary meal... attempts to feed themselves but it is more often the real and festive meal of the living "in honour of" the dead that is of primary importance o while mourning the death of Patroklos, Achilles permits his companions to "feast the heart pleasing burial"- refers to behaviour that is offensive to anyone concerned merely with the dead individual  at first the necessary combination of death and eating appeared only in the hunt  the ritual meal functioned as a bond within the community  the ritualization of hunting behaviour made possible a twofold transferal: the dead could take the place of the quarry- a substitute more serious than what it replaces- but in the subsequent feast, his place could in turn be taken by the sacrificial animal  although feasting follows death, the death must be repeated immediately before the feast, through ritual killing  in Athens it was customary to eat at the grave  no thought of burning or burying a cow whole, for the meat belonged to the living, while the dead man "took his fill" of the blood  the idea that the dead delight in blood obviously emanates from the reality of the ritual: the pattern of hunting calls for the bloody "act" at the place of death. Because death becomes killing, and the participant, a killer, death itself becomes an act of the will, subject to performance and repetition... it can be overcome through the festive meal, which confirms the survivor's will to live  sacrificial analogies extend to the actions that precede and follow as well: o a period of preparation o a procession marks the transition from indoors to out o wild, ecstatic behaviour, bloodshed, and a hearty meal o the location in which the action takes place remains sacred forever afer o at home, the ordinary order is restored  the most striking resemblances between hunting and funerary customs can be seen in the treatment of the bones  the funeral ceremony centres not so much on the corpse as on the bones from individual limbs. These are collected and solemnly deposited.  the rhythm of the hunting ritual is, thus, repeated: death/tearing apart/restoration  in Catal Huyuk... bodies were set out for scavenging birds, after which the bones were carefully deposited in household shrines at the feet of the Great Goddess  often a corpse was intentionally torn apart only to be put back together again  custom during the Neolithic to sever the head and preserve it in a sanctuary  until modern times, ruling houses of Europe used to bury certain parts of their dead in different sacred places  substitute a symbol for the skull: the Roman lararium  the most sacred duty for the next-of-kin is to gather tha bones from the ashes of the pyre  the fire that burns the corpse is described as a beast of prey, "tearing apart" the dead man  the remains are then united forever in an urn... a joining together and a foundation, as in the Latin word condere  the produce gathered by the farmer replaces the hunter's quarry, thus, gathering bones
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