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The killing may have been carried out on the unusual blocks: The dual burial at Asine was one of two dual burials in the graves excavated, and Grave VII at Gonia was the only grave of seven which contained more than one skeleton. Apparently use of the altar was soon discontinued, for the excavation of the altar produced no finds later than the fourth century. But if her killing or suicide was motivated by a belief that she would accompany her husband or master in the life to come, then it may seem strange that her body was not cremated along with his on the funeral pyre, as, for example, in the Indian custom. A shaft, consisting of two compartments, contained in one compartment the burial of three or four horses, and in the other, which was lined with mudbrick coated with plaster, a human skeleton and the remains of a cremation in a bronze amphora. I do not mean to suggest that Lucian alluded exclusively to Scythian burial customs here. Chamber Tombs Not infrequently skeletons or scattered human bones have been found in the fill or on the floor of the dromoi of Mycenaean chamber tombs. Nineteen of the animal bones had cut marks.

And in addition to these things they told further how already many of those who were going to be sacrificed in fear went into exile, but with the passage of time they would come back, and if caught they were sent to the prytany building. De luctu 14 should not be considered valuable evidence for Greek funerary practices of any period. But if he had tasted human flesh he remained a beast forever. With this burial were found skeletons of horses buried with their bronze gear, mistakenly thought by Ohnefalsch-Richter to be pieces of armour. And the sentence quoted above is as puzzling as it is brief: The same ritual is described by Curtius He may also have owed something to Pl.

A long narrow pit on the opposite side of the tomb I contained two skeletons, of a man and a woman. In this respect they may be contrasted with sphazein, which, while equivalent to apo deirotomein in basic meaning, is used in Homer only of animals killed in the act of sacrifice.

And cut marks found on the jaws and around the eyes and ears may also represent an attempt to clean the skulls of decayed tissue. But Herodotus fails to make the connection clear. He is met by his son Lophis, whom he dutifully slays on the spot; and from the place where the blood falls water rises up, becoming the Lophis River Paus. Still, it is not certain that the burial in the doorway coincided with the final interment in the chamber.

We have at least one contemporary reference to the ceremony Pl Resp. The killing may have been carried out on the unusual blocks: Thus archaeology has failed to confirm the strong literary tradition of human sacrifices on the mountain top. Laomedon must expose his daughter Hesione to a sea- monster sent by Poseidon, but she is saved by Heracles; and in a similar story Perseus rescues and then marries the Aethiopian princess Andromeda, who has been tied to a rock as a meal for another Poseidon-sent monster.


Of the history of the cult we may trace only the sketchiest of outlines.

D. D. Hughes, Human Sacrifice in Ancient Greece (London ) | Eirini Paizi –

But what is the purpose of this special, ritualized act of vengeance? A Study in Ancient Religion, 3 vols in 5, Cambridge, — If excavated skeletons indeed represent a custom of killing slaves as postmortem attendants of their masters, it would be simpler, and, I think, much sounder to conclude that there is no connection whatsoever between the killing of Trojans who were prisoners of war, slain, it is expressly stated, for the sake of vengeance and the archaeological remains.

The only reasonable solution to these problems is to suppose that we are dealing with a prescribed sequence of actions, a sort of ritual drama which must be enacted, perhaps upon coming of age, by the eldest son of the priestly family at Alos.

When Xerxes had arrived at Alos in Achaea the tour guides, wishing to explain everything about the place, told the local story [all about the sanctuary femmw Zeus Laphystios], how Athamas son of Aeolus, conspiring with Ino, plotted the death of Phrixus, and how afterwards in accordance with an oracle the Achaeans imposed upon the descendants of Athamas the following tasks: Something similar may have happened with Tomb VI at Argos; or this burial may have been made at some time after the tomb femje been closed for good.

Plato surely was not advocating human sacrifice, and I see no essential difference between his suggested manner of execution and the historical cases. Over the child is dd looks very much like a hilted sword, one poised for the kill. Three of the skeletons apparently were the remains of persons who perished when the building collapsed or in the subsequent fire.

But again it is uncertain if the burials efmme related to any of the burials in the chamber. Still, it is strange that while the asses were found on floor level, the human skeleton lay less than a half a metre from the top of the dromos fill. Sacrofice the Homeric description was based upon an actual custom of exacting vengeance at funerals a custom for which there is later historical evidence alsoit is worth considering the possibility that some of the dromos burials represent remains of such a practice as well.

An oracle instructs the colonists to offer a maiden to Amphitrite, and the lot falls to a daughter of Smintheus.

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The burial consisted of three well- preserved skeletons: Another grave contained five skeletons, three of adult females, one of an adult male, and one of an infant. And just as the Greeks, so also the Trojans encounter unfavourable sailing conditions in scrifice flight from Troy.

The information about the ritual itself Herodotus attributes to local guides, whom he places with Xerxes in in his history. Structural damage may have rendered Tombs and unusable, necessitating burial in the dromos instead.

Among the differences are the number of skeletons, the presence or absence of grave goods, the location of the burials, and the treatment of the corpses. And even if it were possible that the human sacrifice was performed after the battle, Phainias still contradicts the accounts of earlier writers—one of whom was present at the battle —who agree that all of sacifice Persians on the island were slain. Across the corridor to the north are three doorways corresponding to the three entrances to the rooms, and there is a fourth, wider entrance at the east end of the hall.


The same ritual is described by Curtius Were they the inventions of local theologoi, or merely of poets, unconnected with the local cults, epsode even of later mythographers? The excavator, who at first proposed human sacrifice or ritual cannibalism as an explanation, now suggests that the cut marks were made during preparation for burial.

The myth involving the attack upon Pausanias clearly should be associated with the ritual described by Xenophon. On the simplest level, the myth accounts for the association of the cults of Artemis and Dionysus and the participation of young people of both sexes in the festival.

That child sacrifice was not totally unknown in Bronze Age Crete is suggested by a scene on a Late Minoan I ring impression recently published from Khania. And noting that the presence of a lake on the peak of Lykaion is unlikely, she suggests that the wolf-transformation of the descendants of Anthus was an independent ritual performed elsewhere in Arcadia, perhaps in the area of Tegea.

From the presence of an ovicaprid vertebra with cut marks Warren concludes that the animal was sacrificed along with the children.

Human Sacrifice in Ancient Greece

In this same period Theophrastus c. It is now reported that a total of animal bones, both burnt and unburnt and belonging to cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, and dogs, were found in the room, although it is not clear how many came from the second layer. In the myth of Lycaon Zeus overturns the table trapeza upon discovering the nature of the repast. Apropos of the goat sacrifices to Dionysus at Potniae Brelich writes: And rain would fall on Arcadia Paus.

Four pits had been dug in the floor of the tomb. Many of the preserved myths of this type appear to be relatively late inventions, some even showing the influence of Hellenistic romance. And the Phocaeans—for I shall not pass over them eitherwould offer a wholly burnt sacrifice of a human to Artemis Tauropolos, as Pythocles relates in the third book of Concerning Concord.

Or possibly the fifth-century ritual represented a survival of old initiation rites undergone by all young males in the area, but now conserved only in the family which claimed direct descent from Athamas. A third skeleton III lay face down over skeleton no. The arms were bent with the hands at the level of the sternum.