European Paganism by Ken Dowden

By Ken Dowden

European Paganism presents a accomplished and obtainable evaluate of historical pagan religions in the course of the ecu continent.
Before there the place Christians, the peoples of Europe have been pagans. have been they bloodthirsty savages striking human choices from timber? have been they chuffed ecologists, valuing the unpolluted rivers and mountains? In European Paganism Ken Dowden outlines and analyses the varied features of pagan ritual and tradition from human sacrifice to pilgrimage lunar fairs and tree worship. It includes:
* a 'timelines' chart to help with chronology
* many quotations from historical and sleek assets translated from the unique language the place invaluable, to lead them to accessible
* a entire bibliography and consultant to extra reading.

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380) focused on hard work in a world where ‘sacrifices in urban temples were regularly practised, parentalia, mainly domestic rites for the dead, were still being celebrated and haruspices, those experts in the symbolic meaning of the warm innards of sacrificial animals, were still consulted; the official pagan calendar was still being observed’ (Lizzi 1990:162). Christianity had been hitherto very much an urban phenomenon, where in any case official policy mattered more and bishops were generally efficient organisers and campaigners; the more difficult problem was the conversion of the countryside, often owned by powerful urban dwellers.

In the sermons of both Zeno and, thirty to forty years later, Maximus of Turin we see a concern that landowners should do something to roll back paganism on their estates and stop in effect conniving at rural paganism centred on the fana, buildings too humble to be called temples. At this point, Christians, you must ask whether your sacrifice can be accepted if you know every clod, pebble and furrow on neighbouring properties, but are uniquely ignorant of the fana that smoke everywhere on your estates—which, if one were to tell the truth, you are cunningly maintaining through an act of pretence.

So a settlement has its own site and centre to which a religious instance may or may not conform. In relation to a settlement, a feature may be central, close or marginal (distant-peripheral). Cole, studying the shrines of Demeter in Greece, has categorised their locations as ‘within the city, just outside, and at the borders of the city’s territory’ (in Alcock and Osborne 1994:215). This may not seem to leave much, but it does identify the dynamics of positioning. Ownership: public and private Paganism is characteristically public.

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