Thursday, April 9, 2009

Dog Sacrifice in Medieval Hungary

After the rise of christianity, the church fathers were gradually successful in "demonizing" dogs for the most part, that faithful canine companion of the Goddess from earliest times. It is surprising to the discovering archaeologists, then, to find that what appears to be a sort of hybrid propitiatory sacrifice both to the Goddess and to the God Jesus Christ, was rather commonplace in a town called Kana, a 10th-13th century CE town on the outskirts of modern-day Budapest. Could there possibly be a connection of KANA to CANINE? An interesting "coincidence," heh? Was something else going on - something which we don't understand at all? Story from the National Geographic News Dog Sacrifices Found in Medieval Hungarian Village Charles Q. Choifor National Geographic News April 6, 2009 A medieval Hungarian town full of ritually sacrificed dogs could shed light on mysterious pagan customs not found in written records from the era, a new study suggests. Roughly 1,300 bones from about 25 dogs were recently discovered in the 10th- to 13th-century town of Kana, which had been accidentally unearthed in 2003 during the construction of residential buildings on the outskirts of Budapest. Researchers found ten dogs buried in pits and four puppy skeletons in pots buried upside down. These sacrifices probably served much like amulets to ward against evil—for instance, to protect against witchcraft or the evil eye, said study leader Márta Daróczi-Szabó, an archaeozoologist at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest. [No explanation given for why she believes this to be so]. About a dozen other canines were found buried under house foundations. These animals likely served as "construction sacrifices," Daróczi-Szabó said. During the Middle Ages it was customary in Hungary to lock sacrificial animals inside new houses or to slaughter the beasts as people moved in. Sometimes dogs were beaten to death on the doorsteps or a chicken's throat was slit. [And which Goddess or God was being honored by such particularly gruesomely rendered sacrifices? Sacrificing an animal by slitting it's throat for a quick and relatively painless death is one thing; sacrificing an animal by beating it to death is ridiculously cruel - how could this be pleasing to any deity?] Dogs were popular sacrificial animals in medieval Hungary, Daróczi-Szabó said. They were seen two different ways: They symbolized loyalty, but they also stood for the deadly sin of envy. "There was a very big difference between the hunting dogs of the nobility and the scavenging pariah dogs of everyday life," she said. [Which dogs were used as sacrifices? Was one type of dog preferred over another? Were the "noble" dogs spared and the "pariah" dogs beaten to death?] Surprisingly Widespread Previous evidence of animal sacrifices—seen even under churches, in Budapest and elsewhere in Hungary—had been mostly isolated cases, Daróczi-Szabó noted. But the new findings, described this month in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior, show that "sacrifices were not a rare phenomenon, as one may have thought from isolated finds," she said. "It was practiced regularly in a Christian village." ["Christian" in the same sense that the Spanish "Conversos" were "Christian?" Could there by any possible linkage between this evidence of wide-spread dog and puppy sacrifice in Kana and the puppy sacrifice that took place in ancient Mesopotamia thousands of years earlier?] The fact that pagan customs such as animal sacrifice persisted for centuries side-by-side with the church is surprising, noted University of Edinburgh archaeozoologist László Bartosiewicz. Christianity came to dominate the region after the first king of Hungary, Stephen I, began his rule in A.D. 1000. Under his reign, pagan rituals such as animal sacrifices were explicitly banned. "One wouldn't expect these practices in Christian times," said Bartosiewicz, who did not participate in the new study. "It's exciting to see what was sacred and profane back then. "The great number of sacrifices we see [in Kana] will significantly improve our chances of interpreting what their meaning was," he added. "It's probably the find of a lifetime. I can't imagine lucking upon anything else of this scope."
**************************************************************************** If archaeologists are surprised by "pagan" customs persisting hundreds of years after the advent of "christianity," what do they think about the fact that around the world people still serve hot-cross buns served at Easter? Hot-cross buns, for those who are not aware, are descended from an ancient devotional offering to the Goddess during the Spring Equinox and pre-date christianity by thousands of years! What about the Easter Bunny - another ancient pagan symbol of fertility, and Easter eggs, another pagan fertility symbol?

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