06.03.13 Banquet of the gods, Book I: an Indo-European rite, portrayed on the walls of Etruscan tombs.
Part of a work relating to Etruscan Phrases

Banquet of the Gods
by Mel Copeland

Book I, Etruscans, Greeks,
& Scythians

Table of Contents

This book is now available as an e-book: Banquet of the gods.pdf

Book 1, Etruscans, Greeks, Trojans, & Scythians, Banquet.html
Book II, Hindus and Celts, Banquet1.html
Book III, Hindus, Banquet2.html
Book IV, Persians and Celts, Banquet3.html
Book V, Trimalchio's Banquet (Of a Roman satire by Petronius), Banquet4.html
Book VI, Divine heroes of Mediterranean myths & the Bible, Banquet5.html

From ancient times it has been a tradition to celebrate through banquets important events, such as weddings and funerals. While special feasts were ordered in celebration of other events and memories, particularly of a society's faith, among the Indo-Europeans the mourning of a lost chief, king or hero called for a special event. It appears that twelve days that period also being concordant with the 12 months – was the prescribed period for such events. Here we attempt to understand a peculiar, mysterious people, the Etruscans, by examining their work and other Indo-Europeans of the late Bronze Age and early Iron Age (circa. 1,200-850 B.C.) heritage.

Banquet scene in the Tomb of the Shields, Tarquinia

Through artifacts, including murals in tombs, and holy scriptures and other writings, we can learn to understand what the ancients believed, and also, as in the case of the Etruscans, we can learn a bit more about their language. Images left behind a society, whether as a writing or a painting, must be used together to reconstruct what a society such as the Etruscans may have believed. For instance, the Etruscans left elaborate tombs carrying grave goods, such as pottery and replicas of their earthly possessions, and wonderful murals and paintings on sarcophagi. These in themselves tell us of a society that deeply believed in an afterlife. A considerable expense in time and money was proferred by the Etruscans to their departed, whom we can see in the tombs, were transported to a place that we would today call heavenly. Today there are societies that still believe that after death their loved ones are transported to a heavenly place, paradise, as with the Judao-Christian-Moslem ethic, to be with God. In the days before Christ, the banquet included a pantheon, many gods. Among the Greeks, for instance, there were 12 major gods, presided over by a thunder and lightning wielding god, Zeus, who ruled from the heights of Mt. Olympus. Born from Chronos and Rhea, he and two other gods made up a triad: Zeus ruled over the heavens, and his brother, Poseidon earthshaker, ruled over the sea, whilst his other brother, Hades, presided in the Underworld, the place of the dead, called Erebus. The consort of Zeus was Hera, daughter of Cronus, a very jealous wife, who had given birth to several gods, one of whom was, Typhaon or Typhöeus. Zeus found him to be his worst enemy and ended up throwing the island of Sicily upon him. Here, in the image from the Tomb of Orcus, we can see Typhöeus, whose legs are serpents, bracing himself beneath the land. His constant struggle causes Mt. Etna to roar.

Poseidon's name means either "husband of the earth: or "lord of the earth," and while he reigned over the sea and springs, he was known as the cause of earthquakes. Hades, who ruled in the underworld, abducted Persephone and she was required, by agreement with Hades, to spend six months of the year in Hades and allowed to spend the other six months on earth.

The Etruscan pantheon included Tini (Tinia), who was like Zeus, a sea-god yet unidentified, and Aita (Hades). Tini, like Zeus, had many wives, but his principal consort was Uni (Hera). The consort of Atia was Phersipnei (Persephone). The two can be seen in a mural in the Tomb of Orcus (another word for Erebus, the Underworld). The other character in the scene before the throne of Atia is Ceron (Geryon), a three-headed monster who had a herd of cattle in Spain. One of Hercules' labors (the 10th) was to steal Geryon's cattle who ruled the island of Erytheia (now Cadiz). Geryon was later killed at the river Anthemus (Apollodorus 2.5.10).

Like the Romans who followed them in time, the Etruscans had a pantheon of gods, some of whose names can be traced to Greek gods. We don't know at this time whether the Etruscans had a mythological base as rich as that of the Greeks. All we can ascertain at the moment are the correlations of Etruscan gods to the Greek pantheon and their associated stories. For instance, in the Tomb of Orcus a grim tomb to enter for both the living and the dead, it would appear the family that owned the tomb took care to include a mural for the divine banquet.

What happens when one dies has been something mankind has yet to resolve. It appears, for the most part, man during the past 30-40,000 years has believed that life after death can be much as it is on earth. To assure that the departed continue with the blessings of earth, grave goods were sent with the dead. And these could be anything from flowers (seen even in Neanderthal graves of 50,000 years ago, as well as today) to fancy settings including pottery vessels, gold, silver and bronze articles, clothing, baskets and sacrificial offerings, including cattle, horses and attendants. In war, in particular, a hero's tomb may include captives, which we shall see in the description of the burial of Achilles' friend Patroclos. from the Iliad.

The description from the Iliad of Patroclus' burial gives us good imagery of what the Greeks and Trojans were expected to do for their dead heroes. The practice involved at the least pouring an oblation, usually accompanied by the sacrifice of rams, sheep or cattle on an altar. A particular god was the recipient of a particular sacrifice. And if the priests who offered the sacrifice (sometimes the chief or king acted as the priest) neglected one god in favor of another, then there could be a disturbance in heaven, sufficient to cause a war among the gods. This happened to have been, as a matter of fact, a cause of the Trojan War, where one goddess was slighted over another. In "The Judgment of Paris," a play recording the episode where Paris (also known as Alexander) was required to judge the most beautiful goddess of three Hera, Aphrodite, and Athena Aphrodite was selected. This enraged Hera who swore to take out her wrath against the Trojans and was joined in the enterprise by Athena. Aphrodite became the mother of Aeneas, a hero on the Trojan side of the Trojan War. Aphrodite (Greek aphros = sea foam) was born from the foam raised up by the Genitalia of Uranus, as it floated near Crete. Uranus was castrated by his son, Cronus. Cronus (called Saturn by the Romans) was the ruler of the Titans. They were children of Ge (earth) and Uranus (sky). Cronus deposed his father Uranus by castrating him with a flint sickle. But he became as tyrannical as his father, and swallowed all but one of his children by Rhea, his sister and wife. These children were Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades and Poseidon. When Zeus was born Rhea sent the child to Ge in Crete and fed Cronus a stone wrapped in Zeus' swaddling clothes instead of Zeus. On reaching maturity Zeus married the Oceanid Metis. She offered an emetic to Cronus who vomited up his other children. Zeus subsequently went to war with Cronus and the Titans and threw them all in Tartarus.

One of the first things we are served in this opening is the fact that the gods fed on one another. They were bloodthirsty and they had to be appeased. And they loved a good feast just as men do. Witness Zeus' view of the matter, as he discusses the fate of the Trojan hero Hector, who was killed by the Greek hero, Achilles:

But when the twelfth dawn came, Phoebus Apollo said at last: 'You are hard, you gods, you are torturers! Has not Hector in times past burnt you thigh-pieces of bulls and goats without blemish? Yet you can't bear to save his dead body for his wife to see, and his mother and his son, and Priam his father and his people, to let them burn him in the fire, and perform the rites of burial...' (1)

Apollo, the son of Zeus and the Titaness Leto and the brother of Artemis, was born on the island of Delos. He was worshipped as a shepherd god and god of wisdom and he had an oracle at Delphi where he had killed a huge snake or dragon. He had taken the side of the Trojans in the Trojan War and on several occasions managed to save Hector and others. But the argument over the body of Hector continued. Achilles dragged Hector's body behind his chariot, around the barrow of Menoitiades for eleven days, after killing Hector. Zeus closed the argument over Hector's body, suggesting that Achilles must accept ransom for Hector's body from King Priam:

'My dear Hera, don't go and get spiky with the gods. They shan't be in the same rank at all, but Hector really was a prime favorite with the gods more than any man in Troy at least, I thought so, for he never failed in his friendly offerings. My altar was never without a good feast, or libations and spicy savors...' (1)

The old king, Priam, aided by Hermes, the messenger of the gods, was able to get into Achilles' compound which was surrounded by a dirt and stake reinforced wall and moat. Though Priam did not see the body until it had been turned over to him, balmed and wrapped, Hector's flesh had not decayed. (2)

Achilles gave king Priam eleven days for the funeral of Hector, and on the twelfth day the Greeks would resume their attack of the Trojan citadel. Until that time the Trojans were free to gather what they needed, including large amounts of logs from the forest atop the mountain, free from fear of Greek attack. Nine days they gathered with oxen and mules with infinite quantities of wood:

"When the tenth day dawned, they carried out brave Hector weeping, and laid the body on the pile and set it on fire.
When on the next day Dawn showed her rosy fingers through the mists, the people gathered round about the pyre of Hector. First they quenched the flame with wine wherever the fire had burnt; then his brothers and his comrades gathered his white bones, with hot tears rolling down their cheeks. they placed the bones in a golden casket, and wrapt it in soft purple cloth; they then laid it in a hollow space and built it over with large stones. Quickly they piled a barrow, with men on the look-out all round in case the Achaeans should attack before their time. This work done they returned to the city, and the whole assemblage had a famous feast in the palace of Priam their King. That was the funeral of Hector."

What was done for Hector seems to be a good summation of what was probably done for Etruscan nobles, as seen from their tombs. Because the story says there was limited time to raise the barrow, the large stones that were placed over the body could not have been megalithic in size. The barrow follows the description of most barrows which we can see today. What this ceremony also tells us is that there was no family barrow, or at least there was not a custom to use a family barrow among the family of Priam, otherwise Hector's urn or casket would have been placed in an existing barrow or tumulus. In Britain and Ireland barrows were often used over again and urns can be found on the perimeter of a barrow. Such tumuli can be see on www stone pages. We can compare this rite to the one given to Patroclus. These rites we can compare to the rites of the Aryans in the Indus Valley.

While tumuli or dolmens can be traced from Britain to Korea, where they appear in India is not where the traditional Aryan homeland of India is (the traditional area being the Punjab and Indus River valley). Interestingly, the earliest Hindu documents, the Rig Veda, describe an area in the northwest of India and Pakistan, whereas the megaliths of India are found in the south of India, among the brown-skinned Dravidians.

The Rig Veda records five tribes of Indo-Europeans whose primary concern was cattle-raids, gaining wealth through warfare against the brown-skinned natives. As we progress through the ten books of the Rig Veda we find ourselves dealing with a people whose concerns have transformed from those who were trying to lodge a place in the land to a people who were fighting not only their ancient enemies but also each other. Is it possible that in the episode the original pastoral Aryans were forced into the South of India where they left the Indo-European-like megalithic monuments? Following the Rig Veda in antiquity, and placing the foundations of the gods in the Rig Veda into sacred prose is the Mahabharata. This book bends towards a memory of a people who are definitely Iron Age and the Pandava heroes in the story are brown-skinned, but their gods, like Indra, tend to be fair-skinned
Indra, a god that throws lightning bolts, has yellow hair.

The god Shiva is hardly mentioned in the Rig Veda and becomes more prominent in the Mahabharata. There the god Shiva is often greeted in the forest, seen as an old man of the forest. This a early view of Shiva being connected to the animals of the forest that is common to the view of the Celtic god Cernunnos (Greek spelling, karnonou, from the Montagnac inscription recorded in Dictionnaire de la langue gauloise by Xavier Delamarre), who is depicted with stag horns coming out of his head and accompanied by a ram-headed serpent and a stag. He is pictured in the center of a Gallo-Roman altar from Reims, as well as the Gundestrup cauldron.

Image of the Celtic god Cernunnos on the Gundestrup cauldron

On either side of him in the Gallo-Roman altar from Reims are two gods. On his right is a god with a harp (Apollo) and thegod on his left is believed to be Mercury. On the Gundestrop cauldron the Celtic god is holding in his right hand a torque, wears one around his neck, and in his left hand he holds a ram-headed serpent, also a symbol of the sun-god.

To view Celtic coins go to http://www.kernunnos.com or click on the coins above. The extensive coin collection, which can be reviewed by clicking on a map, includes an image of the Horned God. Between his horns is a wheel, a sign of the sun-god. "The Celtic Horned God is born at the winter solstice, marries the goddess Beltane, and dies at the summer solstice. He alternates with the goddess of the moon in ruling over life and death, continuing the cycle of death, rebirth and reincarnation,"says http://www.pantheon.org/articles/c/cernunnos.html.

The Horned God of the Celts is nearly identical to the Mahabharata picture of Shiva and is also like images on the Indus Valley (Harappa) seals. To view more seals and follow the progress of the Indus Valley archaeology go to: http://www.harappa.com/. To read the Rig Veda and associated documents go to: http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/.

The Indus Valley Seals:

The Indus Valley seals about 400 of them have been found carry inscriptions which have not been translated and date to about 1,800-1,500 B.C. Note how the Indus character here represented has two faces, like the Latin Janus. He is identified, like the Phoenician Melqart, with a bull. The sacrifices to the sun-god Melqart involved human sacrifice, which was also a practice of the Celts in their sacrifice to Curnunnos. We know that in the Iliad part of the memorial feast at the burial of a hero, such as Patroclos (Patroclus), involved the sacrifice of captives. While the Celtic sacrifice is connected with the seasons, rebirth, the sacrifice of the Trojan captives in the Iliad may not have involved such. However, the sacrifice and burial ceremony took place at dawn.

In the burial of Patroclos animals are sacrificed and care is taken to make sure that the bodies of the victims were placed away from the bier of the hero which was in the center of the pyre. Instructions are given to put them along the edge of the sacrificial ring. Important to the sacrifice was the offering of a bull. This can be seen in the Indus Valley seal above and it was a practice of the megalith builders of Ireland and Britain. The evidence of Bull sacrifice is at Stonehenge, for instance. Megalithic monuments, including tumuli, were oriented with respect to the solstice and no doubt there were ceremonies conducted at dawn, probably also at dusk. The rite at dusk among the Celts and Germans involved at least the god Odin (Woden, after whom the day, Wednesday, is named), who is known for human sacrifice and his wild hunts on the full moon. Beheading was the common method of sacrificing humans, and the Celts had a reputation for riding into war and cattle-raids with the heads of those whom they conquered hanging from their horses. Hanging was another form of sacrifice and punishment. Odin was believed to pass by the hanging corpses of the dead during the evening. Odin has an interesting history, since the Norse tradition, which perhaps has given us the most complete memory on Odin, records that he and his people were originally located in Asia Minor, near the Black Sea. To read the story, called the The Ynglinga Saga, go to: http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/OMACL/Heimskringla/. According to Herodotus the Celts were "the most westerly of all the nations of Europe, excepting the Cynetians" (Herodotus, Book IV, http://classics.mit.edu/Herodotus/history.4.iv.html.

Greek and Trojan Burial Rite

When we examine paintings and images on artifacts, such vases, sarcophagi or the walls of tombs, we need to keep in mind that the images tell a story, and to understand the story being told we need to read the inscriptions with them, if they exist, and compare the images to written and drawn images of which we know. We should also keep in mind that funerals of heroes were great social events no less so than a modern day funeral of a soldier fallen in the (currently on-going, as of 8.22.04) Second War of Iraq. When we watch funeral processions in the streets of Iraq, where the dead are carried in caskets above the shoulders behind a multitude of shouting and furious mourners, we can see at least in part the reaction that Achilles and his comrades held when they buried their hero and friend Patroclos. So let's get to it, with reference to the Iliad, translated by W. H. D. Rouse:

Iliad, Book XVI, p. 201, 202: When Hector [the Trojan hero] saw him retreating and wounded, he came near and stabbed him in the belly: the blade ran through, he fell with a dull thud, and consternation took the Achaeans. So fell Patroclos, like a wild boar killed by a lion, when both are angry and both are parched with thirst, and they fight over a little mountain pool, until the lion is too strong for the panting boar. Patroclos Menoitadês had killed many men, but Hector Priamidês killed him: and then he vaunted his victory without disguise:

"So Patroclos, you thought that you could sack our city! You thought you would rob our women of the day of freedom, and carry them off to your own country! Fool! In front of them are the horses of Hector prancing out to battle. My spear is well known among my brave Trojans, for I defend them from the day of fate: here you shall stay and feed the vultures! Ah, poor wretch, your Achillês is a good man, but he was no help to you, although no doubt he warned you earnestly when you started (and he stayed behind)
'Don't come back to me, my brave Patroclos, until you have stript the blood-stained shirt from Hector's body!' No doubt he must have said that, and you thought you could do it no more sense in you than that!"

Patroclos replied, half fainting:
"For this once, Hector, make your proud boast; for you are the victor, by help of Zeus Cronidês and Apollo, who mastered me – an easy thing: they stript off my armor themselves. But if twenty men like you had confronted me, my spear would have slain them all on the spot. No, it was cruel fate that killed me, and Leto's son, and of men Euphorbos; you come third and take my armor. One thing I tell you, and you should lay it up in your mind: you have yourself not long to live. already death and fate are beside you, and Achillês Aiacidês shall lay you low."
Even as he spoke, the shadow of death covered him up. His soul left the body and went down to Hadês, bewailing his lot, cut off in his manhood and strength. But Hector answered him though dead:

"What is the prophecy of certain death to me, Patroclos? Achillês may be the son of the divine Thetis, but who knows if I may not strike him with my spear, and he may be the first to die!"
Then he set one foot upon the body, and treading it away from the spear, pulled out the spear, and went at once with the spear after the driver Automedon. He wanted to kill him too, but the immortal horses which the gods had given to Peleus were carrying him out of the way.

Iliad, Book XXII, pp. 262, 263 [Achillês, having just killed Hector] Hector answered him dying: "Ah, I know you well, and I forebode what will be...As he spoke, the shadow of death encompassed him; and his soul left the body and went down to Hadês, bewailing his fate, bidding a last farewell to manhood and lusty strength. Hector was dead, but even so Achillês again spoke:

"Lie there dead! My fate I will accept, whenever it is the will of Zeus and all gods to fulfil it."

He drew the spear out of the body and laid it aside. Then he stript off the armor, and the other Achaeans came crowding round. How they gazed in wonder at Hector's noble form and looks! Yet no one came near without a stab; they beat him and stabbed him, saying to each other: "Ha, ha! Hector feels very much softer now than when he burnt our ships with his blazing brands!"

Achillês, when he finished stripping the spoils, turned to the crowd, and made them a speech in his downright manner: "My friends, " he said, "princes and captains of the nation, since as you see the gods have granted me to kill this man who has done us more damage than all the rest put together, let us go round the city ready for battle, and find out what they mean to do: whether they will leave their fortress now that this man is dead, or whether they will still confront us although they have no Hector.
But stay, what am I thinking about! Patroclos lies beside our ship unmourned, unburied! Patroclos I can never forget so long as I live and move! And even if in the house of Hadês men forget their dead, yet I will remember my dear comrade even there. Come on, my lads, let us march back to our ships singing our hymn of victory, and bring this man with us. We have won a great triumph; we have killed Hector, to whom the Trojans prayed as if he were a god!"
And then he thought of a shameful outrage. He cut behind the sinews of both hector's feet from ankle to heel and strapt them together with leather thongs, and fastened them to his chariot leaving the head to drag. Then he laid the armor in the car, and got in himself and whipt up the horses. Away they flew: the dust rose as the body was dragged along, the dark hair spread abroad, there in the dirt trailed the head that was once so charming, which now Zeus gave to his enemies to maltreat in his own native land. And as the head was bedabbed thus in the mire, his mother tore her hair and threw away the covering veil, and wailed aloud seeing her son; his father lamented sore, the people wailed, and lamentation filled the city. Such lamentation there might have been, if all frowning Ilios were smouldering in ashes.

Iliad, Book XXIII, pp265-281. While the Trojans were mourning within their city, the Achaeans made their way to the ships beside the Hellespont. Most of them dispersed to their own vessels, but Achillês would not let the Myrmidons disperse until he had addressed them in these words:
"Your horses have done good service today, my brave comrades; but we must not unyoke them yet. Let us go, horses and chariots and all, to mourn for Patroclos, for that is the honour due to the dead. When we have consoled ourselves with lamentation, let us unharness them and take our meal."
Then he led the cavalcade three times round the body, all mourning and crying aloud; and Thetis lamented with them. The sands were drenched, so much their hearts longed for that mighty man. And Peleidês led their lamentations, as he laid his manslaying hands on his true friend's breast:
"Fare thee well, Patroclos, even in the house of death! See now I am fulfilling all that I promised! I said I would drag Hector to this place and give him to the dogs to devour raw; and in front of your pyre I would cut the throats of twelve noble sons of the Trojans, in payment for your death."
Then he did a vile outrage to royal Hector; he stretched the body on its face in the dirt beside the bier of Menoitadês.
After that all took off their armor, and unharnessed the loud-whinnying horses, and sat down beside the ship of Achillês in their thousands. There he provided a fine funeral feast. Many bellowing bulls fell under the knife, many sheep and bleating goats; many tusker boars bursting with fat were stretched out to singe over the fire. Around the dead body the blood of the victims poured out in cupfuls was running all over the ground.
Meanwhile Prince Peleion was being led by the Achaean chieftains to Agamemnon. They had trouble to persuade him, so deep was his sorrow for his comrade. At the King's headquarters orders were given to set a cauldron of water over the fire, that his body might be washed clean of the bloodstains, but he flatly refused and swore to it:
"No, by Zeus highest and greatest of gods! It is not lawful that water may come near my head, before I lay Patroclos on the fire and build him a barrow and cut off my hair! For no second sorrow like this shall come upon me so long as I am among the living. Yet, for this present we must consent to the meal which we hate. Then tomorrow, my lord King Agamemnon, shall be for bringing firewood and providing all that is proper to send the dead down into the dark. The fire shall burn him quickly out of sight, and the people shall return to their work."
[They did accordingly and Patroclos appears to Achillês in a dream that evening] ..."You sleep, Achillês, and you have forgotten me! When I lived you were not careless of me, but now that I am dead! Bury me without delay, that I may pass the gates of Hadês. Those phantoms hold me off, the souls of those whose work is done; they will not suffer me to join them beyond the river, but I wander aimlessly about the broad gates of the house of Hadês. And give me that hand, I pray; for never again shall I come back from Hadês when once you have given me my portion of fire...do not lay my bones apart from yours, Achillês, but with them, as I was brought up with you in your home...Then let one urn cover my bones with yours, that golden two-handled urn which your gracious mother gave you."
...They were still mourning when Dawn showed her fingers of light. Then King Agamemnon sent out mules and men from the whole camp to bring firewood..On the foothills of Mount Ida they felled the tall trees busily...Down on the shore they laid their logs in order, in the place where Achillês designed a great barrow for Patroclos and himself.
When the logs were laid in their places, the men sat where they were, all together. Then Achillês ordered his Myrmidons to don their armor and harness their horses; they mounted the cars, fighting men and drivers, chariots in front, a cloud of footmen behind, thousands, and in the midst was Patroclos borne by his comrades. They had cut off their hair and thrown it over the body like a shroud. Achillês came behind him clasping the head; his own unspotted comrade he was escorting to the grave.
At the place which Achilles had appointed, they laid him down and piled great heaps of firewood. Then Achillês did his part. He stood away from the pile, and cut off the golden tress which he had kept uncut among his thick hair for the river Spercheios, and spoke deeply moved as he gazed over the dark sea:
"O Spercheios! This is not for thee! That vow was vain which Peleus my father made, that when I returned to my native land I would consecrate my hair to thee, and make solemn sacrifice, and that he would sacrifice fifty rams without blemish into thy waters, at the altar which is in thy precinct at the same place.
(2) ..Now therefore, since I am not to return to my native land, I wold give the warrior Patroclos this to carry with him."
Then he laid the hair in the hands of his well-beloved companion. All present broke into lamentation with all their hearts; and they would not have ceased while the sun shone, but Achillês drew near to Agamemnon and said to him:
"Atreidês, you are our lord paramount, and it is yours to command. There is plenty of time for the people to mourn, but just now I ask you to dismiss them from this place and tell them to get ready their meal. All this is the business of those who are nearest akin to the dead; and let the chieftains remain with us."
Agamemnon accordingly dismissed the people, while the mourners remained, and piled up the wood, and made a pyre of a hundred feet each way, and upon it they laid the body. They killed flocks of sheep and herds of cattle in front of the pyre, skinned them and cut them up; Achillês took away all the fat, and covered the dead with it from head to foot, and heaped the flayed bodies about him. Jars of honey and oil he placed leaning against the bier. Four horses he laid carefully on the pyre, groaning aloud. Nine dogs the prince had, that fed from his table; two of these Achillês took, and cut their throats and laid beside him, The twelve noble young Trojans he slew without mercy. Then he applied the relentless fire to consume all, and with a groan he called on his comrade's name:
"Fare thee well Patroclos, even in the grave fare thee well! See, I now fulfil all that I promised you before. Here are the twelve noble sons of Trojans
the fire is eating them round about you! Hector Priamidês the fire shall not have to eat, but the dogs!"
But his threat was in vain: no dogs were busy about Hector, for the dogs were driven off by the daughter of Zeus, Aphroditê herself, by day and by night. She washed the skin with rose-oil of ambrosia that it might not be torn by the dragging; and Phoebus Apollo drew down a dark cloud from heaven to earth, and covered the place where the body lay, that the sun might not scorch the flesh too soon over the sinews of his limbs.
But the pyre would not burn, and Achillês did not know what to do. At last he stood well away from the smouldering heap, and prayed to North Wind and West Wind promising them good sacrifices; many a libation he poured from his golden goblet, praying them to come and make the wood quickly catch fire, to burn the bodies.
Iris heard his prayers, and flew quickly to the Winds with her message...Her message given, away she flew, and the Winds rose with a devil of a noise and drove the clouds in a riot before them. They swooped upon the sea and raised the billows under their whistling blasts; they reached the Trojan coast and fell on the pyre till the flames roared again. All night long they beat upon the fire together blowing and whistling; all night long stood Achillês holding his goblet, and dipt into the golden mixer,
(3) and poured the wine on the ground, till the place was soaked, calling upon the soul of unhappy Patroclos. As a father laments while he burns the bones of his son, newly wedded and now dead, to the grief of his bereaved parents, so Achillês lamented as he burnt the bones of Patroclos, stumbling up and down beside the pyre with sobbings and groanings. But at the time when the morning star goes forth to tell that light is coming over the earth, and after him the saffron mantle of Dawn spreads over the sea, at that hour the flame died down and the burning faded away. Then the Winds returned over the Thracian gulf to their home, while the waters rose and roared.
And then Achillês moved away from the pyre, and sank upon the ground tired out; sleep leapt upon him and gave him peace.
Now the people were all gathering round Agamemnon. They made such noise and uproar that Achillês sat up and said:
"Atreidês, and you other princes, you must first quench the pyre with wine wherever the flames have touched. Then let us gather the bones of Patroclos Menoitidês, and be careful to find the right ones. They are easy to know, for he lay right in the middle and the others were on the edge, horses and men together. His bones we must wrap in a double layer of fat and lay them in a golden urn, until I myself shall be hidden in Hadês. But I do not wish any great mound to be raised for him, only just a decent one. Afterwards another can be raised both broad and high, by those of you who are left behind me."
They did his bidding at once. First they quenched the pyre with wine wherever it had burnt and the ashes were deep; then weeping they gathered the bones of their gentle companion, and laid them covered with fat in a golden urn, which they wrapt up in fine linen and put away safely in the hut.
(4) Round the pyre they set up a circle of stone slabs to mark the outside limit, and shovelled earth within.
As they were about to go after finishing this task, Achillês told them to stop, and made them sit in a ring while he sent back for prizes: cauldrons and tripods, horses and mules and fine cattle, women also and grey steel. (5)

The next step in the burial ceremony is the conduct of games, in competition for the prizes offered by the host (Achillês). Many of these prizes represent items found in tumuli, from among the Scythians to the British. The Etruscans not only painted these games in their tombs, many items of the games and everyday things were carved on the walls of the tombs. A view of the games venerated in the Iliad can be seen through the Etruscan tombs. To view the murals click here: Etruscan_Murals.html. We abbreviate the games conducted by Achillês:

For the chariot-race he offered as first prize a woman skilled in women's work, and a tripod of two-and-twenty measures with handles to it. The second prize was a mare..The third was a cauldron of four measures, brand-new and still white. The fourth, two ingots of gold, and the fifth a breand-new basin with handles...[on how to win the chariot-race] "And the tricks of the trade make driver beat driver. One man leaves everything to horses and car, wheels wide to this side or that side carelessly, the horses go roaming over the course, he does not hold them in hand; but he that knows his tricks may have inferior horses to drive yet he keeps his eye always on the post, wheels close in, does not forget how much to stretch the horses at first by the handling of the reins, but keeps them well in hand and watches the man in front.
"Now I will tell you the mark
you can't miss it. There's a dry stump at the turn of the road standing about a fathom above the soil, oak or fir, which does not rot in the rain. Two white stones are set against it, one on each side, and the land round this is smooth for horses. It may be the mark of some man dead long ago, or set up for a post in former days, and now Achillês has fixed it for the turning-point of his race. (6)...[a description of one of the chariots] and the car with its gold and tin plates gleaming rolled behind: the tires left hardly a trace in the light dust, so quickly they flew.
...Next he displayed the prizes for boxing. a hard battle that is! And the prize was a much-enduring mule, a six-year-old yet unbroken, the hardest age to break. The prize for the loser was a two handled goblet...Euryalos rose alone, a splendid fellow..Tydeidês got him ready. He put on his belt, gave him the gloves of good oxhide straps, cheered him up, and wished him luck.
...Without delay Peleidês displayed the third set of prizes, for the wrestling
and a hard bout that is! He showed the prizes all round. For the winner, a large tripod to stand on the fire, which the spectators valued at twelve oxen. For the loser, he brought out a woman well skilled in women's work, valued at four oxen...
Achillês now brought out prizes for the footrace. There was a silver mixing-bowl finely wrought, holding six measures. It was the most beautiful bowl in the world, for it was the work of Sidonian artists, and Phoenician merchants had brought it over the sea to the harbour of Lemnos and given it to Thoas as a gift; his grandson Euneos Isasonidês gave it to Patroclos as the price of Lycaon. This bowl Achillês offered as first prize, for the second a great fat ox, and for the last a half-nugget of gold.
...Now Achillês brought out the armor of Sarpedon which Patroclos had taken in the field
the long spear and the shield and helmet, and said:
"We invite the two best men to contend for these. Let them arm themselves and take their blades, and try one another before us. Whichever shall first pierce through the armor to what is within and touch the flesh and draw blood, to him I will give this fine Thracian sword silver-bossed which I took from Asteropaios, but the armor both shall hold together; and we will make a good feast to entertain them."
...Again Achillês brought out a lump of roughcast iron which that mighty man Eëtion used to hurl. When he killed Eëtion, he brought it away with the rest of the spoils. He rose now and said:
"Rise you who wish to contend for this prize. Any man will have enough here to use for five revolving years, even if his fat fields are far away. No shepherd or plowman will need to visit the city for iron, there will be plenty at home." ...and Epeios took up the weight, circled it round his head and put it, and the people roared with laughter. Next to put the weight was Leonteus, that veritable sprig of Arês; third Telamonian Aias lifted it and hurled it. The cast from that strong man went beyond the others. But when Polypoitês raised the lump, he threw it as far beyond all the others as a herdsman sends his cudgel flying over the herds of cattle.
..Next for the archers Achillês brought forward blue steel ten axes and ten half-axes...Again Peleidês brought out a long spear, and a brand-new cauldron ornamented with flowers, worth one ox..

By the time of Herodotus (~484-420 B.C.), of Halicarnassus, Asia Minor (now Bodrum, Turkey), the citadel of Troy was "insignificant." Click here http://classics.mit.edu/Herodotus/history.1.i.html to read his view, as a historian of his time under Persian dominion at Halicarnassus. Here you can read his view of the history of Lydia. In Book II (link below) Herodotus points out that the Pelasgians who occupied Greece before the Greeks had not assigned names to their gods. Homer and Hesiod, who lived 400 years before his time: "For Homer and Hesiod were the first to compose Theogonies, and give the gods their epithets, to allot them their several offices and occupations, and describe their forms; and they lived but four hundred years before my time, as I believe."

Egyptian Sacrifices, according to Herodotus (from http://classics.mit.edu/Herodotus/history.2.ii.html)

Male kine are reckoned to belong to Epaphus, and are therefore tested in the following manner:- One of the priests appointed for the purpose searches to see if there is a single black hair on the whole body, since in that case the beast is unclean. He examines him all over, standing on his legs, and again laid upon his back; after which he takes the tongue out of his mouth, to see if it be clean in respect of the prescribed marks (what they are I will mention elsewhere); he also inspects the hairs of the tail, to observe if they grow naturally. If the animal is pronounced clean in all these various points, the priest marks him by twisting a piece of papyrus round his horns, and attaching thereto some sealing-clay, which he then stamps with his own signet-ring. After this the beast is led away; and it is forbidden, under the penalty of death, to sacrifice an animal which has not been marked in this way.

The following is their manner of sacrifice:- They lead the victim, marked with their signet, to the altar where they are about to offer it, and setting the wood alight, pour a libation of wine upon the altar in front of the victim, and at the same time invoke the god. Then they slay the animal, and cutting off his head, proceed to flay the body. Next they take the head, and heaping imprecations on it, if there is a market-place and a body of Greek traders in the city, they carry it there and sell it instantly; if, however, there are no Greeks among them, they throw the head into the river. The imprecation is to this effect:- They pray that if any evil is impending either over those who sacrifice, or over universal Egypt, it may be made to fall upon that head. These practices, the imprecations upon the heads, and the libations of wine, prevail all over Egypt, and extend to victims of all sorts; and hence the Egyptians will never eat the head of any animal.

The disembowelling and burning are, however, different in different sacrifices. I will mention the mode in use with respect to the goddess whom they regard as the greatest, and honour with the chiefest festival. When they have flayed their steer they pray, and when their prayer is ended they take the paunch of the animal out entire, leaving the intestines and the fat inside the body; they then cut off the legs, the ends of the loins, the shoulders, and the neck; and having so done, they fill the body of the steer with clean bread, honey, raisins, figs, frankincense, myrrh, and other aromatics. Thus filled, they burn the body, pouring over it great quantities of oil. Before offering the sacrifice they fast, and while the bodies of the victims are being consumed they beat themselves. Afterwards, when they have concluded this part of the ceremony, they have the other parts of the victim served up to them for a repast.

The male kine, therefore, if clean, and the male calves, are used for sacrifice by the Egyptians universally; but the females they are not allowed to sacrifice, since they are sacred to Isis. The statue of this goddess has the form of a woman but with horns like a cow, resembling thus the Greek representations of Io; and the Egyptians, one and all, venerate cows much more highly than any other animal. This is the reason why no native of Egypt, whether man or woman, will give a Greek a kiss, or use the knife of a Greek, or his spit, or his cauldron, or taste the flesh of an ox, known to be pure, if it has been cut with a Greek knife. When kine die, the following is the manner of their sepulture:- The females are thrown into the river; the males are buried in the suburbs of the towns, with one or both of their horns appearing above the surface of the ground to mark the place. When the bodies are decayed, a boat comes, at an appointed time, from the island called Prosopitis,- which is a portion of the Delta, nine schoenes in circumference,- and calls at the several cities in turn to collect the bones of the oxen. Prosopitis is a district containing several cities; the name of that from which the boats come is Atarbechis. Venus has a temple there of much sanctity. Great numbers of men go forth from this city and proceed to the other towns, where they dig up the bones, which they take away with them and bury together in one place. The same practice prevails with respect to the interment of all other cattle- the law so determining; they do not slaughter any of them.

Such Egyptians as possess a temple of the Theban Jove, or live in the Thebaic canton, offer no sheep in sacrifice, but only goats; for the Egyptians do not all worship the same gods, excepting Isis and Osiris, the latter of whom they say is the Grecian Bacchus. Those, on the contrary, who possess a temple dedicated to Mendes, or belong to the Mendesian canton, abstain from offering goats, and sacrifice sheep instead. The Thebans, and such as imitate them in their practice, give the following account of the origin of the custom:- "Hercules," they say, "wished of all things to see Jove, but Jove did not choose to be seen of him. At length, when Hercules persisted, Jove hit on a device- to flay a ram, and, cutting off his head, hold the head before him, and cover himself with the fleece. In this guise he showed himself to Hercules." Therefore the Egyptians give their statues of Jupiter the face of a ram: and from them the practice has passed to the Ammonians, who are a joint colony of Egyptians and Ethiopians, speaking a language between the two; hence also, in my opinion, the latter people took their name of Ammonians, since the Egyptian name for Jupiter is Amun. Such, then, is the reason why the Thebans do not sacrifice rams, but consider them sacred animals. Upon one day in the year, however, at the festival of Jupiter, they slay a single ram, and stripping off the fleece, cover with it the statue of that god, as he once covered himself, and then bring up to the statue of Jove an image of Hercules. When this has been done, the whole assembly beat their breasts in mourning for the ram, and afterwards bury him in a holy sepulchre.

...The Egyptians were also the first to introduce solemn assemblies, processions, and litanies to the gods; of all which the Greeks were taught the use by them. It seems to me a sufficient proof of this that in Egypt these practices have been established from remote antiquity, while in Greece they are only recently known...Besides this form of divination [referring to the Dodonaean, women oracles who sounded like doves] the Greeks learnt also divination by means of victims from the Egyptians.

The Egyptians were also the first to introduce solemn assemblies, processions, and litanies to the gods; of all which the Greeks were taught the use by them. It seems to me a sufficient proof of this that in Egypt these practices have been established from remote antiquity, while in Greece they are only recently known.

The Egyptians do not hold a single solemn assembly, but several in the course of the year. Of these the chief, which is better attended than any other, is held at the city of Bubastis in honour of Diana. The next in importance is that which takes place at Busiris, a city situated in the very middle of the Delta; it is in honour of Isis, who is called in the Greek tongue Demiter (Ceres). There is a third great festival in Sais to Minerva, a fourth in Heliopolis to the Sun, a fifth in Buto to Latona, and a sixth in Papremis to Mars.

The following are the proceedings on occasion of the assembly at Bubastis:- Men and women come sailing all together, vast numbers in each boat, many of the women with castanets, which they strike, while some of the men pipe during the whole time of the voyage; the remainder of the voyagers, male and female, sing the while, and make a clapping with their hands. When they arrive opposite any of the towns upon the banks of the stream, they approach the shore, and, while some of the women continue to play and sing, others call aloud to the females of the place and load them with abuse, while a certain number dance, and some standing up uncover themselves. After proceeding in this way all along the river-course, they reach Bubastis, where they celebrate the feast with abundant sacrifices. More grape-wine is consumed at this festival than in all the rest of the year besides. The number of those who attend, counting only the men and women and omitting the children, amounts, according to the native reports, to seven hundred thousand.

The ceremonies at the feast of Isis in the city of Busiris have been already spoken of. It is there that the whole multitude, both of men and women, many thousands in number, beat themselves at the close of the sacrifice, in honour of a god, whose name a religious scruple forbids me to mention. The Carian dwellers in Egypt proceed on this occasion to still greater lengths, even cutting their faces with their knives, whereby they let it been seen that they are not Egyptians but foreigners.

At Sais, when the assembly takes place for the sacrifices, there is one night on which the inhabitants all burn a multitude of lights in the open air round their houses. They use lamps in the shape of flat saucers filled with a mixture of oil and salt, on the top of which the wick floats. These burn the whole night, and give to the festival the name of the Feast of Lamps. The Egyptians who are absent from the festival observe the night of the sacrifice, no less than the rest, by a general lighting of lamps; so that the illumination is not confined to the city of Sais, but extends over the whole of Egypt. And there is a religious reason assigned for the special honour paid to this night, as well as for the illumination which accompanies it.

At Heliopolis and Buto the assemblies are merely for the purpose of sacrifice; but at Papremis, besides the sacrifices and other rites which are performed there as elsewhere, the following custom is observed:- When the sun is getting low, a few only of the priests continue occupied about the image of the god, while the greater number, armed with wooden clubs, take their station at the portal of the temple. Opposite to them is drawn up a body of men, in number above a thousand, armed, like the others, with clubs, consisting of persons engaged in the performance of their vows. The image of the god, which is kept in a small wooden shrine covered with plates of gold, is conveyed from the temple into a second sacred building the day before the festival begins. The few priests still in attendance upon the image place it, together with the shrine containing it, on a four-wheeled car, and begin to drag it along; the others stationed at the gateway of the temple, oppose its admission. Then the votaries come forward to espouse the quarrel of the god, and set upon the opponents, who are sure to offer resistance. A sharp fight with clubs ensues, in which heads are commonly broken on both sides. Many, I am convinced, die of the wounds that they receive, though the Egyptians insist that no one is ever killed.

The natives give the subjoined account of this festival. They say that the mother of the god Mars once dwelt in the temple. Brought up at a distance from his parent, when he grew to man's estate he conceived a wish to visit her. Accordingly he came, but the attendants, who had never seen him before, refused him entrance, and succeeded in keeping him out. So he went to another city and collected a body of men, with whose aid he handled the attendants very roughly, and forced his way in to his mother. Hence they say arose the custom of a fight with sticks in honour of Mars at this festival.

The Egyptians first made it a point of religion to have no converse with women in the sacred places, and not to enter them without washing, after such converse. Almost all other nations, except the Greeks and the Egyptians, act differently, regarding man as in this matter under no other law than the brutes. Many animals, they say, and various kinds of birds, may be seen to couple in the temples and the sacred precincts, which would certainly not happen if the gods were displeased at it. Such are the arguments by which they defend their practice, but I nevertheless can by no means approve of it. In these points the Egyptians are specially careful, as they are indeed in everything which concerns their sacred edifices.

...In the neighbourhood of Thebes there are some sacred serpents which are perfectly harmless. They are of small size, and have two horns growing out of the top of the head. These snakes, when they die, are buried in the temple of Jupiter, the god to whom they are sacred.

The Funny Bald Men east of the Scythians, the Argippaeans
(according to Herodotus, Book IV, http://classics.mit.edu/Herodotus/history.4.iv.html)

Beyond you enter on a region which is rugged and stony. Passing over a great extent of this rough country, you come to a people dwelling at the foot of lofty mountains, who are said to be all- both men and women- bald from their birth, to have flat noses, and very long chins. These people speak a language of their own,. the dress which they wear is the same as the Scythian. They live on the fruit of a certain tree, the name of which is Ponticum; in size it is about equal to our fig-tree, and it bears a fruit like a bean, with a stone inside. When the fruit is ripe, they strain it through cloths; the juice which runs off is black and thick, and is called by the natives "aschy." They lap this up with their tongues, and also mix it with milk for a drink; while they make the lees, which are solid, into cakes, and eat them instead of meat; for they have but few sheep in their country, in which there is no good pasturage. Each of them dwells under a tree, and they cover the tree in winter with a cloth of thick white felt, but take off the covering in the summer-time. No one harms these people, for they are looked upon as sacred- they do not even possess any warlike weapons. When their neighbors fall out, they make up the quarrel; and when one flies to them for refuge, he is safe from all hurt. They are called the Argippaeans.

The Argippaeans seem to have imbibed something like the Soma made by the Aryans of the Rig Veda, yet to be discussed. Recent discoveries in Siberia and Kyrgyztan revealed Scythian tumuli with cannabis among the offerings.

The Issedonians, according to Herodotus, Book IV:

The Issedonians are said to have the following customs. When a man's father dies, all the near relatives bring sheep to the house; which are sacrificed, and their flesh cut in pieces, while at the same time the dead body undergoes the like treatment. The two sorts of flesh are afterwards mixed together, and the whole is served up at a banquet. The head of the dead man is treated differently: it is stripped bare, cleansed, and set in gold. It then becomes an ornament on which they pride themselves, and is brought out year by year at the great festival which sons keep in honour of their fathers' death, just as the Greeks keep their Genesia. In other respects the Issedonians are reputed to be observers of justice: and it is to be remarked that their women have equal authority with the men. Thus our knowledge extends as far as this nation.

The dressing of heads with gold is a practice of the Celts. They also used the golden heads as cups.

Scythian sacrifices, according to Herodotus, Book IV:

Thus abundantly are the Scythians provided with the most important necessaries. Their manners and customs come now to be described. They worship only the following gods, namely, Vesta, whom they reverence beyond all the rest, Jupiter, and Tellus, whom they consider to be the wife of Jupiter; and after these Apollo, Celestial Venus, Hercules, and Mars. These gods are worshipped by the whole nation: the Royal Scythians offer sacrifice likewise to Neptune. In the Scythic tongue Vesta is called Tabiti, Jupiter (very properly, in my judgment) Papaeus; Tellus, Apia; Apollo, Oetosyrus; Celestial Venus, Artimpasa; and Neptune, Thamimasadas. They use no images, altars, or temples, except in the worship of Mars; but in his worship they do use them.

The manner of their sacrifices is everywhere and in every case the same; the victim stands with its two fore-feet bound together by a cord, and the person who is about to offer, taking his station behind the victim, gives the rope a pull, and thereby throws the animal down; as it falls he invokes the god to whom he is offering; after which he puts a noose round the animal's neck, and, inserting a small stick, twists it round, and so strangles him. No fire is lighted, there is no consecration, and no pouring out of drink-offerings; but directly that the beast is strangled the sacrificer flays him, and then sets to work to boil the flesh.

As Scythia, however, is utterly barren of firewood, a plan has had to be contrived for boiling the flesh, which is the following. After flaying the beasts, they take out all the bones, and (if they possess such gear) put the flesh into boilers made in the country, which are very like the cauldrons of the Lesbians, except that they are of a much larger size; then placing the bones of the animals beneath the cauldron, they set them alight, and so boil the meat. If they do not happen to possess a cauldron, they make the animal's paunch hold the flesh, and pouring in at the same time a little water, lay the bones under and light them. The bones burn beautifully; and the paunch easily contains all the flesh when it is stript from the bones, so that by this plan your ox is made to boil himself, and other victims also to do the like. When the meat is all cooked, the sacrificer offers a portion of the flesh and of the entrails, by casting it on the ground before him. They sacrifice all sorts of cattle, but most commonly horses. Such are the victims offered to the other gods, and such is the mode in which they are sacrificed; but the rites paid to Mars are different. In every district, at the seat of government, there stands a temple of this god, whereof the following is a description. It is a pile of brushwood, made of a vast quantity of fagots, in length and breadth three furlongs; in height somewhat less, having a square platform upon the top, three sides of which are precipitous, while the fourth slopes so that men may walk up it. Each year a hundred and fifty waggon-loads of brushwood are added to the pile, which sinks continually by reason of the rains. An antique iron sword is planted on the top of every such mound, and serves as the image of Mars
(10): yearly sacrifices of cattle and of horses are made to it, and more victims are offered thus than to all the rest of their gods. When prisoners are taken in war, out of every hundred men they sacrifice one, not however with the same rites as the cattle, but with different. Libations of wine are first poured upon their heads, after which they are slaughtered over a vessel; the vessel is then carried up to the top of the pile, and the blood poured upon the scymitar. While this takes place at the top of the mound, below, by the side of the temple, the right hands and arms of the slaughtered prisoners are cut off, and tossed on high into the air. Then the other victims are slain, and those who have offered the sacrifice depart, leaving the hands and arms where they may chance to have fallen, and the bodies also, separate.

Such are the observances of the Scythians with respect to sacrifice. They never use swine for the purpose, nor indeed is it their wont to breed them in any part of their country.

In what concerns war, their customs are the following. The Scythian soldier drinks the blood of the first man he overthrows in battle. Whatever number he slays, he cuts off all their heads, and carries them to the king; since he is thus entitled to a share of the booty, whereto he forfeits all claim if he does not produce a head. In order to strip the skull of its covering, he makes a cut round the head above the ears, and, laying hold of the scalp, shakes the skull out; then with the rib of an ox he scrapes the scalp clean of flesh, and softening it by rubbing between the hands, uses it thenceforth as a napkin. The Scyth is proud of these scalps, and hangs them from his bridle-rein; the greater the number of such napkins that a man can show, the more highly is he esteemed among them. Many make themselves cloaks, like the capotes of our peasants, by sewing a quantity of these scalps together. Others flay the right arms of their dead enemies, and make of the skin, which stripped off with the nails hanging to it, a covering for their quivers. Now the skin of a man is thick and glossy, and would in whiteness surpass almost all other hides. Some even flay the entire body of their enemy, and stretching it upon a frame carry it about with them wherever they ride. Such are the Scythian customs with respect to scalps and skins.

The skulls of their enemies, not indeed of all, but of those whom they most detest, they treat as follows. Having sawn off the portion below the eyebrows, and cleaned out the inside, they cover the outside with leather. When a man is poor, this is all that he does; but if he is rich, he also lines the inside with gold: in either case the skull is used as a drinking-cup. They do the same with the skulls of their own kith and kin if they have been at feud with them, and have vanquished them in the presence of the king. When strangers whom they deem of any account come to visit them, these skulls are handed round, and the host tells how that these were his relations who made war upon him, and how that he got the better of them; all this being looked upon as proof of bravery.

Once a year the governor of each district, at a set place in his own province, mingles a bowl of wine, of which all Scythians have a right to drink by whom foes have been slain; while they who have slain no enemy are not allowed to taste of the bowl, but sit aloof in disgrace. No greater shame than this can happen to them. Such as have slain a very large number of foes, have two cups instead of one, and drink from both.

Scythia has an abundance of soothsayers, who foretell the future by means of a number of willow wands. A large bundle of these wands is brought and laid on the ground. The soothsayer unties the bundle, and places each wand by itself, at the same time uttering his prophecy: then, while he is still speaking, he gathers the rods together again, and makes them up once more into a bundle. This mode of divination is of home growth in Scythia. The Enarees, or woman-like men, have another method, which they say Venus taught them. It is done with the inner bark of the linden-tree. They take a piece of this bark, and, splitting it into three strips, keep twining the strips about their fingers, and untwining them, while they prophesy.

Whenever the Scythian king falls sick, he sends for the three soothsayers of most renown at the time, who come and make trial of their art in the mode above described. Generally they say that the king is ill because such or such a person, mentioning his name, has sworn falsely by the royal hearth. This is the usual oath among the Scythians, when they wish to swear with very great solemnity. Then the man accused of having foresworn himself is arrested and brought before the king. The soothsayers tell him that by their art it is clear he has sworn a false oath by the royal hearth, and so caused the illness of the king
he denies the charge, protests that he has sworn no false oath, and loudly complains of the wrong done to him. Upon this the king sends for six new soothsayers, who try the matter by soothsaying. If they too find the man guilty of the offence, straightway he is beheaded by those who first accused him, and his goods are parted among them: if, on the contrary, they acquit him, other soothsayers, and again others, are sent for, to try the case. Should the greater number decide in favour of the man's innocence, then they who first accused him forfeit their lives.

The mode of their execution is the following: a waggon is loaded with brushwood, and oxen are harnessed to it; the soothsayers, with their feet tied together, their hands bound behind their backs, and their mouths gagged, are thrust into the midst of the brushwood; finally the wood is set alight, and the oxen, being startled, are made to rush off with the waggon. It often happens that the oxen and the soothsayers are both consumed together, but sometimes the pole of the waggon is burnt through, and the oxen escape with a scorching. Diviners- lying diviners, they call them- are burnt in the way described, for other causes besides the one here spoken of. When the king puts one of them to death, he takes care not to let any of his sons survive: all the male offspring are slain with the father, only the females being allowed to live.

Oaths among the Scyths are accompanied with the following ceremonies: a large earthen bowl is filled with wine, and the parties to the oath, wounding themselves slightly with a knife or an awl, drop some of their blood into the wine; then they plunge into the mixture a scimitar, some arrows, a battle-axe, and a javelin, all the while repeating prayers; lastly the two contracting parties drink each a draught from the bowl, as do also the chief men among their followers.

The tombs of their kings are in the land of the Gerrhi, who dwell at the point where the Borysthenes is first navigable. Here, when the king dies, they dig a grave, which is square in shape, and of great size. When it is ready, they take the king's corpse, and, having opened the belly, and cleaned out the inside, fill the cavity with a preparation of chopped cypress, frankincense, parsley-seed, and anise-seed, after which they sew up the opening, enclose the body in wax, and, placing it on a waggon, carry it about through all the different tribes. On this procession each tribe, when it receives the corpse, imitates the example which is first set by the Royal Scythians; every man chops off a piece of his ear, crops his hair close, and makes a cut all round his arm, lacerates his forehead and his nose, and thrusts an arrow through his left hand. Then they who have the care of the corpse carry it with them to another of the tribes which are under the Scythian rule, followed by those whom they first visited. On completing the circuit of all the tribes under their sway, they find themselves in the country of the Gerrhi, who are the most remote of all, and so they come to the tombs of the kings. There the body of the dead king is laid in the grave prepared for it, stretched upon a mattress; spears are fixed in the ground on either side of the corpse, and beams stretched across above it to form a roof, which is covered with a thatching of osier twigs. In the open space around the body of the king they bury one of his concubines, first killing her by strangling, and also his cup-bearer, his cook, his groom, his lacquey, his messenger, some of his horses, firstlings of all his other possessions, and some golden cups; for they use neither silver nor brass. After this they set to work, and raise a vast mound above the grave, all of them vying with each other and seeking to make it as tall as possible.

When a year is gone by, further ceremonies take place. Fifty of the best of the late king's attendants are taken, all native Scythians
for, as bought slaves are unknown in the country, the Scythian kings choose any of their subjects that they like, to wait on them- fifty of these are taken and strangled, with fifty of the most beautiful horses. When they are dead, their bowels are taken out, and the cavity cleaned, filled full of chaff, and straightway sewn up again. This done, a number of posts are driven into the ground, in sets of two pairs each, and on every pair half the felly of a wheel is placed archwise; then strong stakes are run lengthways through the bodies of the horses from tail to neck, and they are mounted up upon the fellies, so that the felly in front supports the shoulders of the horse, while that behind sustains the belly and quarters, the legs dangling in mid-air; each horse is furnished with a bit and bridle, which latter is stretched out in front of the horse, and fastened to a peg. The fifty strangled youths are then mounted severally on the fifty horses. To effect this, a second stake is passed through their bodies along the course of the spine to the neck; the lower end of which projects from the body, and is fixed into a socket, made in the stake that runs lengthwise down the horse. The fifty riders are thus ranged in a circle round the tomb, and so left. (8)

Such, then, is the mode in which the kings are buried: as for the people, when any one dies, his nearest of kin lay him upon a waggon and take him round to all his friends in succession: each receives them in turn and entertains them with a banquet, whereat the dead man is served with a portion of all that is set before the others; this is done for forty days, at the end of which time the burial takes place. After the burial, those engaged in it have to purify themselves, which they do in the following way. First they well soap and wash their heads; then, in order to cleanse their bodies, they act as follows: they make a booth by fixing in the ground three sticks inclined towards one another, and stretching around them woollen felts, which they arrange so as to fit as close as possible: inside the booth a dish is placed upon the ground, into which they put a number of red-hot stones, and then add some hemp-seed.

Hemp grows in Scythia: it is very like flax; only that it is a much coarser and taller plant: some grows wild about the country, some is produced by cultivation: the Thracians make garments of it which closely resemble linen; so much so, indeed, that if a person has never seen hemp he is sure to think they are linen, and if he has, unless he is very experienced in such matters, he will not know of which material they are.

The Scythians, as I said, take some of this hemp-seed, and, creeping under the felt coverings, throw it upon the red-hot stones; immediately it smokes, and gives out such a vapor as no Grecian vapor-bath can exceed; the Scyths, delighted, shout for joy, and this vapor serves them instead of a water-bath; for they never by any chance wash their bodies with water. Their women make a mixture of cypress, cedar, and frankincense wood, which they pound into a paste upon a rough piece of stone, adding a little water to it. With this substance, which is of a thick consistency, they plaster their faces all over, and indeed their whole bodies. A sweet odor is thereby imparted to them, and when they take off the plaster on the day following, their skin is clean and glossy.

The Scythians have an extreme hatred of all foreign customs, particularly of those in use among the Greeks, as the instances of Anacharsis, and, more lately, of Scylas, have fully shown. The former, after he had travelled over a great portion of the world, and displayed wherever he went many proofs of wisdom, as he sailed through the Hellespont on his return to Scythia touched at Cyzicus. There he found the inhabitants celebrating with much pomp and magnificence a festival to the Mother of the Gods, and was himself induced to make a vow to the goddess, whereby he engaged, if he got back safe and sound to his home, that he would give her a festival and a night-procession in all respects like those which he had seen in Cyzicus. When, therefore, he arrived in Scythia, he betook himself to the district called the Woodland, which lies opposite the course of Achilles, and is covered with trees of all manner of different kinds, and there went through all the sacred rites with the tabor in his hand, and the images tied to him. While thus employed, he was noticed by one of the Scythians, who went and told king Saulius what he had seen. Then king Saulius came in person, and when he perceived what Anacharsis was about, he shot at him with an arrow and killed him. To this day, if you ask the Scyths about Anacharsis, they pretend ignorance of him, because of his Grecian travels and adoption of the customs of foreigners. I learnt, however, from Timnes, the steward of Ariapithes, that Anacharsis was paternal uncle to the Scythian king Idanthyrsus, being the son of Gnurus, who was the son of Lycus and the grandson of Spargapithes. If Anacharsis were really of this house, it must have been by his own brother that he was slain, for Idanthyrsus was a son of the Saulius who put Anacharsis to death.

The Sacrifice of Zarpiya, physician of Kizzuwatna, when the year is ruinous (see Hittite Treaties.html)

(1 [Thus says Zarp]iya, physician of Kizzuwatna, (regarding) [when the year] is ruinous (and) in the land there is continual dying. [Then] in which (ever) city (there is) ruin as a result [the master of (each)] house will do as follows:

(2 I hang up the kelu
of the client. Its huppali is bronze. Its hazziul are of a shaggy lion-skin. But its footstool is of basalt, and its (the footstool's) hazziul is of lapis. The paw is strong. (It) is the paw(?) of a bear [...] but he h[angs the ...] of a wild goat.

(3 And the ali-s are of black wool and red wool (and) the yellow wool of the town of arnuwaila. Before the sinew of a dog is sakalsan, he [...] three [...s]. On one side he hangs one (piece) on a peg (made of) apricot(?)-wood, (2) while on the other side he hangs one (piece) on a peg (made of) cornel wood.

(4 First and foremost, in front on that side he hits the apricot(?)-wood peg into the gate. He hangs a cooked kuggula of barley flour, a kuggula of hariyanti- barley flour, and one jug of wine. On this side, however, he hits [the peg] of cornel wood i[nto the gate], and from it (the peg) he hangs a cooked kuggula of barley flour, a kuggula of hariyanti- barley flour, and one jug of wine.

(5 With the pegs, a white bush is stuck in/planted. Downwards from the ground [...] downwards at the front. On either side he buries wassi-, whose name is huwallari. Furthermore, the gate behind the door of the courtyard on which he hangs the kelu-s-down in front of the kelu-s he places a wicker table and on top of it he sets an ax (3) of bronze, one warm bread, thick bread (and) cheese. Thereon (he sets) a bronze ax, a bronze dagger, a strung bow, [and] one arrow.

(6 Down in front on the wicker table he places one huppar-vessel of wine from the puri-stand, and from the puri-stand he places one pitcher of PIHU drinking beer. Into the pitcher of PIHU drinking beer he inserts one straw.

(7 They bring in one billy-goat and the master of the estate libates it with wine before the table for Santas. Then he holds out the bronze ax and says as follows: "Come Santas! Let the Innarawant-deities come with you, (they) who are wearing bloodied (clothes), who have bound on (themselves) the sashes(?) of the mountain dwellers,

(8 who are girt (?) with daggars, who hold strung bows and arrows. "Come and eat! We will swear (an oath)." When he is finished speaking, he places the bronze ax (4) down on the table and they slit (the throat of) the billy-goat.

(9 He takes the blood and and the straw that was left in the mug-he anoints that (-an) with the blood. Then they bring the raw liver and the heart and the master of the estate holds them out for the gods. Further he takes a bite (and) they imitate (him). (5) He puts (his) lips on the straw and sips and says as follows:

(10 O Santas and Innarawant-deities, we have just taken the oath.

(11 We have bitten from the raw liver; from a single straw we have drunk. O Santas and Innarawant-deities, do not step to my gate again. They cook the liver and heart on a fire and they butcher the entire goat "plain."

(12 Then, when the fat arrives, they bring out the liver and heart and the flesh
everything to the god. With it they bring two times nine thick loaves (made) from wheat flour of one-half handful (of flour). He breaks nine loaves. Over these they place the liver and heart and he sets them back on the table and says as follows: "Eat, O Sun God of Heaven above and below. Let the gods of the father of the house eat! Let the thousand gods eat.

(13 And for this oath be witnesses. Next he libates the wine nine times before the table of the Innarawant-deities. He takes the shoulder and the breast (of the sacrifice) and breaks nine loaves of bread.

(14 He scatters them on the potstand and pours wine opposite. Then they bring (in) nine(!) (6) boys who have not yet gone to a woman. On one boy they put a goatskin and that one walks in front and calls (out) in the manner of a wolf. They surround the tables and devour the shoulder and breast.

(15 But for eating [the liver and heart are also (7)] good, and he brings (them) in the same way and they devour the li[ver and heart]. They also drink. [He brings] the pitcher [of PIHU drinking beer] and they drink the pitcher of PIHU beer.

(16 The master of the house a staff/branch from a suruhha-tree, steps into the gate and in Luwian conjures as follows: ÛÛ17-18 {Luwian incantation} Û19 He breaks a thick bread, while reciting as follows in Luwian: ÛÛ20-21 {Luwian incantation}

(22 They take up the ritual implements and he closes the door. He anoints it with fine oil, and says:

(23 "Let (the door) shut out evil and let it keep in good."

(24 One tablet. Finished. The word of Zarpiya, physician from Kizzuwatna. If a year is ruinous and the land is dying, then the kelu- rituals he offers in this way.


(1) The Iliad,translated by W.H. D. Rouse, Mentor, New American Library, NY, (by arrangement with Thomas Neslon and Sons, Ltd.,1938), pp. 282,283 (2) ibid, p. 290
(2) Rouse's note: A boy kept one part of his hair uncut and this he dedicated to his river-god at puberty: Aeschylus Choephoroe.
(3) In the Rig Veda
which is a book of prayers there are divinities who are the principal recipients of the prayers. Usas, the dawn; Surya, the sun-god, whose symbol was a bull. To bind the bull and sacrifice it at dawn is to secure the blessings of sunlight [Rig Veda Book 1, Hymn 121. 7]; Indra, the god of thunder and lightning (like Zeus, Jupiter and Thor), Agni, the god of fire and the messenger of the gods; Varuna, the sky-god (like Uranus, who was castrated by his son Cronos; Aphroditê was born from the foam from his discarded genitals). The wind-god, cloud-gods, called Maruts, Mitra, Vishnu and many other gods are called upon in during three principal ceremonies during the Hindu day: the dawn, high-noon, and dusk. Like the Greeks and Trojans of the Iliad, the Indo-European Aryans of the Rig Veda ~1,500 B.C. cremated their dead, as the Hindus do today. A large part of the hymns in the Rig Veda are dedicated to Agni, because Agni not only bore messages to the gods, he invited the gods to the sacrifice and carried the dead to the gods (heaven). The Rig Veda does not address the deep, dark Hadês of Greek, Trojan and Etruscan thought. In contrast it anticipates the continuation of the soul back on earth, recycled like the vegetation or grass upon which the communion participants and invited gods sat. Imagine a circular altar with a trench around it, around which were placed the Aryan chiefs and their priests. Next to the fiery altar was a post to which sacrificial animals were tied (probably a similar device was used by the Greeks at Patroclos' funeral). Like the Greeks of the Iliad, the fats of the animals, offered in slabs, was most prized by the gods. The Greeks and Trojans poured wine as an oblation, but a butter-like oil, or gee, is also mentioned, which was a principal oblation mentioned in the Rig Veda that was continuously ladled upon the fire (upon the god Agni). But the Aryans had an oblation which we shall discuss latter, called Soma, which was drunk by the participants and fed to the gods. They had large wooden vats near-by in which they brewed Soma, a sap beaten out of a plant (probably cannabis) gathered in the mountains. They filtered the brewed sap through a woolen cloth and mixed it with honey, milk, curds and barley (The barley may have been part of the brew in the wooden vat). This mix was put in jars, from which they ladled the meath (mead) into the fire or into beakers bowls and cups. Beakers are frequently mentioned, and a significant feature of megalithic burials along the Atlantic coast of Europe and in the Balkans, was beakers. Drinking honeyed-mead was an integral part of the Celtic celebrations and the Greeks, Trojans and Etruscans had their mead as well. In the Etruscan Tomb of the Baron we can see a particularly large, cauldron-like vase as well as a jug used for pouring wine. The rites we are reviewing in the Iliad were not too far from the rites of the Rig Veda or those that took place with reference to the Etruscan rites.
"Achillês holds a goblet, and dipt into the golden mixer, and poured the wine on the ground"
The Greeks and Trojans of the Iliad mixed their wine with water.
(4) "in the hut." Note that Patroclos' burial is in a "hut." Hector's remains were placed within a group of stones (like a dolmen). Patroclos' burial, in fact, resembles the "Germanic" and Scythian style of burial, where the remains were placed within a wooden frame structure, in the Iliad presumably "the hut." Tumuli across Europe and Asia, including the tholos tombs of the Etruscans, had at least one ring of stones (sometimes stakes) marking the boundary of the mound. Sometimes the stone boundary would would be double-walled.
(5) "and grey steel." There are several references to steel and iron in the Iliad, giving more reason for an Iron Age event, than that of an earlier Bronze Age. Thus, the event must be ~1,200 B.C. to 850 B.C. "Iron Age" and "Bronze Age" or "Stone Age" may not refer to a specific time period, but can serve as a guide. For instance, American Indian tribes were in the "Stone Age
neolithic" when American settlers were driving their wagon trains across the western prairies in the 19th century. My grandmother, who was able to watch the Apollo landing on the moon several years before she passed away, told me at that time that she had crossed the United States in a covered wagon from Missouri to Montana. She made the comment with regard to my question, asking her how she felt about the event, knowing that I had directly participated – working in the "think tank" of North American Aviation's Space & Information Systems Division, the Prime Contractor of the Apollo Program. No people, other than her generation, have been able to witness such a marked change in technology in such a short span of time! From horses to space travel in one generation!
(6) One of the items used as a prize in the games was a raw hunk of iron. While it is described as a captured weapon of Eëtion, Achillês does not value it as a weapon but rather as a source of metal from which to make plowshares. In the Mahabharata, which is a Vedic story about the Pandavas, states in the battle, "Down upon the Pandava army fell ten thousand arrows with fiery mouths and ten thousand gleaming darts; one hundred thousand swords and maces and axes; a million razor-edged wheels spinning; and heavy iron balls roaring and tumbling [Mahabharata, Book 13, "Trees of Gold," p. 280, retold by William Buck, University of California Press, 1973]. The razor-edged wheels recall a discus-like weapon. The discuss is mentioned in the Iliad, but representations of the Celtic "Horned God" Cernunnos show him carrying a wheel. One may wonder whether the wheel had a razor edge and was thrown as a weapon. Indra had such a weapon. The wheel is another symbol of the sun-god of the Indo-Europeans. The modern discuss thrown in the Olympic games is made of wood with a steel edge. Another Olympic games competition involves the shot-put, the throwing of a large steel ball. In Scottish games the ball has a chain attached to it, the means of which allow for a longer throw, as the thrower whirls around before releasing the ball.
(7) The Sidonian bowl brought by Phoenician merchants suggests a time-line of about 850 B.C. for the Iliad. Had the bard said, "captured from Sidon," suggesting a raid, such as the raids of the Sea Peoples ~ 1,200 B.C. one might be able to argue a Late Bronze Age date for the story. The merchant suggests 1,200-850 B.C.
(8) A great overhead photo of Celtic Hallstatt burial site is at: http://www.unc.edu/celtic/topics/burial/burial.html. Hartwick College has a great commentary on chariot warfare, with an illustration of a Kurgan chariot burial photographed by N. Vinogradov. The page is at: http://users.hartwick.edu/iaes/horseback/chariots.html. A British chariot burials are at: http://www.hullcc.gov.uk/archaeology/chariot.htm and http://www.hullcc.gov.uk/archaeology/is03.htm.
(9) Here we find testimony on the use of hemp seeds (Cannabis) among the Scythians, but not as a mead, but as a smoke in a sauna! The customs of the Scythians, for the most part, are like the Celts; the red-headed Tocharians of Scythia, dressed in tartan plaids, draw a closer comparison. Scythian tumuli fields also seem to be centralized, like the Celts and the Cnutes (British). A detailed examination of the use of hemp and Cannabis seed can be viewed at http://www.calyx.net/~olsen/HEMP/IHA/jiha5208.html. Maps of the distribution and use of the plant 5,000 years ago are on the site to aid in the illustration of its use. The Asian map shows the distribution and use among the Siberian Scythians and in China. Interestingly, though we suspect the use in India in ancient times, no archeological evidence of its use in India, they say, has been revealed: "By ca. 3000 BP, Cannabis had most likely migrated west and south over the Himalayas and into India, probably coming with nomads and traders over the trade routes that crossed the region. In light of the accepted antiquity of Cannabis in India, it is noteworthy that no Cannabis remains have been recovered from archeological sights there." This site is well worth visiting for those who are interested in the subject. We shall be reviewing the Rig Veda and its divine substance, Soma, which I believe
as do others was made from Cannabis stalks. There is no agreement among the Rig Veda scholars that Soma produced a reaction that might be expected from a drug like Cannabis. While poppies might be another source of the effect produced through the Soma, the instructions for making Soma did not describe a flower as an ingredient. The ingredient that produced the "trip" in Soma was a grass-like plant gathered in the mountains probably hemp. Based upon the maps and study at calyx.net I would believe that the main ingredient of Soma was Cannabis. Also, with respect to the Scythian use of Cannabis, of throwing the seeds on hot rocks in a sauna, I suspect they were drinking the sap: like the Aryans to the south of them who composed the Rig Veda, the Scythians may have been grinding the plant and throwing it into their mead and possibly trading it to the Aryans to the south of them in the Indus Valley.
(10) An antique sword serving as the image of Mars; note the sword between the feet of the Etruscan Aule Serelus on the tomb-stone from Vetulonia (See Miscellaneous_Scripts.html). The lines radiating from the sword suggest power, as in the lines that radiate from the Egyptian sun god, Aten, Amon-re, etc.

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