I'm still trying to wrap my head around what she is saying here—but it seems pretty profound.
Friday, September 21, 2012
The Cosmology of sacrifice
"One thing is clear. It is being dead, rather than being killed, that seems to be uppermost in the disposition and meaning of these particular burials. Not only is there no evidence of public display, or even knowledge, of the enactment of sacrifice, but it seems possible that it was indeed carefully hidden, at least at Ur, where the wounds to the head were masked by helmet and headdress and turned to the floor of the tomb. Power may or may not be a consideration, and those sacrificed may or may not be retainers. But that sacrifice is a route to, or expression of, power is a question of function, not meaning. Systems of power can only be constructed on understandings of how the world works, and understandings of how the world works are based in notions of cosmology: where humans fit in a larger scheme that involves a host of supernatural beings, including the dead."—Ann M. Porter in Sacred Killing , page 211