A HUUUUUGE book written in the 1920s in an attempt to clarify the origins of a particular religious practice of the Classical Age, to wit: the King of the Wood at Nemi, who was a sacred king who had to defend his kingship against all comers in combat. He was invariably an outlaw or runaway slave who lost his kingdom and his life to whoever could kill him.
In the process of describing the origins of this custom, the author, Sir James George Frazer, looks at the origins of magical and religious practices using a prodigious base of knowledge of both anthropological studies in the 19th and early 20th Century and folklore from European societies. The bit that struck me was the description of the practices of the Ainu of northern Japan.
I couldn't tell you how seriously it's taken as a piece of scholarship
nowadays but it is surely a magnificent source of raw material for the
creation of fantastic worlds.
End of The Glorantha Digest V8 #131
Powered by hypermail