By David Sansone
How is activity in modern society concerning recreation in previous civilizations? Why is the expenditure of power excited about game thought of exhilarating, whereas the an identical expenditure of power in different contexts may be dispiriting? David Sansone deals solutions to those questions and advances a innovative thesis to account for the frequent phenomenon of activity. Drawing upon ethnological findings to illustrate the ritual personality of activity, he explores the connection among historic Greek game and sacrificial ritual and strains parts universal to either again to primitive origins.
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Extra info for Greek Athletics and the Genesis of Sport
According to Burkert, what the ritual "communicates" is the arousal and appeasement of anxiety about bloodshed. "57 What is of importance for our purposes is not whether Burkert's analysis is correct or not, but that some communicative purpose was served by the persistence and ritualization of the practices of Palaeolithic hunters. We do not have the evidence that would enable us to tell whether Palaeolithic hunters themselves engaged in what we would consider "sport," but it cannot be denied that their actions became the basis of at least some forms of sport in pastoral and agricultural societies.
The practice of pouring libations is "explained" on the grounds that the deities under the earth, or the souls of the dead, are in need of drink. But these explanations are themselves inadequate and sometimes call for further explanation. 50 Indeed, it is not an unreasonable hypothesis that the gods and belief in an afterlife are themselves part of this rationalization: once sacrifice began to be felt as in some sense a "gift," it became necessary to posit the existence of entities as beneficiaries of these gifts.
The bones are arranged, or rearranged, in such a way as to suggest the intact skeleton of the beast. Often internal organs and bits from other parts of the animal's body are included in the arrangement. The skin is placed with this arrangement or is draped over a pile of rocks, a tree or a crude 51. Aristophanes, Clouds 98485. 52. 2. html [13-02-2009 20:08:47] page_41 < previous page page_41 next page > Page 41 scaffolding specially prepared for this purpose. Greek sacrificial victims, and those of many other pastoral and agricultural societies, were ritually "reconstituted" in a similar manner.