Human Sacrifice of Virgins as it Relates to Art Subjects
Human Sacrifice of Virgins as it Relates to Art Subjects
The Greek words for ‘virgin sacrifice’ is ‘παρθένα θυσία’. A virgin is defined as a chaste and unmarried woman, often one who has had no sexual experience. The word comes to us from Latin. The corresponding Greek word is ‘παρθένος’. In the Odyssey Book 11, line 245, Homer refers to a ‘παρθενίην ζώνην’, a maiden girdle. But neither of the main virgin sacrifices, Iphigenia and Polyxena, are mention by Homer even though they seem to be an important part of the story of the Trojan war. Furthermore the derivation of the Greek word ‘παρθενίην’ from Indo-European is not convincing. The closest Indo-European root is ‘sneubh-‘, ‘To marry’ which is the root of the word ‘nymph’. In Odyssey Book 1, line 14 Homer writes ‘νύμφη πότνι’… Καλυψὼ δι̂α θεάων’, ‘queenly nymph Calypso, that bright goddess’. He uses the word nymph to apply to a goddess. Needless to say a goddess is not the subject of a sacrifice. So the whole concept of a virgin sacrifice may be a later addition to the Greek myth just to enhance the interest in the story.
Homer does not use the word ‘θυσία’ for ‘sacrifice’. Rather he uses the phrase ‘ἐπὶ θινὶ’ which means literally to offer heaps. He also uses ‘θ’ ἱερὰς ἑκατόμβας’ which translates as ‘to offer hecatombs’. The term ‘hecatomb’ is usually translated as ‘one hundred head of cattle’ but a translation of ‘ten heaps’ from IE ‘dekm-‘, ‘Ten’ and ‘teue’, ‘To swell’ seems consistent with the earlier phrases. Another phrase is ‘ἱερὰ ῥέζων’ which means ‘perform sacrifices’ and ‘ῥέξας μηρί’ ἔκαιον’ which means ‘offer slices cut from thighs’. I idea behind a sacrifice may come from the idea of exchange of favors between friends. If you do a favor for me then I will do a favor for you. In the case of a sacrifice to a deity then the deity is assumed to be a friend. A suitable gift to the deity friend will then obligate the deity to return a favor. Bigger gifts will then provide bigger rewards. Christians stopped the practice of sacrifice by claiming that everything belonged to god so he did not need gifts.
The sacrifice of a virgin brings up images like the following where a
young girl is stabbed and bleeding as a part of a horrible cult ceremony.
A virgin sacrificed on the beach with her throat slit and blood being collected.
Usually the victim dies from loss of blood. Often the blood of the victim
is collected during the ceremony to be further used either as a part of a
potion, a libation or as a gift to some deity. There is some truth in the
observation that at one time such sacrifices were felt to be desirable and
necessary, and that they were in fact performed, but it was not always that
way. The image presented pictures the victim naked and bleeding perhaps after
being stabbed. But it can also represent the victimization that is common
emough among women because of abuse and rape.
Jane Ellen Harrison points out that the notion of virgin sacrifice applies
more properly to an initiation ceremony than to the stabbing and death of
a girl. She states that a sacrifice is a variation of an initiation ceremony
and that all initiation ceremonies have developed from fertility ceremonies.
The purpose of the initiation is to make a man out of a boy. In this process
two points are emphasized: The man must be a warrior and the man must be a
father. To produce the warrior horrible sufferings are often endured that
sometimes even result in the death of the initiate. But even if death does
not result it is simulated. The death is followed by resurrection. When the
boy is resurrected as a man he becomes a potential hero. Actually he is seen
as being transformed from a mere child to a provider and protector. What the
initiation does is ensure this transformation. It is interesting to note that
both the pouring of libitations and the burning of incense relate to
resurrection because the liquid is needed for living blood and the vapor is
needed for living breath. Since being a provider means being able to collect
the fruits of the earth the initiate needs to be married to the earth mother.
It is the earth mother who provides the necessary information about sex so the
initiate can marry. Once the initiate is done with the earth mother the crops
can grow and he can move on to a suitable virgin for a wife. It is in giving up
her viginity to the initiate that is the virgin sacrifice. As the boy is turned
into a man through a transformation so the girl is turned into a wife and
mother. In the initiation we see the death of the virgin and the birth of the
mother. Even in this form it is a blood sacrifice because the hymen is broken
and bleeding often results. The importance of the blood is supported by the
menstrual blood which only appears when the girl is ready to marry. The
notion of the initiation as a transition supported the idea of death of the
initiate and his resurrection. In contrast actual death was also seen as
a transition from the present world to the realm of the ancestors.
Human sacrifice of a virgin is an act of violence. It is no different
from an act of war in this respect. Rene Gerard has the insight that the
purpose of the sacrifice is to prevent events such as wars which have the
potential to harm the persons performing the sacrifice. The reason such a
sacrifice may be a good idea is that it diverts violence. If someone acts
in such a way that a war seems a reasonable response then a sacrifice, if
effective in diverting the violence, will result in much less loss of life.
Though a sacrifice cannot be considered good for the victim it could be
considered good for the larger community if it prevents a larger loss of life.
Plato discusses just such a situation at: “Plato, Laws, 4.706a: “When Minos, once upon a time, reduced the people of Attica [706b] to a grievous payment of tribute, he was very powerful by sea, whereas they possessed no warships at that time such as they have now, nor was their country so rich in timber that they could easily supply themselves with a naval force. Hence they were unable quickly to copy the naval methods of their enemies and drive them off by becoming sailors themselves. And indeed it would have profited them to lose seventy times seven children [706c] rather than to become marines instead of staunch foot-soldiers; for marines are habituated to jumping ashore frequently and running back at full speed to their ships, and they think no shame of not dying boldly at their posts when the enemy attack; and excuses are readily made for them, as a matter of course, when they fling away their arms and betake themselves to what they describe as “no dishonorable flight.” These “exploits” are the usual result of employing naval soldiery, and they merit, not “infinite praise,” but precisely the opposite;” Plato was referencing the children sent to Minos as tribute that finally resulted in Theseus facing the Minotaur.
The choice of a virgin as a victim results from the desire to select a
suitable victim. First a suitable victim must be easily restrained and
controlled. Second, a suitable victim must be free of familial connections
so the relatives of the victim will not seek vengence. Third, a suitable
victim must be expendable. Of all the members of a society a virgin girl
most easily meets these criterion. It should be noted that the person most
likely to cause a sacrifice to be considered is a community leader such as
a king. But kings are hardly ever expendable. Warriors may also cause
threats to the community through their actions. But they, too, are hardly
ever expendable, and they usually have friends who are bound to defend them.
Wives have the advantage of having several families that would be willing to
seek vengence. Lastly, a suitable victim must have great value or there is not sacrifice. Maidens are seen as a very valuable possession, especially the daugher of the king or chieftain. So a virgin is the best victim. Iphigenia was the virgin daughter of an Achaean King and Polyxena was the daughter of a Trojan King.
It should be noted that the choice of a virgin has nothing to do with her
sexual innocence or knowledge. It has to do with the fact that she is
unmarried and unnattached. Only later do the concepts of innocence and purity
matter. Originally the virgin was merely a suitable victim.
Contemporary society does not seek sacrificial victims because we believe
that violence can be prevented by a good system of laws. If laws are not fair
then violence may not be prevented and sacrifice can be considered. In areas
of the world where one community is paying back another for past violence with
more violence, the system of law has broken down. These areas are no better
off than in those communities where sacrifice was practiced. Some of the bombings that have taken place recently can be considered a form of sacrifice.
There are records of human sacrifice in the ancient Greek culture in
historic times. But the Greeks believed in the force of law and they became
to believe that human sacrifice was not desirable. But sacrifice was a part
of their religious mythology and was probably a part of their prehistoric past. The story
of the Trojan war deals with the sacrifice of Iphigenia, Polyxena, the
the nobles of Troy, and the child of Hector. The Locrians sent many girls to
their deaths to make up for the rape of Cassandra. It is obvious that
Andromeda was intended to be sacrificed, but Perseus saved her. There is even
archeological evidence that human sacrifice was practiced by the Minoan
Culture. It is interesting to point out that the ancient Greek went from a savage society with few laws and the practice of human sacrifice, to a society that believed in the force of law in about 200 years. When the Europeans came to the Americas they found savages operating at the same moral level of the archaic Greeks. But the Europeans were no higher in their culture than the Classical Greeks. The ancient Greeks achieved a very high level of culture in a short time. To do this they had to wrestle with very complicated moral questions.
Many of these moral struggles are contained in the dramas of the classical Greeks. In the Agmemnon of Aeschylus, Clytemnestra refers to the evil of the sacrifice of Iphygenia. The sacrifice of Polyxena is dealt with in the Trojan Women of Euripides. In the Alcestis of Euripides, The challenge of sacrifice is dealt with even though the vicitm is willing and not a virgin.
Even though there is little question that the Minoans participated in human
sacrifice, still there is some question whether every representation in their
art is a depiction of an actual event. There is a strong suggestion that such
representations may be symbolic. The notion that the gods require a sacrifice
often involves such symbology. In the case of Iphiginia, Artemis demanded her
sacrifice in compensation for for a moral impropriety, but normally Artemis
was able to take her own sacrifice by shooting her arrows at her victims.
Death by disease in the camps of the soldiers is often referred to
as a sacrifice to Artemis. Thus the sacrifice is a symbol of a transition,
in this case from life to death. The sacrifice can be a symbol of other
transitions as well. In the case of Chronos, the sacrifice of his children
represents the transition from one moment to another.
The sacrifice may relate to the loss of chastity to the male sexual
function. In fact, there are many myths of the Greeks which represent a
death as a transition from one state to another.
Robert Graves suggests that human sacrifice, such as the sacrifice of
Iphigenia, was actually a misinterpretation of an ancient ritual. He thinks
the idea of such a sacrifice came from images representing a hero defeating
a monster. Women may have followed monsters to learn which man would defeat it.In ancient myth the monster invariably turned into a beautiful
woman after it was defeated. This woman is the emanation of the monster. Such
a woman may also be the hero’s muse. The image representing this event would
show the hero stabbing the monster and woman emanation. The purpose was
to show the transfomation of the monster to the woman by the stabbing event.
Unfortunately later peoples interpreted the image as the woman being stabbed.
Both the sacrifice of Iphigenia and the Sacrifice of Polyxena can be seen
in this context. In both cases a wedding to Achilles was
involved. The transition was from maiden to bride. But both girls suffered
and not Achilles. Iphingenia was a gift to Artemis while Polyxena was a
gift to Achilles.
Instances of Virgins sacrificed:
- Iphigenia, daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra. Her sacrifice is mentioned in Iphigenia in Aulis (405 B.C.), by Euripides.
- Polyxenia, daughter of Priam and Hecuba. This is mentioned in the Play The Trojan Women, (415 B.C.) by Euripides.
- Locrian sacrifices — These are mentioned in Apollodorus EPITOME OF THE LIBRARY
“[E.6.20] The Locrians regained their own country with difficulty, and three years afterwards, when Locris was visited by a plague, they received an oracle bidding them to propitiate Athena at Ilium and to send two maidens as suppliants for a thousand years. The lot first fell on Periboea and Cleopatra.
[E.6.21] And when they came to Troy they were chased by the natives and took refuge in the sanctuary. And they did not approach the goddess, but swept and sprinkled the sanctuary; and they did not go out of the temple, and their hair was cropped, and they wore single garments and no shoes.
[E.6.22] And when the first maidens died, they sent others; and they entered into the city by night, lest, being seen outside the precinct, they should be put to the sword; but afterwards they sent babes with their nurses. And when the thousand years were passed, after the Phocian war they ceased to send suppliants.”
- daughters of Hyakinthos — These are mentioned as follows:
Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3. 15. 8 (trans. Frazer) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :”[King Minos of Krete tried to invade Athens :] When the war lingered on and he could not take Athens, he prayed to Zeus that he might be avenged on the Athenians. And the city being visited with a famine and a pestilence, the Athenians at first, in obedience to an ancient oracle, slaughtered the daughters of Hyakinthos, to wit, Antheis, Aigleis, Lytaia, and Orthaia, on the grave of Geraistos, the Kyklops; now Hyakinthos, the father of the damsels, had come from Lakedaimon and dwelt in Athens. But when this was of no avail, they inquired of the oracle how they could be delivered; and the god answered them that they should give Minos whatever satisfaction he might choose.”
- daughters of Erechtheus, two kings and two sets of daughters. These are mentioned as follows:
HYGINUS, FABULAE —  XLVI. ERECHTHEUS — Erechtheus, son of Pandion, had four daughters who promised each other that if one met death, the others would kill themselves. Eumolpus, son of Neptune, came to attack Athens because he said the Attic land was his father’s. When he and his army were defeated and he was slain by the Athenians, Neptune demanded that Erechtheus’ daughter be sacrificed to him so that Erechtheus would not rejoice at his son’s death. And so when Chthonia, his daughter, had been sacrifided, the others in accordance with their oaths killed themselves. Erechtheus himself at Neptune’s request was smitten with a thunderbolt by Jove.
- Agraulos(Aglaurus), and Iodama. These are both maidens who are killed by Athena for sacriligious acts.
- Macaria was the daughter of Heracles by Deianeira. Her sacrifice is mentioned in The Heracleidae (ca. 428 B.C.) by Euripides.
- The children of Niobe were killed by Apollo and Artemis. Daughter of Niobe shot with an arrow from Artemis
Virgins offered for sacrifice but rescued
- Andromeda, rescued by Perseus Andromeda prepared, “Being come to Ethiopia, of which Cepheus was king, he found the king’s daughter Andromeda set out to be the prey of a sea monster.” Apollodorus, Library, 2.4
- Hesione, rescued by Hercules, “But as oracles foretold deliverance from these calamities if Laomedon would expose his daughter Hesione to be devoured by the sea monster, he exposed her by fastening her to the rocks near the sea.” Apollodorus, Library, 2.5
- 7 girls and 7 boys were sent to Crete to be sacrificed to the Minotaur. One of the boys was Theseus who killed the minotaur and released the childred from Athens. They celebrated their release by dancing the crane dance. Victim of the Minotaur.
- Phryxus and his sister Helle were to be sacrificed to bring the fields to productivity. But instead a golden, winged ram came. He cut their bonds and told them to get on his back.
Virgins sacrificed and then deified
- Ariadne was abandoned by Theseus and then possibly the victim of a Maenad sacrifice. She was then deified by Dionysus. One must notice the similarity here between the sacrifice of a virgin and a sacred marriage, in this case to Dionysus. Sacrifice of Ariadne
- Human Sacrifice in the Book of Abraham
- The Goddess Athena
- Examples of Pagan Chastity
- The maidservants of Athena
- DATABASE OF GREEK ANIMAL SACRIFICE 2.5
To ask a question about this topic note the topic (sacrifice) and
Human Sacrifice of Virgins as it Relates to Art Subjects
Question: HOW WOULD YOU GIVE A RELIGIOUS CEREMONY TO ZEUS?
Answer: In Book I of the Iliad a religious ceremony to Apollo is described:
“Meanwile Agamemnon made his people purify themselves by bathing. When
they had washed the filth from their bodies in the salt water, they offered
a rich sacrifice of bulls and goats to Apollo on the shore of the unharvested
sea; and savoury odours, mixed with the curling smoke, went up to the sky.”
By the words ‘to Apollo’ they mean that they said a dedicatory prayer to
Apollo as they were doing this. Such a ceremony would work for Zeus by
changing the dedicatory prayer to direct it at Zeus.
The contemporary equivalent would be to invite everyone to a fancy dress
party so they would take a bath before they came. Then you would break out
the barbecue grill, the steaks, the garnishes, and the beer. Before you
did anything you would say a dedicatory prayer to Zeus. Then you would
cook the stuff on the grill. Before you ate you would thank Zeus for his
blessing of the food. Then you would give out the food and everyone would eat.
Christians are not allowed to perform this ceremony because Zeus is
considered a pagan instrument of the Devil. But the Ancient Greeks knew
nothing of the Devil and they could consider the ceremony a blessed path to
Question: was human sacrifice present in classical greece or rome?
Answer: Frazer in his Golden Bough describes a number of human
sacrifices practiced by various Classical Greeks on page 337. Frazer
also indicates that the first king of Rome was sacrificed. A number of the
cultures subjugated by the Romans practiced human sacrifice. Christianity
is the force that eliminated human sacrifice from the Roman territories, but
not until the reign of Constantine (306-337 AD).
Question: was it a blessing for a person to be a virgin?
Answer: Yes, with qualifications. The most valuable women was the wife who
bore healthy offspring. The next most valuable woman was the one who was a
virgin. Many men would only marry a virgin. A non-virgin who had no children
could at least do women’s work. A non-virgin with children was stuck. If
she could not get the father of her children to support her, then she had no
support and neither did her children. A hetaera might survive this situation,
or a widow with talented children, but many women just starved to death. But
a wife was never sacrificed, while virgins were more likely to be sacrificed
Question: what sacrifice takes place 3/18, is hanging a ritual sacrifice.
Answer: An ancient holiday is difficult to establish on the basis of a
date because calendars were based on different units of time. Many were lunar
and based on an eight year cycle during which the sun and the moon are joined.
Purim, the Jewish holiday, will fall on March 18 in 2002, but not in most other
years. In the Greek month of Metageitnion, Eleusinia a festival of games
was celebrated at Eleusis from the 15th through the 18th days.
A ritual scarifice could be a hanging. Celts practiced this commonly and
our hanging of an effigy on Halloween is derived from their practice.
Question: Were the virgins just women or were they also men?
Answer: The virgins were just women. One of the prejudices that women
must contend with relates to the existence of the hymen. This leads many
people to believe that there is a physical test of whether a women is a
virgin, while there is no such test for men. This notion probably related
to the virgin sacrifice, though there is no physical evidence that
virgins were actually sacrificed. There is a lot of talk about virgin
sacrifice, but most of this relates to the fact that when a woman marries
sh sacrifices her virginity. Is this context you can speak of the death of
the virgin maiden and the birth of the matron. But this only deals with death
figuratively. The Greeks thought of marriage in this way. But from this
notion, which is quite old, came the stories of the sacrifice of Iphigenia and
Polyxenia. Both were supposedly virgins and both sacrificed. The odd thing is
that Iphigenia was enticed to the sacrifice by the offer of marriage to
Achilles, and Polyxenia was sacrificed to Achilles on his grave because
he did not live to claim her in marriage. Both deaths, then, were substitutes
for marriage to Achilles.
Question: What did they do to the virgins? Was it a cruel and unusual
Answer: Consider what was done to Iphigenia and Polyxena. First you had
to capture the virgin. The men lied to Iphigenia, but they used force on
Polyxena. Then you had an important ceremony and procession. Imagine the
disgust at a screaming, unwilling victim. Then you had to truss her up in
a straight-jacket affair so the knife would not miss a squirming victim.
Then several had to hold the victim while another had to stab or slit the
victim’s throat. Then the blood had to be caught and spread out on the altar.
It was a pretty bloody mess. In the case of a calf put through the ritual,
you could at least carve up the meat and have a barbecue, but in the case of
a human victim, no one would eat the body, or enjoy a banquet. Some have
proposed that wine or opium was used to quiet an unwilling victim. Gagging
would have been much more cruel.
But consider the context of their beliefs. Iphigenia had to die to
guarantee the success of the expedition. As it was the expedition was to cost
the lives of perhaps 100,000 men and women. Many died at sea to what the
Greeks considered a peaceful death. Others died on the battlefield.
Unfortunately, many died from disease due to the poor contitions of the battle
camps. Few of these deaths, if any, guaranteed victory in the way that the
death of Iphigenia did. In fact she died a heroine while the others died in
in futility. Some felt that Polyxena
chose death rather than slavery. For her death was the easy way. Today we
feel these deaths were unecessary, and thus cruel, but this is because we no
longer share the beliefs of the ancient Greeks.
There is more. The notion of a virgin sacrifice is a faceless and nameless
act, but the victim always has a face and a name. The friends and relatives
of the victim might not take kindly to the sacrifice. Agamemnon arranged for
the sacrifice of Iphigenia. Her mother, Clytemnestra, later killed him for
this. Her brother, Orestes, later killed Clyemnestra. Polyxena had been
enslaved because of the defeat of the Trojans and so her friends and relatives
were unable to bring vengenace. But Athena was unhappy with the excesses of
the victors over the Trojans. It could easily be argued that the slaughter
of Polyxena was one of these excesses. She requested that Poseidon greet
the returning fleet with a storm. This, he did, with the loss of many ships
Question: who were the sacrifices, were they priestesses, ordinary girls or
just anyone , besides the fact that they were virgins of course
Answer: A virgin girl is sacrificed to become a woman, but in ancient
Greece the victim was not always a girl or a virgin. Iphiginia was a virgin
girl trapped by being promised to be the bride of Achilles. She was also
a princess, the daughter of king Agamemnon. Achilles
sacrificed 12 young Trojan men for the funeral of Patroclus. Homer only
says: “Then he went on to do an evil thing–he put a dozen brave men, the sons
of noble Trojans, to the sword, and set the pyre alight so the the pitiless
flames might feed on them.” (Book XXIII). Polyxena was also a princess,
the daughter Priam, King of Troy. She may have not been a virgin though. Some
stories say she seduced Achilles in a way that led to his death. After
he was dead, his ghost demanded her sacrifice. The other story of sacrifice
involves the Minotaur. Every 9 years 7 girls and 7 boys were sent to Crete
from Athens to be lost in the Labyrinth at the mercy of the Minotaur. Theseus, a prince,
actually volunteered to be one of the male victims. He, of course, did not
end up as a victim; rather he beat the Minotaur to death with his fists and
was able to return to Athens. But previously the victims had been lost. The girls that the Locrians sent to Troy were to become priestesses if they were not caught and sacrificed.
The story of Perseus is more typical, because a virgin princess is demanded
by the sea serpent as a sacrifice. The intention is to give the virgin
in marriage, but marriage is equated with death. Perseus kills the serpent
and so aborts the sacrifice. He then gets to marry the princess.
Question: Where can Artful pics be found of Human Sacrifice?
Answer: If you consider a marriage as a human sacrifice of the maiden to
become a woman, then there are
many pictures done by the artists of ancient Greeks. For example:
Marriage of Hercules and Hebe
Bride and Men Conversing
Wedding of Peleus and Thetis
Wedding of Zeus and Hera
The ancient Greeks were not comfortable with human sacrifice that involved
death, so there are fewer pictures. But there are pictures that relate to
Iphigenia and Polyxena:
Sacrifice was much more common in the art of the Aztecs, but of course the
meaning was very different there.
Question: Where are some places in Cleveland, OH that were once used for
Answer: The archeology of the mound builders has not been very revealing,
but sacrifice may have been associated with mounds that were built. There
are several mounds within the confines of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Call the park office for details.
Answer: The story of Iphigenia is told by Euripides. Iphigenia is in the
title of both plays. The story of Polyxena is told by Euripides in
The Trojan Women.
Question: why did they have to be virgins???
Answer: The belief was in ancient Greek society that when the virgin had
sex she became a women. This meant that with the sex act the girl died and
the women was born. This was a rite of passage for women. The literal death
of a victim was an acting out of this ritual. To the ancient Greeks this
could only be justified by the marriage of the girl to a spiritual power where
she moved from the physical realm to the spiritual realm. Persephone did
this once a year. Other cultures have focused on the purity of a virgin,
but this probably was not a notion that the ancient Greeks held.
Question: Can you get some info. on Human Sacrifice (Aztecs)
Human Sacrifice and the Aztec State
AZTEC SACRIFICE – Anatomic References Aztec History
Break My Heart: The Significance of Human Sacrifice in Aztec History
Question: why were they saacrificed
Answer: A sacrifice can be the symbol of a transition, a gift, a ritual,
or a self-gratification. For the Greeks the most common interpretation
of a virgin sacrifice was the transition of a virgin maiden to a married woman.
In some few cases a virgin would actually be killed to marry her to a deity
because in death she would be transferred to the spiritual realm. But the
Greek deities seemed to prefer living mortal brides. In some cases a virgin
was treated as a possesion and the death of the virgin was interpreted as a
gift to the deities because it was a loss to the giver. Most sacrifices
in ancient Greece involved the death of an animal. In this case the ceremony
recognised the spiritual value of the animal and was a thanks to the gods for
the food the animal provided. The body of the animal was then cooked and
eaten. The Greeks did not sacrifice humans in this context. Some people
have to prove their own power by killing someone. Virgins are often targets
of this act, which typically must be considered murder, because of the sexual
connotation of killing. Stabbing is akin to sexual penetration. Though
this is actually an immoral act it is often justified politically. A priest
might call for the death of a king’s daughter to show he is stronger than
the king. An uncooperative women might be sacrificed to send a message to
other women. During war women may be killed because they belong to the enemy.
Question: were in parthenon woman priestess ?
Answer: Yes. Since the Parthenon was a temple for Athena, there were women
Question: in the triolgy “The Oresteia” how told Agamemnon to sacrifice his
daughter to the gods in order to appease the gods? and what was her name?
Answer: Artemis was the goddess who demanded the sacrifice. Calchas, a
soothsayer informed Agamemnon that he must sacrifice his daughter, Iphigenia.
Question: Were virgins sacrificed?
Answer: A virgin maiden is sacrificed to become a woman. This is not a
literal sacrifice but a spiritual tansition. The ancient Greeks did not
require that virgins be killed, but, as with Iphigenia and Polyxena, young
women were sometimes killed to join them in marriage with spirits.
Question: during the renaissance period what was the image of woman as
goddess, virgin, mother earth.
Answer: The Renaissance occurred alsmost 2000 years after the Golden age
of ancient Greece.
Question: How did women go from being viewed as a goddess, then being
disgraced for not being a virgin
Answer: When women were the most important goddesses, the relation between
sex and the birth of babies was not understood. People had sex for social
reasons and were totally amazed and gratified when a baby appeared. Later when
the relation was better understood, men wanted to be sure which babies were
theirs. To help make this determination men looked for virgins and then
isolated them as wives.
Question: how do they know/identify which women are virgins and which are
Answer: This is a good question with all kinds of possibly lurid answers
but the truth is that though this seems theoretically possible it is in
practice an impossibility. The hymen is not a reliable indication of
virginity and in fact the ancient Greeks used no test. The bride was
considered a virgin before marriage and after that she was assumed to have lost
Question: does that mean the husband always think that their wives are virgin?
Answer: The husband wants a virgin wife so he can know that her babies
are also his.
Question: Where were Greek human sacrifices made in ancient times? Was there
a special temple or house for the sacrificing? If so, where can I find more
information about it??
Answer: Sacrifices were made at altars which could be indoors or out. The
recorded Greek human sacrifices were mainly made at grave sites, but Iphiginia
was sacrificed at an outdoor altar. Archeologists did find a likely sacrifice
scene in a temple in Crete: Click here
Question: how naked virgins were killed as a human sacrifice in the past
Answer: Naked virgins are easily exposed to sex and sex ends their existence as virgins.
Question: where can i find clear pics of naked virgings being sacrificed
Question: do you fuck the dead virgin after you kill them???
Answer: Sexual intercourse kills the virgin and gives birth to the
woman. But you must be careful because some people have equated death
and sex. Sexual intercourse is a transformation from virginity to
experience. Some people think death is a transformation between life and
a spiritual state of eternal life. But the step from sex to death is large.
Sex with a virgin may result in fetilization and a new life. This
produces a pregnant woman who will later give birth. Stabbing a virgin
results in her death and the decay of her body. We lose track of her
soul. Some say she is now available for marriage to a god. This seems to
equate marriage and death which is a common interpretation.
The friends of the dead Achilles wanted to sacrifice Polyxena on the grave
of Achilles so she could marry him in the afterlife. She became a willing
victim because she said she did not want
to be a slave. She bared her breast and said they could stab her as long
as they did not defile her body. Achilles defiled the body of Penthesilia
by having sex with her after he killed her. Iphigenia was not a willing
victim of sacrifice because her father told her she was coming to be wed to
Achilles. But Artemis tricked the sacrificers by substituting a deer for
Iphigenia at the instant the knife touched her.
Then there is the story of Andromeda. She was the very unwilling victim
and a young maiden who was left by the sea shore naked and chained to a rock.
Her parents did this so she would be devoured by a serpent to satisfy the
error of her mother. That she was beautiful was supposed to be all the more
appetizing to the monster who would eat her alive. In this story we have the
equation of sex with eating. It seems more likely that she would be so
displayed to be bait for a passing god or perhaps a hero like Perseus. Then
they would have a powerful offspring to honor their family. The offspring
would result from someone having sex with the maiden and not from eating her.
The ancient Greeks were well aware of the attractive power of young women
and the possible benefits of this. The story refers to a monster perhaps
because the use of a virgin as bait in this way somtimes results in her rape
and destruction. The perpertrator of this type of act is, no doubt, a
monster. But the report would be that the monster had devoured the virgin
in a sacrificial act.
During one of the revolts
of Messina against Sparta a daughter of a Messinian hero may have been a
willing victim of sacrifice. When the revolt failed the hero commited
suicide on the grave of his daughter who was probably sacrificed to assure
victory. This may have been an attempt to use the daughter as a sexual
gift to the god of war. The suicide resulted because the hero knew that
his gift had been rejected.
Question: is there any new pic that shows how virging were being killed as
a human sacrifice?
Answer: Yes, of course:
- Picasso’s Guernica
- FRANCISCO DE GOYA Y LUCIENTES (1746-1828) AND THE DISASTERS OF WAR
- EugÉne Delacroix. The Massacre of Chios.
- Death and the Maiden
Question: were the virgin sacrifices shy because of having no clothes or was it a normality?
Answer: Sacrifice as the analogy of the transition between virginity and
experience finds the shy, inexperienced girl being transformed into the
mature, experienced woman. Sacrifice as the boundary between life and death
finds the girl facing unknown terror at the hands of those who dominate her.
Only a girl with the faith of Joan of Arc would be able to face this event
calmly. The English sacrificed a virgin when they burnt Joan of Arc at the
stake. They made a big mistake which they regret to this day.
Question: Did the virgin sacrifices try to escape or they accepted their
Answer: In ancient Greece the virgins had the goddess Artemis on their
side. Iphigenia was duped into being a victim and when the sacrificial
knife touched her Artemis traded a deer for her. Polyxena accepted her fate
and became a willing victim because she did not want to be violated or
enslaved. Andromache used her beauty to attract Perseus who destroyed the
monster who would have made her a victim.
Question: Can I see a lot of pics showing a naked virgin girl being
sacrificed by a knife?(even imaginary pics)
Answer: Normally a naked virgin girl is sacrificed with a penis and in this
way is transformed to a sexually experienced woman. A knife is analagous to
a penis because it enters the girl’s body but the result is the virgin’s
death and not her sexual satisfaction. In the western world the knife
sometimes becomes a substitute for a penis, but it is usually considered a
sexual difficulty. If the man is not potent sexually, for example, he will
resort to killing women with knives out of frustration. Sometimes women
abuse men, particularly when they are young, and these abused men wish to
get back at all women and either use their penis as a weapon in a rape, or
they use a knife instead of their penis and kill the women. Pictures that
deal with this do exist:
- Daughter of Niobe
- Perseus and Medusa, by Benvenuto Cellini
- The Death of Procris by Piero di Cosimo
The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch
Each of these pieces have a lot of details that you can read about.
Question: Is killing virgin girls as a human sacrifice common in any part
of the world nowadays?
Answer: Rape and murder is way too common for my taste. The fact that
young girls are raped and murdered just underscores the injustice of the
crimes. Fortunately we live at a time when such behavior is considered
criminal, and so victims are protected and perpetrators are prosecuted, but
still the crimes occur far too often. It is certainly not clear that young
girls are safer in our society where rape is criminal than the ancient
Greek society where ritual human sacrifice was sometimes practiced.
Question: Can you describe the details of a naked virgin being sacrificed
in a ceremony?
Answer: The sacrifice of Iphigenia is described in the play Iphigenia in
Aulis by Euripides. The sacrifice of Polyxena is described in The
Trojan Woman by Euripides.
Question: What were the different methods of killing virging in ritual
ceremonies as a human sacrifice and were these virgins all nude in these
Answer: The best way to kill a virgin in a ritual ceremony is to have her
have sex with her male lover. They have more pleasure if they are both nude.
after the ceremony she is no longer a virgin so the virgin is dead. This
ceremony was part of the wedding ceremony in ancient Greece. If the virgin
had to be sacrificed to a god a priest might have sex with her. Sometimes
it was required that the virgin needed to pass to the spiritual world. In this
case the virgin would be killed by stabbing her throat with a knife so she
bled to death. She would be bound in a straight-jacket which prevented her
resisting. Such victims are often depicted nude but in practice the binding
covered her body. This did not make for a pleasant ceremony because she
would cry, struggle, and scream. It would take a powerful will for the virgin
to control her bodily functions at this time so the noise would be accompanied
by bodily excretions. Later there was a lot of blood and mess to clean up
and the body had to be buried. Animals that were sacrificed in this way could
be barbecued and the remains eaten at a festival, but the remains of a virgin
could not be eaten. Only a person who was very determined or very sick would
put a virgin though this kind of experience. In ancient Greece this was felt
to be necessary to win a war or prevent a disaster where many lives would be
lost. If the death of one virgin could save the lives of 1000 other people
then it seemed like a worthy sacrifice. Unfortunately sometimes a virgin is
killed by someone just because she is a woman and the killer hates women.
Perhaps the killer is sexually impotent, or was abused by a woman as a child.
In this case the death of the virgin is a great wrong which should be prevented.
Depicting a virgin victim nude has the advantage of removing her
personality and making her a sex object. This clarifies the fact that her
death is a sexual atrocity. Clothes are a sign of respect and show status,
so the removal of clothes reduces the victim to nothing. In this way the
victimizing of the virgin is reduced in its effect. Removal of clothes also
emphasizes the sexual nature of the victim. To the ancient Greeks this was
not an evil because sex was the realm of the goddess Aphrodite. But later
theorists pointed out that sex was in the realm of the lower portion of the
body and they argued it was an earthy or dirty activity. Sex became an evil
to be destroyed. One way to destroy sex was to destroy sexual beings in an
act of virgin sacrifice. This is possibly the thinking of the rapist who
can justify his act by saying he was seduced.
Question: Sorry,You sent me some pics showing virgin sacrifice by sex but I
would like to have pics showing virgin sacrifice by killing especially in
ritual ceremonies by cutting the throat as you described it
Answer: The following pictures a ritual sacrifice of Polyxena:
Sacrifice of Polyxena
Question: Did Joan of Arc do something wrong that she was burnt or she was
innocent and just a human sacrifice and in this case what was the reason for
this sacrifice and why was she chosen and what was the date of that sacrifice?
Answer: What Joan did wrong was to become a heroine and lead a French army
to victory. When the English captured her they wanted to prevent her from
doing any more damage to them. They forced her to confess to witchcraft and heresy
and condemned her to be burned at the stake. She was burned alive in 1431.
24 years later she was found innocent of all charges. She was sacrificed
for the same reason that Iphigenia was sacrificed, to assure victory in war.
Question: Could we have access to the sites that show bloody virgin
Answer: Sacrifices where the virgin does not bleed are to be much prefered
to those where she does. Also remember what it means to make a sacrifice.
When a sheep is sacrificed many will eat. The owner of the sheep gives up the
sheep so that others will benefit. If the virgin bleeds does anyone benefit?
Does it make sense to speak of the owner of the virgin who gives up something?
Who would benefit from the bloody sacrifice of a virgin? And who would benefit
from a picture of this scene? The point of course is that the whole concept
of sacrifice is foreign to a bloody virgin sacrifice. The virgin suffers
a horrible death for nothing. The only benefit comes when you give up
something for others, then there is a sacrifice. You should be helping
virgins and not sacrificing them. When you do a search on “bloody virgin
sacrifice” what you came up with are references to the Virgin Mary and what
she endured. You have access to all those sites.
Question: Is there any movie that shows the exact details of sacrificying a
virgin in a ritual ceremony by cutting her throat and if yes can we have
access to some pictures of those movies?
Answer: In the city of Cleveland, Ohio not to many years ago an exotic
dancer was bound nude and spread-eagle on a bed with her mouth taped shut.
A white cream was spread all over her body and she was raped. Her throat
was then slit and she died. No one was ever caught as the perpetrator of
this crime, but it was obvious that she was the victim of a bloody sacrifice
of the type you mentioned. It is possible that the motive for the crime
was that the perpetrator had the opportunity to film this, and the film
is now available somewhere. Would you want to see this film if you knew that
the victim had actually died? You may like violent films because you feel
excited by the violence, but you think the actors always are all right. This
not always true. And worse yet some people try to copy the events they see
on the screen and an innocent person is hurt. The agent for the dancer
said she was a very responsible person who was trying to take care of her
family. After she was killed she could not do anything for anyone. We
often like to see things happen, but we do not like to think of the
Question: can we have access to some pics showing the sacrifice of
Iphigenia and was she sacrificed by cutting her throat?
Answer: There is a movie listed at:
Click here that might
be helpful. If she was in fact sacrificed, she would have been stabbed in the
throat as Polyxena was, but the myth says that as soon as the knife touched
her she was traded with a stag and she was transported to Taurus.
Question: Was killing virgins as a human sacrifice common in any part of
the world for eating their meat?
Answer: Andromeda would have been dead meat for the monster she was
sacrificed to. I only know about ancient Greek virgins.
Question: Is it right to sacrifice virgins for a just cause?
Answer: The true cause for which virgins are sacrified is marriage. Artemis
wants the girls to be virgins when they are married, but she hopes they loose
their virginity after that. It is proper for a virgin to be sacrificed to
marriage. But in this case no one stabs her in the neck so she bleeds to death.Iphigenia was not sacrificed to a just cause because she was deceived.
Polyxena could be morally sacrificed only because she was considered a captive
slave. We no longer think this is a moral activity. The Greek army lost over
25,000 men because of the stupid rape sacrifice of Cassandra by Ajax and the
Locrians gave up young women for 1000 years to Troy to expiate this crime.
The English really did a stupid thing when they burned Joan of Arc at the
stake. But it was Joan’s sacrifice that was worth while. She became a
heroine for the French Nation. Elizabeth I seemed to make a noble sacrifice
by leading her country in such a beneficial way. Emily Dickenson made an
excellent sacrifice of her life as a virgin to the poetry she wrote.
Question: What was the tumi, I am not sure of the spelling
Answer: Most of the words like this relate to a swelling. A tumlus is an
ancient grave mound.
Question: Why do you say that the Minoans without a doubt practised
human sacrifice? I don’t believe this can be said with any
Answer: Archeologists have found a site where this is a very reasonable
explanation for what was found. See: EVIDENCE FOR HUMAN SACRIFICE
Question: “Have there ever really been human sacrifices in which people were thrown (or jumped) into a volcano? please answer quickly(!)
Answer: It seems very likely that this happened. It is probably still
happening, but the ancient Greeks did not write about this. Volcanoes are
very dangerous and destructive. Someone might think they could save many
lives by sacrificing to the god of the volcano. The notion of sacrifice is
very basic to one’s psyche. A human life is very valuable so it is natural
to think that giving up something very valuable will result in a great benefit.
This is akin to paying for something that you want. Hopefully most people
think of this as a crazy act because there is no real benefit from the
sacrifice. The problem is that many things are done without real
benefit. It is the perceived benefit that drives them.
Question: Can you tell me who were the slaves, where did they come from, how were the slaves used, what types of duties did they have to perform, and what was the worst place they could be sent to work and why?
Answer: Slaves were usually prisoners captured in battle. These prisoners
were usually the women and children of a community that had been defeated in
battle. Usually slaves were captured locally, but sometimes they were
captured and then transported some distance and then sold. Parents could
also sell their children into slavery. Not everybody
could be a slave. Slaves have to have an obedient personality. Unsuitable
prisoners would be killed. Children and young women make the best slaves.
Slaves were used for menial labor usually.
Skilled slaved would have to receive good rewards or be able to buy their
freedom. Some slaves were forced to perform humiliating or dangerous
tasks. Women could be forced into prostitution and men could be forced to
work in mines. Some slave owners needed the loyalty of their slaves so they
treated them like family. But others were autocatic and arbitrary and
would kill their slaves or punish them without cause.
Question: How were the slaves used?
Answer: Mostly for menial labor, but also for dangerous and unpleasant
tasks. Some slaves were trusted to be overseers, while others were required
to perform what we consider criminal acts including prostitution. Not every
person was suited to slavery and those unsuited could be killed. Pretty
virgin slave girls could be bought for a very high price, and they could be
sacrificed naked on an altar, but that normally would not happen because of
Question: why only woman isbeen sacrificed
Answer: Both men and women were sacrificed. Men usually were sacrificed
in battle. Captured warriors were often sacrificed because they made poor
slaves. At the time sacrifice was common women were more like property.
Some were so desirable that they could be used as bait. This gave rise
to the notion of a woman as a valuable gift to a god, prehaps as a bride.
The woman had to be killed to put her into the spiritual realm so the god
had access. Originally the women may have tried to reward the heroes who
killed monsters and protected them. The result was images with women and
monsters together. Later viewers missinterpreted the killing of monsters as
killing of women and thought this might have been what the heroes did.
This resulted in the sacrifice of women as a gift to the gods. Virgins, as
a symbol of purity, were considered the more valuable sacrifice.
Question: Did the sacrifice of Iphigeneia really take place in ancient
Answer: My interpretation is to cite this sacrifice as an example of human
sacrifice but to accept the fact that Iphigeneia survived this event. This
seems consistent with what the ancients believed anyway.
Question: more rape stories
Answer: Ancient Greek rapes:
- Europa by Zeus
- Medusa by Poseidon
- Leda by Zeus
- Persephone by Hades
- Cassandra by Ajax
- Leukippids by the Dioscuri
- Helen by Paris
Question: Where did human sacrifice in crete originate?
Answer: Our notion of sacrifice involves killing a virgin. The idea is
to present a pure female virgin to a male god for whom a sexually desirable
virgin would be an appreciated gift. The virgin must be killed to pass her from the world of reality into the world of spirituality.
But in ancient Crete it was the goddess that was important. And the gift
was not from the man to the goddess, but from the goddess to man. When a man
was brave and strong and defended his community from evil he received sexual
favors from the goddess. The evil was represented by a dragon which he
slayed and the sexual favors were represented by the goddess coming out of the
dragon to greet the hero. This was the image that recorded the event. As
time went on it seemed that the dragon turned into a woman. As a result of
this missinterpretation the monsters of ancient Greek were taken to be feminine.
further missinterpretation it seemed that the hero was killing the woman.
This was the beginning of human sacrifice.
Question: why is this so mean
Answer: What you mean is why would anyone be so mean as to do this.
The answer is that human sacrifice is not nearly so mean as things we see
in our society today. Sacrificing your daughter for victory is not a whole
lot different than sending your son to do battle for victory. In war lives
are lost and who dies is often not that fair. The depth of meaness is often
indicative of the desperation of the mean person.
Question: could every execution in the modern world be regarded as a
sacrifice to Dike?
Answer: Yes, but only if the guilt is certain. In many executions the
guilt is not certain and the sacrifice is to Ares, perhaps.
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