Spectacle and Communion on Citadels
Christoph Bachhuber [+]
University of Oxford
Chapter 8 offers an evaluation of the performance of wealth sacrifice and other spectacular rites on citadels, including cremation. Dedications in the form of burnt meat and metal objects are analogous with the gift-giving ethos examined in Chapter 7. The gift and the sacrificial dedication were both prestige-elevating expenditures of wealth that fostered relationships beyond the local and the mundane: one with distant elites and the other with the cosmological realm. Burning human remains was performed in a different ideological setting. But it was also a spectacular event, and like the sacrificial dedication, the spectacle of cremation represents a context where the inhabitants of citadels could commune with cosmological entities. Cremation practices on citadels reveal a social and ideological logic that was antithetic to the mortuary rites of villages, and to the cosmology of villages more generally.