eklogai

polytheist extractions

Tag Archives: dance

Benedict, Liber 2.172

“On the eve of the Kalends, late at night, the youths get up and carry around a shield, and one of them is masked, with a club, hanging from his neck. Hissing and sounding the drum, they go around to the houses and surround the shield: the drum sounds and the one with the mask hisses. This game over, they receive a reward from the master of the house according to what pleases him. Thus they do in each and every house. On that day, they eat all kinds of vegetables. Early in the morning, two of the youths get up; they are given olive branches and salt and they enter the houses. They greet the household, ‘Joy and gladness be in this house!’ They throw handfuls of leaves and salt into the fire and say, ‘So many children, so many piglets, so many lambs!’ They wish for all good things. Before the sun rises, they eat their honeycomb or something else sweet, so that the whole year will go well with them, without disputes or great labor.” – Benedict, Liber 2.172

St. Boniface, Epistolae 49

“Even now in Rome one can see, quite near the Basilica of Saint Peter, at the beginning of the Kalends of January, people executing choral dances in the squares in Pagan fashion, day and night, to the accompaniment of loud shouting and sacrilegious song.” – Boniface, Epistolae 49

Giorgio Baglivi, Dissertatio de anatome, morsu et effectibus tarantulae pg. 313

“Those who have been bitten by the tarantula shortly thereafter fall to the ground half-dead, with a loss of strength and senses, with difficult breathing or moaning, often immobile and lifeless. With the beginning of the music, little by little these symptoms are attenuated, and the patient begins to move his fingers, his hands and then his feet, followed by other limbs; as the melodic rhythm becomes more pressing, the movement of his limbs gradually increases. If the patient is lying on the floor, he springs up to start the dance, sighs, and begins to contort himself in very strange ways. These first dances often last two or three hours: and after having rested briefly on the bed to wipe away his perspiration and to restore his strength, the patient resumes dancing with the same vigor. This can take place as many as a dozen times per day. The dances begin around dawn and continue without pause until around one in the afternoon. Sometimes they are compelled to stop, not because of their tiredness, but because they have perceived some dissonance in the musical instruments, a dissonance which, when it is perceived, provokes deep sighs and stabs of pain in the patient’s heart. They sigh and grieve at length until they resume dancing, the harmony having been reestablished. Around midday they rest from the music and dance. They put themselves to bed until their perspiration is over and then they refresh themselves with broth or over light food, given that the very serious lack of appetite which afflicts them would not permit them to take more substantial food. Around one o’clock in the afternoon, or at the latest around 2, they resume their dances with the same vigor. These dances last until evening, whereupon they have another light meal and then finally fall asleep. These dances usually continue for four days; rarely do they go beyond the sixth day. It is uncertain when the end will occur, since many continue to dance until they feel free of the symptoms, which usually takes place after the third or fourth day.” – Giorgio Baglivi, Dissertatio de anatome, morsu et effectibus tarantulae pg. 313

Anna Caggiano, Folklore Italiano 6.72ff

“All the wives offer – understood as a loan – handkerchiefs, shawls, scarves, petticoats and linens of every color, pots of basil, lemon verbona, mint and rue, mirrors and baubles, and last but not least a great tub full of water. The surroundings are decorated in this way, and when everything is ready the victim of the bite, dressed in gaudy colors, chooses as she pleases ribbons, handkerchiefs and shoes that remind her of the colors of the tarantula and she adorns herself with them while waiting for the musicians.” – Anna Caggiano, Folklore Italiano 6.72ff

Domenico Sangenito to Antonio Bulifon, Lettere memorabilia istorche, politiche ed erudite 141ff

“The tarantati want ribbons, chains, precious garments, and when they are brought they receive them with inexplicable joy, and with great reverence they thank the person who brought them. All of the aforementioned items are placed in an orderly fashion along the pen where the dancers make use of one or another item from time to time, according to the impulses the attack gives them.” – Domenico Sangenito to Antonio Bulifon, Lettere memorabilia istorche, politiche ed erudite 141ff

Ludovico Valletta, De Phalangio Apulo 76

“With regard to the astonishing and complex agitation of the entire body, not long ago I personally saw a woman stricken with the poison who, although prey to the delirium of a violent fever, and her mind possessed with horrible phantasms – or rather, she was assaulted by a host of insolent demons – at the sound of the musical instruments she nonethless abandoned herself to a dance that was so excited, to such a frenetic agitation of her limbs and whirling her head, that my own head and eyes, enthralled by the same agitation, suffered from dizziness. This woman had suspended a rope from the ceiling of her humble dwelling, the end of which, just touching the floor in the middle of the room, she tenaciously squeezed between her hands; throwing herself upon it, she abandoned herself with the weight of her whole body, her feet planted on the floor, turning her head to and fro, her face glowing, with a surly look. I was deeply astonished, not being able to explain why the dizziness provoked by that rapid and violent head shaking did not make her reel and fall to the ground. Due to this agitation and the incredible exertion borne, the woman’s whole body and above all her face were covered with abundant perspiration; reddened by such strenuous agitation, she ran gasping to a great tub full of water prepared at her request, and she completely submerged her head in it, whence the cold water gave her some relief from the heat with which she blazed.” – Ludovico Valletta, De Phalangio Apulo 76

Athanasius Kircher, Magnes sive de arte magnetica opus tripartitum pg. 759

“Some tarantati let themselves hang from the trees by ropes, showing great enjoyment at such suspension – those stricken with this passion are usually the ones bitten by tarantulas in the habit of hanging the strings of their webs from trees.” – Athanasius Kircher, Magnes sive de arte magnetica opus tripartitum pg. 759

Ludovico Valletta, De Phalangio Apulo 92

“The families of the tarantati hire the musicians, to whom many gifts are given and a great deal of drink is offered in addition to the daily compensation agreed upon, so that they may take some refreshment and thus play the musical instruments with greater vigor. It follows that a man of modest conditions, who laboriously earns a living with the diligent fatigue of his arms, in order to be cured of this illness, is often forced to pawn or sell objects of fundamental necessity, even if his household furnishings are shabby, in order to pay the aforementioned payment. It must be considered that no one would want to expose himself to this misfortune if he could combat the poison in another way, or if he did not feel compelled to dance from the bottom of his heart. I will spare the details of the many other aids and expedients the poison victims use to raise and cheer their melancholy spirits during the dance, items also needed for one reason or another. For instance there are artificial springs of limpid water constructed in such a way that the water is gathered and always returns to flow anew; these springs are covered and surrounded by green fronds, flowers and trees. Further, lasses dressed in sumptuous wedding gowns have the task of dancing with the tarantati, festively singing and playing the same melody with them during the dance; then there are the weapons and the multicolored drapery hung on the walls. All of these, and many others, cannot be procured without payment.” – Ludovico Valletta, De Phalangio Apulo 92

Ludovico Valletta, De Phalangio Apulo 77ff

“The tarantati rejoice at the sight of limpid waters, of artificial springs that flow with a soft murmur into a tub prepared for this purpose, gratifying themselves with the green fronds freshly picked from the trees and strewn here and there in the space dedicated to the dance in order to represent a forest.” – Ludovico Valletta, De Phalangio Apulo 77ff

Nicola Caputo of Lecce, De Tarantulae anatomie et morsu pg. 201

“They customarily adorn the bedroom dedicated to the dance of the tarantati with verdant branches outfitted with numerous ribbons and silken sashes in gaudy colors. They place similar drapery throughout the room; sometimes they prepare a sort of cauldron or tub full of water, decorated with vine leaves and green fronds from other trees; or they make pretty fountains of limpid water spout, capable of lifting the spirits, and it is near these that the tarantati perform the dance, seeming to draw the greatest delight from them, as well as the rest of the setting. They contemplate the drapes, the fronds, and the artificial rivulets, and they wet their hands and heads at the fountain. They also remove damp bands of vine leaves from the cauldron and strew them all over their bodies, or – when the vessel is large enough – they plunge themselves inside, and in this way they can more easily bear the fatigue of the dance. It often happens that those who go dancing through the towns and hamlets accompanied by the usual music are brought to an orchard, where, in the shade of a tree, near a pond or brook offered by nature or prepared through craft, they abandon themselves to the dance with the greatest delight, while groups of youths in search of pleasure and pranks gather near. Among the latter mingle more than a few who are approaching old age and who, contemplating with serious curiosity the melodic frolicking, seem to exhort the youths with unspoken admonishment.” – Nicola Caputo of Lecce, De Tarantulae anatomie et morsu pg. 201

Richard of St.-Victor, Sermones centum 177.1036

“What wickedness takes place during this feast; fortune-tellings, divinations, deceptions and feigned madnesses. On this day, having been seized up by the furies of their bacchant-like ravings and having been inflamed by the fires of diabolical instigation, they flock together to the church and profane the house of god with vain and foolish rhythmic poetry in which sin is not wanting but by all means present, and with evil sayings, laughing and cacophony they disrupt the priest and the whole congregation applauds for the people love these things.” – Richard of St.-Victor, Sermones centum 177.1036

Isidore of Seville, De eccliasticis officiis 1.41

“On the Kalends of January even the faithful assume monstrous appearances and are changed into the character of wild animals; others make feminine gestures and feminize their male faces … They all make a great noise, with leaping and clapping dances and what is still more shameful, both sexes dance together in sung dances, with dulled senses, intoxicated with much wine.” – Isidore of Seville, De eccliasticis officiis 1.41

Asterius of Amasa, Homily 38-43

“The common vagrants and the jugglers of the stage, dividing themselves into squads and hordes, hang about every house. The gates of the public officials they besiege with especial persistence, actually shouting and singing and dancing and some clapping their hands until he that is beleaguered within, exhausted, throws out to them whatever money he has and even what is not his own. And these mendicants going from door to door follow after one another, and until late in the evening, there is no relief from this nuisance. Even soldiers, whom you would think would be more disciplined, have come to learn vulgarity and the vile practices of the actors. They make sport of the laws and the government of which they have been appointed guardians. For they ridicule and insult the august officials. They mount a chariot as though upon a stage; they appoint pretended lictors and publicly act like buffoons. This is the noble part of their processions – I shudder to mention what else they get up to! For instance, the noble and brave champion loosens his tunic to his ankle, twines a girdle about his breast, puts on a woman’s sandals, dons a feminine wig and begins plying a distaff full of wool. He even sinks so low as to change the tone of his voice and utter words in a sharp, womanly treble.” – Asterius of Amasa, Homily 38-43

John Chrysostom, On the Kalends 48.95-62

“We deplore the demons marching in procession in the marketplace, the all-night devilish celebrations, the tauntings, the invectives, the nightlong dances, the ridiculous comedies and the drunkenness of the revelers that one sees everywhere on the Kalends.” – John Chrysostom, On the Kalends 48.95-62

Saint Augustine, Sermon 6.73-76

“I condemn the din of silly and shameful songs, the disgraceful junketing and dances that characterize this false feast day. Are you, who are supposedly Christians, going to join in the celebrations of good luck presents like a Pagan, going to play at dice and get yourself drunk? To do so is to associate with demons, for demons take pleasure in idle songs, in the trifling spectacle, in the manifold indecencies of the theaters, in the mad frenzies of the chariot races. Everything having to do with the Kalends of January is thoroughly Pagan and not fit for a decent Christian.” – Saint Augustine, Sermon 6.73-76

Maximus of Turin, Sermon 63.1

“How can you who have accepted the holy eucharist then celebrate a banquet of superstition during the Kalends of January? Befuddling the mind with wine, distending the belly with food, twisting the limbs in dances and engaging in depraved acts so that you are forced to forget what are the things that belong to god and instead pay dues to an idol – this is not what Christians do, but rather Pagans!” – Maximus of Turin, Sermon 63.1

Maximus of Turin, Sermon 98.1

“What sensible person who understands the sacraments of the lord’s birth does not condemn the Saturnalia nor reject the lechery of the Kalends? For there are many who still carry on with the superstitious old customs of the foolishness of the Kalends. They celebrate this day as the highest feast. Where they look thus for happiness they find, rather, sorrow. They wallow in wine and sicken themselves on feasting so that he who is chaste and moderate all year gets drunk and pollutes himself; and if he does not do so, he thinks that he has been deprives of the feast.” – Maximus of Turin, Sermon 98.1

Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 193.1-3

“I rebuke the demented customs of those who for the sake of foolish gaiety observe the Kalends of January or the folly of other superstitions which men think give them license to get drunk and indulge in obscene chanting and games. Worse still is the indecent flaunting of men in women’s clothing and make-up grotesque enough to make the demons themselves blanch. They sing bawdy songs in praise of vice, sung with shameless gusto and accompanied by disjointed gestures and mumming in the likeness of she-goats and stags. The inventor of evil makes his entry through these in order to master souls ensnared by the appearance of play. I call upon the sober and upright members of this congregation to reprimand your neighbors and subordinates, to forbid them to use indecent language or sing those bawdy songs, and especially to deny alms to those who by sacrilegious custom are carried away by insanity rather than playfulness. And unless you want to share in their guilt I tell you: do not allow a little stag or a little yearling or monstrosities of any other sort to appear before your houses, but rather chastise and punish them and, if you can, even tie them up tightly. Admonish your household not to follow the sacrilegious customs of the unhappy Pagans.” – Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 193.1-3

Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 192.24

“During the Kalends of January wretched men, and worse yet, even some who are baptized, don false appearances, monstrous disguises, in which I know not whether they are primarily laughingstocks or rather objects of sorrow. What sensible person indeed could believe that he would find sane people who deliberately transform themselves into the state of wild beasts while playing the stag. Some are clothed in the hide of beasts, others don animal headdresses, rejoicing and exulting if thus they have changed themselves into the likeness of beasts so as not to appear to be men. Now truly, what is this! How vile! That those who are born men dress in women’s clothing and, by the vilest of perversion, sap their manly strength to resemble girls, not blushing to clothe their soldier’s muscles in women’s gowns: they flaunt their bearded faces, and they aim to look just like women. There are those who observe omens during the Kalends of January by refusing to give fire from their house or any other goods to anyone, no matter who asks; yet they accept diabolical gifts from others and give them to others themselves. That night, moreover, some rustics arrange little tables with the many things necessary for eating; they intend that the tables remain arranged like this throughout the night, for they believe that the Kalends of January can do this for them, that throughout the entire year they will continue to hold their feasts amid plenty. I command your household to get rid of these and other practices like them, which would take too long to describe, which are thought by ignorant people to be trifling sins, or none at all; and command your household to observe the Kalends as they do the Kalends of other months. And therefore the saintly fathers of ancient days, considering how most of mankind spent those days in gluttony and lechery, going mad with drunkenness and sacrilegious dancing, ordained throughout the whole world that all the churches should proclaim a public fast, so that wretched men might know that the evil that they brought upon themselves was so great that all the churches are obliged to fast for their sins. In fact, let no one doubt that anyone who shows any kindness to foolish men who lewdly indulging in amusements during those Kalends is himself a sharer of their sins.” – Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 192.24

Capitula Vesulensia 22

“Dances and leapings and circuses and vile, lewd songs and diabolical pranks are not to be performed either in the roads or houses or in any other place because they are left over from Pagan custom.” – Capitula Vesulensia 22

St. Eligius, MGH SRM 4.705

“Let no one perform solstice rites nor dances, leapings or devilish songs on the Feast of St. John the Baptist or some other solemnity of the saints.” – St. Eligius, MGH SRM 4.705

The Edict of King Childebert, 1.2-3

“Because it is necessary that our authority be used to correct the common people who do not observe the priests’ teaching as they should, we order that this charter be sent out generally into every locality, commanding that those persons who were warned about their land and other places where statues were put up or man-made idols dedicated to a demon, and who did not immediately cast them down, or who forbade the priests from destroying them, should be arrested and brought into our presence for trial … A report has reached us that many sacrileges occur among the population whereby god is injured and the people sink down into death through sin: night watches spent in drunkenness, obscenity and song even on the holy days of Easter, the Nativity and other feasts, with dancing women promenading through the villages. In no way do we permit the performance of any of these deeds which injure god. We command that whoever dares to perpetuate these sacrileges after having been warned by the priest and our edict shall receive an hundred lashes – unless he be a freedman or of higher status.” The Edict of King Childebert, 1.2-3

Rabanus Maurus, Homily 44

“A Pagan will drink until he vomits and once he gets himself completely drunk, jumps up like a madman in a frenzy to dance diabolically, leaping about and singing filthy, amorous and lewd verses.” – Rabanus Maurus, Homily 44

Pirmin of Reichenau, Dicta Pirmini 28.188-90

“Flee dancing, vaulting, and indecent and bawdy songs as you would the devil’s arrows; do not dare to perform them either by the church nor in your houses, nor in the roads nor in any other place, for they are remnants of Pagan custom. Avoid as well jokes, diabolical games and the gestures or words of mimes and prostitutes and generally any other sort of merrymaking.” – Pirmin of Reichenau, Dicta Pirmini 28.188-90

Acts of the Council of Rome 35

“There are certain people, chiefly women, who are happy to attend holy days and the feasts of saints, not for the right reasons but rather to dance, sing indecent verses, participate in round dances and generally to behave like Pagans so that even if they come to church with minor sins, they leave with major ones.” – Acts of the Council of Rome 35

Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 13.5

“There are unhappy wretches who neither fear nor blush to perform dances and vaults before the basilicas of the saints themselves and who, if they are Christians when they come to church are Pagans when they leave it, for this custom of dancing is left over from Pagan custom. And now see what kind of Christian he is, who had come to church to pray, forgets prayer and does not blush to mouth the sacrileges of the Pagans. But just consider, brothers, whether it is right that lewd song should flow like poison from lips which Christ’s body entered.” – Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 13.5

Atto of Vercelli, Sermon 134.849-51

“A custom has developed concerning the Annunciation of St. John the Baptist which is deplorable. Certain little trollops abandon the churches and the divine offices; they pass the whole night wherever they will, in the streets and crossroads, by springs and in the countryside; they form round dances, compose songs, draw lots and pretend that people’s prospects are to be predicted from things of this sort. Their superstition has given rise to madness to the point that they presume to baptize grass and leafy boughs, and hence they dare to call the turf and trees their godparents and good friends. And for a long while afterwards they strive to keep them hung up in their houses, as though for the sake of piety.” – Atto of Vercelli, Sermon 134.849-51

Register of the Church of Carthage 58; 60-61

“There remain still other requirements to be sought from the most pious emperors: that they should command the remaining idols throughout all Africa to be utterly extirpated, for in a number of coastal areas and in various rural estates the wickedness of such error flourishes. Thus the emperors should direct both the idols themselves to be destroyed and their temples which have been set up in these rural and remote areas. Further we request that those religious gatherings which occur contrary to decrees, namely those brought together by Pagan error and which both Pagans and Christians attend together – a horrible thought that Christians under Christian emperors might attend these secret celebrations! – that it is only right for the emperors to order them prohibited and banned from cities and estates by imposing a penalty. This is particularly necessary since the Pagans show no compunction about celebrating these sorts of rites on the birthdays of the most blessed martyrs in some cities and out in the sacred spots in the countryside. On those days, indeed – shameful to declare! – the dancing of the most wicked folk goes on in town squares and open spaces, and the respect due to the marital state and the modesty of countless women assembled in piety for the most sacred day is assaulted by lascivious insults, while access to holy worship itself is almost barred. We also request this: that theatrical shows and those of the games be removed from the Lord’s day and other most celebrated Christian days, especially because on the Eighth Day of holy Easter the people gather more at the Circus than at the church. The day of their worship will have to be moved – if indeed they do foregather – nor should any Christian be obliged to attend such shows, especially because in putting them on, contrary to god’s commands as they are, no pressure or persecution should be applied by anyone, but rather (as ought to be the case) a man should stand on his free will, divinely granted him.” – Register of the Church of Carthage 58; 60-61

The Martyrdom of Saint Theodotus 14

“It was the custom among them yearly to bathe the images of the gods in the nearby lake, and on that day was the chance for them to be cleansed along with their idols. Each of the idols was set up on a wagon, and they were led through the city and into the countryside where the lake was. The whole populace of the city went out with them to see the sight, for the sound of the pipes and cymbals attracted attention, as did the dancing women with hair let loose like maenads, and there was a great pounding of their feet striking the ground and lots of musical instruments accompanying them.” – The Martyrdom of Saint Theodotus 14

P.Anastasi 4.56

“I hear that you are neglecting your writing and spending all your time dancing, going from tavern to tavern, always reeking of beer … If only you realized that alcohol is a thing full of evil spirits … You sit in front of the wench, sprinkled with perfume; your garland hangs around your neck and you drum on your paunch; you reel and fall on your belly and are filthied with dirt.” – P.Anastasi 4.56