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Le sacrifice humain dans la littérature latine, mythes, légendes, historicité, représentations

Jean-Yves Fournis 1
1 CEMA - Centre d'Études du Moyen Âge
CERAM - CERAM - Centre d'Études et de Recherches Antiques et Médiévales - EA 173
Abstract : Sixty latin writers, over the period from 3rd century b.c, to the 5th of our era are summoned in this work to contribute as annalists, historians, generals or caesars to untangle the skein of myths, legends, historical facts reporting a human sacrifice in Rome and in the Empire.Very few of these facts have been received as human sacrifices by the Romans, always eager to forbid them in the conquered provinces, thus maintaining the superiority of their civilization. Our look as modern thinkers, sustained by the present perpetuation of true human sacrifices in the world, leads us to investigate the latin litterature and, learning on texts with a comparative approach, to try to differentiate murders, assasinations, punishments, from ritual practices of sacred executions of humain beings. The census of such sacrifices, in the sense our present consciousness binds us to define them, results in a typology in which sacrified ones, sacrificators, adressed divinities, take the place that centuries of absolute respect of law, tradition, religion have appointed as necessary for the permanence of roman institutions and imperium.In the heart of these practices, often maintained during centuries, emerges the power of sacerty as a foundation consubstantial with Urbs, the substratum of beliefs generated by archaic times and strengthened by an indefective loyalty to prescriptions of patres conscripti.The anxiety of the Romans facing italic peoples and then northern and southern barbarians, the bitter acknowledgement that their legions are not invincible and had often been defeated, generate along centuries a psychosis of permanence and domination requiring a constant turn to protective gods.Strengthened by the lesson of myths, generous in the transmission of legends and heros admiration, wholly filled with the cruelty of bloody stories, the latin writers do not conceive the human sacrifices but as the realization of legal religions rites with either an expiatory or propitious value. One has to expect the appearance of the first christian apologists so that emerges a definitive condemnation of all sacrificial practices as much animal ones as human, at the same time as ancient beliefs and gods are thrown out. A new era is on the way for Rome, era which will not see the total disappearance of human sacrifice in the Empire.
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Jean-Yves Fournis. Le sacrifice humain dans la littérature latine, mythes, légendes, historicité, représentations. Linguistique. Université de la Sorbonne nouvelle - Paris III, 2012. Français. ⟨NNT : 2012PA030031⟩. ⟨tel-00841691⟩



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