Paper Title

[3.1] Talking Heads: Ritual Decapitation from Medusa to Modernity

Location

IB 1020

Start Date

January 2020

End Date

January 2020

Disciplines

Ancient History, Greek and Roman through Late Antiquity | Classical Literature and Philology | European History | History | History of Gender | History of Religion | Intellectual History | Medieval History | Other Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Philosophy | Political Science | Women's Studies

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

This paper explores the continued relationship between classical religions and folkloric rituals seen around the world. Emphasis is placed on decapitation as displayed in the Medusa myth and how it informed later rituals and shaped ideas of the body and the body politic. A large focus will be on rituals of the Medieval era, especially the cases of Thomas Becket, the Templar Knights, the Druids, and the worship of Holy relics. The conclusions drawn from these will be expanded upon into early modern and modern examples. While I do not anticipate finding any direct correlation between the Medusa myth and post-Medieval examples, it will inform our understanding of the ritualistic and symbolic importance of the head as seen during the Satanic Panic of the 1980s and in modern entertainment. Using the methods associated with cultural and intellectual history in which we track the ideas and values of various societies, informed by psychological, philosophical, and anthropological theories and scholarship, the goal of this project is to gain a thorough understanding of the symbol of the human head and its removal from the body, and the essential role that classical religion plays in informing ideas across history up to the present day.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Jan 18th, 9:00 AM Jan 18th, 10:15 AM

[3.1] Talking Heads: Ritual Decapitation from Medusa to Modernity

IB 1020

This paper explores the continued relationship between classical religions and folkloric rituals seen around the world. Emphasis is placed on decapitation as displayed in the Medusa myth and how it informed later rituals and shaped ideas of the body and the body politic. A large focus will be on rituals of the Medieval era, especially the cases of Thomas Becket, the Templar Knights, the Druids, and the worship of Holy relics. The conclusions drawn from these will be expanded upon into early modern and modern examples. While I do not anticipate finding any direct correlation between the Medusa myth and post-Medieval examples, it will inform our understanding of the ritualistic and symbolic importance of the head as seen during the Satanic Panic of the 1980s and in modern entertainment. Using the methods associated with cultural and intellectual history in which we track the ideas and values of various societies, informed by psychological, philosophical, and anthropological theories and scholarship, the goal of this project is to gain a thorough understanding of the symbol of the human head and its removal from the body, and the essential role that classical religion plays in informing ideas across history up to the present day.