28 November 2022 The Future is the Product of the Past

Foundations laid with human blood “Foundation sacrifices”

The custom of sacrificing a human being at the erection of a new house or fortress is very old. Foundation stones and beams were laid in human blood the world over, and this disgusting custom was also practiced in Europe until a few centuries ago. However, it is possible to see these and similar traditions all over the world.

Foundation sacrifice refers to the practice of burying a human in the foundation of a new building as an attempt to ensure that it stands. Building buildings is an insult to the spirit and gods of this land. In order to appease them, you must sacrifice. In turn, the sacrifices were transformed by death. They became guardians, destined to guard the building that had become their tomb.

There are many stories of foundation sacrifices from Great Britain to India and Japan to the Balkans.

The horrific procedure has generally been carried out by locking the unlucky soul in a coffin-like box or, in other circumstances, sealing them into some form of wall or other structure.

The common idea associated with this practice appears to have been that such a sacrifice was required to maintain the stability and durability of the construction, whether it was a home, fort, or bridge. The victim was buried beneath a key supporting pillar or foundation stone in order to sustain it. They were buried alive in some situations, or the living individual was shut up in a stone wall; in others, a person was placed in a pit or foundation and murdered by having a massive pillar or foundation-stones placed on him. Ingenious devilry has truly distinguished man’s inhumanity to man.

Photo: Wellcome Images / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 4.0
Photo: Wellcome Images / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 4.0

One of the earliest uses of this tradition dates back to the Roman empire. It is a punishment given to the Vestal virgins, a class of priestesses.

The Vestals were girls from well-to-do Roman households who were thought to be devoid of mental and physical flaws. They had accepted a rigorous chastity vow and dedicated themselves to maintaining a holy fire in honor of Vesta, the goddess of home and family.

If a Vestal Virgin violated her chastity vow, she was to be executed and buried in the city. Spilling a Vestal’s blood was forbidden, and no one was allowed to be buried within the city limits under Roman law, so the Romans had to be inventive.

The Vestal Virgin would be stripped, beaten, dressed in the clothing of a corpse, and then placed in a catacomb or cave. Typically, she would be locked or bricked away with a small supply of food, water, and candles or lamps.

In the Middle Ages, the Roman Catholic Church imposed similar punishments on nuns and monks who violated their chastity vows or voiced heretical beliefs.

There are legends and discoveries of bodies entombed in buildings and bridges dating back to the Middle Ages all throughout Europe. Several folk ballads allude to the usage of a human sacrifice to solve issues in a building project or to bestow power on it.

Rozafa castle
The statue of Rozafa and her son | © Федюкин Дмитрий / WikiCommons

This situation is also told in the castle of Rozafa, which is an Albanian story. The story begins with three brothers working to lay the walls for a mighty fortress. Every night, at midnight, the ground rumbles and sends the stones tumbling to the ground. An old man approaches the workers and tells them the reason for their trouble: “The castle spirit seeks a human life.” The sacrifice could not be just any person, but someone dear to the builders themselves.

The brothers resolve that, tomorrow, when their wives come to bring them their lunches, they will take the first to arrive and wall her up in the stones of the castle. They swear to each other not to warn their wives so that the selection will truly be up to fate. But that night in bed, the eldest brother whispers the secret to his wife, and so does the second brother. Only the youngest stays steadfast. His wife, Rozafa, comes alone the next day. The brothers seize her and wall her up, only leaving out one stone, so that she can nurse her infant son through the gap.

On the hill above Shkoder, a gloomy, ruined citadel still stands, frowning over the city. This is Rozafa Castle, named for the woman who, according to legend, was murdered so that the walls would stand to the end of time. They say the stones are still wet with her tears.

The practice of foundation sacrifice has continued to be applied by changing its shape over time. An empty coffin buried beneath the home may serve as a substitute for a body. You may also use a rope to measure a person’s height and bury it. Eggs, candles, bottles of wine, coins, and decks of cards have all been employed as sacrificial replacements in the abstract.

Cover Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Banner
Related Post

700 Years After Dante’s Death, His Handwritten Notes Are Discovered

11 July 2021

11 July 2021

Dante Alighieri, an Italian poet, and scholar are best known for his masterwork La Commedia (also known as The Divine...

“Dholavira,” the settlement with the world’s oldest signboard

16 August 2021

16 August 2021

Dholavira, also known as Kotda (which means “big fort”), is one of the islands in Kutch’s vast desert. The city...

China’s 4300-Year-Old Ancient Pyramids

26 March 2021

26 March 2021

Shaanxi Province in Northwest China is famous for its rich archaeological treasures. Among the many sites discovered in Shaanxi, the...

World’s Oldest Dress “Tarkhan Dress”

24 April 2021

24 April 2021

Life, nutrition, shelter, and dressing are the essential trio… We know that the first humans made clothing products with animal...

Archaeologists have uncovered the source of King Solomon’s wealth

31 August 2021

31 August 2021

An archeological team working in Israel’s Timna Valley believes they have discovered the reason behind King Solomon’s legendary wealth. The...

The mystery of Cathedral of Salamanca’s astronaut figure, isn’t what people think it is

10 March 2022

10 March 2022

There is a photograph of an “astronaut” carved in a 16th century Spanish cathedral in Salamanca. Known as the Catedral...

Rare African Script Offers Clues to the Evolution of Writing Systems

4 February 2022

4 February 2022

The world’s very first invention of writing took place over 5000 years ago in the Middle East, before it was...

World’s First Pregnant Ancient Egyptian Mummy has been Discovered

29 April 2021

29 April 2021

Experts from the Polish Academy of Sciences aim to research all mummies in museums as part of the Warsaw Mummy...

The Oldest Basket in the World was Found in Israel

16 March 2021

16 March 2021

The Antiquities Authority announced on Tuesday that a large, well-preserved woven basket was found in the Jude Desert, with a...

Ireland’s most beautiful round tower and Romanesque architecture

21 August 2021

21 August 2021

Romanesque means “from the Romans”, “descendant of the Romans”. This architectural style is called “Norman architectural style” in England and...

Michelangelo, the artistic giant, was actually rather short

3 September 2021

3 September 2021

The legendary Michelangelo Buonarroti left huge works behind as an artist. But Italian researchers found that the shoes of this...

Balkanatolia: The Forgotten Continent That Sheds Light On The Evolution Of Mammals

25 February 2022

25 February 2022

A team of French, American and Turkish paleontologists and geologists led by CNRS researchers has discovered the existence of a...

Unique work of Minoan art, the Pylos Combat Agate must be the David of the Prehistoric era

21 November 2021

21 November 2021

Found in a Greek tomb dating back 3,500 years, the artifact is so well designed that it looks as lively...

The Mystery of the Scythian Ice Maiden

1 June 2021

1 June 2021

A mummy of a tattooed Scythian-Siberian noblewoman is believed to have supernatural powers, but it’s stored in a museum because...

The Earliest Evidence of a Domesticated Dog in the Arabian Peninsula

9 April 2021

9 April 2021

Dogs have been the best friend of humans since ancient times. Although it is not known exactly when dogs were...

Comments
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *