Routes et parcours mythiques. Des textes à l'archéologie

Proceedings of the Septième colloque international d'anthropologie du monde indo-européen et de mythologie comparée
Edited by Alain Meurant, 336 pages, 2011. Available.

Le héros laisse sur les lieux qu’il traverse des marques qui peuvent prendre la forme d’un culte, d’un temple, d’un rituel, d’une coutume ou d’une cité dont il instaure les fondements. C’est à explorer les textes qui content le périple de quelques-unes des plus grandes figures héroïques indo-européennes et aux traces archéologiques qui balisent leurs routes que s’emploient ici quelques-uns des meilleurs spécialistes des différentes cultures du domaine pris en compte.


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The Founders of Rome as a Sequence of Mythic Figures
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The subject of Rome’s origins is one where the discourses of comparative mythology and archaeology can interact, but such interaction has never been easy. In approaching the subject here from the mythological point of view, I shall not have space to advance the dialogue explicitly, but hope the discussion will be useful to those who do pursue it.
 
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Le voyage involontaire de l’aurige Ratumena
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According to the legend, Ratumena was an Etruscan charioteer who won a race in the city of Veii but, after his victory, was dragged away by his horses, that brought the chariot to Rome, where they stopped in front of the Capitoline temple. This story seems to reflect the same pattern which appears in the Roman ritual of the equus October (horse of October) and the Indian asvamedha (sacrifice of an horse made by a king), i e the competition between different groups for the possession of an horse, whose scope is to provide one of these competitors with sovereignty.
 
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Trésors et sépultures subaquatiques. Variations sur une légende perdue
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Investigation of a very ancient and widespread type of migratory legend which so far has not been taken into account in the systematic catalogues and international subject-indexes elaborated by specialists of folk-literature and mythology. The plot of these tales –the oldest known version of which seems to be Sumerian– usually concerns a dead king (or another charismatic character) who is buried, sometimes with his treasure, under the bed of a river, whose stream has been diverted and then reinstated so as to hide the place from discovery. The author discusses the origins of this oriental taletype and the successive meanings it assumes, especially when borrowed and recycled in indo-european contexts.
 
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Ulysse et Télémaque, un parcours symbolique en termes de comparatisme
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Georges Dumézil has suggested that Ulysses’final struggle with the suitors is the equivalent of the destruction of Troy or the battle of Kurukshetra (Mahabharata). One can readily understand that two opposing forces encounter each other, each organised according to the hierarchy of the three Indo-European functions : 1 Odysseus against Antinous / 2 Telemachus against Eurymachus / 3 Eumaeus and Philoitius against Ctessipus, Polybus and Agelaus. Seen from this point of view, I consider the different adventures of Odysseus as stages in his downfall, the last being his experience with Calypso whose name is the symbol of nothingness, before his recovery (symbolised by the gifts of the Phaeacians) which is essential in view of the catastrophic state of the kingdom of Ithaca, weakened by too great a number of suitors. Symbolically, the Telemachia corresponds to the search for and the gradual reappearance of the god Lleu in Wales, otherwise known as Lugh in Ireland. Structurally speaking, the different parts of Ithaca are the same as the Indo-European provinces of Celtic Ireland.
 
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El mito de fundación de Lugdunum. Ensayo de lectura estructural
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Le mythe de fondation de Lugdunum, que nous lisons dans le traité du Ps-Plutarque, Sur les fleuves, a été étudié traditionnellement sans tenir compte de son rapport avec l’autre partie du texte sur le fleuve Arar ni avec l’ensemble de l’œuvre. Une étude de G. Charrière et A. Audin nous mène vers les possibilités qu’offre une lecture structurale du récit. Les deux parties du récit étant dominées par l’alose (un poisson) et des corbeaux, des espèces migratoires dans la région de Lyon où elles sont présentes pendant la canicule pour les premières et en hiver pour les seconds. Ceci, relié à d’autres traits anatomiques et éthologiques de ces animaux, permet de soutenir que le mythe s’inspire de certaines des caractéristiques remarquables du calendrier celtique (celui de Coligny a été trouvé à 100 km au nord de Lyon) comme éléments structurants le récit de fondation.
 
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Le dieu celtique Lugus, le soleil et l'organisation du territoire
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The aim of this study is to show the links between the Celtic god Lugus and landscape organization. We underline the important part of the light from sunrise – which has well known connexions with Lugus – in the process used by the Celts for their spatial orientation. By revealing the setting of a landmark, orientation constitutes a preliminary and essential step before the establishment of a space which will be intended to be inhabited by people. The analysis of Gaulish archaeological facts and Irish medieval tales perfectly highlights the relation of Mercury and Lug to strategic places which were used for the development of a human community: places of assembly, places where cities or provinces were founded, places on hilltop or located on a border, shrines, roads; moreover, some of them are frequently found in a same place, which demonstrates a real cohesion in the process of organizing landscape.
 
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The Passage "trans Tiberim" and the Debt Bondage in Early Rome
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En droit romain primitif, le débiteur était obligé à payer ses créances avant la fin de l’année en cours. La garantie de la dette se réalisait avec l’aide du serment aux dieux. Aux temps historiques, ces dieux étaient Jupiter et Saturne, apparentés aux dieux védiques Mitra et Varuṇa. En cas de non-paiement de la dette, le débiteur est considéré comme un violateur de serment, qui ne pouvait se trouver où se trouvait le dieu offensé par lui. Le débiteur devait quitter le territoire romain à la fin de l’année. S’il ne le faisait pas volontairement, il était vendu en Étrurie, où il perdait son statut civil et sa liberté. La procédure de condamnation des débiteurs insolvables de la loi des XII Tables montre que le chemin qui mène au Tibre était analogue au voyage qui mène vers l’autre monde, au règne de la mort.
 
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La figure du héros dans le monde anatolien antique
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In this contribution, the reader finds a short analysis of the Hittite-Luwian conception of the hastali- “the Hero”, an official title dedicated to the Hittite kings during the Hittite Empire.
 
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Culture and Nature, Road and Wilderness. The Ecology of Myth
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This paper looks at human attempts to understand and then to “order” the natural world, with special attention to “the road through the wood.” The following topics come into view: the (European) Wood and (vs.) formal shapes (“natural” pathway and purposeful, communicative road, also the “sacred way” and the post-road or military road); surrounding ‘wild’ space and its inhabitants (wild animals, supernatural beings, feral humans, possibly the Daemonic, certainly the Sacred); modes, companies, vehicles (travel, pilgrimage, mercantile efforts); blocks and barriers (river, ford, bridge, ferry); the face of hospitality (the inn – and the enemy/stranger/guest); goals and symbolic nodes (here and there, mobility and stability, the market’s meanings); finality (time, the ‘Romantic’ road – and the Road to Death. Sources include Scandinavian and Celtic narratives, folktales, and insights drawn from D. Bynum and V. Turner, among others (including J. R. R. Tolkien).
 
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Le Troiae lusus, le schéma du Labyrinthe et l’Octaétéride
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The diagram known as that “of the labyrinth” is not specific to the Cretan world nor to Knossos. Attested from the second millenium from Syria to the British isles, it seems that it might represent an octaeteris or period of eight years, corresponding to 99 months in the lunar calendar. The end of this cycle and the beginning of the following one gave rise to regeneration rituals, differing according to the region, whose souvenir survives notably in the legend of the Minotaur and in the Romans’ Troiae Lusus.
 
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Andrea Carandini, Romulus et les dema. Naissance, diffusion et ravages d’un produit ethnographique toxique
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The concept of dema is used in ethnography to designate a particular category of primordial beings in paleo-cultivator cultures. Certain Italian scholars have used it in their research on the origins of Rome, specifically when referring to Romulus. We might mention in particular A. Brelich, working in 1960, and, more recently, the archaeologist A. Carandini. The current paper retraces the history of the concept since its first appearance in 1922 up to the present day : how it has evolved over the decades, and how scholars have frequently applied it without sufficient rigour, generating between them a series of false hypotheses and propositions. In the interests of interdisciplinarity, it might be desirable to stray into the field of ethnography, but it is imperative to proceed with method. This requirement has not been respected in research done on the origins of Rome, an area in which the demas of ethnology have absolutely no role to play.
 
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Marginalité et souveraineté. Des chemins de traverse aux allées du pouvoir
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We will follow the Masters of paths. They are Pushan and Aryaman in India, Pan and Hermes in Ancient Greece; others are Scandinavian such as the god Ullr or Palnatoki, or anglo-saxon such as Robin Hood. Their tracks lead us from the rural or forest world to which they belong to the surroundings of the sovereign. They wander around him either to serve him and save his throne, or to betray him, replace him and even kill him. Sometimes, indo-european myth melts with History when for instance Antoine as Lupercal tries to crown Ceasar.
 
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De Jean de l’Ours à Persée ou de quelques modalités de la disjonction
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The tale of Jean de l'ours (Jean of the Bear) is like the Bird Nester myth , but in a reversed position. Both heroes experience a vertical disjunction, the first one downwards, the second one upwards. Now, some north Amerindian versions of the Bird Nester have exactly the same structure as the Perseus myth. But in this case the story develops horizontally. The disjunction, which disappeared with verticality, is reached in a different way : by crossing the ocean.
 
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L’usurpation de la souveraineté divine dans les mythologies scandinave et celte
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Scandinavian and Celtic myths propose close similar stories about two temporary losses of his royal power by the king of the gods, i.e. Odin, Math and Nuadha.
 
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L’exégèse théologique du Mahābhārata. Le système symbolique des amśāvatarana
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This article does not at all deal with the controverted ideological theory of the ‘three functions’ such as used by Stig Wikander and Georges Dumézil in their interpretation of the Indian epics, but examines the basis of what could be called their ‘theological exegesis’ of the Mahābhārata: the fact that the main heroes of the story are symbolically presented as the ‘partial incarnations’ of the gods, born on earth with a ‘part’ of themselves. Avoiding the unsolvable problems of some (Indo-European, Indo-Iranian or even Vedic) reconstructions proposed by Dumézil, this essay underlines the importance of taking into account the aṃśāvataraṇa list at first as it is given in the text, itself enlightened by a significant passage from its ‘supplement’ (viz. the Harivaṃśa), since it provides us with a specific pantheon existing at the time of the elaboration of the epics. In that respect, the ‘theological exegesis’ of Dumézil will probably remain his most important contribution to the understanding of the religious meaning of the Sanskrit epics in its oldest state.
 
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The Roman Regifugium. Myth and Ritual of the King's Journey Beyond the Boundary
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February 24 annually brings the archaic Roman ritual of the Regifugium, the ‘Flight of the King’. Little information survives concerning the rite in classical sources: Plutarch, for example, states simply that the rex offered a sacrifice in the Comitium and immediately fled away (Quaest. Rom. 63). In this investigation I argue that the Regifugium is a Roman ritual expression of a broader Indo-European mythic motif that concerns traumatic flight beyond the borderlands of society – a flight that introduces societal disorder; the figure whose retreat is marked, however, is a representative not of the sovereign realm but of the priestly. A second ritual realization of the motif is observed on March 14, when one designated as Mamurius Veturius ‘the crazed one of Mars’ is driven from Rome. The setting of the rituals at the boundary of the old Roman year is a temporal expression of the theme of a falling into disorder associated with the flights; order is restored with the onset of the new year and the celebration of associated rituals.
 
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