Sunday, May 23, 2010

Discovery Of Ancient Pagan Altar

Here's an interesting article about the discovery of a Pagan altar, possibly dedicated to Roman deities. The altar was found at the site of a new hospital wing, which has created a good bit of controversy in Israel. The new wing is being built on the site of an ancient grave and, although the bones have been removed for re-burial, Orthodox Jews, believing the bones to be Jewish, have protested. The government, on the other hand, says that the bones are Pagan.

Note once again the capitalization of one religious group, in this case "Jews," while using lower case to describe Pagans. I'm not sure what's so complicated about applying your capitalization rules consistently.

Israel on Thursday announced the discovery of a 2,000-year-old pagan altar at the site where plans for a new hospital wing have come under fire from ultra-Orthodox Jews who fear bones found there may be of Jews.

The find of what the Israel Antiquities Authority calls a "magnificent" altar gives a boost to the authorities at a time when ultra-orthodox Jews condemned the removal of bones from ancient graves at the site in the southern city of Ashkelon.

"The find further corroborates the assertion that this place is a pagan cemetery," the IAA said in a statement.

The altar is about 60 centimetres (24 inches) tall and is decorated with a bull's head from which dangle laurel wreaths. Such altars usually stood in Roman temples, the statement said.

Picture (of a similar altar) found here.


Liberality said...

Very interesting. Thanks!

Gerilee said...

Once you pointed out the inconsistent capitalization of religions in the mainstream media, I have started seeing it everywhere. I am going to become very militant in my capitalization of Witch and Pagan from here on in. (And I am a freelance editor with some little power to make a difference.)

Thank you, Hecate. Your work is appreciated.

Anne Johnson said...

Wouldn't it be interesting if there were both Jews and Pagans in that burial ground? What would they do then?

Hecate said...

Thanks, Gerilee! It's one of my pet peeves. But it does matter, on an almost subconscious level.

Anne, these "those are our bones" fights always perplex me. We should respect our ancestors. We can't know for sure who those ancient people were. These fights are often more about present claims to land: Our people have always been here so this is our land!

I don't know the answer, other than (1) respect; (2) respect; and (3) being reasonable.