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Child Sacrifice in Nineteenth-Century Italy October 15, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Child Sacrifice in Nineteenth-Century Italy

Sorry but a busy day today and still fighting the good fight against dishonest architects so just a strange report from 1858. Beach has not the slightest idea what to make of it. Really, it should all be pure fantasy and yet there is a lot circumstantial information: also the fact the child was English. […]

Death By Basketball April 6, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval
Death By Basketball

Humanity is extraordinarily ingenious in terms of the different ways it has found to execute people. We’ve reviewed on this blog before elephant executions; Mike Dash has recently given space to the Viking’s blood eagle; there is necklacing in Sub-Saharan Africa (a lynching rather than judicial capital punishment); the brazen bull in ancient Greece (another […]

Child Sacrifice in Carthage September 27, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
Child Sacrifice in Carthage

Beach is getting dangerously topical. First, there was the discovery of Richard III’s bent body, next to Jesus’s wife and now an old obsession of his, Carthaginian child sacrifice is breezing through the newspapers. In fact, the right of the ancient Carthaginians to sacrifice their children has just, it seems, been outlawed by some Pittsburgh […]

Two Thousand Infants Sold to Russia for Human Sacrifice May 30, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval, Modern, Prehistoric
Two Thousand Infants Sold to Russia for Human Sacrifice

***Dedicated to Wade who sent the relevant passage in*** The custom of burying infant children in the foundations of new buildings was well established in prehistoric, ancient and even (gulp) medieval times. The bigger and more important a building the more likely it was to a have a tot dropped in the cement. It is […]

The Cha-Cha of the Dahomey August 31, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
The Cha-Cha of the Dahomey

While reading up on the Amazons of the Dahomey kingdom (Benin) a long month ago, Beach came across a fascinating if little known figure, Francisco Felix De  Souza (obit 1849). De  Souza was a Brazilian merchant who came to the West Coast of Africa in the early nineteenth century and set up a huge slave […]

Last Human Sacrifice in Europe? August 2, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
Last Human Sacrifice in Europe?

Beachcombing has often set a Guinness-Book-of-Records-style competition for the last cavalry charge, the last head hunters or the last execution by blade in the west. And recently an email from the Sword and the Beast got him thinking about the last human sacrifice. SandB who has travelled extensively in eastern parts writes: ‘I take the […]

Cat Burial in Iceland July 31, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Cat Burial in Iceland

This site has long tried to further the place of cats in history: something that typically involves describing the horrible things that humanity has done to felines. However, to date it has all been theoretical: a letter about Shelley’s refined animal cruelty; a Belgian tourist brochure about throwing cats off towers; or spurious but strangely […]

Human Sacrifice and the Athenians January 29, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
Human Sacrifice and the Athenians

  Human sacrifice does survive in literate cultures – the Aztecs, various medieval Indian states… But in Europe, at least, it melted away at about the time of the first extensive surviving texts. The result is that Greeks or Romans or Gaels or Germanic types rarely end up putting a knife into a sacrificial victim: […]

Mayan Blood and Mayan Victims October 8, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Mayan Blood and Mayan Victims

Beachcombing has had a bad week and so to perk himself up a little he thought that he would resort to the last strategy of the truly desperate: pity someone who is worse off than himself. In this spirit and in continuance of his wcih (‘worst careers in history’) series he has decided to rememeber the […]

The return of Mayan-style human sacrifice June 25, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
The return of Mayan-style human sacrifice

                    Beachcombing loves the way that some of the best historical stories hide behind the most oblique academic titles. Take, for example, Vera Tiesler and Andrea Cucina, ‘Procedures in Human Heart Extraction and Ritual Meaning: A Taphonomic Assessment of Anthropogenic Marks in Classic Maya Skeletons’ (Latin […]