Pietro Gaietto

Homo erectus had two rituals. The first enough shared of cannibalism, consisting in the extraction of the brain of the dead relative, eated " in order to acquire its virtues ". The other ritual consisted in the conservation of the lacerated jaw, and this is deduced from the several found jaws, and from the still existing use in the ethnography of Homo sapiens sapiens. The corpse, probably, came dispersed as it happens still today near some primitives..

Fig.1) HOMO ERECTUS OF VESIMA Sculpture in green stone. Height cm.9 Lower Paleolithic (found at. Vesima, Genoa, Italy) ( see Museo delle Origini dell'Uomo, Genova)

The jaw of Heidelberg (Euranthropus)

The jaw of Ternifine (Atlanthropus)

The jaw of Chu-Ku-t' IEN (Sinanthropus) Reconstruction from fragments of several jaws of Weidenreich.

The first interments are work of Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, and the rituals are in increase.
1) the interment in sleep position, 2) the squatting interment , 3) the equipment of tools, 4) the offer of pieces of meat to dead (the still intact leg of bovine, not lacerated, as demonstrated by the state of anatomical connection in which the boneses have been found : The Chapelle-aux-Saints), 5) the offer of flowers and medicinal plants (Shanidar, Iraq).

The first testimony of " sacrifice " is work of Homo sapiens sapiens in the Upper Paleolitico, and it is found in the temple of El Juyo in Spain, and goes back ago to 14,000 years.

The " sacrifice " is a ritual, recurrent in all the religions of the world, and in every time, and can be bloody or not bloody.

The " sacrifice " is an offer in order to enter in communion with the divinity.

The temple of El Juyo was a cavern, and it had an altar composed from a flat slab of sandstone of the weight of approximately one ton, and of forehead to the altar it was the image of the divinity, made from a lithic sculpture constituted by two half heads joined, one of man and the other of animal. ( see in this site : The ancient zooanthropomorphic ceramic of Mexico in relation to the zooanthropomorphic sculpture of the European Paleolithic.

The " sacrifice " probably was not bloody, and the found rests are composed from phalanges of stag, much burnt ochre, boneses, and remain of crustaceans.

I want emphasize that the men of El Juyo, that had the temple, the altar constituted by a heaviest monolith, purposely carried in the cavern, and a represented two-faced zooanthropomorfic divinity in sculpture, have to be considered pertaining to a civilization (that still does not have a name), but to hold well distinguished from the civilization of the magdalenians painters, contemporary in other zones of Europe.

As we have seen, in the rituals of the Paleolithic the food is recurrent.
Homo erectus " ate " the brain of the defunct relative. Homo sapiens neanderthalensis gave food to the defunct . Homo sapiens sapiens, in the " sacrifice ", offered food to the divinity.

Homo erectus in 350,000 or 500,000 has changed more times physical aspect, until trasform himselfi, becoming Homo sapiens sapiens.

The rituals of Homo erectus, that we know, are remained equal until the ethnography of Homo sapiens sapiens, that is until today.

It can be said that the spiritual aspects of the man are more solid of the physical aspects, in how much change little. However the spirituality of the man becomes rich with the cultural progress, and new religions.

In order to interpret the rituals, the cults and the art of the paleolithic men, we make recours to parallelisms with post-paleolithic ages, historical civilizations and the ethnography. These parallelisms always refer to the people, in fact, the rituals, the " sacrifices ", the cults are taken root in the people..

Parallelisms that we make with " living " Homo sapiens sapiens, do not are only to made with how much are found in the ethnography, but also with is still found near of we modern men, using cellular and computer.

In the ethnography are still found many people ( very small) with rituals , sacrifices, cults and art, remained intact for millennia. Near us, for example in Europe, what remains, it survives in some zones and not in others, and has the generic denomination of " tradition ".

These " popular traditions " continue nearly automatically, they have lost every religious importance, but they are rich of information for our parallelisms with the Paleolithic.


To the Mussulmans it is prohibited to eat meat of pig, and drink alcoholic drinks, always; and this, in some Mussulman nations , is obligatory for law, also for who are not Mussulman. Also to the Hebrew it is prohibited to eat pig meat. ..

The Catholics do not have to eat meat the friday in the days of the Lent, that is in the forty days that precede Easter; in these days it is privileged the fish..

All the religions in various way have connections with the food.

Catholics at Easter eat " the roast " lamb for " religious tradition ", in how much, today, the Church do not advise of made it to nobody..

The first day of the year are eaten lentils, why " they carry luck "; and this is a " ritual of propitiation ", probably having religious roots.

Many are the foods that are eaten in occasion of the great religious festivities, according to traditions that vary from zone to zone. For the eve of Christmas, in some regions of Italy it is eaten " capitone ", a great eel.

In occasion of the Christian festivity, there are foods that have a particular workmanship (anthropomorphic or zoomorphic), and today it is surpassed the nutriment concept, for the pleasure of the palate and the sight, that is in order to celebrate better the festivity.

For our parallelisms with the Paleolithic, I must remember that these foods of anthropomorphic or zoomorphic workmanship re-enter in the tradition of the peoples, that have had like main artistic activities the sculpture

Fig.5) DOVE
Ritual Pandolce in sale in the festivities of Easter. The dove is symbol of the Saint Spirit.

Fig.6) the EGG OF EASTER
A chocolate cake, shaped as egg, containing surprises and gifts.


In occasion of religious festivities they are produced in Italy rituali " artistic " foods, it is with the bread, it is with sweet pastes, above all paste of almonds, and chocolate.

I want adopt the "artistic " word , in how much they are zoomorphic or anthropomorphic representations, but who purchase these products for eating, do not consider them " artistic ", over all because, today, the word " art " refers to works not in series and of very different intellectual engagement..

These foods represent animals or men, that represent Christian religious subjects. Their production is industrial, that is in series, and their sale happens in the stores of alimentary kinds. Their production is industrial, that is in series, and their sale happens in the storees of alimentary kinds. .

The types produced from the confectionery industries for the festivities are:
the DOVE that is as a panettone, but enriched with the added greater amount of eggs and orange candies, for the Easter holidays. The dove in the Christian symbology represents the Saint Spirit.
The EGG of Easter is of chocolate, white or brown.
The LAMB is in paste of almonds (martorana), in the Festivities of Easter. The Lamb of God is one of the first symbols of the Christianity.
CHRIST RESURRECTED in paste of almonds. Product in Liguria. It represents the Lamb of god resurrected and triumphant on the Death

Fig.7) LAMB
Ritual cake in paste of almond in sale in Italy in the festivities of Easter. The Lamb of God is one of the first symbols of the Christianity.

Ritual cake in paste of almonds in sale in Italy in the festivities of Easter. Christ is the Lamb revived, triumphant on the Death.

The BONESES Of THE DEAD MAN are in paste of almonds. They are produced in Sicily for the Lent. These last two cakies are of handicraft production, and are losing popularity.
It is a cake in paste of almonds that is produced above all in Sicily for the Lent and Easter.

THE HOLY LUCIA'S EYES. For the day of S.Lucia the molfettesi women give to eat this bread to the sons, in order to prevent from infections to the eyes.S.Lucia is the protecting of the sight, having had the martyrdom with extirpating the eyes. In the Greek art there are divinities with many eyes, also on the body, considered omniscient all-seeing..
The BREASTS OF THE VIRGIN are sweet shaped as teats (" minni "), fulls with zuccata paste of pumpkin ) to the jasmin. Their production happens for the festivity of the Deads ( november,2) in Sicily.
The APOSTLE FINGERS. They are cakies that have the shape of the fingers of a hand. They are fulls of paste of almonds and of cedar conserve. They are produced for the festivity of the Deaths in Calabria..
The HANDS are a bread (shaped as ring) with an only arm that joins the two hands. It is prepared in Sicily for the festivity of the Deaths,November,2.
The HEARTH. This cake is auspicious symbol of the " future rebirth of the nature "; it is produced at Palma di Sicily, in almonds paste, for Christmas.
The FACE Of the DEFUNCT is a bread produced in some countries of the Sicily for the festivity of the Deaths. I believe that, spiritually, it is a kind of ritual cannibalism of great affection towards the defunct relative. To eat this bread is not dissimilar from the ritual of Homo erectus that was eating the brain of the defunct relative .
PUPI AND PUPE, THE CAKIES OF THE DEAD MEN. They are sugar statuines, very colored, produced in Sicily for the festivity of the dead men. .
The BREAD OF THE DEAD MEN (anthropomorphic). Still alive, even if sporadic, is prepared November, 2. Originally it had function of " alimentary offer to the spirits of the defunct relatives ". These breads are anthropomorphs, they are prepared in Sicily, and they vary from country to country .
OXES. Bread shaped as oxes, than, coupled to two to two, are decorated with recordings engravings reproducing the symbols of the mandriani of the zone. Produced at Modica (Ragusa, Sicily). These breads come given to the boys, like initiatic gift of passage from the age of infancy, to the age of the job, for the New Year's Day..
The BIRDS are breads with the shape of birds, produced in Sicily for New Year's Day..
The FISHES are breads with the shape of fish made in Sicily for New Year's Day. .
The HORSES. For the festivity of All Saints' Day , at Val Passiria (Alto Adige, Italy), great zoomorphic breads are made, whose tradition is always religious, in how much to eat this bread is a ritual.

It is a bread produced for the festivity of All Saints' Day at St.Leonard in Val Passiria (Alto Adige, Italy). Courtesy of Dr. Siegfriid W. de Rachewiltz, director of the Agricultural Museum of Brunnemburg, Tirolo di Merano, Bolzano, Italy.


The " ritual artistic foods " produced in Italy are of Christian tradition, but their use is previous
We know from Frazer that sweet and breads anthropomorphic existed already at the time of the Romans these were called "maniae", and were made likeness of the " God of the forest ", celebrated every year. "maniae" re-enter in a ritual of propitiation for the divinity. .
I do not know if the Romans produced anthropomorphic cakies and breads for the festivity of the dead men. However, he is much probable that the Romans produced cakies and breads for the dead men, and also for other divinity, beyond to the God of the forest. .
The use of anthropomorphic cakies and breads , surely the Romans have disseminated in all Europe, and in the countries of the Mediterranean basin.
On the origin of cakies and rituali artistic breads, it can be assumed that already the Greeks, before the Roman, had this use, in how much had an artistic civilization, and also " confectionery " of great quality. .

I do not know if the Aegyptians in the pyramids offered anthropomorphic or zoomorphic cakies and breads to the defunct or to the divinity.
Impossible to find traces of this use in the protohistoric and prehistoric civilizations, in how breads and cakies are perishable.

The ritual food, birthing with Homo erectus, is not nutriment, is a spiritual pleasure of highest level. .
This pleasure remains of highest level when the ritual of most various foods continues in the historical civilizations; but it loses intensity when it becomes " tradition " outside from the outlines of the religion. .

When Homo erectus ate a little bit of brain of the head a tribe or the defunct relative, it had to be a moment of great solemnity.
The day of Easter who eats the " dove ", he eats it for " tradition ", and because it is good, not in order to celebrate the ritual to eat the Saint Spirit.
However, a ritual goes in disuse if it does not come held alive in the cult: if the Church does not say more than the dove represents the Saint Spirit, the greater part of people do not knows it .Also, in the Christian tradition, the dove is symbol of the peace between God and the man ( dove announcing to Noè the end of the deluge)

About Homo erectus we have traces of a rising spirituality, even if already consolidated.
In " ritual artistic foods " of our days, we have testimony of a decreasing spirituality; but, however, these ritual foods constitute a most important cultural and spiritual connection between us and Homo erectus.



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