Two widely read Chinese novels of the past 20 years—Gao Xingjian’s Soul Mountain (1990) and Jiang Rong’s Wolf Totem (2004)—echo Henry David Thoreau’s proclamation (in his essay “Walking”) that “in Wildness is the preservation of the world.”
These texts, which reveal their origins in journals, present highly personal quests for what remains of the wild in China;
turning their backs on Beijing, the authors search for validation of a belief, expressed by Thoreau and other environmental
writers within a Romantic tradition, that a people in close contact with the wild maintain a strength, earthiness and vitality
not found in urban cultures; and that close contact with the wild, especially with wild animals, has a spiritual dimension.
These compelling Chinese quests yield different results, inevitably depart from Thoreau’s 19th-century optimism, and make
complementary statements on what modern China risks losing as it progressively, and in the name of “progress,” eliminates
Summary In this paper I read Géza Gárdonyi's novel, The Eclipse of the Crescent Moon, as a narrative of the Hungarian nation. After surveying the reception of the novel in the past century, pointing out the difficulties Hungarian literary criticism was facing when dealing with The Eclipse, I proceed to read the novel itself as a text that depicts an “imagined community' of Hungarians. I argue that while the Hungarian Self is imagined as an innocent child in the novel, the Turkish Other becomes depicted as a cunning animal dominated by primary instincts. I read The Eclipse as the story of expulsion from Paradise, invaded by the Turkish snake, focusing on the different paths the novel's main characters, Gergely and Éva, take, with the aim of analysing the feminine and masculine aspects of the nation imagined by the novel through their diverging stories.
or curse tablets give evidence of a magical practice — widespread in ancient Greece and Rome — that was “intended to influence, by supernatural means, the actions or welfare of persons or animals against their will.” These curse inscriptions are an important written source for linguists, since they document an everyday non-literary language use; at the same time they can provide direct information about the verbal elements of an ancient magic ritual. The purpose of my study on the Latin
, that I collected into an electronic database, is to analyze the magical spells from a pragmalinguistic point of view. This approach considers language within its context, i.e. it does not only concentrate on grammatical structures but views language as a functional whole within a special communicative setting.
The study discusses and presents the archaeological phenomena of burial practices observed in the graves of the Early Avar Age cemetery of Szegvár-Oromdűlő. Besides orientation, these are the three types of differently formed graves, the stumped variant of fractional animal burials, the spatial separation of the deceased and the accompanying animal remains, and the custom of interring pottery and bone-in meat (lamb rump bone) into graves. It analyses these important but so far not thoroughly exploited groups of sources in regard of the 6th–7th century burials of a larger geographical unit, the Trans-Tisa (Tiszántúl) region, since the population of this region can be better characterized by their funerary practices than their tangible cultural heritage. In addition, it refers to the presence or absence of these characteristics in the burials of a smaller area within the investigated region — the territory bordered by the Körös, Tisza and Maros Rivers — dating to the second half of the Avar Age, and through this, to their continuity.
It delineates the grave goods of female and male burials which represent the inheritance of the first generation among the graves of the Trans-Tisa region. Their common feature is their different provenance. Thus there are grave goods with Eastern European, steppe connections, grave goods of Byzantine taste or origin, as well as grave goods of local, Gepidic provenance among them.
Communities of the Trans-Tisa region in the 6th–7th century Carpathian Basin are characterized by a chain of significant archaeological phenomena of burial customs exclusively attributed to them, which were commonly spread within a certain area and continuously practiced for generations. Based on these features, the population that settled here can be well outlined in respect of origin, traditions and cultural affiliation.
In the author’s opinion it can be presumed by the sparse reports of Byzantine sources that this region was occupied and inhabited by a population referred to as Kutrigurs by contemporary sources and steppe people led by them.
The paper considers the verbs which in Slavonic languages mean dying. The starting point is Bulgarian verbs and their equivalents in the other languages. The material relative to the remaining languages is not complete, but large enough to represent the whole. The subjects of interest are the verbs and phrases from the rural dialects only. The Slavonic world of dying is very rich. It offers old associations going back to proto-Slavic, as well as modern local ones. Out of 47 verbs and 10 phrases, 15 verbs and 2 phrases can be regarded as proto-Slavonic, because they occur in the form and meaning discussed here in a considerable part of all Slavic territory. Variety of the associations is amazing: Dying makes the Slavs think of the end, as such of the termination of any action symbolising life (the way of life, going, running, doing something, burning), of expiration, departure, leaving the body by the soul, of the symptoms concomitant with the death of a man or animal (becoming stiff, grinning, kicking, staring, straightening), and of sounds (cracking, snapping, striking). It is astonishing that the departure of a man from this world seems to produce many more emotions than the birth of a new man.
Authors:Małgorzata Kaczanowska and Janusz K. Kozłowski
The Balkans, particularly southern and central, were sparsely populated in the Mesolithic and the occupation networks in that period were discontinous and highly diversified, contrasting with the density and homogeneity of the Early Neolithic. The aim of this paper is to describe the environmental conditions of the Mesolithic sites in relation to Early Holocene climatic fluctuations and to discuss the causes of specificity and diversity of culture and behaviour at this period.
Some general trends are observable in the adaptation to Early Holocene environments (trends in faunal exploitation; for ex. shift from high ranked large game to low ranked small animals) but also particular adaptations to local conditions (technological changes due to difficulties in access to better quality lithic raw materials, adaptations to coastal or to terrestrial resources reflecting the unique features of site use, etc).
The diversity of the Mesolithic is also reflected in cultural taxonomy: in some sequences continuity of the Balkan Epigravettian techno-morphological tradition can be seen as opposed, in other sequences, to highly isolated groups with technology and tool morphology adapted to local raw materials and specific activities. The Balkan Mesolithic was not completely cut-off from the Western Mediterranean techno-morphological influences (particularly in Southern Greece) and from the Anatolian lithic traditions (seen only in the Northern Aegean). A more intensive network of marine contacts is confirmed by obsidian circulation in the Aegean Basin.
During the last decade or so, the literary writings that portray the lives of the wolves and their relationship with the humans
sprouted and prospered in China. These wolf writings all give very vivid and appealing portraits of wolves, their wild existence,
their character, their relationship with men, and their role in the ecosystem. They have shaped our understanding of and attitudes
towards animals and nature, which is of great value to the ongoing building of ecological civilization in China as well as
in the world. In general, the Chinese wolf literature has inevitably been influenced and inspired by the long and rich traditions
of the wolf myths and literature in the West, particularly those works of Jack London, Rudyard Kipling and other Western writers
since the end of the 19th century. With due attention paid to the influence of the Western wolf literature, this essay will
mainly analyze the three most important Chinese wolf novels—The Wolf Child, Remembering Wolves and The Wolf Totem, both separately and with reference to one another. It argues that the representations of wolves in them subvert the stereotypical
hostile images of wolf in traditional Chinese culture, bring about fresh reflections on the cultural and spiritual symptoms
of (post)modernity and globalization, and finally lead to a growing ecological consciousness and the call for balance between
humans and nonhumans.
The Hungarians coming from the east settled in the Carpathian basin in A.D. 896, and established their Christian kingdom in 1000. They kept their ancestral religion for a century which was preserved in fragments in Hungarian popular beliefs and folklore. On the basis of these fragments, the researchers defined the religion before Christianity to be Shamanism. Shamanism however has different variations depending on the degree of development of the society in question. Recently, a segment of the Arabic al-Bakri's writings from the 11th century has been published from among the very few written sources. It reports that Hungarians worship the Lord of the Heaven. Consequently, the Hungarian Shamanism was different from that of primitive Siberian peoples; it was rather similar to Tengrism which was common in eastern nomadic empires. The archeological findings from the 10th century confirm the information found in the written source since ancient art preserved several elements of the beliefs (tree of life, the assisting spirits of the shaman, animal spirits).
Two major structural
designs characterize the cerebral cortex: the scalable, modular neocortex and
the single-module hippocampus. Functions attributed to the hippocampal
formation have varied over the past several decades and include episodic memory
in human lesion studies, spatial mapping in single unit recordings and
voluntary exploration of the environment in field recording studies in animals.
I suggest that the common thread across these parallel developments is that
each captures the essence of episodic coding: items are organized in
spatio-temporal context. I suggest that theta oscillations, studied extensively
in the Grastyán school in Pécs, is the key temporal metric. Ordered sequences
of items are encoded by the strict temporal relations of hippocampal cell
assemblies nesting within cycles of theta oscillation. Such a temporal
compression mechanism brings neuronal assemblies together in the time window of
synaptic plasticity and allows the linking of first order (neighbor) and higher
order relations. Seven to nine interleaving assemblies, representing
overlapping past, present and future items, can be combined into an episode in
a single theta cycle. During recall, the entire hippocampal connection matrix
can be searched in the time period of the theta cycle (120-140 msec). I suggest
that the hippocampus is an efficient search engine for the reconstruction of
complex episodes from fragmentary information.
For the nomads of the Eurasian steppes, milk and its derivatives such as cream, skim, buttermilk, cheese, curds,
(an alcoholic beverage distilled from whey) and koumiss (slightly alcoholic fermented mare’s milk) are not simply a food but also part of their nourishment system and of their whole culture. Milk and milk products are consumed by nomads mostly in the the summer-autumn season when consumption of meat is rare, because animals begin to fatten only after the end of spring. It is in summer and autumn that Mongols celebrate a series of festivals of all-national, clan and family scale. These rituals demonstrate the special importance of everything connected with milk and known in the palette of their culture as
, i.e. “white food”. This food possesses a sacred meaning in various ritual situations. Freshly obtained milk was rarely consumed but it served as a daily sacrifice to spirits and deities of land, heaven and hearth. Milk used to be sprinkled behind the departing traveller, it was offered to an honoured guest or to the bride at the wedding when she arrived at the bridegroom’s house. Milk was also sprinkled on felt in its processing with the words “let your felt be soft and warm”. Milk was poured on the head of the winning horse in races or sprinkled on the head of foals and calves before castration. Koumiss with its sacred white colour served as a basic sacrifice in many rituals.