October 01, 2007

The Pagans: band of brothers

The History Channel is showing a major series on the Pagans.
In the third installment last night there was an intriguing essay on which male pagan attitudes have survived the ages to the present day, such as comparing the ancient warrior tribesmen with modern day sports fans; the selection of a champion for their ancient pagan cause with the contemporary fielding of a sports team to uphold the honour of the modern tribe; the drinking games and rituals etc.
And then they discussed the bonding and battle preparation methods, which involved a blue paint to make them invisible to the enemy and the rubbing in of sperm on their naked bodies to make them invincible in battle. This intrigued me, of course, because it was never explained how they actually got the sperm from each warrior: did their wives do the pre-battle honours, or was the extraction of that male essence done by male members of the tribe who didn't go into battle but stayed behind to protect women and children? And is this an evolutionary reason for homosexuality? That wasn't explained, to my regret, but it certainly should have warranted investigation.
Or they could have played an ancient version of the soggy biscuit game (if you have to ask, you don't want to know - but there is a funny explanation of the game here and for the purists, there is a Wikipedia entry)

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