Michael Singleton, St. George and the Dragon – the Self and the Other in:

Anthropos, page 63 - 84

Anthropos, Volume 115 (2020), Issue 1, ISSN: 0257-9774, ISSN online: 0257-9774,

Browse Volumes and Issues: Anthropos

Bibliographic information
PDF download Citation download Share
ANTHROPOS 113.2018: 395 – 422 Abstract. – The once more-or-less exclusively pastoral Todas of the Nilgiri Mountains in South India still retain vibrant beliefs in gods and goddesses they say once lived among them but thereafter became mountains; they tell also of ancestors who were once living Todas but subsequently became divinities. Beyond such indigenous convictions, Todas have absorbed a plethora of Hindu beliefs and ritual practices. Christian ideology has been propagated among Todas, with foreign-led Christian missionaries succeeded in establishing a breakaway Toda Christian community. But notwithstanding the many divergent sources of Toda religious ideology, the predominant and most public display of Toda ritual activity (apart from among Christian Todas) still centres on their unique sacred dairying cult, despite the rapid decline in the importance of buffaloes in the community’s modern-day economic life. This, together with their exclusively Toda deities and culture heroes seems to suggest a unique ethnic religion, frequently categorized as “non-Hindu.” But demonstrably Indic (therefore, if only loosely, “Hindu”) principles permeate Toda ritual activity. Most notable are the concepts of hierarchy and purity and those of prescribed ritual avoidance coupled with required ritual cooperation. In sum, Toda religion – like the Toda community itself – is at once unique and, at the same time, thoroughly Indic. [South India, Nilgiri Mountains, Toda] Anthony Walker, an Oxford-trained social anthropologist, retired as Professor of Anthropology at the University of Brunei Darussalam in 2011 and now lives in Kandy, Sri Lanka. His peripatetic career has included teaching positions at the Science University of Malaysia in Penang, the National University of Singapore, The Ohio State University, and the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji. – He began his, still-ongoing, field studies with the Todas in 1962 and has also conducted long-term field research (since 1966) on the Tibeto-Burman speaking Lahu peoples of the Yunnan-Indochina borderlands. – For his major publications on the Todas see References Cited. The Todas believe in their Goddess Thekershi (Tö·kisy1). They worship Goddess Thekershi for protection during their eternal (perhaps “mortal” was intended) existence and they also worship God Ayan (Ö·n) to protect them after death. The Todas do not observe idol worship. Todas worship light, fire, mountains, trees, rivers, sky, sun, and moon, which are believed to be the major creations of their Goddess Thekershi.2 1 Introduction In his recent book “Religion. An Anthropological Perspective” (2015: 9), Professor Homayun Sidky, my much esteemed former PhD student at The Ohio State University, claims: “no single definition has been able to capture the entire picture” of the religious phenomenon. “For this reason”, Sidky writes, “some argue that religion is best thought of as a multifaceted phenomenon with many interpenetrating dimensions as opposed to being viewed as a unitary occurrence.” This indeed is my interpretation of religion as understood and practised by the once more-or-less exclusively pastoral Toda community 1 The orthography of Toda in this essay follows that of Murray Emeneau (1957: 19; 1984: 5–49), except that I have added hyphenation where I feel this might assist non-specialists with pronunciation, hence my To·r-θas and Töw-fił̣y, where Emeneau has To·rθas and Töwfił̣y. (Note, however, that I do not add hyphenation to Toda words when quoting directly – as I do frequently – from Emeneau’s various works. Further assistance with the pronunciation of Toda words rendered in Emeneau’s transcription can be had from Tarun Chhabra’s “A Guide for the Transliteration of Toda” in his 2015 book “The Toda Landscape,” pp. xxxvii–xliii. 2 From the pen of Pöḷ-xe·n, son of Mut-iŝky – his name anglicized as Pellican (n. d.) – a member of Ka·s patriclan, first president of the Nilgiri Toda Uplift Society, high school graduate and literate both in Tamil and English. The Diverse Faces of Toda Religion Anthony R. Walker ANTHROPOS 115.2020: 63–83 St. George and the Dragon – the Self and the Other Part 1 Michael Singleton Abstract. – Letting the St. George of the medieval legend stand for the Self (G) and the Dragon (D) for the Other (human and nonhuman), then a priori their relationship lends itself to three main models: the first, gd, where the Self grabs all and the Other loses everything. A pos‐ teriori, taking religion (ligare) properly so called to be based on obligatory reciprocity, hunter-gatherers, “primitive” agricul‐ turalists, and neoliberal capitalists, respectively, embody a-reli‐ gious, religious, and irreligious Choices of Society – options still of vital importance for our common future. [St. George, the Dragon, the Self, the Other, hunting-gathering, agriculture, capitalism, mankind’s future] Michael Singleton, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium. – Studied theology and philosophy (Rome) and social anthropology (Oxford); Di‐ rector of the Institute for Environmental Studies at the Univer‐ sity of Dakar; and founder of the Laboratory of Prospective Anthropology in the University of Louvain. – Fieldwork in most regions of Africa. – Amongst his more recent books are: “Amateurs de chiens de Dakar. Plaidoyer pour un interprétariat anthropologique” (Louvain la Neuve 1998) and “Critique de l'ethnocentrisme” (Paris 2004). – See also References Cited. Email: “Seek and ye shall find” … more often than not exactly what you were ooki g for! An empty head being an epistemological illusion (Gadamer 1975: 250ff.), I am not suggesting an ethnologist should empty his, so as to encounter the actors of “Other Cultures” (Beattie 1964) free from any pre‐ judgment whatsoever. As an ageing anthropolo‐ gist, I am simply taking note of the fact that more often than not I have stumbled by chance on the data, which have ended up in the lucubrations to which I am most attached. The pages which fol‐ low in no way answer to a working hypothesis. I never set out to collect field material about St. George and the Dragon nor ever imagined compil‐ ing a 600-page dossier from which the following have been extracted. It just so happened that dur‐ ing the Second World War our fireman father away putting out fires caused by the blitz, mother lulled my brother, and I to sleep with stories read from “Saints for Six o’Clock.” Our favorite was that of the valorous knight St. George freeing a princess from the cannibalistic clutches of a das‐ tardly dragon by slicing off its head. It would have been too much to ask of our sleepy minds to real‐ ize that the story was “really” about the fight to death between the Good God and the Evil Devil for the salvation of our souls from sin and hell. Nor did this thought ever occur to our two young boys who, in the mosquito-ridden heat of Dakar where we found ourselves in the early 1980 s, also preferred to be put to sleep with my somewhat raci r version George and the Dragon. In the ye r 2000, having to open a seminar on “Myth and Reality” in our Laboratory for Prospective An‐ thropology in Louvain, if my choice fell on the ha‐ giograp ic l gend in question it was because I had increasingly become aware that it as rooted in the religious reality of “primitive” agriculturalists in general and of African villagers in particular. In describing how I chanced upon St. George and the Dragon before explaining why I bothered with its lasting meaning and ethical implications, I hope to have acted upon one of the first lessons the WaKonongo of Tanzania taught me in 1969. Anthropos 115.2020 They rightly wondered how on earth I had sudden‐ ly appeared in their midst and had every right to know what I intended to do with the information they fed me. If specialists in hermeneutics are right (and if they are wrong, you must be able to prove it), then it is impossible to come across the supposedly objective significance things substan‐ tially enjoyed before any attempt to represent their meaning subjectively. Consequently, an anthropol‐ ogist cannot simply dump what he has found at the feet of his readers as if it represented the real truth of sheer matters of fact. Before explaining what he makes of it the best an anthropologist can do is to present the material he was given. Hence the two main parts of this text. The first will describe the “facts” or facta, which function as the data for re‐ flective anthropological “refection.” Unfortunate‐ ly, in English this latter term at the best can be un‐ derstood as “food for thought,” whereas in French it has kept the etymological meaning of a “re‐ make” (reficere), i.e., a (re)factualization of what from being “already made” has become a potential for further thought and action. What individual persons and collective peoples at different periods and diverse places have already made of the ele‐ ments and issues I have associated with “St. George and the Dragon” are “facts” or facta in their own right. However, as is the case in any meaningful interaction, one man’s facts become the data, which another must elaborate upon. Thus, our second part will detail what I in my turn have made of the material received and collected. Some of my refactualizations seek to explain eth‐ nologically what was going forward ethnographi‐ cally. In “actual fact,” it is fundamentally a question of the ritualized regulation of the rain or other hydric resources. Others, more “anthropological,” will bear on what the reality underlying St. George and the Dragon could if not should mean: namely, what it takes to be religiously and salutary human. The Data about St. George and the Dragon St. George & Co in Christianity Even in our post-religious and dechristianized West, there must be few people who, on seeing our opening illustration, would not immediately recognize St. George killing the dragon despite its falling short of the classical Renaissance style rep‐ resentations of the event listed by Google’s spon‐ taneously ethnocentric algorithmic authors. How‐ ever, in so doing, they would not be entirely right 1 1.1 – not that, ignoring the Amharic inscription, they can be blamed for mistaking St. Mercurius for St. George. The image reminds us of two things. The first being that St. George is simply the most widely known of a whole canonized army of mili‐ tary devil slayers. At first simply one of the four most outstanding lieutenants of God in His fight against the Devil and his ilk, George came to oc‐ cupy center stage alone, leaving his three compan‐ ions in arms, Demetrius, Theodorus, and Pro‐ copius in the wings. Historians of Christianity1 have numbered over a thousand saintly soldiers in‐ cluding eighty dragon slayers and amongst the lat‐ ter a couple of popularly if not properly canonized female dragon tamers such as Saint Marguerite or Martha who got the better of the Provencal Tarasque. Unlike their male companions in arms bent on brutally eliminating the dragon, these 1 Not to speak of their innumerable pagan parallels (cf. Aarne 1964: Aarne-Thompson’s rubric AT300) together with the mythical heroes of “primitive” peoples or the legendary fig‐ ures of worldwide folklore – long before their equally plethoric avatars appeared on the scene thanks to Walt Dis‐ ney & Co and the authors of video games. Fig. 1: A recent painting on parchment (31cm x 22cm) ac‐ quired in Addis Ababa, 1976, at the height of Mengistu’s revo‐ lution. It portrays St. Mercurius (born in 224 and beheaded by Emperor Decius in 250) as a noble Abyssinian warrior on horseback spearing a diabolical python which, as will be seen in Fig. 3, embodied for Ethiopians converted to Coptic Chris‐ tianity, their pagan past. His having two spears might echo the story of the archangel St. Michael giving him an extra sword to complement the one he owned as a soldier in the Roman army. The dragon slayer being mounted and usually on a white charger is also an identifying feature. The first St. George was an infantry man and though most Africans were more aware of the existence of horses than the Inca, their conquering hero came on foot. White is the color of Pegasus and the horse of the Apocalypse (Ap 19.11). 64 Michael Singleton Anthropos 115.2020 women tend to spare the beast and even end up pitying him. Much of what will follow in this text falls far short of the standards required by today’s politi‐ cally correct. To begin with, in so far as St. George ended up as the promoter not only of a spiritually muscular Christianity but of sheer military might and thus implying that God could be uncondition‐ ally with “Us” (Gott mit uns) against “Them” (the Muslims, the heretics, the French, …), he can hardly be taken as evangelically exemplary. Be‐ fore being raised to the status of a divine Christ, it is difficult to imagine the man from Nazareth hav‐ ing discouraged his closest followers from taking up arms, welcoming with open arms the advent of militarily organized monks (Seward 1972). The religious justification of violence apart, feminists will rightly protest the machismo of the whole phenomenon – especially when, as will be seen, the legendary offering of the princess to the drag‐ on echoes the effective sacrifice of young girls to male “divinities.” On the other hand, there is as little evidence to prove that George had initially figured as Georgette demonstrating tender loving care and not aggressive hatred towards the dragon than there is to show that God before becoming a stern patriarch had been at first a caring matriarch. Though if Lucy were his name the first man was a woman, neither the ethology of primates nor the ethnography of hunter-gatherers lend credence to the ousting of a primordially peaceful matriarchal phase of emergent humanity by a band of randy, patriarchally inclined males. That at present in lit‐ erature for children, girls now get the better of the dragon as much as boys (Vinson 2006) could sim‐ ply be the unquestioned actualization of the am‐ biguously amazon-like traits (maternal yet mili‐ tary) of most historically known female figures (Jung 1953). The second reason for starting out with a non‐ western image of a holy warrior is that George and his saintly colleagues in arms were first and wide‐ ly known in the Christian East at a time when Christians in the pagan West were as insignificant as they have now become in the Islamized Middle East. In that region, long before the advent of Christianity and Islam, there had existed a widespread and long lived tradition portraying not only human heroes getting the better of mortal en‐ emies but of mythical cosmic figures overcoming primeval chaos. Christian iconography recycled pagan equivalents of (mounted) warriors winning out over (animal) adversaries. It is important to note that this duelist dualism is a local and not a universal theme, present at certain periods amongst given peoples but absent from others. St. George & Co are the last in a long line of dragon slayers secreted by and symbolic of the militant monotheist’s peculiar belief in a Manichean strug‐ gle to the finish between Good and Evil. While awaiting the final outcome, in practice this belief tends to be more ditheist, involving two indepen‐ dent equally matched forces, than strictly monotheistic. Hunter-gatherers such as the BaM‐ buti Pygmies of the Congo know only of a benev‐ olent forest and nothing of a malevolent devil and the impressive monotheism of the pastoralist Nuer of the Soudan never incited them to launch a Holy War in God’s name to wipe out atheistic misbe‐ lievers. Returning to the remnants of the legend of St. George and the Dragon, which ever diminishingly linger on in the postmodern Western mind or which still survive here and there in European folklore, the popular pageants can be traced back to the hagiographic story composed c. 1260 from the material at the disposition by the saintly Do‐ minican Bishop of Genoa, Jacobus de Voragine, and included in his monumental work “The Gold‐ en Legend” (1998). His compilation was widely read and remained immensely influential up to the dawn of modern times. Until Vatican II, priests still read excerpts reciting daily the breviary. Be‐ fore this medieval St. George there had been many others – some significantly without the dragon and many at first not particularly chivalrous or com‐ bative. Even if I were competent enough to do so, which is far from being the case, this is not the place for a remake of the innumerable monograph‐ ic works scholars have consecrated to the origins, expansion, and demise of the various historical figures who have little more in common than the name George. Be that as it may, a brief recall of what was commonly believed about St. George is in order since despite its Christian coloring the story is clearly rooted in the reasoning and the ritual of a once widespread rural mode of production. George had begun life or rather death as a highranking soldier of the Roman army. While under the orders of Diocletian in Libya he is reputed to have overcome a band of brigands headed by a certain Nahfr (or “snake”) operating from a swampy region near the town of Silene from whose inhabitants they demanded daily two sheep or failing that a slave. However, a Christian from birth, he was decapitated on April 23rd, 303, in Lydda, by order of the same emperor who had turned against this new and suspect faith. Identi‐ fied by some with Lod in present-day Palestine, St. George and the Dragon – the Self and the Other 65 Anthropos 115.2020 Lydda is located by others in Libya. For the an‐ cients this was the northern fringe of Africa as a whole – not only the other side of one and the same civilization but with Egypt its very place of origin. Whether it be fortuitous or not, note already a martyrdom in springtime for someone whose Greek name ge+orgos signifies literally “agricul‐ tural laborer” and would have initially been imme‐ diately understood by Christian peasants as “tiller of the soil,” “toiling peasant” (Virgil’s “Georgics” are simply a poetic manual for farmers). At first in eastern Christianity St. George was imagined and imaged as standing alone as a simple foot soldier, both in theological thought and popular piety. Im‐ ages of “divine” beings getting the better of “dia‐ bolical” adversaries in primeval times, together with heroic horsemen spearing monstrous cre‐ atures underfoot figure frequently in the iconogra‐ phy of the Ancient World. One example amongst thousands: Emperor Constantine had himself de‐ picted a cross above his head, spearing and thrust‐ ing into the abyss a dragon representing evil in the shape of his enemy Licinius (Waha 1977: 45). Yet, neither hideous dragon nor white charger are present in the earliest representations of St. George. Atrociously and sadistically tortured for seven years, amongst other torments being flayed alive and having molten lead poured down his throat, George bounced back from the dead on at least three occasions. It was not for nothing that he became known as the megalo-martyr, the most martyred of all martyrs. The absolute need for all Christians to undergo martyrdom up to the year 312, when the persecut‐ ed were abruptly transformed into persecutors, has recently been questioned by historians.2 However, in the case of St. George, another reason than his courageously witnessing to eternal life could ac‐ count for his immense and lasting popularity espe‐ cially in rural communities. His being repeatedly dismembered, yet just as regularly returning to life on earth, turned him into the Christian equivalent of those pagan personifications who cut to pieces then restored whole had previously functioned as the sacramental symbols of an agricultural cycle during which the seed, after being sorrowfully put to death and buried in spring, was triumphantly greeted on its yearly rising again at the close of the autumnal harvest. The very day I wrote these lines I saw on TV a documentary about French Catholicism in which a well-known wine grower 2 Brown (2008); Baslez (2007); Veyne (2005); Lane Fox (1986). associated his deep faith in the crucifixion and res‐ urrection of Christ with the annual death and re‐ birth of grapes. This came as a fascinating confir‐ mation of a frequently recorded phenomenon. Movements whose inspired instigators such as Buddha or Jesus, Mahomet … had at first rejected the religiously established order of their day soon became (sometimes, as with Mahomet, in their own lifetime) religions in their own right and as such basically at the service of the down to earth concerns of their predominantly rural adherents. In some instances, this reduction or return of an ini‐ tially spiritual radicalism to the mundane purposes of religion as defined and desired by the people could be deliberate. A case in point would be the assimilation by Yoruba slaves in Brazil of Chris‐ tian Saints to their ancestral embodiments of birth and death, sickness and health, fortune and misfor‐ tune. The phenomenon is habitually decried by purist theologians and just as ethnocentrically de‐ scribed by elitist sociologists as “popular reli‐ gion.”3 To my mind it would be far more plausible to see in the spontaneity of the wine grower’s tes‐ timony a confirmation of a topological tenet which demands that the association of distinct mentali‐ ties and mores with differing milieus be taken into account before proceeding to judgments of value. The people in general and peasants in particular have just as much a right to their religion as re‐ formers and revolutionaries to theirs. There is nothing more untoward in St. George’s becoming for rural Christianity the sacrament of spring as there is reprehensible in Western predecessors of Father Christmas representing winter. The first generation of historians of religion was to make much mileage out of this merging of a Christian martyr with the “corn spirit” of the An‐ cient World and its equivalents in “primitive” agri‐ cultural societies. Whatever might be the religion formally professed by animistic, Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, or Muslim peasants, what counts primordially is that “the gods deliver the goods.” These latter depended on the rains revitalizing the fields. The former, as Evehemerus rightly under‐ stood, were the transformation of other historical figures such as St. George into incarnations of re‐ alities vital to survival in rural cultures. 3 On returning from Africa to work in Brussels for an Interna‐ tional Research and Information Centre (Pro Mundi Vita) at the service of ecclesiastical deciders, the right of the people to their religion (equivocally dubbed “popular religion” by those who outside to the left derided it or to the right pro‐ tected it) constituted my first center of interest (Singleton 1979). 66 Michael Singleton Anthropos 115.2020 On occasion, the city dwelling clerical defend‐ ers of conciliar creeds condemn and combat this relapse of the supernatural into rural paganism (if the pleonasm be permitted – pagus meaning coun‐ tryside). Sometimes they condescendingly resign themselves to turning a blind paternalistic eye to the religious beliefs and behavior of the simple faithful. However, more often than not Catholic Christianity having become de facto one religion amongst others, the higher and not only the lower clergy have come to take for granted the satisfying of popular religious demand. None the less and significantly in the region which would become known as Georgia, fearing that St. George’s pas‐ sion might outstrip the relevance of Christ’s, church authorities took measures to tone down popular devotion to the suffering saint. In 481, the Council of Laodicea condemned the worship of warrior saints such as St. Michael and St. George as redolent of paganism. By 496, the gruesome story of long drawn-out martyrdom had already been put on an index of prohibited readings by Pope Gelasius. However, at a later date, when the transformation of a humble, peasant-like martyr into the patron saint of the Eastern, then the West‐ ern world’s military elite had been completed, the hierarchy of the Church, far from expressing ob‐ jections to this betrayal of evangelical pacifism, launched crusades in his name! If the simple faithful had been able to identify with the early images of St. George by Renais‐ sance times, he had become as remote from the everyday world of peasants as knightly pageantry itself.4 While it is worth noting this narrowing down of the rural relevance of St. George to mili‐ tary issues something of more fundamental import and interest is at stake not only for Christian faith but for the academic be he concerned with the phenomenon of Christianity as an exegete, an his‐ torian, or an anthropologist. What, they can rightly wonder, is the relation between any St. George from the sacrament of vegetation to the symbol of supposedly just wars to the Jewish prophet from Nazareth? Like any radical bent on openly freeing people from the hierarchically established order of things ideological and institutional, Jesus clearly 4 The specialists, who organize exhibitions dedicated to the “Glory of Saint George” (to echo the title given to an excep‐ tional one in Mons [Busine et Sellink 2015]), tend to display encyclopedic erudition and aesthetic savvy in their cata‐ logues, but rarely allude to ideological issues (the conflict‐ ing uses to which the material has been put) or its sociologi‐ cal ambiguities (such as the ecclesiastical and elitist recuper‐ ation of figures initially enjoying more popular and collec‐ tive functions). foresaw the likelihood of his having to suffer dear‐ ly for his convictions. But like his prophetical forebears or present-day parallels, while alive he never attached any soteriological significance to his eventually being put to death by the powers that be. Beginning with St. Paul who, bowled over by his vision of a cosmic Christ, apparently never bothered to enquire much about the historical Je‐ sus despite his frequenting those who had known him, even the Lord’s first followers transformed the crucifixion into the kind of vicarious blood sacrifice with which the Ancient World was all too familiar. Pagan detractors of Christianity such as Celsius can be forgiven for not seeing much difference between the redemptive passion of Christ and other religious figures of his age such as Osiris. Mere scholars have no mandate to decide to what extent the theological transformation of the man Jesus into a divine Christ was divinely in‐ spired. Believing in any paradigm involving a leap (preferably not into the dark!), faith can neither be directly induced nor invalidated apodictically by academic analysis. Nonetheless, it behooves a rea‐ soning believer to take critical note of the fact that Christ-like figures such as St. George functioned in rural settings as the Christian equivalents of pa‐ gan corn deities and as divine lieutenants in armed struggles for geopolitical might. For despite all the efforts of pastorally minded theologians to enroll the story of St. George and the Dragon into exem‐ plifying the spiritual struggle between God and the Devil for the soul’s eternal salvation, by the time of the Middle Ages for the popular and princely mind the knightly saint was clearly seen to be tak‐ ing sides in real-life bloody battles. After humbly undergoing suffering at the hands of sadistic sol‐ diery, St. George having got the upper hand came to spend his time aggressively humiliating the evil enemies of local warlords – albeit, the victors be‐ lieved (vae victis!) in the name of the Good Lord. Long before, Constantine had been convinced that Christ had appeared in the sky as a numinous gen‐ eralissimo on the eve of his victory over Maxen‐ tius at the battle of the Milvian Bridge on October 28th, 312. Likewise between the 11th and the 16th century in the West, St. George apparently turned up in person on numerous battlefields to swing the odds in favor of God’s elect and against legions of adversaries in league with the Devil – be they Muslim infidels, Christian heretics, or simply a foreign if not neighboring foe. “For St. George and England!” was long the battle cry of merce‐ nary hordes from Britain marauding on the conti‐ nent of Europe – which is probably why Saint St. George and the Dragon – the Self and the Other 67 Anthropos 115.2020 Joan of Arc put an end to their hooliganism in the name of St. Michael, a far more superior slayer of unwanted vermin. Somewhat surprisingly, St. George, champion of the crusaders, is still venerated by Muslims as well as Christians in Palestine – more, as we will see, as al khadr, “the green one,” than as a holy war warrior. Even more paradoxical is his reuse by communist Russia. Henneghien (2013: 51, 52) re‐ produces a gaudy revolutionary poster dating from 1929 portraying comrade Trotsky seated knightly on a white charger mercilessly spearing the ago‐ nizing snake of capitalism and a photo of the more than life-sized bronze statue of a mounted St. George thrusting his lance into a heap of ballistic missiles installed sixty years later by the USSR in the gardens of the UN in New York. The saint is of course still alive and well in European folklore and in various festivals of which some, such as the annual shooting with a pistol of the Doudou or Dragon in Mons, figure on the UNESCO’s world heritage list. As former students continue to sent me photos of St. George on sardine tins or bottles of beer neither the saint nor his dragon seem likely to disappear in the immediate future from the scene of our post-religious and post-Christian world. One wonders whether Australian aborig‐ ines still whirl around their heads bull-roarers identified with Ungud, the primeval snake and Lord of the Rains who was responsible in illo tem‐ pore for actualizing the present-day world from the primeval waters and with whom medicine men continue to collaborate in its annual remaking. In China, at the other end of the institutionally com‐ plex (nothing as complicated ideology as aborig‐ ine kinship!), “the dragon was associated with fer‐ tility, the rain and water in general” (Ivanhoff 2006: 24). If our “either/or” mentality means we are confused by the dragon often being represent‐ ed as a snake and vice versa, the Chinese see therein no contradiction since what counts is that both embody the rain and the ancestors (Granet 1929: 205). Even more to our point than these general convergences in the symbolizing of lifegiving waters with aquatic animals are stories ex‐ plicitly resembling our St. George and the Dragon. In the locality of Linshui, there was a cave in which (as in Africa) dwelt an ogress in the form of a white serpent who was wont to devastate the crops with wind, rain, and hail unless appeased by the annual offering of a boy and a girl. At the re‐ quest of the local headman, a wandering mage tried to kill the monster but ended up imprisoned in a golden bell. Jinngu, his sister, even more mage than her brother, rescued him and chopped the dragon in three. The tale concludes on to us a somewhat stranger note in that to deliver the coun‐ try from a terrible drought, Jinngu allows herself to be aborted in order to accomplish a rain making ritual. Divinized, this female St. George became the protector of pregnant women (Berthier 1988: 135). If media coverage is to be believed both in China and the Chinese diaspora, the dragon still looms larger than life in annual festivities – though it is unlikely that city-dwelling, postmod‐ ern participants are still aware that up to the close of the 19th century in its iconic homeland peasants identified their saurian interlocutor (but usually without St. George) with the rain. In Mexico, be‐ fore being recuperated in the Aztec pantheon, the feathered Snake, Quetzalcoatl, had been an ances‐ tral figure linked to the rain and fertility by a rela‐ tively pacific peasant population. He took to his heels, provoking a disastrous drought (shades of his cousins in the Sahel) following on the on‐ slaught of Chichimec hordes and their bellicose Tezcatlipoco (Duverger 2003: 235). If the cross-cultural phenomenon we have la‐ beled pars pro toto as St. George and the Dragon and briefly sampled would seem universal, its uni‐ versality needs to be further specified. It does not result from some Lucy or other long ago having an intuition and convincing mankind to act upon it, nor does it answer to that universal longing for fu‐ sion with the “Transcendent Other” postulated by theologians since St. Augustine’s cor inquietum, even less does it cover the diverse cultural expres‐ sions of that deep seated religious trait of human nature many academics appear to take for granted. It is simply that until the recent advent of the mod‐ ern individual’s pretention to be able to go it alone, the Self in whatever cultural setting it hap‐ pened to find itself, acknowledged the fact that survival was impossible without the water sup‐ plied by an Other. The point of this brief and patchy overview has not been to list different facets of one and the same saint but to suggest we are dealing with a se‐ ries of saintly figures and functions substantially different according to the ends they were and still are intended to meet. Their legendary nature and polymorphic incompressibility disturbs neither the historian nor the anthropologist. Though Jean‐ maire (1951) entitled his 500-page monograph “Dionysos” in the singular, the reader is left with the impression of an actor as irreducibly piece‐ meal as any portrait painted by Picasso. On first hearing the WaKonongo mention a more than lin‐ eage “spirit” Katabi, I hoped further enquiries would enable me to pin down his historical origins 68 Michael Singleton Anthropos 115.2020 and draw up the kind of synthetic portrait police use in their search for missing persons or crimi‐ nals enabling me to identity him as quintessential‐ ly the spirit of this rather than that. I ended up, however, with a series of stills, which every shake of the kaleidoscope changed into someone else. It took me a while to realize that the problem was not so much that now for lack of witnesses and documents we would never know who Katabi had at first been and what had then been his primordial purpose but rather that he had never represented anything so precisely particular or played an exact exclusive role. The anthropologist is content with inventorying the incompressible at times legendary plurality of the relations between the Self and the Other. Tak‐ ing into account their respective sociohistoric situ‐ ations, he feels able to explain their irreducible differences without in anyway wanting to reduce them to status of mere avatars of some supposedly archetypical constant or fundamental eventually founding figure. This is clearly not the attitude adopted by the authorities of the Roman Catholic Church. The Vatican, ever fearful that one foot on the slippery slope of constructivism and the foun‐ dations of its faith would slide into irrelevant rela‐ tivism apparently continues to cling onto a some‐ what outdated form of historical positivism. In the light of an understanding of historical reality, which few professional historians now share, Rome by abruptly removing him from the liturgi‐ cal calendar declared devotion to him totally un‐ founded. Unbeliever and believer alike must be able to stumble across historical occurrences just as readily as they can really, albeit unwittingly, stub their toe against a stone. In the same way that Catholic and non-Catholic have every good reason (ratio credendi) to believe in the objective exis‐ tence of onto-theology’s occult entities, such as demons and angels, historical events, to be really true, must have effectively taken place in such a way that a video surveillance camera could have recorded them. Unless Christ’s rising from the grave had been de facto just as visible as Lazarus’s emerging from his tomb, the Resurrection would be basically meaningless. Having been made aware eighteen centuries later that St. George had been from the outset a legendary figure with no grounding in “objectively” historical “facts,” prompted by this extraverted empiricism, the teaching authority of the Church decided to abruptly eliminate St. George along with other fig‐ ments of popular imagination from its liturgical calendar. It is only if truth is the conformity (adae‐ quatio) between a subjective point of view and the already objectively meaningful that epistemology can lord it over ethical relevance. Myth being about moral commitment is not subservient to his‐ torical materiality. To an anthropologist who has lived with people for whom myth is for real, this having to choose between the illusions of myth or the reality of his‐ tory appears to mistake material givens (data) for the meanings (facta) to be made of them in keep‐ ing with conventional criteria of credibility pre‐ vailing in a particular culture at a certain moment in time. Though one can hardly fall in love with‐ out a heart, having a pump and feeling passionate are not one and the same thing! I once suggested to some elderly WaKonongo that with a video camera I would have been able to expose a simba mtu or lion-man’s bluff by filming him dressing up in a lion skin and fixing iron claws together with wooden paws to his hands and feet. As usual they looked at me as if I had just landed from outer space – a attitude which, as I came from a totally different place, was not far from the mark. “Of course we know the carver and the smith who fur‐ nished the lion-man with his equipment” they replied, adding, though not as exactly or explicitly as in my words, that what they understood by be‐ ing human and by being animal having little or nothing in common with my notions of Homo sapiens and Panthera leo, a mtu could readily be‐ come a simba and vice versa. Seeing empirical ev‐ idence is not the same as believing in significant facts. In Catholic eyes, a consecrated host is more than a piece of bread. And a table is only a table if you have been programmed to make of the wood‐ en legged object before your eyes something to eat from or studying upon. A Pygmy confronted with the same sensorial thing would conclude that Eu‐ ropeans did not know how to make huts able to withstand the elements or prevent snakes from dis‐ turbing one’s sleep. When the WaKonongo first made mention of their dragon, Katabi, as being a huge whirlwind-like creature standing on one leg in a swamp,5 I presumed that they were seeing things or confusing dust storms and herons with spirits. Then I began to realize that what they had first and foremost in mind was the possibility of negotiating with its personified proprietor a satis‐ 5 Exploring the one-legged theme would take us too far afield. Katabi’s being associated with the phenomenon might have been circumstantially, but the pastoralist Masai of Kenya re‐ late the issue to a primeval occurrence. For them, if the world is at present well watered and productive, it is because in illo tempore a celestial being fought and vanquished a one-legged earthly counterpart whose spilled blood turned into water (Schmidt 1940: 371). St. George and the Dragon – the Self and the Other 69 Anthropos 115.2020 factory supply of what I treated as a purely natural resource: water. Anything else such as what Katabi might look like, be or do when not imme‐ diately involved in interlocutory interaction was to their way of seeing and doing things, quite beside the point. Theology (for better or for worse!) is not an‐ thropology. From his theoretical point of view, the theologian might be right in insinuating that ficti‐ tious figures such as St. George can hardly heed the faithful’s prayers. From his more practical viewpoint, the fieldworker simply observes that the profit people gain from myth and legend often exceed the lessons to be learnt from supposedly historical “facts.” If this essay has any point, it is to show, that whether there was ever a real-live George is neither here nor there when it comes to evaluating the permanent and profound import of his representing the Self in ritual and myth. If to be historically true, things must have “really” tak‐ en place as they are said or thought to have hap‐ pened, then the story of St. George and the Dragon is as false as all other legends bearing on a heroic combat to the finish with some mythical monster or other. In this respect, St. George together with Hercules getting the better of the river Achelous, now a bull, now a dragon, now a bearded giant, so as to win the hand of Dejanira whom they both coveted would be but two of the same shoal of fish swimming in the immense ocean of mythical make believe. However, there is hardly a slope more slippery than that starting out on the presumed tangibility of historically objective truth. The teaching au‐ thority of a Church, which feels it had sound em‐ pirical grounds for getting rid of St. George, must prove it has more phenomenologically plausible motives for the existence of its other canonized combatants such as the archangel Michael or the Blessed Virgin. The critical Christian in search of present-day “reasons to believe” (rationes creden‐ di) might be forgiven for wondering why the dev‐ il, a fallen archangel, believed to have been en‐ chained in hell at the beginning of the world and whom an apocalyptic woman will supposedly crush at its ending, are absolutely more real and credible than other such legendary dragons defeat‐ ed in illo tempore but destined to finally seek their revenge. If the arch demon and its arch enemy are not literally for real, for what more are they spiri‐ tually symbolic than the ousted St. George? Apart from the fact that according to their first recorded accounts the Resurrection and the Ascension con‐ stituted one and the same event, a believer today can wonder whether they could have been cap‐ tured on film in exactly the same way as a rocket launch – which, if it were the case, would put them in a league far superior to that in which St. George and the Dragon are reputed to have played. Be that as it may, when all is said and done, there remains a remarkable fact about the canoni‐ cal version of the story of St. George and the Dragon as told by Jacobus de Voragine and one all the more worthy of anthropological attention in that the saintly bishop was apparently quite un‐ aware of it. As a pastorally inclined theologian he had sought to relocate on a higher spiritual ground the patron saint invoked by bellicose lords striving to get the divine on their side in battering their en‐ emies. At first sight neither of these two Georges, that of the priests and that of the princes, have anything in common with the rural rites and rea‐ soning of peasants seeking to ensure the regular return of the rains. And yet little or no effort is re‐ quired to catch between the lines of Jacobus’ ac‐ count an echo of a worldwide philosophy and practice intended to annually persuade the ances‐ tral proprietors of vital hydric resources to put them once again at the disposition of their depen‐ dent, agricultural communities. In the summary below, I have put in italics the terms which figure expressly in what Jacobus and other hagio‐ graphists wrote of the Dragon and St. George. If for once I put the dragon before his slayer, it is not only because he is the first to appear on the scene but to recall that St. George, far from being an in‐ tegral part of the initial play, only figures in cer‐ tain more dramatic versions of the interaction be‐ tween the Self and the Other. The hagiographists tell of Silene the capital of a Libyan kingdom being obliged to sacrifice regu‐ larly two sheep to a dragon whose neighboring do‐ main was a swampy depression. It is not impossi‐ ble that reflection in the mythical mode on the cy‐ cle of life and death inspired by the recurrent spec‐ tacle of spontaneous growth and decay in marshy bogs (local replicas of the primeval, chaotic slime from which the world emerged), was more specifi‐ cally associated with the swamps of Libya (Ba‐ chofen 1967: 59ff.). The fiery breath of this green‐ ish, crocodile-like creature was wont to wither crops. The stock of sheep exhausted, adolescents were offered to the monstrous ogre. In the end, on‐ ly the king’s daughter remained. A voluntary vic‐ tim, dressed as if for a wedding, the princess was tied to a stake by the lake to await her fate. A valiant knight mounted on a white charger, sud‐ denly appears from nowhere to spear the dragon and save the virgin girl. Some versions speak of 70 Michael Singleton Anthropos 115.2020 the hero splitting open the beast’s belly to free the undigested adolescents but the story usually ends with the girl using her girdle as a leash to lead the dragon back to the city where a madding mob somewhat misguidedly demand it be put to death once and for all.6 Rather than an echo of the Jew‐ ish crowd’s preferring Barabbas to Christ, the tam‐ ing of the dragon could answer to a modeling of the relations between the Self and the Other in which neither seek to win out alone. The scene is sometimes depicted in Renaissance paintings where the contrast between a walled city on the left and the wild terrain on the right instinctively reflects the peculiarly Western dichotomy between Nature and Culture. The subdued dragon being conducted from right to left could illustrate the first stirrings of Europe’s desire to dominate and domesticate savage nature which was to flourish “exemplarily” in England from the 1500 s on (Thomas 1984). More of this anon. For the moment, despite the clergy’s taking the tale an allegory of the individu‐ al soul being spiritually saved for eternity from the clutches of sin and Satan, thanks to one of God’s lieutenants, to the anthropologist’s amazement al‐ most every word of the medieval legend speaks literally of convictions and ceremonies he has ei‐ ther recorded himself in rural Africa or heard about from colleagues working in agricultural communities around the world. From the outset, the very name of the city Silene or “moon” in Greek reminds us that for obvious reasons the earth’s (cool) satellite rather than the (scorching) sun lends itself to symbolic associations with rain. An elderly MuKonongo once told me how two brothers being sent by their chief to the coast to bring back good fortune to their homeland, the younger returned with the life-giving rains where‐ as the elder unfortunately turned up with the burn‐ ing sun. Though not the birthplace of the Neolithic Revolution, archeologists associate North Africa with the spread of agriculture (Cauvin 1997). Talk of a kingdom sets the tale in the context of an ad‐ vanced agricultural mode of production. Its inven‐ tors had seen its initial form as resulting from a felix culpa which in illo tempore had put an end to the hunter-gather’s precarious and puerile depen‐ dence on the parsimonious goodwill of the Sky, initially too close for adult comfort on Earth. While they were from the outset fully cognizant of 6 Here the story shades off into the theme of the “Beauty and the Beast” where a monstrous creature falls in love with a beautiful woman only (as unhappily happened in the end to King Kong) to be wiped out by St. George & Co! the fact that hard labor and death itself had been the price to be paid for man’s coming of adult age, they appear to have been less aware of its hidden political costs: the confiding of authority first in the acceptable hands of experienced elders,7 but then and far more ambiguously the concentration of power in dynasties of increasingly autocratic monarchs. In hunter-gatherer societies, few if any specialists had monopolized relations with the sa‐ cred. Though availing themselves of what compe‐ tent authorities (such as skilled hunters or healers) could contribute to satisfactorily surviving in the struggle for life, according to Clastres (1980) most hunter gatherers avoided taking the first alienating step on the slippery slope towards the absolutely divine rights of kings. We will see that in telescop‐ ing the Self with a constitutional monarch in that one can suppose him to be surrounded by courtly elders, the medieval legend exactly reflects the po‐ litical situation prevailing in typical rural commu‐ nities. The offering of sheep (rain animals par ex‐ cellence [Singleton 2010: chap. 4]) and then ado‐ lescents to an interlocutor, incarnate in some form or other of an extraordinary aquatic creature, is seen in the story as a heinously horrendous and to‐ tally unwarranted exaction. This dramatic turn of events, absent from the classical, ancestral origi‐ nal, is due, as will be seen, to climatic changes for the worse. If the Ovid of the Metamorphoses is to be believed, this was already significantly the case in Libya. Phaeton’s crazing around the heavens in the Sun’s chariot was responsible for the drying up and desertification of North Africa. In the increas‐ ingly drought stricken regions of the Sahel, the de‐ mands of the symbolic owners of hydric resources was to prove as increasingly exaggerated and er‐ ratic as the resources themselves. The elders be‐ coming ever more unable to negotiate an accept‐ able price for the usufruct of a well, a river, or the rains, the need for a more heroic and muscular in‐ tervention made itself urgently felt. It is precisely in this critical conjuncture that with any luck a St. George-like figure appears from nowhere on the scene not as some deus ex machina but as a provi‐ dential savior. This borderline case, though it has become the norm in the definitive Western version of the sociohistoric material, must not make us forget that in normal conditions people found the management by their elders of do ut des or ex‐ 7 I have developed the thesis elsewhere that gerontocracy (whose ceremonial side was completely misunderstood as “ancestor worship”) was for millennia in Darwinian terms the most empirically justified structuring of social life (Sin‐ gleton 2015). St. George and the Dragon – the Self and the Other 71 Anthropos 115.2020 change relationships with the ancestral dragon not only inevitable but for the good of all concerned. Nothing can be had for nothing! And what is a black hen, a ram, or even an adolescent girl when, in return, the whole community profits from the revivifying return of the rains? Often figured in Africa as an enormous crocodile or huge snake and consequently envis‐ aged as less weirdly wonderful than its Walt Dis‐ ney counterparts or Asiatic parallels (Privat 2006), the dragon’s being linked to a watery abode yet breathing fire and brimstone might seem to us somewhat contradictory. In the eyes of its initial interlocutors, however, nothing would have seemed more natural. “To the ears” would be a less ethnocentric expression, since we are dealing with actors belonging to purely oral cultures. For them the dragon-like partner was a sacramental personification of what we deem to be a mere nat‐ ural phenomenon: the annual alternating between the dry and the rainy season. Having been “made into a person” (persona facere), what could be more normal than its association with desiccating heat and reinvigorating floods? Anyone who has welcomed with relief the first heavy rains after suffering from the dusty heat of nine parched months as we did in Dakar will have no difficulty in understanding the African dragon’s sudden change of humor! Given that the hagiographists were often mem‐ bers of religious orders (Jacobus de Voragine him‐ self was a Dominican) particularly impressive is the fact that in recycling the material they failed to bowdlerize its pagan undertones. On the one hand, they instinctively insinuate that the princess was a consecrated virgin and St. George a celibate knight yet, on the other, they explicitly write that the adolescent was escorted to the dragon’s lacus‐ trine quarters bedecked in bridal finery as if for her wedding. It is true that, unlike the outcome of similar but more romantic and less religious leg‐ ends, the hagiographic prince and princess do not end up living happily married ever afterward sur‐ rounded by a plethoric offspring. Both are des‐ tined to inherit the Kingdom of God from which the filth of sex and the pis aller of marriage will have been fortunately banished forever. The happy endings of fairy tale versions with a wandering hero settling down to a pleasant and prolific mar‐ ried life are but a distant echo of the ecoeconomic and sociocultural meaning of the original – to which Jacobus de Voragine’s story still bears wit‐ ness. George, the nomadic stranger, after domesti‐ cating the dragon (the water supply without which the agriculturally productive base of the city would be in jeopardy) is in turn domesticated by the princess – saved from a sacrificial death so as to sacrifice herself maritally for the reproductive purposes of her people. Production (political man‐ agement of the environment and hydric resources in particular) and reproduction (the producing of offspring rather than conjugal bliss) constituted the hard core of the convictions and ceremonies at the historical roots of the first St. George and the Dragon. Speaking of the original in the singular is a purely academic, analytic convention. For even at the beginning there were several different stories. In the narrative most common to sub-sahelian Africa of which it will be especially question here, St. George or the Self is embodied in the elders who regularly offer not so much a princess as a young spouse to the dragon, the interlocutory in‐ carnation of the rains, rivers, and springs. In speaking of the king’s daughter being brought to the dragon dressed as a bride, religious authors un‐ wittingly echoed a culturally widespread custom of offering to a superhuman respondent a human partner, which specialists have described as “hi‐ erogamy” or sacred marriage. Frazer even speaks of theogamy (1950: 140) and Cavicchi (2010: 267) notes how popular traditions in Italy refer to the princess’s being dressed as if for her marriage. In the real life instances which took place in the Africa I knew no more was clearly at stake than providing (symbolically and often temporarily) a young wife for the ancestral owner of the rains. Once detached from its grassroots relevance, the phenomenon takes off into the realm of sheer fan‐ tasy (sometimes sublimely theological as in the biblical Canticle of Canticles) and mere ritualism – as in ancient Mesopotamia (Kramer 1969). Animal rights activists now agitating for the hu‐ mane killing of fish, the putting cruelly to death of living creatures for religious purposes, let alone the selective sacrifice of females, are not practices likely to endear non-Western beliefs to the post‐ modern mind – at least to those not in favor of un‐ conditional abortion.8 Without wanting to excuse 8 Here as elsewhere it is not for the anthropologist as such to take sides in a debate but simply to materialize the concrete and at times contradictory complexity of issues at stake – in this instance the selective sacrificing of females before or af‐ ter birth. If one can sympathize “objectively” with the Inuit’s regretfully having to commit female infanticide for sheer reasons of Darwinian survival, slightly less sympathetic might seem the dedication of “unwanted girl babies to the Church” by Christian parents in Roman times (Brown 2008: 261) and apparently even more equivocal the IVGs, prac‐ ticed by Inca princesses or female Russian athletes for aes‐ 72 Michael Singleton Anthropos 115.2020 the powers that be (the king and his courtiers in the story) for sacrificing others (their sons and daughters as well as sheep) rather than themselves for the common good, little can been gained by re‐ lating the princess’s marriage to the dragon to the phenomenon of hierogamy, as this is habitually understood in specialist circles. Safely ensconced in his academic armchair, away from venomous insects and hungry cannibals, many a theoretician has triumphantly declared his having fingered the quintessential substances and the explanatory structures underlying the jumble if not the junk cumulated by fieldworkers who clinging too closely to their trees have been able to discern the forest. Yet, when all has been theoretically said and done, an ethnographer cannot help feeling that baobabs are not oaks and even that this village’s baobab is not that of its neighbors. Used in the sin‐ gular, hierogamy is of no greater significance and usefulness than the panels labeled bread or lin‐ gerie dangling above the multiple wares on super‐ market shelves. In the first place, if the sacred (hieros) involves if only residually something of Otto’s religiously tremens et fascinans, then there is almost as little of it in ending up married to spirit than there is in espousing a human. Girls who found themselves married for a while to the dragon (far from all were automatically sacrificed to it) certainly en‐ joyed the experience far less transcendentally than Catholic nuns who were expected to experience mystically emotive communion with their divine spouse. Where religion takes place in one and the same world rather than with an eye to a totally other world, even a sacred marriage will be expe‐ rienced as more of a mundane than a spiritual event. For obvious reasons, even though ecstasy can induce erotic side effects, “sacred marriage” can only be metaphorically symbolic and not ma‐ terially effective. thetic and sporting purposes – not to mention the elimination of female foetuses by Asiatic women in the U.K. thanks to medical advances in diagnosis of foetal sexual identity so as to satisfy their families’ continuing preference for male chil‐ dren (Dubuc and Coleman 2007). Two issues are at stake in this note. The first, the right to throw the first stone at people who married off young girls to their respective dragons. The second, striking a balance between the rights of the Self and those of the Other. The absolute right at present demanded by individuals in Western societies to be able to manage their bodies as they see fit independently of any outside in‐ terference by others would have appeared as excessively egological to the WaKonongo unwilling to forfeit their allo‐ logical duty to intervene so as to prevent people from muti‐ lating themselves or committing untimely suicide. In the second place, and even more to the point, there exist so many different forms of marriage (gamos) or of conjugal cohabitation that it is im‐ possible to speak of marriage in the singular as something substantially similar, no matter what the cultural context (Needham 1977; Godelier 2004). Arranged and even child marriages being the norm in the rural societies under consideration and brooking few in any exceptions, the dragon, despite his more than venerable age, was in no way imagined to be a lecherous pedophile or even less as violating the female right, idealized by some, to remain chaste.9 We will see what marriage could represent for some cultures in the following section. One final concluding point: as ever, Frazer (1950: 153ff.) knowing like Freud that no detail was without its meaning had his explanation for St. George stay‐ ing definitively put after arriving suddenly on the scene coming from nowhere in particular. For the anthropologist, this could echo the practice of ux‐ orilocality. Elderly WaKonongo left me with the impression that before patrilineal virilocality had gained the upper hand within living memory the group of brothers at the heart of their formerly ma‐ trilineal society had made their sisters’ husbands to be take up permanent residence in their village, so as to keep lineage property and privileges under tight and close control. Though Shambwe, the cul‐ tural hero of the WaKonongo, only helped his fu‐ ture father-in-law to overcome a human foe rather than a dragon, he too, before settling down in Iny‐ onga, the capital of Ukonongo, like many other St. Georges, had been a wandering warrior. Rural Africa’s Aquatic Ancestor Though appreciating the survival, material, moral, and metaphysical, of the WaKonongo in their rural setting constituted the whole point of my working with them in the field (more often than not quite literally – Singleton 1975), it was only with hind‐ sight that I came to associate their choice of soci‐ ety with the story of St. George and the Dragon. A quarter of a century on, it enabled me to finally 1.2 9 For reasons which had nothing to do with a deep theocentric spirituality nor that incredible denigration of sex and mar‐ riage, which at first characterized even mainstream Chris‐ tianity (Lane Fox 1986; Ranke-Heinemann 1990; Brown 2008), it could happen that African princesses in particular be forbidden to marry but not to indulge in amorous adven‐ tures. This had been the case of the two members of royal Serer clan I once met in Senegal and who had remained hap‐ pily unmarried so as to prevent the dilution and dilapidation of matrilineally owned property and privileges. St. George and the Dragon – the Self and the Other 73 Anthropos 115.2020 make sense of odds and ends of information I had collected and consigned to my notebooks in Tan‐ zania without any inkling of their wider and deep‐ er meaning. Katabi – A Konongo Dragon I spent most of my three years amongst the WaKonongo in Mapili, a widely dispersed hamlet on the cutting edge (the adjective is apposite for a nomadic, slash-and-burn mode of production) of the ever-expanding clearing centered on Inyonga in which the remnants of a sleeping sickness epi‐ demic had been more or less forcibly regrouped by the British authorities in the late 1920 s. My venerable host and principal mentor, Jakobo Kasalama, had pioneered the provisional staging post of Mapili in the early 1960 s. When I briefly returned to Ukonongo in 1986, Mapili was no more, the people had moved on. Jakobo once inci‐ dentally mentioned in conversation that a neigh‐ boring people who had lived close to the huge swampy depression lying between the far larger rift valley lakes of Tanganyika and the Rukwa, had been wont to regularly offer a nubile girl to Katabi. He was not without shrines elsewhere in the region, but the morass figured as Katabi’s main residence. Though he had all but disappeared from local religious ken in my day, there now ex‐ ists a game reserve named after him in and around his lake. Jakobo spoke of the adolescent as being Katabi’s mgoli – the word used for the wife of a chief. Having recently consecrated a whole chapter to Katabi in a recent book (Singleton 2020), I can be brief here. The first wave of Catholic and Mora‐ vian missionaries to reach the area in the last years of the 19th century when they did not decry him as the Devil incarnate described Katabi as a prominent figure of primitive pagan religion act‐ ing as a spirit of Nature (“esprit de la Nature”) or more precisely that of Water (Wasserdämon). In so doing, they fell into a twofold ethnocentric trap. On the one hand, the locals had no idea of what Europeans understood by religion as constituting a sacred sector supernaturally set apart from the purely profane. On the other, ignoring the Western dichotomy between Nature and Culture, they in no way, not even unconsciously, took Katabi and his like to be somewhat poetic if not puerile personifi‐ cations of natural phenomena. Striving to be less equivocal, anthropologists have taken to talking about such beings as “regional spirits” (Werbner 1976) in that their constituency and clients extend beyond the pale of lineage shades or even “tribal” 1.2.1 ancestors. However, while this sociogeographic reductionism might seem more neutral than its re‐ ligious or theological counterpart, it too is not without its ethnocentric ambiguity. For what tradi‐ tionally counted most for the slash-and-burn or nomadic cultures of the area was not so much a well-defined territory as the quantity and quality of human resources. The watemi (traditional chiefs) I met had been chiefs of the various groups who came to be known as the WaKonongo and not of the various wards within the frontiers of Ukonongo. Moreover, their fundamental function had not been the political management of a tribal homeland but the furnishing in their very person of a sacramental channel between ancestral fore‐ bears and their descendants. Regicide in the Bantu world was not a coup d’état but a coup de grace: the failing health of a chief or his failing to pro‐ duce the rains compromizing the obtaining of the common good for which he had been elected, con‐ stituted sufficient enough motives to (un)ceremo‐ niously get rid of him. In any case, as actors in primordially oral cul‐ tures (Ong 1982) the religion of the peoples in the region under consideration amounted to no more than a ceremonious interaction with two types of slightly more or other than habitual human inter‐ locutors. Eschewing speculation as to their sub‐ stantial identities, the WaKonongo were simply content with speaking to their ancestors (Singleton 2009). On the one hand, those responsible for the wellbeing of their respective lineages addressed themselves to the clan ancestors who had been di‐ vined to have caused not so much good fortune as misfortune (excessive sickness, sterility, crop fail‐ ure, and the like) amongst their descendants. On the other, the authorities (chiefs and elders) in charge of unities larger than lineages, negotiated solutions with the ancestral vis-à-vis who were deemed responsible for recurrent or occasional is‐ sues affecting everyone indistinctly such as lack of rain or game. For the WaKonongo, LiMdimi (the Great Guardian) acted as “the Lord of the Ani‐ mals” from whom hunters had to obtain a license to kill and Katabi was the owner of the rains. That he did not figure exactly as a dragon-like creature does not detract from his standing locally for the rain. What counted was not so much the rather strange appearance of these somewhat superior beings as the possibility of entertaining materially meaningful relations with them. As with the drag‐ on of our story, it was often them who made their presence felt rather than humans seeking to enter into contact with them. However, it would be ethnographically more exact and less ethnocentri‐ 74 Michael Singleton Anthropos 115.2020 cally equivocal to speak of “allophany” instead of “hierophany,” since for the WaKonongo and con‐ sorts it was their Other and not our Sacred who sought be heard and heeded rather than simply seen and adored as is usually the case when the Sacred Heart or the Blessed Virgin put in a visual appearance. As dragons, regional spirits such as Katabi & Co could be difficult to manage but not much more nor quite differently from the strained relations which already prevail in rural societies between chiefs and subjects, men and women, the young and the old, natives and strangers. Since it is inexact to speak of the offering of beer or a hen as representing “sacrificial rituals proper to the worship of ancestors” when it is simply a question of prolonging the ceremonious politeness due to living elders in the direction of one or other of the departed proving himself unwarrantedly and un‐ welcomingly demanding (Singleton 2015), there is no ethnographic reason to believe that interacting with ancestral spirits of Katabi’s size and shape embodied an especially and exclusively “reli‐ gious” activity. Basically no more was at stake than coming to some kind of obligatory gentle‐ man’s agreement concerning seasonal occur‐ rences, such as the return of the rains or one off events such as the removal of a smallpox epidemic to a neighboring village (Singleton 1976). Anyone who has been intimately involved in the philosophy and practice of peoples such as the WaKonongo as well as in what the West deems to be theological belief and religious behavior (ritual and ethical) can only wonder why, when they are manifestly light-years apart, the first came to be considered as the natural but inchoative version of one and the same religion, which the advent of the supernatural simply confirmed and completed. Now that the transcultural and transhistorical real‐ ity of “art” is in doubt and when “development” can be decoded as the Westernization of the world (Latouche 1989), it is perhaps time for sociolo‐ gists and anthropologists to question the suppos‐ edly univocal universality of religion. In the West, “God-Talk” (Macquarrie 1967) consists in theoret‐ ical theological discourse about the very nature of the divine. In Africa “speaking to the ancestors or ancestral spirits” (Singleton 2009) simply implied that one’s superior interlocutors possessed suffi‐ cient understanding and goodwill to warrant hop‐ ing that talking things over with them would prove concretely worthwhile. Any further speculation about what they might be in and for themselves beyond the strict minimum required for fruitful discussion seemed to those most concerned super‐ fluous or, where it existed (as with Ogotemeli, the old blind Hunter – God of Water), proved highly idiosyncratic. Trained in theology and philosophy, it was only to be expected that I initially tried to pin down what the WaKonongo thought about what my predecessors in the region had learnt about such spirits or divinities as Katabi and LiMdimi. At first, I was inclined to conclude that I had arrived on the scene too late: pagan religion being in its last throes, the information I gathered had become even more confusing and contradicto‐ ry than it had been in previous generations. One and the same spirit was said by some to be big, black, and ageing but by others small, white, and young. Then it dawned upon me that my infor‐ mants had never really asked themselves my ques‐ tions. What had counted for their ancestors deal‐ ing with Katabi and still did for them treating with the Blessed Virgin was being able to palaver with a minimally personalized partner in the hopes as during a village palaver, to come to some compro‐ mise solution, satisfactory to all concerned. Not getting the question right from the outset involves subsequent answers being irrelevant. There is no point in questioning the astronomical exactness of astrological predictions when the astrologist is concerned with the destiny of a singular client and not the general nature of stars. Out of politeness and concern for the book they knew I was prepar‐ ing, the WaKonongo, on the spur of the moment, came up with answers to my insistent demands about the intrinsic identity of Katabi. However, they must have wondered why, when they had chosen to play football, I kept harassing them with questions about chess. For me statues of the Sa‐ cred Heart not only must look just like that but an‐ swer to theological tenets bearing on the Savior’s sadness for mankind’s continuing to sin. The WaKonongo not being particularly interested in who or what Katabi was but principally in what he could do for them, had never got round to sculpt‐ ing fetishes of him nor to dogmatizing about his substantial nature. If one is to avoid a wild goose chase, it is im‐ portant to accept that in dealing with the dragon Africans never felt the need for that uniform iconographic expression of the theologically cor‐ rect dogmatically demanded by the theoretically tidy minds of ecclesiastical authorities. Whether he looked like a snake, a crocodile, a black bull, or even a chimera was to the African mind irrelevant, neither here nor there. To all ideological intents and practical purposes, it sufficed, et amplius, that he, she, or it be amenable to contractual transac‐ tions bearing on the satisfactory solutions of issues arising in the course of a rural struggle for sur‐ St. George and the Dragon – the Self and the Other 75 Anthropos 115.2020 vival. When all is said and done, what counts for a peasant, a georgos, or toiling tiller of the soil, is to dispose of a living sacrament of life-giving rain – the rest, snake, crocodile, dragon, black bull, is, if not superfluous, quite supplementary. After all, we ourselves are not particularly put out by the differ‐ ent actors who have played the role of Inspector Maigret. We might prefer Jean Gabin to Rowan Atkinson (Mister Bean!). However, the crucial is‐ sue is not what a detective looks like but that he solves for the good of the public an enigmatic crime. We would find it weird were a Pygmy an‐ thropologist to harass us with questions about Her‐ cule Poirot’s exact size, the color of his hair, or where and what he happened to be when not on active service! Likewise, many a MuKonongo not wanting to disappoint me or appear ignorant, while politely replying to my insistent questions about the looks and nature of Katabi, must have wondered to what avail. Unlike the Docetist who believed that God only “seemed” (dokein) to be incarnate in the crucified Christ, Africans did not see crocodiles, snakes, bulls, or dragons the mere outward, temporary ap‐ pearances of a totally transcendent Other. If the dragon was anything for them, it was the “Ances‐ tor” of all ancestors in person. The elderly hogon (religious leader) of the Dogon figured and func‐ tioned as the activating hub of all that was of vital importance to them. Every night a snake came out of his dark and humid cave (yet another continent wide constant) to visit his representative. For as Leiris (1981: 133) noted, this nocturnal visitor “is no other than the most ancient of all the hogon, changed into a snake.” If the dragon is to be any one analytical thing for us it should be an embod‐ ied epitome of what it essentially takes to make ends meet in an agricultural mode of production. Since the promotion of village life itself de‐ pended on elders arranging marriages, it is only to be expected that providing Katabi with a wife fig‐ ured high amongst the priorities on the local reli‐ gious agenda. That the girl was married off to Katabi without her being consulted for consent will surprise only those ignorant of the fact that all marriages in the region were arranged by lineage authorities with an eye to the common good of their clans rather than the conjugal bliss of the young couple. As we have already suggested: to be meaningful “sacred marriages” must be under‐ stood in keeping with the local patterning of the relationships between the sexes in general and be‐ tween man and wife in particular. No more than most people before the Self turned into a Selfie, the WaKonongo did not “plight their troth” with a view to consecrating and activating an amorous complementarity between animus and anima but to initiate a working relationship beneficial as much to the community as a whole as to the con‐ tracting partners. Man and wife could gradually end up harmoniously in love (there even existed a ceremony, kulyana, to make the fact known), but this was not necessarily the motive for their get‐ ting married in the first place. Katabi already had a spirit wife by the name of WaMwelu. Mothers who had finally given birth thanks to WaMwelu often called their baby girls af‐ ter their benefactress. The diarist of Mamba mission at the northern tip of Lake Rukwa while complain‐ ing on March 08, 1919, of a revival of paganism in Usevya district took consolation from the refusal by WaMwelu, the daughter of certain Kadutu, though she had been espoused to Katabi, to worship at his shrine in Mirumba where a tree and a well had been dedicated to him. Seel et al. (2014: 75) echo what Père Maurice wrote in the 1920 s about the WaPimbwe (the ethnic group established in and around Mamba): “in the royal village (of Upimbwe) there was always a young girl consecrated as the wife of Katabi. In public ceremonies in honor of Katabi, this girl was anointed with oil and bedecked with pearls as with a married woman [italics are mine]. On reaching marriageable age another girl replaced her” [manuscript] Katabi was not the only ancestral “personage” to be offered human wives. (I prefer the term in inverted commas as it is closer to what the locals experienced in his regard than our Judeo-Christian and Greco-Latin notion of “spirit”). His neighbor located in Lake Chada had one too. Katabi was known to have demanded wives for his subalterns and even for his human servants. It was thus that in Itula the parents of Lumpelwe, a gifted pupil of Mamba mission school (diary 23.09.1907), had been given away to the “priest” of Katabi at this latter’s demand. Possessed women in general were known as “spouses of the spirits” (mke miyao – Lechaptois 1913: 178). In the diary of the Urwira mission on 25.01.1908, Mlera, Katabi’s lieutenant in that area (still called Mlela in my days), let it be known he required a wife. (All these mission sta‐ tions were within a day or two’s march from each other and from Lake Katabi.) The fact that a group of women passed on his demand to the chief makes me think of similar cases I have studied and where spirits formulate their requests thanks to a (young) prophetess whose somewhat garbled speech needs interpretation by formerly possessed females. The chief signals out an adolescent for the job. (Rather than humans taking the initiative 76 Michael Singleton Anthropos 115.2020 to marry off one of theirs to the embodiments of the watery element, these later can jump the gun – as the black bull mentioned by Frobenius [1950] who emerged from his lacustrine abode and made off with the daughter of a local chief.) “Not to worry – at least not too much” adds the diarist, as the girl will eventually end up married to a human too. The village where she resides will be called after her. The diarist notes that the hamlets of Gongwe, Kamba, and Kasoro are thus named. The spouses of Katabi acted there as chiefs and their human husbands were treated as their wives. One thinks of Nuer women who, being in a position to pay bride wealth, were considered on a par with male family heads. More to the point, if we are not to imagine these women as lording it over their husbands and their subjects, is to recall the func‐ tion of chiefs was not political but “pontifical”: not only bridging the gap but assuring two way traffic between what we call the resources of Na‐ ture and the needs of Culture. Mr. Lamb, the District Commissioner, writing in 1920 in the District Book of Mpanda (the ad‐ ministrative center closest to Lake Katabi), con‐ firmed the existence of this customary marriage to Katabi. According to him, the spirit was especially respected amongst the Bugwe who dwelt close to the swamp. A nubile girl from the village of Chief Mpandashalo had been chosen to become the spouse of Katabi and had consequently been re‐ named WaMwelu. The wedding ceremony took place on the shores of the lake where the girl had been brought by the authorities and other members of her community together with a goat, a sheet of dark-colored cloth (kaniki) and flour (unga). The animal was sacrificed, roasted, and consumed by all present. The polenta made from the flour was thrown into the lake. That there was then a sheet of water leads me to believe that the ceremony took place in the rainy season. For on the couple of occasions I passed by at the height of the dry season there was hardly any mud, let alone water, left in the swamp. A small strip was then cut from the cloth and draped over Katabi’s “ghost house.” This latter was probably similar to the one depict‐ ed in the photos annexed to Singleton 2009 (330: Fig. 3) where suspended from the ceiling of a roy‐ al grave shrine a piece of black cloth (symbol of the dark rain clouds for the return of which the chief was responsible) can be seen. Draped in the remaining piece of cloth the girl was proclaimed WaMwelu, bibi wa Katabi, “WaMwelu, wife of Katabi.” In the 1960 s, women still dressed in a colorfully printed sheet: cut in two, one piece served as a shawl the other as a tunic. Unlike our church services, “primitive rituals” rarely involve whole congregations. The villagers left the elders and the girl proceed to the Lake on their behalf. Though the aim was to negotiate with Katabi rather than catch catfish, anyone who has partici‐ pated in such proceedings will tell you they have little in common, either materially or mentally, with going to mass on Sundays or to the mosque on Fridays. In Jacobus’ legendary remake of this ceremony despite her being a voluntary victim, the princess was chained to a stake on the shores of a nauseat‐ ing lake to await the emergence from its murky depths of a ravenous dragon. The unexpected but welcome arrival of a valorous saviour only began to feature in the narrative when climate change for the worse meant that hierogamy alone no longer sufficed to obtain the usufruct of water from its in‐ creasingly capricious proprietor. There where the rains were regular, the newlywed, attended to by a matron, could apparently stay put in a hut close by her husband’s aquatic domain for quite some time. This does not seem to have been the case in Ubug‐ we. For on the occasion of the customary repeat performances of the ceremony or as need arose, the girl decked out in fresh dark clothing, accom‐ panied by the chief (mwami) and village elders, left their village homes for Katabi’s watery demesne where after preparing the polenta she of‐ fered it to her husband. Though symbolic in its ex‐ pression (she probably threw mere token morsels into the water which were gobbled up at most by catfish and not by Katabi in person!), this gesture was no more specifically sacred than the way wives in Mapili brought the food which they had readied on their hearths to their menfolk assem‐ bled to partake of a meal in the banza or commu‐ nal shed. Housewives were wont to splash daily on the walls of their homesteads a few drops of ugi (flour diluted in water) to remind their ances‐ tors (mizimu) to look kindly on the household (Lechaptois 1913: 176). All those responsible for the rains, chiefs, mediums, waganga (medicine‐ men) were dressed as soberly and as somberly as the wife of Katabi, the rain giver par excellence in the region. To the south of Tanzania, in Zimbabwe the ZeZeru were given to dedicating an unmarried adolescent girl (nechiswa) to the upkeep of the shrine of Karuva where she acted as his medium. This spirit who presided over the rain and wellbe‐ ing of his territory, dwelt in a “sacred grove” adja‐ cent to a stretch of water. Once again inverted commas are required if the incantatory recourse to clichés is to be rightfully understood in context. St. George and the Dragon – the Self and the Other 77 Anthropos 115.2020 The world at large belonging to the ancestors, the ZeZuru like the WaKonongo, ignored our opposi‐ tion between profane (wild) woodland (a res nul‐ lius up for grabs by entrepreneurial exploiters) and a small (domesticated) copse set apart for religious purposes. In illo tempore, the founding father of the KoreKore, victim of a ruse perpetrated by a certain Nyabapa, had disappeared into the afor‐ mentionned lake. A nechiswa was deemed to be periodically raped and her abuser, burnt alive, of‐ fered to her husband Karuva. More than mere leg‐ end, one such sacrifice having taken place in 1920, the colonial authorities intervened. Garbet (1974: 77–79), the source of our information, had himself met with the wife of a diviner who, as a young girl, had been the spouse (mukaranga) of a spirit. It is not impossible that myths which speak of the price to be paid for sleeping with a sacred personage echo, as is the case with regicide, ritual practices. As Camus would have put it, better to live than to die for a cause! Human sacrifice can hardly be counted amongst the initiatives and invention of which humanity can be proud. It has been suggest‐ ed that the substitution of a ram for Isaac echoes the transition from the sacrifice of the firstborn ne‐ cessitated by the demographic constraints of a pas‐ toral mode of production to agriculture where many hands made light and profitable work. Though the Maya did not deserve to be massacred for it, ripping out the hearts of prisoners is scarce‐ ly a summit of creditable religious belief and prac‐ tice. In this respects, there is something hypocriti‐ cal in the horror which “superior” cultures invoke when throwing the first stone at their “inferiors.” A civilization which has managed over the cen‐ turies to brainwash its youth into being killed by their millions more often than not for the rather dubious causes, is not exactly well placed to re‐ move the dirty dust from the eyes of peoples it es‐ teems savages. There is no comparison between those cultures that, in good faith, persuaded one girl to eventually give her life for the common good and those Great (?) Nations invoking their God given duty to exploit the Earth, have gratu‐ itously wiped out whole populations of “lazy na‐ tives” to make room for the profitable investments of a privileged capitalistic few.10 In any case and whatever the case might have been elsewhere, it is a fact, that Katabi’s brides lived to tell the tale. Most, sometimes sooner than later, remarried in 10 So did Europeans in North (Marks 1998) and South Ameri‐ ca (Pandolfi 2013) to justify their exploitation and extermi‐ nation of Native Americans. their respective villages (Hatchell 1941: 45), a few, it is true, as amongst the WaBende (living to the north of the swampy depression) seem to have been obliged to remain faithful to Katabi (Kirschstein 1937: 83). Before Folklore – Dragons Galore! Though associating the fact of finding oneself married to a god with folktales, Frazer recognized its worldwide extension together with the role of sacred marriage in the meaning and management of hydric resources. “The supernatural being to whom women are married is often a god or spirit of water.” The Kikuyu of Kenya, for instance, “worship the snake of a certain river and at inter‐ vals of several years marry the snake-god to wom‐ en but especially to young girls.” They were lodged in huts (no doubt close to the river) and visited by waganga – the ancestral specialists we have already met with but whose domain of exper‐ tise was neither essentially focused on what we circumscribe as the “medical” nor surrounded by what we feel to be a “sacred” atmosphere. The waganga did not simply make courtesy calls but slept with the spirit’s wives just as legitimately as a male relation could discretely stand in for a ster‐ ile spouse. The offspring born of these unions were not the mganga’s but the children of the God Ngai. In Cairo, there where a dam was annually built to canalize the flood of the Nile, the “custom was to deck a young virgin in gay apparel and throw her into the river as a sacrifice to obtain a plentiful inundation … the intention of the prac‐ tice appears to have been to marry the river, con‐ ceived as a male power, to his bride the corn land, which was soon to be fertilized by his water” (Frazer 1950: 370). When an island in East India was invaded by crocodiles it was believed their prince had taken a fancy to a certain girl who was consequently offered to him in bridal array (Frazer 1950: 140). Though in the following passage Frazer ad‐ mirably resumes what was at stake in Jacobus’ narrative, he does not seem to have explicitly re‐ lated it to the story of St. George and the Dragon. A certain country is infested by a many-headed serpent, dragon, or other monster, which would destroy the whole people if a human victim, generally a virgin, were not delivered up to him periodically. Many victims have perished, and at last it has fallen to the lot of the king’s own daughter to be sacrificed. She is exposed to the monster, but the hero of the tale, generally a young man of humble birth, interposes on her behalf, slays the mon‐ ster, and receives the hand of the princess as his reward. 1.2.2 78 Michael Singleton Anthropos 115.2020 In many of the tales the monster, who is sometimes de‐ scribed as a serpent, inhabits the water of a sea, a lake, or a fountain. In other versions he is a serpent or dragon who takes possession of the springs of water, and only allows the water to flow or the people to make use of it on condition of receiving a human victim (Frazer 1950: 146). As he supposes this folktale to have had a funda‐ mentum in re, Frazer would surely have appreciat‐ ed our being able to provide the material evidence he lacked. Not having access to this reality proba‐ bly explains why Calame-Griaule (1972: 179) is content to note that “the devouring of a young girl in exchange for the water of a well or a spring by a man-eating monster (usually a huge snake, a hy‐ dra or many headed dragon) who ends up killed by a hero the future husband of the girl is well repre‐ sented” in African folklore. Not being aware of how widespread the ritual echoed by the tale was in Africa, she even surmises that it was of foreign origin. Contributing to a psychoanalytical review rather than a journal of religion, while associating the relation between an anthropophagous ogre and a nubile maiden with sex and marriage, the author did not mention that hierogamy was at stake. Djan Djan Gbié, the Dragon of Mango Dragons then were plentiful and for real in Africa and not only in villages but also in towns as our next tale, truer than most, shows. Here too a hapax was responsible for my fathoming what had been going forward in terms of survival here below, be‐ fore hagiographists recycled the material in the light of eternal salvation. Anne-Donatienne Hauet, an advanced student who has since become a col‐ league and friend, made a brief mention during a session of our seminar on “Myth and Reality,” of a sacred crocodile, Djan Djan Gbié, she had met with in 1991 during a stay in the city of Mango, on the river Oti in northern Togo. According to the oral traditions recorded by Kirby (1986), towards the middle of the eighteenth century, a marauding band made up of Mande horsemen from the north, of mercenary Akan from Ano in the east (hence the ethnonym Anu-fo “the people of Ano” – called the Tchokossi by their neighbors), together with a few Muslim marabouts finally settled down in Mango, a spot already occupied by a group of fishermen. Nama, Hauet’s principal interlocutor, apparently implied that the Anufo had inherited Djan Djan Gbié from Bozo fishermen for whom he had fig‐ ured as protector and provider of fish in the city of 1.2.3 Ano in Ghana from where the Anufo had left for Mango. In ethnographic fact, the Bozo are a group of specialists fishing traditionally in the Niger be‐ tween Gao and Bamako. The term might have come to mean for Nama and others in the region “ancestral fishers.” Whether the phenomenon echoes an historical event or answers to a struc‐ tural fiction, many African societies represent themselves as a two-tiered construction. The origi‐ nal owners of the land (or river) are believed to have been reduced to subaltern status by more powerful incomers but, like the pagan Ane in Muslim Maradi (Nicolas 1975), they often retain crucial ritual relevance. The real-life Bozo knew of an ancestral figure called Dyi Dye (Son of the Water) or Dyi Tu (Master of the Water), the right‐ ful owner of their stretch of the Niger (Dieterlen 1942). The “Master of the Waters,” thus, figures in the company of the “Lord of the Animals” as one of those primordial proprietors who concede the usufruct of their property to humans on condition not only that they make careful use of it but also by regular and regulated rituals continue to recog‐ nize their dependence on the owner’s goodwill. For the Anufo, to all intents and purpose, Djan Djan Gbié functioned symbolically in exactly the same way as other symbolic personages such as Ndui (Smallpox) or Limdimi (Lord of the Ani‐ mals) had for the WaKonongo (Singleton 1976; 1982). Understandably enough, in fluvial or lacus‐ trine settings the dragon appeared as a crocodile. Where our opposition between Nature and Cul‐ ture(s) leads us to believe that as yet unclaimed land (terra incognita) and wild animals belonging to nobody (res nullius) are at our disposition (di‐ vinely intended or not), most non-Western people acknowledge that they need the original land own‐ ers’ permission to settle anywhere new or the con‐ sent of an ancestral herder to avail themselves of animals belonging to the flocks he maintains and manages in the bush, steppe, or forest.11 Having become essentially egological, a modern European spontaneously speaks of what a river means to him ecologically, economically, or even esthetical‐ ly. For us a river is a river. Even if you live close to one, such as the Meuse as I do, it represents a fluvial highway, sometimes flowing through spec‐ tacular scenery, more often than not tamed by locks and dams, as of now constituting more a re‐ source for industry than for irrigation and only in‐ 11 We reintroduce wolves without their permission into our nature reserves, Mongolian nomadic pastoralists have to in‐ troduce themselves to Old White Man, to obtain a permit to hunt one or other of his domesticated wolves. St. George and the Dragon – the Self and the Other 79 Anthropos 115.2020 directly associated with the necessities of domes‐ tic, day to day living. In Mango, it is not simply that the Oti loomed large in the daily life of the in‐ habitants, providing water to drink, in which to bathe and fish, or for irrigating crops, the river was Otherness incarnate in an individualized inter‐ locutor: the ancestral crocodile. Allologically pro‐ grammed, Nama from the outset treated the river Oti, in the person of Djan Djan Gbié, as an Other in its own right. Knowing Hauet was interested in their ancestral traditions, a couple of elders aided and abetted by a couple of young students, spontaneously spoke to her of Djan Djan Gbié – a sui generis crocodile not only living in the river but somehow identified with it. It was this identification, which the stu‐ dents explicitly sought to make clear: she must not imagine Djan Djan Gbié was a spiritual being of the kind they supposed she had in mind when thinking of religion. Translating into French what their elders had lived through in their encounters with this extraordinary crocodile, they said, Djan Djan Gbié was something approaching the “inspi‐ ration of the river” (l’inspiration du fleuve), its soul as it were, its very vitality. A “spirit” if you will, but in the way one speaks of the “spirit of America” or “l’esprit des WaKonongo” (Singleton 2019). In no way was it question of an indepen‐ dently existing immaterial substance created by God and which had only found itself in passing or accidentally associated with the river Oti and the town of Mango. Though nominally Muslim, none of Hauet’s interlocutors thought to relate Djan Djan Gbié in some subservient subaltern role to the power and goodwill of that divinely transcen‐ dent Being, monotheists have severally called in their respective languages “God.” There being no word locally for religion (at least, not as indicative of a world supernaturally apart from the natural one), no one in Mango thought of this admittedly special crocodile as being a “sacred animal.” What an elderly informant insisted on was the protective and providential role of the reptile. Won over by respect and presents, Djan Djan Gbié had prevent‐ ed disasters such as drowning and provided his people in return with gifts of fish. Djan Djan Gbié was simply as much part and parcel of everyday life as is any river to those whose very living de‐ pends on it. Having asked Hauet if she could expand on what she knew about this personification, I re‐ ceived a reply in a letter on 27.09.2004 which I translate below. She had, of course, not gone to Mango in order to record for herself let alone for me the local version of St. George and the Dragon. Given that Hauet had not only studied theatrics but performed as an actress, there is every reason to believe her account of the conversion she had with Nama, her principal interlocutor, in October 1991, though not recorded mechanically is more than substantially exact. “Nama began by evoking a very ancient cere‐ mony, involving the whole Anufo community and which appears to have been of great import for all concerned in that it called upon the extraordinary forces protecting the city and its clans to make their presence felt. If its final occurrences are any‐ thing to go by, the ritual does not seem to have been repeated annually. ‘All traces of the pagan past have now disappeared’, said another elder, Nama Ouatara, and a member of the city’s found‐ ing clan, ‘but the last ceremonies to go by the board were those dedicated to Djan Djan Gbié.’ Nama himself recalls attending them as a young man. He spoke of the sacrifice of a young girl as having taken place long ago, but hinted at other victims such as albinos or strangers being seized by the Spirit of the River. In his days, he remem‐ bers that an ox or a cock (of red hue) as well as milk and foura being sacrificed to the crocodile. What of the sacrificed ox was not thrown into the river was consumed on the bank by those present. The rite centered on the sacrifice of a young, nu‐ bile virgin which took place at the height of a grandiose ceremony – amongst the most resplen‐ dent known to the city.” Hauet did not learn exact‐ ly how the girl was chosen, but that, surrounded only by women, she underwent a sui generis clois‐ tered schooling. Designated during the first months of her existence for the role she was dis‐ pensed from all domestic duties and chores. The women appointed to the girl’s care, fed, bathed, and combed her daily. A couple of elderly females played a special part in the proceedings: they taught the maiden the whole history of her people beginning with its installation on the banks of the Oti, also called Sansanné-Mango. She, thus, as‐ similated the history of each clan, the praise po‐ ems, the stories, and deeds of key personages. The ceremony and its preparation took several days. On the final day, readied with especial care, the girl left home – for the first and last time in her life under male escort. This was to be her one and only contact with male representatives of the species. The performance, accompanied by songs and dances, lasted up to ten hours. The young virgin began her recitation of the settlement’s foundation together with the life stories of its clans. The lin‐ eage heads and other local notables sat in the front row to hear their names called out and their clan 80 Michael Singleton Anthropos 115.2020 histories recalled together with that of the Anufo, in lengthy liturgical type litanies. The ceremony ended in a kind of collective trance like apotheosis during which the protecting patron spirits of the clans put in an appearance. Nama, Hauet adds, vis‐ ibly and emotionally relived the experience in retelling its tale. The young girl was then plunged into the river. What followed was diversely put by different interlocutors. Some said the girl was sac‐ rificed to the River. Others that she was “whisked away” (“emmenée” translates Hauet). Nama him‐ self remained somewhat vague on the issue. In concluding his version, he spoke of the sudden ap‐ parition at nightfall of a leopard which leaped from roof to roof before making off with the girl. The leopard had been the protecting totem of the Ouat‐ tara, the principal clan who had led the Anufo to Mango in the early 1700 s, and who remain domi‐ nant to this day. Both, the girl and the leopard, dis‐ appeared. It is difficult to know whether it was the latter who led the former to the river. No one could look at the leopard. (Another informant, however, told Hauet that the animal had not been a leopard.) The assembled citizens stood heads lowered, over‐ whelmed by the proceedings. As an amateur, not feeling obliged by academic conventions to eschew emotional expressions, Hauet concludes her account on a movingly dra‐ matic note. “Listening to the exchanges and only able to fathom their import when furnished piece‐ meal with translated snippets, I watch fascinated by the transfiguration of Nama’s mien. As the reminiscent narration unfolds, he becomes more and more elated. The tone of his voice mounts crescendo, his features become tenser, his hands compelling. Suddenly Nama stops in his tracks. Overwhelmed and in tears, he declares, ‘we have lost so much, too much.’” The angels who rejoice in Heaven over the conversion of pagan sinners to the true Faith never seem to show any pity for those left behind in the erring of their ways! Throughout history “simple” cultures have been confronted with “complex” civilizations. Some have resisted, on occasion violently, some have re‐ fused more or less graciously, and still others have come to some kind of historical compromise. But one is allowed to wonder how many of those steamrolled into thinking the grass was greener on the seemingly superior side of the fence have not ended up emitting the same cry of desolation as Nama? At stake is not an ill-considered nostalgia for a far from paradisiacal past but a feeling that the price for religious or rational progress has in‐ volved the loss of something worthwhile for mankind as a whole. Whatever the case might be, it would have been difficult to invent poetically let alone find practi‐ cally an account exemplifying as perfectly as that of Mango and Djan Djan Gbié the historical reali‐ ty of which Jacobus’ ecclesiastical lucubration is an eccentric echo. What ageing Africans like Na‐ ma and Jacobus still remember speak of a time when elders throughout the continent, if not the world a large, finding themselves in charge of the common good of their rural or urban communities, in their regular and ceremonial negotiations for its realization, had recourse to symbolic offerings made to the person of an aquatic being given that Other was deemed essentially and primordially re‐ sponsible for the satisfactory survival of all con‐ cerned. “But what about St. George?” the reader will be asking. Pazienza! All is about to be re‐ vealed in our second part! References Cited Aarne, Antti The Types of the Folktale. A Classification and Bibli‐ ography. (Transl. and Enl. by Stith Thompson.) Helsin‐ ki: Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia. [2nd Revison] Bachofen, Johann Jakob Myth, Religion, and Mother Right. Selected Writings of J. J. Bachofen. Princeton: Princeton University Press. [1859] Baslez, Marie-Françoise Les persécutions dans l’Antiquité. Victimes, héros, martyrs. Paris: Fayard. Beattie, John Other Cultures. Aims, Methods, and Achievements in Social Anthropology. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Berthier, Brigitte La Dame-du-bord de l’eau. Nanterre: Société d’Eth‐ nologie. Brown, Peter The Body and Society. Men, Women, and Sexual Re‐ nunciation in Early Christianity. New York: Columbia University Press. Busine, Laurent, et Manfred Sellink (dir.) La gloire de Saint George. L’homme, le dragon et la mort. Bruxelles: Fonds Mercator. Calame-Griaule, Geneviève Une affaire de famille. Réflexions sur quelques thèmes de “cannibalisme” dans les contes africains. Nouvelle Revue de Psychanalyse 6: 171–202. Cauvin, Jean Naissances des divinités, naissance de l’agriculture. La révolution des symboles au néolithique. Paris: Flam‐ marion. 1964 1967 2007 1964 1988 2008 2015 1972 1997 St. George and the Dragon – the Self and the Other 81 Anthropos 115.2020 Cavicchi, Ivan La bocca e l’utero. Antropologia degli intermondi. Bari: Edizioni Dedalo. Clastres, Pierre Recherches d’anthropologie politique. Paris: Seuil. Dieterlen, Germaine Note sur le génie des eaux chez les Bozo. Journal de la Société des Africanistes 12: 149–155. Dubuc, Sylvie, and David Coleman An Increase in the Sex Ratio of Births to India-Born Mothers in England and Wales. Evidence for Sex-Se‐ lective Abortion. Population and Development Review 33/2: 383–400. Duverger, Christian L’origine des Aztèques. Paris: Éd. du Seuil. Frazer, James George The Golden Bough. A Study in Magic and Religion. London: MacMillan. Frobenius, Leo Storia della civiltá africanà. Prolegomeni di una mor‐ fologia storica. Torino: Einaudi. [German Orig.: Wien 1933] Gadamer, Hans-Georg Wahrheit und Methode. Grundzüge einer philosophi‐ schen Hermeneutik. Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr. Garbet, Kingsley Disparate Regional Cults and a Unitary Field in Zim‐ babwe. In: R. P. Werbner (ed.), Regional Cults; pp. 55-92. London: Academic Press. Godelier, Maurice Métamorphoses de la parenté. Paris: Librairie Arthème Fayard. Granet, Marcel La civilisation chinoise. La vie publique et la vie privée. Paris: La Renaissance du Livre. Hatchell, G. W. Some Account of the People Living under the Protec‐ tion of Mount Mkungwe. Tanganyika Notes and Records 11: 41–46. Henneghien, Charles Saint Georges et le dragon. Enquête sur le succès d’un mythe. Arquennes: Memogrames. Ivanoff, Jacques Existe-t-il un “dragon” asiatique? In: J.-M. Privat (dir.); pp. 24–33. Jacobus de Voragine The Golden Legend. Selections. London: Penguin Books. Jeanmaire, Henri Dionysos. Histoire du culte de Bacchus. Paris: Payot. Jung, Carl Gustav Métamorphoses de l’âme et ses symboles. Analyse des prodromes d’une schizophrénie. (Préf. et trad. de Yves Le Lay.) Genève: Georg. Kirby, Jon P. God, Shrines, and Problem-Solving among the Anufɔ of Northern Ghana. Berlin: Dietrich Reimer Verlag. 2010 1980 1942 2007 2003 1950 1950 1975 1977 2004 1929 1941 2013 2006 1998 1951 1953 1986 Kirschstein, Egon F. Some Tales of Tanganyika Natives. Tanganyika Notes and Records 4: 82–83. Kramer, Samuel Noah The Sacred Mariage Rite. Aspects of Faith, Myth, and Ritual in Ancient Sumer. Bloomington: Indiana Univer‐ sity Press. Lane Fox, Robin Pagan and Christian in the Mediterranean World from Second Century AD to the Conversion of Constantine. London: Viking. Latouche, Serge L’occidentalisation du monde. Essais sur la significa‐ tion, la portée et les limites de l’uniformisation planétaire. Paris: La Découverte. Lechaptois, A. Aux rives du Tanganyika. Étude ethnographique. Alger: Maison-Carré. Leiris, Michel L’Afrique fantôme. Paris, Gallimard. [Orig. 1934] Macquarrie, John God-Talk. An Examination of the Language and Logic of Theology. London: SCM Press. Marks, Paula Mitchell In a Barren Land. American Indian Dispossession and Survival. New York: William Morrow. Needham, Rodney (dir.) La parenté en question. Onze contributions à la théorie anthropologique. Paris: Éd. du Seuil. Nicolas, Guy Dynamique sociale et appréhension du monde au sein d’une société hausa. Paris: Institut d’ethnologie. Ong, Walter J. Orality and Literacy. The Technologizing of the Word. London: Methuen. Pandolfi, Luca Caleuche. Gente trasformata, gente che si trasforma. Rappresentazioni identitarie dei Williche di Chiloé. Ro‐ ma: Armando. Père Maurice Le Pays des Bapimbwe. La Géographie LXIV. Privat, Jean-Marie (dir.) Dragons entre sciences et fictions. Paris: Éd. CNRS. Ranke-Heinemann, Uta Des eunuques pour le royaume des cieux. L’Eglise catholique et la sexualité. Paris: Robert Laffont. Schmidt, Wilhelm Der Ursprung der Gottesidee. Eine historisch-kritische und positive Studie. Münster: Aschendorff. Seel, Sarah-Jane, Peter Mgawe, and Monique Borgerhoff Mulder The History and Traditions of the Pimbwe. Dar-es- Salaam: Mkuki na Nyota. Seward, Desmond The Monks of War. The Military Religious Orders. London: Penguin Books. 1937 1969 1986 1989 1913 1981 1967 1998 1977 1975 1982 2013 1935 2006 1990 1940 2014 1972 82 Michael Singleton Anthropos 115.2020 Singleton, Michael Prêtre ouvrier = prêtre ujamaa. Spiritus 61: 427–436. Smallpox in Person. Personification or Personalization (Africa)? Anthropos 71: 169–179. Dawa. Beyond Science and Superstition. Anthropos 74 : 817–863. De l’intendance indigène du gibier à la gestion en‐ dogène de la faune. In: P. P. Vincke et M. Singleton (éds.), Gestion de la faune sauvage. Facteur de développement; pp. 70–107. Dakar: ENDA. Speaking to the Ancestors. Religion as Interlocutory In‐ teraction. Anthropos 104: 311–332. Histoires d’eaux africaines. Essais d’anthropologie im‐ pliquée. Louvain-la-Neuve: Academia-Bruylant. From Worshipping Ancestors to Respecting Senior Citi‐ zens. Civilisations 63/1: 237–254. L’esprit et les esprits des WaKonongo. Paris: Payot. 1975 1976 1979 1982 2009 2010 2015 2010 Thomas, Keith Man and the Natural World. Changing Attitudes in England: 1500–1800. London: Penguin Books. Veyne, Paul L’empire gréco-romain. Paris: Éd. du Seuil. Vinson, Marie-Christine Raconte-moi les dragons. In: J.-M. Privat (dir.); pp. 110–120. Werbner, Pnina (ed.) Regional Cults. London: Academic Press Waha, Michel de Le dragon terrassé, thème triomphal depuis Constantin. In: M. Martens, A. Vanrie et M. de Waha, Saint Michel et sa symbolique; pp. 43–117. Bruxelles: Éditions d’Art Lucien de Meyer. 1984 2005 2006 1977 1979 St. George and the Dragon – the Self and the Other 83 Anthropos 115.2020 Bestellen Sie jetzt telefonisch unter (+49) 7221/2104-37. Portofreie Buch-Bestellungen unter Alle Preise inkl. Mehrwertsteuer Der Mensch im Zeichen der Technik Künstliche Intelligenz – Rechte und Strafen für Roboter? Plädoyer für eine Regulierung künstlicher Intelligenz jenseits ihrer reinen Anwendung Von Prof. Dr. Karsten Gaede 2019, 97 S., brosch., 29,– € ISBN 978-3-8487-5880-7 (Robotik und Recht, Bd. 18) Die Abhandlung zeigt, dass die KI-Entwicklung darauf hinausläuft, Robotern Rechte zuzugestehen. Sie fordert vor diesem Hintergrund und angesichts absehbarer Schwächen der zukünftigen Rechtsdurchsetzung, bereits heute eine rechtliche Strategie zur Bewältigung der sogenannten starken KI ins Werk zu setzen. Autonomie und Unheimlichkeit Jahrbuch Technikphilosophie 2020 Herausgegeben von Dr. Alexander Friedrich et al. 6. Jahrgang 2020, 333 S., brosch., 39,90 € ISBN 978-3-8487-6395-5 Überwindet Technik das unheimlich Unbeherrschbare? Oder wird sie uns selbst unheimlich? In den heutigen Debatten um selbstlernende, ubiquitär verteilte, im Assistenzmodus unsichtbare, dabei opake Techniken schwingt das unheimliche Moment einer „Verselbständigung“ von Technik mit – und trägt im Anschluss an die Mechanisierungs- und Automatisierungsdiskurse des 20. Jahrhunderts zur „Dämonisierung“ der Technik bei. Technikanthropologie Handbuch für Wissenschaft und Studium Herausgegeben von Prof. Dr. Martina Heßler und Dr. Kevin Liggieri 2020, 592 S., brosch., 58,– € ISBN 978-3-8487-4542-5 Die moderne menschliche Existenz ist ohne Technik nicht möglich. Werkzeuge, Automaten, Roboter, technische Systeme oder hybride Netze prägen menschliche Lebensweisen und die jeweiligen Bestimmungen des Menschlichen. Das Handbuch versammelt Beiträge zu einer historischen Technikanthropologie, die die Frage der technischen Existenz untersucht. Mensch und Welt im Zeichen der Digitalisierung Perspektiven der Philosophischen Anthropologie Plessners Herausgegeben von Johannes F. Burow et al. 2019, 279 S., brosch., 44,– € ISBN 978-3-8487-5121-1 (Dimensionen der Sorge, Bd. 3) Digitalisierung als vielfältiges Phänomen wird in diesem Band aus einer spezifischen Theorieperspektive in den Blick genommen: der Philosophischen Anthropologie Plessners. Damit geht es um die Frage, ob und inwieweit sich das Verhältnis von Mensch und Welt im Zeichen von Digitalisierung verändert. Künstliche Intelligenz – Rechte und Strafen für Roboter? Karsten Gaede Plädoyer für eine Regulierung künstlicher Intelligenz jenseits ihrer reinen Anwendung Nomos Robotik und Recht 18 Jahrbuch [] Technikphilosophie Friedrich | Gehring | Hubig | Kaminski | Nordmann [Hrsg.] 2020 6. Jahrgang 2020 Autonomie und Unheimlichkeit Technikanthropologie Handbuch für Wissenschaft und Studium Martina Heßler | Kevin Liggieri [Hrsg.] Mensch und Welt im Zeichen der Digitalisierung Burow | Daniels | Kaiser | Klinkhamer | Kulbatzki | Schütte | Henkel [Hrsg.] Dimensionen der Sorge l 3 Perspektiven der Philosophischen Anthropologie Plessners Nomos eLibrary Nomos


Letting the St. George of the medieval legend stand for the Self (G) and the Dragon (D) for the Other (human and nonhuman), then a priori their relationship lends itself to three main models: the first, g < D, where the Other gives all and receives nothing from the Self in return, the second, G+D, where the Self and the Other give and take, the third, G > d, where the Self grabs all and the Other loses everything. A posteriori, taking religion (ligare) properly so called to be based on obligatory reciprocity, hunter-gatherers, “primitive” agriculturalists, and neoliberal capitalists, respectively, embody a-religious, religious, and irreligious Choices of Society - options still of vital importance for our common future.

Aarne, Antti
1964 The Types of the Folktale. A Classification and Bibliography. (Transl. and Enl. by Stith Thompson.) Helsinki: Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia. [2nd Revison]
Bachofen, Johann Jakob
1967 Myth, Religion, and Mother Right. Selected Writings of J. J. Bachofen. Princeton: Princeton University Press. [1859]
Baslez, Marie-Françoise
2007 Les persécutions dans l’Antiquité. Victimes, héros, martyrs. Paris: Fayard.
Beattie, John
1964 Other Cultures. Aims, Methods, and Achievements in Social Anthropology. Lon-don: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
Berthier, Brigitte
1988 La Dame-du-bord de l’eau. Nanterre: Société d’Ethnologie.
Brown, Peter
2008 The Body and Society. Men, Women, and Sexual Renunciation in Early Christianity. New York: Columbia University Press.
Busine, Laurent, et Manfred Sellink (dir.)
2015 La gloire de Saint George. L’homme, le dragon et la mort. Bruxelles: Fonds Merca-tor.
Calame-Griaule, Geneviève
1972 Une affaire de famille. Réflexions sur quelques thèmes de “cannibalisme” dans les contes africains. Nouvelle Revue de Psychanalyse 6: 171–202.
Cauvin, Jean
1997 Naissances des divinités, naissance de l’agriculture. La révolution des symboles au néolithique. Paris: Flammarion.
Cavicchi, Ivan
2010 La bocca e l’utero. Antropologia degli intermondi. Bari: Edizioni Dedalo.
Clastres, Pierre
1980 Recherches d’anthropologie politique. Paris: Seuil.
Dieterlen, Germaine
1942 Note sur le génie des eaux chez les Bozo. Journal de la Société des Africanistes 12: 149–155.
Dubuc, Sylvie, and David Coleman
2007 An Increase in the Sex Ratio of Births to India-Born Mothers in England and Wales. Evidence for Sex-Selective Abortion. Population and Development Review 33/2: 383–400.
Duverger, Christian
2003 L’origine des Aztèques. Paris: Éd. du Seuil.
Frazer, James George
1950 The Golden Bough. A Study in Magic and Religion. London: MacMillan.
Frobenius, Leo
1950 Storia della civiltá africanà. Prolegomeni di una morfologia storica. Torino: Einaudi. [German Orig.: Wien 1933]
Gadamer, Hans-Georg
1975 Wahrheit und Methode. Grundzüge einer philosophi¬s⁠c⁠h⁠e⁠n Hermeneutik. Tübin-gen: J. C. B. Mohr.
Garbet, Kingsley
1977 Disparate Regional Cults and a Unitary Field in Zimbabwe. In: R. P. Werbner (ed.), Regional Cults; pp. 55-92. London: Academic Press.
Godelier, Maurice
2004 Métamorphoses de la parenté. Paris: Librairie Arthème Fayard.
Granet, Marcel
1929 La civilisation chinoise. La vie publique et la vie privée. Paris: La Renaissance du Livre.
Hatchell, G. W.
1941 Some Account of the People Living under the Protection of Mount Mkungwe. Tanganyika Notes and Records 11: 41–46.
Henneghien, Charles
2013 Saint Georges et le dragon. Enquête sur le succès d’un mythe. Arquennes: Me-mogrames.
Ivanoff, Jacques
2006 Existe-t-il un “dragon” asiatique? In: J.-M. Privat (dir.); pp. 24–33.
Jacobus de Voragine
1998 The Golden Legend. Selections. London: Penguin Books.
Jeanmaire, Henri
1951 Dionysos. Histoire du culte de Bacchus. Paris: Payot.
Jung, Carl Gustav
1953 Métamorphoses de l’âme et ses symboles. Analyse des prodromes d’une schizo-phrénie. (Préf. et trad. de Yves Le Lay.) Genève: Georg.
Kirby, Jon P.
1986 God, Shrines, and Problem-Solving among the Anufɔ of Northern Ghana. Berlin: Dietrich Reimer Verlag.
Kirschstein, Egon F.
1937 Some Tales of Tanganyika Natives. Tanganyika Notes and Records 4: 82–83.
Kramer, Samuel Noah
1969 The Sacred Mariage Rite. Aspects of Faith, Myth, and Ritual in Ancient Sumer. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Lane Fox, Robin
1986 Pagan and Christian in the Mediterranean World from Second Century AD to the Conversion of Constantine. London: Viking.
Latouche, Serge
1989 L’occidentalisation du monde. Essais sur la signification, la portée et les limites de l’uniformisation planétaire. Paris: La Découverte.
Lechaptois, A.
1913 Aux rives du Tanganyika. Étude ethnographique. Alger: Maison-Carré.
Leiris, Michel
1981 L’Afrique fantôme. Paris, Gallimard. [Orig. 1934]
Macquarrie, John
1967 God-Talk. An Examination of the Language and Logic of Theology. London: SCM Press.
Marks, Paula Mitchell
1998 In a Barren Land. American Indian Dispossession and Survival. New York: William Morrow.
Needham, Rodney (dir.)
1977 La parenté en question. Onze contributions à la théorie anthropologique. Paris: Éd. du Seuil.
Nicolas, Guy
1975 Dynamique sociale et appréhension du monde au sein d’une société hausa. Paris: Institut d’ethnologie.
Ong, Walter J.
1982 Orality and Literacy. The Technologizing of the Word. London: Methuen.
Pandolfi, Luca
2013 Caleuche. Gente trasformata, gente che si trasforma. Rappresentazioni identitarie dei Williche di Chiloé. Roma: Armando.
Père Maurice
1935 Le Pays des Bapimbwe. La Géographie LXIV.
Privat, Jean-Marie (dir.)
2006 Dragons entre sciences et fictions. Paris: Éd. CNRS.
Ranke-Heinemann, Uta
1990 Des eunuques pour le royaume des cieux. L’Eglise catholique et la sexualité. Paris: Robert Laffont.
Schmidt, Wilhelm
1940 Der Ursprung der Gottesidee. Eine historisch-kritische und positive Studie. Mün-ster: Aschendorff.
Seel, Sarah-Jane, Peter Mgawe, and Monique Borgerhoff Mulder
2014 The History and Traditions of the Pimbwe. Dar-es-Salaam: Mkuki na Nyota.
Seward, Desmond
1972 The Monks of War. The Military Religious Orders. London: Penguin Books.
Singleton, Michael
1975 Prêtre ouvrier = prêtre ujamaa. Spiritus 61: 427–436.
1976 Smallpox in Person. Personification or Personalization (Africa)? Anthropos 71: 169–179.
1979 Dawa. Beyond Science and Superstition. Anthropos 74 : 817–863.
1982 De l’intendance indigène du gibier à la gestion endogène de la faune. In: P. P. Vincke et M. Singleton (éds.), Gestion de la faune sauvage. Facteur de développement; pp. 70–107. Dakar: ENDA.
2009 Speaking to the Ancestors. Religion as Interlocutory Interaction. Anthropos 104: 311–332.
2010 Histoires d’eaux africaines. Essais d’anthropologie impliquée. Louvain-la-Neuve: Academia-Bruylant.
2015 From Worshipping Ancestors to Respecting Senior Citizens. Civilisations 63/1: 237–254.
2010 L’esprit et les esprits des WaKonongo. Paris: Payot.
Thomas, Keith
1984 Man and the Natural World. Changing Attitudes in England: 1500–1800. London: Penguin Books.
Veyne, Paul
2005 L’empire gréco-romain. Paris: Éd. du Seuil.
Vinson, Marie-Christine
2006 Raconte-moi les dragons. In: J.-M. Privat (dir.); pp. 110–120.
Werbner, Pnina (ed.)
1977 Regional Cults. London: Academic Press
Waha, Michel de
1979 Le dragon terrassé, thème triomphal depuis Constantin. In: M. Martens, A. Vanrie et M. de Waha, Saint Michel et sa symbolique; pp. 43–117. Bruxelles: Éditions d’Art Lucien de Meyer.


Anthropos is the international journal of anthropology and linguistics, founded in 1906 by Wilhelm Schmidt, missonary and member of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD). Its main purpose is the study of human societies in their cultural dimension. In honor of Wilhelm Schmidt‘s legacy, the cultivation of anthropology, ethnology, linguistics, and religious studies remain an essential component oft he Anthropos Institute – the organizational carrier of the journal.


Anthropos - internationale Zeitschrift für Völkerkunde wird vom Anthropos Institut St. Augustin seit 1906 zweimal jährlich herausgegeben. Ursprünglich als Sprachrohr für katholische Missionarsarbeit geplant, gilt sie heute als wichtige Fachzeitschrift der allgemeinen Ethnologie. Sie behandelt sowohl kulturelle als auch sprachliche Themen in mehreren Sprachen, mit Schwerpunkt auf den Völkern des gesamtamerikanischen und afrikanischen Kontinents.