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Religions of Lusitania. Loquuntur saxa
Museu Nacional de Arqueologia


The religious phenomenon has been the object of many interpretations, throughout history. Remember Frazer and the comparative comprehensiveness, Lévi–Strauss and the structural archetypes, Dumézil and the functionalist frameworks, Eliade and the universality of the symbolic. However, nothing else is more brilliant than the brief metaphor imagined by the English Murray, immediately adopted and developed by Dodds in his bold study on Greek culture and the irrational: the religious phenomenon appears every time and everywhere as an “inherited conglomerate”. And Dodds comments: “The geological metaphor is a happy one because religious growth is (…) agglomeration rather than replacement”. Therefore, when we study the past religions today, we do not only seek a better knowledge of our distant cultural roots, but we are rather dealing with something, that is still present – although in a partial and, sometimes subjective way – in our present life as Homo religiosus, which (whether we like it or not) we all are. Hence the unusual and increasing interest, that the approach of these subjects arouses in the public. Therefore, the expected success of the forthcoming exhibition on the Religions of Lusitania, promoted by the National Museum of Archaeology at the turning of the millennia. Hispania Aeterna and Roma Aeterna. Two traditions, which converge and rejoin, as a result of the Pax Romana that the East, where Light always comes from, “converts” at last… And the “agglomerate” increases, hiding or revealing some of its components, here and there, losing nothing, keeping everything. They are secret physical agents, protective numina, different deities, deified heroes, ritual and magical practices, Life and Death. They are obscure texts, which must be unlocked to be read, they are objects and images of a twice millenary past, which, after being decoded, are much more present than one would expect. Is Time a daydream? There is a name in this background: Leite de Vasconcelos, the remarkable scholar who studied the Religions of Lusitania thoroughly, for the first time, a hundred years ago. Is it homage? Undoubtedly! But it is much more than that, of course… José Cardim Ribeiro Comissário Científico da Exposição “Religiões da Lusitânia" (Scientific Commissioner of the Exhibition "Religions of Lusitania")
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