Thursday, 27 November 2014

avebury // stukeley

 Burning the heretic

Just before I visited this place... the inhabitants were fallen into the custom of demolishing the stones, chiefly out of covetousness of the little area of ground, each stood on. First they dug great pits in the earth, and buried them. The expence of digging the grave, was more than 30 years purchase of the spot they possessed, when standing. After this, they found out the kanck of burning them, which has made most miserable havock of this famous temple. One Tom Robinson the Herostratus of Abury,* is particularly eminent for this kind of execution, and he very much glories in it. The method is, to dig a pit by the side of the stone, till it falls down, then to burn many loads of straw under it. They draw lines of water along it when heated, and then with smart strokes of a great sledge hammer, its prodigious bulk is divided into many lesser parts. But this Atto de fe** commonly costs thirty shillings in fire and labour, sometimes twice as much. They own too 'tis excessive hard work, for these stones are often 18 foot long, 13 broad, and 6 thick, that their weight crushes the stones in pieces, which they lay under them to make them lie hollow for burning, and for this purpose they raise them with timbers of 20 foot long, and more, by the help of twenty men, but often the timbers were rent to pieces.
Stukeley goes on to write that a single stone could provide enough pieces to build an ordinary house, but that because of the nature of the stone, such a house "is always moist and dewy in winter, which proves damp and unwholsome, and rots the furniture. The custom of thus destroying them is so late, that I could easily trace the obit of every stone; who did it, for what purpose, and when, and by what method, what house or wall was built out of it, and the like."

*The term "auto da fe" (or auto de fe) means "act of faith" and refers to the Spanish Inquisition's ritual of judging and condemning heretics. The ceremony has generally been thought to include executions by burning at the stake (which is no doubt what Stukeley is alluding to), though some sources claim that the actual executions were held separately.
**Herostratus sought to make a name for himself by setting fire to the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus (Turkey) in 356 BC. He boasted proudly of his act, so the authorities not only executed him but decreed that his name should never be spoken again, on penalty of death. Obviously it didn't work, and the name "Herostratus" subsquently became associated with the idea of seeking glory through acts of destruction or violence.

 Our Lady of Fatima

The Three Secrets

The Sun Miracle

Near the entrance to the sanctuary by the rectory is a Berlin Wall Monument, containing a 5,732-pound chunk of the wall donated by a Portuguese emigrant to Germany after it fell in 1989. He offered it as a memorial of God's intervention in bringing down Communism, as promised at Fatima.

10. Berlin Wall

At the entrance of the Sanctuary, on the south side of the Rectory, one may visit a monument of the Berlin Wall's, consisting of a concrete segment that was part of it. (The Walls construction started during the night between the 12th. and 13th. of August, 1961 and its demolition began the 9th. of November, 1989) This segment was offered by means of Virgilio Casimiro Ferreira, a Portuguese emigrant to Germany and is here placed as a grateful memorial of God's intervention for the fall of Communism as promised at Fatima. The segment weighs 2,600 kilos (5,732 lbs.) and measures 3.60 meters (11 ft. 9 in.) high by 1.20 meters (3 ft. in.) wide. The present monument was designed by the architect J. Carlos Loureiro and was inaugurated on the 13th. of August, 1994.

Claudio Colaguori in Agon Culture: Competition, Conflict and the Problem of Domination. For Colaguori, "the agon is literally the arena of competition, the scene of contest, and the locus of adversarial conflict. The philosophy of agonism affirms the idea that transcendence, truth, and growth are generated from the outcome of the contest...the concept of agonism is often understood in an affirmative sense as the generative principle of economy, society and even natural ecology and personal growth... The ambivalent character of agonism is that it is often seen as a mode of transcendence, while its instrumental relation to the mode of destruction is rarely acknowledged".

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