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Monday, November 24, 2014

Un(s)even: the "new" pagans

(by Selkis; a detail)

The cultural shock in the Discovery of America did not only consist in finding out that a whole Continent -- not a couple of faraway islands -- had gone unnoticed until then, but that the place was inhabited by peoples with their own histories and religions. And their religions were both "natural," e.g. having the Sun as the main god, and "heathen" in the worst Biblical sense, e.g. including human sacrifices. The clock of Christianity had been turned back by 1,500 years, what about now?

Tasso's started to write his long poem Il Mondo Creato in 1592. In a way, it is a sort of "taking stock of the situation" of Western civilization one century after Columbus' enterprise. With reference to the religions of natives, Tasso implores them to embrace Christianity, but does not call for forced conversions.