This paper aims to demonstrate how great literati and poets may recover their former status of seers/shamans after losing their sacredness in complex societies. In ancient societies, poets represented the historical memory of an ethnic group. As they were able to evocate images of gods, warriors and spirits, they actually were considered as priests or shamans, at once representatives and defenders of the tribe. As they were considered “sacred” they lived apart from ordinary people and they were, at once, respected and feared. After the birth of centralized states, poets’ sacred functions decayed and only occasionally literati were put at the service of nationalistic propaganda. However, in case of political crises, ancient poets were again given magic attributes and they were entrusted with the task of keeping and defending the traditional cultural patterns of the group/state they had belong. This article is a Structuralism/based one, as it deals with the Latin poet Virgil and the Korean scholar Ch’oe Ch’iwŏn. In both cases, we can recognize a similar process of transformation of poets in supernatural beings in occasion of national crises, when they become authentic flags and champions of their people while recovering their “sacredness” too. In this case, they recover their original, tribal status of sacred persons in front of the community. Their “sacredness” is shown by having supernatural powers (and then being separated from the rest of humans) and still by becoming representatives of a whole ethnic group. As a matter of fact, they turn again into a kind of saints/shamans entrusted with the task of protecting the political/cultural (and ethnic) identity of their homelands.

When Poets Become Sorcerers: The Cases of Virgil and Ch'oe Ch'iwon

RIOTTO, Maurizio
2014

Abstract

This paper aims to demonstrate how great literati and poets may recover their former status of seers/shamans after losing their sacredness in complex societies. In ancient societies, poets represented the historical memory of an ethnic group. As they were able to evocate images of gods, warriors and spirits, they actually were considered as priests or shamans, at once representatives and defenders of the tribe. As they were considered “sacred” they lived apart from ordinary people and they were, at once, respected and feared. After the birth of centralized states, poets’ sacred functions decayed and only occasionally literati were put at the service of nationalistic propaganda. However, in case of political crises, ancient poets were again given magic attributes and they were entrusted with the task of keeping and defending the traditional cultural patterns of the group/state they had belong. This article is a Structuralism/based one, as it deals with the Latin poet Virgil and the Korean scholar Ch’oe Ch’iwŏn. In both cases, we can recognize a similar process of transformation of poets in supernatural beings in occasion of national crises, when they become authentic flags and champions of their people while recovering their “sacredness” too. In this case, they recover their original, tribal status of sacred persons in front of the community. Their “sacredness” is shown by having supernatural powers (and then being separated from the rest of humans) and still by becoming representatives of a whole ethnic group. As a matter of fact, they turn again into a kind of saints/shamans entrusted with the task of protecting the political/cultural (and ethnic) identity of their homelands.
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
KS 38_02_Riotto.pdf

non disponibili

Descrizione: Articolo principale
Tipologia: Documento in Post-print
Licenza: PUBBLICO - Pubblico con Copyright
Dimensione 274.69 kB
Formato Adobe PDF
274.69 kB Adobe PDF   Visualizza/Apri   Richiedi una copia

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11574/154646
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
social impact