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Donnerstag, 21. Dezember 2017

Luzie and the sica... ;-) a Yuletide post

 Those who know me know that I have been growing ever more fond of the Dacian sica. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sica). This is a weapon / knife that dates back to the iron-age geto-Dacians, an Eastern tribe with presumeably Illyrian and Scythian roots, and which was feared and respected by the Roman empire even after their defeat. The Sica came in several sizes, the largest being resemblant of the Greek Makhaira (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Makhaira). Technically a type of sickle, the Sica offers a more pronounced tip and it makes for a very effective cutting motion. 
 This is a Sica I made from a piece of steel I found in the woods. It is stain-resistant and has a hardness of about 63HRC with a selective temper. This steel is frightening me a bit... for it also offers a very fine edge.
 Forging was a bit awkward, though.
 This is another one I made, it´s called Úlenkláwe in Nether German (Húljankrampja in Dhiudha na n Iampárai ;-) ), made from old crucible steel, also from my local woods.
 There´s a legend involved in the making, and for me the Sica always portrayed meaning in itself.
So I asked myself: Might it be that the Sica had a sort of apotropaic meaning in itself, or is it just wishful thinking? The fact that many of the artifacts found were richly decorated, often with circular patterns, raven etc. might hint of a somewhat symbolic meaning. For more contemporary examples read more at : https://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?/topic/34961-thracian-sica-dacian-falx/

At https://i.pinimg.com/564x/c7/47/1e/c7471eb86ac0c940ddbece82760daf6b.jpg I found an image of the insigns of a Saturnic grade of the Mithraic mysteries (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mithraism)

Mosaic of the Orientation Grades. A mosaic depicting the seven stages of initiation from the Mithraeum of Felicissimus in Ostia. Detail of the seventh rectangle: the planet Saturn (sickle), Pater’s degree, the hierarchy’s supreme one (Phrygian cap, Mithras’ hat), with the command stick and patera for libations.

The Saturnalia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturnalia) in ancient Rome was a festival taking part from 17th of December to 23rd of December. Gifts were given to the rich and poor alike, and the toga, a symbol of Roman citizendom, was set aside in favor of more colourful festival clothes (or none at all ;-)). During this time, Saturnus or Dith Pater, reigned supreme, one of his attributes being a scythe or a sickle which bore a close resemblance to the Sica or Falx Dacica (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falx) 

(https://www.google.de/search?q=Falx+Dacica&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi7rqO92JvYAhULfFAKHQR6Ba4Q_AUICigB&biw=1680&bih=919#imgrc=u8XiKszDJemxxM:)

According to Plinius the elder the Celtic druids cut the mistletoe with a golden sickle. So, in fact the Sica does have a lot to do with Chrismas or Yuletide. The fool king had to die, Uranos was emasculated by his son Kronos (the titan of time), presumeably with a sickle (this is a speculation, of course).

In Germany, there is a Chrismas demon named "Bluadige Luzie" (Bloody Lucy) playing a role in Bavarian Catholic folk customs (http://www.ausflugszielebayerischerwald.de/wo-kann-ich-eine-rauhnachtfeier-live-erleben/). It is a witch cutting open the bellies of naughty kids with a sickle or scythe and filling them with stones. The scythe of Death ends life; and the life of the year is ritually ended with the solstice: With the longest night the year ends to be born anew. The sickle or Sica plays an important role in the harvest / death myths all over Europe. The myth has thusly survived from the iron age on to modern times.

I wish you all a good Yuletide, Chrismas, or whatever it is that you celebrate. The year will die on the darkest night, and in the darkest night it will be born again and hopefully be prosperous and fertile for you all. May a light be with you always, especially in the darkest hours. And may a Sica be by your side to end what is dying.

Sól invictus esse!

All the best to y´all. 


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