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Apollodorus, Library (ed. Sir James George Frazer), book 2 (search)
cited the dead man who
was thought to protect either Attica or
Troy was a stranger from a strange land.
Some of the Scythians in antiquity used to cut off the heads of their enemies and stick
them on poles over the chimneys of their houses, where the skulls were supposed to act
as watchmen or guardians, perhaps by repelling any foul fiends that might attempt to
enter the dwelling by coming down the chimney. See Hdt.
4.103. So tribes in Borneo, who make a
practice of cutting off the heads of their enemies and garnishing their houses with
these trophies, imagine that they can propitiate the spirits of their dead foes and
convert them into friends and protectors by addressing the skulls in endearing language
and offering them food. See Spirits of the Corn and of the Wild,
i.294ff. The references in Greek legend to men who habitually relieved
strangers of their heads, which they added