Decapitation
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DECAPITATION

A beheading game is a trope or motif of medieval romance in which the players exchange blows that could decapitate their opponent. The most famous example is in the poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and the earliest known form is in the Irish story of Fled Bricrenn (Bricriu's Feast).[1][2]
DATABASES
A beheading game is a trope or motif of medieval romance in which the players exchange blows that could decapitate their opponent. The most famous example is in the poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and the earliest known form is in the Irish story of Fled Bricrenn (Bricriu's Feast).[1][2]
Beheading is among the most ancient, widespread, and enduring of human cultural practices. Examples occur in every place, time, and level of culture. In Ashurbanipal’s Nineveh, seventh-century b.c.e. Assyrians heaped heads beneath palm trees, the harvested fruits of victory, tallied by meticulous scribes (fig. 1.1). In his fourteenth-century progresses, Tamerlane piled heads into monitory mountains. Heads were carried aloft by Japanese warriors of the twelfth century, shrunk by Jivaro in the twentieth, tossed by Aztecs in their ball games, collected in baskets by Jehu and the Nazis, preserved in niches by pre-Roman Celts. Headsmen took them off throughout Europe until...
The famous Jómsvíkinga Saga ends with a gripping story which describes how the Jómsvikings were subjected to the ultimate test of courage after losing the naval battle in Hjörungavá gr. Seventy warriors were taken ashore and tied with a rope and man named Þórke ll Leira was appointed to the task of cutting their heads off.  The saga describes in a vivid and violent way (yet with occasional moments of dark humour) how the fearless warriors of Jómsborg mocked their coming end and died one after another remaining forever faithful to the laws of their war-band. Impressed by the courageous attitudes of the Jómsvikings, the executioners finally decided to spare their lives. As a result some of the brave warriors were able to regain their freedom and save their heads.
The knight's challenge of a blow for a blow draws on a well-known motif from Celtic legend. Two versions of the "beheading game" appear, for example, in "Briucriu's Feast," a tale of the Irish hero Cuchulainn. In the most important of the two, usually called the "Champions' Bargain," an uncouth giant comes into the hall and challenges one of the heroes to chop off his head that night, if he can then chop off the hero's tomorrow. After one agrees, the giant picks up his head and walks away. The hero stays away the next day, as do several others, but Cuchulainn keeps his end of the bargain, and the giant responds by striking him with the blunt side of the ax, so that Cuchulainn is not harmed. Similar beheading challenges occur in Arthurian literature as well, specifically the French romances Le Livre de Caradoc and Perlesvaus. The year's delay for the exchange also has Celtic precedent. In the Welsh legend "Pwyll," found in the Mabinogion, Pwyll has to pay a debt to the hunter Arawn, the king of the underworld, for Pwyll's discourtesy during a hunt. Arawn and Pwyll magically swap appearances and take each other's places for a year and one day. Although relying on Celtic and French source material, the Gawain-poet does not simply rehash it. Instead, in the best medieval fashion, he appropriates it for his own purposes, subtly altering it to give it a new context and meaning.
Letter from a Trimester Grail Quest 

We had a really great day today. We have been in Llangollen, where the head of Bran was buried. We also spent some time looking at the Celtic cult of the head, more at the head of the green man, green knight, the head in place of the grail in the Peredur story, and the headless St. Denis (head is buried on Dinas Bran hill even if there is no relation to Denis). It was striking to me that this Roman Catholic sent to convert the Celtic Gauls carries the talking head story. It also reminded us of St. Nectans decapitation and the trail I’ve been following of head shaped drinking vessels – from Celtic to Cretan. I had previously completely missed that it's the later decapitated Bran that gifts the Necromantic cauldron. I also think about the fact that, filled or empty, looking into the dish chalice or bowl, you will see little more reflecting than your own head/face. (if empty and shaped purposefully, like a cross between a dish and bowl, you will see your face as holographic, which reminds me of a certain gnostic version of the bodiless Christ).
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