1. Discuss the importance and actions of the magico-religious function as it is seen within the context of general Indo-European culture. (minimum 100 words)
The magico-religious function reflects the first class in Dumezil’s tripartite theory. As outlined by J.P. Mallory, “The first function embraces sovereignty and is marked by a priestly stratum of society that maintains both magico-religious and legal order” (Mallory 130).
Sacrifice is the primary theme in Indo-European mythologies. Through the first sacrifice came all of creation. So it was seen that the first class of Dumezil’s tripartite was responsible for recreating that sacrifice in ritual to uphold the Order of the Cosmos. The magico-religious function was responsible for making sure that all sacrifices were performed properly so they would be accepted by the gods of the people. Because of their close relationship with the supernatural world, it is easy to see how this function would be held in such high regard by the other two functions within the IE societies.
Since the sovereigns or kings were a part of the first function it might very well explain why in many IE cultures the King was seen as an extension of the land. In times of need the Kind was expected to give his life in sacrifice so that the fertility and prosperity of the land/people would continue.