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Title: Introduction to the History of Religions - Handbooks on the History of Religions, Volume IV
Author: Toy, Crawford Howell, 1836-1919
Language: English
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                              ON THE
                       HISTORY OF RELIGIONS

                             EDITED BY

                     MORRIS JASTROW, JR., PH.D.

            _Late Professor of Semitic Languages in the_
                   _University of Pennsylvania_

                             VOLUME IV

                     LONDON: HUMPHREY MILFORD
                      OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS

               Handbooks on the History of Religions

                        INTRODUCTION TO THE
                        HISTORY OF RELIGIONS

                         CRAWFORD HOWELL TOY

                      HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS

                           COPYRIGHT, 1913

                        BY CRAWFORD HOWELL TOY

                         ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

                         _Third Impression_


                       CAMBRIDGE, MASS., U.S.A.


The object of this volume is to describe the principal customs and ideas
that underlie all public religion; the details are selected from a large
mass of material, which is increasing in bulk year by year. References
to the higher religions are introduced for the purpose of illustrating
lines of progress.

The analytic table of contents and the index are meant to supplement
each other, the one giving the outline of the discussion, the other
giving the more important particulars; the two together will facilitate
the consultation of the book. In the selected list of works of reference
the titles are arranged, as far as possible, in chronological order, so
as to indicate in a general way the progress of investigation in the
subjects mentioned.

My thanks are due to the publishers for the care they have taken in the

   C. H. T.



  (The Arabic figures in the chapter summaries refer to paragraphs)


  CHAPTER I. NATURE OF RELIGION                                      1

  Science and religion coeval, 1; Man's sense of dependence on
  mysterious Powers, 2; Early man's feeling toward them of a
  mixed nature, 3; mainly selfish, 4; Prominence of fear, 6;
  Conception of natural law, 7; Sense of an extrahuman
  Something, 9; Universality of religion, 10; Its development
  parallel to that of social organization, 12; Unitary
  character of human life, 14; External religion, 15; Internal
  religion, 16.

  CHAPTER II. THE SOUL                                              10

  NATURE OF THE SOUL. Universal belief in an interior
  something, 18; its basis, 19; from observation of breath,
  21; of shadow, 22; of blood, 23; Its form a sublimated
  double of the corporeal man, 24; or of an animal, 25; The
  seat of the soul, 26; Localization of qualities, 27;
  Consequences of the soul's leaving the body, 29; The hidden
  soul, 31.

  ORIGIN OF THE SOUL. Not investigated by savages, 32;
  Creation of man, 33; Theories of birth, 34; Divine origin of
  the soul, 36; Mysteriousness of death, 38.

  POLYPSYCHISM. Early views of the number and functions of
  souls, 39; Civilized views, 43.

  FUTURE OF THE SOUL. Belief in its death, 46; This belief
  transient, 51-53; Dwelling-place of the surviving soul in
  human beings, beasts, plants, or inanimate objects, 55-59;
  or near its earthly abode, 60-63; or in some remote place in
  earth, sea, or sky, 64-66; or in an underground world,
  67-69; Occupations of the dead, 70; Retribution in the
  Underworld, 71; Nonmoral distinctions, 72-75; Moral
  retribution, savage, 76-78; Civilized, 79-80; Local
  separation of the good from the bad, 81; Reward and
  punishment, Hindu, 82; Egyptian, 83; Greek, 84; Jewish and
  Christian, 85, 86; Purgatory, 87; Resurrection, 88-90.

  POWERS OF THE SEPARATED SOUL. Prayers for the dead, 95, 96.

  GENESIS OF SPIRITS. Functions of spirits (souls of nonhuman
  objects), 97-100.

  CHAPTER III. EARLY RELIGIOUS CEREMONIES                           48

  Predominance of ceremonies in early religious life, 101,
  102; They are communal, 103; and sacred, 104.

  plays, 106-108; Connected with the worship of gods, 109; Are
  means of religious culture, 110; Processions, 111;
  Circumambulation, 112; Magical potency, 113.

  114-118; of houses, 119; of official dress, 120; Symbolism
  in decoration, 121.

  ECONOMIC CEREMONIES. Propitiation of hunted animals,
  122-125; Taboos, 126; Rules about eating, 127-128; Magical
  means of procuring food, 129-131; Use of blood, 132; to
  fertilize soil, 133; Sacrifice of first-born animals,
  including children, 134; Raising and housing crops, 135;
  Rain, 136; Survivals in civilized times, 137.

  APOTROPAIC CEREMONIES. Early methods, 138-139; Expulsion of
  spirits, 140-141; Transference of evil, 142, 143; Expulsion
  by sacrifice, 144; The massing of such observances, 145.

  146; Tests of endurance, 147; Seclusion of girls, 148;
  Rearrangement of taboos, 149; Supernatural machinery, 150;
  Mutilation of the body, 151, 152; Circumcision of males, its
  wide diffusion, 153; not a test of endurance, 154; nor
  hygienic, 155; nor to get rid of magical dangers, 156; nor
  to increase procreative power, 157; not religious in origin:
  not a form of phallic worship, 158; nor a sacrifice, 159,
  160; nor a provision for reincarnation, 161; Circumcision of
  females, 162; Object of circumcision probably increase of
  sensual enjoyment, 163, 164; The symbolical interpretation,
  165-168; Ceremonies of initiation to secure union with the
  clan, 169; Feigned resurrection of the initiate, 170; The
  lonely vision, 171; Instruction of youth, 172, 173;
  Initiation into secret societies, 174.

  MARRIAGE CEREMONIES. Simple forms, 176-178; The bride
  hiding, 179; Prenuptial defloration, 180; Introduction of a
  supernatural element, 181; View that all marriage-ceremonies
  are essentially religious, 182.

  CEREMONIES AT BIRTH. Parental care, 184; The couvade, 185;
  Child regarded as a reincarnation, 186; Ablutions and
  naming, 187; Child regarded as child of God, 188.

  BURIAL CEREMONIES. Natural grief, 189; Propitiation of the
  dead by offerings at grave, 190; Ban of silence, 191; The
  dead regarded as powerful, 192; Social value of these
  ceremonies, 193.

  purification, 194-196; Methods: by water, sand, etc.,
  197-199; by sacrifice, 200; Purification of a whole
  community, 201; Consecration of private and official
  persons, 202, 203; Fasting, 204; its origin, 205-207; its
  religious effects, 208; Result of massing these ceremonies,

  210, 211; Lunar festivals, 212-214; Solar festivals, 215;
  Solstitial and stellar festivals, 216; Importance of
  agricultural festivals, 217; Joyous, 218; Licentious, 219;
  Offering of first fruits, 220; Sadness, 221; The eating of
  sacred food, 222; Long periods, 223; Social value of these
  ceremonies, 224.

  CHAPTER IV. EARLY CULTS                                           99

  Savage treatment of superhuman Powers discriminating,
  225-228; Charms and fetish objects, 229, 230; Life-force
  (mana), 231-233; not an object of worship, but enters into
  alliance with religion, 234, 235; Nature of sacredness, 236,
  237; Luck, 238; The various objects of worship, 239, 240.

  ANIMALS. Their social relations with men, 241, 242;
  Transformation and transmigration, 243; Two attitudes of men
  toward animals, 244-248; What animals are revered, 249, 250;
  Regarded as incarnations of gods or of spirits, 251; Those
  sacred to gods generally represent old beast-cults, 252,
  253; Survivals of reverence for animals, 254; Beasts as
  creators, 255, 256; Worship rarely offered them, 257, 258;
  Coalescence of beast-cults with other religious observances,
  259; Whether animals ever became anthropomorphic deities,
  260; Historical significance of beast-cults, 261.

  PLANTS. Their economic 'rôle', 262-264; Held to possess souls,
  265; Their relations with men friendly and unfriendly, 266,
  267; Sacred trees, 268, 269; Deification of soma, 270;
  Whether corn-spirits have been deified, 271; Sacred trees by
  shrines, 272; Their connection with totem posts, 273;
  Blood-kinship between men and trees, 274, 275; The cosmic
  tree, 276; Divinatory function of trees, 277; Relation of
  tree-spirits to gods, 278-285.

  STONES AND MOUNTAINS. Stones alive and sacred, 286-288; have
  magical powers, 289, 290; Relation between divine stones and
  gods, 291-295; Magna Mater, 291; Massebas, 293; Bethels,
  294; Stones cast on graves, and boundary stones, 296; Stones
  as altars: natural forms, 297; artificial forms, 298; High
  pillars by temples, 299; Images of gods, 300, 301;
  Folk-stories and myths connected with stones, 302; Sacred
  mountains, 303-305.

  WATERS. Why waters are regarded as sacred, 306-308; Ritual
  use of water, 309; Water-spirits, 310, 311; Water-gods,
  312-314; Rain-giving gods, 315; Water-myths, 316; Gods of
  ocean, 317.

  FIRE. Its sacredness, 318, 319; Persian fire-cult, 320;
  Ritual use of fire, 321-323; Its symbolic significance, 334;
  Light as sacred, 325.

  WINDS. Their relation to gods, 327.

  HEAVENLY BODIES. Anthropomorphized, 328; Cosmogonic myths
  connected with them, 329, 330; Sex of sun and moon, 331;
  Whether they ever became gods, 332, 333; Thunder and
  lightning not worshiped, 334.

  WORSHIP OF HUMAN BEINGS. Their worship widespread, with
  distinction between the living and the dead, 335.

  THE CULT OF THE LIVING. Worship to be distinguished from
  reverence, 336; Worship of the living by savages, 337; by
  civilised peoples, 338; in Egypt, 339, 340; in Babylonia,
  341; but there probably not Semitic, 342; not by Hebrews and
  Arabs, 343, 344; in China, 345; in Japan, 346; Whether by
  Greeks and Romans, 347; Not in India and Persia, 348; Cults
  of the living rarely important, 349.

  THE CULT OF THE DEAD. Of historical persons: noncivilized,
  351; civilized: in Egypt, 352; in Greece and Rome, 353; in
  China, 354; of the Calif Ali, 355; Greek and Roman worship
  of mythical ancestors, 356, 357; Dedivinization of gods,
  358; Euhemerism, 359; Worship of the dead kin, 360, 361;
  Ghosts friendly and unfriendly, 362; Savage customs:
  mourning, 363; funeral feasts, 364; fear and kindly feeling,
  365, 366; Definite cult of ghosts: savage, 367-370;
  civilised, 371-373; Greek and Roman state cults, 374;
  Chinese, 375; Divine functions of the venerated dead,
  376-378; Ethical power of ancestor-worship, 379-383.

  CULTS OF GENERATIVE POWERS. Nature's productivity, 384-386;
  Not all customs connected with generation are religious,
  387; Cult of generative organs, 388-406; widespread, 388;
  Nonreligious usages, 389, 390; Phallic cults hardly to be
  found among the lowest peoples, 391, 392; Well developed in
  West Africa, 393; in modern India, 394; in Japan, 395; Most
  definite in some ancient civilized religions, 396; In Egypt,
  397; Whether in Semitic communities, 398; Hierapolis, 399;
  Babylonia and Palestine, 400; Extensively practiced in Asia
  Minor, Ionia, and Greece, 401; Priapos, 402, 403; The Roman
  Mutunus Tutunus, 404; Phalli as amulets, 405; The female
  organ, 406; Androgynous deities, 407-418; Supposed Semitic
  figures: Ishtar, 408; Ashtart, 409; Tanit, 410; The Cyprian
  goddess, 411, 412; The Phrygian Agdistis, 413;
  Hermaphroditos, 415, 416; Androgynous deities not
  religiously important, 417; Origin of the conception, 418;
  Animals associated with phallic deities, 419; Christian
  phallic cults, 420.

  CHAPTER V. TOTEMISM AND TABOO                                    176

  The contrasted rôles of the two, 431.

  TOTEMISM. Social protective clan customs, 422; Control of
  marriage by exogamic organization, 423-428; Theories of the
  origin of exogamy (scarcity of women, primitive promiscuity,
  absence of sexual attraction between persons brought up
  together, patriarch's jealousy, horror of incest, migration
  of young men) and criticism of them, 429-435; Diffusion and
  function of exogamy, 436-440; Definition of totemism, 441;
  Customs and beliefs associated with it, 442: exogamy, 443;
  names and badges, 444-448; descent from the totem, 449-451;
  refusal to kill or eat it, 452-459; magical ceremonies for
  increasing supply of food, 460, 461; Stricter definition of
  totemism, 462-465; Geographical distribution of totemic
  usages, 466-513; Australia, 468-473; Torres Straits Islands,
  474, 475; British New Guinea, 476; Melanesia, 477-483;
  Micronesia and Polynesia, 484, 485; Indonesia, 486; India,
  487; North America, 488-506; Africa, 507-513; Supposed
  traces in civilized peoples, 514-519; The permanent element
  in totemism, 520, 521; Conditions favorable and unfavorable
  to totemistic organization, 522; economic, 523-528;
  individualistic institutions (secret societies, guardian
  spirits), 529-537; political, 538; religious, 539, 540; The
  lines of progress to which totemism succumbs, 541.


  INDIVIDUALISTIC THEORIES. Confusion between names and
  things, 544; Animal or plant held to be the incarnation of a
  dead man, 545; Body of an animal as magical apparatus, 546;
  Animals as places of deposit of souls, 547; An object that
  influences a mother at conception, of which the child may
  not eat, 548; Animals and plants as incarnations of the
  souls of the dead, 549; Criticism, 550-552.

  THEORIES BASED ON CLAN ACTION. A clan chooses an animal or
  plant as friend, 553, 554; The totem a clan badge, 555-557;
  Coöperation of groups to supply particular foods, 558; The
  totem a god incarnate in every member of a clan, 559;
  Summing-up on origin of totemism, 560-562; Social function
  of totemism, 563; Whether it produced the domestication of
  animals and plants, 564-569; Its relation to religion,
  570-580; The totem as helper, 570-575; Whether a totem is
  ever worshiped, 576; or ever becomes a god, 577-580.

  TABOO. Its relation to ethics, 581-584; It has to do with
  dangerous objects and acts, 585, 586; Classes of taboo
  things, 587: those connected with the conception of life
  (parents and children), 588, 589; with death, 590, 591; with
  women and the relation between the sexes, 592-594; with
  great personages, 595-597; with industrial pursuits,
  598-600; with other important social events (expulsion of
  spirits, sacred seasons, war, etc.), 601-604; with the moon:
  fear of celestial phenomena, 605; observation of lunations,
  606; new moon and full moon, 607; Whether the Hebrew sabbath
  was originally a full-moon day, 608, 609; The seven-day
  week, 610; Prohibitions connected with lucky and unlucky
  days, 611-613; Punishment of violation of taboo, 614, 615;
  Removal of taboos, 616, 617; Taboo and magic, 618, 619;
  Modification of taboo by civil law, 620; Despotism of taboo,
  621; Duration of taboo periods, 622; Diffusion of taboo
  customs, 623, 624; Traces in ancient civilized communities,
  625; Indications of former general prevalence, 626, 627;
  Causes of disappearance, 628, 629; Rôle of taboo in the
  history of religion, 630-634.

  CHAPTER VI. GODS                                                 265

  How gods differ from other supernatural beings, 635, 636;
  Early mythical founders of culture, 637-643.

  CLAN GODS (including divinized men). In lower tribes,
  644-647; In civilized nations, 648-651; One class of Greek
  "heroes," 652, 653; Historical importance of clan gods, 654.

  DEPARTMENTAL GODS. In half-civilised communities, 658-662;
  In Maya, Mexican, and Peruvian religions, 663-665; Among
  Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, 666-670; Supposed Semitic
  instances, 671; Tutelary deities of individuals, cities, and
  nations, 672, 673; Classes of departmental gods, 674:
  Creators, 675-679; Gods of the other world, 680-682: Good
  and bad Powers, 683-694; Conflict and adjustment, 684-688;
  Ethical dualism, 689; Man's attitude toward demons, 690-694;
  Gods of abstractions, 695-697: Semitic, 698-700; Egyptian,
  701; Roman and Greek, 702; Aryan, 703; Absorption of
  specialized deities by great gods, 704-706.

  NATURE GODS. Their characteristics, 707, 708; Cult of the
  sun, 709-713; of the moon, 714; of stars, 715-718.

  THE GREAT GODS. Their genesis, 719, 720; Divine dynasties,
  721-723; The supremacy of a particular god determined by
  social conditions, 724; Origin of composite figures, 725.

  Illustrations of the growth of gods, 725 ff.:

  EGYPTIANS. Horus, 726; Ra, 727; Osiris, 728; Hathor, Neith,
  Isis, 729.

  HINDU. Varuna, 730; Indra, 731; Soma, 732; Vishnu and Çiva,
  733; Dyaus and Prithivi, 734; Ushas (and Çaktism), 734;
  Yama, 735, 736.

  PERSIAN. Ahura Mazda and Angro Mainyu, 737, 738; Mithra and
  Anahita, 739; Character of the Zoroastrian reform, 740-745.

  CHINESE. Feeble theistic development, 746; Confucianism and
  Taoism, 747-749.

  JAPANESE. No great god, 750.

  Nature of Semitic theistic constructions, 751-755.

  BABYLONIAN AND ASSYRIAN. Ea, 756; Enlil (Bel), 757; Marduk,
  758; Ashur, 759; Female deities, 760; Bau, 761; Ishtar, 762,

  PHOENICIAN AND ARABIAN. Melkart, Eshmun, Dusares, Al-Lât,
  Al-Uzza, 764.

  HEBREW. Yahweh, 765; The titles Ilu (El), Elohim, 766.

  GREEK. The pantheon, 767; Zeus, 768, 769; Apollo, 770;
  Poseidon, 771; Hermes, 772; Pan, 773, 774; Ares, 775;
  Dionysus, 776-778; Hades, 779, 780; Female deities, 781:
  Hera, 782, 783; Demeter, 784; Maiden goddesses, 785: the
  Kore, 786; Hestia, 787; Artemis, 788, 789; Hekate, 790;
  Athene, 791, 792; Aphrodite, 793, 794; Breadth of the Greek
  theistic scheme, 795.

  ROMAN. Nature gods, 796, 797; Jupiter, 798; Janus, 799;
  Mars, 800; Saturn, 801; Deities of obscure origin, 802;
  Female deities, 803; Juno, 804; Vesta, 805; Diana, 806;
  Minerva, 807; Venus, 808, 809.

  Characteristics of the great ancient national religions,

  CHAPTER VII. MYTHS                                               359

  Their historical value, 819, 820; Duration of the
  mythopoeic age, 821; Period of origination of myths, 832;
  Similarity of myths throughout the world, 823-826; Classes
  of myths, 827:

  _Cosmogonic._ Creation of the world, 838-831; of man, 832,
  833; Man originally not mortal, 834; Macrobiotes, 835;
  Primeval paradise, 835; Final destruction of the world,
  etc., 836-838.

  _Ethnogonic_, 839-841.

  _Sociogonic_, 842: Arts and ceremonies, 843-845; Relation
  between myth and ritual, 846; Social reforms, 847; Sacred
  places, 848.

  _Astronomical, procellar, vegetation_: astrological, 849,
  850; Storm myths, 851; Certain heroes, 852, 853; Decay and
  revival of vegetation, 854, 855; Literary mythical
  histories, 856; Antagonism between light and darkness, 857,

  Mingling of myth and legend, 859, 860; Original nature of a
  god given in popular observances, 861; Interpretation of
  myths, 862; Ancient, 863; Recent, 864-879; Influence of
  myths on dogmas and ceremonies, 880; Fairy lore, 881.

  CHAPTER VIII. MAGIC AND DIVINATION                               392

  Difference between their functions, 882.

  MAGIC. Science of magic, 883-885; Its methods, 886, 887;
  Relation between magic and religion, 888-890; Magic a social
  product, 891; Magicians, 893-894; Families, 895; Women, 895,
  896; Tribes, 897; Power of the magician, 898; His methods,
  899, 900; Attitude of civilised religions toward magic, 901,
  902; Its persistent hold on men, 903; Its historical rôle,

  DIVINATION. Its nature and organization, 905, 906; Prophetic
  ecstasy, 907; Relations between magician, diviner, and
  priest, 908.

  Divinatory signs, 909, 910; Signs without human initiation:
  omens, 911, 912; Prodigies, 913: Astrology, 914, 915; Words
  and acts of men, 916; Parts of the human body, 917; Signs
  arranged for by men: lots, 918; Haruspication, etc., 919,
  920; Oneiromancy, 921-923; Ordeals, 924-926; Oracles and
  necromancy, 927; Development of the office of diviner,
  928-932; Sibyls and Sibylline books, 933-940; Religious and
  ethical influence of divination, 941, 942.


  Groups into which the great religions fall, 943, 944.

  POLYTHEISM. Differences between the polytheistic schemes of
  various peoples: Egyptian, Semitic, Indo-European, Mexican,
  Peruvian, 945-950; Extent of anthropomorphization of gods
  measured by richness of mythology: in savage and
  half-civilized communities, 952-954; Gradations of
  anthropomorphization in civilized peoples, 955-964;
  Religious rôle of polytheism, 965, 966; Dissatisfaction with
  its discordances, and demand for simplification of the
  conception of the divine government of the world, 967.

  DUALISM. Belief of lower tribes in two mutually antagonistic
  sets of Powers, 968-972; Of the great ancient religions it
  is only Zoroastrianism that has constructed a dualistic
  system, 973-976; Whether a strictly dualistic scheme has
  ever existed, 977; Manichæism, 978; Problems raised by
  dualism, 979.

  MONOTHEISM. The general movement toward it, 980, 981; Two
  theories of its origin: that it is the natural primitive
  form of religion, that it is the result of a primitive
  divine revelation, 982; The facts in the case: it is not now
  found in low tribes, 983-985; it is not visible in the
  popular cults of the great nations of antiquity, 986; But
  tendency toward a unitary conception of the divine
  government of the world, 987; Disposition to ascribe
  absoluteness to some one deity in Egypt, Babylonia, Assyria,
  India, 988-991; Chinese headship of Heaven, 992; Peruvian
  cult of the sun, 993; Hebrew monolatry, 994, 995; Demand for
  unity by Greek poets and philosophers, 996-1001; Judaism,
  Christianity, and Islam, 1002; Cults of Isis and
  Mithra--Modern reforms: Brahma-Samaj, Parsi, Babist, Shinto,

  against the separation of God and the world, 1004;
  Perplexing ethical and religious questions make it
  unacceptable to the mass of men, 1005; Nontheistic systems
  attempt to secure unity by taking the world to be
  self-sufficient, or by regarding the gods as otiose, 1006;
  The Sankhya philosophy dispenses with extrahuman Powers, but
  recognizes the soul--Buddhism ignores both, 1007; Greek
  materialism, 1008.

  Intervention of gods fixed by appeal to natural law, 1010;
  Persistence of belief in miracles, 1011; Constitution of the
  deity constructed by philosophy, 1012; His moral character
  determined by that of his worshipers, 1013.


  The external history of religion a history of social growth,

  EXTERNAL WORSHIP. Establishment of relations with Powers,
  1017, 1018; by processes, 1019-1021; by gifts, 1022, 1023;
  by messengers, 1024, 1025; Blood is placatory as a gift of
  food, 1026; Human sacrifice, 1027-1031; Dances and
  processions, 1032; Preponderant importance of ordinary
  sacrifices--the various kinds, 1033-1035; Elaboration of the
  sacrificial ritual, 1036.

  THEORIES OF THE ORIGIN OF SACRIFICE. Their formulation late,
  1037; Bloody and unbloody offerings equal in expiatory
  virtue, 1038; Two groups of theories of origin, 1039: the
  offering as gift, 1040, 1041; as effecting union between
  deity and worshiper, 1042: by sharing the flesh of a sacred
  animal (Smith and Frazer), 1043-1047; Self-sacrifice of a
  god, 1048; Union through a sanctified victim (Hubert and
  Mauss), 1049, 1050; Union with the Infinite effected by all
  religious acts (Tiele), 1051, 1052; Persistence of these
  conceptions of sacrifice 1053, 1054.

  RITUAL. Its growth in elaborateness along with the growth of
  social forms, 1055-1061.

  PRIESTS. Regulation of the life, physical and moral, of
  priests and priestesses, 1062-1065; Origin of religious
  prostitution; secular and religious explanations, 1066;
  Organization and influence of the priesthood: Egyptian,
  1067; Babylonian and Assyrian, 1068; Palestinian, 1069;
  Hindu, 1070; Persian, 1071; Greek, 1073; Roman, 1073;
  Chinese, 1074; Peruvian and Mexican, 1075; Influence for
  good and for evil, 1076-1079; No priesthood in Islam or in
  Judaism after 70 A.D., 1080; Its function in some Christian
  churches, 1080.

  WORSHIP. Early places of worship, 1081-1082; Development of
  temples, 1083-1086; Forms of worship: offerings, hymns,
  music, 1087, 1088; Festivals, 1089; Vows, blessings, curses,
  1090; Idols: their formal development, 1091, 1092;
  Conception of their personality, 1093; Religious function of
  idolatry, 1094.

  CHURCHES. Individualism called forth voluntary associations,
  1095; Savage secret societies, 1096; Greek mysteries,
  1097-1099; Whether the Semites produced mysteries, 1100;
  Rise of the idea of the church in the Græco-Roman world,
  1101: Philosophy produced no church, 1102-1105; True
  churches produced by Buddhism and Jainism, 1106, 1107; not
  by Judaism and Mazdaism, 1108, 1109; Development of the
  Christian idea of the church, 1110-1112; A church called
  forth by the cult of Mithra, 1113; not by that of Isis or
  that of Sarapis, 1114; The Manichæan church, 1115; As to
  Islam and certain associations that have arisen within it
  (Mahdism, Drusism, etc.), 1116; Ecclesiastical power of the
  Peruvian Inca, 1117; Hindu and Persian movements, 1118-1120.

  MONACHISM. Its dualistic root, 1121; India its birthplace,
  1122; Trace in Egypt (the Sarapeum), 1123; Therapeutae,
  1124; Essenes, 1125; Christian monachism, 1126; Religious
  influence of monachism, 1127.

  SACRED BOOKS. Their origin and collection, 1128; Canons:
  Buddhist, 1129; Jewish, 1130; Christian, 1131; Mazdean,
  1132; Islamic, 1133; Religious influence of sacred books,
  1134-1136; General influence of churches, 1137-1140.

  UNIVERSAL RELIGIONS. Actual diffusion the test of
  universality, 1141; As to Buddhism, 1142; Judaism, 1143;
  Christianity, 1144; Zoroastrianism, 1145; Islam, 1146; So
  tested no existing religion is universal, 1147.

  CLASSIFICATION OF RELIGIONS. Their resemblances and
  differences, 1148; Points in common, 1149; Proposed systems
  of classification, and objections to them: according to
  grade of general culture, 1150; division into national
  religions and those founded each by a single person, 1151;
  religions of redemption, 1151; Religious unity, savage and
  civilized, 1152; Disadvantages of tabulated classifications
  of religions, 1153.

    SYSTEMS                                                        573

  Spheres of religion, science and constructive ethics
  distinct, but tend to coalesce, 1154.

  THE SCIENTIFIC ELEMENT. When science clashes with religion,
  1155: Phases in the relation between the two: when there is
  no knowledge of natural law--a crude conception of unity--no
  place for the miraculous, 1156; Rise of highly personalized
  deities who stand outside the world: age of miracles, 1157;
  Recognition of the domination of natural law--separation
  between science and religion, 1158; Higher conception of the
  unity of God and the world, 1159; Scientific theories held
  to be not a part of the content of religion, 1160.

  THE ETHICAL ELEMENT. Religion adopts current ethical customs
  and codes, 1161; Both good, 1162; and bad, 1163; Mutual
  influence of religion and ethics, 1164, 1165; Religion
  infuses nobility and tenderness into ethics, 1166; Religious
  personalities; martyr, saint, 1167, 1168; Evil influence of
  religion on ethics, 1169; Contribution of religion to the
  sense of obligation to do right, 1170; Answers of religion
  to questions concerning the existence of moral evil, 1171;
  concerning man's moral capacity, 1172; concerning the
  essential goodness or badness of the world, 1173.

  BIBLIOGRAPHY                                                     585

  INDEX                                                            625




+1+. It appears probable that primitive men endowed with their own
qualities every seemingly active object in the world. Experience forced
them to take note of the relations of all objects to themselves and to
one another. The knowledge of the sequences of phenomena, so far as the
latter are not regarded as acting intentionally on him, constitutes
man's science and philosophy; so far as they are held to act on him
intentionally, the knowledge of them constitutes his theory of religion,
and his sense of relation with them is his religious sentiment. Science
and religion are coeval in man's history, and both are independently
continuous and progressive. At first science is in the background
because most objects, since they are believed to be alive and active,
are naturally supposed by man to affect him purposely; it grows slowly,
keeping pace with observation, and constantly abstracting phenomena from
the domain of religion.[1] Religion is man's attitude toward the
universe regarded as a social and ethical force; it is the sense of
social solidarity with objects regarded as Powers, and the institution
of social relations with them.

+2+. These Powers are thought of in general as mysterious, and as
mightier than ordinary living men.[2] Ordinarily the feeling toward them
on man's part is one of dependence--he is conscious of his inferiority.
In some forms of philosophic thought the man regards himself as part of
the one universal personal Power, or as part of the impersonal Whole,
and his attitude toward the Power or the Whole is like that of a member
of a composite political body toward the whole body; such a position is
possible, however, only in a period of very advanced culture.

+3+. There being no records of initial humanity, it is hardly possible
for us to know certainly what the earliest men's feeling was toward the
animate and inanimate forces around them. Not improbably it was simply
fear, the result of ignorance of their nature and absence of social
relations with them. But in the human communities known to us, even the
lowest, the relations with extrahuman beings appear to be in general of
a mixed nature, sometimes friendly, sometimes unfriendly, but neither
pure love nor pure hatred. So refined a feeling as love for a deity is
not found among savages. As religion springs from the human demand for
safety and happiness as the gift of the extrahuman Powers, hostility to
them has been generally felt to be opposed to common sense.[3] Coercion
there has been, as in magical procedures, or to bring a stubborn deity
to terms; and occasional antagonism (for example, toward foreign gods);
but not hatred proper as a dogma, except in the great ethical religions
toward evil spirits, and in certain elaborate philosophic systems--as,
for example, in the Gnostic conception of an imperfect Demiurge, or in
the assumption of an original blind Chance or blind Will whose products
and laws are regarded as not entitled to respect and obedience.

+4+. Instead of complete friendliness and unfriendliness in early tribes
we find more commonly between the two a middle ground of self-regarding
equipoise. The savage, the half-civilized man, and the peasant often
deal with superhuman Powers in a purely selfish commercial spirit,
courting or neglecting them as they seem likely to be useful or not.
The Central Australian (who may be credited with a dim sense of the
superhuman) conducts his ceremonies, intended to insure a supply of
food, apparently without the slightest emotion of any sort except the
desire for gain.[4] The Italian peasant, who has vowed a wax candle to a
saint in return for a favor to be shown, does not scruple to cheat the
saint, after the latter has performed his part of the agreement, by
offering tallow instead of wax, if he thinks he can do so with impunity.
A recusant deity is sometimes neglected or even kicked by way of
punishment or to force him to give the desired aid, and a god or a saint
is valued and sought after in proportion to his supposed ability to be

+5+. And this naïvely utilitarian point of view is by no means confined
to the lowest forms of religion; in the Old Testament, for example, the
appeal to Yahveh is generally based on his assumed power to bestow
temporal blessings,[5] and this is a widespread attitude at the present
day in religious communities, where salvation is commonly the end had in
view by the worshiper. Love toward the deity simply on account of his
personal moral character, without regard to the benefit (namely
happiness) to be got from him, is found, if found at all, only in highly
cultivated natures, and is rare in these. And, in truth, it is difficult
if not impossible to justify religion except on the ground that it
brings satisfaction (that is, happiness through and in perfection of
nature) in the broadest and highest sense of that term, for otherwise it
could not be regarded as a good thing.

+6+. On the other hand, fear of the superhuman Power is a common
feeling, recognizable everywhere, at all times, and in all stages of
social and intellectual development. By many it is regarded as the
original and essential attitude of the religious mind.[6] To this view
it is sometimes objected that religion could never have arisen from
fear--that religion, as a cult, of necessity involves amicable relations
between man and the deity. The objection, however, is based on an
arbitrary and incorrect definition of religion; it is quite conceivable
that man might cultivate the deity through fear of the latter's
displeasure, and that an elaborate system of ceremonies and beliefs
might arise from the desire to avert his anger. Such a conception--which
is certainly not a lofty one--is not unnatural in the presence of a
great Power whose dispositions and purposes are not well understood;
numerous examples of such an attitude might be cited from various
religions, savage and civilized.

+7+. But, on historical grounds, as in the examples given above, it
seems better to say that the earliest known attitude of man toward the
superhuman Power is one of interested observation and fluid emotion--the
feeling is determined by experience of phenomena. The man is pleased,
displeased and afraid, suspicious or careless, according as he sees
things to be helpful, harmful, doubtful, or resultless. In process of
time, by observation and reflection, he succeeds in tabulating
phenomena, and more or less definitely fixing his emotional attitude
toward their assumed cause. A tradition is gradually established, and
men are trained from infancy to welcome certain things, to fear others,
and to accept certain others as meaningless; from time to time strange
things will appear, and these will be treated according to established
principles or will remain mysterious. A germinal conception of natural
law will arise from the observation of periodically occurring phenomena
(such as the rising and setting of the sun, periodic rains, tides) and
familiar facts of everyday life, as, for example, the habits of men and
other animals. Everything outside this sphere will be ascribed to
extrahuman agency--so sickness, death, and sometimes birth.[7]

+8+. The history of religion, which is a part of the history of thought,
necessarily shows, as is observed above, a constant enlargement of the
domain of natural law, and a consequent contraction of the direct action
of the supernatural, though this does not always or generally lessen the
conviction that the Supernatural Power, acting through natural law,
controls all things. In this process, also, the conception of the
attitude of the Supernatural Power is more or less definitely fixed; a
formulation of signs is accomplished, whereby it is known whether the
deity, at particular moments, is pleased or displeased, and whether a
given deity is generally friendly or hostile. This method of determining
the attitude of the deity continued into late stages of social life, and
still exists even in professedly Christian communities.[8]

+9+. As the basis of the religious feeling we must suppose a sense and
conception of an extrahuman Something, the cause of things not otherwise
understood. All things were supposed to have life, and therefore to be
loci of force; man's sense of social relation with this force
constituted his religion. This sense was at first doubtless vague,
ill-defined, or undefined, and in this form it is now found in certain
tribes.[9] Gradually, as the processes of human life and of the external
world become better known, and the vastness of the extrahuman control
becomes evident, the Something is conceived of as great, then as
indefinitely great, and finally, under the guidance of philosophic
thought, as infinite. Thus the sense of the infinite may be said to be
present in man's mind in germinal form at the beginning of truly human
life, though it does not attain full shape, is not formulated, and is
not effective, till the period of philosophic culture is reached.[10]

+10+. As far as our present knowledge goes, religion appears to be
universal among men. There is no community of which we can say with
certainty that it is without religion. There are some doubtful
cases--for example, certain Australian tribes reported on by Spencer and
Gillen, among whom it is difficult to discover any definite religious
feeling: they offer no sacrifices or petitions, and appear to recognize
no personal relations with any supernatural Power, beyond the belief
that the spirits of the dead are active in their midst, causing
sickness, death, and birth; nor is there any sign that they have lost
earlier more definite beliefs.[11] Yet they have solemn ceremonies in
which human blood plays a great part, and these may have reference to
the intervention of supernatural beings, the term "supernatural" being
taken as expressing any mysterious fact lying outside of the common
course of things. A mysterious being called Twan is spoken of in
initiation ceremonies, chiefly, it seems, to frighten or train the boys.
Is there an indication that the tribal leaders have risen above the
popular belief in such a being? Experience shows that it is difficult
for civilized men to get at the religious ideas of savages; and it is
possible, in spite of the careful investigations thus far made, that the
last word on Central Australian beliefs has not yet been spoken. A
similar reserve must be exercised in regard to reports of certain other
tribes, whose ceremonies and institutions have appeared to some European
and American observers to be without a religious element.[12]

+11+. There is at present no satisfactory historical evidence (whatever
psychological ground there may be, or whatever deduction from the theory
of evolution may seem necessary) of the existence of a subreligious
stage of human life--a stage in which there is only a vague sense of
some extrahuman power affecting man's interests, without definition of
the power, and without attempt to enter into social relations with

+12+. True, in the great mass of existing savage humanity we find social
and religious customs so definite that we are forced to suppose a long
preceding period of development. It has even been held that traces of
religious conceptions are discernible in the first surviving records of
"prehistoric" man, the contemporary of the cave bear--a period separated
from the earliest clear historical records by many millenniums;[14] but,
though the existence of such conceptions is by no means improbable, the
alleged traces are too dim to build a theory on. The supposition of a
continuous religious development from the earliest times is in accord
with all that we know of human history, but, until more facts come to
light, it will be prudent to reserve opinion as to the character of
prehistoric religion.[15]

+13+. In general, religious development goes hand in hand with social
organization. Those groups which, like the Rock Veddas of Ceylon
(described by Sarasin) and the Yahgans of Tierra del Fuego (described by
Hyades and Deniker), have scarcely any clan organization, have also
scarcely any religion. In most of the lowest communities known to us we
find well-constituted clans and tribes, with strict (and usually
complicated) laws of relationship and marriage, and a somewhat developed
form of religion.[16] Here again it is evident that we see in the world
only the later stages of a long social process; the antecedent history
of this process belongs to sociological science, and does not concern us
here;[17] its later history is inseparably connected with the
development of religion.

+14+. It is in this social process that science, philosophy, art, and
ethics are constructed, and these, though distinct from the religious
sentiment, always blend with it into a unity of life. Religion proper is
simply an attitude toward a Power; the nature and activity of the Power
and the mode of approaching it are constructed by man's observation and
reflection. The analysis of the external world and of man's body and
mind, the discovery of natural laws, the history of the internal and
external careers of the human race--this is the affair of science and
philosophy; rules of conduct, individual and communal, grow up through
men's association with one another in society, their basis being certain
primary instincts of self-assertion and sympathy; art is the product of
the universal sense of beauty. All these lines of growth stand side by
side and coalesce in unitary human life.

+15+. The external history of religion is the history of the process by
which the religious sentiment has attached itself to the various
conceptions formed by man's experience: ritual is the religious
application of the code of social manners; the gods reflect human
character; churches follow the methods of social organization;
monotheism springs from the sense of the physical and moral unity of the
world. Ideas concerning the nature and functions of the deity, the
nature of the soul and of conscience, and future life are all products
of scientific thought and might exist if religion did not exist, that
is, if men did not recognize any practical relations between themselves
and the deity. But, as a matter of fact, the religious sentiment,
coexisting with these ideas, has always entered into alliance with them,
creating nothing, but appropriating everything. Supernatural sanctions
and emotional coloring are products of general experience and feeling.
The intellectual and ethical content of religion varies with the
intellectual and ethical culture of its adherents; we may speak properly
of the philosophy and morals, not of a religion, but of the people who
profess it.

+16+. The internal history of religion is the history of individual
religious emotional experience (a phenomenon that hardly appears at all
in the records of early life), and becomes especially interesting only
in periods of advanced culture. It is true that this experience is
based on the whole reflective life of man, whose beginnings go back to
the earliest times. Aspirations and ideals, connected especially with
man's religious life, spring from the long line of experiences with
which men have always been struggling. The central fact of the higher
religious experience is communion and union with the deity, and the
roots of this conception are found in all the religious ideas and usages
that have been formulated and practiced in human history. The study of
such ideas and practices is thus important for the understanding of the
later more refined spiritual life, as in turn this latter throws light
on its crude predecessors. It is no disparagement to the higher forms of
thought that they have grown from feeble beginnings, and it does not
detract from the historical value of primitive life that we must decline
to credit it with depth and refinement. Every phase and every stadium of
human experience has its value, and the higher stages must be estimated
by what they are in themselves. In the history of religion the outward
and the inward elements have stood side by side in a unitary experience.
But, though the deeper feeling is necessarily more or less closely
connected with the external history, it is an independent fact requiring
a separate treatment, and will be only occasionally referred to in the
present volume.



+17+. The doctrine of the soul is so interwoven with the history of
religious beliefs that a brief statement of its early forms will be
appropriate before we enter on the consideration of religious
institutions and ideas.[18]


+18+. The belief in an interior something in man, different from the
body, appears to be practically universal in early human history; the
ideas concerning the nature of the soul have changed from time to time,
but no tribe of men has yet been found in which it is certain that there
is no belief in its existence. The Central Australians, religiously one
of the least-developed communities known, believe in ghosts, and a ghost
presupposes some sort of substance different from the ordinary body. Of
some tribes, as the Pygmies of Central Africa and the Fuegians, we have
no exact information on this point. But in all cases in which there is
information traces of a belief in a soul are found. We are not concerned
here with philosophic views, like that of Buddhism and many modern
psychologists, that do not admit the existence of the soul as a separate
entity. The proofs of the universality of the belief in a soul are
scattered through all books that deal with man's religious constitution
and history.[19]

+19+. For the basis of a universal fact of human experience we naturally
seek a universal or essential element of human thought. In this case we
must assume a natural or instinctive conviction of the existence of an
internal life or being--a consciousness (at first doubtless dim and
vague) of something diverse and separate from the visible physical
being, a sense of mental activity in thought, feeling, and will.

+20+. It is not surprising that we do not meet with the expression of
such a consciousness among savages: partly, as is well known, they are
like children, intellectually incapable of formulating their instinctive
beliefs (and they have, consequently, no word to express such a
formulation); partly, they are not disposed to speak frankly on subjects
that they regard as sacred or mysterious. Attempts at formulation follow
the lines of culture, and it is not till a comparatively late stage that
they reach definite shape.

+21+. The interior being, whose existence was vaguely felt, was
recognized by early man in many common experiences. Certain phenomena
were observed that seemed to be universal accompaniments of life, and
these, by a strictly scientific method of procedure, were referred to an
inward living thing. It was hardly possible for early observers not to
notice that when the breath ceased the life ceased; hence many peoples
have regarded the breath as the life, and as the form of the interior
being, and in many languages the words for 'soul' and 'spirit' are
derived from the word for 'breath'.[20] The breath and therefore the
soul of a dying man might be received (inhaled) by any person present;
it was sometimes obligatory on a son to receive his father's last
breath--he thereby acquired the father's qualities.[21]

+22+. Another accompaniment of the body that attracted the attention of
early men was the shadow, for which the science of that day,
unacquainted with optical laws, could account only on the supposition
that it was a double of the man, another self, a something belonging in
the same general category with the breath-soul, though usually
distinguished from it.[22] The shadow was regarded as a sort of
independent objective being, which might be seized and destroyed, for
example, by a crocodile, as the man passed along a river bank; yet, as
it was the man, its destruction involved the man's death.[23] The soul,
regarded as a shadow, could not cast a shadow. Similarly one's
reflection in water was regarded as a double of him.[24]

+23+. Blood was known by observation in very early times to be
intimately connected with life, acquired the mystery and sacredness that
attached to life, and has played a great part in religious
ceremonies.[25] As soul is life, a close relation between blood and soul
appears in the thought of lower and higher peoples, though the relation
is not always the same as that described above. The blood is sometimes
said to be the soul,[26] sometimes the soul is supposed to be in the
blood as it is in the hair or any other part of the body. Blood could
not be regarded as the soul in the same sense in which the breath, for
example, was the soul--if the breath departed the man's life departed,
but one could lose much blood without injury to vital power. It is not
to be expected that the relation between the two should be precisely
defined in the early stages of society. If Homer at one time speaks of
the soul passing away through a wound and at another time of the blood
so passing (death being the result),[27] this variation must not be
pressed into a statement of the exact identity of blood and soul. By the
Californian Maidu the soul is spoken of as a 'heart', apparently by
reason of the connection of the heart with the blood and the life.[28]
There is to be recognized, then, a vague identification of 'soul' and
'blood'; but in common usage the two terms are somewhat differently
employed--'soul' is the vital entity, the man's personality, 'blood' is
the representative of life, especially on its social side (kinsmen are
of "one blood," but not of "one soul")[29] and in offerings to the
deity. Early man seems, in fact, to have distinguished between life and

+24+. As the soul was conceived of as an independent being, it was
natural that it should be held to have a form like that of the external
body--it could not be thought of otherwise.[31] This opinion was
doubtless confirmed in the savage mind by such experiences as dreams,
visions, hallucinations, and illusions, and by such phenomena as shadows
and reflections. The dreamer believed that he had been far away during
the night, hunting or fighting, and yet the testimony of his comrades
convinced him that his body had not left its place; the logical
conclusion was that his inner self had been wandering, and this self, as
it seemed to him, had walked, eaten, hurled the spear, done all that the
ordinary corporeal man would do. In dreams he saw and conversed with his
friends or his enemies, all in corporeal form, yet all of them asleep in
their several places; their souls also, he concluded, were wandering.
Even in his waking hours, in the gloom of evening or on some wide
gleaming plain, he saw, as he thought, shadowy shapes of persons who
were dead or far away, and heard mysterious voices and other sounds,
which he would naturally refer to the inner self of the absent living or
the dead. Reproductions of himself and others appeared on land and in
water. All such experiences would go to convince him that there were
doubles of himself and of others, and that these were corporeal--only
dim, ethereal, with powers greater than those of the ordinary external

+25+. While the soul of the living man was most commonly conceived of as
a sublimated replica of the ordinary body, it was also supposed in some
cases to take the form of some animal--an opinion that may have arisen
as regards any particular animal from its appearance at a time when the
soul was supposed to be absent from the body,[32] and is to be referred
ultimately to the belief in the identity of nature of animals and man.
The souls of the dead also were sometimes supposed to take the shape of
animals, or to take up their abode in animals[33] or in trees (as in
Egypt): such animals (tigers, for example) were commonly dangerous, and
this theory of incarnation is an expression of the widely diffused
belief in the dangerous character of the souls of the dead. In later,
cultivated times the bird became a favorite symbol of the soul--perhaps
from its swift and easy flight through the air.[34]

+26+. Savage science, though it generally identified the soul with the
breath, and regarded it as a separate interior form, seems not to have
attempted to define its precise locus, posture, and extension within the
body--the early man was content to regard it as a vague homunculus. The
whole body was looked on as the seat of life, and was sometimes eaten in
order to acquire its qualities, especially the quality of courage.[35]
Life was supposed to reside in the bones as the solid part of the body,
and these were preserved as the basis of a future life.[36] But even in
early stages of culture we find a tendency to specialize--courage, for
example, was assigned particularly to the head and the heart, which were
accounted the most desirable parts of a dead enemy.[37] These organs
were selected probably on account of their prominence--the heart also
because it was the receptacle of the blood. The soul was located by the
Indians of Guiana in the pupil of the eye.[38]

+27+. Gradually a more precise localization of qualities was made by the
Semites, Greeks, Romans, and other peoples. These, for reasons not
clearly known to us, assigned the principal emotional faculties to the
most prominent organs of the trunk of the body. The Semites placed
thought and courage in the heart and the liver, anger in the liver (the
bile), love and grief in the bowels, voluntary power in the kidneys.[39]
The Greeks and Romans were less definite: to the heart, the diaphragm,
and the liver (the upper half of the trunk); the Greeks assigned
thought, courage, emotion;[40] the Romans placed thought and courage in
the heart, and the affections in the liver. Among these organs special
prominence came to be given to the heart and the liver as seats of
mental faculties.[41]

+28+. It is not clear how early the brain was supposed to be connected
with the mind. Alcmæon of Crotona (5th cent. B.C.), who, according to
Diogenes Laertius, wrote chiefly on medical subjects, is credited with
the view that the brain was the constructor of thought.[42] Plato
suggests that the brain may be the seat of perception and then of memory
and reflection, and calls the head the most divine part of man.[43]
Cicero reports that some persons looked on some part of the cerebrum as
the chief seat of the mind.[44] In the Semitic languages the first
occurrence of a term for 'brain' is in the Arabic.[45] Some American
tribes are said to regard the brain as the seat of the mind.[46] The
scientific Greek view appears to have been connected with medical
research, but the process by which it was reached has not been recorded.
The Arabic conception of the brain was probably borrowed from the

+29+. The soul as an independent personality was supposed to leave the
body at times, and its departure entailed various consequences--in
general the result was the withdrawal of the man's ordinary powers to a
greater or less extent, according to the duration of the soul's absence.
The consequences might be sleep, trance, swoon, coma, death; the precise
nature of the effect was determined by the man's subsequent
condition--he would wake from sleep, or return to his ordinary state
from a trance, or come to himself from a swoon, or lie permanently
motionless in death. When he seemed to be dead there was often doubt as
to his real condition--the escaped soul might seek its old abode (as in
the case of the vampire, for instance), and means were sometimes taken
to prevent its return.[47]

+30+. The obvious difference in serious results between sleep and other
cessations of the ordinary consciousness and activity led among some
tribes to the supposition of a special dream-soul that could leave the
body without injury to the man. It was believed by certain
Greenlanders[48] that a man going on a journey might leave his soul
behind. It was a not uncommon opinion that souls might be taken out for
a while, with friendly intent, to guard them during a period of danger
(so in Celebes when a family moves into a new house). In Greenland,
according to Cranz, a damaged soul might be repaired. Or the soul might
be removed with evil intent by magic art--the result would be sickness
or swoon; it was then incumbent on the sufferer or his friends to
discover the hostile magician and counteract his work by stronger magic,
or force him to restore the soul.[49] On the other hand, the soul of a
dead man might be so recalled that the man would live again, the usual
agency being a god, a magician, or a prophet.

+31+. It has been and is a widespread opinion in low tribes that the
life of a person is bound up with that of an animal or plant, or with
the preservation of something closely connected with the person. This
opinion springs from the conviction of the intimate vital relation
between men and their surroundings. From the combination of these
beliefs with the view referred to above[50] that a man's soul might
dwell in a beast or a plant, the idea of the hidden soul, common in
folk-lore, may have arisen[51]--the idea that one might conceal his soul
in some unsuspected place and then would be free from fear of death so
long as his soul remained undisturbed.[52] These folk-tales are products
of the popular imagination based on materials such as those described
above. From the early point of view there was no reason why the vital
soul, an independent entity, should not lead a locally separate life.


+32+. Theories of a special origination of the soul belong only to the
more advanced cults. In early stages of culture the soul is taken as a
natural part of the human constitution, and though it is regarded as in
a sort an independent entity, the analysis of the man is not carried so
far as to raise the question of separate beginnings of the two
constituents of the personality, except as this is partially involved in
the hypothesis of reincarnation. The child is born into the world
equipped with all the capacities of man, and further investigation as to
how these capacities originally came is not made.

+33+. It was, however, thought necessary to account for the appearance
of man (a clan or tribe) on earth, and his creation was generally
ascribed to a supernatural being. Every tribe has its history of man's
creation--the variety in the anthropogonic myths is endless, the
diversities depending on the differences of general culture and of
surroundings; but the essential point is the same in all; some god or
other supernatural Power fashioned human creatures of different sex,
whether with well-considered aim or by caprice is not said.

+34+. The first pair is thus accounted for in a simple and generally
satisfactory manner. But the fact of the perpetuation of the tribe or
the race appears to have offered serious difficulties to the savage
mind. Some tribes are reported to be ignorant of the natural cause of
birth. Some Melanesian women believe that the origin or beginning of a
child is a plant (coconut or other), and that the child will be the
_nunu_ (something like an echo) of that thing or of a dead person (this
is not the transition of a soul--the child takes the place of the dead
person). In Mota there is a similar belief.[53] The Central Australians,
it is said, think that the birth of a child is due to the entrance of a
spirit into the body of a woman[54]--every child is thus the
reincarnation of some ancient person (an "ancestor"), and the particular
person is identified by the sacred object (stone or tree, or other
object) near which the woman is when she first becomes aware of the
child within her; every such object (and there are many of them near any
village) represents some spirit whose name is known to the old men of
the tribe, and this name is given the child.[55]

+35+. Similar theories of birth are found among the Eskimo[56] and the
Khonds,[57] in Melanesia,[58] in West Africa,[59] and elsewhere.[60]
Such views thus appear to have been widely diffused, and are in fact a
natural product of early biological science. They embody the earliest
known form of the doctrine of reincarnation, which is so important in
the Buddhistic dogma.[61] With it must be connected the fact that among
many peoples (savage, half-civilized, and civilized) birth was
intimately connected with supernatural beings, whence the origin of
numerous usages: the precautions taken to guard the woman before
delivery, the lustrations after the birth, the couvade, the dread of
menstrual and seminal discharges, and further, customs relating to the
arrival of boys and girls at the age of puberty.

+36+. At a later stage of culture the creation of the soul was
distinguished from that of the body, and was generally regarded as a
special act of the deity: the Hebrews conceived that the body was
fashioned out of dust, and that the breath of life was breathed into it
by God, so that man became a "living soul"[62]; Plato at one time[63]
thought that the soul of the world was created by God, out of certain
elements, before the body, and was made prior to it in origin and
excellence so that it should be its ruler, and that afterwards he placed
separate souls in the various separate bodies; the immortal gods, says
Cicero, have placed souls (_animos_) in human bodies, and the human soul
has been plucked (_decerptus_) from the divine mind.[64]

+37+. In the early Christian centuries the question of how the soul came
into the body was an intensely practical one--it was closely connected
with the question of man's inherent sinfulness and his capacity for
redemption. Tertullian's theory of the natural propagation of souls
(traducianism), which involved the inheritance of a sinful nature, was
succeeded on the one hand by the theory of preëxistence (adopted by
Origen from Plato), and on the other hand by the view that every soul
was an immediate creation of God (creationism, held by Jerome and
others), these both assuming the natural goodness or untainted character
of the soul at the birth of the human being.

+38+. The mysterious character of death, the final departure of the soul
from the body, called forth in savage communities feelings of awe and
dread. As death, in the savage view, was due to the intervention of a
supernatural agency, the dead body and everything connected with it
partook of the sacredness that attached to the supernatural.[65] Hence,
probably, many of the customs relating to the treatment of
corpses--taboos that survived into comparatively late times.[66] The Old
Testament ritual term 'unclean' is used of corpses and other things that
it was unlawful to touch, things taboo, and in this sense is equivalent
to 'sacred.'[67]


+39+. In the preceding section only the general fact of the existence of
the soul is considered. We find, however, a widespread belief among
savage and half-civilized peoples that every human body is inhabited by
several souls (two or more).[68] Thus, the Fijians, the Algonkins, and
the Karens recognize two souls; the Malagasy, the Dahomi, and the
Ashanti three; the Congoans three or four, the Chinese three, the
Dakotas four, the Malays (of the peninsula) seven; and this list is not
exhaustive.[69] To these various souls different procedures and
functions are assigned.

+40+. In general, as to place and function during the man's life, the
following classes of souls are distinguished: the vital soul, or the
principle of life, whose departure leaves the man insensible or dead
(Malagasy _aina_, Karen _kalah_, Eẃe 'ghost-soul'); the dream-soul,
which wanders while the man is asleep (probably a universal conception
in early stages of culture); the shadow-soul, which accompanies him by
day (also, probably, universal); the reflection-soul (similar to the
preceding); the beast-soul, or bush-soul, incarnate in a beast (among
the Congoans, the Eẃe, the Tshi, the Khonds), with which may be
compared the Egyptian view that revenant souls and Underworld shadows
may assume the form of animals, and the Hindu metempsychosis. A
particular responsible moral soul is also reported (among the
Karens),[70] but it is doubtful whether this is native; and still more
doubtful are the Karen 'reason' (_tsō_) and the Khond beatified

+41+. In regard to procedure after the man's death, it is generally held
in early stages of culture that one soul stays with the body, or at the
tomb, or in the village, or becomes air, while another departs to the
land of the dead (Fijians, Algonkins, and others), or is reborn
(Khonds), and in some cases a soul is said to vanish.[72]

+42+. It is obvious that there was great flexibility and indefiniteness
in early theories of the soul. The savage mind, feeling its way among
its varied experiences, was disposed to imagine a separate interior
substance to account for anything that seemed to be a separate and
valuable manifestation of the man's personality. The number of souls
varies with the number of phenomena that it was thought necessary to
recognize as peculiar, and the lines of demarcation between different
souls are not always strictly drawn. As to the manner of the souls'
indwelling in the body, and as to their relations one to another,
savages have nothing definite to say, or, at least, have said nothing.
In general our information regarding savage psychical theories is
meager; it is not unlikely that with fuller acquaintance the details
given above would have to be modified, though the general fact of
polypsychism would doubtless remain.

+43+. In the higher ancient religions there are only more or less
obscure indications of an earlier polypsychic system. The Egyptian
distinction between soul (_bai_), shadow (_haibet_), and double (_ka_)
appears to involve such a system; but the Egyptologists of the present
day are not agreed as to the precise interpretation of these terms.[73]
The Semitic terms _nafs_ and _ruḥ_ (commonly rendered 'soul' and
'spirit' respectively) are of similar origin, both meaning 'wind,'
'breath'; in the literature they are sometimes used in the same sense,
sometimes differentiated. The 'soul' is the seat of life, appetite,
feeling, thought--when it leaves the body the man swoons or dies; it
alone is used as a synonym of personality (a 'soul' often means simply a
'person'). 'Spirit,' while it sometimes signifies the whole nature, is
also employed (like English 'spirit') to express the tone of mind,
especially courage, vigor. But, so far as the conception of an interior
being is concerned, the two terms are substantially identical in the
Semitic languages as known to us.[74] And though, as is noted above,
'spirit' is not used for the human personality, it alone is the term in
Hebrew for a class of subordinate supernatural beings standing in close
relations with the deity.[75] Greek literature seems to know only one
personal soul (_psyche_, with which _pneuma_ is often identical in
meaning); a quality of nature (as in Semitic _ruḥ_) is sometimes
expressed by _pneuma_ ('spirit').[76] The _thymos_ appears in Homer to
be merely a function of the _psyche_,[77] in any case it does not
represent a separate personality alongside of the _psyche_, and the same
thing is true of the _daimon_. Similarly, in Latin, _animus_ and
_anima_ are substantially synonyms[78]--_animus_ sometimes expressing
tone of mind--and _spiritus_ is equivalent to _ruḥ_ and _pneuma_; the
individual _genius_, with its feminine representative the _juno_, is a
complicated and obscure figure, but it cannot be regarded as a separate

+44+. This variety of terms in the more advanced religions may point to
an early polypsychic conception. The tendency was, with the progress of
culture, to modify or efface this sort of conception.[80] From a belief
in a number of entities in the human interior being men passed to a
recognition of different sides or aspects of the inward life, and
finally to the distinct conception of the oneness of the soul. The
movement toward psychic unity may be compared with the movement toward
monotheism by the unification of the phenomena of the external world.


+45+. Savage philosophy, recognizing the dual nature of man, regarded
death as due to the departure of the soul from the body. The cessation
of breathing at death was matter of common observation, and the obvious
inference was that the breath, the vital soul, had left the body.
Reflection on this fact naturally led to the question, Whither has the
soul gone?

+46+. _Death of the soul._ The general belief has always been that the
soul survived the man's death.[81] There are, however, exceptions; the
continued existence of the soul was not an absolutely established
article in the savage creed. According to the reports of travelers, it
would seem that among some tribes there was disbelief or doubt on this
point. A West African native expressed his belief in the form of the
general proposition, "The dead must die"; that is, apparently, the dead
man must submit to the universal law to which the living are
subject.[82] In another African community some held and others denied
that a spirit could be killed, and one man was certain that spirits
lived long, but was not certain whether they ever died.[83] Differences
of opinion in regard to the fact of immortality are said to exist in
Banks Islands.[84] The Eskimos are reported as holding that the soul may
be destroyed, and then, however, repaired.[85]

+47+. It thus appears that even among low tribes there is speculation on
the question of the continuance of existence after earthly death; there
is admission of ignorance. We have, however, examples of a definite
belief in annihilation. In some cases, when the theory of several souls
is held,[86] one of these souls is supposed to become extinct at death:
this is the case with the Malagasy _saina_, and the 'beast-soul' among
the Eẃe, Tshi, and Congoans; but such a soul represents only a part
of the man, and its disappearance does not signify the extinction of the
man's personality.

+48+. Complete extinction of the soul and the personality, in the case
of certain persons, is found among the Fijians: in the long and
difficult way to the Underworld, bachelors (as a rule), untattooed
women, false boasters, and those men who failed to overcome in combat
the "slayer of souls" (the god Sama) are killed and eaten.[87] Something
like this is reported of the Hervey Islands,[88] New Zealand,[89] the
Hawaiians,[90] and other tribes. Among the wild tribes of India, the
Khonds and the Oraons, or Dhangars, hold to annihilation of the soul in
certain cases.[91] Miss Kingsley reports a specially interesting view in
Congo to the effect that souls die when the family dies out.[92] The
ground of this sense of the solidarity of the living and the dead is
not clear; the most obvious explanation is that the latter get their
sustenance from the offerings of the former, and perhaps from their
prayers; such prayers, according to W. Ellis,[93] are made in Polynesia.
This belief appears also in some advanced peoples: so the Egyptians,[94]
and apparently the Hindus.[95]

+49+. In these cases no explanation is offered of how a soul can die.
Earthly death is the separation of the soul from the body, and by
analogy the death of a soul should involve a disruption of constituents,
but the savage imagination appears to have passed lightly over this
point: when a soul is eaten, it is destroyed as the human body is
destroyed when it is eaten; if it is drowned or clubbed, it dies as a
man does under similar treatment. The soul is conceived of as an
independent personality, with a corporeal form and mental powers; the
psychic body, it would seem, is endowed with power of thought.[96]

+50+. This vagueness of conception enables us to understand how savage
logic reaches the conclusion that the soul may be mortal: all the
possibilities of the earthly person are transferred to it. In regard to
the occasion of its death, it is sometimes represented as punishment for
violation of tribal customs (as in Fiji), sometimes as the natural fate
of inferior classes of persons (as among the Tongans, who are said to
believe that only chiefs live after death),[97] sometimes as a simple
destruction by human agency.

+51+. In the popular faith of the Semitic, Egyptian, Chinese, and
Indo-European peoples there is no sign of an extinction of the
personality after earthly death. The Babylonian dead all go to the vast
and gloomy Underworld (Aralu), where their food is dust, and whence
there is no return.[98] The Old-Hebrew 'soul' (_nephesh_) continues to
exist in Sheol. True, its life is a colorless one, without achievement,
without hope, and without religious worship; yet it has the marks of
personality.[99] The fortunes of the spirit (_ruḥ_), when it denotes
not merely a quality of character but an entity, are identical with
those of the 'soul.'[100] In India, belief in life after death has
always been held by the masses, and philosophic systems conceive of
absorption, not of extinction proper. Zoroastrianism had, and has, a
well-developed doctrine of immortality, and the Egyptian conception of
the future was equally elaborate. In China the cult of ancestors does
not admit belief in annihilation.[101] No theory of annihilation is
found in connection with the Greek and Latin 'soul' and 'spirit'
(_psyche, pneuma; animus, anima, spiritus_); the _thymos_ is not a
separate entity, but only an expression of the 'soul';[102] and the
Greek _daimon_ and the Latin _genius_ are too vague to come into
consideration in this connection.[103]

+52+. Omitting the purely philosophical views of the nature and destiny
of the soul (absorption into the Supreme God, or the Universal Force, is
to be distinguished from annihilation), and the belief of certain
Christian sects in the future annihilation of the wicked (based probably
on a misunderstanding of certain Biblical passages[104]), it may be said
that the rôle of the theory of extinction of the soul in the general
development of religion has been an insignificant one. Beginning among
the lowest tribes as an expression of belief in the universality of
mortality, it assumed a punitive character in the higher savage creed,
and was gradually abandoned by the religions of civilized peoples.

+53+. The belief in the continued existence of the soul, on the other
hand, has maintained itself from the earliest known times to the
present. The inquiry into the grounds of this survival belongs to the
history of the doctrine of immortality, and will not be pursued here in
detail.[105] Doubtless it has been the increasing sense of the dignity
of human nature, the conviction of the close connection of human life
with the divine, and the demand for a compensation for the sufferings of
the present (together with the instinctive desire for continued
existence) that has led men to retain faith in the continued life of the
soul. Modern beliefs in ghosts and in spiritualistic phenomena testify
to the persistence of this article of faith.

+54+. _Abode of the surviving soul._[106] Opinions regarding the destiny
of the surviving soul have changed from time to time in accordance with
topographical conditions and with changes in intellectual and moral
culture. There is no place or thing on or under or above the ground that
has not been regarded, at some time and by some communities, as its
abode. The selection of the particular thing or place has been
determined by local conditions--by what was supposed to be observation
of facts, or by what was conceived to be appropriate. The obscurity of
the subject has allowed free play to savage imagination. The paucity of
data makes it impossible to give a complete statement of the views that
have been held, or to arrange such as are known in accurate
chronological order; but the principal opinions may be mentioned,
following in a general way the order of refinement.[107]

+55+. 1. One of the earliest (and also one of the most persistent) views
of the future of souls is that they are reborn or reincarnated as human
beings, or as beasts or plants or inanimate things. It was not unnatural
that, when a new human being came into the world, it should be regarded
as the reproduction of a former human being, especially if the
physiological conditions of birth were not understood;[108] the basis of
the belief may have been the general similarity between human forms,
and, in some cases, the special similarity between the infant or the
adult and some deceased person. An extension of the sphere of
reincarnation would also naturally arise from the recognized kinship
between man and other things, animate or inanimate.

+56+. Examples of these views are found in many parts of the world.
Tylor[109] and Marillier[110] have collected instances of such beliefs
among savage tribes in the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Oceania, as well
as in higher religions (Brahmanism, Buddhism, Plato, Mani, the Jewish
Kabbala, Swedenborg).[111] Other instances of belief in rebirth in human
beings or in animals are found among the ancient Germans,[112] the
people of Calabar,[113] the Torres Straits islanders,[114] the Central
Australians,[115] and the Yorubans.[116]

+57+. There is an obvious relation between the belief in reincarnation
in animal form and the worship of animals;[117] both rest on the
assumption of substantial identity of nature between man and other
beings, an assumption which seems to be universal in early stages of
culture, and is not without support in modern philosophic thought.[118]
Ancient belief included gods in this circle of kinship--a view that
appears in Brahmanism and the later Buddhism.

+58+. The higher forms of the theory introduced a moral element into the
process of reincarnation--the soul ascends or descends in the scale of
being according to the moral character or illumination of its life on
earth.[119] Thus it is given a practical bearing on everyday life--a
result that is in accordance with all religious history, in which we
find that religious faith always appropriates and utilizes the ethical
ideas of its time.

+59+. At the present day the interest in the hypothesis of reincarnation
springs from its supposed connection with the doctrine of immortality.
Brahmanists and Buddhists maintain that it is the only sure basis for
this doctrine; but this view appears not to have met with wide

+60+. 2. An all but universal belief among lower tribes is that departed
souls remain near their earthly abodes, haunting the neighborhood of the
body or the grave or the village.[120] It is apparently assumed that a
soul is more at home in places which it knew in its previous life, and
this assumption is confirmed by sights and sounds, chiefly during the
night, that are interpreted as the forms and utterances of wandering

+61+. Generally no occupation is assigned to these ghosts, except that
it is sometimes supposed that they seek food and warmth:[121] scraps of
food are left on the ground for them, and persons sitting around a fire
at night are afraid to venture into the dark places beyond lest they
meet them.[122] For it is a common belief that such souls are dangerous,
having both the power and the will to inflict injury.[123] It is easy to
see why they should be supposed to possess extraordinary powers.[124]
The belief in their maliciousness may have come naturally from the
social conditions of the place and time: in savage communities a man who
is stronger than his fellows is likely to treat them as his savage
instincts prompt, to seize their property or kill them; and departed
souls would naturally be credited with similar dispositions.

+62+. It is also true that the mysterious is often dreadful; even now in
civilized lands there is a general fear of a 'ghost.' Precautions are
taken by savages to drive or keep the soul away: the doors of houses
are closed, and noises are made. On the other hand, ghosts, as members
of the family or the clan, are often regarded as friendly.[125] Even
during a man's lifetime his soul may be a sort of guide and
protector--may attain, in fact, the rank of a deity;[126] and after
death it may become, as ancestor, the object of a regular cult.

+63+. Fear of ghosts has, perhaps, suggested certain methods of
disposing of the dead body, as by interring or exposing it at a distance
from the village, or burning it or throwing it into the water; other
considerations, however, as is suggested above,[127] may determine, in
whole or in part, these methods of dealing with the body.

+64+. 3. It may be considered an advance in the organization of the
future life when the soul is supposed to go to some distant place on the
earth or in the sea or in the sky.[128] This is an attempt to separate
the spheres of the living and the dead, and thus at once to define the
functions of the dead and relieve the living from the fear of them. The
land of the dead is sometimes vaguely spoken of as lying on earth, far
off in some direction not precisely defined--east, west, north, or
south--in accordance with traditions whose origin is lost in the
obscurity of the past.

+65+. Possibly in some cases it is the traditional original home of the
tribe;[129] more often, it would seem, some local or astronomical fact
has given the suggestion of the place; one Egyptian view was that the
western desert (a wide mysterious region) was the abode of the departed;
it was a widespread belief that the dead went to where the sun
disappeared beneath the horizon.[130] Tribes living near the sea or a
river often place the other world beyond the sea or the river,[131] and
a ferryman is sometimes imagined who sets souls over the water.[132]
Mountains also are regarded as abodes of the dead.[133] It is not
unnatural that the abodes of departed souls should be placed in the sky,
whose height and brightness, with its crowd of luminous bodies, made it
an object of wonder and awe, and caused it to be regarded as the
dwelling place of the happy gods, with whom deserving men would
naturally be. Sometimes the expanse of the upper air was regarded as the
home of souls (as in Samoa), sometimes a heavenly body--the sun (in
India), or the moon (in the Bowditch Islands), or the stars.[134] The
schemes being vague, several of these conceptions may exist side by side
at the same place and time.

+66+. The occupations of the dead in these regions are held usually to
be the same as those of the living; no other view is possible in early
stages of social life. Generally all the apparatus of earthly life
(food, utensils, weapons) is placed on the grave or with the body, and
wives and slaves are slain to be the companions of the deceased.

+67+. 4. A more decided separation between the living and the dead is
made in the conception of the underground world as the abode of the
latter. It was, however, only at a late period that this conception was
carried far enough to make the separation effective. Among the Central
Australians there were folk-stories of early men who traveled under the
ground, but this is represented as merely an extraordinary way of
getting from one place to another on the surface of the earth. Some
North American tribes tell of an underground world inhabited by the ants
and by beings similar to man, but those who live up on the earth are
seen there only by accident, as when some hero dares the descent.[135]
The conception of a real subterranean or submarine hades is found,
however, among many savage and barbarous peoples, as the Samoans, the
inhabitants of New Guinea, the Zulus, the Navahos, the Eskimo, the
Kafirs of the Hindu Kush, and others.[136]

+68+. These pictures of the future world are crude, and usually stand
side by side with others; they are experiments in eschatology. But the
constructive imagination moved more and more toward an organized
underground hades as the sole abode of the dead--the place to which all
the dead go. Such a hades is found among the civilized peoples of
antiquity, Egyptians, Semites, Hindus, Greeks, and Romans, and, in more
recent times, among the Teutons (Scandinavians). The suggestion for this
position may have come from the grave (though it does not appear that
the grave was regarded as the permanent abode of the dead), and from
caverns that seemed to lead down into the bowels of the earth. The
descent of souls into a subterranean world offered no difficulties to
early imagination: ghosts, like the Australian ancestors, could move
freely where living men could not go; where there was no cavern like
that by which Æneas passed below,[137] they could pass through the

+69+. A lower region offered a wide land for the departed, with the
possibility of organization of its denizens. Ghosts gradually lost their
importance as a factor in everyday life; sights and sounds that had been
referred to wandering souls came to be explained by natural laws. Wider
geographical knowledge made it difficult to assign the ghosts a mundane
home, and led to their relegation to the sub-mundane region. Further,
the establishment of great nations familiarized men with the idea that
every large community should have its own domain. The gods were
gradually massed, first in the sky, the ocean, and hades, and then in
heaven. For the dead the first organization (if that term may be
allowed) was in hades; the separation into heaven and hell came later. A
specific divine head of the Underworld is found in Egypt, Babylonia and
Assyria, India, Greece, Rome, but not in Israel. Such a definite system
of government could exist only when something approaching a pantheon had
been established; the Babylonians, for example, whose pantheon was
vague, had also a vague god of hades.

+70+. Theories of the occupations of the dead varied in the early
civilized stage, before the rise of the idea of ethical retribution in
the other life. In the absence of earthly relations, imagination could
conceive of nothing for them to do, and hence an ardent desire for the
continuance of earthly life.[138] For the Hebrews the Underworld was
without pursuits; the shades sat motionless, in the dress and according
to the rank of the upper world, without emotions or aims (except a
sparkle of malicious satisfaction when some great man came down from
earth), and without religious worship.[139] A similar view was held by
the Greeks and the Romans. Certain Egyptian documents speak of mundane
occupations for the dead, but these documents belong to a comparatively
late stage of culture, and what the earlier view was we do not
know.[140] Of Hindu ideas, also, on this point we have only relatively
late notices.

+71+. 5. A radical transformation in the conception of the state of the
dead was effected by the introduction of the idea of moral retribution
into the life of the Underworld.[141] The basis of the movement was the
natural conception of life as determined by ethical considerations, but
the process of transformation has extended over thousands of years and
has hardly yet reached its completion. In the lowest eschatological
systems known to us there is no marked difference in the status of
departed souls; so among the Central Australians, the tribes of New
Guinea and the Torres Straits islands, the Zulus, the Malagasy, the West
African peoples, and some North American tribes.[142]

+72+. The earliest grounds of distinction are ritualistic and social;
these occur among the higher savages and survive in some civilized
peoples. The Fijians assign punishment in the other world to bachelors,
men unaccompanied by their wives and children, cowards, and untattooed
women.[143] Where circumcision was a tribal mark, the uncircumcised, as
having no social status, were consigned to inferior places in hades: so
among the Hebrews.[144] The omission of proper funeral ceremonies was
held in like manner to entail deprivation of privilege in hades: the
shade had an undesirable place below, as among the Babylonians and the
Hebrews,[145] or was unable to enter the abode of the dead, and wandered
forlorn on the earth or on the border of the Underworld, as was the
Greek belief.[146] Exposure of the corpse to beasts and birds, making
funeral ceremonies impossible, was regarded as a terrible misfortune for
the dead.[147]

+73+. Such of these beliefs as relate to violations of ritual appear to
spring from the view that the tribal customs are sacred, and from the
consequent distinction between tribesmen and foreigners. All persons
without the tribal mark were shut out from the privileges of the tribe,
were outlaws in this world and the next; and those whose bodies were not
properly disposed of lost the support of the tribal deities or of the
subterranean Powers.[148] It was also held that the body retained the
form in which it went down to hades;[149] hence the widespread dread of
mutilation, as among the Chinese still. On the other hand the brave were

+74+. Sometimes earthly rank determines future conditions--a natural
corollary to what is stated above (§72 f.). A distinction is made
between nobles and common people in the Bowditch Islands.[151] The
members of the Fijian Areoi Society are held to enjoy special privileges
in the other world.[152] The belief in the Marquesas Islands is that the
sky is for high gods and nobles.[153] According to John Smith, in
savage Virginia only nobles and priests were supposed to survive after
death.[154] The North American Mandans (of Dakota), according to one
view, assign to the brave in the hereafter the delightful villages of
the gods.[155] When souls are supposed to enter into animals different
animals are assigned to nobles and common men.[156] Kings and nobles
retain their superiority of position and are sometimes attended by their
slaves and officers.[157]

+75+. The manner of death is sometimes significant. The Karens hold that
persons killed by elephants, famine, or sword, do not enter the abode of
the dead, but wander on the earth and take possession of the souls of
men.[158] In Borneo it is supposed that those who are killed in war
become specters.[159] The belief in the Marquesas Islands is that
warriors dying in battle, women dying in childbirth, and suicides go up
to the sky.[160] In regard to certain modes of death opposite opinions
are held in the Ladrone (Marianne) Islands and the Hervey group: in the
former those who die by violence are supposed to be tortured by demons,
those who die a natural death are believed to be happy; according to the
view in the latter group these last are devoured by the goddess of
death, and the others are happy. In the one case violent death, it would
seem, is supposed to be due to the anger of the gods, and to be a sign
of something bad in the man; in the other case happiness is compensation
for the misfortune of a violent death, and natural death, being the fate
of ordinary people, leaves one at the mercy of the mistress of the other

+76+. The advance to the conception of moral retribution hereafter could
take place only in communities in which earthly life was organized on a
moral basis. The beginning of the movement is seen in certain savage
tribes. Savages have their codes, which generally recognize some ethical
virtues among the tribal obligations. Stealing, lying, failure in
hospitality, cowardice, violation of marital rights--in general, all the
acts that affect injuriously the communal life--are, as a rule,
condemned by the common sense of the lowest peoples, and the moral
character of the gods reflects that of their worshipers. By reason of
the sense of solidarity the faults of individuals affect not only
themselves but also their communities, and the gods care for communities
as well as for individuals. Whenever, then, there is an inquest in the
other world, these faults, it is likely, will be punished. On account of
the paucity of our information, it is not possible to make a general
statement on this point, but examples of future moral control occur in
many savage creeds.[161] In such systems the nature of the life beyond
the grave is variously conceived: sometimes as cheerless and gloomy (as
in Finland), sometimes as pleasant (as in Samoa, New Guinea, New
Caledonia, Bowditch Islands, some North American tribes, Brazil).[162]

+77+. In tracing the growth of the conception of distinctions in the
other world,[163] we find first a vague opinion that those who do badly
in this life are left to shift for themselves hereafter;[164] that is,
there is no authority controlling the lives of men below. In the
majority of cases, however, distinctions are made, but these, as is
remarked above, are based on various nonmoral considerations, and have
small cultural value.[165]

+78+. In the published reports of savage beliefs there is not always
mention of a formal examination of the character of the dead, and
probably nothing of the sort was imagined by the lowest tribes. It
appears, however, in such relatively advanced peoples as the
Fijians[166] and the Khonds.[167]

+79+. Moral retribution proper is found only in great civilized nations
and not in all of them; the early Semites appear to have retained the
old conception of punishment for ritual faults or failures, and for
offenses against the national welfare. For the Hebrews the proof is
found in the Old Testament passim; in the Babylonian and Assyrian
literature, as far as published, there is one sign of departure from the
scheme sketched in the _Descent of Ishtar_: Hammurabi (ca. 2000 B.C.)
invokes the curses of the gods on any one who shall destroy the tablet
of his penal code, and wishes that such a one may be deprived of pure
water after death. In regard to the South Arabians, the pre-Mohammedan
North Arabians, and the Aramæans, we have no information; and for the
Phoenicians there is only the suggestion involved in the curse invoked
on those who violate a tomb, and in the funeral ceremonies.[168] But the
same general religious ideas prevailed throughout the ancient Semitic
area, and we may probably assume that the Hebrew conception was the
universal one.

+80+. In Egypt, India, China, Persia, Greece, Rome, however, and among
the Jews in the Greek period,[169] higher ethical conceptions were
carried over to the Underworld; judgment, it was held, was pronounced on
the dead, and rewards and punishments dealt out to them according to
their moral character. The Jews and the Persians went a step further,
and conceived of a final general judgment, a final winding-up of human
history, and a permanent reconstruction of the world on a basis largely
moral, though tinged with local religious elements--a grandiose idea
that has maintained itself up to the present time, embodying the
conviction that the outcome of life depends on character, and that
ethical retribution is the essence of the world.

+81+. This ethical constitution of the life hereafter led to the local
separation of the good from the bad. Such a separation was imagined by
comparatively undeveloped peoples whose ethical principle was chiefly
ritualistic, as, for example, the Fijians, the American Indians, and by
civilized peoples in their early stages, the Vedic Hindus[170] (Yama's
abode in the sky, and a pit) and the Greeks (the Homeric Elysian Fields,
and Tartarus).[171]

+82+. In fact, a recognition of a place of happiness and a place of
punishment in the other life accompanies sooner or later a certain stage
of ethical culture in all communities. In India it appears in the late
Vedic and post-Vedic periods, together with the ethical doctrine of
metempsychosis, and though, as is natural in such a stage of
development, various ideas are held respecting the destinies of the good
and the bad, the ethical distinction between these classes of persons,
with a systematic awarding of rewards and punishments, becomes firmly
established: Yama becomes an ethical judge. In the Brahmanas, Manu, and
the Mahabharata, we find a sort of heaven for the virtuous and a hell
for the vicious. While the academic thought of Brahmanism and the
altruistic systems of Jainism and Buddhism looked to the absorption of
the departed into the All, the popular Hindu faith held fast to the
scheme of happiness and wretchedness in the future.[172] As in Dante's
_Divina Commedia_, the heaven was somewhat colorless, the hell more
distinct and picturesque; pain is acute and varied, happiness is calm
and uniform.

+83+. The later Egyptian eschatological development was not unlike the
later Hindu. The good were rewarded with delightful habitations in the
West or with the Sun; the bad were tortured in a gloomy place.[173]

+84+. As regards the early Greek eschatological scheme, it is suggested
by S. Reinach[174] that the descriptions of punishments in Tartarus (as
in the cases of Tantalus and others) arose from misunderstood
representations of the condition of the dead in the other world, they
being represented either as engaged in the occupations of this life, or
as they were at the moment of death. The great punishments, in fact, are
assigned only to heroic mythical offenders, but there seems to be no
reason why the idea of retribution should not be supposed to enter into
such descriptions. Separation of the good from the bad on ethical
grounds appears in Greece in the time of Plato. In various passages he
describes the savage places (Tartarus and others) to which criminals go
after death, and the happy abodes of the virtuous.[175] These abodes
were not with the gods; the occasional translations to heaven (Heracles,
Ganymede) are exceptional honors paid to heroes and favorites.

+85+. The Jewish conception of a punitive future belongs to the Greek
period of Jewish history, and was probably developed on Hebrew lines
under Greek and Egyptian influence. A combination of the Old Testament
view of future retribution on earth with the conception of torture in
the other world is given in Enoch.[176] In some circles Sheol was placed
in the West and divided into two regions, one of happiness, the other of
punishment,[177] or the good dwell with the angels in heaven, the bad in
hell.[178] By others the abodes of the dead were placed in the heavenly
regions: of the seven heavens, the second was assigned to the bad and
the third to the good.[179] With all the variation of locality, the
separation of the bad from the good is made permanent, and this
distinction is maintained in the New Testament, which throughout assigns
the wicked to hell (Gehenna or Tartarus), while the righteous dwell
sometimes on the renovated earth, sometimes in the heavenly

+86+. The Jewish and Christian books mentioned above content themselves
with the general statement that the punishment of the wicked will be
torture by fire and cold. Succeeding Christian books elaborated the
picture of torture with great ingenuity; the _Apocalypse of Peter_,
following and expanding the description of Plato and Enoch, has an
elaborate barbarous apparatus of punishment, and this scheme, continued
through a series of works,[181] has its culmination in Dante's Inferno,
where, however, the ethical element is pronounced, though colored by the
poet's likes and dislikes.

+87+. _Purgatory._ The wicked dead were not always left hopeless in
their place of punishment. Kindly human feeling (shown in early stages
by pious care for the well-being of the dead) and the analogy of earthly
procedures, civil and religious, led to the view that, after the
expiation of faults by suffering, the evildoer might be freed from his
prison and gain a place of happiness. Pardon and purification were
effected on earth by punishments (scourging, imprisonment, etc.) or by
ritual processes (ablution, fastings, etc.)--why not in the other life?
In some systems of transmigration the man, forced after death to assume
a lower form, may rise by good conduct to a higher form. In Plato's
imaginative construction of the Underworld[182] those who have lived
neither well nor ill are purified in the Acherusian lake and then
receive rewards according to their deserts; and those who have committed
great but not unpardonable crimes may come to the lake (after having
suffered the pains of Tartarus) and be freed from trouble if they obtain
pardon from those they have wronged. But as here, so hereafter, certain
offenses were regarded as unpardonable. The purgatorial conception
passed into patristic and Roman and Eastern Christianity and Talmudic
and Medieval Judaism.[183]

+88+. _Resurrection._ The doctrine of the resurrection of the dead,
which has been fully developed only by the Persians and the Jews (and
from them taken by Christianity and Islam), appears to have grown from
simple beginnings. It is the expression of the conviction that the
perfect man is made up of soul and body, and its full form is found only
in periods of high ethical culture. But in very early times the belief
in the intimate connection between body and soul appears in the care
taken among certain peoples to preserve the bones or the whole body of
the deceased as a possible future abode for the soul;[184] and, on the
other hand, as the soul, it was held, might return to the body and be
dangerous to the living, means were sometimes employed to frighten it
off. It seems to have been believed in some cases that the destruction
of the body involved the destruction of the soul (New Zealand). An
actual entrance of a departed soul into a human body is involved in some
early forms of the doctrine of reincarnation,[185] but this is not the
restoration of the dead man's own body. It was held in Egypt (and not
improbably elsewhere) that the soul after death might desire to take
possession of its own body, and provision was made for such an
emergency; but this belief seems not to have had serious results for
religious life. A temporary reunion of soul and body appears in the
figure of the vampire, which, however, is a part of a popular belief and
religiously not important. But these passing beliefs indicate a general
tendency, and may have paved the way for the more definite conception of
bodily restoration.

+89+. The more developed Hindu doctrine (Brahmanic, Jainistic,
Buddhistic) recognized a great variety of possible forms of
reincarnation (human and nonhuman), and made a step forward by including
the continuity or reëstablishment of moral life and responsibility (the
doctrine of karma).[186] It, however, never reached the form of a
universal or partial resurrection.

+90+. The birthplace of this latter doctrine appears to have been the
region in which Mazdaism arose, the country south of the Caspian Sea.
Windischmann infers from Herodotus, iii, 62, that it appears as a
Mazdean belief as early as the sixth century B.C.[187] This is doubtful,
but it is reported as a current belief by Theopompus.[188] Its
starting-point was doubtless the theory of reincarnation, which, we may
suppose, the Iranian Aryans shared with their Indian brethren. Precisely
what determined the Iranian movement toward this specific form of
reincarnation we have no means of knowing. It may be due to the same
genius for simple organization that led the Zoroastrians to discard the
mass of the old gods and elevate Ahura Mazda to the chief place in the
pantheon; their genius for practical social religious organization may
have induced them to select human reincarnation as the most natural and
the most effective morally, and to discard other forms as unworthy.[189]
The dead man's own body would then be the natural dwelling place of his
soul; but a refined body (as in 1 Cor. xv) might be regarded as better
suited to the finer life of the future. Whatever the cause, they adopted
this conception, and probably through their influence it passed to, or
was formulated by, the Jews, among whom it appears in the second century
B.C. (in the Book of Daniel).[190] In Daniel and 2 Maccabees
resurrection is confined to the Jews; in Enoch it is sometimes similarly
confined, sometimes apparently universal.[191] In the New Testament also
the same diversity of statement appears; resurrection seems to be
confined to believers in some passages[192] and to be universal in
others.[193] In the former case it is regarded as a reward of piety and
as a consequence of the intimate relation between the man and God or
Christ; unbelievers then remain in hades, where they are punished. But
universal resurrection was probably thought of as involved in the
grandiose conceptions of a final judgment and a final moral


+91+. Savage lore takes account of the powers of the separated soul
only; the qualities and functions of the earthly incorporate soul are
accepted as a part of the existing familiar order, and are not analyzed
or discussed. It was different with the departed soul, which, because of
its strangeness and mystery, was credited with extraordinary powers, and
this part of savage science was gradually developed, through observation
and inference, into an important system. In the search for causes, the
Shade, its independent existence once established, came to be regarded
as the agent in many procedures of which no probable account could
otherwise be given.

+92+. The greatest activity of the departed soul is found in the
earliest known period of culture, when it was not yet relegated to hades
or to the sky, but dwelt on earth, either near its former habitation or
in a distant region from which it might return. Its powers of movement
and action are then held to be all that imagination can suggest. Such
souls move through the air or under the ground, enter houses through
obstacles impenetrable to the earthly man, pass into the human body,
assume such shapes as pleases them. Divested of gross earthly bodies,
they are regarded as raised above all ordinary limitations of humanity.
Of these conceptions, that of the ghost's superhuman power of movement
remains in the popular faith to the present day.

+93+. The practical question for the early man is the determination of
the relation of departed souls to earthly life. Among savage tribes
their attitude is sometimes friendly, sometimes unfriendly, more often
the latter.[195] To fear the unknown is a human instinct. Shades are
looked on as aliens, and aliens are generally enemies. In particular,
ghosts are conceived of as sometimes wandering about in search of food
or warmth, or as cherishing enmity toward persons who had wronged them
in their earthly life. They are supposed to be capable of inflicting
disease or pain, and precautions are taken against them. Cases are
reported of persons who killed themselves in order that, as ghosts, they
might wreak vengeance on enemies.[196] On the other hand, to the members
of its own family the departed soul is sometimes held to be friendly, or
not unfriendly, but among savages it is not thought of as a potent and
valuable friend.

+94+. In the more advanced cults the functions of the departed souls
become larger and more important. They are regarded as having the power
of foretelling the future, and are consulted.[197] They become guardian
spirits, and a cult of souls arises.[198] In some higher forms of
religion (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) they are regarded as mediators
between man and the deity, or as advocates for man in the heavenly

+95+. _Prayer for the dead._ Before the ethical stage of religion the
moral condition and needs of the dead did not come into consideration;
their physical wants were met by performance of funeral rites and by
supplying them with food and other necessities of life,[199] and they
later came to be looked on as helpers rather than as needing help; but
when this old view passed away, and the conceptions of judgment and
ethical retribution after death were reached, the moral status of the
dead became a source of anxiety to the living. It was held that the
divine judge might be reached--by intercession or by petitions, or by
the performance of certain ceremonies--and his attitude toward the dead

+96+. A trace of such care for the deceased may be found in the
Brahmanic ceremonies intended to secure complete immortality to
fathers.[200] In Egypt, in the later times, there was an arrangement for
securing for the deceased immunity from punishment for moral offenses: a
sacred beetle of stone, inscribed with a charm beginning "O my heart,
rise not up against me as a witness," laid on the breast of the mummy,
silences the heart in the presence of Osiris, and the man, even though
guilty, goes free. Forms of charms were prepared by the priests, and the
name of any one who could pay was inserted in blanks left for this
purpose.[201] This sort of corrupting procedure was reproduced in some
periods of Christianity. In the early Church a custom existed of
receiving baptism on behalf of such as died unbaptized;[202] here,
apparently, a magical efficacy was ascribed to the act. The first
mention of prayer for the dead occurs in a history of the Maccabean
wars, where a sin-offering, accompanied by prayer, effects
reconciliation for certain soldiers who died in a state of sin (idol
symbols were found on their persons).[203] Prayer for the dead has been
largely developed in Christianity and Islam.[204]


+97+. As early science identified life with the soul, it logically
attributed a soul to everything that was regarded as living. This
category seems to have embraced all the objects of the world--human
beings, beasts, plants, weapons, rocks, waters, heavenly bodies. Savages
rarely formulate their ideas on such a subject, but the belief in the
future existence of nonhuman as well as human things is fairly
established by the widespread practice of slaying animals at the tomb
and burying with the dead the objects they are supposed to need in the
other world. This custom exists among many tribes at the present day,
and the contents of ancient tombs prove its existence in former times.
The dead are provided with clothing, implements of labor, weapons,
ornaments, food, and as these objects remain in their mundane form by or
in the grave, it is held that their souls pass with the souls of their
possessors into the world beyond. Further, the belief in transformation
from human to nonhuman forms and vice versa involves the supposition of
life in all such things. That the heavenly bodies, similarly, are
supposed to be animated by souls appears from the fact that they are
regarded as manlike in form, thought, and manner of life: the sun is
frequently represented as a venerable man who traverses the sky--the
moon being his wife, and the stars their children; and sun and moon
sometimes figure as totems. This general conception has been expanded
and modified in a great variety of ways among different peoples, but the
belief in the anthropomorphic nature of the astral bodies has been an
element of all religions except the highest.

+98+. The apparent incongruities in the savage theory--that all things
are endowed with life--need occasion us no difficulty. Complete
consistency and tenability in such theories is not to be expected. Early
men, like the lower animals, were doubtless capable of distinguishing
between things living and things dead: a dog quickly discovers whether a
moving object is alive. Man and beasts have in such questions canons of
criticism derived from long experience.[205]

+99+. But man differs from the beast in that he feels the necessity of
accounting for life by the hypothesis of a soul, and as he seems to
himself to find evidence of life in plants and minerals (movement,
growth, decay), he is justified in attributing souls to all things. He
is interested, however, only in movements that affect his welfare.
Whatever his general theory about rocks, a particular rock, as long as
it does not affect his life, is for him an inert and worthless mass,
practically dead; but if he discovers that it has power to harm him, it
becomes instinct with life, and is treated as a rational being. Man has
shown himself practical in all stages of religion; he is always the
center of his world, and treats objects and theories with sole regard to
his own well-being.

+100+. The world of the savage was thus peopled with souls, and these
came to have an independent existence. That this was the case with human
souls is pointed out above,[206] and by analogy the separateness was
extended to all souls. Thus there arose tree-spirits, river-spirits, and
other similar extrahuman beings. It is convenient to employ the term
'spirit' as the designation of the soul in a nonhuman object, isolated
and independent, and regarded as a Power to be treated with respect. The
term is sometimes used of a disembodied human soul, and sometimes of a
deity resident in an object of nature. It is better to distinguish, as
far as possible, between these different senses of the word. The
functions of a spirit are sometimes practically identical with those of
a god. The difference between these two classes of extrahuman agents is
one of general culture; it is especially determined in any community by
the extent of the organization of such agents that has been effected by
the community. The cult of spirits is considered below in connection
with the description of divine beings.[207]



+101+. The earliest known forms of social life are characterized by the
performance of public ceremonies, which are almost always religious.
Religion in some form enters into all the details of early life--there
is no event that is not supposed to be caused or affected by a
supernatural Power or influence. A vaguely conceived force (_mana_), an
attribute of life, is believed to reside in all things, and under
certain circumstances has to be reckoned with. Mysterious potencies in
the shape of souls, spirits, gods, or mana are held to preside over and
control all affairs--birth, sickness, death, hate and love, hunting and
war, sowing and reaping. There is no dogma except belief in this
extrahuman influence--no conception of moral effort as based on and
sanctioned by a definite moral ideal, no struggle of the sort that we
call spiritual. Religion consists of a body of practices whose authority
rests on precedent; as it is supposed they have existed from time
immemorial, they are held to be necessary to secure the well-being of
the tribe (a sufficient supply of food, or victory over enemies); to the
question why such and such things are done, the common reply of the
savage is that without them the thing desired could not be got.

+102+. In the earliest stages known to us these procedures are already
elaborate and distinct; they are generally conducted by the tribal
leaders (old men, chiefs, magicians), by whom they are handed down from
generation to generation.[208] Their precise origin is lost in the
depths of antiquity. Doubtless they arose from social needs, and their
precise forms were suggested by crude observation and reasoning.
Reflection on processes of nature, guided sometimes by fortunate or
unfortunate accidents, may have led to the establishment of methods of
procedure for gaining social and individual ends; and, as at this
formative period the whole life of the community was permeated by
religious conceptions, the procedures either were originally religious
or speedily took on a religious coloring.

+103+. Two characteristics belong to early ceremonies: they are
communal, and they are generally sacred mysteries. Whatever be the
origin of the tribal and clan institutions of society, these are
practically universal in the world as it is now known. Even in the few
cases where men live in the comparative isolation of individual family
groups (as the Eskimo, Fuegians, and others are said to do[209]), there
is a communal feeling that is shown in the identity of customs and ideas
among the isolated groups. In early man there is little individuality of
thought or of religious experience,[210] and there is no observable
difference between public and private religious worship. Ceremonies,
like language, are the product of social thought, and are themselves
essentially social. When a man performs an individual religious act (as
when he recognizes an omen in an animal or bird, or chooses a guardian
animal or spirit, or wards off a sickness or a noxious influence), he is
aware that his act is in accordance with general usage, that it has the
approval of the community, and that its potency rests on the authority
of the community. It is true that such communal character belongs, in
some degree, to all religious life--no person's religion is wholly
independent of the thought of his community; but in the lower strata the
acceptance of the common customs is unreflective and complete. When
definite individualism sets in, ceremonies begin to lose their old
significance, though they may be retained as mere forms or with a new

+104+. That the ceremonial observances are usually sacred is obvious
from all the descriptions we have of them. Their power is not always
attributed to the action of external personal, supernatural agencies
(though such agencies may have been assumed originally); in many cases,
it is held to reside in themselves.[211] They are sacred in the sense
that they are mysterious, acting in a way that is beyond human
comprehension and with a power that is beyond human control.[212] They
are efficacious only when performed by persons designated or recognized
by the community. Here there is undoubtedly a dim sense of law and unity
in the world, based on an interpretation of experiences. This is a mode
of thought that runs through the whole history of religion--only, in the
earliest stages of human life, it is superficial and narrow. The earlier
ceremonial customs contain the germs and the essential features of the
later more refined procedures.

+105+. Without attempting to give an exhaustive list, the principal
early ceremonies may be divided into classes as follows:


+106+. The dances that are so common among savage tribes are in many
instances now (and doubtless this has always been the case) simply the
expression of animal joyousness.[213] They are like the caperings of
young animals--only, the human feeling of rhythm asserts itself, the
movements are often measured and graceful. There is naturally an
accompaniment of noise--shouting and beating on pieces of wood, bone, or
metal, with songs or chants, the beginnings of vocal and instrumental

Words and melodies are simple and rude; they are the productions of
individual singers, often, of course, made from a stock of material
common to all members of the clan or the tribe. In Australia songs are
thought to be obtained by bards during sleep from the souls of the dead
(sometimes from Bunjil), or the bard is possessed by the soul of a
beast; chants are employed in magical ceremonies, and there are
lullabies and other children's songs.[214] The Muscogee "Song of the
Sabbea" is very sacred.[215] In West Africa minstrels recite
song-stories, every story being attached to an object (bone, feather,
etc.).[216] Songs are chanted at festivals in Guiana (and at night men
tell endless stories).[217]

+107+. The movements of the dance are sometimes in imitation of those of
animals,[218] sometimes spontaneous, and sometimes from our point of
view indecent. The indecency and obscenity originated and has continued
in a period when no moral element entered into such performances--they
simply follow animal instincts and impulses, are controlled by them, and
appear usually not to affect the customs relating to marriage and
chastity (so in the Areoi festivities of Tahiti, and among the Central

+108+. In accordance with the law by which religion appropriates social
customs, the dance is devoted to religious purposes and acquires a
sacred character.[220] It is a common ceremony as a preparation for war:
the warriors of the tribe jump about with violent gesticulations and
shouts, brandishing weapons and mimicking the acts of attacking and
slaying enemies.[221] Here, doubtless, the object is partly to excite
the men to fury and thus prepare them for combat, but there is also the
conviction that the ceremony itself has a sacred potency.[222] A similar
occult power is attached to dancing in Timorlaut, where, when a ship is
at sea, the girls sing and dance on the beach daily to bring the men
back.[223] There are dances in commemoration of the
dead[224]--apparently a combination of affection and homage, with the
general purpose of conciliating the departed and procuring their aid;
the belief being, apparently, that the dead see these demonstrations and
are pleased with them. A Ghost Dance formerly performed in California
had for its object bringing back the dead.[225]

+109+. At a later time such ceremonies were connected with the worship
of gods: sometimes they were of the nature of offerings of homage to the
supernatural Powers, as in the Young Dog Dance;[226] sometimes they took
on a symbolic and representative or dramatic character. Among the Redmen
the dramatic dances are elaborate, often representing the histories of
divine persons, these latter frequently appearing in the form of
animals.[227] The accompanying songs or chants relate stories that are
intended to explain, wholly or in part, the details of the rite.[228]

+110+. Thus combined with other ceremonies, dances become important
means of religious culture. In Greece dances were connected with many
cults, among others with the Dionysiac ceremonies, out of which grew the
Greek drama. Among the Hebrews the ancient ceremonial dance appears as
late as the time of David,[229] though it was then, perhaps, falling
into desuetude, since his wife, Michal, is disgusted at his procedures.
The violent movement of the dance excites not only warlike rage but also
religious ecstasy, and has been used abundantly for this purpose by
magicians, prophets, and mystics; the performer is regarded as a
vehicle of divine revelation, all abnormal excitement being ascribed to
possession by a spirit.[230]

+111+. With dances may be classed processions, in which usually a god is
invoked or praised. In Ashantiland, in time of war, when the men are
with the army, processions of women, wives of the warriors, march
through the streets, invoking the gods on behalf of the absent men.[231]
Often the performers bear a sacred object, as a stone (sometimes
inclosed in a box[232]), a boat, or an image; in early times such
objects not only represent the gods but actually embody them, or are
themselves superhuman Powers.

+112+. A peculiar form of procession is that in which the worshipers
move round a sacred object, perhaps the adoption of a natural form of
play. The original design in such movements may have been simply to show
respect to the object in question and secure its favor, the circular
movement being a natural way of keeping in touch with it. In certain
cases the circumambulation is connected with the movement of the sun in
the sky--probably a later interpretation of the ceremony. Examples are
found in Hindu, Greek, and Roman practices, and in some modern Christian
usages (in the Greek and Roman churches). As a magical efficiency was
held to attach to the ceremony, its effect was sometimes held to depend
on the direction of the movement; if it was to the right--passing from
east through south to west (the worshiper facing the east)--it was good,
but bad if in the opposite direction. Though traces of solemn
circumambulation are found in some lower tribes, it has been, and is,
practiced chiefly in the higher cults.[233]

+113+. Sacred dances and processions are natural human expressions of
emotions that have been adopted by religious sentiment, and are often
supposed to have potency in themselves. They tend to disappear with the
progress of general refinement and of ethical conceptions of life and of
deity. They continue, however, far into the civilized period, in which
we find dramatic representations (as the Eleusinian rites and the
medieval Mystery Plays), processions of priests bearing or conducting
sacred objects, processions of devotees with music, and pilgrimages to
shrines. Such ceremonies, while they are regarded by educated persons
simply as expressions of reverence and accompaniments of prayer, are
still believed by many to have an innate or magic potency, insuring
prosperity to the participants.


+114+. Love of ornament is found among all savage peoples; the value
they attach to beads and all colored things is well known to travelers
and traders. It has been plausibly argued that the origin of clothing is
to be found in the desire of each sex to make itself beautiful in the
eyes of the other.[234] However that may be, the employment of leaves
for headdresses and waistbands is general among lower tribes.[235]

+115+. Equally popular is the adornment of the body by colored marks
made with red ocher, pipe-clay, turmeric, charcoal, and such like things
as are furnished by nature. Elaborate designs, of straight and curved
lines, are traced on the skin, and these are gradually differentiated
and become marks of rank and function. The war paint of the American
Indians is governed by fixed rules, the object being to make the warrior
terrible to enemies.[236] Rings, quills, sticks, and stones, worn in
holes made in ears, nose, lips, and cheeks, are all originally
decorative; and so also prickings and gashes in the body, often in
regular outlines.[237]

+116+. These latter, made according to tribal custom and law, become
tribal marks (tattoo), and are then essential to one's standing in the
community. This custom is general in Polynesia and in parts of North
America.[238] The use of oil and other unguents early established itself
as a custom of savage society. They were probably useful in a variety of
ways. For the hair they made up for the absence of comb and brush; in
combat they enabled the warrior to slip from the grasp of his enemy;
they defended the naked body from rain, and from soiling and injury
produced by contact with the earth and hard bodies; and in sickness they
were regarded as curative.[239] Oil was abundantly used as an article of

+117+. All these materials of decoration are transferred to the service
of religion. The headdress becomes a mask to represent an animal in a
sacred ceremony,[240] or a priestly tiara. In such ceremonies
(especially in those of initiation) the painting of the body plays an
important part, the traceries varying according to the thing represented
and the symbolism of the action.[241] It is often difficult to see the
precise significance of the paintings, but in certain cases they are
totemic marks, and represent whatever is sacred in totemic belief.[242]

+118+. It is possible to construe the development in two ways: the
paintings may be regarded as originally totemic or other clan marks, and
as afterwards employed as ornaments, or the order of movement may be
taken to be in the reverse direction; but when we consider the primitive
character of decoration, the second suggestion seems the more probable.
The same remark applies to the practice of pricking, scarring, and
tattooing.[243] For the body-markings blood is sometimes employed,
perhaps in part on account of its decorative color, but also probably
with a religious significance.[244]

+119+. Decoration has been and is largely employed in structures and
dress connected with religious life. Posts and beams of houses, totem
posts and masts of vessels are covered with figures in which artistic
feeling is discernible;[245] and in late periods all the resources of
art are devoted to the form and adornments of temples, altars, and
images. The designs are taken from familiar objects, mostly from plants
and animals. The ultimate motive is love of ornament, which, while it
finds abundant expression in ordinary social life, has its greatest
development in religion--a natural result of the fact that in a large
part of human history religion has been the chief organizing factor of

+120+. The tendency has been to make the dress of ministers of religion
ornate.[246] This tendency has arisen partly from love of ornament, and
partly, doubtless, it is the transference of court customs to religious

+121+. Symbolism has entered largely into religious decoration. In very
early times figures of animals, plants, and human beings were used as
records of current events, and were sometimes supposed to have magical
power, the picture being identified with the thing represented. In a
more advanced stage of culture the transition was easy to the conception
of the figures as representing ideas, but the older conception is often
found alongside of the later--a symbolical signification is attached to
pictures of historical things. These then have a spiritual meaning for
higher minds, while for the masses they may be of the nature of
fetishes.[248] In both cases they may serve a good purpose in worship by
fixing the mind on sacred things.


+122+. The first necessity of savages is a sufficient supply of food,
and this, they hold, is to be procured either by the application of what
they conceive to be natural laws, or by appeal to superhuman Powers.
Among economic ceremonies, therefore, we may distinguish those which may
be loosely described as natural, those in which a supernatural element
enters, and those in which the two orders of procedure appear to be

+123+. Savages are generally skillful hunters. They know how to track
game, to prepare nets and pits, and to make destructive weapons. The
African pygmies have poisoned arrows, with which they are able to kill
the largest animals.[249] The people of British New Guinea organize
hunts on a large scale.[250] In Australia, Polynesia, and America there
is no tribe that is not able to secure food by the use of natural means.

+124+. But such means are often supplemented by ceremonies that involve
some sort of supernatural influence. These ceremonies appear to assume a
social relation between man and beasts and plants; in some cases there
is assumed a recognition by animals of the necessities of the case and a
spirit of friendly coöperation; in other cases a magical power is called
into play.

+125+. Desire to propitiate the hunted animal, in order not only to
avert the anger of its kin but also to obtain its aid, appears in the
numerous cases in which excuses are made for the killing, and the animal
is implored to make a friendly report of the man to its friends and to
return in order that it may be killed.[251] Formal prayer is sometimes
made to the animal in important tribal ceremonies, as in British
Columbia a boy is ordered by the chief to pray to the first salmon
sighted for a good catch;[252] here the good will of the salmon tribe
and the quasi-human intelligence of the fish are assumed.

+126+. Precautions are taken to guard against antagonistic extrahuman
influences; there are taboos and rules of purification in preparation
for hunting. In New Guinea hunters are required to abstain from certain
sorts of food and to perform purificatory ceremonies.[253] Among the
Nandi some men are forbidden to hunt, make traps, or dig pits for
game;[254] these men, it would seem, are supposed to be, for ceremonial
reasons, antipathetic to the animals to be hunted, as, on the other
hand, there are men who attract game.[255] The taboos of food and other
things imposed are doubtless intended to guard against malefic spirits
or mana. The particular rules are determined by local conditions.

+127+. Certain rules about eating the food secured by hunting appear to
have come from the desire to act in an orderly manner and with due
respect to the animal. When it is prescribed that a bone shall not be
broken this may be for fear of giving offense to the animal kin and thus
insuring failure in further hunting.[256] The provision that each man
shall gather of a fruit or vegetable only so much as will suffice for a
single day may have had an economic ground, the desire to avoid waste;
or it may have been made also partly in the interest of orderliness, and
so have had originally no reference to any superhuman being.[257]
Naturally it was taken up into religion and given a religious sanction.

+128+. In Central Australia, where every clan is charged with the duty
of procuring a particular food (its totem) for the tribe, the custom is
that when the product of hunting or gathering is brought in to be thrown
into the tribal store, the principal men of the hunting group begin by
eating a little of the food, after which the food is licit for the rest
of the tribe but illicit for the hunters.[258] This custom has been held
to have a sacramental significance; it has been suggested that the food
is sanctified by the touch of the elders and thus made lawful for the
tribe, or that, as naturally sacred, it secures, when eaten, union
between the eater and a superhuman Power. But there is no hint of such a
conception in the Australian ceremony or elsewhere. The procedure is
obligatory and solemn--to omit it would be, in the feeling of the
people, to imperil the life of the tribe; but all such usages are
sanctified by time. We should rather seek for the origin of the custom
in some simple early idea. It is not unusual, in parts of Australia and
in other lands, that a man, though he may not eat his totem, may kill it
for others; the eating in this case is the important thing--there is
magical power in it--and the economic obligation to provide food
overbears the sense of reverence for the totem. The only obscure point
in the ceremony under consideration is the obligation on the killer or
gatherer to taste the food before he gives it to his fellows. This may
be a survival of the rule, known to exist among some tribes, that in a
hunting party he who kills an animal has the first right to it. The
Australian hunter cannot eat his totem, but he may hold to his
traditional right; the result will be the custom as it now exists. With
our present knowledge no quite satisfactory explanation of the origin of
this particular rule can be given.

+129+. The employment of magical means for procuring food appears in the
performance of ceremonial dances, in the use of charms, the imitation of
animals, and other procedures. In California the supply of acorns and
animals is supposed to be increased by dances.[259] The New Guinea Koita
give their hunting dogs decoctions of sago and other food into which are
put pieces of odoriferous bark;[260] these charms are said to have been
got from the Papuans, the lowest race of the region. A Pawnee folk-story
(which doubtless reflects a current idea) tells how a boy by his songs
(that is, magic songs or charms) brought the buffalo within reach of
his people.[261] Among the Melanesians of New Guinea the hunting expert
plays a great rôle--his presence is necessary for the success of an
expedition.[262] He fixes the date of the hunt, prepares himself by a
series of abstinences,[263] and at the appointed time assembles the men,
recites spells addressed to ancestors, and passing along the lines of
the hunters imitates the movements of the animal sought.[264]

+130+. Very elaborate ceremonies including imitations of animals
(imitative or sympathetic magic) are found in Central Australia.[265]
When any animal is to be hunted the old men of the appropriate totemic
group, dressed to imitate the totem and accompanied by some of the young
men, repair to a spot regarded as sacred, and, along with other
ceremonies, trace on the sacred rock, with blood drawn from the young
men, a picture of the animal, or figures representing its growth--in
general, something that sets forth its personality. These ceremonies,
very numerous and extending over a long space of time, constitute the
main business of the elders, as, in fact, the procuring of food is the
chief concern of the people.

+131+. There is no perceptible religious element in these Australian
ceremonies--no utterance of charms or prayers, no mention of any
supernatural being. The acts appear to be simply procedures of imitative
magic, customs sanctified by long usage. They relate to the life of the
tribe; this life, like all life, is mysterious and therefore
sacred.[266] The belief in the potency of the ceremonies appears to come
from belief in the vital identity of the two groups, human and
nonhuman--the latter is supposed to respond, in some occult way, to the
expression of kinship involved in the official proceedings.

+132+. The employment of blood (considered as the locus of life) may
indicate more definitely a sense of the unity of life-force; the human
blood is, perhaps, supposed to stimulate life in the kindred animal
group, and so to produce a large supply of individuals. In the
published accounts there is no hint that the blood is supposed to have
atoning power. There is no sense of wrongdoing or unworthiness on the
part of the performers, or of any relation to a deity. The theology of
Central Australia is still obscure--the general religious situation in
that region has much that is enigmatical.

+133+. A more advanced ritual occurs among certain agricultural tribes,
among whom is found a more elaborate use of blood and a definite
recognition of superhuman beings. In these communities it is regarded as
necessary to profitable tilling to fertilize the soil with the blood of
a slain victim, sometimes human (as among the Khonds of Orissa, the
Pawnees, and others[267]), sometimes bestial (as in Southern
India[268]); parts of the victim's flesh are buried, or blood is
sprinkled on the seed, and homage is paid to a sacred stone or some
similar object.

+134+. In more civilized agricultural communities these ceremonies
persist in attenuated form. There is a sacrifice of first-born animals
to a deity and an offering of the first fruits of the field; and as
children, no less than crops, are the gift of the gods, whose bounty
must be recognized, it is not surprising to find that, along with the
first fruits of the field, first-born children are sometimes sacrificed
to the deity. Such a custom is reported as existing or having existed in
New South Wales, Florida, East Africa, heathen Russia, the Fiji Islands,
and Northern India.[269] A trace of the custom among the early Hebrews
is, probably, to be recognized in the provision of the Old Testament
code that the first-born children are to be redeemed by an animal

+135+. In the course of time many ceremonies grew up in connection with
the procuring and housing of crops and other supplies. In Australia the
men of the clan charged with assuring any sort of food were unarmed and
fasted during their ceremony.[271] Among the Kondyan plowing and sowing
are solemn seasons, an auspicious day is chosen, and there are
religious songs and choruses.[272] For the Hos of Northeastern India the
harvest home is a great festival, held with sacrifice and prayer (though
also with great license of manners).[273] A dim conception of law
underlies all these procedures. The law is sometimes natural, as in
imitative processes, sometimes religious, as when blood is employed or
the agency of religious official persons is called in.

+136+. The economical importance of rain has led to various
quasi-scientific and magical devices for securing it, and to the rise of
professional rain makers. The methods commonly employed are mimic
representations of rainfall or of a storm.[274] The Australian Arunta
have a rain clan whose function is to bring the desired supply by
nonsacred dancing festivals and sacred ceremonies. A more advanced
method is to dip a stone, as rain-god, into a stream.[275] Certain
American tribes assign the duty of rain making to secret societies or to

+137+. All such economical ceremonies disappear with the progress of
knowledge, though traces of them linger long in civilized communities.
Messrs. Spencer and Gillen note the gradual disappearance of the
economical and magical aspect of ceremonies in parts of Australia, and a
similar process is to be observed elsewhere.[276]


+138+. The savage and half-civilized belief (a belief that has survived
to some extent in civilized communities) is that the ills that afflict
or threaten a community (such as epidemics and shortage of crops) are
due not to natural causes but to supernatural agencies. But man, it is
held, may control the hostile supernatural agents--they are subject to
fear and other emotions, and though powerful are not omnipotent; they
may be expelled or otherwise got rid of--violence may be used against
them, or the aid of stronger supernatural Powers may be called in. In
pursuance of these ends ceremonies have been devised in many parts of
the world; though differing in details they are alike in principle; the
question is how man may become the master of the demons. The ceremonies
are sometimes performed on the occasion of particular afflictions,
sometimes are massed at stated seasons, as at the beginning of the year
or in connection with some agricultural festival.

+139+. Man's defensive attitude toward the supernatural world appears in
many usages connected with ordinary life. Fear of the hostility of
ghosts has led surviving friends to take precautions against their
return--their own houses are closed to them and they are driven away
with blows.[277] They are too near akin to be trusted, and they are
believed to be able and willing to do harm.[278] At the other extreme of
life, when the child comes into the world, mother and child must be
guarded against hostile demonic influences.[279] When a demon is known
to have entered into a human being, producing sickness or madness,
exorcism must be resorted to; magicians, prophets, and saints are able
by ceremonies or by prayer to expel the intruder and restore the
afflicted to health. Ritual taint (which is supernatural), incurred, for
example, by touching a dead body, is removed by sprinkling with sacred

+140+. But the term "apotropaic" is generally used of expulsive
ceremonies in which a whole community takes part. In the simplest forms
of procedure the hostile spirits are driven out of the village by shouts
and blows; crowds of men rush through the streets, searching houses,
expelling spirits at every possible point of ingress, and finally
forcing them outside the limits of the community. Examples of such a
custom are found in the Pacific Islands, Australia, Japan, Indonesia,
West Africa, Cambodia, India, North America (Eskimo), South America
(Peru),[281] and there are survivals in modern Europe. In China this
wholesale expulsion is still practiced in a very elaborate form.[282]
Among the Ainu, it is said, on the occasion of any accident the "spirit
of accidents" (a useful generalization) is driven away by the
community.[283] In these cases the spirits are thought of as being in a
sort corporeal, sensitive to blows, and also as afraid of noise. There
is sometimes a combination of natural and supernatural conceptions:
while the violent expulsive process is going on the household utensils
are vigorously washed by the women; washing, known to cleanse from mere
physical dirt, here also takes on, from its association with the men's
ceremony of expulsion, a supernatural potency--it removes the injurious
mana of the hostile spirits.

+141+. Less violent methods of riddance may be employed. Evil, being a
physical thing, may be embodied in some object, nonhuman or human, which
is then carried forth or sent away to some distant point, or destroyed.
With this principle of transference may be compared the conception of
solidarity of persons and things in a tribe or other community: what one
unit does or suffers affects all--the presence of an accursed thing with
one person brings a curse on his nation,[284] and conversely, the
removal of the evil thing or person removes the curse, which may, under
certain circumstances, be shifted to some other place or person.

+142+. The particular method of expulsion or transference is
immaterial.[285] The troublesome evil may be carted or boated away
according to local convenience, or it may depart in the person of an
animal. Leprous taint is transferred to a bird, which, having been
dipped in the blood of a sacred animal, is allowed to fly away carrying
the taint off from the community.[286] Even moral evils (sin) may thus
be got rid of. In the great Hebrew annual ceremony of atonement not only
the ritual impurity of the sanctuary and the altar, but also the sin of
the nation, is laid on a goat and sent away to the wilderness demon,

+143+. Examples of human apotropaic vehicles occur in the ancient
civilized world. In the Athenian Thargelia the Pharmakos was supposed to
bear in his person crimes and evils, and was driven forth from the
city.[288] The same conception is found, perhaps, in the Roman Mamuralia
and Lupercalia. In the first of these Mamertius is driven forth from the
city and consigned to the keeping of hostile persons;[289] in the
second, young men ran about the streets beating the women with strips of
goatskin, the skin being that of a sacred animal--a proceeding that was
regarded as purificatory, and seems to be naturally explicable as an
expulsion of evil spirits or injurious mana.[290]

+144+. In another direction expulsion of evil, or protection against it,
is effected by the blood of a sacrificed (and therefore sacred) animal.
A well-known example of this sort of ceremony is the Hebrew _pesah_ (the
old lamb ceremony, later combined with the agricultural festival of
unleavened bread, at the time of the first harvest, the two together
then constituting the passover); here the doorposts and lintel of every
house were sprinkled with the blood of a slain lamb by the master of the
house,[291] and the hostile spirits hovering in the air were thus
prevented from entering. The sacred blood seems to have been conceived
of as carrying with it the power of the family god (who was also the
clan god), which overbore that of the demons (in the earliest period,
however, the efficacy was doubtless held to reside simply in the blood
itself). The ceremony belonged to each family, but it belonged also to
the clan since it was performed by every family, and ultimately it
became a national usage.

+145+. Apotropaic ceremonies appear to have been performed originally
at various times during the year as occasions arose; the increasing
pressure of occupations,[292] the necessity of consulting people's
convenience, and the demand for order and precision led here (as in
other cases) to the massing of the observances. When so massed they
begin to lose their original significance, to yield to the knowledge of
natural law, to be reinterpreted from time to time, and finally to
become mere social events or to be dropped altogether. Apotropaism has
hardly survived at all in the higher religions.[293] In popular customs
it appears in the reliance placed on horseshoes and other objects as
means of keeping witches and similar demonic things out of houses.[294]


+146+. Ceremonies in connection with the arrival of young persons, male
and female, at the age of maturity appear to be universal, and they
yield in importance to no other class of social procedures. The basis of
most of these is civil; their object is to prepare young persons for
entering on the active duties of what may be called citizenship. They
involve a distinct idea of the importance of the clan, the necessity of
maintaining its life unimpaired, and, to that end, preparing with the
utmost care the younger portion of the community to take up the duties
of the older. The boys are to be trained to be the hunters and rulers of
the clan, the girls are to be fitted to become the wives and mothers of
the next generation. But while the ceremonies in question have their
foundation in the needs of civil life, they inevitably receive a
religious coloring, since religion is intimately connected with all the
details of early life.

+147+. Among the details of the initiation of boys, tests of endurance
occupy a prominent place. In various ways the capacity of the lad to
endure physical pain or to face apparent dangers is tested,[295] and in
some cases one who fails to stand such tests is refused admission into
the clan and forever after occupies an inferior and despised position.
Such persons are sometimes treated as women; they are required to wear
women's dress and to do menial work.[296]

+148+. The seclusion of girls on arriving at the age of puberty, with
imposition of various taboos (of food, etc.), is a widespread custom.
The mysterious change in the girl is supposed to be produced by some
supernatural and dangerous Power, and she is therefore to be shielded
from contact with all injurious things. The details of the procedure
depend on local ideas, but the principle is the same everywhere. The
object is the preparation of the girl for civic life, and the ceremony
inevitably becomes connected with tribal cults of the supernatural

+149+. A rearrangement of taboos is a frequent feature in ceremonies of
puberty and initiation. Certain taboos, no longer needed, are removed
and others are imposed; these latter refer, in the case of boys, to
intercourse with the men and women of the clan or tribe--they are
instructed not to speak to certain persons, and in general they are made
acquainted with the somewhat elaborate social system that prevails in
many early tribes. These taboos are intended to prepare the boys to
understand their position as members of the tribe, responsible for the
maintenance of its customs. The taboos relating to food have arisen from
conditions whose origins belong to a remote and unrecorded past, and
remain obscure.[298]

+150+. When the ceremony of initiation is elaborate and secret, it
becomes mysterious to boys, is looked forward to by them with
apprehension, and appeals to their imagination. Supernatural terrors are
provided by the leaders--noises are heard (made by the bull-roarer or
some similar device), and the report is circulated that the initiate is
in danger of death at the hands of a supernatural being. These methods
testify to the importance attached by early societies to the
introduction of the young into social and political life, and they
furnish an early example of the employment of the supernatural for the
government of the masses. The old men do not believe in their
supernatural machinery, and the boys, after initiation, are let into the

+151+. _Mutilation_ of the body is a widespread custom in connection
with initiation and arrival at the age of puberty.[299] In most cases
the origin of mutilating customs is obscure. Imitation of the form or
appearance of a sacred animal, embellishment of the initiate, or
consecration of a part of the body to a deity have been suggested as
motives; but there is no clear evidence of such designs. The knocking
out of a tooth may be for convenience in taking food; it seems not to
have religious significance except in so far as all tribal marks become
religiously important.[300] Boring through the septum of the nose is
perhaps for decorative purposes. The cutting of the hair is possibly for
convenience, possibly for dedication to a deity.[301]

+152+. Among the most important of the customs of initiation are those
connected with the organs of generation, excluding, as is remarked
above, complete excision, which belongs to conceptions of religious
asceticism (consecration to a deity, preservation against temptation) in
the higher cults, and is not found among savages.[302] Partial excision
occurs in circumcision, for males, and in similar operations for

+153+. _Circumcision of males._[303] The most widely diffused of such
customs of initiation is the gashing or the complete removal of the
prepuce. It existed in ancient times among the Egyptians, the
Canaanites, and the Hebrews (for the Arabs, the Syrians, and the
Babylonians and Assyrians we have no information), not, so far as the
records go, among the Greeks, Romans, and Hindus. At the present time it
is found among all Moslems and most Jewish communities, throughout
Africa, Australia, Polynesia and Melanesia, and, it is said, in Eastern
Mexico. It is hardly possible to say what its original distribution was,
and whether or not there was a single center of distribution. As to its
origin many theories have been advanced. Its character as initiatory is
not an explanation--all customs of initiation need to have their origins
explained. It may be said at the outset that a usage prevalent in low
tribes and clearly beginning under savage conditions of life must,
probably, have sprung from some simple physical need, not from advanced
scientific or religious conceptions. We may briefly examine the
principal explanations of its origin that have been offered.

+154+. It cannot be regarded as a test of endurance, for it involves no
great suffering, and neither it nor the severer operation of
subincision[304] (practiced in Australia) is ever spoken of as an
official test.

+155+. A hygienic ground is out of the question for early society. The
requisite medical observation is then lacking, and there is no hint of
such a motive in the material bearing on the subject. Circumcision is
employed in modern surgery for certain diseases and as a generally
helpful operation, but such employment appears to be modern and of
limited extent. The exact meaning of Herodotus's statement that the
Egyptians were circumcised for the sake of cleanliness, preferring it to
beauty,[305] is not clear; but in any case so late an idea throws no
light on the beginnings.

+156+. Somewhat more to the point is Crawley's view that the object of
the removal of the prepuce is to get rid of the dangerous emanation from
the physical secretion therewith connected.[306] Such an object would
issue from savage ideas of magic, the secretions of the human body (as
urine and dung) being often supposed to contain the power resident in
all life. But this view, though conceivably correct, is without support
from known facts. There is no trace of fear of the secretion in
question, and the belief in power, when such a belief appears, attaches
rather to the oblated prepuce (which is sometimes preserved as a sort of
charm, or hidden, or swallowed by the boy or by some other person) than
to the secretion. Nor does this theory account for the custom of

+157+. As circumcision is often performed shortly before marriage it has
been suggested that its object is to increase procreative power by
preventing phimosis.[307] The opinion that such is its effect, though it
has no scientific support, has been and is held by not a few persons.
Such an object, however, is improbable for low stages of society--it
implies an extent of observation that is not to be assumed for savages;
and there is, besides, the fact that certain tribes (in Australia and
elsewhere) that practice circumcision do not connect the birth of
children with sexual intercourse. In general it is not to be supposed
that savages make well-considered physical preparation for marriage in
the interests of procreation. The choice of mates is determined by
tribal law, but in other respects the individual is generally left free
before marriage to satisfy his appetite--it is instinct that controls
the relations between the sexes.

+158+. There is no clear evidence that the origin of circumcision is to
be traced to religious conceptions. It has been held that it is
connected with the cult of the generative organs (phallic worship).[308]
It is true that a certain sacredness often attached to these organs;
this appears, for example, in the oath taken by laying the hands upon or
under the thigh, as in the story of Abraham.[309] In some parts of
Africa circumcision is directly connected or combined with the worship
of the phallus.[310] But, on the other hand, each of these customs is
found frequently without the other: in India we have phallic worship
without circumcision, in Australia circumcision without phallic worship;
and this separateness of the two may be said to be the rule. The cult of
the phallus seems not to exist among the lowest peoples.

+159+. The view that circumcision is of the nature of a sacrifice or
dedication to a deity, particularly to a deity of fertility, appears to
be derived from late usages in times when more refined ideas have been
attached to early customs. The Phrygian practice of excision was
regarded, probably, as a sacrifice. But elsewhere, in Egypt, Babylonia,
Syria, and Canaan, where the worship of gods and goddesses of fertility
was prominent, we do not find circumcision connected therewith. In the
writings of the Old Testament prophets it is treated as a symbol of
moral purification. Among the lower peoples there is no trace of the
conception of it as a sacrifice. It is not circumcision that makes the
phallus sacred--it is sacred in itself, and all procedures of savage
veneration for the prepuce assume its inherent potency.

+160+. Nor can circumcision be explained as an attenuated survival of
human sacrifice. The practice (in Peru and elsewhere) of drawing blood
from the heads or hands of children on solemn occasions may be a
softening of an old savage custom, and the blood of circumcision is
sacred. But this quality attaches to all blood, and the essential thing
in circumcision is not the blood but the removal of the prepuce.

+161+. The suggestion that the object of detaching and preserving the
foreskin (a vital part of one's self) is to lay up a stock of vital
energy, and thus secure reincarnation for the disembodied spirit,[311]
is putting an afterthought for origin. The existence of the practice in
question is doubtful, and it must have arisen, if it existed, after
circumcision had become an established custom. Savages and other
peoples, when they feel the need of providing for reincarnation,
commonly preserve the bones or the whole body of the deceased.

+162+. _Circumcision and other operations performed on females._
Circumcision of girls is practiced by many African savage tribes (Nandi,
Masai, Mandingos, and others), by Malays and Arabs, Gallas and
Abessinians and others. Introcision appears to be confined to Australia.
Infibulation is practiced in Northeastern Africa and by the Mohammedan
Malays.[312] The effect, and doubtless the purpose, of the first and
second of these operations is to facilitate coition; the object of the
third is to prevent coition until the proper time for it arrives. They
are all connected more or less with initiation or with arrival at the
age of puberty, and they are, naturally, sometimes associated with other

+163+. _Origin of circumcision._ The preceding review may be taken to
make it probable that the origin of circumcision is not to be referred
to reflection or to religious ideas. We must look for a cruder motive,
and several considerations point to the desire to facilitate coition as
the starting-point of the custom (so also R. F. Burton). Reports from
all over the savage world testify to the prominence of sexual
intercourse in the lower forms of human life. Folk-stories are full of
coarse details of the practice. Popular festivals are often
characterized by gross license. To lend a wife to a guest is in many
places a recognized rule of hospitality.[313] In all this there is
nothing immoral--it is permitted by the existing law and is in accord
with the current ideas of propriety. Early man seems in this regard to
have obeyed his animal appetite without reflection. This form of
pleasure occupied (and occupies) a great part of his life, and it was
not unnatural that he should seek to remove all hindrances from it. It
is quite conceivable that early observation led him to regard the
prepuce as a hindrance.

+164+. About the motives of early man in the adoption of these customs
of excision we have, of course, no direct information; but some later
usages favor the explanation suggested above. The operations performed
on females are obviously dictated by considerations of convenience or
propriety in coition. Various means are adopted of increasing the
pleasure of sexual intercourse (in Indonesia and elsewhere).[314] These
procedures are purely animal, nonmoral, and without ulterior design;
there is no thought of progeny or, in general, of preparation for
marriage--the frame of mind is appropriate to the lowest grade of life.

+165+. In the course of time, however, all such customs tend to become
sanctified and to take on new meanings. When the importance of
circumcision was generally felt, it was natural that it should be
performed at puberty and at initiation.[315] It would thus come to be
regarded as an introduction to the tribal life--not as preparation, but
as a custom established by unwritten law. Its origination would be put
far back in the past and sometimes ascribed to supernatural
personages--the Central Australians refer it to the mythical ancestors,
the later Jews to the command of the national deity issued to the
legendary or mythical ancestor Abram.[316] Under certain circumstances
it might become a tribal mark; the Hebrews thus distinguished themselves
from their neighbors the Philistines, and "uncircumcised" was a term of

+166+. Apart from its use in initiation the cultic rôle of circumcision
has been small. It does not appear as an element in the worship of any
deity, neither in that of such gods as Osiris, Tammuz, Adonis, Attis,
nor in that of any other. It is not represented in ancient records as a
devotion of one's self or an assimilation of one's self or of a child to
the tribal or national god. Its performance is generally a religious
duty, as is true of every established custom, but this fact throws no
light on its origin. The prepuce is sometimes treated as an amulet or in
general as a magically powerful or sacred thing; but many other parts of
the body (hair, finger nails, etc.) are so treated.

+167+. In the higher religions circumcision is generally viewed as an
act of physical purification or as a symbol of moral purification. The
former view, perhaps, prevailed in Egypt, though on this point the
records appear to be silent.[318] The latter view is that of the Old
Testament prophets and the New Testament.[319] It has now ceased to
have any effective religious significance, and is retained in some
communities merely as a national social tradition or as an ancient
divine ordinance.

+168+. The origin of circumcision suggested above seems to account
sufficiently for all usages and ideas connected with it; the possibility
of several different origins need not be denied, but the practical
identity of the customs in all parts of the world in which the
institution exists, makes the simpler hypothesis the more probable.

+169+. Certain features of ceremonies of initiation appear to be
designed to secure _union_ between the initiate and the clan. Such, for
example, is the custom found in New South Wales of the initiate's
drinking the blood of his companions. In other cases there is a union
with other parts of the body. Such usages arise from the idea that
physical union is essential to social union--a conception which
elsewhere takes the form of blood-brotherhood.[320] This is a scientific
rather than a religious idea, depending on the belief that the body is
an essential part of the personality.[321]

+170+. Another noteworthy custom is the feigned _resurrection_ of the
initiate. In Australia the women are informed that the youth during the
process of initiation is slain by a supernatural being and brought to
life again. Elsewhere the initiate is supposed to forget his former life
completely and to be obliged, on emerging from the ceremony, to recover
slowly his knowledge of things.[322] The origin of this custom is
obscure, but it appears to express the idea that the youth now enters on
an entirely new life, and having come into new relations and
responsibilities, is to forget what he was and what he did before--a
profound conception which has been taken up into some of the most
advanced religions (as, for example, in baptism and confirmation).

+171+. In certain half-civilized tribes a higher type of initiatory
ceremonies is found. The youth must perform a lonely vigil, going into
the forest or some other solitary place, and there wait for the vision
or revelation of a supernatural protector.[323] This procedure is
connected with the advance of individualism, the old totemic or other
relation being superseded by an individual relation to a guardian
spirit. The development of this higher religious conception will be
discussed below.[324]

+172+. Finally, instruction forms a part of most initiation ceremonies.
The youth is told the secrets of the tribe, and is thus inducted into
its higher and more intimate life.[325] This confiding of tribal secrets
(the tradition and the knowledge of sacred things) to the young man
about to enter on public life is a political necessity, but in the
nature of the case connects itself with religious conceptions.
Generally, also, moral instruction is given.[326] The ethical code is
usually good so far as intratribal relations are concerned (foreigners
are not considered): the youth is told that he must obey his elders,
respect the rights of his fellow clansmen, and especially be careful in
his attitude toward women. In some cases a supernatural sanction for
such instructions is added; it is impressed on the youth that some
supernatural being will punish him if he disobeys these instructions.
The moral code in question is one which springs naturally and
necessarily from the relations of men in society, and the supernatural
sanction affixed to it is a consequence of the belief that the tribal
deity is the lord of the tribe and the natural and most effective
guardian of its rights.

+173+. From this brief statement of initiation ceremonies it appears
that they rest substantially on social ideas and necessities. Religion
enters into them, as is pointed out above, when a superhuman being is
represented as the patron of the clan and the protector of its
ceremonies, or when the moral teaching is referred to such a being, or
when the initiate seeks a supernatural patron with whom to enter into
relations, or when, as in some North Australian tribes, the
supernatural being is believed to be angry at the omission of the
ceremonies. This last case might recall the displeasure of the Greek
gods when sacrifices to them were withheld or diminished; but more
probably it involves simply the belief that all important ceremonies and
affairs are under the control of the being in question, who demands
obedience to him as lord.

+174+. In later stages of savage or semicivilized life the clan
constitution as a rule has been succeeded by the formation of secret
societies, and then initiation into a society takes the place of the old
initiation into the clan.[327] Initiation into such a society is often
elaborate and solemn--it is carried out in great detail in many
Polynesian, African, and North American tribes--but its general features
are the same as those of the earlier procedure. Savage societies and
civilized mysteries all have their secrets and their moral instruction,
and they all represent an advance in individualism. Still later the
church takes the place of the mysteries, and here the process of
initiation, though more refined, is still in essence identical with the
earlier forms.[328] Naturally in the increasing refinement of the
ceremonies there is an increasing prominence of the supernatural
element, for the reason that the special care of religion recedes more
and more from general society (which tends to occupy itself with civil
and political questions solely), and is intrusted to special voluntary


+175+. Marriage is so important a fact for the communal life that it has
always been regulated to a greater or less extent by the community,
which defines its methods, rights, and obligations.[329]

+176+. In the lowest known tribes the ceremony of marriage is simple:
the woman is given to the man by the constituted authorities--that is,
the relatives of the parties and the elders of the clan or tribe--and by
that act the two become husband and wife. At this stage of social growth
the stress is laid on preparation for marriage in the ceremonies of
puberty and initiation. The members of the tribe being thus prepared for
union, marriage is merely the assignment of a given woman to a given
man. The wife is selected according to established custom; that is, in
accordance with customary law, which in most cases defines precisely
from what group of the tribe the woman proper to a given man shall be

+177+. Though the origin of this law goes back to a remote antiquity and
is involved in obscurity, it seems to have been originally simply a
matter of social agreement. It came to be, however, connected with
systems of totemism and taboo, and thus to have acquired a certain
religious character; and, as being important for the tribal life, it
would come under the control of the tribal god when there is such a god.
A similar remark may be made in regard to exogamy. Why marriage between
members of the same tribe, clan, or phratry should be prohibited is not
clear.[330] The rule arose, doubtless, from some social feature of
ancient society, and only later was involved in the general religious

+178+. Gradually greater freedom of choice was allowed men and women,
and the ceremonies of marriage became more elaborate. Certain of these
seem intended to secure the complete union of husband and wife; such,
for example, are the customs of eating together, of the inoculation of
each party with the blood of the other or with some bodily part of the
other, and the giving of presents by each to the other. All these rest
on the conception that union between two persons is effected by each
taking something that belongs to the other; each thus acquires something
of the other's personality. This is a scientific biological idea; and
though it had its origin doubtless in some very crude notion of life, it
has maintained itself in one form or another up to the present time.

+179+. Among many communities the custom is for the bride to hide
herself and to be pursued and taken by the bridegroom. This custom,
again, is in its origin obscure. Almost certainly it does not point to
original marriage by capture, for of such a customary method of
acquiring wives there is no trace in savage communities (though in
particular cases women may have been captured and married). Possibly it
reflects merely the coyness of the woman; or it may be simply a festive
procedure, an occasion of fun for the young people, as indeed a wedding
now commonly is. In many cases, however, it appears to represent the
transference of the woman from her own tribe to that of her husband.
Though she was thus transferred bodily and brought into civic relations
with the latter, certain taboos, arising from her original tribal
position, often clung to her. The right to dwell in her own house in her
own tribe, and to receive there her foreign husband, belongs to a
relatively late social stage.[332]

+180+. The defloration of the woman before marriage is rather a
preparation for marriage than a marriage ceremony; or it may represent
the social right of the elders of the tribe and the relatives of the
bride to the possession of her, perhaps symbolizing her entrance into a
family.[333] The hypothesis that such a custom points to primitive
promiscuity is ably combated by Westermarck, and is involved in great
difficulties; it is, however, maintained by Messrs. Spencer and Gillen
in their two works on Australian tribes, whose customs seem to them to
be inexplicable except on the supposition of primitive promiscuity, in
spite of Westermarck's arguments; and in support of this view the sexual
license granted in many tribes to unmarried girls may be adduced.
However this may be, the custom in question appears to be civil and not
religious. The same thing is true of the ceremonies in which bridegroom
and bride are hailed as king and queen--a very natural form of
merrymaking.[334] The purchase of wives is probably a simple commercial

+181+. The marriage ceremonies mentioned above appear to be all social
in their nature. Into them the supernatural is introduced in proportion
as the conception of a divine control of society obtains.[335] On the
other hand, those customs which are intended to ward off evil spirits or
general evil influences from the married pair are religious or magical.

+182+. Mr. Crawley[336] holds that all marriage ceremonies are
essentially religious, as involving the conception of something strange
and dangerous in the contact of men and women; they are intended, he
thinks, to neutralize dangers by reversing taboos and by assimilating
the two persons each to the other, the dangers in question being not
merely distinctly sexual but those of contact in general. Though he
carries his application of the principle of taboo too far, he has
collected a large number of examples which illustrate the separation
between the sexes in early society, and the taboos which hold in their
social intercourse. The separation of the sexes in early times seems to
have resulted largely from the difference in their occupations and the
consequent isolation of each from the other. Possibly one result of this
isolation was that each saw something strange and wonderful in the
other; but it must be remembered that the taboo laws were made by men
and are therefore directed particularly against women. The belief in the
sacredness of life would act more particularly on the ideas concerning

+183+. Among many half-civilized peoples and generally in Christian
communities marriage is regarded both as a religious ceremony and as a
civil contract, and is controlled in the one case by the religious
authorities, in the other case by the civil authorities. In Mohammedan
communities marriage is simply a civil contract, but religious
ceremonies are often connected with it.[337]


+184+. It is possible that early man was so impressed by the fact of
life and the wonderfulness of the birth of a human being that he
included this latter fact in the sphere of the supernatural, and that
the taboos connected with it arose from his dread of supernatural,
dangerous influence.[338] Many of the ceremonies connected with the
birth of a child may be explained easily as resulting from the natural
care for mother and child. Both of these are, in the modern sense of the
term, sacred; and even in very early times ordinary humane feeling would
seek to protect them from injury.[339]

+185+. Thus the curious custom of the couvade,[340] in which the
husband, and not the wife, goes to bed on the birth of the child, may be
an effort on the man's part to share in the labor of the occasion, since
he has to take care of the child; or it may be primarily an economical
procedure--the woman must go out to work and the man must therefore stay
at home to take care of the house and the child. But probably something
more than this is involved--there seems to be fear of supernatural
danger. It is not necessary to suppose that the man takes the woman's
place in order to attract to himself the malevolent spirits that figure
on such occasions; but the belief in the intimate vital connection
between father and child may induce the desire to guard the former
against injury. Similar precautions are taken in regard to the
mother;[341] some of these have a natural basis in her physical
condition which necessitates a certain carefulness. Where such customs
connected with birth prevail, departure from them is thought to be
dangerous or fatal; but such a feeling exists in regard to all social

+186+. The belief that the newborn child is the reincarnation of an
ancestor is scientific rather than religious. In Central Australia every
child is held to be the reincarnation of a spirit ancestor; a similar
idea is found in North America, in Western Africa, and in Orissa.[342]
In searching for the cause of birth it is not unnatural that it should
be ascribed to a preëxistent being who desires to enter again into human

+187+. The ablutions or sprinklings of water practiced in some places
appear to be merely the expression of welcome into the community.[344]
The choice of a name for the child is frequently connected with
religious ideas. Among many tribes the custom is to seek for some hint
from the child itself, as by repeating a number of names and observing
which of them the child seems to recognize or accept. The help of a
deity is sometimes invoked, as in Borneo, where a pig is killed and its
spirit thus sent as messenger to a particular god, who is asked to
approve.[345] In Samoa a tutelary spirit is sometimes chosen for the
infant;[346] during childhood the child bears the name of a god, who
seems to be regarded as its protector. The identification of person and
name, common among savages, is also scientific rather than religious. At
the entrance into a secret society the novitiate may receive a new
name.[347] The adoption of a child's name by the father (teknonymy) may
be simply the expression of paternal pride, or possibly it is the
expression of the father's protection or of his identification with the
child. The adoption of a secret name that involves the man's personality
and is therefore to be withheld from enemies belongs to adult life.

+188+. The taboos imposed on the mother during pregnancy and after the
birth of the child, often numerous and oppressive, are derived from
local conditions, and are generally regulated by religion. With the
growth of refinement they tend to disappear, while the attendant
ceremonies take on a moral and spiritual character, culminating, in the
great religions, in the conception that the babe, as a child of God, is
to be taken into the religious fellowship of the community and trained
for a good life.


+189+. Among savage peoples grief for the dead expresses itself in a
variety of violent ceremonies of mourning, such as wailing, and cutting
and gashing the body. These are partly expressions of natural
sorrow,[349] but may be intended in part to propitiate the dead, who
thus sees that honor is paid him.

+190+. The belief that the dead person is powerful expresses itself in
the care with which the grave is guarded, it being held that injury to
the grave is an injury to the dead, and likely, therefore, to excite his
anger. Further, savage science as a rule does not recognize natural
causes of death. It regards death as murder, and there is accordingly
search for the murderer, often by protracted ceremonies with the aid of
a magician. The well-being of the dead man is provided for by placing
food and drink, utensils and weapons in his grave, that he may have the
means of enjoyment in the other world.[350] To assure him proper service
his wives and slaves are sometimes slain, that their souls may accompany
his; but this custom is not found among the lowest tribes--it belongs
to a relatively advanced conception of the other life.[351] In many
cases blood is sprinkled on the ground near the grave of the corpse, as
in Borneo (the blood of a fowl);[352] the blood may be meant to be food
for the dead, or its supernatural power may be supposed to guard against
injury from him to the living.

+191+. A ban of silence is often imposed--the name of the dead person is
not to be mentioned except by certain privileged men;[353] among certain
North American tribes on the death of a child there is a ban of silence
on the father.[354] The reason for this prohibition of the dead person's
name is not certain. It may be respect for him, or it may be merely an
expression of sorrow at his loss. More probably, however, it comes from
the belief that the dead man is powerful and may be hurtful, and that
therefore his name, which is identical with himself, is dangerous.[355]

+192+. In the cases mentioned above, the dead person is generally
regarded as dangerous--to be feared and appeased. Among some tribes,
indeed, precautions are taken to prevent his coming back to his house.
Very generally the presence of the corpse is held to cause a certain
pollution.[356] There is, however, another side to the attitude toward
the dead. As he is regarded as powerful, parts of his body are preserved
as amulets; wives wear parts of the bones of the dead husband, and the
skulls of the deceased are supposed to be especially powerful, in some
cases to give oracular responses.[357]

+193+. In general, early burial ceremonies appear to be designed to
assure the comfort of the deceased in the other world with a view to
securing his friendship and aid for the members of his family and clan
in this life. As he is of the nature of a divine person, the ceremonies
in question are naturally religious. Socially they are effective in
binding the members of a community together--a large sense of solidarity
is produced by the communal recognition of kinship with the dead.
Special stress is laid on this conception in China.[358]


+194+. The essence of religion is a helpful relation to the
supernatural, but in early stages of culture man frequently finds
himself exposed to conditions, either resident in himself or induced
from without, that destroy this relation and disqualify him for the
performance of sacred acts. The result is a state of ritual impurity or
uncleanness, conceived of at first as purely physical, but tending to
become gradually moralized. The removal of the disqualification
constitutes purification; the positive preparation for the performance
of a sacred act constitutes consecration; the two procedures represent
two sides of the same idea, and they are related in a general way to
ceremonies of initiation and atonement.

+195+. The occasions for purification are numerous, including all
contacts or possibilities of contact with dangerous (sacred) things, and
thus often coinciding with taboo conceptions.[360] All acts connected
with procreation and birth; contact with a corpse, or with a sacred
person or thing, or with an object belonging to a sacred person; return
from a journey (in the course of which the traveler may have been
exposed to some injurious supernatural influence)[361]--such things as
these call for cleansing. Inanimate objects also, especially such as are
connected with religious worship (altars, vessels, and instruments),
require purification; these are thought of originally as having souls,
and as incurring defilement by the transmission of neighboring
impurities. A moral conception may seem to be involved in the
requirement of purification after the committal of a murder; certainly,
in the more advanced stages of society, the feeling in this case is
moral, but it is doubtful whether in earlier stages anything more is
involved than the recognition of ritual defilement by contact with
blood; homicide, as a social crime, is dealt with by the civil law, and
is generally excluded from the benefits of acts of ritual
atonement,[362] and so also all violations of tribal law.

+196+. The religious preparation for the performance of a sacred act
usually concerns official persons (see below, under _consecration_,
§ 202), but sometimes involves the purification of others. The largest
act of purification is that which includes a whole community or
people;[363] the social mass is then regarded as a unit, and there is no
reason, according to early thought, why such a mass should not, by a
ceremony, be freed from all ritual disabilities, the idea of moral
purification being, of course, absent or latent. Finally, ritual
purification is sometimes a preliminary to pleasing and influencing the
deity, who, as the most sacred and most dangerous object, must be
approached with the greatest precautions.[364]

+197+. The various methods of purification may be included under a few
heads, the principal of which are: the application of water (bathing,
sprinkling); the application of sand, dung, bark, and similar things;
exposure to fire; incantation and sacrifice; and fasting. In all these
cases the virtue lies either in a sacred thing or act that has the
quality of dissipating the mysterious defilement present, or in the
removal or avoidance of the defiling thing; it is frequently required
that the application of the cleansing substance be made by a sacred
person, whose character adds potency to the act. The use of water for
ceremonial purification has been, and is, practiced all over the world,
alike by savages and by civilized peoples:[365] the newborn child,
ritually impure by reason of the mystery of birth, is bathed or
sprinkled; before the performance of a sacred act the officiator must
bathe;[366] numerous ablutions are prescribed in the Old Testament;
similar usages obtained among the Egyptians, the Hindus and the
Persians, the Greeks and the Romans, the Chinese and the Japanese, the
Mexicans and the Peruvians, and other peoples.

+198+. These usages have arisen doubtless from observation of the
natural cleansing power of water and other things in conjunction with
the belief in their sacred character. Adopted by the higher religions
they have been more or less spiritualized by the infusion into them of
ideas of penitence, forgiveness of sin, and regeneration--so in India,
Persia, and Peru. Christian baptism seems to have come from Jewish
proselyte baptism:[367] the proselyte was by immersion in water
symbolically cleansed from sin and introduced into a new religious life,
and such was the significance of the rite practiced by John, though his
surname "the Baptizer" probably indicates that he gave it a broader and
deeper meaning; he overstepped national bounds, receiving Jews as well
as non-Jews.[368] Moslem ritual requires ablutions before the stated
prayers and at certain other times; every mosque has its tank of water
for the convenience of worshipers.

+199+. Where water cannot be had, usage in Islam and in some forms of
Christianity permits the substitution of sand or dust--both thought to
have cleansing power. Similar power is ascribed to urine and dung of
domestic animals.[369] Such usages may originate in a belief in the
physical cleansing efficacy of those substances (the Toda women employ
dried buffalo's dung in household cleaning), or they may be supposed to
derive their efficacy from the sacredness of the animals. The Todas also
make much use of a certain bark for purification.[370] The origin of
these customs is obscure; they go back to times and conditions for a
knowledge of which data are lacking--possibly to the early conception of
the sacredness of all natural objects.[371] It is less difficult to
explain the belief in the purifying power of fire. Its splendor and
utility caused it to be regarded as a god in India and Persia, and if it
was also destructive, it often consumed hurtful things. It was sacred,
and might, therefore, be a remover of impurity. Its employment for this
purpose is, however, not frequent;[372] it is oftener used to consume
corpses and other unclean things.

+200+. In the more developed religious rituals, sacrifice is a common
accompaniment of purifying ceremonies, the object being to procure the
forgiveness of the deity for the offense held to be involved in the
impurity; the conception of sin in such cases is sometimes physical,
sometimes moral, and the ceremony is always nearly allied to one of
atonement. In the Hebrew ritual a human bodily impurity and the
apparatus of the temple alike require a sin-offering.[373] In India the
bath of purification stood in close relation with a sacrifice.[374] In
Greece the two were associated in the cults of Apollo and Dionysos and
in ordinary worship in general.[375] Thus, men and gods take part in the
process of freeing the worshiper from the impure elements of life: the
man obeys the law of the ritual, and the god receives him into
association with the divine.

+201+. Ancient examples of the purification of a whole community are the
Hebrew ceremony on the annual day of atonement[376] (which is called in
the text a purification), and the Roman Lupercalia.[377] An elaborate
festival of this sort was observed every year by the Creeks;[378] it
lasted eight days, included various cathartic observances, and ended in
a physical and moral reconstruction of the nation. Among the Todas a
similar ceremony for the purification of a village exists.[379]

+202+. Ceremonies of _consecration_ are similar to those of
purification, only usually more formal and solemn. Entrance on a sacred
function, which involves special direct contact with a deity, requires
special preparation. Even before a simple act of prayer it was felt to
be proper to cleanse one's person;[380] how much more important was
bodily cleansing and other preparation for one who was chosen by the
community to represent it in its relations with the supernatural Powers!
The preparation for such an office is in earlier times ritual and
external, and becomes gradually moralized. Magicians must submit to
purificatory restrictions, and prove their fitness by various
deeds.[381] Initiation into secret societies (whose members had a
certain official character) was, and is, often elaborate.[382] Priests
in Egypt, Babylonia and Assyria, Canaan, India, Greece and Rome, were
subject to conditions of purity, always physical and sometimes moral,
that secured a daily consecration.

+203+. Methods of initial consecration were, probably, of the general
character of those prescribed in the Hebrew ritual law.[383] Authority
is often conferred by a high official, whose consecrating act is then
generally regarded as essential.[384] The priest becomes invested with a
quasi-divine authority. The consecration of kings follows the same
general lines as that of priests. In both cases the desire is to have
some visible form of the deity whose relations with men may be felt to
be direct.

+204+. No purificatory and consecrative usage has been more widespread
than fasting.[385] It is found throughout religious history in the
lowest tribes and in the most highly civilized peoples, has been
practiced in a great variety of circumstances, and has been invested
with a special sanctity and efficacy. It has been regarded as necessary
before partaking of sacred food, before the performance of a sacred
ceremony, after a death, in the presence of a great occurrence (as an
eclipse or a thunderstorm, regarded as supernatural), as a part of the
training of magicians, as a preparation for the search after a guardian
spirit, as a part of ceremonies in honor of gods, as an act of
abstinence in connection with a calamity (or in general as a self-denial
proper to sinful man and pleasing to the deity as an act of humility),
and, finally, as a retirement from fleshly conditions in preparation for
spiritual exercises.

+205+. A great number of explanations of the origin of the custom have
been proposed, and it is obvious that the particular usages come from
somewhat different conceptions. Apparently, however, all these usages of
purification by fasting go back to the idea that the body, which is
identified with the human personality, is in its ordinary state
nonsacred[386] and therefore unfit for the performance of a sacred act,
and that it is rendered especially unfit by contact with a ritually
unclean thing. Ordinary food, nourishing the body and becoming a part of
it, thus maintains it in its nonsacred character. This point of view
appears in the practice of administering a purge as a means of
ceremonial purification; the Nandi, for example, give a purge to a girl
before her circumcision, and in some cases to any one who has touched a
taboo object.[387]

+206+. The essence of fasting is the avoiding of defiling food; this
conception may be traced in all instances of the practice, though it may
be in some cases reënforced by other considerations, and is sometimes
spiritualized. The efficacy of sacred food would be destroyed if it
came in contact with common food, or it might itself become
destructive.[388] A sacred ceremony demands a sacred performer, one who
has not taken a defiling substance into his being. Death diffuses
defilement, and makes the food in the house of the deceased dangerous.

+207+. Other ideas may here come in: abstinence may be a sign or a
result of grief, though this does not seem likely except in refined
communities; or its ground may be fear of eating the ghost, which is
believed to be hovering about the dead body;[389] it is hardly the
result of "making excessive provision for the dead."[390] Special
communion with supernatural Powers, by magicians and others (including
conditions of ecstasy), requires ritual purity, and similar preparation
of the body is proper when it is desired to avert the anger of a deity
or to do him honor.

+208+. Once established, the custom has maintained itself in the higher
religions[391] in connection with more or less definite spiritual aims
and with other exercises, particularly prayer. The dominant feeling is
then self-denial, at the bottom of which the conviction appears to be
that the deity demands complete subordination in the worshiper and is
displeased when he asserts himself. This conviction, which is a
fundamental element in all religious thought, pertains properly only to
inward experience, but naturally tends to annex nonspiritual acts of
self-abnegation like fasting. As a moral discipline, a training in the
government of self and a preparation for enduring times of real
privation, fasting is regarded by many persons as valuable. Its power to
isolate the man from the world and thus minister to religious communion
differs in different persons. The Islamic fast of Ramadan is said to
produce irritability and lead to quarrels. In general, fasting tends to
induce a nonnatural condition of body and mind, favorable to ecstatic
experiences, and favorable or not, as the case may be, to a genuine
religious life.[392]

+209+. As with other religious observances, so with purificatory
ceremonies the tendency is to mass and organize them--they are made to
occur at regular times and under fixed conditions, as in the Christian
Lent, the Moslem Ramadan, and the Creek Busk. Such arrangements give
orderliness to outward religious life, but are likely to diminish or
destroy spontaneity in observances. Ceremonies of this sort have great
vitality--they are handed on from age to age, the later religion
adopting and modifying and reinterpreting the forms of the earlier. In
such cases the lower conceptions survive in the minds of the masses, and
are moralized by the more spiritual natures, and their influence on
society is therefore of a mixed character.


+210+. Some of these have already been mentioned under "Economic
Ceremonies." We may here take a general survey of festivals the times of
whose celebration are determined by the divisions of the year, and thus
constitute calendars.[393] The earliest calendars appear to have been
fixed by observation of the times when it was proper to gather the
various sorts of food--to hunt animals and gather grubs and plants (as
in Central Australia), or this or that species of fish (as in Hawaii).
The year was thus divided according to the necessities of life--seasons
were fixed by experience.

+211+. At a comparatively early period, however, the phases of the moon
attracted attention, and became the basis of calendars. Lunar calendars
are found among savage and half-civilized tribes of various grades of
culture in Polynesia, Africa, Asia, and the Americas, and were retained
for a time by most ancient civilized peoples. Later observation included
the movements of the sun; it is only among advanced peoples that
festivals are connected with equinoxes and solstices. The more
scientific calendars gradually absorbed the earlier, and it is probable
that simple ceremonies that were originally neither agricultural nor
astral were taken up into the later systems and reinterpreted.[394]

+212+. When, from observation of climatic conditions and lunar changes,
a general division of the year came to be made into spring, summer,
autumn, and winter, or several similar seasons (sometimes with
intermediate points), festivals gradually arranged themselves in the
various periods. The terms designating the four seasons are, however,
somewhat indefinite in regard to position in the year and duration,
varying in these points in different places, and it is better, in
considering agricultural ceremonies, to make a general division into
times of planting and times of harvesting. It is not certain whether
lunar or agricultural festivals came first in the development of public
religious life, but as (omitting the lowest tribes) the former are found
where there is no well-organized agricultural system, we may begin with

+213+. The new moon, as marking the beginning of the month, and other
phases of the moon are frequently accompanied by observances of a more
or less definitely religious character, with great variety of detail in
different places. The Nandi[395] have two seasons (the wet and the dry)
and twelve months named from meteorological phenomena, and each day in
the month receives a name from the attendant phase of the moon. The
great ceremonies are conducted in the period of the waxing of the moon,
and its waning is an occasion of mourning. The new moon is greeted with
a prayer that it may bring blessing. A similar custom exists among the
Masai.[396] On the other hand the Todas, though the times of their
festivals are all regulated by the moon, appear to have no lunar
ceremony;[397] if there was ever any such ceremony, it has been absorbed
by the buffalo cult. The South American Arawaks have six ceremonies in
the year that seem to be fixed by the appearance of the new moon.[398]
The Hebrew first day of the (lunar) month was observed with special
religious ceremonies.[399] The full moon, the last phase of growth, is
less prominent; where it marks a festival day it is generally in
connection with an agricultural event, as among the non-Aryan Bhils of
India[400] and in the later Hebrew calendar;[401] in both these cases
the observance occurs only once in the year.

+214+. The new moon of the first month marks the beginning of the year,
and new year's day is celebrated, particularly in the more advanced
communities, with special observances. The Hindu _pongol_ and similar
festivals are seasons of merriment, with giving of presents, and
religious exercises.[402] Though these occasions now include
agricultural epochs, we may recognize in them an interest in the
beginning of a new era in life. A like character attaches to the
celebration of the Japanese new year's day.[403] Of Assyrian observances
of the day little is known, but at Babylon it was celebrated with great
pomp, and with it was connected the conception of the determination of
human fortunes for the year by Marduk, the chief deity of the city.[404]
The late Old Testament ritual makes it a taboo day (first day of the
seventh month, September-October); no servile work is to be done,
trumpets are to be blown (apparently to mark its solemnity), and a
special sacrifice is to be offered;[405] in post-Biblical times the
feature of the divine assignment of fates (probably adopted from the
Babylonians) appears. The old Roman religious year began with the
kalends of March, when the sacred fire of Vesta was renewed, a procedure
obviously intended to introduce a new era; on the later civil new year's
day (kalends of January) presents were exchanged,[406] a custom
everywhere relatively late, a feature in the gradual secularization of

+215+. Solar festivals, as such, are less prominent than the lunar in
religious ritual. Though the sun was a great god widely worshiped, it
was little used in the construction of early calendars. Primitive
astronomy knew hardly anything of solstices and equinoxes, and where
these are noted in the more advanced rituals, they appear to be
attachments to observances founded on other considerations--so the Roman
Saturnalia, celebrated near the winter solstice, and apparently the
plebeian festival of the summer solstice attached to the worship of
Fortuna; and the same thing is probably true of the Semitic and Greek
festivals that occurred near the equinoxes and solstices.[407]

+216+. Elaborate solstitial ceremonies are practiced by the North
American Pueblos.[408] A well-developed solar system of festivals
existed in Peru, where the sun was the central object of worship;
equinoxes and solstices were observed with great ceremonies, and
especially at the summer solstice the rising of the sun was hailed with
popular rejoicing as a sign that the favor of the deity would be
extended to the nation.[409] Similar ceremonies may have existed in
Mexico and elsewhere, but in general, as is remarked above, the
astronomical feature at solar epochs yielded to other associations.
Occasional festivals occur in connection with the worship of stars
(especially the morning star);[410] the Pleiades are objects of
observation among some low tribes, and in some cases (Society Islands,
Tahiti, Hawaii, New Zealand) the year began with the rising of these
stars, but apparently no festivals are dedicated to them.[411] In the
later theistic development various deities are brought into connection
with heavenly bodies, and their cults absorb earlier observances.[412]

+217+. Socially the agricultural festivals are the most important of the
early festival ceremonies;[413] they unite the people in public
observances, thus furthering the communal life, and they satisfy the
popular demand for amusement. Doubtless under any social conditions
gatherings for merrymaking would have arisen, but, by reason of the
constitution of early society, they necessarily assume a religious
character. Whether for planting or for reaping, the local god must be
considered; it is he whose aid must be invoked for coming crops, and he
must be thanked for successful seasons. The festivals occur at various
times in the year among various peoples, but the tone of merriment is
the predominant one--it is only in a few cases that a touch of
seriousness or sadness is found. Early festal calendars are largely
agricultural. In Greece, Rome, and Peru there was a succession of
festivals, connected with planting and reaping, running substantially
through the year; other ceremonies, of course, stood side by side with
them, but these were relatively few.

+218+. Joyous festivals occur especially at the time of the ripening of
crops and harvest. The old Canaanite autumn feasts, adopted by the
Hebrews, were seasons of good cheer.[414] In Greece the Panathenæa fell
in July-August, the Thesmophoria in October, and the Anthesteria in
February,--all agricultural, with joyous features;[415] of the similar
Roman festivals the Feriæ Latinæ fell in April, the Feriæ Jovi in
August, the Saturnalia in December, and with these should perhaps be
included the Ambarvalia (in May) and the festival of the horse sacrifice
(in October).[416] Other ceremonies of this nature occur in India, New
Zealand, Torres Straits islands, and in the old Peruvian cult.

+219+. Popular festivities easily pass into license; examples are the
Roman Saturnalia and the Hindu Holi[417]; the harvest festival of the
Hos of Northeastern India is a debauch,[418] and with it is connected
the expulsion of evil spirits--an example of the coalescence of
festivals. A peculiar feature in certain of these ceremonies is the
exchange of places between masters and servants; this abandonment of
ordinary social distinctions is an expression of the desire for freedom
from all restraints, and is found in carnivals generally (in the
Saturnalia and elsewhere).[419]

+220+. Ceremonies of a serious character occur in connection with the
eating of the first fruits of the year. In developed cults (as in the
Hebrew) the deity is recognized as the giver by the presentation of a
portion of the new crop.[420] In very early cults there are other
procedures, the origin and significance of which are not always clear.
So far as the ceremonial eating, a preliminary to general use, is
concerned, this may be understood as a recognition, more or less
distinct, of some supernatural Power to whom (or to which) the supply of
food is due. The obscurest form of such recognition is found among the
Australian Arunta.[421] The Nandi practice is clearer--the god is
invoked to bless the grain.[422] In the Creek Puskita (Busk) there is
perhaps a worship of the sun as the source of fertility.[423] Probably
the element of recognition of extrahuman power (the object being to
secure its favor) is to be found in all first-fruits ceremonies. A
natural result of this recognition is that it is unlawful (that is,
dangerous) to partake of the new food till it has been properly offered
to the deity. The ceremonial features (such as the choice of the persons
to make the offering) are simply the carrying over of general social
arrangements into religious observances--the ministrant is the father of
the family, or the chief of the tribe, or the priest or other elected
person, according to the particular local customs.

+221+. The sadness or gloom that sometimes attaches to these ceremonies
has been variously explained, and is due doubtless to various orders of
ideas; it comes probably from the coalescence of other cults with the
agricultural cults proper. The remembrance of ancestors is not unnatural
at such a time, and sorrow may be expressed for their death; such is
perhaps the case in the Nandi usage mentioned above--the women
sorrowfully take home baskets of elusine grain, and the bits that drop
in the house are left to the souls of the deceased. Sorrow appears also
in other agricultural seasons, as in the Roman Vestalia (in June) and
the Greek Thesmophoria (in the autumn), in which cases more likely it is
connected with the fear of evil influences.[424] So the great tribal
purification of the Creeks, at the beginning of a new year, naturally
coincides with the gathering of the new crop.

+222+. A further extension of the conception of the sacredness of food
(whether or not of the first eating) appears in the Mexican custom (in
May and December) of making dough images of gods, the eating of which
sanctifies the worshiper;[425] here the god dwells in the bread of which
he is the giver.

+223+. In addition to the astral and agricultural festivals above
described there has been the observance of long periods to which a
religious significance was sometimes attached. The Egyptian Sothis
period[426] (of 1461 years), the Greek period of eight years
(oktaeteris), and the Mexican period of fifty-two years were
calendary--attempts to harmonize the lunar and solar years; in Mexico
the new cycle introduced a new religious era--a great ceremony was held
in which domestic fires were rekindled from the sacred fires. The Hebrew
jubilee period (of fifty years), apparently a late development from the
sabbatical year, was intended, among other things, to maintain the
division of landed property among the people--all alienated land was to
return finally to its original owner--participation in the blessings
bestowed by the national deity being conditioned on having a share in
the land, of which he was held to be the proprietor; the proposed
arrangement turned out, however, owing to changed social conditions, to
be impracticable.

+224+. It thus appears that ceremonies of various sorts have played a
very important part in religious life. They have been the most popularly
effective presentation of religious ideas, and they have preserved for
us religious conceptions that without them would have remained unknown.
Their social character has insured their persistence[427]--ceremonies of
to-day contain features that go back to the earliest known stratum of
organized religious life. While the motives that underlie them (desire
to propitiate supernatural Powers, demand for an objective presentation
of ideas, and love of amusement) are the same throughout the world,
their forms reflect the various climatic, economic, and general cultural
conditions of clans, tribes, and nations. They acquire consistency with
the organization of society; they tend to become more and more
elaborate, just as in other points social intercourse tends to produce
formal definiteness; they grow decrepit and have to be artificially
strengthened and revived; they lose their original meanings and must be
constantly reinterpreted to bring them into accord with new ideas,
social, moral, and religious. Their history, in a word, is the history
of the development of human ideas, and it sets forth the religious unity
of the race. The selections given above are only a small part of the
known material, a full treatment of which would require a separate



+225+. The lowest tribes known to us regard the whole world of nature
and the human dead as things to be feared and usually as things to be
propitiated. In most cases they conceive of some anthropomorphic being
as the creator or arranger of the world. But in all cases they regard
animals, plants, and inanimate objects as capable of doing extraordinary
things. All these beings they think of as akin to men; transformations
from human to nonhuman and from nonhuman to human are believed to be
possible and frequent.

+226+. From the point of view of the savage mind this theory of the
world is inevitable. Ignorant of what we call natural law, they can see
no reason why the phenomena of life should not be under the control of
any of the powers known to them; and for sources of power they look to
the things around them. All objects of nature are mysterious to the
savage--stones, hills, waters, the sky, the heavenly bodies, trees,
plants, fishes, birds, beasts, are full of movement, and seemingly
display capacities that induce the savage to see in them the causes of
things. Since their procedures seem to him to be in general similar to
his own, he credits them with a nature like his own. As they are
mysterious and powerful, he fears them and tries to make allies of them
or to ward off their injurious influences.

+227+. But while he excludes nothing from his list of possible powers,
he is vitally interested only in those objects with which he comes into
contact, and he learns their powers by his own experience or through the
wisdom inherited from his forefathers. His procedure is strictly
scientific; he adopts only what observation has shown him and others to
be true. Different tribes are interested in different things--some are
indifferent to one thing, others to another, according to the
topographical and economic milieu. The savage is not without
discrimination. He is quite capable of distinguishing between the
living and the dead. Not all stones are held by him to be alive in any
important sense, and not all beasts to be powerful. He is a practical
thinker and deals with each phenomenon as it presents itself, and
particularly as it shows itself to be connected with his interests. He
is constantly on the alert to distinguish between the profitable and the
unprofitable, the helpful and the injurious. He himself is the center of
his whole scientific and religious system, and the categories into which
he divides all things are determined by his own sense of

+228+. It is often by accident that one object or another displays
itself as helpful or harmful, just as, in a later and higher form of
religious belief, a theophany is often, as to time and place, a matter
of accident. Indeed, most manifestations of extrahuman power in the
earliest times may be said to come to man incidentally, since he does
not generally demand them from the gods or make experiments in order to
discover them. But in the nature of the case many things meet him as to
which he is obliged to use judgment, and of these a certain number
appear to him to be powerful.

+229+. These objects are held by him to be in some sort akin to man.
This seems to be his view of certain dead things in which a mysterious
power is held to reside. When such objects are parts of animals (bones,
feathers, claws, tails, feet, fat, etc.), or of vegetables that are used
as charms, it may be supposed that they simply retain the power resident
in the objects of which they are parts--objects originally living and
sacred. In other cases an indwelling supernatural being is assumed, as,
for example, in minerals whose shape and color are remarkable.

+230+. Fetish objects in West Africa are believed to be inhabited by
spirits.[429] The Australian sacred object called _churinga_--a thing
of mysterious potency--is believed to be the abode of the soul of an
ancestor endowed with extraordinary power. Many such fetish objects are
found all over the world.

+231+. Further, the conception of a life-force, existing in many things
(perhaps in all things), appears to have been prominent in savage
religious systems. Life implies power; but while it is held to reside in
all things, its manifestations vary according to the relations between
things and human needs. The life-force in its higher manifestations has
been isolated in thought by some more advanced savages, especially in
North America and Polynesia, and has been given a definite name; in
Polynesia and Melanesia it is called _mana_, and other names for it
occur elsewhere.[430]

+232+. It shows itself in any object, nonhuman or human, that produces
extraordinary effects. In the Pacific islands all great achievements of
men are attributed to it--all great chiefs possess it in an eminent
degree;[431] it is then nearly equivalent to what we call capacity or
genius. When it resides in an inanimate thing it may produce a physical
effect: it comes up in the steam of the American sacred sweat lodge, and
gives health to the body (and thus buoyancy to the mind);[432] here it
is identical with the soothing and stimulating power of the steam. It
is, in a word, a term for the force residing in any object.[433] Like
sickness and other evils, blessings, and curses, it is conceived of as
having physical form and may be transmitted from its possessor to
another person or object. In some cases its name is given to the thing
to which it is attached.[434]

+233+. How widely the conception exists is uncertain; further research
may discover it in regions where up to now it has not been recognized.
Scarcely a trace of it exists in the higher ancient religions. The Latin
_genius_, the indwelling power of the man, bears a resemblance to it.
The Old Testament "spirit of God" is said to "come on" a man or to be
"poured out on" him, as if it were a physical thing--it gives courage
and strength to the warrior and knowledge to the worshiper;[435] the
power or energy is here (in the earlier Hebrew writings) identified with
the spirit or animus of the deity, which appears to be thought of as

+234+. Mana is conceived of by the peoples mentioned above not as a
vague influence diffused through the world, but as a power resident in
certain definite persons or things. It is impersonal in the sense in
which any quality, as courage, is impersonal, but it is not itself an
object of worship; worship is directed toward the thing that possesses
or imparts mana. It may reside in a natural object or in a supernatural
being--the object will be used to secure it, the supernatural being will
be asked to bestow it. In both cases the act will be religious.

+235+. Mana is itself, strictly speaking, a scientific biological
conception, but it necessarily enters into alliance with religion.
Belief in it exists along with belief in ghosts, spirits, and gods--it
is not a rival of these, but an attachment to them. As a thing
desirable, it is one of the good gifts that the great Powers can bestow,
and it thus leads to worship. It is found in distinct form, as is
pointed out above, only in superior tribes--it has not been discovered
in very low communities, and appears not to belong to the earliest
stratum of religious beliefs. But it rests on the view that all things
are endowed with life, and this view may be taken to be universal. The
doctrine of mana gradually vanishes before a better knowledge of the
human constitution,[436] a larger conception of the gods, and a greater
trust in them.[437]

+236+. Things and persons endowed with peculiar power, whether as seats
of mana or as abodes of spirits, are set apart by themselves, are
regarded with feelings of awe, and thus become "sacred." In process of
time the accumulated experience of generations builds up a mass of
sacred objects which become a part of the religious possessions of the
community. The quality of sacredness is sometimes attached to objects
and customs when these are regarded as necessary to the well-being of
the community, or highly convenient. A house, for example, represents
the life of the family, and is therefore a thing to be revered; and in
many tribes the walls, which guard the house against intrusion, and the
door and the threshold, which offer entrance into it, are considered
sacred; the hearth especially, the social center of the dwelling,
becomes a sacred place.

+237+. The savage communities with which we are acquainted all possess
their stock of such things--the beliefs concerning sacred objects are
held by all the members of the tribe. The development of the idea of
'sacred' is a social communal one, but it is impossible for us to say
precisely how all the individual sacred objects were selected, or what
was the exact attitude of primeval man toward all the things that are
now regarded as sacred.

+238+. The conception of power resident in certain things to control
human life is represented by our term "luck." The formulation of "luck"
systems goes on in savage and half-civilized communities up to a certain
point, and is then checked by the rise of higher religious ideas and by
the growth of the conception of natural law. But long after the grounds
of belief in luck have ceased to be accepted by the advanced part of the
community, many individual forms of good luck and bad luck maintain
themselves in popular belief.[438] Some of these beliefs may be traced
back to their savage sources, especially those that are connected with
animals; the origin of most of them is obscure. They coalesce to some
extent with conceptions derived from magic, divination, and taboo. The
persistence of such savage dogma into civilized times enables us to
understand how natural this dogma was for early forms of society.

+239+. In the practices mentioned above there is no worship proper. Mana
is not thought of as being in itself a personal power, and worship is
paid only to objects regarded as having personality. The fetish derives
its value from the spirit supposed to be resident in the fetish objects;
these are commonly worn as charms, and the attitude of the man to such a
charm, though he regards it as powerful, seems to be not exactly that of
worship--he keeps it as a protection so long as it appears to be useful,
but, as is remarked above, he acts as if he were its master. He believes
that the efficient factor is the indwelling spirit, but he commonly
distinguishes between this spirit and a god proper. When, however, the
fetish is regarded as a tutelary divinity, it loses its lower character
and takes its place among the gods.

+240+. We turn now to man's attitude toward other objects, similarly
regarded as sacred, but invested with distinct personality, and supposed
to act consciously on human life. These are all such things as men's
experiences bring them into intimate relations with, this relationship
forming the basis of the high regard in which they are held. They are
animals, plants, mountains, rivers, heavenly bodies, living men, and
ghosts. These are objects of cults, many of them in some cases being
worshiped at the same time in a single community. A chronological order
in the adoption of such cults it is not possible to determine. All
objects stand together in man's consciousness in early cultural strata,
and the data now at command do not enable us to say which of them first
assumed for him a religious character; the chronological order of cults
may have differed in different communities when the general social
conditions were different. We may begin with the cult of animals without
thereby assuming that it came first in order of time.


+241+. Of all nonhuman natural objects it would seem to have been the
animal that most deeply impressed early man.[439] All objects were
potentially divine for him, and all received worship, but none entered
so intimately into his life as animals. He was doubtless struck, perhaps
awed, by the brightness of the heavenly bodies, but they were far off,
intangible; mountains were grand and mighty, but motionless; stones lay
in his path, but did not approach him; rivers ran, but in an unchanging
way, rarely displaying emotion; plants grew, and furnished food, but
showed little sign of intelligence. Animals, on the other hand, dwelt
with him in his home, met him at every turn, and did things that seemed
to him to exhibit qualities identical with his own, not only physical
but also mental--they showed swiftness, courage, ferocity, and also
skill and cunning. In certain regards they appeared to be his superiors,
and thus became standards of power and objects of reverence.

+242+. At a very early period the belief in social relations between men
and animals appears. The latter were supposed to have souls, to continue
their existence after death, sometimes to come to life on earth after
death. Their social life was supposed to be similar to that of men;[440]
in Samoa the various species form social units,[441] the Ainu see tattoo
marks on frogs and sparrows,[442] the Arabs recognize a clan
organization in beasts.[443]

+243+. From identity of nature comes the possibility of transformation
and transmigration.[444] An Australian of the Kangaroo clan explained
that he might be called either kangaroo or man--it was all the same,
man-kangaroo or kangaroo-man, and the Australian legends constantly
assume change from human to animal and from animal to human.[445] The
same belief appears in Africa and North America, and may be assumed to
be universal among savages. It survives in the Greek transformation
stories and in the werwolf and swan maiden of the European popular
creed. It is the basis of a part of the theory of the transmigration of

+244+. The relations of early man with animals are partly friendly,
partly hostile. A friendly attitude is induced by admiration of their
powers and desire for their aid. Such an attitude is presupposed in the
myths of intermarriage between beasts and men. It is perhaps visible
also in the custom of giving or assuming names of animals as personal
names of men, though this custom may arise from the opinion that animals
are the best expressions of certain qualities, or from some conception
underlying totemistic organization; the general history of savage proper
names has not yet been written. Beast tales, likewise, bear witness to
man's opinion of the cleverness or folly of his nonhuman brethren, and
perhaps originally to nothing more. The distinctest expression of
friendliness is seen in certain religious customs spoken of below.

+245+. On the other hand, early man necessarily comes into conflict with
animals. Against some of them he is obliged to protect himself by force
or by skillful contrivance; others must be slain for food. With all of
them he deals in such a way as to secure his own well-being, and thus
comes to regard them as things subservient to him, to be used in such
way as he may find profitable. Those that he cannot use he gradually
exterminates, or, at a later stage, these, banished to thickets,
mountains, deserts, caves, and other inhospitable places, are excluded
from human society and identified with demons.[447]

+246+. The two attitudes, of friendliness and of hostility, coexist
throughout the savage period, and, in softened form, even in
half-civilized life. They represent two points of view, both of which
issue from man's social needs. Early man is logical, but he comprehends
the necessity of not pushing logic too far--he is capable of holding at
the same time two mutually contradictory views, and of acting on each as
may suit his convenience; he makes his dogma yield to the facts of life
(a saving principle not confined to savages, but acted on to a greater
or less extent by all societies). He slays sacred animals for divinatory
and other religious purposes, for food, or in self-defense; he fears
their anger, but his fear is overcome by hunger; he offers profuse
apologies, explains that he acts without ill will and that the bones of
the animal will be preserved and honored, or he declares that it is not
he but some one else that is the slayer--but he does not hesitate to

+247+. This fact--the existence of different points of view--enables us
to understand in part the disrespectful treatment of sacred animals in
folk-tales. Such tales are the product of popular fancy, standing apart
from the serious and solemn conceptions of the tribal religion. The
reciter, who will not fail at the proper time to pay homage to his
tribal patron, does not hesitate at other times to put him into
ridiculous and disgraceful situations.[449]

+248+. Man's social contact with the lower animals is doubtless as old
as man himself, but there are no records of his earliest life, and it is
not possible to say exactly when and how his religious relations with
them began. His attitude toward them; as is remarked above, was a mixed
one; in general, however, it may be assumed that constant intercourse
with them revealed their great qualities and impressed on him the
necessity of securing their good will. This was especially true of those
of them that stood nearest to him and were of greatest importance for
his safety and convenience. These, invested with mystery by reason of
their power and their strangeness, were held in great respect as
quasi-gods, were approached with caution, and thus acquired the
character of sacredness. Gradually, as human society was better and
better organized, as conceptions of government became clearer, and as
the natures of the various animals were more closely studied, means were
devised of guarding against their anger and securing their friendship
and aid. Our earliest information of savage life reveals in every tribe
an inchoate pantheon of beasts. All the essential apparatus of public
religion is present in these communities in embryonic form--later
movements have had for their object merely to clarify ideas and refine

+249+. The animals revered by a tribe are those of its vicinage, the
inhabitants of its hunting grounds. Some of these man uses as food, some
he fears. His relation to plains, mountains, forests, lakes, rivers, and
seas, influences his choice of sacred beasts. Usually there are many of
them, and the natural inference is that originally all animals are
sacred, and that gradually those most important for man are singled out
as objects of special regard.

+250+. Thus, to mention the principal of them: in Africa we find lion,
leopard, hyena, hippopotamus, crocodile, bull, ram, dog, cat, ape,
grasshopper; in Oceania, kangaroo, emu, pig, heron, owl, rail, eel,
cuttlefish; in Asia, lion, elephant, bear, horse, bull, dog, pig, eagle,
tiger, water wagtail, whale; in Europe, bear, wolf, horse, bull, goat,
swan; in America, whale, bear, wolf, fox, coyote, hare, opossum, deer,
monkey, tiger, beaver, turtle, eagle, raven, various fishes. The snake
seems to have been generally revered, though it was sometimes regarded
as hostile.[450] Since animals are largely valued as food, changes in
the animals specially honored follow on changes in economic organization
(hunting, pastoral, and agricultural stages).

+251+. Often animals are looked on as the abodes or incarnations of gods
or spirits: so various birds, fishes, and beasts in Polynesia (in Samoa
every man has a tutelary deity, which appears in the form of an
animal[451]), Siberia, Mexico, and elsewhere. In other cases they are
revered as incarnations of deceased men.[452] Where a species of animal
is supposed to represent a god, this view is probably to be regarded not
as a generalization from an individualistic to a specific conception (a
process too refined for savages), but as an attempt to carry over to the
animal world the idea of descent from a common ancestor combined with
the idea of a special creator for every family of animals.[453]

+252+. In the course of religious growth the beast-god may be replaced
or succeeded by an anthropomorphic god, and then the former is regarded
as sacred to the latter--the recollection of the beast form still
remains after the more refined conception has been reached, and the two,
closely connected in popular feeling, can be brought into harmony only
by making one subordinate to the other.[454] A certain element or flavor
of divinity clings to the beast a long time, but finally vanishes under
the light of better knowledge.

+253+. While the cases, very numerous, in which animals are associated
in worship with gods--in composite forms (as in Egypt, Babylonia, and
Assyria) or as symbols of deities or sacred to them--point probably to
early beast-cults, Egypt alone of the ancient civilized nations
maintained the worship of the living animal.[455] For the better
thinkers of Egypt beasts doubtless were incarnations or symbols of
deities; but the mass of the people appear to have regarded them as gods
in their own persons.

+254+. Reverence for animals persists in attenuated form in civilized
nations in various superstitions connected with them. Their appearances
and their cries are believed to portend success or disaster. The great
number of "signs" recognized and relied on by uneducated and educated
persons at the present day bear witness to the strong hold that the cult
of animals had on early man.[456]

+255+. It is in keeping with early ideas that savages often, perhaps
generally, ascribe the creation or construction of the world (so far as
they know it) to animals. The creation (whether by beasts or by other
beings) is not conceived of as produced out of nothing; there is always
preëxisting material, the origin of which is not explained; primitive
thought seems not to have considered the possibility of a situation in
which nothing existed. The "creation" conceived of is the arrangement of
existing material into the forms familiar to man--every tribe accounting
thus for its own environment. The origin of the land, of mountains,
defiles, lakes, rivers, trees, rocks, sun, moon, and stars, wind and
rain, human beings and lower animals, and sometimes of social
organizations and ceremonies, is explained in some way natural to the
thought of the time and place. Not all these details occur in the
cosmogony of every tribe or clan, but the purpose of every cosmogony is
to account for everything in the origin of which the people are

+256+. The creator in the cosmogonies known to us is not always an
animal--he is sometimes a man, sometimes a god; it is possible, however,
that human and divine creators are the successors of original animal
creators. In Central Australia the production of certain natural
features of the country and the establishment of certain customs are
ascribed to ancestors, mythical beings of the remote past, creatures
both animal and human, or rather, either animal or human--possibly
animals moving toward the anthropomorphic stage.[457] However this may
be, there are instances in which the creator is an animal pure and
simple, though, of course, endowed with extraordinary powers. The beast
to which the demiurgic function is assigned is selected, it would seem,
on the ground of some peculiar skill or other power it is supposed to
possess; naturally the reason for the choice is not always apparent. For
the Ainu the demiurge is the water wagtail;[458] for the Navahos and in
California,[459] the coyote or prairie wolf; among the Lenni-Lenâpé, the
wolf.[460] Various animals--as elephants, boars, turtles, snakes--are
supposed to bear the world on their backs. The grounds of such opinions,
resting on remote social conditions, are obscure.

+257+. Though, in early stadia of culture, animals are universally
revered as in a sort divine, there are few recorded instances of actual
worship offered them.[461] Whether the Bushmen and the Hottentots
worship the mantis (the Bushman god Cagn) as animal is not quite
clear.[462] The bear, when it is ceremonially slain, is treated by the
Ainu as divine--it is approached with food and prayer, but only for the
specific purpose of asking that it will speak well of them to its divine
kin and will return to earth to be slain. The Zuñi cult of the turtle
and the Californian worship of the bird called _panes_[463] present
similar features. The non-Aryan Santhals of Bengal are said to offer
divine worship to the tiger.[464] Such worship appears to be paid to the
snake by the Naga tribes and the Gonds of India, and by the Hopi of
North America.[465]

+258+. In these and similar cases it is sometimes difficult to say
whether the animal is worshiped in its own person merely, or as the
embodiment or representative of a god or of ancestors. The usages in
question are almost entirety confined to low tribes, and disappear with
the advance of civilization; wild animals are banished from society and
cease to be sacred, and the recollection of their early character
survives only in their mythological attachment to deities proper. For a
different reason domesticated animals lose their sacredness--they become
merely servants of men. The Egyptian cult of the bull is the
best-attested instance of actual worship of a domestic animal, and
parallels to this it is hard to find; the Todas, for example, for whom
the buffalo is the central sacred object, do not now pay worship to the
animal--they may have done so in former times.

+259+. The sacredness of animals, and the fact that they are regarded
as embodying the souls of things and human beings, have led to a
coalescence of their cults with other religious observances. They are
abundantly employed in magical procedures and in sacrifices; they are
often identified with spirits of vegetation, any locally revered animal
being chosen for this purpose; they are brought into connection with
astral objects and their forms are fancifully seen in sun, moon, and
constellations; they play a great rôle in apotropaic and purificatory
ceremonies; and they appear in myths of all sorts,[466] especially in
the histories of gods.

+260+. But, though they are in many cases regarded as tutelary beings,
it is doubtful whether they ever develop into anthropomorphic
deities.[467] The creation of such deities followed a different
line[468] and dispensed with the lower quasi-divine forms. Such manlike
attributes as beasts were supposed to have were taken up into the
distincter and nobler conceptions of tribal gods to whom beasts were
more and more subordinated. The latter were allegorized and
spiritualized, and came to serve merely as material for poetry.

+261+. Yet beast worship, such as it was and is, has played an important
part in religious development. It has furnished a point of
crystallization for early ideas, and has supplied interesting objects in
which man's demand for superhuman companionship could find
satisfaction.[469] It has disappeared when it has been no longer needed.


+262+. The cult of plants has been as widespread as that of animals,
and, if its rôle in the history of religion has been less important than
that of the latter, this is because plants show less definite signs of
life than animals and enter less intimately than they into the social
interests of man. But, like all other things, they are regarded by
early man as living, as possessing a nature similar to that of man, and
as having power to work good or ill. Trees are represented as thinking,
speaking, entering into marriage relations, and in general doing
whatever intelligent beings can do. Through thousands of years in the
period before the dawn of written history man was brought into constant
contact with the vegetable world, and learned by experience to
distinguish between plants that were beneficial and those that were
harmful. His observation created an embryonic science of medicine, and
his imagination an embryonic religious cult.

+263+. The value of certain vegetable products (fruits, nuts, wild
plants) as food must have become known at a very early time, and these
would naturally be offered to the extrahuman Powers. At a later time,
when cereals were cultivated, they formed an important part of
sacrificial offerings, and were held--as, for example, among the Greeks
and the Hebrews--to have piacular efficacy.

+264+. Among the discoveries of the early period was that of the
intoxicating quality of certain plants--a quality that came to play a
prominent rôle in religious life. Valued at first, probably, for the
agreeable sensations they produced, such plants were later supposed to
possess magical power, to exert a mysterious influence on the mind, and
to be the source or medium of superhuman communications. Thus employed
by magicians they were connected with the beginnings of religious
ecstasy and prophecy. Their magical power belongs to them primarily as
living things, but came to be attributed to extrahuman beings.

+265+. Plants as living things were supposed to possess souls.[470]
Probably the soul was conceived of at first as simply the vital
principle, and the power of the plant was thought of as similar to the
power of an animal or any other living thing. In the course of time this
soul, the active principle, was distinguished from the vital principle,
was isolated and regarded as an independent being dwelling in the plant.
To it all the powers of the latter were ascribed, and it became a friend
or an enemy, an object of worship or of dread.[471]

+266+. This difference of attitude on man's part toward different plants
probably showed itself at an early period. Those that were found to be
noxious he would avoid; the useful he would enter into relations with,
though on this point for very early times there is in the nature of the
case little information.[472] Unfriendly or demonic spirits of plants
are recognized by savage man in certain forests whose awe-inspiring
gloom, disease-breeding vapors, and wild beasts repel and frighten him.
Demons identified with plants or dwelling in them are of the same nature
as animal demons, and have been dealt with in the same way as

+267+. The progress of society brought men into association with useful
plants, such as medicinal and edible herbs, and fruit-bearing and
shade-giving trees; these, conceived of as inhabited by anthropomorphic
spirits, fulfilled all the functions that attach to friendly animals.
They became guardians and allies, totems and ancestors.[474] Several of
the Central Australian totems are plants, and form part of the mythical
ancestral population constructed by the imagination or ethnographic
science of the people.[475] In Samoa a plant is often the incarnation of
a spirit friendly to a particular family[476]--a conception that is not
improbably a development from an earlier view that a certain plant had a
special relation to a certain clan.[477] In general, a plant important
in a given region (as, for example, the tobacco plant in North America)
is likely to be invested with a sacred character.

+268+. Trees, by reason of their greater dignity (size, beauty,
protective character), have generally been singled out as special cultic
centers.[478] A great tree sometimes served as a boundary mark or
signpost; under trees chiefs of clans sat to decide disputes. Thus
invested with importance as a sort of political center as well as the
abode of a spirit, a tree naturally became a shrine and an asylum.[479]
In India and Greece, and among the ancient Celts and Germans, the gods
were worshiped in groves, by the Canaanites and Hebrews "under every
green tree." To cut down a sacred tree was a sacrilege, and the spirit
of the tree was believed to avenge the crime.[480]

+269+. As might be expected, there is hardly a species of tree that has
not been held sacred by some group of men. The Nagas and other tribes of
Northeast India regard all plants as sacred,[481] and every village has
its sacred tree. In Babylonia and Assyria, it is said, there were
hundreds of trees looked on as invested with more or less sanctity. The
oak was revered in some parts of Greece, and among the Romans and the
Celts. The cult of particular species, as the pipal (_Ficus religiosa_),
the vata or banyan (_Ficus Indica_), the karam and others, has been
greatly systematized in India.[482]

+270+. Vegetable spirits in some cases have developed into real gods. A
notable example of such growth is furnished by the history of the
intoxicating soma plant, which in the Rig-Veda is represented not only
as the inspiring drink of the gods but as itself a deity, doing things
that are elsewhere ascribed to Indra, Pushan, and other
well-established deities.[483] The spirit, coming to be regarded as an
anthropomorphic person, under peculiar circumstances assumes the
character of a god. A similar development appears in the Iranian haoma,
and the cultic identity of soma and haoma shows that the deification of
the plant took place in the early Aryan period.[484]

+271+. Another example has been supposed to be furnished by
corn-spirits. The importance of cereal crops for human life gave them a
prominent position in the cult of agricultural communities. The decay
and revival of the corn was an event of prime significance, and appears
to have been interpreted as the death and resurrection of the spirit
that was the life of the crop. Such is the idea in the modern popular
customs collected by Mannhardt and Frazer.[485] The similarity between
these ceremonies and those connected with the Phoenician Tammuz
(Adonis) and the Phrygian Attis makes it probable that the two are based
on the same ideas; that is, that Adonis and Attis (and so also Osiris
and Ishtar) were deities of vegetation. This, however, does not prove
that they were developed out of spirits of vegetation; they may have
been deities charged with the care of crops.[486] The Phoenician name
Adon is merely a title ('lord') that might be given to any god; he whom
the Greeks called Adonis was a Syrian local deity, identical in origin
with the Babylonian Tammuz, and associated in worship with Astarte, whom
the Greeks identified with their Aphrodite.

+272+. A sacred tree often stood by a shrine; that is, probably, the
shrine was put in the spot made sacred by a tree, and a ritual
connection between the two was thus established. Later, when a shrine
for any reason (in consequence of a theophany, for example) was built
where there was no tree, its place was supplied by a wooden post, which
inherited the cultic value of a sacred tree. In the Canaanite cult,
which was adopted by the Hebrews, the sacred post (called "ashera")
stood by the side of every shrine, and was denounced by the prophets as
an accompaniment of foreign (that is, non-Yahwistic) worship.[487] The
transition from tree to post is illustrated, perhaps, by the
conventionalized form of trees frequent on Babylonian seal
cylinders.[488] How far the sacred post was an object of worship by the
people we have no means of knowing; but by the more intelligent,
doubtless, it came to be regarded simply as a symbol, a sign of the
presence of a deity, and was, in so far, in the same category with

+273+. It is not impossible that totem posts may be connected with
original totem trees or other sacred trees. A tree as totem would
naturally be the object of some sort of cult, and when it took the form
of a post or pole, would have totemic symbols carved on it. Oftener,
probably, it was the sacred pole of a village (itself descended from a
sacred tree) that would be adorned with totemic figures, as among the
Indians of Northwestern America.[490] In all such cases there is a
coalescence of totemism and tree worship.

+274+. It was natural in early times, when most men lived in forests,
which supplied all their needs, that trees should be looked on as
intimately connected with human life. A tree might be regarded as in
itself an independent personality, having, of course, a body and a soul,
but not as dependent on an isolated spirit. A group of men might think
itself descended from a tree--a conception that may have been
widespread, though there is little direct evidence of its
existence.[491] Indirect evidence of such a view is found in the custom
of marrying girls to trees,[492] and in the belief in "trees of life,"
which are sometimes connected with individual men in such a way that
when the tree or a part of it is destroyed the man dies, as in the case
of Meleager whose life depended on the preservation of a piece of
wood,[493] the representative, probably, of a tree, and the priest of
Nemi whose life was bound up in the "golden bough"[494]; sometimes the
tree has a magical power of conferring life on whoever eats of its
fruit, as in the case of the tree of Eden.[495]

+275+. These stories involve the conception of blood-kinship between man
and tree. Closely related to the "tree of life" is the "tree of
knowledge"--life is knowledge and knowledge is life. In the original
form of the story in Genesis there was only one tree--the tree of the
knowledge of good and evil[496]--whose fruit, if eaten, made one the
equal of the gods;[497] that is, the tree (in the original form of the
conception, in remote times) was allied in nature (that is, in blood) to
gods and to men, so that whoever partook of its substance shared its
attribute of knowledge in sharing its life, and the command not to eat
of it was due apparently to Yahweh's unwillingness that man should equal
the gods in knowledge. The serpent-god, who belongs to the inner divine
circle, but for some unexplained reason is hostile to the god of the
garden,[498] reveals the secret.

+276+. Probably, also, it is from this general order of ideas that the
conception of the cosmic tree has sprung. The Scandinavian Yggdrasil is
the source of life to all things and represents also wisdom; though the
details may contain Christian elements, the general conception of the
world as a tree or as nourished by a tree is probably old.[499] The same
conception appears in the cosmic tree of India.[500] Such
quasi-philosophical ideas of the unity of the life of the world suppose,
doubtless, a relatively advanced stage of culture, but they go back to
the simple belief that the tree is endowed with life and is a source of
life for men. The transition to the cosmic conception may be found in
those quasi-divine trees that grant wishes and endow their friends with
wisdom and life.

+277+. The divinatory function of trees follows as a matter of course
from their divine nature (whether this was regarded as innate or as due
to an indwelling spirit). Their counsel was supposed to be expressed by
the rustling of their leaves,[501] or in some way that was interpreted
by priests or priestesses (as at Dodona and elsewhere) or by diviners
(so, perhaps, the Canaanite "terebinth of the diviners").[502] The
predictions of the Cumæan sibyl were said to be written on leaves that
were whirled away by the wind and had to be gathered and interpreted. To
what method of divination this points is not clear--possibly to supposed
indications in the markings of the leaves; it may, however, be merely an
imaginative statement of the difficulty of discovering the sibyl's

+278+. The passage from the conception of the tree as a divine thing or
person (necessarily anthropomorphic) to the view that it was the abode
of a spirit was gradual, and it is not always easy to distinguish the
two stages one from the other. The tree-spirits, in the nature of the
case very numerous, were not distinguished by individual names, as the
trees were not so distinguished.[504] The spirits resident in the divine
trees invoked in the Vedas are powerful, but have not definite
personality, and it is hard to say whether it is the tree or the spirit
that is worshiped. The Indian tree-spirits called Nagas appear to be
always nameless, and are not mentioned in the list of deities that pay
reverence to the Buddha (in the Maha Samaya).[505] The large number of
trees accounted sacred in Babylonia were doubtless believed to be
inhabited by spirits, but to no one of these is a name given.

+279+. Thus the divine tree with its nameless spirit stands in a class
apart from that of the gods proper. A particular tree, it is true, may
be connected with a particular god, but such a connection is generally,
if not always, to be traced (as in the parallel case of animals[506]) to
an accidental collocation of cults. When a deity has become the numen of
a tribe, his worship will naturally coalesce with the veneration felt
by the tribe for some tree, which will then be conceived of as sacred to
the god. Such, doubtless, was the history of the oak of Dodona, sacred
to Zeus; when Zeus was established as deity of the place, the revered
tree had to be brought into relation with him, and this relation could
only be one of subordination--the tree became the medium by which the
god communicated his will. There was then no need of the spirit of the
tree, which accordingly soon passed away; the tree had lost its
spiritual divine independence. The god who is said to have appeared to
Moses in a burning bush, and is described as dwelling in the bush, is a
local deity, the _numen loci_ later identified with Yahweh, or called an
angel.[507] That a tree is sacred to a god means only that it has a
claim to respect based on its being the property or instrument of a god.

+280+. While the tree-spirit has undoubtedly played a great rôle in
early religious history, there is not decisive evidence of its ever
having developed into a true god, with name, distinct personality, and
distinct functions.[508] There are many Greek and Roman titles that
connect gods with trees,[509] but these may be explained in the way
suggested above: Zeus Endendros is a god dwelling in a tree, but the
tree is only an abode, not a god, and the god Zeus does not come from
the tree--rather two distinct sacred things have been brought together
and fused into a unity, or the tree is a rude, incipient image. The
Dionysos Hermes-figures may be explained in the same way.[510]

+281+. It appears to be the aloofness of trees that prevents their
becoming gods; they are revered and worshiped, but without becoming
personalities. Babylonian seal engravings and wall pictures often
represent a tree before which men or higher beings stand in adoration;
according to Maspero[511] there was actual worship of trees in Egypt,
and similar cults are found among the wild tribes of India.[512]
Adoration, however, does not necessarily imply a god; the Buddhist's
worship under the bo-tree is not directed to any being; it is only the
recognition of something that he thinks worthy of reverence.[513]

+282+. The cult of the corn-spirit is referred to above,[514] and doubt
is there expressed as to whether such a spirit has grown into a true
god. The question is confessedly a difficult one on account of the
absence of full data for the period involved. The chief ground for the
doubt as to the development in question lies in what we know of early
gods. The term 'Adon,' as is remarked above, is the Phoenician title
of the local deity. The origin of such deities is involved in the
obscurity of the remote past, but they are, each in his community,
universal powers; their functions embrace all that their communities
desire, and they represent each the total life of a people. It is the
general rule that any popular custom may be introduced into the cult of
the local god; of such sort of procedure there are many examples. In the
case under consideration the god may have become the hero of a ceremony
with which he had originally nothing to do, as the Hebrews when they
entered Canaan connected Canaanite festivals with their national god,
Yahweh, and later a cult of the wilderness deity Azazel[515] was adopted
and modified by the Yahwist leaders. Various cults attached themselves
to the worship of Zeus, Apollo, Dionysos, and other Greek deities.[516]

+283+. A similar explanation may be given of the ceremonies of death and
resurrection connected with Attis and Osiris. Of Attis we have only late
accounts, and do not know his early history. Osiris is an old
underground deity (later the judge of the Underworld), with functions
that included more than the vivification of vegetation, and the
absorption of the corn-spirit into his cult would be natural. The
collocation of a male with a female deity, common to the three cults,
may be merely the elaboration of the myth in accordance with human
social usage (the dead deity is mourned by his consort).[517] The
descent of Ishtar has been interpreted of the weakening of the sun's
heat in winter; but as she is obviously a deity of fertility and, in her
descent, disappears entirely from among men, while the sun does not
disappear entirely, she rather, in this story, represents or is
connected with the decay and rebirth of vegetation.

+284+. It is thus possible that, though many ancient ceremonies stand in
relation to the corn-spirit and also to a god, the explanation of this
fact is not that the spirit has grown into a god, but that it has
coalesced with a god. In all such explanations, however, our ignorance
of the exact processes of ancient thought must be borne in mind.

+285+. Trees have been widely credited with the power of bestowing
blessings of all sorts. But, like animals, they rarely receive formal
worship;[518] the reason for this is similar to that suggested
above[519] in the case of animals. The coalescence, spoken of above, of
tree ceremonies with cults of fully developed gods is not uncommon, and
trees figure largely in mythical divine histories.


+286+. Like all other objects stones have been regarded, in all parts of
the world, as living, as psychologically anthropomorphic (that is, as
having soul, emotion, will), and, in some cases, as possessing
superhuman powers.[520] The term 'sacred,' as applied to them, may mean
either that they are in themselves endowed with peculiar powers, or that
they have special relations with divine beings; the first meaning is the
earlier, the second belongs to a period when the lesser revered objects
have been subordinated to the greater.

+287+. The basis of the special belief in their sacredness was,
probably, the mystery of their forms and qualities, their hardness,
brilliancy, solidity. They seem to have been accepted, in the earliest
known stages of human life, as ultimate facts. When explanations of
their presence were sought, they were supposed to have been deposited by
ancestors or other beings, sometimes as depositories of their
souls.[521] Meteorites, having fallen from the sky, needed no other
explanation. Popular science (that is, popular imagination), perhaps
from fancied resemblances to the human form, assumed of some stones that
they were human beings turned to stone, and stories grew up to account
for the metamorphoses. In many different ways, according to differences
of physical surroundings and of social conceptions, men accounted for
such of these objects as interested them particularly.

+288+. That stones were believed to be alive and akin to men is shown by
the stories of the birth of men and gods from stones,[522] the turning
of human beings to stone (Niobe, Lot's wife), the accounts of their
movements (rocks in Brittany).[523]

+289+. Small stones, especially such as are of peculiar shape, are in
many parts of the world regarded as having magic power; the peculiarity
of shape seems mysterious and therefore connected with power. Doubtless
accidental circumstances, such as the occurrence of a piece of good
fortune, have often endowed a particular stone with a reputation for
power. Certain forms, especially flat disks with a hole in the center,
have preserved this reputation down to the present day. The Roman lapis
manalis is said by Festus to have been employed to get rain.[524]

+290+. Magical stones were, doubtless, believed to possess souls. In
accordance with the general law such stones and others were regarded
later as the abodes of independent movable spirits.[525] When the power
of a fetish seems to be exhausted, and a new object is chosen and by
appropriate ceremonies a spirit is induced to take up its abode in it,
there seems to be no theory as to whether the incoming spirit is the old
one or a new one, or, if it be a new one, what becomes of the old one,
about which little or no interest is felt.[526] The pneumatology is
vague; the general view is that the air is full of spirits, whose
movements may be controlled by magical means: spirits, that is, are
subject to laws, and these laws are known to properly trained men.

+291+. Reverence for divine stones continues into the period of the rise
of the true gods. When god and stone stand together in a community, both
revered, they may be and generally are combined into a cultic unity: the
stone becomes the symbol or the abode or the person of the god.[527] It
was, doubtless, in some such way as this that a stone came to be
identified with the Magna Mater of Pessinus. When this stone was brought
to Rome toward the end of the Second Punic War, the Roman leaders may
have regarded it simply as a symbol of the goddess, but the people
probably looked on it as itself a divine defense against Hannibal.[528]
The Israelite ark, carried out to the battle against the
Philistines,[529] appears to have contained a stone, possibly a
meteorite, possibly a piece taken from the sacred mountain Sinai, itself
divine, but in the Old Testament narrative regarded as the abode of
Yahweh (a Sinaitic god), though it was probably of independent origin
and only gradually brought into association with the local god of the

+292+. Similar interpretations may be given of other stones identified
or connected with deities, as that of Zeus at Seleucia,[530] that of
Aphrodite at Paphos,[531] that of Jupiter Lapis,[532] and the black
stone that represented the Syrian Elagabalos at Emesa.[533] The remark
of Pausanias, after he has described the thirty sacred stones of Pheræ,
that the early Greeks paid divine honors to unhewn stones, doubtless
expresses the traditions and beliefs of his time;[534] and it is
probable that in antiquity there were many divine stones, and that these
were frequently in later times identified with local gods. In many
cases, however, there was no identification, only a collocation and
subordination: the stone became the symbol of the deity, or a sacred
object associated with the deity.[535]

+293+. This seems to be the later conception of the character of the
sacred stones mentioned in the Old Testament, as the one that Jacob is
said to have set up as a masseba and anointed.[536] The Canaanite
massebas, adopted as cultic objects by the Israelites,[537] were stone
pillars standing by shrines and regarded as a normal if not a necessary
element of worship; originally divine in themselves (as may be inferred
from the general history of such objects), they came to be regarded as
mere accessories; there is no indication in the Old Testament that they
were looked on as gods, though they may have been so regarded by the
people[538]--their presence at the Canaanite shrines, as a part of
foreign, non-Yahwistic worship, sufficiently explains the denunciation
of them by the prophets.[539]

+294+. In the story of Jacob he is said to have given the name Bethel to
the place where he anointed the stone. It does not appear that he so
called the stone itself; Bethel (in Hebrew, "house of God"[540]) seems
to have been an old sacred place, and terms compounded with 'beth' in
Hebrew are names of shrines. The relation between this name and the
Semitic word whence, probably, comes Greek _baitulos_[541] (Latin
_baetulus_) is not clear; this last is the designation of a sacred stone
held to have fallen from heaven (meteoric). Such an one is called by
Philo of Byblos "empsuchos," 'endowed with life or with soul.'[542]
Pliny describes the baetulus as a species of ceraunia
(thunderstone).[543] The Greek word is now commonly derived from _betel_
('bethel')--a derivation possible so far as the form of the word is
concerned.[544] According to this view the stone is the abode of a
deity--a conception common in early religion. Such an object would be
revered, and would ultimately be brought into connection with a local
god.[545] If Hebrew bethel was originally a stone considered as the
abode of a deity, then in the Old Testament the earlier form of the
conception has been effaced by the later thought--the word 'bethel' has
become the name of a place, a shrine, the dwelling place of God.[546]

+295+. The origin of the black stone of the Kaaba at Mecca is
unknown--it was doubtless either a meteorite or in some way connected
with a sacred place; it was, and is, regarded as in itself sacred, but
whether it represented originally a deity, and if so what deity, is not

+296+. The belief in the sacred character of stones may account, at
least in part, for the custom of casting stones on the grave of a
chieftain (as in Northern Arabia), though this may be merely intended to
preserve the grave. So also the stones thrown at the foot of a Hermes
pillar may have been meant as a waymark, yet with the feeling that the
stone heap had a sacred character of its own.[548] The stone circles at
Stonehenge and Avebury may have had a religious significance, but their
function is not clear. Boundary stones seem to have had at first simply
a political function, but were naturally dedicated to the deities who
were guardians of tribal boundaries (Roman Terminus, various Babylonian
gods, etc.).

+297+. It is by virtue of their divine character that stones came to be
used as altars.[549] As things divine in themselves or as representing a
deity they receive the blood of the sacred (that is, divine) sacrificial
animal, which is the food of the god. Originally a part of the blood is
applied to the stone, and the rest poured out or eaten (as sacred food)
by the worshiper. In process of time, when the god has been divorced
from the stone, the latter becomes a table on which the victim is
offered;[550] the old conception survives in the custom of slaying the
victim by the side of the altar, and applying the blood to the horns of
the altar as a representative part of the sacred structure. In the late
Jewish ritual this application of blood is interpreted as a purification
of the altar from ceremonial defilements.[551]

+298+. Originally, it seems, it was only natural stones that were sacred
or divine and were employed as representatives of deities; but by a
natural process of thought the custom arose of using artificial stones
in the same way. By means of certain ceremonies, it was held, the deity
could be induced to accept an altar or a house, or to take up his abode
in an image, as a spirit is introduced by the savage into a fetish
object.[552] The basis of this sort of procedure is first the belief in
the amenableness of the deity to magical laws, and, later, the belief in
his friendly disposition, his willingness to accede to the wishes of his
worshipers provided they offer the proper tribute; but even in very late
ceremonies a trace of the magical element remains.

+299+. The significance of the high pillars, of stone or of metal, that
stood at the entrance of certain Semitic temples, is not clear. Examples
are: in Tyre, the temple of the local Baal (Melkart);[553] Solomon's
temple of Yahweh in Jerusalem, and the temple planned by Ezekiel in
imitation of that of Solomon;[554] compare the temple of the
Carthaginian Tanit-Artemis, a form of Ashtart, the votive stela from the
temple of Aphrodite in Idalium (in Cyprus), and similar figures on
Cyprian coins.[555] Of the various explanations offered of these pillars
that which regards them as phallic symbols may be set aside as lacking
proof.[556] It is not probable that they were merely decorative; the
details of ancient temples, as a rule, were connected with worship. It
has been suggested that they were fire altars,[557] in support of which
view may be cited the figures on Cyprian coins (mentioned above), and
the fact that sailors sacrificed at Gades at a place where there were
two high pillars;[558] but such a custom does not prove that the
sacrifices were offered on the pillars, and these latter are generally
too high to serve such a purpose; they are too high also to be
convenient candelabra.[559] It seems more probable that they were
developments from sacred stones (such as the Canaanite massebas), which
originally represented the deity, came to be conventional attachments to
temples, and then were treated in accordance with architectural
principles. They would be placed in pairs, one pillar on each side of
the temple door, for the sake of symmetry, and dignity would be sought
by giving them a considerable height.[560] They might also be utilized,
when they were not too high, as stands for lamps or cressets, but this
would be a secondary use. The obelisks that stood in front of Egyptian
temples, likewise, were probably sacred monuments reared in honor of

+300+. Images of gods and other extrahuman beings arise through the
natural human impulse to represent familiar objects of thought. Very
rude tribes have stone or wood carvings of spirits and gods, good and
bad. These images are generally in human shape, because all Powers are
thought of as anthropomorphic. Sometimes, as Réville suggests, a root,
or branch of a tree, bearing some resemblance to the human face or
figure, may have led to the making of an image; but the general natural
artistic tendency is sufficient to account for the fact.[562]

+301+. The character assigned to images varies with stages of culture.
In low communities they are themselves divine--the gods have entered
into them and they are not thought of as different from their divine
indwellers. In such cases they are sometimes chained to prevent their
getting away; if they are obstinate, not listening to prayers, they are
cuffed, scourged, or reviled.[563] This conception lingers still among
the peasants of Southern Europe, who treat a saint (a rechristened old
god) as if he were a man to be won by threats or cajolements. In a more
refined age the image becomes simply a symbol, a visible representation
serving to fix the attention and recall divine things. Different races
also differ in the extent of their demand for such representations of

+302+. Stones and rocks, like other natural objects, are starting-points
for folk-stories and myths. All over the world they lie on the ground or
rise in the shape of hills, and, being mysterious, require explanation.
The explanations given, and handed down from generation to generation,
are always connected with superhuman or with extraordinary persons,
ancestors, heroes, spirits. To each stone or rock a story is attached, a
creation of the fancy suggested by the surroundings and by the popular
traditions; and each story forms an episode in the history of the hero
or spirit. The stones and rocks thus come to constitute a book
chronicling the history of the tribe and the deeds of its great men--a
book quite legible to the man who has been taught the stories. These
grow with every generation, receiving such additions as fancy and
reflection dictate, and gradually taking on literary form. In the
territory of the Australian Arunta every stone is connected with some
incident in the careers of the mythical ancestors, and the stories taken
together form the legendary history of the origin of customs.[564] In
Samoa and New Guinea many stones are pointed out as having been set in
place by local heroes. In North America innumerable rocks and stones are
connected with the mythical ancestors and creators of the tribes.

+303+. Mountains have everywhere been regarded as abodes of spirits or
deities, and therefore sacred. Their height and massiveness invested
them with dignity (even as now they appeal mightily to the imagination),
and their lofty summits and rugged sides were full of danger and
mystery. Sacred mountains are found in North America, Bengal, Africa,
and elsewhere. Naturally they are often abodes of gods of rain; they are
feared on account of the spirits inhabiting them, but they are also
resorted to as places where divine revelations may be obtained.[565] The
Semitic, Hindu, and Greek examples are familiar: the Hebrew and
Canaanite Sinai (or Horeb), Nebo, Carmel, Hermon; the Arabian Arafat,
near Mecca; the Babylonian Ekur; in India, Meru, Mandara, Himavat, and
other mountains; in Greece, Olympus and Parnassus.

+304+. Mountains are also worshiped as being themselves divine.[566] The
cult, however, has not been important; the physical mass is too solid,
lacking in movement, and human interest naturally centered in the spirit
or deity who dwelt therein.[567]

+305+. Mythological fancy has made them the abodes and places of
assembly of gods and glorified saints, usually in the north. The
mythical Ekur was the dwelling place of Babylonian deities.[568] In
India various peaks in the Himalayas, inaccessible to men, were assigned
to groups of deities, and the mythical world-mountain Meru was the
special abode of great gods, who there lived lives of delight.[569] On
the highest peak of the Thessalian Olympus Zeus sat, surrounded by the
inferior gods; here he held councils and announced his decrees.[570] The
two conceptions of the home of the gods--on mountains and in the
sky--existed for a time side by side, having in common the feature of
remoteness and secrecy; gradually the earthly abode was ignored, and the
gods were assigned to the more dignified heavenly home.


+306+. To early man waters, fire, winds, are interesting because of
their relation to his life, and sacred because of their power and
mysteriousness.[571] They are regarded by him not as "elements" of the
world, but as individual phenomena that affect well-being. His
conception of them is not cosmogonic or analytic, but personal; they are
entities with which he has to deal.

+307+. The mobility of masses of water, seeming to be a sign of life,
naturally procured them a definite place among sacred things. Any
spring, pond, lake, or river with which a tribe was brought into
intimate relations was regarded as a source of life or of healing, and
of divination. Dwellers by the sea regarded it with awe; its depths were
mysterious and its storms terrible.

+308+. As in the case of animals, plants, and stones, so here: the
earliest conception of water masses is that they are divine in
themselves (every one, of course, having its own soul), and are potent
for bodily help or harm, and for divination. The waters of the Nile,
the Ganges, the Jordan, were held to heal the diseased and purify the
unclean; and a similar power is now ascribed to the water of the well
Zamzam in the Kaaba at Mecca. Hannibal swore, among other things, by the
waters,[572] and the oath by the river Styx was the most binding of
oaths, having power to control even the gods; the thing by which an oath
is taken is always originally divine. In the Hebrew ordeal of jealousy
the sacred water decides whether the accused woman is guilty or
not.[573] The sea is treated as a living thing, whose anger may be
appeased by gifts; it is a monster, a dragon.[574] The Spartan
Cleomenes, about to start on a voyage, sacrifices a bull to the
sea.[575] Offerings to the sea are made in the Maldive Islands.[576]

+309+. Water is abundantly employed in religious ritual as a means of
purification from ceremonial defilement, and in services of initiation.
A bathing-place often stood by a shrine (as in pre-Islamic Arabia and in
Islam now), and immersions came to play a prominent part in highly
developed systems (Jewish, Christian, Mithraic). The purification was
generally symbolic, but in some forms of Christian belief the water of
baptism is held to have regenerating power[577]--a survival of the
ancient conception of the divinity of water.

+310+. It is often hard to say whether a body of water is regarded
simply as itself a living thing, or is conceived of as the dwelling
place of an isolated or independent spirit. In savage systems the
details on this point are hardly ever recorded or obtainable; but the
beliefs involved in later folk-lore make it probable that this latter
stage of the construction of creeds is passed through in savage life.
The water maidens of Greek mythology and the Germanic nixies and water
kelpies are developed forms of spirits. Sacred springs and wells are
still believed to be inhabited by beings that are not gods, but possess
superhuman power.

+311+. While wells and streams of a domestic character (such as are
freely used by human beings) are generally friendly, they have their
unfriendly side. The spirits that dwell in them are sometimes regarded
as being hostile to man. They drag the incautious wanderer into their
depths, and then nothing can save him from drowning. Fear of these
malignant beings sometimes prevents attempts to rescue a drowning
person; such attempts are held to bring down the vengeance of the
water-demon on the would-be rescuer.[578]

+312+. In the course of time true water-gods appear. In Greece every
river had its deity, and in India such deities are found in the
Mahabharata.[579] When in the Iliad the river Xanthos rises to seize and
drown Achilles, it may be a question whether the stream or the god of
the stream is the actor. Nor is it always possible to say whether the
extrahuman Power inhabiting a water mass is a true god or a spirit; the
latter form may pass by invisible gradations into the former.

+313+. Waters originally divine tend to become the abodes of the deity
of the place, or sacred to him, and healing or other power is ascribed
to his presence or agency.[580] Sacred water, being unwilling to retain
anything impure, thus becomes a means of detecting witches and other
criminals, who, when thrown in, cannot sink, but are rejected by the
divine Power.

+314+. Deities of streams and springs do not play an important part in
worship or in mythology; their physical functions are not definite
enough, and their activities are naturally merged in or subsumed under
those of the greater or more definite local gods. If, for example, the
Canaanite Baals are gods or lords of underground irrigation,[581] this
is because they, as divine lords of the particular regions, control all
phenomena; they are, in fact, also gods of rain and thunderstorms,
harvests and war. So rain-gods in general are to be regarded as local
deities, among whose functions that of bestowing rain was regarded as
specially important. In the lowest systems the rain-giver may be a
sacred stone, dipped in a stream,[582] or a royal or priestly magician
who is held responsible and is punished if the expected result is not
attained.[583] In such cases the procedure is often one of imitative

+315+. If there be, in the next higher stratum of belief, a local or
tribal god, it is he who is looked to for the rain supply; so the early
Hebrews looked to Yahweh,[585] and the Canaanites, doubtless, to the
Baals. The economic importance of rain led, even in low tribes, to the
conception of a special deity charged with its bestowal.[586] In more
elaborate mythologies various deities are credited with rain-making
power. In India, for example, Dyaus, the Maruts, Parjanya, Brihaspati,
Indra, Agni,[587] all concerned with rain, have, all except Agni,
evidently grown from local figures with general functions; this appears
from the great variety of parts they play. The same thing is true,
perhaps, of Zeus and Jupiter in their character of rain-gods--as
all-sufficient divine patrons they would be dispensers of all blessings,
including rain; they seem, however, to have been originally gods of the
sky, and thus naturally the special guardians of rain.[588]

+316+. Great masses of water have given rise to myths, mostly
cosmogonic. The conception of a watery mass as the primeval material of
the world (in Egypt, Babylonia, India, Greece, Rome) belongs not to
religion but to science; in a relatively advanced period, however, this
mass was represented as a monster, the antagonist of the gods of light
and order, and from this representation has come a whole literature of
myths. In Babylonia a great cosmogonic poem grew up in which the dragon
figures of the water chaos (Tiamat, Mummu, Kingu) play a great
part,[589] and echoes of this myth appear in the later Old Testament

+317+. In the more elaborate pantheons the local deities of streams and
springs tend to disappear, and gods of ocean appear: in Babylonia, Ea;
in Greece, Okeanos and Poseidon; in Rome, Neptune; and along with these
are numerous subordinate figures--attendants on the great gods, and
intrusted with various particular duties.


+318+. There was, doubtless, a time when man had not learned to produce
fire, and there may now be tribes unacquainted with its domestic uses.
But such ignorance, if it exists, is rare; savages generally know how to
make fire, and to use it for warmth and for the preparation of food.
When men began to reflect on the origin of things, fire seemed to them
so wonderful that they supposed it must have been discovered or
invented, and the knowledge of it bestowed on men by higher beings, gods
or demigods; such benefactors are Hastsezini (of the Navahos), Lightning
(of the Pawnees), the Beaver and the Eagle (of the Thompson River
Indians of British Columbia), Maui (of the Maoris), Agni,

+319+. Though, like other mysterious things, it has been regarded
generally (perhaps universally) as sacred, there is no clear proof that
it has been worshiped as divine. What may have been the case in remote
ages we cannot tell, but, according to the information we possess, it
has been, and is, merely revered as in itself mysterious or sacred,[591]
or as the abode or production of a spirit or a deity. Possibly in the
early stages of culture known to us there is a fusion of the element
with the indwelling or controlling god or spirit.[592] The divine
patrons of fire are found in all parts of the world, varying in form
and function according to the degrees of advancement of the various
communities, from the beast-gods of the Redmen to the departmental
deities of the Maoris, Babylonians, Mexicans, and others, and to the
more complicated gods of Hindus, Greeks, and Romans.[593]

+320+. The most elaborate and most interesting of all fire-cults is the
Persian. The ritual of the Avesta appears at times to describe a worship
of the element itself: in Fargard xviii the fire implores the
householder to rise, wash his hands, and put pure wood on the flame;
Yaçna lxi is a hymn of homage and petition addressed to the fire, which
is called the son of Ahura Mazda--the householder asks that all the
blessings of life may be his as a reward for his sacrifice. The numerous
temples devoted to the fire-cult, mentioned by later writers,[594] might
seem to look in the same direction. But a comparison of other parts of
the Avesta makes it doubtful whether in the passages just cited anything
more is meant than that the fire, as a creation of Ahura Mazda and
sacred to him, is for his sake worthy of reverence and through him a
source of blessing. Thus Yaçna xvii is a hymn in honor of Ahura Mazda
and all his creatures, among which are mentioned the law of Zarathustra,
the fire (and five different fires are named), the soul of the ox, and
pure deeds, along with the Amesha-Spentas, the heavenly bodies, and good
men. This collection shows vagueness in the conception of the divine and
the sacred, and, to say the least, leaves it uncertain whether the
singer does not think of the fire simply as a symbol of the Supreme God.

+321+. The relation of fire to the gods, and especially its use in
sacrifice, have led to a number of religious ceremonies in which it
plays a principal part.[595] Certain fires must be kindled by specially
appointed sacred persons: among the Todas of Southern India, when a new
dairy is visited or an old dairy is reconsecrated;[596] among the
Lacandones of Central America, on the occasion of the renewal of the
incense-bowls;[597] in the Peruvian temple at the feast of Raymi, when
the flame was intrusted to the care of the Virgins of the Sun, and was
to be kept up during the year;[598] in the temples of Hestia and Vesta;
throughout Greece, when the fires had been polluted by the presence of
the Persians, it was ordered that they should be put out and rekindled
from the sacred fire at Delphi.[599]

+322+. The purificatory power of fire was, doubtless, a fact of early

+323+. As the physical means of sacrifice, fire acquired a certain
symbolic significance; in the Hebrew ritual "fire-offerings" are
regarded as specially important. By Carthaginians, Moabites, and Hebrews
children were devoted to the deity by fire.[600]

+324+. By reason of its brightness fire connects itself in religious
imagery with the sun, with lightning, and with light in general, and so
appears frequently as a representation of the glory of the deity.[601]

+325+. Light is sometimes regarded as an independent thing, and as


+326+. Traces of an early cult of the physical wind may be found,
perhaps, in certain customs that survive in modern communities; as, for
example, in the offering of food to the wind that it may be placated and
do no harm.[603] The belief of sailors that wind may be called up by
whistling rests on a process of imitative magic that may be connected
with an early cult. Wind is said to be regarded as a divine being in
some American tribes.[604] But generally it is the spirit or god of a wind
(and usually of a definite wind) that is invoked. Examples of wind-gods
are found in all parts of the world.[605] A wind may be the vehicle or
the messenger of a deity.[606]

+327+. As in the cases of other elements, referred to above, it is often
hard to say whether it is the thing or the deity that is invoked:
Achilles's appeal, for instance, seems to be to the physical winds, but
Iris, who goes to summon them, finds them carousing like men, and they
act like gods.[607] It must be borne in mind, however, that in early
thought all active things are conceived of as being anthropomorphic, and
there is the difficulty, just mentioned, of determining where the
anthropomorphic object stops and the spirit or god begins.


+328+. The heavenly bodies seem to have been regarded at first merely as
objects somehow thrown up into the sky or in some other way fixed there
by gods or men.[608] Later, under the general anthropomorphizing
tendency, they are conceived of as manlike beings, and their characters
and histories are worked out in accordance with local ideas. Their
origin is ascribed at first to such creative beings as appear in the
various early communities; for example, among the Navahos to the First
Man, the First Woman, and the coyote.[609]

+329+. In half-civilized peoples elaborate cosmogonies arise, in which
the sky is introduced along with sun, moon, and stars. The most
noteworthy of these representations of the origin of the sky is one that
occurs in almost identical forms in Egypt and New Zealand, among the
Masai of Central East Africa, and elsewhere: two beings lie in marriage
embrace--one is lifted up and stretches from horizon to horizon as the
sky, the other remains as the earth.[610] The sun is commonly male but
sometimes female,[611] and there is also diversity of views as to the
sex of the moon. The stars are often called the children of the sun and

+330+. Savage fancy sees in the groups of stars resemblances to human
persons and objects.[612] Such resemblances are worked out by civilized
peoples, a descriptive science of constellations arises, and stories are
invented to explain the origin of their names. These stellar myths,
brought into connection with others, play a great part in developed

+331+. Among higher communities there are diverse conceptions of the sex
of the great luminaries. The word for 'sun' is feminine in Sanskrit,
Anglo-Saxon, German, and often in Hebrew; masculine in Babylonian,
Assyrian, Greek, and Latin. 'Moon' is masculine in Anglo-Saxon and
German, and generally in Sanskrit and the Semitic languages; feminine in
Greek and Latin. The reasons for these differences are to be sought in
the economic relations of the communities to sun and moon, and in the
play of imagination, but the history of the variations is not clear. One
proposed explanation is that to those who traveled by night on land or
on sea the moon was the strong guide and patron, and by day the sun
appeared as a splendidly beautiful woman. Other explanations have been
offered, but no general determining principle can be stated.[613]

+332+. The early anthropomorphic figures of sun and moon appear to be on
the verge of becoming true gods. It is, however, often difficult to
decide whether in the widespread veneration of the sun it is to be
regarded as a living thing (it is frequently represented as a man, a
great chief,[614] dwelling in the sky), or a physical object inhabited
by a spirit, or a fully developed god.[615] The transition to the higher
conception is gradual, and will be discussed below,[616] along with the
representations of the moon and the stars.

+333+. The view that the sky and the earth are the original progenitors
of things appears among many peoples, low and high (notably among the
Chinese); the two are sometimes taken for granted, but it is probable
that there were always stories accounting for their origin. The sky is
sometimes female, usually in the older myths (Maori, Egyptian),
sometimes male (Greek, Roman).[617]

+334+. Thunder and lightning are regarded in early systems of thought as
independent things, only locally or accidentally combined. They are
awful and terrible to savage feeling,[618] but they have never received
religious worship. A quasi-scientific explanation of thunder found among
certain peoples (North American, Brazilian, Bakuana, Karen, and others)
is that it is produced by the flapping of the wings of a mighty
bird.[619] More commonly thunder is the voice of a deity, and lightning
is his arrow,[620] or these are said simply to be sent by a god.[621]


+335+. We might naturally suppose that human beings, as well as animals,
plants, and inanimate things, would be objects of religious reverence to
undeveloped communities; men, it might seem, would be thought worthier
objects of worship than beasts, plants, and stones. In fact, the cult of
human beings has been and is widespread, but in this cult the savage
mind makes a sharp distinction between the living and the dead. Living
men are tangible and intelligible, affected with human frailties, and
therefore offer less food for the imagination than beasts; the souls of
dead men are remote, intangible, mysterious, and it is they that have
most inspired religious emotion. The history of these cults is in some
points obscure; though many facts have been collected, the data are not
full and exact enough to furnish a complete explanation of the details
of usage, diffusion, origin, and development.


+336+. Savages appear to put no limit to the possible powers of men. In
the absence of any exact knowledge of natural law there is no reason why
a man should not be thought capable of inflicting sickness and death,
bringing rain, securing food, and doing all that relates to human life.
Magicians, prophets, ascetics, and saints are credited with such powers
in early and later times. Polynesian chiefs are supposed to be imbued
with a sacredness that makes contact with them dangerous, and everything
that they touch becomes thereby taboo to the ordinary man; the same sort
of sacredness clung to the Roman flamen dialis, to the emperor of Japan,
and to many other high officials. This reverence, however, is simply
fear of the mysterious, and does not, in itself, reach the height of
worship, though it prepares the way for it and may sometimes be scarcely
distinguishable from worship proper. The magician is the mouthpiece of a
god, and in popular belief is often invested with power that is
practically divine.

+337+. Many cases, in fact, are reported in which living men are
worshiped as gods; but such reports are often open to doubt and need
confirmation. Travelers and other observers are not always in position
to state the facts precisely; particularly they do not always
distinguish between awe and religious worship, and the statements of
savages on this point are often vague. Frazer has collected a
considerable number of examples of alleged worship of living men.[623]
One of these, that of the dairyman (_palol_) of the Todas of Southern
India, is not supported by the latest observer, who says that the palol
is highly respected but not worshiped.[624] An apparently clear case of
worship is the Panjab god Nikkal Sen, said to be General Nicholson;[625]
and it is not improbable that in other cases mentioned by Frazer
(Marquesas Islands, Raiatea, Samoa, Fiji) actual deification takes

+338+. Among many more-advanced communities divinity has been ascribed
to living monarchs: to the kings of ancient Egypt; to many early
Babylonian kings; to the emperor of China; to some of the Ptolemies and
Seleucids; to certain Roman emperors; to the kings of Mexico and Peru;
and in more modern times to the emperor of Japan. Whether such titles
involve a real ascription of divinity, or are only an assertion of
kinship with the gods, or express nothing more than the adulation of
courtiers, it may not be easy always to determine; probably all these
conceptions have existed at various times. The conception that men are
akin to gods, that there is no difference of nature between the two
classes, is an old one, and the ascription of divinity to a king might
involve, in earlier stages of civilization or even in relatively
advanced stages, no break in the order of things. The custom once
established, it might continue to be observed, long accepted seriously
by the mass of the people, but coming gradually to be regarded by the
educated classes as a mere form.

+339+. The development of the custom appears most plainly in
_Egypt_.[626] The identification of the king with Horus (apparently the
ancient patron deity of Egypt) runs through the history down to the
Persian conquest: he is called "Horus" or "Golden Horus," and sometimes
(as, for example, Mentuhotep IV) "heir of Horus," or is said to sit on
the throne of Horus, and has a "Horus name," the affirmation of his
divine character; even the monotheistic reformer Amenhotep IV is called
"Golden Horus." At the same time he is styled the "son" of this or that
deity--Re, Min, Amon, Amon-Re, Osiris--according to the particular
patron adopted by him; the liberal interpretation of such filial
relation is illustrated by the title "son of the gods of the Northland"
given to one monarch. The king is "the good god"; at death he flies to
heaven (so, for instance, Totmose III, of the eighteenth dynasty).

+340+. The official honorific character of divine titles appears as
early as the fifteenth century, when Queen Hatshepsut is officially
declared to be the daughter of Amon. By such an official procedure
Alexander, though not akin to any Egyptian royal house, was declared to
be the son of Amon; Ptolemy Philadelphus became the son of the sun-god,
and his wife Arsinoë was made a goddess by a solemn ceremony. Possibly
the recognition of the divine title, in educated Egyptian circles, as a
conventional form began at a relatively early time--the easy way in
which a man was made a god may have been felt in such circles to be
incompatible with real divinity. Nevertheless the cult of the divinized
king was practiced seriously. In some cases the living monarch had his
temple and retinue of priests, and divine honors were paid him.[627]

+341+. The case was different in the _Semitic treatment of kings_ styled
divine. The custom of so regarding them is found only in early
Babylonia. The evidence that they were held to be divine consists in the
fact that the determinative for divinity (Sumerian _dingir_, Semitic
_an_) is prefixed to their names in the inscriptions.[628] It appears
that the determinative occurs at times during a period of about a
thousand years (ca. 3000-2000 B.C.--the chronology is uncertain), and is
then dropped. The data do not explain the reasons for this change of
custom; a natural suggestion is that there came a time when the
conception of the deity forbade an ascription of divinity to human
beings. However this may be, the nominal divinization of kings seems not
to have had any effect on the cultus. As far as the known evidence goes,
the king seems never to have been approached with divine worship.[629]

+342+. It may be doubted whether the Babylonian usage can properly be
called Semitic. As such a custom is found nowhere else in the Semitic
area, and as the early Babylonian Semites borrowed much from the
non-Semitic Sumerians (they borrowed their system of writing and some
literary material), it is conceivable that they adopted this practice
from them. There is, to be sure, no proof, except from the inscriptions,
that the practice was Sumerian; but, as it is found in some Asiatic
non-Semitic lands,[630] there is the possibility that it existed among
the Sumerians, of whose history, however, we unfortunately know little.
It is to be noted that the cessation of the practice appears to be
synchronous with the establishment of the first great Semitic dynasty at

+343+. No ascription of divinity to men is found among the _Hebrews_.
The Elohim-beings (called "sons of God" in the English translation of
the Bible) are gods. The code forbids men to curse God (not
"judges")[631]--judges are not called "gods." There is nothing going to
show that the old Hebrew kings were looked on as divine. Frazer's
hypothesis that the king was identified with the God Adonis[632] is not
supported by the statements of the Old Testament; the title 'my lord'
(_adoni_) given him is simply the ordinary expression of respect and
courtesy. He is "the anointed of Yahweh," as many ancient official
persons (kings and priests) were inducted into office by the pouring of
oil on their heads, but, as a mouthpiece and representative of the
deity, he is inferior to the prophet; at best, flattery, such as that of
the woman of Tekoa, might liken him to an angel.[633] The epithet _el
gibbor_ (English Bible, "mighty God"), applied to a Jewish prince, must
probably be rendered 'mighty hero.'[634] The title 'gods' has been
supposed to be given to men (judges) a couple of times in the
Psalter,[635] but the reference there seems to be to Greek deities
regarded as acting as judges.

+344+. The ascription of divinity to human beings is lacking in
_Arabia_ also and among Semitic Moslems generally. The Ismailic and
Babist dogmas of the incarnation of God in certain men are of Aryan
(Indian) origin.

+345+. The _Chinese_ conception of the all-pervading and absolute power
of the Universe naturally invests the emperor with divinity.[636] All
human beings are supposed to possess some portion of the divine essence,
but he alone, as head and representative of the nation, possesses it in
full measure. He is theoretically perfect in thought, word, and deed,
and is entitled not only to the reverence and obedience of his subjects,
but also to their religious homage. Larger acquaintance with other
peoples has doubtless led educated Chinese to regard him as only one
among several great kings in the world, but for the people at large he
is still practically a god. Other living men also are worshiped as

+346+. The _Japanese_ formal divinization of the emperor appears to have
begun with the establishment of the monarchy (in the sixth or seventh
century of our era), but, like the Chinese, goes back to the crude
conception of early times. It has been generally accepted seriously by
the people, but has not received philosophical formulation. It is now
practically given up by the educated classes, and will probably soon
vanish completely.[637]

+347+. Among the _Greeks_ and the _Romans_ the belief in the divinity of
living men and women was of a vague character. In Homer the epithet
_dios_ when applied to human beings (individuals or peoples) means
little more, if any more, than 'of exalted character' (except in the
case of mythical heroes, like Achilles, who were of actual divine
parentage). At a later time such divinization was sometimes treated
jestingly. If Plutarch may be accepted as authority,[638] Alexander did
not take his own godhead seriously, did not believe in it, but allowed
it merely for its effect on others. It was little more than a farce
when the Syrian-Greek Antiochus II, for services rendered to a city, was
called "Theos" by the grateful citizens;[639] it was the baldest
flattery when Herod's oration[640] was greeted by a tumultuous assembly
as the "voice of a god." Augustus, though he allowed temples and altars
to be consecrated to him in the provinces, did not permit it in Rome,
being, apparently, ashamed of such procedures.[641] The most infamous of
the early emperors, Caligula, received divine honors in his lifetime by
his own decree.[642] Apart from these particular cases, however, the
general conception of the possibility of a man's being divine had a
notable effect on the religious development in the Roman Empire.[643]
The custom, for example, of burning incense before the Emperor's statue
(which faithful Christians refused to do), while it strengthened the
idea of the presence of the divine in human life, doubtless debased it.

+348+. Deification of living men is not found in the great national
religions of _India_ and _Persia_. Mazdaism, like Hebraism, kept the
human distinctly apart from the divine: Ahura Mazda is virtually
absolute, and Zoroaster and the succeeding prophets, including the
savior Çaoshyanç, are men chosen and appointed by him.[644] Vedism
developed the nature-gods, and in Brahmanism the goal of the worshiper
was union with the divine, but not independent divinity; the muni by
ascetic observances might attain a power equal or superior to that of
the gods and feared by them,[645] but he remained (like the old
magician) a powerful man and did not receive divine worship.[646] In
recent times the followers of the Brahma-Samaj leader Sen are said to
have worshiped him as a god[647]--apparently an isolated phenomenon, the
origin of which is not clear. Buddha was purely human to himself and
his contemporaries. The ascription of divinity to the Tibetan Grand
Lamas is a product of the transformation of Buddhism under the influence
of a crude non-Aryan population that retained the old conception of the
essential identity of nature of men and gods.

+349+. When chiefs and kings are divinized, offerings are usually made
to them as to other gods; their cult becomes a part of the polytheistic
system. But it is rare that they displace the old local deities or equal
them in influence. Their worship passes with the passing of polytheism.


+350+. In the history of religion the veneration of the dead, as is
remarked above, is more widely diffused and more effective than that of
the living. We may distinguish between the cult of known historical
persons after death (which is closely related to that of living men),
the deification of mythical ancestors, and the worship of ghosts.

+351+. _Historical persons._ In simple communities commanding
personalities that have impressed the imagination of the people by
proofs of power and by conferring benefits on communities may not
unnaturally receive divine honors after death. Lyall reports a case of
this sort in recent times: the French officer Raymond in Hyderabad is
said to have been worshiped as a god.[648] Other cases are reported as
occuring in Samoa and in India.[649] Rivers mentions traditions among
the Todas of Southern India which, he thinks, may vouch for the worship
of gods who were originally men, but implicit reliance cannot be placed
on such traditions.[650] Two apparently definite instances of
deification are given by Ellis,[651] both of cruel kings (one dethroned
in 1818), to whom temples with complete rituals are dedicated; but the
deification in one of these cases (and probably in the other) was a
deliberate act of political leaders, and not a product of spontaneous
popular feeling. Two other local gods mentioned by Ellis were, according
to the tradition, two men who began the trade that made Whydah the chief
port of the west coast of Africa; but here also the tradition is not
perfectly trustworthy.

+352+. Egyptian kings were regularly deified after death, being
identified with Osiris; their cult, though not equal in sanctity to that
of the gods proper, was still prominent and important.[652] It is
probably to be regarded as a revision and magnification of the cult of
the dead kin, combined with the desire to honor great representative
men. No such custom is known to have existed among Semitic peoples, by
whom a sharp distinction was made between the divine and the human. In
India it was chiefly the ascetic sages that were religiously eminent,
and in the prevailing pantheistic system these (as is remarked above),
absorbing the divine essence, sometimes became as powerful as gods, but
passed after death into the cosmic All, and remained human. The Mazdean
faith, like the Israelite, made it impossible to accept a deceased man
as a god.

+353+. Examples of the occasional divinization of deceased men in the
Hellenic world are given below.[653] In Rome the custom arose at a
comparatively late period, and it was the work not of spontaneous Roman
thought but of political philosophy.[654] The deification of the Roman
emperors after death had its ground in the reconstruction of Roman life
undertaken by Augustus. He recognized a principle of unification in the
resuscitation of the old national religion, in which the people
believed, whether he himself did or not. Religion in Rome was largely an
affair of the state; the leaders of the public religion were great state
officials. Augustus was made pontifex maximus, and it was only one step
farther to elevate the chief magistrate to the rank of a god. The good
sense of the time generally forbade the bestowment of this honor during
the imperator's lifetime, but an apotheosis was in accord with the
veneration paid to the manes and with the exalted position of the
Emperor as absolute lord of the Western world.[655] Popular feeling
appears to have accepted this divinization without question and in
sincerity; educated circles accepted it as an act of political policy.
The elevation of Julius Cæsar and Augustus to the rank of gods
established the rule, and deceased emperors received divine honors up to
the triumph of Christianity.[656]

+354+. In China, Confucius was deified as the special exponent of the
state religion and the authoritative teacher of the principles of social
and political life. His religious cult is practiced by the government
(officially) and by the masses of the people; how far it is sincerely
accepted by the educated classes is uncertain. In China and in Japan the
gods of war are said to be historical persons deified.

+355+. The divinization of the Calif Ali by some Shiah sects was the
product of religious fanaticism under the guidance of Aryan conceptions
of the incarnation of the divine.[657]

+356+. _Mythical ancestors._ Mythical ancestors are usually eponymous;
the tendency in all ancient peoples was to refer their names and origins
to single persons. Such an eponym was the product of imagination, a
genealogical myth (Hellen, Ion, Dorus, Jacob, Israel), and was revered,
but was not always the object of a religious cult; such cults do not
appear among the Semites[658] or in the native Roman rites. Nor does the
custom seem to have originated in the earliest periods; it was rather a
creation of quasi-scientific reflection, the demand for definite
historical organization, and it appears first in relatively late
literary monuments.[659]

+357+. Still later arose the worship of these ancestral founders. In
Greece shrines were erected by various cities to their supposed
founders, and where, as in Athens, the tribes had their eponyms, these
received divine worship, though they never attained equal rank with the
gods proper. From Greece this cult was brought into Italy. It was
probably under Greek influence, and at a relatively late time, that
Romulus was created, made the immediate founder of Rome, and took his
place among the objects of worship;[660] on the other hand, Æneas (a
Greek importation), though he was accepted as original founder, never
received divine worship, doubtless because Romulus (nearer in name to
the city Roma) already held the position of divine patron. The cult of
eponyms tended naturally to coalesce with that of divine
'heroes'[661]--the two figures were alike in character, differing mainly
in function, and eponyms were styled 'heroes.'[662]

+358+. The inverse process, the reduction of divine beings to simple
human proportions, has gone on in early cults and in early attempts at
historical construction to a not inconsiderable degree. Thus, to take a
relatively late example, by Saxo Grammaticus and in the Heimskringla
(both of the thirteenth century) the god Odin is made into a human king
and the history of his exploits is given in detail.[663] It is, however,
especially in the treatment of the old divine heroes, originally true
gods, that the process of dedivinization appears. These figures, because
of their local character and for other reasons, entered into peculiarly
close relations with human societies, of which they thus tended to
become constituent parts, and the same feeling that gave the gods human
shapes converted the heroes into mere men, who are generally
reconstructers of society. Examples of this sort of anthropomorphizing
are found in myths all over the world: the Babylonian Gilgamesh; the
"mighty men" of Genesis vi, 4, originally demigods, the progeny of human
mothers and of the Elohim-beings (the Benë Elohim, 'sons of the gods,'
members, that is, of the divine circle); Heracles and Hercules; the
Scandinavian (apparently general Teutonic) Valkyrs, Nornas, and

+359+. The Sicilian Euhemeros (of the latter part of the fourth century
B.C.), after extensive travels to great places of worship, formulated
the theory that all the gods were deified men. Some grounds for his
theory he doubtless had, for, according to ancient opinion, gods might
and did die, and their places of burial were sometimes pointed out (the
grave of Zeus, for instance, in Crete). How far this view had been held
before the time of Euhemeros is uncertain, but he gave it vogue, and it
is called, after him, Euhemerism.[665] In recent times it has been
revived in part by Herbert Spencer and Allen, who derive all gods from
ghosts.[666] Similar to it is the rationalizing of myths, which has met
with favor at various times.

+360+. _The dead kin._ Apart from the special cases mentioned above, the
dead have been the objects of particular care in all parts of the world.
Some of the observances connected with them might perhaps, in themselves
considered, be ascribed to natural affection. It cannot be denied that
savages have some love of kindred, and this feeling, in conjunction with
the ideas concerning the future state, might lead the survivors to do
such things as it was believed would secure the comfort of the
deceased--decent burial in accordance with tribal customs, and provision
of food and attendants and other necessaries. But, while the existence
and influence of natural human kindliness need not be denied,
observation of savage life favors the conclusion that the greater part
of the early usages connected with the dead have their origin in the
desire to conciliate them, to avert their displeasure and gain their
aid, and thus come to constitute a cult of the dead that runs through
all phases of civilization.[667]

+361+. Such usages must be very ancient, for they are found in the
lowest tribes, and appear to be based on the earliest known conceptions
of the nature of departed souls.[668] These latter are held to have all
the ordinary affections of the living, but to be endowed with
extraordinary powers: they have their likes and dislikes, their
kindliness, jealousy, anger, revengefulness, all on the lower moral
grade of undeveloped life; they are, in many regards, not subject to the
ordinary limitations of the living--they are invisible, move swiftly
from place to place through obstacles impervious to the living, enter
their bodies, produce sickness and death, aid or destroy crops. On the
other hand, they need food and other necessities of ordinary life, and
for these things are dependent on the living. Hence the desirableness of
securing their good will by showing them respect and supplying their
needs, or else of somehow getting rid of them.

+362+. There are, then, two sorts of ghosts, or, more precisely, two
sorts of ghostly activity--the friendly and the unfriendly--and
corresponding to these are the emotions of love and fear which they call
forth. On account of paucity of data it is difficult to say which of
these emotions is the commoner among savages; probably the feeling is a
mixed one, compounded of fear and friendliness.[669] In general it is
evident that with the better organization of family life a gentler
feeling for the dead was called forth; but it is probable that in the
least-developed communities fear of the mysterious departed was the
prevailing emotion.

+363+. Though the accessible evidence does not enable us to determine
with certainty the motives of all savage customs connected with the
dead, there are some distinctions that may be made with fair
probability. To supply the dead with food and cooking-utensils may very
well be, as is remarked above, the impulse of affection, and even where
slaves and wives are slain that their ghosts may minister to the ghost
of the master and husband, this may not go beyond pious solicitude for
the comfort of the deceased. But the mourning-usages common with savages
are too violent to be merely the expression of love; the loud cries and
the wounding of the person are meant more probably to assure the
deceased of the high regard in which he is held;[670] in some cases, as
among the Central Australians, men gash themselves so severely as to
come near producing death.[671] These excessive demonstrations are
softened as general culture increases, and finally dwindle to an
apparatus of hired mourners. A similar explanation holds of the
restriction of food, the seclusion of the widow or the widower, and the
rule against mentioning the name of the deceased: abstinence and silence
are marks of respect.

+364+. Funeral feasts also testify respect:[672] they appear to be
extensions of the practice of providing food for the dead, feasts in
which the mourners, from motives of thriftiness, take part; the ghost
consumes only the invisible soul of the food, and it is proper that what
is left should furnish refreshment for the living.[673] The funeral
festivities are sometimes protracted, and become occasions of enjoyment
to the circle of kinsfolk, in some cases at a ruinous expense to the
family of the deceased, as is true now sometimes of Irish and other
wakes. The honor of the family is involved, and this fact, together with
the natural desire for pleasure, has contributed to the development of
the custom in savage as well as in civilized life. In general the
solemnity of the various ceremonies and other usages testifies to a
profound conviction of the necessity of keeping on good terms with the

+365+. The reports of savage customs show a certain number of cases in
which the benevolent and the malevolent activities of the dead are
equally prominent: so, for example, among the Australian Kurnai,[675]
the New Zealanders,[676] the Melanesian peoples,[677] the Vezimbas of
Madagascar,[678] the Zulus,[679] the Eẃe-speaking tribes on the west
coast of Africa.[680] It is probable that the list might be greatly
extended by exact observation. When we find two peoples, dwelling near
together and of the same grade of general culture, credited the one with
fear, the other with friendly feeling toward the dead, it seems likely
that different sets of usages have met the eyes of the observers; a
certain amount of accident must color such reports.

+366+. It is natural to suppose that fear of ghosts is commoner among
less-developed peoples, kindly feeling more usual in higher communities;
and when civilized peoples are taken into account this sort of
progression is obvious. But the reports of savages show such a mixture
of customs that it is difficult to see any line of progress. Dread of
ghosts is certified in Central Australia and North Queensland, in Tonga
(Polynesia), Central Africa, Central Asia, among the North American
Chippewas, Navahos, and Southwest Oregon Indians, and the South American
Araucanians; friendly feeling is found in Tasmania, Western Africa,
South Africa, California, and among the Iroquois and the Zuñi
Indians.[681] In such lists there is no clear sign of a division
according to general culture.

+367+. Friendly relations with the dead do not in themselves necessarily
involve worship, but a more or less definite _cult of ghosts_ is found
in various parts of the world. They are, or were, regarded as tutelary
spirits in Tasmania, Ashanti, and Dahomi (where shrines are dedicated to
them), and by the Zuñi Indians; prayers are addressed to them in Samoa
and the Hawaiian Islands (where there is a definite family worship), in
Yoruba, by the Banyas and the Zulus, by the Ossetes, the Veddahs of
Ceylon, and the North American Dakotas; offerings are made to
them--sometimes to influential persons, chiefs, and others, as in the
Gilbert Islands, in parts of Melanesia, in Borneo, and by the
Cakchiquels of Central America--sometimes to all the dead, as in the
Solomon Islands, the New Hebrides, Fiji, Torres Straits, and by the
Zulus, the Veddahs of Ceylon, the Kolarians of Bengal, and the

+368+. These lists include peoples of very different grades of culture;
the inference suggested is that the cult of the dead is of very early
origin--its basis is the same among all communities that practice it,
though the particular ceremonies of worship vary.

+369+. Besides forms of actual worship there are several usages that
involve religious veneration of the dead. Graves are regarded as asylums
by the Kafirs (graves of chiefs)[683] and in Tonga.[684] The Bedawin of
Arabia held (in pre-Islamic times), and still hold, graves sacred;[685]
they sometimes become shrines, and oaths are sworn by them. The custom
of swearing by the dead is widespread. In their character of powerful
spirits they are agents in processes of magic and divination. Parts of
dead bodies are used as charms. The skull especially is revered as an

+370+. Among the lower tribes, savage and half-civilized, it is chiefly
those who have died recently that are worshiped. A Zulu explained to
Callaway that his people forgot those who died long ago--they were
supposed to be not helpful--and hope of gain has always been the basis
of worship. Among the Kafirs of the Hindu Kush it is the custom to erect
an effigy to the memory of every adult one year after his decease.
Women, as well as men, are thus honored, and may be put on an equality
with men by being given a throne to sit on. No worship is offered to
these images, but it is believed that their presence brings prosperity;
bad weather is ascribed to their removal. There are solemn dances in
honor of the illustrious dead and sacrifices are offered to them.[687]

+371+. The worship of the dead in the great civilized communities,
though more elaborate and refined than the savage cult, is in substance
identical with it. The Egyptians provided the departed soul with food
and honored the dead man with laudatory notices of his earthly life; the
royal ancestor of a king, it was believed, might act as mediator between
him and the gods.[688] The Babylonians, while they lamented the
departure of men to the gloomy existence in the Underworld, recognized
the quasi-divine power of the dead and addressed prayer to them.[689]
The Hebrews offered food to the dead, had funeral feasts, and consulted
ghosts who were regarded as divine.[690] The Hindu "fathers," though
kept distinct from the gods, were yet conceived of as possessing godlike
powers and were worshiped as gods.[691] The Persian "forefathers"
(_fravashis_), particularly the manes of eminent pious men, were held to
be bestowers of all the blessings of life; offerings were made and
prayers addressed to them.[692]

+372+. Early notices of a cult of the dead among the Greeks are scanty.
There was the usual kindly provision of food, arms, and other
necessaries for them.[693] Odysseus in Hades pours out a libation
(honey, wine, water, to which meal is added) to all the dead, addresses
vows and prayers to them, and promises to offer to them a barren heifer
on his return to Ithaca, and a black sheep separately to Teiresias.[694]
From the sixth century onward the references in the literature show that
the worship of the dead (including children) was then general (and of
course it must have begun much earlier). The offerings made to them were
both vegetable and animal; the sacrificed animal was slaughtered in the
same way as in the sacrifices to chthonic deities--the dead were, in
fact, regarded as underground deities.[695] The flesh of the animals
offered was not eaten by the worshipers.

+373+. Among the dead thus honored is to be included one class of
heroes. A Greek "hero" was sometimes an eminent man, sometimes such a
man divinized, sometimes an old god reduced to human dimensions,
reckoned in some cases to belong to the circle of the gods proper.[696]
Such personages might be worshiped as gods, with the sacrifices
appropriate to the gods, or as departed men, with the sacrifices that
custom fixed for the dead. The hero-cult included many men of note
recently deceased, like Brasidas and those that fell at Marathon.[697]

+374+. The cults just mentioned dealt with the departed as friendly
souls, the protectors of the family, the clan, or the state. The state
cult of the dead was elaborate and solemn. The Greek citizen was
surrounded by a host of the eminent dead who kept him in touch with the
past and offered him ideals of life.[698] Another attitude toward the
dead is indicated by the great apotropaic spring festival, the
Anthesteria of Athens, the object of which was to rid the city of the
ghosts that then wandered about.[699] This double attitude is precisely
that of the savage tribes referred to above. The same difference of
feeling appears in the Roman cults: the _manes_ are the friendly or
doubtful souls of dead ancestors; the Parentalia is a festival in honor
of the dead kin; in the Lemuria, on the other hand, the father of the
family performs a ceremony at midnight intended to rid the house of

+375+. Among modern peoples it is the Chinese that have organized the
worship of the dead in the completest way; it is for them the most
important part of the popular religion.[701] Similar veneration of
ancestors exists in Japan.[702]

+376+. The venerated dead stood apart, as a rule, from the
nature-spirits and the gods, but these different classes sometimes
coalesced, as has been remarked above, in popular usage. The powers and
functions of the dead were not essentially different from those of the
divinities proper, particularly in the simpler stages of society. They
were able to bestow all the blessings and to inflict all the misfortunes
of life. In process of time the advance of knowledge relegated them to a
subordinate place, but they long retained a considerable importance as
friends of families and states, as disseminators of disease, and as
predictors of human fortunes.

+377+. In the exercise of these functions they were often not to be
distinguished from the higher and lower deities. King Saul, on the eve
of a great battle, having failed to get an answer from the national
deity by the ordinary legitimate methods, had recourse to necromancy and
obtained from the ghost of Samuel the information that Yahweh had
refused to give.[703] The Greek _kēres_ and the wandering ghosts of
West Africa do exactly what is ascribed to the malefic spirits of
Babylonia.[704] Examples of such identity of function between the
various superhuman Powers are found all over the world.

+378+. This fact does not show that these Powers have the same origin.
The savage accepts agents in human life wherever he can find them--in
beings inhabiting mountains, rocks, trees, caves, springs, and in the
souls of departed men. Doubtless he thinks of the forms of these various
actors as being all of the same sort, a sublimated manlike body; but he
keeps them in different categories, and in the course of time the
tendency is for ghosts and spirits to sink out of sight and for the gods
to absorb all extrahuman activities.

+379+. The ethical power of the cults so far discussed resides in the
human association to which they give rise and the sanctions they supply
to conduct. Of these two effects the former is the more important. The
moral character of a ghost or spirit or deity never rises above that of
its circle of worshipers: its approval or disapproval is the echo of
current usage, and has special efficiency only in the accompanying power
of reward or punishment; it appeals to the hopes and fears of men. This
police function is doubtless valuable in restraining from crime and
inciting to good conduct, but it has no regenerative power. The
enlargement of human association, on the other hand, increases sympathy
and coöperation among men, and paves the way to the cultivation of the
mutual respect and regard which is the basis of social virtue.

+380+. Among the lower cults ancestor-worship may be expected to take
the highest place, for the reason that it tends to strengthen family
unity and the solidarity of the clan, tribe, or nation; all such
knitting together of men makes for the increase of honesty and
kindliness. The data are lacking, however, for the determination of this
point. It may be said in general that the attitude toward the dead
becomes finer with advance in civilization; but before a specific moral
power in ancestor-worship can be proved, it will be necessary to have
exact details of moral ideas and conduct in all the lower tribes,
together with some information regarding the attitude of individuals
toward questions of conduct, and the motives that impel toward this or
that action. The question of ethical growth in society is a complicated
one, and the most that can be said for any element of social
constitution is that it tends to strengthen or weaken the individual's
confidence in and regard for his fellows.

+381+. The part played in religious history by the worship of the dead
is so important that some writers have derived all religion from
it.[705] This view is now generally rejected for the reason that it does
not accord with known facts; it is only by forced (though often
ingenious) interpretations that a plausible case is made out for it. To
reply in detail to the arguments advanced in its favor would be to go
over the whole ground of the origin of religious observances; the answer
is furnished by setting forth the nature of the various cults, as is
attempted in this and following chapters. If, for example, there is
reason to believe that savages have always regarded the lower animals as
powerful beings, there is no need, in accounting for the veneration
given them, to resort to the roundabout way of assuming a
misinterpretation of names of men derived from beasts.

+382+. Between Euhemerism and the theory that explains myths as a
"disease of language" there is little or no essential difference of
principle. Both theories assume that man, having devised certain
epithets, later came to misunderstand them and to build up histories on
the misunderstanding. Both thus rest the immense mass of human religious
customs and beliefs, which form so large a part of human history, on the
precarious foundation of passing fancy and inadvertence, and they must
be put into the same category with the naïve theory, once popular, that
religion is the invention of priests who sought to control men through
their fears.

+383+. Ancestor-worship is the feeling of kinship with the dead,
invested by religion with peculiar intensity and solemnity. It has been
one of the great constructive forces of society.


+384+. The origin of religion is not to be referred exclusively to any
one order of ideas; it springs out of man's total life. All objects and
processes have been included in men's construction of nature, and the
processes, when they have been held to bear on human well-being, have
been ascribed to a force inherent in things or to the activity of
supernatural beings.

+385+. The study of processes has gone hand in hand with the creation of
divine beings who are supposed to manifest themselves in the processes.
The great spectacle of nature's productivity has been especially
recognizable in the vegetable world and in the world of man; in both of
these life has been perpetually unfolding itself under men's eyes as a
mysterious process, which, by virtue of its mysteriousness, has become
religious material and has entered into systems of religious worship.

+386+. The relation of vegetable life to religious cults is referred to
elsewhere,[706] and a brief survey may now be given of usages and ideas
that have been connected with the production of human life.

+387+. It is obvious that not all customs that include the function of
generation are of the nature of religious observances. The promiscuity
that obtains in many savage communities before marriage is a naïve
unreflective animal procedure. Exchange of wives (as in Central
Australia) and the offering of a wife to a guest are matters of social
etiquette. Festivals in which sexual license is the rule are generally
merely the expression of natural impulses. Holidays, being times of
amusement, are occasions used by the people for the satisfaction of all
appetites: there is eating and drinking, buffoonery, disregard of
current conventions, unbounded liberty to do whatever exuberant
animalism prompts. Such festivities abound among existing savages,[707]
were not uncommon in ancient civilized times,[708] and have survived in
diminished form to the present day.[709] In the course of time they
often become attached to the worship of gods, are organized, explained
by myths, and sanctified. In such cases of coalescence we must
distinguish between the true worship offered to a divine being, and the
observances, generally originating in desire for animal amusement and
enjoyment, that have been attached to them.

+388+. _Cult of generative organs._ Men's attention must have been
directed very early to those organs that were believed to be connected
with the genesis of human life. At what stage this belief arose it is
hardly possible to say; there are peoples among whom it seems not to
exist;[710] but it is found over a great part of the world, and was
doubtless an outcome of popular observation.[711] As it was intimately
connected with life it passed naturally into the domain of religion, and
in process of time became a more or less prominent part of religious
observances; the organs in question, both male and female, became
objects of religious devotion.

+389+. Here again it must be noted that not all usages connected with
the organs of generation were religious of origin. It is pointed out
above[712] that the origin of circumcision and excision is to be sought
in another direction. Ithyphallic images are sometimes merely attempts
at realism in art; a nude figure (as in modern art) must be represented
in its full proportions. Such seems to be the nature of certain images
among the Western Bantu,[713] and this may have been the case with the
images of the Egyptian Khem and Osiris and similar deities. In general
this sort of representation in savage and ancient civilized communities
is often either simple realism or indecency. Folk-stories abound in
details that sound indecent to modern ears, but were for the authors
often merely copies of current usages.

+390+. All important members of the human body have been regarded as to
a greater or less extent sacred, their importance depending on their
subservience to man's needs. The head of an enemy gives the slayer
wisdom and strength; an oath sworn by the head or beard of one's father
is peculiarly binding; the heart, when eaten, imparts power; a solemn
oath may be sworn by the sexual organs. In no case does the sacredness
of an object necessarily involve its worship; whether or not it shall
receive a true cult depends on general social considerations.

+391+. Though phallic cults proper cannot be shown to be universal among
men, they have played a not inconsiderable part in religious history.
They appear to have passed through the usual grades of
development--simple at first, later more complicated. The attitude of
savages and low communities generally, non-Christian and Christian,
toward the phallus, suggests that in the earliest stage of the cult some
sort of worship was paid the physical object itself considered as a
creator of life; satisfactory data on this point, however, are lacking.
It was at so early a period that it was brought into cultic connection
with supernatural beings that its initial forms escape us.

+392+. It seems not to exist now among the lowest peoples. There are no
definite traces of it in the tribes of Oceania, Central Africa, Central
Asia, and America. The silence of explorers on this point cannot indeed
be taken as proof positive of its nonexistence; yet the absence of
distinct mention of it in a great number of carefully prepared works
leads us to infer that it does not play an important part in the
religious systems therein described.[714] It seems to require, for its
establishment, a fairly well-developed social and political
organization. Some of the tribes named above have departmental deities,
mostly of a simple sort, but apparently it has not occurred to them to
isolate this particular function, which they probably regarded as a
familiar part of the order of things and not needing special mention.
The gift of children was in the hands of the local god, a generally
recognized part of his duty as patron of the tribe, and all sexual
matters naturally might be referred to him. Also, as is remarked above,
in certain tribes there was no knowledge of the connection between the
birth of children and the union of the sexes,[715] and such tribes would
of course ascribe no creative power to the phallus.

+393+. The best example of a half-civilized phallic cult is that which
is now practiced in Yoruba and Dahomi, countries with definite
government and institutions. The cult is attached to the worship of a
deity (Elegba or Legba), who appears to be a patron of fertility; the
phallus occupies a prominent place on his temples, and its worship is
accompanied by the usual licentious rites.[716] These are expressions of
popular appetite, and it does not appear that the cult itself is
otherwise religiously significant.

+394+. In modern India the Çivaite phallicism is pronounced and
important. The linga is treated as a divine power, and, as producer of
fertility, is especially the object of devotion of women;[717] though
Çivaism has its rites of unbridled bestialism, the worship of the linga
by women is often free from impurity; it is practically worship of a
deity of fertility. The origin of the Indian cult is not clear. As it
does not appear in the earliest literature, it has been supposed to have
come into Aryan worship from non-Aryan tribes. Whatever its origin, it
is now widely observed in Aryan India, and has been adopted by various
outlying tribes.[718]

+395+. While it is, or was, well established in Japan, it apparently has
had no marked influence on the religious thought of the people. Phallic
forms abound[719] in the land, in spite of repressive measures on the
part of the government, but the cult partakes of the general looseness
of the Shinto organization of supernatural Powers. It is said to have
been adopted in some cases by Buddhists. It appears to have been
combined with Shinto at a very early (half-civilized) time, for which,
however, no records exist.

+396+. It is among the great ancient civilized peoples that the most
definite organization of phallic cults is found.

+397+. For Egypt there is the testimony of Herodotus,[720] who describes
a procession of women bearing small phallic images and singing hymns in
honor of a deity whom he calls Dionysos--probably Khem or Osiris or Bes;
such images are mentioned by Plutarch,[721] supposed by him to represent
Osiris. Both Khem and Osiris were great gods, credited with general
creative power, and popular ceremonies of a phallicistic nature might
easily be attached to their cults. Bes, a less important deity, seems to
have been fashioned largely by popular fancy. These ceremonies were
doubtless attended with license,[722] but they probably formed no part
of Egyptian serious worship. The phallus was essential in a realistic
image, but it appears to have been regarded simply as a physical part of
the god or as an emblem of him; there is no evidence that worship was
addressed to it in itself.

+398+. The evidence that has been adduced for a cult of the phallus
among Semitic peoples is of a doubtful nature. No ithyphallic images or
figures of gods have been found. Religious prostitution there was in all
North Semitic lands,[723] but this is a wholly different thing from a
phallicistic cult. It is supposed, however, by not a few scholars that
descriptions and representations of the phallus occur in so many places
as to make some sort of cult of the object probable. In a passage of the
Book of Isaiah, descriptive of a foreign cult practiced, probably, by
some Jews, the phallus, it is held, is named.[724] The passage is
obscure. The nature and origin of the cult referred to are not clear; it
is not elsewhere mentioned. The word (_yad_, usually 'hand') supposed to
mean 'phallus' is not found in this sense elsewhere in the Old Testament
or in later Hebrew literature. But, if the proposed rendering be
adopted, the reference will be not to a cult of the phallus but to
sexual intercourse, a figurative description of idolatry.

+399+. A distinct mention of phalli as connected with religious worship
occurs in Pseudo-Lucian's description of the temple of a certain goddess
at Hierapolis.[725] He gives the name to enormously high structures
standing in the propylæa of the temple, but mentions no details
suggesting a phallic cult. Twice a year, he says, a man ascends one of
them, on the top of which he stays seven days, praying, as some think,
for a blessing on all Syria--a procedure suggesting that the pillar was
simply a structure consecrated to the deity of the place (probably
Atargatis, who is often called "the Syrian goddess")[726]. However, if
there was a phallic cult there (the phallus being regarded as a symbol
of the productive function of the deity), it is not certain that it was
Semitic. Hierapolis had long been an important religious center in a
region in which Asiatic and Greek worships were influential, and foreign
elements might easily have become attached to the worship of a Semitic
deity. The cult of the Asian Great Mother (whom the Greeks identified
with their Leto) had orgiastic elements. Lucian's reference to a custom
of emasculation suggests Asian features at Hierapolis.[727]

+400+. In Babylonia and Palestine stones, held by some to be phalli,
have been found.[728] While the shape of some of these objects and their
occurrence at shrines may be supposed to lend support to this view, its
correctness is open to doubt. There is no documentary evidence as to the
character of the objects in question, and they may be explained
otherwise than as phalli. But, if they are phalli, their presence does
not prove a phallic cult--they may be votive objects, indicating that
the phallus was regarded as in some sort sacred, not that it was
worshiped. Decision of the question may be reserved till more material
has been collected. There is no sufficient ground for regarding the
stone posts that stood by Hebrew shrines as phallic symbols; they are
naturally explained as sacred stones, originally embodying a deity,
later attached to his shrines as traditional objects entitled to

+401+. In Asia Minor and the Hellenic communities (both in Ionia and in
Greece proper) the phallicistic material is extensive and complicated. A
symbolic signification appears to have been superimposed on early
realistic anthropomorphic figures that were simply images of
supernatural Powers. In various regions such figures came to be
associated with the generative force of nature in human birth, and the
tendency to specialization assigned these divine beings special
functions; of this nature, probably, were the local Athenian deities
Orthanes, Konisalos, and others.[730] At a later period such functions
were attributed to the well-developed gods of fertility; rituals sprang
up and were explained by myths, and various combinations and
identifications were made between the prominent gods.

+402+. The most interesting figure of this character is Priapos, an
ithyphallic deity of uncertain origin; his special connection was with
Lampsakos, and he may have been an Asian creation. From the variety of
his functions (he was patron of gardens and viticulture, of sailors and
fishermen, and in some places a god of war)[731] it may be surmised that
he was originally a local deity, charged with the care of all human
interests, in an agricultural community the patron of fertility, and at
some time, and under circumstances unknown to us, especially connected
with sexual life. Whatever his origin, his cult spread over Greece, he
was identified with certain Greek deities, licentious popular festivals
naturally attached themselves to his worship, and his name became a
synonym of sexual passion. In the later time the pictorial
representations of him became grossly indecent; his cult was an outlet
for popular and artistic license.[732] On the other hand, in the higher
thought he was made the representative of the production of universal
animal life, and rose to the rank of a great god.[733]

+403+. The Greek deities with whom Priapos was oftenest identified were
Dionysos and Hermes--both gods of fertility. They, as great gods of such
a nature, would naturally absorb lesser phallicistic figures; but they
were specialized in other directions, and Priapos remained as the
distinctest embodiment of phallicistic conceptions. Other such figures,
as Pan, Titans, Sileni, and Satyrs, were beings connected with fields,
woods, and mountains, products of a low form of civilization, to whom
realistic forms and licentious festivals naturally attached themselves.

+404+. Rome had its native ithyphallic deity, Mutunus Tutunus (or
Mutinus), a naïve symbol of generative power.[734] Little is known of
his cult beyond the fact that he figured in marriage ceremonies in a
peculiarly indecent way; by later writers he is sometimes identified
with Priapos.[735] The Romans adopted the cult of Priapos as well as
other phallicistic forms of worship; his original character appears in
his rôle of patron of gardens.

+405+. Phalli as amulets occur in all parts of the world; as symbols
and perhaps as abodes of deities, they have been held potent to ward off
all evils.[736]

+406+. The female organ (_yoni_, _kteis_) appears frequently in figures
of female deities, ordinarily without special significance, religious or
other, except as a sign of sex. In the rare cases in which it is the
object of religious veneration (as in India) it is subordinated to the
phallos[737]--there is little or no evidence for the existence of a
yonistic cult proper.[738] Female deities act as fully formed
anthropomorphic Powers, embodiments of the productive energies of
nature; they are generally treated as persons, without special reference
to bodily parts. The most definite formulation of this conception
appears in Çaktism, the worship of the female principle in nature as
represented by various goddesses, often accompanied, naturally, by
licentious rites.[739]

+407+. _Androgynous deities_ represent attempts to combine in a single
person the two sides of the productive power of nature. Such attempts
are relatively late, implying a considerable degree of reflection and
organization; how early they began we have not the data to determine.
They are not found among savage or half-civilized peoples.

+408+. In Semitic lands no artistic representations of a bisexual deity
are now known, but evidence is adduced to show that this conception
existed in early times. It has been sought in two old Babylonian
inscriptions published by the British Museum.[740] The first of these
(written in Sumerian) reads: "For [or, in honor of] the (divine) king of
countries, the (divine) Nana [Ishtar], the lady Nana, Lugaltarsi, king
of Kish, has constructed," etc. Barton takes the two titles "the divine
Ishtar" (='king of countries,' masculine) and "the lady Ishtar" to refer
to the same deity, in whose person would thus be united male and female
beings. If, however, the king of countries and Ishtar be taken to be two
different deities (as is possible), there is no bisexuality. The second
inscription, which is bilingual, has the expressions "the mother-father
Enlil," "the mother-father Ninlil" (Sumerian), rendered in Semitic "the
father-mother Enlil," "the father-mother Ninlil." These expressions
probably signify not that the two deities are bisexual, but that each of
them fulfills the guarding and nourishing functions of a father and a

The expression in a hymn to Ishtar that "she has a beard like the god
Ashur" may be satisfactorily explained as an astrological statement, the
meaning of which is that the planet Dilbat (Ishtar, Venus) at certain
times equals the sun (represented by Ashur) in brilliancy, her rays
being likened to a beard.[741] A similar astrological interpretation is
offered by Jastrow of a passage (to which attention was called by
François Lenormant) in which a female Dilbat and a male Dilbat are
spoken of. Other astrological texts indicate that the terms 'male' and
'female' are employed as expressions of greater or less brilliancy.[742]
Lajard's view, that all Babylonian and Assyrian deities were
androgynous, hardly needs discussion now.[743]

+409+. Of a more definite character are expressions in two Phoenician
inscriptions. In an inscription of Eshmunazzar II (probably early in the
fourth century B.C.) the great goddess of Sidon is called "Ashtart
_Shem_ Baal."[744] The word _shem_ means 'name,' and, if it be so
interpreted as to give the goddess the name of a male divinity, she may
be understood to have partly male form. But such change of name is
hardly probable, and this is not necessarily the natural force of the
phrase. In Hebrew to "call one's name on a person or thing" is to assert
ownership in it or close connection with it.[745] In the West Semitic
area some personal names signify simply 'name of such and such a deity,'
as, for example, Shemuel (Samuel), 'name of El,' Shemzebul, 'name of
(the god) Zebul,' denoting devotion or subordination to the deity in
question. "Shem Baal" as a title of Ashtart may then indicate her close
relation with the god, or, perhaps, if the expression be understood more
broadly, her equality with him in power (the name of a deity involves
his attributes)--he was the great god, but she, the expression would
say, is not less mighty than he; or, less probably, _baal_ may be taken
not as proper name but as title, the sense then being that the goddess
is the lord of the city.[746] Another proposal is to read "Ashtart
shamē Baal," 'Ashtart of the heaven [sky] of Baal.'[747] There is a
Phoenician Baal-shamem, 'lord of the sky,' but nowhere else is the sky
described as the abode of a baal, and the transference of the local
city-goddess to that region would be strange; nor in the expression
'Baal-shamem' is Baal a proper name--it is merely a title.

+410+. Another phrase, occurring in many Carthaginian inscriptions,
makes mention of "Tanit face of Baal,"[748] an expression that may point
to a female body with male face. Its indefiniteness--it does not state
the nature of the face (it may point to a beard)--makes it difficult to
draw from it any conclusions as to the character of the deity
named.[749] But the probability is that it is identical in sense with
the one mentioned above. Tanit was the great goddess of Carthage; she is
called "Adon," 'lord,' and her equality with Baal is indicated by the
statement that she had his face, the word 'face' being here equivalent
to 'personality' and 'power.'[750]

+411+. At a later period (early in the fifth century of our era) two
authors, Servius and Macrobius, make definite statements concerning a
bisexual cult, apparently Semitic.[751] Both statements occur in
connection with Vergil's use of the masculine _deus_ (_ducente deo_) as
a title of Venus, in explanation of which the cases of supposed
bisexualism are cited.[752] What is said is that there was in Cyprus a
deity whose image was bearded--a god of virile nature, but dressed as a
woman, and regarded as being both male and female. Further, Philochorus
is quoted to the effect that men sacrificed to her in women's dress and
women in men's dress. This last remark does not necessarily point to an
androgynous deity, for exchange of dress between men and women sometimes
occurs where there is no question of the cult of such a deity.[753] But
the Cyprian deity is said also to have been called Αφροδιτον
(Aphroditos? or Aphroditon?)[754]--apparently a male Aphrodite.

+412+. Leaving aside a few other notices that add nothing to our
knowledge of the point under consideration, we should naturally
conclude, if we give any credit to the statements of Servius and
Macrobius, that there was a report in their time of a bisexual deity in
Cyprus. As regards Vergil's "deus," that may be merely a poetical
expression of the eminence and potency of the goddess. But the
assertions of her bisexual character are distinct, even if the "beard"
be discarded. This latter may have come from a misunderstanding of some
appearance on the face of the statue; or, as has been suggested, there
may have been a false beard attached to it permanently or
occasionally,[755] and from this may have sprung the belief in the
twofold nature of the deity. We are not told, however, that such a
nature was ascribed to Aphrodite, or that a beard was attached to her
statue; and, if this was done, it is difficult to suppose that a popular
belief in the bisexuality of a deity could have arisen from such a
procedure. Some better ground for the statements of Servius and
Macrobius there seems to have been, though we do not know their
authorities. In any case it may be concluded that the cult in question,
if it existed, was late, popular, and without marked influence on the
Semitic religious development. No figures or other traces of a bisexual
deity have been discovered in Cyprus or elsewhere (unless the
Carthaginian Tanit be an exception), and all that is otherwise known of
the character and cult of the Babylonian Ishtar, the Phoenician
Ashtart, and the Carthaginian Tanit (=Ashtart) is against the
supposition of bisexuality. Ishtar, originally a deity of fertility,
became, through social growth, a patron of war and statecraft; but there
is no indication that an attempt was ever made to combine these two
characters in one figure.

+413+. The Phrygian figure Agdistis, represented in the myths as
androgynous[756] (the myths being based on cults), is connected with the
worship of the Great Mother, Kybele (the embodiment of the female
productive power of nature), with whom is associated Attis (the
embodiment of the male power).[757] The myths identify Agdistis on the
one hand with Kybele, on the other hand with Attis--he represents in his
own person the combination of the two generative powers. But it is
doubtful whether this was his significance in the actual worship, in
which he hardly appears; he was probably a divine figure of the same
character as Kybele and Attis, worked up by myth-makers and woven into
the larger myth. His self-castration reflects the practice of the
priests and other worshipers of Kybele.[758] Thus culturally he is of
little or no importance.

+414+. There is no evidence that this Phrygian figure was derived from
Semitic sources. A certain similarity between Phrygian and Syrian cults
of gods and goddesses of fertility is obvious, and the social relations
between Asia Minor, Syria, and Cyprus make borrowing in either direction
conceivable. But cults of such deities might grow up independently in
different regions,[759] and the supposition that the Phrygian worship
was native to Asia Minor is favored by the great elaboration of its
ceremonies and by their barbarous character. This character suggests
that the worship may have originated with savage peoples who preceded
the Aryans in the country.[760]

+415+. The most definite androgynous figure is the Greek Hermaphroditos.
It was only in Greece that such a compound name arose, and that the
composite form became established in art. It is not certain when the
Greek form was fixed. If the statement that Aristophanes used the term
"Aphroditos"[761] (or "Aphroditon") is to be relied on, it must be
concluded that the conception existed in Greece prior to the fifth
century, probably in that case as a popular usage that was unorganized
and unimportant, since it is not referred to in the existing literature.
But of this Aristophanes we know nothing, and the vague statements of
Servius and Macrobius may be neglected as being without significance for
the figure in question.

+416+. The name Hermaphroditos is said to occur for the first time in
the fourth or third century B.C.[762] This would indicate a gradual
formulation of the idea, the result being the combination of two divine
forms into a single form. Aphrodite would naturally be chosen for the
female side, and the ithyphallic Hermes is appropriate for the male
side--possibly the Hermes pillar with Aphrodite bust was the earliest
form.[763] The representations of Hermaphrodites show a male body with
female bust; the name Aphroditos would rather suggest a female body with
male additions. Other Greek bisexual figures are forms of Priapos and

An historical connection between the Greek and the Phrygian forms is
possible, but is not proved. In India the bisexual form of Çiva, which
seems to be late,[764] connects itself with the licentious character of
his rites. Its historical origin is uncertain.

+417+. It does not appear that the cult of the Greek androgynous deities
entered seriously into the religious life of the people. In late
philosophic circles they were treated merely as symbols of the creative
power of nature, and thus lost their character as persons.

+418+. The starting-point for the development of the hermaphrodite
figure may perhaps be found in two facts, the interchange or change of
sexual characters[765] and the combination of two deities to express a
broader idea than either of them represents. The assumption of female
dress and sexual habits by males, and of male dress and habits by
females, has prevailed over a great part of the world.[766] The
embodiment of this fact in a composite divine form would be not
unnatural at a time when there was a disposition to give expression, in
the person of gods, to all human experiences. Such definite embodiment
is, however, rare in religious history, probably, as is suggested above,
because it involves a large generalization and a more or less distinct
symbolism. The first movement in this direction may have been naïvely
sensuous; later, as is remarked above, the symbolic conception became

+419+. The association of certain _animals_ with certain phallic deities
(as the bull with Dionysos, the goat with Pan, the ass with Priapos) is
a part of the general connection between gods and animals, the grounds
of which are in many cases obscure.[767] Pan's rural character may
explain his relation to the goat; the bull, the ass, and many other
animals regarded as sacred, may have been brought into ritual connection
with gods by processes of subordination of divine beasts and through
collocation of cults. There is no evidence to show that the animals
connected with phallic gods were selected on account of their salacious
dispositions or their sexual power.

+420+. Phallicistic cults, attenuated by advance of refinement, survived
long, even into Christian times, under modified forms.[768] In such
cases they become merely devices of ignorant piety. When the aid of a
Christian saint is sought in order to secure fertility, the trust in the
phallus-symbol involves no unworthy desire; and what is true of medieval
European peoples may have been true of ancient peoples. In the ancient
world these cults took many forms, ranging from naïve faith to frank
obscenity on the one hand and philosophic breadth on the other hand.
They take their place as part of the general worship of the forces of
nature, and follow all the variations of human culture.



+421+. Totemism and taboo are both of them intimately connected with the
history of early religion, but in different ways. Totemism is not
essentially religious if religion be held to involve worship of
superhuman or extrahuman beings; it has, however, in many cases
coalesced with religious practices and ideas, and it is sometimes
difficult to draw the line distinctly between it and religion proper.
Taboo, on the other hand, is founded on magical conceptions, and these
are nearly allied to the basis of early religion; it is more or less
prominent in all early cults, and has survived in the higher religious
systems, though in these it is generally spiritualized. The two lines of
development, totemism and taboo, appear side by side in early cults, and
influence each the other; but their functions in the social organization
of religion have been different, and they are best treated separately.
As the collections of material for their history are still incomplete,
accounts of them must be regarded as, to a greater or less extent,


+422+. The natural attraction of human beings for one another and the
necessity of providing effective means of defense against enemies have
led men to associate themselves together in clans and tribes. In such
associations some form of organization arose as a matter of course;
experience early showed that men could not live together except under
the guidance and control of authoritative regulations. Such regulations
dealt with fundamental facts of life, which in the beginnings of society
are mostly physical. The points requiring regulation are: the relation
of man to nonhuman things (animals, plants, and inanimate objects); the
maintenance of rights of life and property; and the sexual relations
between human beings, especially marriage as the basis of the family.
The determination of what things may be eaten belongs more particularly
under "taboo," and is considered below. Customs and rules designed to
protect life and property have always coalesced with religious systems;
they are mentioned in connection with the ethical element in
religion.[769] The other points--relations to nonhuman things and sexual
relations--may be conveniently considered together here; but, as the
second point belongs rather to sociology than to the history of
religion, it will be sufficient, with an introductory word on marriage
restrictions (under _Exogamy_), to give the facts in connection with the
various totemic organizations.

+423+. _Exogamy._[770] All over the savage world the general rule
prevails (though not without exceptions) that a man must not marry a
woman of his own clan; though the family proper (husband, wife, and
children) exists, the clan is the fundamental social unit. When a tribe
contains several clans it is commonly divided into groups (phratries),
each phratry including certain clans, and the rule then is that a man
shall not marry a woman of his phratry. Usually the number of phratries
is two, but in some cases (as among the Australian Arunta and adjoining
tribes) these are divided so that there are four or eight exogamous
groups (subphratries). When the totem is hereditary the totemic clans
are exogamous; otherwise (as among the Arunta) marriage between persons
of the same clan is permitted.

+424+. Whether the clan or the phratry preceded in time it is hardly
possible to determine--clans may have united to form a larger group, or
an original group may have been divided into clans. But in the latter
case this original group was practically a clan, so that the question of
precedence in time is not important. Where clan exogamy exists without
phratries it is possible that these also formerly existed and have been
dropped in the interests of freedom--that is, they limited the choice of
a wife to an extent that proved inconvenient.[771]

+425+. An almost universal feature of the marriage rules of low tribes
is the classificatory system of relationship. According to this system,
the community being divided into groups, terms of relationship indicate
not kinship in blood but tribal status in respect of marriageability;
thus, the same term is used for a child's real father and for every man
who might legally have become the husband of his mother, and the same
term for the real mother and for every woman whom the father might have
married; the children of such possible fathers and mothers are the
child's brothers and sisters; all possible spouses are called a man's
"wives" or a woman's "husbands"; and similarly with all

+426+. The system has many varieties of form, and gives way in time to
the formal recognition of blood kinship. It has been held to point to an
earlier system of "group marriage," in which all the men of one group
had marital relations with all the women of another group, and further
to a primitive custom of sexual promiscuity.[773] In the nature of the
case these hypotheses do not admit of proof or disproof. All that is
certain is that the classificatory system has been and is an
accompaniment of one stage of social and religious development.

+427+. The effect of exogamous arrangements has been to prevent marriage
between persons related in blood.[774] In totemic organizations, when
the totem is inherited, a division into two exogamous groups makes
marriage of brother to sister impossible, since all the children of one
mother are in the same group; and if there are four such groups and
children are assigned to a group different from that of the father and
that of the mother, marriage between parent and child is impossible.
When the totem is not inherited (as is the case among the Australian
Arunta) similar results are secured by a further subdivision.

+428+. The particular exogamic customs vary considerably among early
tribes, the differences following, in general, differences of social
organization. In some more settled savage communities (as, for example,
the Kurnai of Southeast Australia), in which there are neither classes
nor totemic clans, marriage is permitted only between members of certain
districts.[775] Well-organized social life tends to promote individual
freedom in marriage as in other things. Marriage with a half-sister was
allowed by the old Hebrew law,[776] and Egyptian kings often married
their sisters.

+429+. _Theories of the origin of exogamy._ Exogamy has been referred to
a supposed scarcity of women, which forced the young men to seek wives
abroad.[777] On the assumption of early sexual promiscuity it has been
regarded as a deliberate attempt to prevent the marriage of blood
relations.[778] It has been supposed to result from the absence of
sexual attraction between persons who have been brought up
together.[779] An original human horde being assumed, it has been
suggested that the patriarch, who had possession of all the women of the
horde, would, from jealousy, drive the young men off to seek wives
elsewhere.[780] From the point of view of the totem as divine ancestor,
exogamy has been supposed to arise from religious respect for the clan
blood, which is held to share the divinity of the totem, and would be
polluted (with danger to the clan) by outside marriages.[781]

+430+. Objections may be raised to all these theories. It is doubtful
whether a scarcity of women existed in early times; and supposing that
there were not women enough in a clan for the men of the clan, this
would not stand in the way of men's taking as wives their clan
women.[782] The assumption of primitive sexual promiscuity, likewise,
cannot be said to be distinctly borne out by known facts.[783] Morgan's
theory, however, is not dependent on this assumption--it need only
suppose repugnance to the marriage of blood relations. Such repugnance
granted, the main objection to the theory rests on the difficulty of
supposing savages capable of originating so thoughtful and elastic a
scheme as the exogamous system. This is a point on which it is not
possible to speak positively. The lowest tribes have produced languages
of wonderfully intricate and delicate construction, and, supposing the
process of constructing marriage regulations to have gone on during a
very long period, modifications introduced from time to time, to meet
conditions felt to be important, might conceivably result in such
exogamous systems as are now found.

+431+. As to absence of sexual attraction between persons brought up
together,[784] this seems to be a result rather than a cause of the
prohibition of sexual relations between certain classes of persons. The
argument from habits of the lower animals is indefinite--no general
habit has been proven. In orgies in India and elsewhere no repulsion
appears between persons of the same family. In the ancient world
marriage between such persons was legal and not uncommon.

+432+. The human horde, with its jealous patriarch, appears to be a
creation of the scientific imagination. It, again, was derived by its
author from the procedure of certain beast-herds in which the strongest
male drives away his rivals. It is supposed, however, that in the human
horde the young men, having found wives, are allowed to come back
bringing their wives with them, and these last the patriarch is supposed
not to appropriate. The theory is supported by no facts of actual usage.

+433+. The supposition that the young men of a clan or tribe go off to
seek food, and thus found a new clan, has more in its favor. Being
compelled to seek wives in their new surroundings, they might thus
initiate a habit of outside marriage that would in time become general
usage and therefore sacred. Secession from tribes does occur, and may
have been frequent in prehistoric times, but concerning these times we
have little or no information. It may be said that movements of this
sort would furnish a more probable starting-point for savage customs
than the ideas and schemes mentioned above.

+434+. Proof is lacking also for Durkheim's theory. It is not probable
that the totem was regarded as divine in the period in which exogamy
arose--by the tribes whose ideas on this point are known the totem is
looked on as a friend and an equal but not as a god. And, as is pointed
out above, there is no such general religious respect for the clan blood
as would forbid sexual intercourse between persons of the same clan. The
demand for revenge for the murder of a clansman arises from the sense of
clan solidarity and the necessity of self-defense--it is only in this
regard that the blood of the clan is regarded as sacred.

+435+. Horror of marriage or of sexual intercourse in general, within
the prohibited degrees or areas, is universal in low communities;
violation of the tribal law on this point is severely punished,
sometimes with death. Whence this feeling sprang is not clear.[785] It
cannot have arisen from respect for the purity of women or from a belief
in the sanctity of the family--intercourse with girls before their
marriage is freely allowed, and lending or exchange of wives is common.
Magical dangers are supposed to follow on infringement of marriage
rules, but, as such results come from violation of any tribal custom,
this throws no light on the origin of the feeling of horror in question.
Absence of sexual attraction between persons brought up together,[786]
though the absence of such feeling is said to have been observed in some
of the lower animals, is not assured for savages; its existence in
civilized communities is due to the acceptance of the established
usage, which makes certain unions impossible, so that they are not
considered, and the germ of such a public opinion may perhaps be assumed
for early tribes. Probably the horror of incest is a derivation from
economic and other situations and laws that arose naturally in early
society--it is a habit hardened into an instinct.

+436+. Though exogamy differs from totemism in origin and function, the
two are often found associated--their conjunction may be said to be the
general rule. There are, however, exceptions.[787] Totemic clans are not
exogamous in Central Australia, the Melanesian Banks Islands, among the
Nandi of East Africa, and the Bakuana of South Africa. On the other
hand, exogamy is found without totemism in the tribes just mentioned,
among the Todas of Southern India, in Sumatra, among the African Masai
and Ashanti, and in Southern Nigeria, and local exogamy among tribes
(for example, the Kurnai of Southeast Australia, and the Californian
Maidu and Shasta) in which totemic divisions are not perceptible.

+437+. In all such cases, however, the absence of records makes the
history of the organizations uncertain--we do not know whether or not
one of the elements, totemism or exogamy, formerly existed and has
yielded to disintegrating influences. Thus local exogamy may have
superseded clan exogamy in many places, the former representing the more
settled habit of life, and the absence of the totemic constitution may
indicate a process of decay of totemism. No general rule for the
decision of the question can be laid down--every case must be judged for

+438+. Since a custom of exogamy presupposes at least two social groups
(clans), and totemism appears to be connected originally with single
clans, the natural inference is that the latter has everywhere preceded
the former in time. Both have undergone great changes produced by
similar sets of circumstances, and in both cases the simplest form is
probably the oldest, though here again definite data are lacking.
However, comparison of the known exogamous systems points to a two-group
arrangement as that from which the existing forms have come.

+439+. Exogamy served a good purpose in early stages of society, both
by preventing marriages between blood relations and by inducing a sense
of the sacredness of the marriage bond. Its long persistence shows that
it was regarded by most tribes as necessary for the maintenance of the
tribal life. Its restriction of individual freedom in the choice of
wives was an evil, and was in time modified and finally thrown off; but
it seems to have been the only means, discoverable by early society, by
which clans and tribes could live peaceably side by side, and it paved
the way for the establishment of the family proper.

+440+. This brief account of the most important adjunct of totemism may
serve to clear the way for the consideration of the totemic system.

+441+. Among the various relations that undeveloped communities sustain
to nonhuman things totemism has the peculiarity that it is an alliance
between a human group (clan or tribe) and a species of animals or
plants, or an inanimate natural object (as sun or moon), or, rarely, an
artificial object (usually an implement of labor).[789] The nonhuman
thing is regarded as a friend, and is respected and cared for
accordingly. When it is a species (animal or plant) every individual of
the species is held to bear this friendly relation to every individual
of the allied human group. Generally there is believed to be not only
similarity or identity of nature between the two (such identity of
nature between man and nonhuman things is everywhere an article of the
creed of savages) but a special intimacy, commonly a kinship of blood.
While the men of a group respect their ally, it, on its part, is
supposed to refrain from injuring them, and even in some cases to aid
them. It is credited with great power, such as in savage life all
nonhuman things are supposed to possess. The members of the human group
regard one another as brothers; this feeling, however, can hardly be
said to be peculiar to totemic organizations--it exists, more or less,
in all early associations, particularly in any one association as
against others.

+442+. While, therefore, we may take a certain clan alliance as a
fundamental fact of totemism, we find in various communities other
features of organization more or less closely combined with this into a
social unity. In every such case it is necessary to inquire whether the
feature in question is a universal or general accompaniment of clan
alliance, and whether it is peculiar to the latter or is found in other
systems also.

+443+. (a) _Exogamy._ It is pointed out above[790] that totemism and
exogamy are mutually independent arrangements, differing in function and
origin, each being found without the other. Yet in many cases, perhaps
in the majority of cases, the two are found combined. Exogamy supposes a
body of clans, and, given a group of totemic clans, it would naturally
be attached to these, and so become an organic part of their social
constitution. Where there is no totemism the question of union, of
course, does not come up. Where totemism is not accompanied by exogamy
it is sometimes probable that the union of the two once existed,[791] or
that exogamy is excluded by the peculiar form of the totemism.[792]
Exogamy may thus be regarded as a natural and frequent accompaniment of
totemism, but it is not a universal and necessary element of the totemic

+444+. (b) _Names._ As a general rule the totemic clan bears the name of
its totem. The exceptions appear to be found in somewhat advanced
communities, as the Fijians and the Kwakiutl (but not the northern
branch of this tribe).[793] There are also many larger exogamous groups
(as, for example, in Australia) the meaning of whose names is
obscure--they may or may not contain the name of the totem; but such
groups may have a different origin from that of the totemic clans.

+445+. In some cases clans and tribes have distinctive _crests_ or
_badges_, generally totemic figures or parts of such figures. These are
carved on beams of houses and on house poles, or cut or drawn on men's
persons, and are used as signs manual, serving thus to indicate to
strangers a man's clan connections. Such emblems are employed in the
Torres Straits islands and British New Guinea,[794] in the Aru Islands
(southwest of New Guinea), and in North America among the Lenâpé
(Delawares), the Pueblo tribes, the Tlingit, the Haidas, and the

+446+. In America the crest is not always identical in name with the
totem, and sometimes coalesces with the guardian animal-spirit. The
myths that give the origin of the crest usually describe some adventure
(marriage or other) of a man with the crest animal, involving sometimes,
but not always, the origin of the clan.[796] The relation between totem
and crest thus differs in different places, and its origin is not clear.
The simplest form of this relation (that found in the New Guinea region)
may indicate that the totem animal, being most intimately connected with
the clan, is chosen on that account as its badge. Or possibly totem and
crest have arisen, independently of each other, from some early
affiliation with animals, and therefore do not always coincide. Such a
mode of origination would help to explain the fact that in Northwestern
America a clan may have several crests, and a man also may acquire more
than one. The relation of crest to clan is looser than that of totem to
clan--the same crest or crests are found in different clans. When the
totemic constitution of the tribe or clan is weakened, the crest may
become more important than the totem, as is the case among the Haidas.
But the adoption of the crest name does not invalidate the general rule
that the clan bears the name of its totem.

+447+. Names of families and of persons do not come into consideration
here. They arise from various local and personal peculiarities that, as
a rule, have nothing to do with totemism, and they become more prominent
and important as the latter declines.

+448+. The origin of clan totemic names is closely connected with the
origin of the totemic organization, and will be more conveniently
considered in connection with this point.[797]

+449+. (c) _Descent from the totem._ Details so far reported as to this
belief are regrettably few and often indefinite, and it is not possible
to give more than a provisional sketch of it.[798] In Central Australia
it is held that all the members of a clan come into being as spirit
children, who are the creation of mythical half-human, half-animal
beings of the olden time; the clan bears the name of the mythical
ancestor (its totem), and its members regard themselves as identical in
blood and nature with the totem.[799] Similar beliefs are reported as
existing in New South Wales and West Australia, and a definite
conception of descent from the totem has been found in the Santa Cruz
group in Southern Melanesia, in Fiji in Eastern Melanesia, and
apparently in Tonga and Tikopia.[800] In North America the belief is
reported as existing among the Lenâpé (Delawares) and other Eastern
tribes.[801] In South America it appears among the Arawaks of
Guiana,[802] and perhaps elsewhere. For Africa there is little
information on this point, and what we have is not always definite;[803]
one of the clearest expressions of descent is found in the title
"grandfather" given to the chameleon by the Chameleon clan of the
Herrero of German Southwest Africa, but a comparison with the similar
title given by the Zulus to a sort of divine ancestor, and with the
Herrero mythical stories of the origins of certain clans, suggests that
the conception is vague.

+450+. In addition to the more direct statements there are traditions or
myths that connect the origin of clans with animals or plants through
the intermediation of gods or human beings, by marriage, or some other
relation. The Bushbuck clan of the East African Baganda worship a
lion-god, who is called an ancestor and is said to have turned into a
lion at his death. Fluctuating opinions (some persons holding to direct
descent from a nonhuman object, others to friendly relations between it
and the ancestor) are reported in Sumatra, Borneo, and the Moluccas.
The Hurons regarded the rattlesnake as a kinsman of their ancestor. The
origin of the clan or family is referred to marriage with an animal by
the Borneo Dyaks and various tribes on the African Gold Coast, and to
marriage with a plant by some of the Upper Liluet;[804] and the origin
of the crests in Northwestern America is ascribed to adventures with
crest animals.[805] In the Trobriand group of islands (lying to the
northeast of British New Guinea) the totems are said to have been
brought by the first men; naturally it is not explained whence and how
the men got them.[806]

+451+. These instances of indirect origination (to which others of the
sort might be added) show a variety of points of view, and may be
variously interpreted. They may be regarded as declensions from an
earlier belief in the direct descent of the clan from the totem, or as
independent conceptions that never grew into this belief. Both these
ideas of the form of descent are found in widely separated regions and
in communities differing one from another in general culture and in the
degree of importance they attach to the totemic constitution. The
possibility of general agreement in myths, with difference in details,
between tribes remote from one another is illustrated by the creation
myths of the Australian Arunta (who have an elaborate totemism) and the
Thompson River Indians of Northwestern America (who have no clan totems,
secret societies, or dramatic ceremonies); both relate transformations
of primitive unformed persons, but in the former the creators are
half-human, half-animal, in the latter they are men who transform
half-human, half-animal beings. Such widespread variations point to
early differences in social conditions and in intellectual endowments
with the nature of which we are not acquainted.[807]

+452+. (d) _Refusal to kill or eat the totem._ The usages in regard to
killing or eating the totem are so diverse, and often so uncertain,
that it is not possible to lay down a general rule of prohibition. An
edible totem is only a peculiar sort of sacred animal or plant, and
respect for such objects often leads to refusal to kill or eat them--an
interdiction of this sort does not in itself show whether or not the
object in question is a totem. But within totemic areas the usage varies
in a remarkable manner, as, for example, in Australia. In the north
there is complete prohibition, sometimes including the totems of a man's
father, mother, and father's father. Among the central tribes a man
kills his clan totem only for the benefit of other clans, and eats a
little of it ceremonially. In the southeast the Dieri, it is said, kill
and eat their totems freely, while other tribes, the Wotjoballuk and
others, eat them only at a pinch.[808] The northeastern tribes have many
food taboos, which, however, relate not to the totemic clans but to the
exogamous subclasses. A modified regard for the totem or crest (kobong)
appears in West Australia, according to Sir George Grey's report[809];
it is not allowable to kill a family kobong while it is asleep, and it
is always with reluctance that it is killed.

+453+. Abstention from killing and eating the totem holds, as a rule, in
the Torres Straits islands, while in New Guinea the custom varies--the
totem is eaten by some tribes, not eaten by others.

+454+. In Melanesia the food restrictions connected with animal patrons
or friends of clans are less definite than in Australia. Here, also,
there are local differences of usage. Prohibition of eating or using the
totem (fish, grass, fowl, and so forth) was found by Rivers in the Santa
Cruz group (in Southern Melanesia) but not in the northern New
Hebrides.[810] In the central islands the prohibition refers to the
exogamous classes, and a similar usage is reported as existing in the
Duke of York group (in the north). The Fijians refrain from eating their
tribal sacred animals.

+455+. In Polynesia family gods appear instead of totems, and the
incarnations of gods (in animals and plants) are not eaten; such is the
rule in Samoa and Tonga, and this was formerly the practice in Hawaii.
The food restrictions in Borneo and Sumatra are not definitely totemic.

+456+. The non-Aryan tribes of India generally refrain from eating their
totems, or, in some cases, from injuring or using them; and this is true
even of those tribes (for example, the Khonds and Oraons of Bengal) that
have somewhat developed theistic systems. Occasionally exemptions from
the rule of abstention are procured, perhaps under Aryan influence; such
influence has affected many of the tribes, but has not usually destroyed
the old totemic customs. Among the Todas (in the south), however, Rivers
found only feeble suggestions of totemic objects and food restrictions;
the buffalo-cult seems to have ousted all others.[811]

+457+. Among the native tribes of Africa there is special respect for
the object with which the clan or tribe has particularly definite
relations. The Bakuana do not eat the animal whose name is borne by the
clan; if an animal (the lion, for example) is dangerous, it is killed
with an apology. The Herrero (of German Southeast Africa) abstain from
the flesh of the chameleon, and will not eat gray sheep or oxen. Among
the half-civilized Baganda, of the east, certain of the clans refrain
from eating the object from which a clan takes its name; the noteworthy
political organization of these people seems to have obliterated old
clan functions in part. In the west (Senegambia, Ashanti, Dahomi,
Nigeria, Congo) there are food restrictions, but these are not generally
connected with totemic social organizations.

+458+. There is little evidence for totemic food restrictions in North
America. The custom of apologizing to an animal on killing it, frequent
elsewhere, is reported as existing among the Algonkin Ottawas and
Menomini; but this is not necessarily totemic. The more advanced tribes
of the East and South (Algonkin, Iroquois, Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasas,
Cherokees, Natchez), the peoples of the Pacific Coast, and the
agricultural tribes of the middle of the continent (Pueblos, Mandans,
and others) appear to be free from restrictions as to eating. The
Navahos are said to refrain from the flesh of fish, turkeys, swine, and
bears, but the grounds of the interdiction are not clear.[812] The
distinctest evidence of totemistic clan food-taboos are found among the
Siouan Caddos (of the southern Mississippi Valley) and the Omahas (of
the Middle West). Both these groups are in part agricultural, and it
does not appear how they have come to differ from their neighbors in
this regard. Food restrictions are reported for the Northwest

+459+. There is no clear report of totemic food restrictions in Central
America or in South America;[814] but these regions have as yet not been
thoroughly examined for clan usages.

+460+. (e) _Magical ceremonies for increasing the supply of food._ Such
ceremonies exist, or have existed, in many regions and among peoples of
various grades of culture, civilized as well as savage, but the cases in
which they are, or were, conducted by totemistic clans are comparatively
few. This sort of economic function of the totem clan is most definite
and important in Central and parts of Southeast Australia, where every
clan is charged with the duty of increasing the supply of its totem for
the benefit of its connected clans; and magical rites are performed in
the fertile coast region no less than in the arid region about Lake
Eyre--that is, in these cases the employment of magic seems not to be
conditioned on the natural resources of the land. Similar totemic clan
functions appear in the islands of Torres Straits, the Turtle and Dugong
clans performing ceremonies to increase the supply of turtles and to
attract dugongs. Magical control of totems for the benefit of the whole
community is reported to be found in the Siouan Omaha clans (in the
center of the North American continent). The tribes just mentioned are
those in which the social organization is definitely totemistic.

+461+. Elsewhere the economic function attaches to other bodies than
totemic clans, as in parts of Southeast Australia, and in West Australia
(where the ceremonies are conducted by the exogamous classes). In New
Guinea the totemic character of the performances appears to be doubtful.
A single instance of clan action has been found among the East African
Baganda--the women of the Grasshopper clan undertake to increase the
supply of their totem; why this duty is assigned to the women is not
clear--the custom appears to involve a relaxation of totemistic rules.
The economic festivals and "dances" of the Siouan Mandans and Hidatsa
are general tribal ceremonies. Among the Pueblo Indians such rites are
the care of religious fraternities;[815] the Zuñi Frog clan performs a
ceremony to procure rain, but this duty is mainly committed to
rain-priests. In Northwestern America the magical performances are not
connected with totemic clans.

+462+. _Definition of totemism._ It appears, then, that not one of the
points just mentioned is found invariably in the systems of organization
commonly called totemic. Exogamy is an independent phenomenon; the clan
does not always bear the name of the totem, and is not always held to
have descended from it; usages in regard to eating it vary greatly;
magical economic ceremonies are performed by other than totemic bodies.
There is no known clan that includes all these elements in its
organization, though in Central Australia there is an approach to
complete inclusion; the features lacking are clan exogamy and absolute
prohibition of eating the totem, but practically a clan does not eat its
totem, and exogamy, for reasons given above, may be left out of
consideration. The Central Australian system may be said to be
substantially complete; with it the North American systems stand in
sharp contrast, and from it many others diverge.

+463+. But, with all these differences, the fact remains that in
totemism the human group stands in a peculiar relation to some nonhuman
object.[816] This general statement must, however, be defined in two
particulars: the relation is an alliance for the benefit of both
parties; and the nonhuman object is not regarded as a god and is not
worshiped. The first of these particulars marks totemism off from that
general regard that is paid by savages to animals, plants, certain
heavenly bodies, and other physical things;[817] the second particular
distinguishes it from the cult of ghosts and gods proper. We may
therefore define it as an alliance, offensive and defensive, between a
human group and a nonhuman group or object that is not worshiped, the
friendly relation existing between every member of the one group and
every member of the other group.[818]

+464+. This relation having been formed, the various features mentioned
above will naturally become attached to it in various ways and to
different extents. The clan will somehow get a name, when and how we
need not now ask; usually its name is that of the totem--this is in
keeping with the intimate connection between the two. To trace the
origin of the clan to the totem is only to do what is done abundantly
among uncivilized and civilized peoples (Hebrews, Greeks, and others);
the eponymous ancestor is constructed out of the current name of the
clan. To refrain from killing or eating a friendly animal or plant is a
simple mark of respect. The conception of special ability in a clan to
insure a supply of its totem for food is in accord with savage ideas of
magical endowment. When the custom of exogamy arose it would naturally
attach to the clan as the social unit.

+465+. In view of the diverse physical surroundings of the tribes of the
earth and their intellectual differences, it cannot be surprising that
they have combined these elements of organization in various ways. In
their efforts to secure food, good marriage relations, protection of
property, and defense against enemies, they have from time to time
adopted such measures as the circumstances made desirable and possible.
There is evidence that in some instances clans have changed their social
regulations, sometimes by a process of internal growth, sometimes by
borrowing from without. It is not always possible to trace such
movements, and it is impossible now to say what the earliest social
constitution of men was. The probability is that the earliest state was
an unformed one, without governmental or other institutions, and that
totemism was one of the first attempts to introduce order into society.
In accordance with what is said above, the term 'totemism' may be used
to mean particularly a simple alliance between men and nonhuman things,
and then more generally to mean such an alliance combined in whatever
way, with one or more of the particular customs described in preceding

+466+. _Geographical survey of totemistic usages._ If totemism be taken
in the simpler sense, as a certain sort of intimate relation between men
and nonhuman things, it will be found to be widely distributed in the
noncivilized world. Its occurrence becomes rarer in proportion as
adjuncts are attached to it; as is remarked above, it is hardly possible
to find a clan whose constitution embraces all adjuncts. Where usages
like exogamy occur, or where there is reverence for an object, without
belief in a definite, nontheistic relation between a human clan and a
nonhuman object, we cannot recognize totemism proper; such usages must
be treated as belonging to man's general attitude toward his nonhuman
associates. The question whether they represent germinal or decadent
totemism, or neither, must be considered separately in every case.

+467+. The two great totemistic regions of the world are Australia and
North America, and in each of these the variations of custom run through
the gamut of possible differences. In each of them also the native
population may include different stocks, though on this point there is
uncertainty. Differences of climate and topographical situations there
are, but these do not always account for the diversities of culture and

+468+. _Australia._ In the heart of Central Australia (the home of the
Arunta and other tribes) there are clans that bear the names of their
totems, and trace their descent from half-human totem ancestors, with
whom they consider themselves to be identical; totems, however, are not
hereditary, but are determined by the ancestor connected with the place
where the mother first becomes aware of the child within her; each clan
performs magical ceremonies to secure a supply of its totem for the
associated clans, and, when the totem is an animal or a plant, hunts or
gathers it and brings it to be distributed; at the distribution the
headman of the providing clan must eat a little of the food
ceremonially, and at other times clansmen eat of it sparingly;[821] the
rule of exogamy relates not to the totemic clans, but to the phratries
or subphratries.

+469+. In the South Central region these features are found, with an
exception in the rule concerning eating one's totem. Sometimes, as in
the Urabanna tribe, such eating is forbidden. But among the Warramunga
there is a relaxation of the rule in the case of old people--for them
the food restriction is removed (apparently a humanitarian provision);
on the other hand, for other clansfolk there is an extension of the
rule--the prohibition includes two subclasses of the moiety to which the
clan belongs, and conditionally includes the whole moiety (this is
perhaps a cautionary measure, to guard against the possibility of
unlawful eating on the part of clansmen).

+470+. The special feature in North Australia (on the shores of the Gulf
of Carpentaria) is the absolute prohibition of eating the totem. In
regard to the performance of magical ceremonies for increase of the
totem also there is the peculiarity that a clan is not bound to conduct
such performances--it is optional with it to do so or not; it has
magical power, but is not required by custom to exercise it. It is
suggested by Spencer and Gillen that this variation from the usage of
the Central region is to be attributed to the more regular rainfall on
the coast, which insures a more regular supply of food and thus does
away with the necessity for magic.[822] Possibly, also, this climatic
feature may account for the stricter rule of prohibition mentioned
above; as the rule is sometimes relaxed when it is hard to get food, so,
on the other hand, it may be strictly enforced when food is plentiful.

+471+. Still a different situation appears in the southeastern part of
the continent (New South Wales and Victoria)--several prominent features
of the Central system are absent. The Dieri clans bear the names of
their totems, from which also they think themselves descended, but they
eat them freely. Some adjacent tribes eat them only at a pinch, others
refrain from them. The clans of the Narrinyeri are mostly localized, and
the clan-names are not now those of the totems;[823] the totems are
eaten. The Kurnai show the greatest divergence from the ordinary
type--they have neither totemic clans nor exogamous classes; their rule
of exogamy relates to districts. Throughout the southeast the conduct of
magical economic ceremonies by clans, every clan being responsible for
its own totem, seems not to exist.

+472+. In certain tribes (the Wotjoballuk, the Yuin, the Kurnai, and
others) there are sex-patrons, animals intimately related to all the
males or all the females of the tribe; the belief is said to be that the
life of any individual of the animal group is the life of a man or a
woman, and neither sex group will kill its patron animal. So far as
regards the conception of identity with the animal and reverence for it,
the institution agrees with the usual totemic type; but since it is not
connected with clans, some such designation for the animal as "patron"
or "guardian" is to be preferred to "totem."[824] Such animals,
protectors of sexes, are of rare occurrence, having been certainly found
so far only in Southeast Australia, and they occur in a body of tribes
that show a disposition to discard the clan constitution. In this region
individual men also sometimes have animal guardians, so that a general
tendency toward individualism may be recognized. It is not unnatural to
connect this tendency with the fertility of the south coast, which may
weaken the clan organization. The organization by sex is a singular
phenomenon, of the history of which there are no records. It is
doubtless a special development of the widespread separation of the
sexes, combined with an increasing recognition of the property rights
and the social equality of women. At an early age boys were often kept
apart from girls. Special taboos, of food and other things, were imposed
on women. On the other hand, they were in some cases the owners of the
tribal property, and were sometimes admitted to membership in secret
societies. The organization of the sex would follow under peculiarly
favorable conditions.[825]

+473+. The remaining districts of Australia have been less carefully
investigated than the central and southern parts, and information about
their totemistic customs is not always satisfactory. So far as the
accounts go there is a widespread divergence from simple clan
organization in these districts. In Northeast Australia (Queensland)
there are exogamous subclasses, and no clan taboos. In the southwest not
clans but families are the social units; these trace their descent from
animals, and there are individual animal patrons. In the northwest no
clan organization is reported; there is class exogamy, and in the
magical ceremonies the performers are taken from the exogamous classes.

+474+. _Torres Straits Islands._ These noteworthy variations in the
totemism of the Australian continent appear to be connected in a general
way with differences of climate and the degree of isolation of the clans
and tribes. Similar variations appear in the Torres Straits islands and
in British New Guinea. In the western islands of the Straits (the only
part in which distinct totemism has been found) the social organization
is to a certain extent independent of totemic relations: the clans are
locally segregated, and marriage is mainly regulated by blood-kinship.
On the other hand, an intimate relation between a man and his totem is
recognized--the latter, as a rule, is not eaten by the related clansmen
(there are exceptions), magical economic ceremonies are performed by
certain clans, and there is clan exogamy. A possible survival of an
early social arrangement is the existence of subsidiary totems.

+475+. There is also a rudimentary cult of heroes: two of these (animal
in form) have shrines and effigies, annual dances are performed in their
honor, and stones are shown in which their souls are supposed to dwell.
The resemblance of this cult to certain forms of worship in Polynesia
(in Samoa, for example) is apparent; the stones may be compared with
similar abodes of superhuman animals or spirits in Central Australia and
elsewhere; the myths connect the two animal heroes with the origin of
totems--a common procedure. One hero, Kwoiam of Mabuiag, is said to have
been a real man, and to have been almost deified; divinization of dead
men is not unusual in Polynesia.

+476+. _New Guinea._ In the eastern portion of British New Guinea the
peculiarities of organization are[826] that the people live in hamlets;
that there is generally a combination of totems in a clan; and that
special regard is paid to the father's totem. There is no report of
belief in descent from the totem.[827] The hamlets tend to become family
groups, but clan exogamy is observed. The system of "linked totems"
seems to be designed to secure superhuman aid from all departments of
the nonhuman world: ordinarily there will be a bird, a fish, a snake,
and a plant--the bird has come to be the most important of these. A man
may kill his own totem but not his father's--a rule that has arisen
perhaps from a displacement of matrilineal descent (according to which a
man's totem is that of his mother) by descent through the father. So far
as appears, there are no magical ceremonies for increase of the supply
of food. In both New Guinea and the Straits the fact that old customs
are disappearing under foreign influence increases the difficulty of
determining whether certain usages are primitive or decadent.

+477+. _Melanesia._ The social organization in the vast mass of islands
called Melanesia[828] has not been fully investigated, but the existence
of some general features has been established. Society is divided not
into clans or tribes, but into exogamous classes, and the classificatory
system of relationships is general. The rules governing marriage are
less elaborate than in Australia, the method of initiation is simpler,
and the political organization is more definite. In regard to other
usages commonly associated with totemism the reported details are not
numerous. There appears to be a movement away from Australian totemism,
growing more pronounced as we go eastward, and culminating in Fiji, in
which totemic features are very rare.

+478+. In the Bismarck Archipelago every class has connected with it
certain animals regarded as relatives, but in New Britain, apparently,
not as ancestors.[829] In New Ireland dances imitating the movements of
the sacred animals are performed. Such animals are treated with great
respect, and the relation to them constitutes a bond of union between
members of a class.

+479+. Some peculiarities appear in the Solomon Islands. While there is
the usual regard for the sacred objects (called _buto_), so that these
are not to be eaten (in some cases not to be touched or seen), the names
of the classes are not always those of the sacred things, and there is
difference of opinion among the natives as to whether the latter are
ancestors or merely associated with an ancestor: a man (particularly a
chief) may announce that after death he will be incarnate in a given
thing, as, for example, a banana--this then becomes sacred. But in some
cases[830] the god of the class is regarded as the ancestor; instead of
a number of sacred animals there is a theistic system with regular
worship--a state of things quite distinct from totemism.[831]

+480+. In the New Hebrides group there is mention of a slight magical
ceremony performed by a member of a class to attract a class animal, but
there is no rule against eating the object whose name the class bears.
The usage in the Santa Cruz group in regard to eating, and the belief as
to descent from the sacred object, differ in different islands; they are
sometimes lax and vague, sometimes strict and definite.

+481+. Belief in a vital connection between a man and some object chosen
by himself is found in the Banks Islands; there is an obvious similarity
between such an object and the North American manitu. Further, the
belief is reported by Rivers that in these islands the character of a
child is determined by an edible object from which the mother, before
the birth of the child, received some sort of influence; the child will
resemble the object or be identified with it, and will not, throughout
life, eat of it.[832]

+482+. In the easternmost group, the Fijian, the relation between the
tribes and their associated sacred animals and plants was, and is,
various. The rule was that these should not be injured, and, if edible,
should not be eaten. But alongside of such sacred objects real gods are
found; these dwell or are incarnate in certain birds, fish, and plants,
and sometimes in men. In one district, in the interior of the large
island Viti Levu, Rivers learned that every village had its deity, which
in many cases might turn into an animal, and the animal would then
become taboo;[833] the familiar custom of not eating a sacred thing was
thus extended to any new object of this sort. The functions of the
tribal sacred animals approached in some points those of gods: they were
consulted by magicians on important occasions (war, sickness, marriage).
It was supposed (somewhat as in the Banks Islands) that the tribal
sacred animal appeared to a mother just before the birth of her child.

+483+. Thus in Melanesia, along with a large mass of sacred objects
connected more or less intimately with social units (but not with clans
proper), there are usages and ideas that are commonly found associated
with clan totemism (belief in descent from a sacred thing and refusal to
eat it when it is edible), but also other ideas and usages (omens from
animals; superhuman determination, before a child's birth, of its
character; creation of a new sacred thing by an individual man) that
look away from clan organization to an individualistic form of

+484+. _Micronesia and Polynesia._ The character of the social
organization in Micronesia (the Caroline and Pelew groups, with which
may be included the little island of Tikopia, southeast of the Santa
Cruz group) is not very well known, but the published reports indicate a
considerable divergence from clan totemism. The westernmost island of
the Carolines, Uap (or Yap), according to a recent observer,[835]
retains many old beliefs, is without an exogamous system, and has a
large apparatus of spirits and gods. Elsewhere in the Carolines and in
Tikopia there are non-exogamous social groups, sacred animals greatly
revered, and in some places belief in descent from an animal-god. Sacred
animals and village gods (with exogamous families) are found in the
Pelew group.[836] The diversity in Micronesian customs may be due in
part to mixture of tribes resulting from migrations.

+485+. In Polynesia the family is generally the social unit, and there
is a fairly good political organization, with more or less developed
pantheons. Gods are held to be incarnate in animals and trees, but there
are also great gods divorced to some extent from phenomena. The theistic
development is noteworthy in Hawaii, New Zealand, Samoa, Tahiti, and
Tonga, and there are elaborate forms of worship with priests and
temples. The existing organization is not totemic, but here, as
elsewhere in similar cases, the question has been raised whether or not
the gods have arisen from sacred (or, more definitely, totemic) animals
and plants,[837] and whether, in general, the existing organization was
preceded by one approaching totemism.[838]

+486+. _Indonesia._ The Battas of the interior of Sumatra have clan
exogamy (but the clans live mixed together), and every clan has sacred
animals which it is unlawful to eat. One clan on the west coast asserts
its descent from a tiger. In the Moluccas villages claim descent from
animals or plants, and these are taboo. The indications of totemic
organization in Borneo are slight: there are sacred animals that are not
eaten, and there is a vague feeling of kinship with animals--phenomena
that are not necessarily totemic. The belief of the Sea Dyaks in
individual guardians is to be distinguished from general respect for
sacred animals.

+487+. _India._ The non-Aryan peoples of India are divided into a large
number of exogamous clans, each with its sacred object, which it is
unlawful to injure or use.[839] A departure from ordinary totemic usage
appears in the fact that in many cases the sacred objects receive
worship. The social constitution of these peoples seems to have
undergone modifications, partly through adoption of agriculture (which
has occurred generally), partly by direct Hindu religious influence; the
history of the non-Aryans, however, is obscure in many points. The
Aryans of India have exogamy but not totemism, and this is true in part
of the Assamese. Totemism has not been observed in Burma[840] and China,
or in the Malay Peninsula.

+488+. _North America._ The North American native tribes, scattered over
a large territory, with widely different climatic and topographical
features, and themselves divided into half a dozen linguistic stocks,
show great diversities of social organization. While exogamous groups
(clans, phratries, and local groups) are found almost everywhere, there
is little precise information about certain fundamental points of
totemic systems, particularly customs of killing and eating the totem
and belief in descent from it. With a general apparatus that often
suggests an original totemism, the American social type differs
considerably from the Australian, resembling in some respects the
Melanesian and the Polynesian, but with peculiarities that difference it
from these. Among the Eskimo and the Californians no definite signs of
totemism have been discovered. Among the other peoples the Rocky
Mountain range makes a line of demarcation--the tribes of the Pacific
Coast differ in organization decidedly not only from their eastern
neighbors but also from all other known savage and half-civilized
peoples. There are points of similarity to these, but the general
Pacific Coast type is unique.

+489+. Beginning with the _Eastern_ tribes, we find that the Iroquois
and their allies (Mohawks, Senecas, and others),[841] mainly
agricultural, had the tribe or the phratry rather than the clan as their
political and religious unit. The Iroquois League, organized by the
great statesman Hiawatha in the fifteenth century, was a federal union
of five (later of six) tribes that showed remarkable political wisdom
and skill. The great festivals were tribal. The clan is recognized in a
myth that describes the metamorphosis of a turtle into a man who became
the progenitor of the clan of that name, and it was socially influential
by reason of the brotherhood that existed among members of clans having
the same name in different tribes, and through the fact that a man's
personal name was the property of the clan. The totem figure was used as
a badge. Whether or not the totem was killed and eaten is not known. In
the form, then, in which it is known, the Iroquois organization cannot
be called totemic--whether it was originally such must be left

+490+. The Cherokees, belonging to the southern division of the Iroquois
stock (living formerly in Tennessee and North Carolina), killed the
animals they respected, but with ceremonies. Their Green Corn dance,
the object of which was to insure a good crop, was expiatory, and was
accompanied by a general amnesty.[842]

+491+. Wyandot (Huron) myths[843] account for their Snake and Hawk clans
by stories of marriages between women and a snake or a hawk; here human
beings are assumed to have existed before the genesis of the clan (a
difference from the Australian scheme), but it is true that the clan is
held to have descended in part from an animal.

+492+. In the great Algonkin stock[844] the evidence for a distinct
totemic organization is similarly indefinite. The Lenâpé (Delawares),
who were agricultural and well advanced in manufacture, gave prominence
to families rather than to clans, and the totem was a badge. The
Ojibwas, hunters (dwelling by the Great Lakes and in the valley of the
St. Lawrence),[845] also used their sacred animal forms as badges;
whether they ate such animals or claimed descent from them we are not
informed. The friendly relation existing between the Otter and Beaver
clans is explained by a story of a marriage between an Otter clansman
and a Beaver woman. For the Potawatamies it was lawful to kill and eat
the totem. The Ottawas (of Canada) and the combined Sauks and Foxes (of
the Mississippi Valley) had traditions of descent from the totem. The
Menomini (of the same region) would kill the totem, but always with an
apology to it; their myths embody varying conceptions of the relation of
eponymous animals to clans: sometimes the origin of a clan is referred
to the action of a supernatural being who changed a bear, for example,
into a man, or to adventures of animals; sometimes eponymous birds
(eagle and hawk) are described as being spirits or deities. Such
introduction of supernatural beings involves a deviation from the
conception of the eponymous animal as independent creator of a

+493+. For the tribes bordering on the Gulf of Mexico no signs have
been preserved of an organization based on the relation between clans
and eponymous animals, plants, and other objects. The great Maskoki
stock (including Creeks, Seminoles, Choctaws, Chickasas, and some other
less important tribes) had a well-formed political system, and their
religion was represented by the Chief Magician or Priest (Medicine Man).
They performed magical ceremonies for increase of food, but these were
tribal, and the Creek annual fast (_puskita_, busk) had high religious
and ethical significance.[847]

+494+. The Caddoan group, dwelling formerly west of the Mississippi, in
Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas, had an approach to specific totemism. In
the Caddo tribe clansmen refrained from killing the eponymous animal;
but all members of the tribe refrained from killing eagles and panthers.
Whether this custom represents former clan restrictions is uncertain.
For the related Skidi Pawnee (who formerly dwelt in the Nebraska region)
there is evidence, from folk-tales, of a belief in the origin of clans
from marriages between human beings and animals, and of belief that
through such marriages benefits accrued to the people. But such beliefs
appear not to have affected the Pawnee social organization.[848]

+495+. The Nakchi (Natchez) people (of the lower Mississippi Valley)
dwelt in villages that had such names as "pond-lily people," "hickory
people," "swan people," "forest people." These are possibly survivals of
totemic names, but there is no account of the existence of totemic
groups among them. On the other hand, they had a highly developed
sun-worship, with human sacrifices.

+496+. Customs in the Siouan stock vary. In the Dakota tribe there is no
known evidence of totemism. The Omahas (of the Missouri Valley), who
are partly agriculturalists, partly hunters, refrain from eating or
using eponymous objects, certain clans are credited with magical power
over such objects, and there are traces, in ceremonies and myths, of the
descent of clans, each from its eponym. This combination of more
definite totemistic conceptions is not found in any other member of the
Siouan stock. The Osages had a tradition or myth of their descent from
animals, but their civil organization was nontotemic--they were divided
into two groups, termed respectively the Peace Side and the War Side,
and the members of the former group took no animal life, though they ate
flesh that they obtained from the War Side. The origin of this custom is
uncertain--the two divisions of the tribe, the hunters and the tillers
of the soil, exchanged products, but how this division of labor arose
(whether from a union of two tribes or otherwise) is not clear. Among
the Hidatsa, it is reported, there was a belief that spirit children
might enter into a woman and be born into the world. The resemblance to
the Central Australian belief is striking, but it does not appear that
such entrance of spirit children was supposed to be the only mode of
human birth. The Mandans (living on the Missouri River, in North Dakota)
now have no totemic system; but little or nothing is known of their
early history.[849] In the Siouan tribes the figure of the individual
animal guardian (the manitu or "medicine") plays a prominent 'rôle'.

+497+. There are indications that the institutions of the Pueblo tribes
(who are now wholly agricultural) have undergone modifications, perhaps
under foreign (Spanish) influence. Hopi myths represent clans as
descended from ancestors originally animal, and transformed into human
shape by deities. But the elaborate sun-worship and the complicated
solstice ceremonies are tribal.[850] The Zuñi economic ceremonies appear
to have passed from under clan control. Thus, the magical ceremony for
procuring rain, properly the function of the Frog clan, is now in the
hands of rain-priests; and the magical, dramatic performances for
insuring a supply of food are conducted by nontotemic religious
fraternities. The great Snake "dance" may have been originally a totemic
ceremony intended to secure rain and corn.[851]

+498+. For a former totemic organization among the Navahos, Apaches, and
Mohaves (these last live on the Colorado River) there are only vague
traditions and other faint traces; the taboos on foods now touch not a
particular clan but a whole tribe.

+499+. The coast tribes of Northwest America (in British Columbia and
the United States)[852] differ in social organization from the other
Indians in several respects, and particularly in the importance they
attach to rank, in their employment of the crest or badge, and in the
prominence they give to the individual guardian animal or spirit.

+500+. In the civil organization of the Carrier division of the Déné,
the Salish, the Kwakiutl, and other tribes, three or four castes or
groups are recognized: hereditary nobles; the middle class, whose
position is based on property; and the common folk; and to these is to
be added among some tribes the class of slaves. In the summer ceremonies
the men are seated according to class and rank. The family pride of the
nobles is great--every family has its traditions and pedigrees. In such
a scheme the zoönymous clan plays an insignificant part. Classes and
clans are mixed in the villages in which, for the most part, these
people live, and trade is prominent in their life. The curious custom of
the "potlatch"--a man invites his friends and neighbors to a gathering
and makes them magnificent presents, his reputation being great in
proportion to the extent of his gifts--appears to be a device for
laying up property; the host in his turn receives presents from friends
and neighbors.

+501+. The employment of a sacred object as a badge or crest, a sign of
tribal or clan position, is found, as is noted above,[853] in various
parts of the world: in the Torres Straits islands, in the Aru
archipelago (west of New Guinea), and in North America among the
Iroquois, the Lenâpé (Delawares), the Pueblos, and perhaps among the
Potawatamies. In these tribes, however, the rôle of the badge is
relatively unimportant--it is employed for decorative purposes, but does
not enter fundamentally into the organization of the clan or the tribe.
In Northwest America, on the other hand, it is of prime significance
both in decoration and in organization--it, to a great extent, takes the
place occupied elsewhere by the totem, and it is not always identical
with the eponymous object of the clan, though this may be an accidental
result of shifting social relations (new combinations of clans, or a
borrowing of a device from a neighbor).

+502+. _The crest._ The origin of this function of the crest and its
relation to the function of the totem is not clear; it may have arisen
in different ways in different places, or different conceptions may have
been combined in the same place. The decorative use is an independent
fact, having no necessary connection with clan organization; the demand
for decoration is universal among savages, and the employment of sacred
objects for this purpose is natural. Figures of such objects are used,
however, in magical procedures--abundantly, for example, in Central
Australia--and it is conceivable that such use by a clan may have
converted the totemic object into a symbol or device. The artistic
employment of figures of sacred objects has been developed on the
American Pacific Coast to a remarkable extent; the great poles standing
in front of houses or erected in memory of the dead have carved on them
histories of the relation of the family or of the deceased person to
certain animals and events. These so-called totem poles presuppose, it
is true, reverence for the sacred symbol, but the custom may possibly
have grown simply out of artistic and historical (or biographical)

+503+. Perhaps, however, we must assume or include another line of
development. The crest may be regarded either as the non-artistic
modification or degradation of an original true totem (due to diminished
reverence for animals and other causes), or as an employment of sacred
objects (for purposes of organization) that has not reached the
proportions of totemism proper. Which of these views will seem the more
probable will depend partly on the degree of importance assigned to
certain traditions and folk-stories of the Northwestern tribes, partly
on one's construction of the general history of totemistic observances.
In so obscure a subject a definite theory can hardly be maintained. The
large number of stories in which the beginnings of clan life are
attributed to marriages between clansmen and eponymous animals, or to
beneficent or other adventures with such animals, may appear to indicate
that there was an underlying belief in the descent of clans from
animals. On the other hand, in certain low tribes (in New Britain and
the Solomon Islands and elsewhere) the feeling of kinship with animals
is said to exist without the belief that they are ancestors, or the
animal is regarded as the representative of a human ancestor rather than
as itself the ancestor. This latter view may be a bit of euhemeristic

+504+. While _guardian spirits_ (generally in animal form) are found
abundantly in America and elsewhere,[855] their rôle in the tribes of
the Pacific Coast appears to be specially important, for there they
largely take the place occupied in Central Australia by the clan totems.
They are not wholly lacking, however, in Australia. Among the nontotemic
Kurnai of Southeast Australia there are animal patrons of the sexes and
of shamans and other individuals. In like manner the shamans of the
Pacific Coast Haidas and Tlingit have their guardians, and sometimes
secret societies are similarly provided; in the winter ceremonies of the
Kwakiutl the youth is supposed to be possessed by the patron of the
society to which he belongs. We thus have, apparently, similar and
mutually independent developments in Australia and America out of the
early relations of men with animals.

+505+. The Eskimo live in small groups, and marriage is locally
unrestricted. There is the usual reverence for animals, with
folk-stories of animal creators and of transformations, but no
well-defined marks of totemism, and no recognition of individual
protecting animal-spirits.

+506+. In the Californian tribes, which are among the least developed in
America, no traces of totemistic organization have been found.[856] The
people live, or lived, in villages. The shamans, who are important
members of the communities, have their familiar spirits, acquired
through dreams and by ascetic observances; but these belong to the
widespread apparatus of magic, and differ in their social function from
guardian spirits proper.

+507+. There are no definite marks of totemism in Central and
Northeastern Asia, and few such marks in Africa. The Siberian Koryaks
believe in a reincarnation of deceased human beings in animals, but
their social organization is not determined by this belief. Certain
clans of the Ainu (inhabiting the northernmost islands of the Japan
archipelago) are said to regard as ancestors the animals whose names
they bear, but this belief appears to be socially unimportant. Marriage
is not controlled by clan relations.

+508+. Throughout savage Africa sacred animals, plants, and other
objects play a great part in life, but generally without assuming a
specifically totemistic rôle.

+509+. In the great Bantu family the usages vary greatly.[857] One of
the most interesting systems is that of the Bakuana (in the south). Here
the eponymous animal approaches divinity--not only is it killed with
regret, it is a thing to swear by, and has magical power; but
independence of the totem appears in the fact that it may be changed;
that is, it is a friend adopted by men at their convenience. It is in
accord with this conception that the Bakuana (who are pastoral and
agricultural) have clan gods. Beyond taboos on sacred objects there is
nothing in the Bantu territory that clearly indicates a totemistic
organization of society.

+510+. In the half-civilized and higher savage communities of the
eastern and western parts of the continent totemism proper, if it has
ever been predominant, has been expelled or depressed by higher forms of
organization. It seems not to exist among the Masai, a vigorous people
with an interesting theistic system. The neighboring Nandi, who have
clan totems, lay stress rather on the family than on the clan in their
marriage laws, and their taboos include more than their totems; their
excessive regard for the hyena may be due simply to their fear of the

+511+. The half-civilized Baganda (of the British Uganda Protectorate)
refrain from injuring clan totems, but the functions of the clans are
now political and religious (relating, for example, to the building of
temples) under the control of a quasi-royal government; there is almost
complete absence of magical ceremonies for the multiplication or control
of sacred objects.[859] Old marriage laws are relaxed--a king may marry
his sister (as in ancient Egypt). Free dealing with totems is
illustrated by the adoption of a new cooking-pot as totem by one clan.
The cult of the python obtains here, as in West Africa. Among the
neighboring Banyoro, and among the Bahima (west of Victoria Nyanza), who
are herdsmen with a kingly government, there is the usual reverence for
animals, but eponymous animals are not important for the social

+512+. In West Africa also definite totemistic organization has not been
found. Everywhere there is reverence for the eponymous sacred thing,
and, when it is edible, refusal to eat it; but the taboos are sometimes,
as in Siena (which is agricultural), more extensive than the list of
sacred things. In Southern Nigeria at funerals (and sometimes on other
occasions) the totem animal or plant is offered, in the form of soup, to
the dead; the animal or plant in such cases is regarded, apparently,
simply or mainly as acceptable food for ghosts--the offering is a part
of ancestor-worship. In Congo families have sacred animals (as in Samoa)
which they abstain from eating. Here and there occurs belief in the
reincarnation of deceased human beings in animals. A negro fetish,
becoming intimately associated with a clan, sometimes resembles a totem.
The half-civilized Ashanti, Dahomi, and Yoruba have elaborate theistic
systems, with monarchical governments that leave no place for a
totemistic organization.[860]

+513+. Madagascar, before it came under European control, had a
well-defined religious and political hierarchy.[861] Along with its very
elaborate tabooism the island has beliefs concerning animals that are
found in totemic systems but do not take the form of totemism proper.
The animal is regarded as an ancestor or a patron, but clans do not take
their names from animals, there is no general rule of exogamy, and there
is no word corresponding exactly to the word 'totem.' The question
arises whether the Malagasy system is a stage antecedent to totemism
proper or an attenuated survival of it.[862]

+514+. _Alleged survivals of totemism among civilized peoples._ Though
totemism, as a system of social organization, is not recognizable in any
civilized community, ancient or modern, it is held by some scholars that
the fragments or hints of such a system that are certified bear witness
to its former existence in these communities.[863]

+515+. In fact certain ideas and customs that occur in connection with
savage totemism are found abundantly among ancient Semites, Greeks and
Romans, and in Celtic and Teutonic lands. They are such as the
following: a tribe or clan bears an animal name, and regards itself as
akin to the animal in question and as descended from it; this animal is
sacred, not to be killed or eaten (except ceremonially), and, when it
dies, is to be buried solemnly; sacred animals aid men by furnishing
omens, or even by protecting from harm; they are sacrificed on critical
occasions (sometimes once every year), and in some cases the killing of
the sacrificial animal is treated as a crime; animal-gods are worshiped,
and gods are thought to be incarnate in animals; men change into animals
and animals into men; certain animals are sacred to certain deities;
human worshipers dress in imitation of animal forms (by wearing skins of
beasts and by other devices); a man's tribal mark is derived from the
form of an animal; the death of the sacrificial animal comes to be
regarded as the death of a god; the form of social organization in
certain ancient communities is similar to that with which totemism is
usually found associated.

+516+. Not all of these points are found in any one case, but their
occurrence over so wide an area, it is argued, is most naturally
explicable by the assumption of an original totemism of which these are
the survivals. It is suggested also that they may be an inheritance from
savage predecessors of the civilized peoples.

+517+. It will be sufficient to mention a few examples of the beliefs
and usages that appear to point to an original totemism.[864] Names of
clans and tribes derived from animals or plants are not uncommon: Hebrew
Raḫel (Rachel, ewe), perhaps Kaleb (dog) and Yael (Jael, mountain
goat);[865] Greek Kunnadai (dog), and perhaps Myrmidon (ant); Roman
Porcius (hog), Fabius (bean); Irish Coneely (seal); Teutonic clan-names
like Wolfing and the like. Belief in a general kinship of men and
animals existed among Semites, Greeks, and Romans. On the other hand,
belief in the descent of a clan from an animal rarely appears: it is
apparently not found in the Semitic area; the Ophiogeneis of Parium (in
Asia Minor) are said to have regarded themselves as akin to snakes and
to have traced their genos (family or clan) to a hero who was at first a
snake;[866] the Myrmidons, according to one tradition, were transformed
ants, and some of the Irish Coneely clan are said to have been changed
into seals. Transformations of men into animals are common in Greek
mythology. Taboos of certain foods were observed abundantly in the
ancient world: by Egyptians,[867] Hebrews,[868] Greeks,[869] and
Romans,[870] and by Celts.[871] Among the various omen-giving animals
some may have been totems. Solemn annual sacrifices, followed by
mourning for the victims, were performed in Egypt,[872] and the slaying
of the sacrificial animal was treated as murder in various Greek
cities.[873] Living animals were worshiped in Egypt, and everywhere in
antiquity gods assumed animal forms, and certain animals were sacred to
certain gods. Worshipers clothed themselves in the skins of sacrificed
animals in Egypt, Cyprus, and Rome.[874] Tribal marks and ensigns were
sometimes derived from figures of animals.[875] Finally, there are
traces, in the early history of the ancient civilized peoples, of the
form of social organization with which savage totemism is found

+518+. It is possible that such facts as these may point to a primitive
totemistic stage of ancient civilized society. But it is to be noted
that the usages in question almost all relate to the general sacredness
of animals (or of plants), not to their specific character as totems.
They occur in lower tribes in cases where totemism does not exist.[877]
Animal clan-names and tribe-names, belief in kinship with animals and
plants and in descent from them, exogamy, transformations, refusal to
eat certain animals except ceremonially, apologies for killing them,
omens derived from them, worship of animal-gods, incarnations of gods in
animals, animals sacred to gods, tribal marks derived from animals--all
these are found in such diverse social combinations that it is
impossible to infer merely from the occurrence of this or that custom
the existence of the peculiar form of social organization to which the
name 'totemism' proper is given above. The same remark holds of
inferences from the general constitution of early society; a custom of
matrilineal descent, for example, by no means carries totemism with it.

+519+. The evidence for the existence of totemism among the ancient
civilized peoples, consisting, as it does, of detached statements of
customs that are found elsewhere without totemism, is not decisive.
Animal-worship has played a great rôle in religious history, but the
special part assigned to totemism has often been exaggerated. It has
been held that the latter is at the base of all beliefs in the
sacredness of animals and plants, or that certain usages (such as those
mentioned above) are inexplicable except on the supposition of an
original totemism. These positions are not justified by known facts, and
it will conduce to clearness to give totemism its distinct place in that
general regard for animals and plants of which it is a peculiar part.

+520+. Totemistic forms of society, as far as our present knowledge
goes, are found only among the lower peoples, and among these a
perplexing variety of conditions exists. As our review of what may be
called totemistic features shows,[878] the one permanent element in the
relation between men and nonhuman, nondivine objects is reverence for
these last on men's part; and the conception of an alliance, defensive
and offensive, between the two groups has been proposed above as an
additional differentia of totemism, a sense of kinship being involved.
If we further add the condition that the social organization (not
necessarily exogamous) must be determined by this alliance, we have all
that can safely be demanded in a definition of totemism; but as much as
this seems necessary if totemism is to be marked off as a definite

+521+. From the point of view of religious history the important thing
in any social organization is its character as framework for religious
ideas and customs. If the central social fact is an intimate relation
between a human group and a nonhuman class of natural objects, then
conceptions regarding this relation may gather about it, and these will
be as various as the tribes of men. The elements of social and religious
institutions spring from the universal human nature and attach
themselves to any form of life that may have been suggested by
circumstances. Thus the term 'totemism' may be used loosely to denote
any combination of customs connected with the idea of an alliance
between man and other things, and the alliance itself may exist in
various degrees of intimacy. The restricted definition suggested above
is in part arbitrary, but it may serve as a working hypothesis and as a
norm by which to estimate and define the various systems or cults
involving a relation between human groups and individuals on the one
side and nonhuman things on the other side.

+522+. _Conditions favorable and unfavorable to totemistic
organization._ The questions whether totemism was the earliest form of
human social life and whether existing freer forms are developments out
of definite totemism may be left undetermined. Data for the construction
of primitive life are not accessible, and how far decay or decadence of
institutions is to be recognized must be determined in every case from
such considerations as are offered by the circumstances. We may,
however, distinguish between social conditions in connection with which
some sort of totemism flourishes and those under which it is nonexistent
or feeble; we may thus note unfavorable and, by contrast, favorable
general accompaniments. These may be roughly described as economic,
individualistic, political, and religious.

+523+. _Economic conditions._ Of savage and slightly civilized tribes
some live by hunting or fishing, some are pastoral (nomadic or settled),
some practice agriculture. Without undertaking to trace minutely the
history of these economic practices it may be assumed that they are
fixed in general by climatic and topographical conditions. Where food is
plentiful, thought and life are likely to be freer. In general, savage
peoples are constantly on the alert to discover supplies of food, and
they show ingenuity in devising economic methods--when one resource
fails they look for another. Hunters and fishers are dependent on wild
animals for food, and stand in awe of them. The domestication of animals
leads men to regard them simply as material for the maintenance of
life--the mystery that once attached to them vanishes; they are
considered not as man's equals or superiors but as his servants. The
same result follows when they are used as aids in tilling the soil or in
transportation. Agricultural peoples also have generally some knowledge
of the arts of life and a somewhat settled civil and political
organization, and these tend to separate them from the lower animals and
to diminish or destroy their sense of kinship with them.

+524+. We find, in fact, that in many cases totemic regulations are less
strict where the food supply is plentiful and where agriculture is
practiced. The correspondence is not exact--other considerations come
in, such as isolation and the unknown quantity of natural tribal
endowments; but the relation between the economic and totemic conditions
is so widespread that it cannot be considered as accidental.

+525+. Thus, for example, the contrast between the social system of
sterile Central Australia and that of certain tribes on the
comparatively fertile southeast coast is marked; the Kurnai have
practically no clan totemism. In the islands of Torres Straits and in
New Guinea agriculture marks a dividing line between stricter and looser
organizations based on regard for the totem. The agricultural Melanesian
and Polynesian tribes, with great regard for animal patrons, lay stress
on the family or on voluntary associations rather than on the clan. In
Africa the partially civilized peoples, such as the Baganda and adjacent
tribes in the east, and Yoruba, Dahomi, and Ashanti in the west, have
fairly well-developed religious organizations, in which totems play a
subordinate part. The customs of certain tribes in the south are
especially worthy of note: the pastoral Herrero have a double system of
clans, maternal and paternal, and their food restrictions are curiously
minute, relating to parts of animals or to their color; the Bakuana, who
are pastoral and agricultural, kill the clan eponymous animals, though
unwillingly, and appear not to regard them as ancestors. The non-Aryan
tribes of India have been so long in contact with Aryan civilization
that in many cases, as it seems, their original customs have been
obscured, but at present among such agricultural tribes as the Hos, the
Santhals, and the Khonds of Bengal, and some others, totemic
organizations are not prominent, and the Todas, with their buffalo-cult,
show no signs of totemism.

+526+. In North America the variety of climatic and other economic
conditions might lead us to expect clear testimony as to the relation
between these conditions and totemic development; but the value of such
testimony is impaired by the absence of information concerning early
forms of organization. In the period for which there are details it
appears that in the Eastern groups (Iroquois, Algonkin, Creek, Natchez,
Siouan, Pueblo) the effective rôle of totemism is in inverse proportion
to the development of agriculture and to stable civil organization:
there are clans bearing the names of animals and other objects, with
mythical stories of descent from such objects, and rules of exogamy, but
the civil, political, and religious life is largely independent of these
conditions; there are great confederations of tribes with well-devised
systems of government that look to the well-being of the whole
community, the clan-division being of small importance. The mode of life
appears to be determined or greatly influenced by climate, though
different climatic situations sometimes lead to similar results:
agriculture naturally arises from fertility of soil, but the Pueblo
tribes have been driven (perhaps under civilized influences), by the
aridness of their land, to till the soil. Throughout the East the known
facts suggest that a nontotemic organization has followed an earlier
form in which quasi-totemic elements are recognizable.

+527+. The interesting social organization of the Northern Pacific
Coast, on the other hand, appears to be independent of agriculture. The
people live by hunting and fishing; families and villages are the
important social units; instead of totems there are crests or badges;
society in some tribes is marked by a division into classes differing
in social rank. The history of all these tribes, however, is obscure:
there have been modifications of organization through the influence of
some tribes on others; the details of the various social schemes are not
all accurately known. The settled village life and the half-commercial,
half-aristocratic constitution of society must be referred to racial
characteristics and other conditions with which we are not acquainted.
As in the East, so here there is the suggestion of a movement away from
a form of organization that resembles true totemism. The Northwest has a
remarkable system of ceremonies, but in definiteness and elevation of
religious conceptions it is greatly inferior to the East.

+528+. The fact that some of the least-advanced American tribes,
particularly the Eskimo and the California tribes, show no signs of
totemistic organization[879] makes against the view that totemism was
the initial form of human society, but its historical background is not
known. In any case it does not invalidate what is said above of the rôle
of agriculture in the modification of savage institutions. The lines of
savage growth have been various--a general law of development cannot be
laid down; the history of every community must be studied for itself,
and its testimony must be given its appropriate value. In this way it
will be possible to give a sketch of totemistic forms and suggestions,
if not a history of totemism.

+529+. _Individualistic institutions._ The development of individualism,
a universal accompaniment of general social progress, is unfavorable to
totemism, since in this latter the individual is subordinated to the
clan. To assert one's self as an individual is practically to ignore the
totem, whose function pertains to the clan as a whole, without separate
recognition of its members. Revolt against the supremacy of the clan (if
that expression is allowable) has shown itself from an early social
stage and in all parts of the world. The principal forms in which it
appears are the institution of voluntary societies, and the adoption of
personal guardians by individuals.

+530+. _Secret societies._ It is a common custom in the lower tribes to
keep the sexes separate and to distinguish between the initiated and
the uninitiated. There are often men's houses in which the young
unmarried males are required to live.[880] Women and boys are forbidden
to be present at ceremonies of initiation when, as in some instances,
the secrets of the tribe are involved. Thus there arise frequently
secret associations of males, who conduct tribal affairs. But these
associations are not voluntary--all initiated men belong to them
perforce--and they are not divorced from totemic relations. The real
voluntary society is of a quite different character. In general, in its
most developed form, it ignores differences of age, sex, and clan. There
are, however, diversities in the constitution of the various
organizations that may be called voluntary;[881] conditions of
membership and functions vary.

+531+. Such organizations are of two sorts, one mainly political or
governmental, the other mainly religious. The best examples of the first
sort are found in Melanesia, Polynesia, and West Africa. The clan
government by the old men, of which a simple form exists in Central
Australia, has passed into, or is represented by, a society of men that
undertakes to maintain order, exact contributions, and provide
amusements for the people. The Dukduk of the Bismarck Archipelago,[882]
the Egbo of Old Calabar, and the Ogboni of Yoruba,[883] to take
prominent examples, are police associations that have managed to get
complete control of their respective communities and have naturally
become instruments of oppression and fraud. They have elaborate
ceremonies of initiation, are terrible to women and uninitiated males,
and religion usually enters only casually and subordinately into their
activities, chiefly in the form of magical ceremonies. A partial
exception, in regard to this last point, occurs in the case of the Areoi
society of Tahiti, which, as it is the best-organized society in
Polynesia, is also the most tyrannical, and the broadest in its scope;
its members enjoy not only a large share of the good things of this
life, but also the most desirable positions in the future life.[884]

+532+. On the other hand, the North American voluntary societies are
mainly concerned with the presentation of religious ideas by the
dramatization of myths, and by demanding for membership some sort of
religious experience. How far such societies existed in the Eastern
tribes it is not possible to say. Among these tribes, as among the Skidi
Pawnee, the Navahos, and other groups of the Middle West, the control of
religion has largely passed into the hands of priests--an advance in
religious organization. Where ceremonies are conducted by societies,
membership in these is often conditioned on the adoption of a personal
divine patron by every member.

+533+. This adoption of a _guardian spirit_ by the individual is the
most definite early divergence from the totemistic clan organization. An
intermediate stage is represented by the sex-patrons of Southeast
Australia,[885] who embody a declaration of independence by the women.
In this region, moreover, among the Kurnai, not only shamans but all
other men have each his special "brother" and protector.[886] Naturally,
where the family, in distinction from the clan, is the social unit,
family protectors arise. The Koryaks of Northeastern Asia have a
guardian spirit for every family and also for every person.[887] A
curious feature of Dahomi religion is the importance that is attached to
the family ghost as protector, the ghost, that is, of a former member of
the family, ordinarily its head; he has a shrine, and becomes
practically an inferior deity. Still more remarkable is the worship that
the West African native, both on the Gold Coast and on the Slave Coast
(communities with well-developed systems of royal government), offers to
his own indwelling spirit;[888] the man's birthday is sacred to the
spirit and is commenced with a sacrifice.[889] In Samoa a guardian
spirit (conceived of as incarnate in some animal) is selected for a
child at its birth.[890] Some such custom is said to exist among the
Eskimo of the Yukon district in Alaska; a guardian animal is selected
by a boy when he arrives at the age of puberty, or it is selected for
him in his early childhood by his parents.[891]

+534+. While these examples indicate a tendency toward the adoption of
individual patrons, and may suggest that the custom is, or was, more
widespread than now appears, it is among the North American Redmen that
this sort of individualism is best developed and most effective socially
and religiously.[892] There are traces of it in the Eastern tribes; but
it is in its Western form that it is best known--it is explicit among
the Western Algonkins and the Siouan tribes, and on the Northwest
Pacific Coast. Most men, though not all, seek and obtain a guardian
spirit (usually represented by an animal) which shall protect from
injury and bestow prowess in war, success in love, and all other goods
of life. The spirit is, as a rule, independent of the clan totem--is
found, indeed, in nontotemic tribes; it is often identical with the
eponymous animal of some religious society. It is sometimes inherited,
but rarely--the essence of the institution is that the guardian shall be
sought and found. The preparation for the quest is by fasting; the
revelation of the guardian comes in a dream or a vision, or by some
strong impression made otherwise on the mind.

+535+. Among the Siouan Indians there are religious societies, each of
which bears the name of some animal and has a ritual composed of chants
and songs which, it is often claimed, have been received in a
supernatural manner.[893] The youth who aspires to become a member of
one of these societies goes off alone to the forest, and there, fasting
and meditating, waits for the vision of the sign. This comes usually in
the form of an animal, and the youth enters the society whose
distinguishing mark this animal is. First, however, he must travel until
he meets the animal he saw, when he must slay it and preserve the whole
or a part of it. This trophy is the sign of his vision and is the most
sacred thing he can possess, marking as it does his personal relation to
the supernatural being who has appeared to him.

+536+. A similar ceremony is found among the Kwakiutl in Northwestern
America.[894] The novice is supposed to stay some time with the
supernatural being who is the protector of his society. From this
interview he returns in a state of ecstasy, and is brought to a normal
state by the songs and dances and magical performances of the shaman;
but before he is permitted to take part in the ordinary pursuits of life
he must undergo a ceremonial purification. In these tribes, as is
remarked above, the totemic groups have been replaced by clans, and in
the winter ceremonial these clans (according to one report) are again
replaced by the secret societies, whose function is political only in
the sense that its members form a part of the aristocracy. Recently
societies of women have been established--a fact that illustrates the
divergence of the new system from the old.

+537+. The details of initiation or of acquisition of the guardian
spirit vary (for example, it is not always required that the youth kill
his patron animal), but in all cases there is recognition of the
emotional independence of the individual, and there is involved a
certain largeness of religious experience in the modern sense of the
term. The demand for the supernatural friend represents a germinal
desire for intimate personal relations with the divine world; and,
though the particular form that embodied the conception has given way
before more refined ideas, the conception itself has survived in higher
religions in the choice of patron saints.[895]

+538+. _Political conditions._ Political organization, in unifying a
community under the control of a central authority, tends to efface
local self-governing groups. This process is visible in the increased
power of Melanesian chiefs, in the royal governments of Polynesia and
Western and Eastern Africa, and in the inchoate constitutional
federations of Eastern North America. In all these cases the simple clan
system is reduced to small proportions, and totemism loses its social
significance. The way in which the functions of totemic groups are thus
modified appears plainly in such governmental systems as that of the
East African Baganda (in which heads of clans have become officers of
the king's household)[896] and the Iroquois Confederation (in which the
tribes act through their representatives in a national Council or

+539+. _Religious conditions._ The personal guardian spirit and the
totem, when it assumes this character, sometimes receive worship--they
are treated as gods. But their rôle as divinities is of an inferior
nature, and it does not last long. Deities proper came into existence as
embodiments of the sense of an extrahuman government of the world by
anthropomorphic beings; they are direct products of the constructive
imagination.[897] When the true gods appear the totemic and individual
half-gods disappear. We find that totemism is feeble in proportion as
theistic systems have taken shape, and that where personal guardians are
prominent there are no well-defined gods. In Central Australia there is
only a vague, inactive form that may be called divine; a more definite
conception is found in Southeastern Australia, where the strictness of
totemism is relaxed. Melanesia and Polynesia show an increased
definiteness of theistic figures. Northwestern North America is, in
comparison with the East, undeveloped in this regard. Similar relations
between totemism and theism appear in India and South America. In a
certain number of cases the facts suggest that the former system has
been superseded by the latter.

+540+. Cults of the totem and of individual guardian spirits are to be
distinguished from certain other forms of worship with which they have
points of connection. The West African fetish is the abode of a tutelary
spirit, and finally is absorbed by local gods; it arises, however, from
belief in the sacredness and power of inanimate things, and is without
the sense of identity with the spirit that characterizes the North
American relation. The family sacred symbols that are worshiped in some
places[898] are really family gods (whether or not they were originally
totems), developed, probably, under Brahmanic influence. The worship of
a tutelary spirit has sometimes coalesced with that of an ancestor, but
this is doubtless due to the collocation of two distinct cults; at a
certain stage an ancestor is naturally regarded as friend and protector.
The general potency termed "mana" is not to be connected particularly
with any one cult; it represents a conception that probably underlies
all ancient forms of worship.

+541+. It thus appears that several lines of social progress have proved
unfavorable to totemism, and to these movements it has generally
succumbed. Its home has been, and is, in isolated hunting communities;
agriculture and social intercourse have been fatal to it as to all early
forms of society based on a belief in kinship with nonhuman natural

+542+. It remains to mention the principal theories of the origin of
totemism that are or have been held, and to ask what part it has played
in the history of religion.

+543+. _Theories of the origin of totemism._ These may conveniently be
divided into such as refer the origin to individual action, and such as
refer it to the action of clans.

+544+. _Individualistic theories._ Among the earliest of theories were
those that explained the totemic constitution as due to a confusion in
the minds of savages between names and things. Individuals or families
might be named after animals, plants, and other objects, and these, it
was supposed, might come to be regarded as intimately associated with
human persons, and might be looked on with affection or reverence and
even worshiped.[899] Or, more definitely, it was held that, the origin
of such names being forgotten, reverence for the ancestors led to
reverence for the things after which they were named and identification
with them--a man whose ancestor was called "the Tiger" would think of
himself as descended from a tiger and as being of the tiger stock.[900]
It is now generally recognized, however, that the origin of so
widespread and influential a system of organization as totemism cannot
be referred to a mere misunderstanding of nicknames; and whether such
misunderstanding was general or natural in early times is open to doubt.

+545+. It sometimes happens that a man (generally a chief) announces
that after death he will take the form of this or that animal or plant,
and this procedure, it has been supposed, would found a totemic
family--his descendants would revere the object in question as the
embodiment of the spirit of the ancestor, would take its name, and, when
it was edible, would refrain from eating it.[901] It is true that the
belief was, and is, not uncommon among savages that a deceased person
might take the form of some natural object; but the reported cases are
rare in which a man deliberately enjoins on his descendants reverence
for such an object with the result that a quasi-totemic group
arises.[902] This custom is not frequent enough to account for totemism.

+546+. A theory suggested by the fact that many clans perform magical
ceremonies (for the purpose of increasing the supply of food) is that,
when the magical apparatus of some body of persons consisted of parts of
an animal, the animal would become sacred, a magical society might be
formed by an individual magician, and thus a totemic magic-working clan
might be created. For this hypothesis there is no support except in the
fact that changes in clan life are sometimes brought about by the old
men; but such changes are modifications of existing usages, not new
creations. The power of a savage man of genius may be admitted, but to
account for the known totemic communities we should have to suppose a
vast number of such men, in different parts of the world, all working in
the same direction and reaching substantially the same results.

+547+. The belief that a man might deposit his soul in an animal or a
plant or some other object is found in West Africa, North America, and
probably elsewhere. As such objects would, as a rule, not be killed
(and every individual of a group would be thus respected), it has been
supposed that, when various persons deposited their souls in the same
object, a totemic body would come into existence.[903] This view would
account for totemic reverence and for the sense of kinship, but the
objection to it is that in most totemic organizations the belief in
question has not been certified.

+548+. The "conceptional" theory refers the origin of totemism to the
belief, found among certain peoples, that conception is produced by the
entrance into the mother's womb of some object (animal, plant, or other)
with which the child is identified.[904] In Central Australia it is held
that what passes into the woman is a spirit child which has a certain
object for its totem; but in this case the previous existence of the
totem is assumed. In certain islands (Mota and Motlav) of the Banks
group, however, there exists, it is said, the belief that a child is the
object from which the mother received some influence at conception or at
some other period of pregnancy--the child resembles the object, and may
not eat it if it is edible.[905] The persons thus identified with a
given object would, if united, constitute a group totemic in the
respects that they believe themselves to be one with the object in
question and refrain from eating it.[906] The totemic object is
selected, in the case of every child, by the fancy of the mother, and
is, therefore, not inherited; totemic groups, thus, would be found
distributed through the larger groups (phratries or tribes), and might
also gradually coalesce and form local groups. If the belief in this
origin of birth (identity of the child with some object) were found to
be widespread, and generally effective as the ground of early social
organization, it would furnish a satisfactory explanation of totemistic
beginnings. But in point of fact it has so far been found, in full form,
only in a small region in Melanesia, and its history in this region is
not known; back of it may lie some other system of organization. And in
this region clan totemism is lacking or faint. Further testimony is
needed before it can be accepted as the solution of the problem of
totemic origins.[907]

+549+. A similar remark must be made in reference to theories based on
the belief that the souls of the dead are incarnate in animals and
plants. Such a belief is a natural outgrowth from the conception of the
identity of nature of human beings and animals, and it occurs in so many
parts of the world (Oceania, Africa, America) that it might naturally be
regarded as having been at one time universal, though it is not now
found everywhere. Reverence for an ancestor might be, and sometimes is,
transferred to the object in which he is supposed to be incarnate; from
this object a man holds himself to be descended, and he refrains from
eating or injuring it.[908] This view, a combination of reverence for
ancestors and reverence for animals and plants, thus supplies two
features of totemistic organization, but proof is lacking that it is the
basis of this organization. If it be the determining consideration in
some cases, there are many cases in which its influence is not apparent.
There are myths tracing the totemism of clans to ancestors having animal
forms, but these myths are relatively late savage philosophical
explanations of existing institutions.

+550+. The relation of the individual patron and guardian to the clan
totem has been variously defined. Such a patron, it is sometimes held
(obtained by a dream or a vision), descends from the original possessor
to his children (or, in a matrilineal system, to his sister's children),
and thus becomes the patron (the totem) of a family or kin; and a larger
group, formed by the union of several kins, may similarly have its
protecting spirit. Cases in which descent is through the mother here
make a difficulty--a man's guardian spirit would not then be inherited.
Granting that the personal patron of a shaman or of an ordinary man may
be inherited, such inheritance appears to be of rare occurrence, and
there is no trustworthy evidence that it ever leads to the formation of
a totemic clan.

+551+. It is true there is a resemblance between a man's relation to his
clan totem and his relation to his personal guardian--in both cases the
sacred object is revered and spared. It is sometimes the case also (as,
for example, among the Australian Arunta) that the totem comes through
an individual (the mother) and is not transmissible, and yet endogamous
clans arise by the union of persons having the same totem. But here the
resemblance ceases--the Arunta child's totem is determined for him
before his birth, but a man chooses his personal guardian for himself,
and joins others having the same guardian, not in a clan but in a secret
society. Furthermore, the institution of the personal guardian is very
rare except in North America, and there flourishes in inverse proportion
to the strength of clan life proper.

+552+. On the supposition of the primitive predominance of the rule of
descent through the mother individualistic theories of the origin of
totemism, with one exception, are out of the question--the totem is
first chosen by a man, but children would have the totem not of the
father but of the mother. The exception is the conceptional theory, in
which the totem is determined by the mother--especially the Mota (Banks
Islands) form, in which the choice of a sacred object by the woman is
unlimited. In a small community a certain number of women would,
however, choose the same object, and thus totemic groups would arise.
This scheme of organization, though not open to the objection mentioned
above, is geographically limited.

+553+. _Theories based on clan action._ Here the starting-point is the
clan, which is supposed to have come into existence somehow; it is not
essential to determine precisely the method of its origination, though
the question of method is sometimes included in the discussion of a
theory. The clan finds itself confronted by various natural objects with
which, it believes, it must form helpful relations; or some sort of
relation is forced on it by the conditions of life. The question is how
a human group came to enter into the totemic relation.

+554+. The simplest answer is that the primitive clan deliberately chose
among all associated objects some one to be its particular friend or its
special associate,[909] naturally valued and respected this object,
refrained from eating it when it was edible, took its name, came to
regard it as ancestor, and created myths explanatory of these
conceptions. This general theory has assumed various forms, but the
objection usually made to its central supposition is that such
deliberate choice is out of keeping with the known methods of early
societies. Though a certain amount of reflection must be assumed for
primitive men (the lower animals, indeed, show reflection), it is held
that so elaborate a system as totemism, like other institutions, must
have been the product of accidental experiences, developed through a
long period of time. Something more definite, it is said, is required in
order to account for the details of the system--all that can be safely
assumed is that early man, constantly on the alert to better his
condition, took advantage of every situation to strengthen himself by
taking precautions against enemies or by securing the aid of surrounding
objects, human and nonhuman.

+555+. The totem is supposed by some to have been originally merely the
mark or badge by which a human group distinguished itself from
neighboring groups. In hunting expeditions and migrations such a mark
would be necessary or, at any rate, useful.[910] More generally, it was
natural for a clan to have a name for itself, as it had names for its
individual members and for other objects. It might take its name from an
associated animal or plant or heavenly body or from a place. The badge
and the name once adopted, other totemic features would follow. Such
badges are common in Northwestern America, and are found elsewhere, and
the term 'totem' has been explained by natives as meaning 'badge.' But
this explanation is late, and the employment of the sacred object as
badge is not widely diffused. When it gives a clan its name it is, of
course, a distinguishing mark, but this does not show that such
distinction was in all cases its original function. Nor would the badge
come into use till the name had been fixed.

+556+. The view just mentioned does not attempt to explain how a
particular name came to be attached to a clan. This lack is supplied by
the theory that a clan was named by its neighbors after the kind of food
on which it chiefly subsisted.[911] The objection to this theory is that
no group of men is known to confine itself to one article of
food--savages eat whatever they can find--and moreover contiguous groups
would feed on the same kinds of food. A view not open to this objection
is that names of clans, also given from without, expressed fancied
resemblances of the persons named to animals and other objects, or
peculiarities of person or speech, or were derived from the place of

+557+. It is obviously true that human groups have names derived from
objects with which they are somehow specially connected; in the lists of
clan-names in Oceania, Africa, India, America, animal names predominate,
but many are taken from plants, and some from inanimate objects;[913]
when groups become settled they are sometimes called after their places
of abode. The other supposition in these "name theories"--that the names
are given from without--is less certain. There are examples of such
naming by outsiders--nicknames, sometimes respectful, sometimes
derisive.[914] But the known cases are not numerous enough to establish
a general rule--the origin of names of clans and tribes is largely
involved in obscurity.[915] There is no improbability in either theory
of the method of naming, native or foreign--both modes may have existed,
one in one region, one in another, and one group may at different times
have been called by different names.

+558+. "Coöperative" theories suppose that a number of groups united
for economic purposes, to each being assigned the duty of increasing by
magical means the supply of a particular sort of food or other
necessity, and procuring a portion for the general store.[916] Such
coöperation, however, assumes too great a capacity of organization to be
primitive. It is hardly found outside of Central Australia, in which
region there are indications of a long period of social

+559+. The theory that the totem is a god, immanent in the clan,
incarnate in every member of the clan, a divine ancestor, the center of
the clan's religion,[918] is contradicted by the actual relation between
a clan and its totem: the latter is cherished as a kinsman and friend,
but not worshiped as a god.[919]

+560+. _Summing-up on the origin of totemism._ This brief survey of
proposed theories of the origin of totemism is sufficient to show the
complexity of the problem. Not one of the hypotheses just mentioned is
universally accepted, and no one of them appears to account
satisfactorily for all the known facts. Some of them are based obviously
on data derived from limited areas. Australian usage suggested the
coöperative theory, and Australia and Melanesia the conceptional theory.
The identification of totemism with ancestor-worship comes from South
Africa; its connection with the belief in transmigration is due to
Indonesia; its derivation from the individual guardian is based on a
North American institution; and North America probably suggested the
badge theory also. It may be frankly confessed that in the present state
of knowledge all theories are guesses.

+561+. As there are communities in which it is probable or possible that
totemism has never existed, so it is conceivable that it has been
developed in different ways in different places. Considering the variety
of circumstances in primitive life, it would not be strange if human
groups found themselves impelled to take various paths in their
attempts at effective organization. The starting-point being reverence
for animals and other objects of nature, and belief in their kinship
with men, one human group may have been led by some accidental
experience to regard some nonhuman group or object as its ally. In
another case a name, adopted by a group of its own accord or given it
from without, may have induced such an alliance. Individuals may have
imposed their guardian animals or plants on communities. A badge, chosen
for convenience, may have been the beginning of a totemic organization.
In these and other ways a group of men may have come to form intimate
relations with a nonhuman group or other object.

+562+. This fundamental relation having been established (with aversion
to eating or injuring the sacred object), various usages would attach
themselves to it in accordance with general laws of social development.
In many cases a rule of exogamy, for the better regulation of marriage,
would be adopted. When tribes, consisting each of several clans, came
into existence, a coöperative economic system would sometimes arise:
magical methods of producing results, common in early stages of life,
would be so organized that to every clan would be assigned the duty of
producing a supply of some sort of food. Following the general tendency
to genealogical construction, the belief in kinship with the sacred
object would lead a clan to imagine an ancestor of the same kind, animal
or animal-human or plant or rock, and myths explaining the origin would
be devised. Various other usages and ideas would coalesce with those
belonging to totemism proper: belief in the superhuman power of nonhuman
things, including the conception of mana; the belief that every newborn
child is the reincarnation of an ancestor; recognition of omens from the
movements of such things; belief in the magical power of names;
reverence for ancestors--a natural feeling, in itself independent of the
totemic conception; totems regarded as creators; the employment of
totemic animals as emissaries to the supernatural Powers. Thus the
resultant social system would be a congeries of beliefs and usages, and
in such a system, when it appears, the totemic element must be
distinguished from its attachments, which must be referred each to its
appropriate source.

+563+. _Function of totemism in the development of society._ The service
of totemism to society lies in the aid it has given to the friendly
association of men in groups. Common social feeling, the perception of
the advantage to be gained by combination in the quest for food and for
defense against human enemies, originated the formation of groups.
Totemism strengthened union by increasing the sense of brotherhood in
the clan and facilitating the cöoperation that is a condition of social
progress. This sort of service was rendered in early times by all
systems in which social relations were connected with relations to
animals and other natural objects; but totemism made a special appeal to
the emotions and gave all the members of a human group one and the same
object of devotion about which sentiments of loyalty and brotherhood
could crystallize. It is a crude, initial political form that has given
way to more definite forms.

+564+. It cannot be said that totemism has contributed to _economic_
progress except in so far as every stable organization may be favorable
to general progress. It has been claimed that it effected the
domestication of animals and plants.[920] In support of this claim it is
urged that, apart from reverence for these objects, there is nothing in
savage ideas and customs that could lead to domestication. Early man,
seeking food, would try all accessible animals and plants--but why, it
is asked, should he desire to keep them as attachments to his home and
cultivate them for his own use? Would his purpose be amusement? But,
though savages sometimes have animals as pets, the custom is not
general, and such pets are freely killed. Could the motive be utility?
The answer is that savages have neither the ability to perceive the
advantage, for food and labor, that would accrue from domestication, nor
knowledge of the fact that seeds must be kept, in order to secure a
crop, from one year to another, nor the self-restraint to practice
present abstinence for the sake of future good.

+565+. On the other hand, it is said, semireligious reverence for
animals preserves them from injury, they lose their fear of man, and
those that are domesticable become tame and are appropriated and used by
men; and sacred plants are retained from one year to another for ritual
purposes, and their seeds produce a succession of crops. Totem animals
are not eaten--a pastoral people does not eat its cattle, it keeps them
for their milk. In a word, animals, it is held, are not tamed by man of
set purpose, but grow tame when not molested, and those that are edible
or capable of rendering service are gradually domesticated; and
similarly, through religious use of plants, the possibility of
cultivating certain plants becomes known.

+566+. This argument rests on the assumption of the universal mental
incapacity of early men--a subject admittedly obscure. Certainly they
appear to be quite lacking in knowledge and reflection in some regards;
yet they sometimes show remarkable skill in hunting (so, for example,
the African Pygmies), and they have created remarkable languages. But,
if we leave the question of intellectual capacity aside, there are facts
that seem to throw doubt on the totemic origin of domestication. In the
first place, the conditions under which reverence for a totemic animal
may make it tame do not appear to have existed in totemic society. For
such taming it is necessary that the animal be perfectly safe within a
considerable area. But this is not possible where a group of men is
composed of various clans, a given animal being spared by one clan but
freely hunted and killed by all the other clans[921]--a state of things
that was presumably universal.

+567+. Further, it is difficult to discover any historical connection
between the actual cases of domestication of animals and reverence for
these as totems. It is unfortunate for the decision of this question
that in the two principal totemic centers, Australia and North America,
there are very few native domesticable animals--only one (a species of
dog) in Australia, and two (dog and bison) in North America. The history
of the dog in North America, however, is suggestive: it has been
domesticated by totemic Redmen for hunting purposes and by nontotemic
Eskimo for drawing sledges--that is, its economic use seems to be
independent of totemic considerations. Other cases of divergence between
employment of animals and their position as totems have been cited in
Uganda, for example;[922] but civilization is relatively far advanced in
Uganda, and in such cases we cannot infer original conditions from
existing customs.

+568+. It may fairly be surmised that observation in some cases led to
the domestic use of animals. The value of the milk of cattle, goats, and
mares as food may have been suggested to men who were acquainted with
the life of these animals; and valuing them for their milk, their owners
would abstain from eating them except under pressure of hunger or for
ceremonial purposes. Such a procedure does not seem to be beyond the
capacities of very simple communities. Chance may have suggested the
function of seeds in the growth of plants, and, agriculture once entered
on, the labor of animals would gradually be utilized. So far as regards
artistic representations, these are found everywhere, and their
occurrence on totemic poles (as, for example, among the Haidas of Queen
Charlotte Islands) cannot be regarded as a special product of totemism.

+569+. Considering the obscurity of the subject, it is doubtless wise to
refrain from offering a universal theory of the origin of domestication
of animals and plants. All that is here contended for is that the large
rôle sometimes assigned to totemism in this regard is not supported by
the facts now known to us. Future investigations may bring with them new
constructions of early history.

+570+. _Relation of totemism to religion._ As the beginnings of totemism
are obscure it is not possible to say exactly what a man's attitude
toward his totem was in the earliest period. But, when the totemic
relation became a definite feature of social organization, the feeling
was that the totem was in the nature of a clansman, of the same blood as
the human group, and entitled to all the respect and affection with
which men regarded their clan-brethren. The sentiment, in this point of
view, was sacred in the sense in which this term may be used of the
feeling existing between persons of the same human group; it involved a
certain sense of obligation toward fellow members--to respect their
rights and to defend them against enemies was an imperative duty.

+571+. Totemic clanship, however, differed from ordinary human clanship
in that the nonhuman clan-brother was regarded as a specially powerful
being, endowed with the superhuman qualities with which all animals and
plants and certain other objects were credited. Regard for the totem
was, thus, part of the regard paid to nonhuman objects in general, only
emotionalized and intensified by the belief that the nonhuman group was
in a peculiar way allied to the human group. There was not only
unwillingness to injure the totem--there was fear that one would suffer
by such an act. The totem, it was believed, was able in its turn to
inflict injury; and this belief added an element of awe to the feeling
with which it was regarded.

+572+. In another respect, also, the totem shared the powers of other
nonhuman objects--it could aid its friends. The expectation of totemic
aid is, however, vague in the earlier stages of organization, that is,
in communities in which totemism proper is well-defined--it appears to
amount to little more than a feeling that things will go well if respect
is paid to the totem. In cases where there is more definite aid there is
always the question whether the aid is afforded by the totem in its
specific character of clan-brother or merely in its character of
nonhuman powerful thing. Omens, for example, are given by all natural
objects; when an object of this sort happens to be a totem, it is not
clear that its capacity of omen-giving belongs to it simply as totem.

+573+. There is similar uncertainty in the case of the Queensland
practice, when a man, on lying down at any time or rising in the
morning, whispers the name of the animal after which he is called or the
name of the animal belonging to his group-division, in the belief that
it will give him success in his affairs;[923] here the animal is not a
clan totem, and the evidence does not show that it has come from such a
totem--it may be a sacred animal that has somehow been brought into
special connection with the man or with his group. Personal guardians
that confer magical powers on a man do not here come into consideration.

+574+. The relation between totemism and the practice of magic appears
to be essentially one of coexistence in a community. The two belong to
the same stage of culture and the same order of ideas; but the fact that
each is found without the other shows that neither is dependent on the
other. Naturally they are sometimes combined, as sometimes happens in
North America and particularly in Central Australia (where every totemic
clan is charged with certain magical ceremonies); yet this close
alliance is rare. Magical practice rests on a conception of man's
relation to nature that is distinct from the conception of kinship
between a human clan and a nonhuman species or individual object.

+575+. Secret societies sometimes perform magical ceremonies; but such
societies are not totemic--either they have risen above the totemic
point of view, or they have sprung from ideas and usages that are
independent of totemism proper.[924]

+576+. It is difficult to find a clear case of the offering of religious
worship to a totem as totem. There are the ceremonies performed by the
Australian Warramunga for the purpose of propitiating or coercing the
terrible water snake Wollunqua.[925] This creature is a totem, but a
totem of unique character--a fabulous animal, never visible, a creation
of the imagination; the totem proper is a visible object whose relations
with human beings are friendly, the Wollunqua is savage in nature and
often hostile to men. He appears to be of the nature of a god, but an
undomesticated one--a demon, adopted by a tribe as totem, or identified
with a previously existing totem. The situation is an exceptional one
and cannot be regarded as evidence of general totemic worship.

+577+. The question whether a totem ever develops into a god is a part
of the general question whether a sacred animal ever becomes a god.[926]
The complications of early ideas and customs and the paucity of data
for the formative period of early religion make an answer to these
questions difficult. As far as regards the evolution of the totem into a
true divine figure the evidence is not decisive. The identification of
heroes or gods with animals, their transformations into animals, and
their incarnations in animal forms may, indeed, suggest such an
evolution. Thus, in the island of Yam (between Australia and New Guinea)
two brothers, Sigai and Maiau, have their shrines, in which they are
represented by a shark figure and a crocodile figure respectively, and
to them food is presented, songs are sung, dances are danced and prayers
are offered. Other heroes, Kwoiam (a totem-bringer), Sida (an introducer
of the arts of life), Yadzebub (a warrior), and some unnamed are revered
in islands of Torres Straits.[927] In the Rewa district in Fiji every
village, it is said, has a deity, and these deities have the power of
turning into animals, which are then not eaten--that is, it may be
supposed, the god is a developed totem.[928] In the Wakelbura tribe of
Southeast Australia the totem animal is spoken of as "father," a title
frequently given to clan gods. Household gods are considered to be
incarnate in animals and other objects in some of the Caroline Islands,
in Tonga and Tikopia, and in Samoa, and in these islands, except Samoa,
the people are supposed to have descended from the animals in question.
Similar ideas seem not to exist in the Americas or in Africa; in India
the influence of Hindu cults has largely effaced or greatly modified
non-Aryan usages so that their original form cannot generally be

+578+. The cases just mentioned are susceptible of other explanations
than that of an evolution from totem to god. The history of the cult of
heroes in Yam and other Torres Straits islands is obscure, but from
known facts the indications are that the hero figures have arisen
independently of the totem figures and have been, by a natural process,
identified with these.[930] The peculiarity of the Rewa deities is that
they assume animal forms at will, and such animals, not being eaten, are
held to be totems. Whether totems or not they are sacred and might
easily be identified with gods who stood alongside of them; an obvious
explanation of this identity would be that the god assumed the form of
the animal.[931] A similar explanation may be given of incarnations of
gods in animals--a metamorphosis is a temporary incarnation. The Samoan
Moso is incarnate in half a dozen different objects, and some deities
are incarnate in men. As for the title "father," it belongs of course to
the object from which a clan is supposed to be descended.

+579+. The sacramental eating of the totem, where such a custom exists,
involves a certain identity of nature of totem and clan god, but the two
are regarded as distinct--their distinctness is, indeed, a necessary
condition of the sacrificial efficacy of the totem as a means of
placating the deity.[932]

+580+. Our review seems, thus, to lead to the conclusion that there is
no good ground for the opinion that a totem has ever grown into a god.
The question, belonging, as it does, to a period for which we have no
contemporary records, must be admitted to be difficult, and answers to
it must be of the nature of hypotheses; but gods and spirits appear to
have taken shape through processes of thought different from those that
lie at the basis of totemism.[933]


+581+. So far we have been considering the growth of the simpler
religious ideas and the parallel development of a quasi-religious social
organization. The ethical development is no less important than the
religious and the political, with which it has always been closely
connected. Ethical ideas and customs are in their origin independent of
religion. Religion deals with the relation between human beings and
supernatural Powers; ethics has to do with the relation between man and

+582+. Thus, the necessity for the protection of life and property
(including wives and children) has produced certain rules of conduct,
which are at first handed on orally and maintained by custom, and
gradually are formulated in written codes. The protection of the tribal
life is secured by the tribal leaders as representatives of society. The
protection of individual interests is at first in the hands of the
individuals concerned, but always under the sanction of society. The
murderer, the thief, and the adulterer are dealt with by the person
injured or by his clan or family, in accordance with generally
recognized regulations. As social life becomes more elaborate, such
regulations become more numerous and more discriminating; every new
ethical rule springs from the necessity of providing for some new social
situation. In all communities the tendency is toward taking the
protection of interests out of the hands of the individual and
committing it to the community; this course is held to be for the
advantage of society.[935]

+583+. As men are constituted, to account for the growth of moral
customs we need to assume only social life; practically all our
requirements that refer to the relations between men are found among
early tribes, and it may be taken for granted that any body of human
beings, living together and having some form of activity, would work out
some such system of rules, mostly negative or prohibitive but also to
some extent positive. Even the law of kindness, a product of natural
human sympathy, exists among the lowest known peoples. The reference of
moral growth to social necessities does not involve the denial of a
germinal sense of right and wrong or of germinal moral ideals, but this
sense and these ideals arise, through reflection, from experience. We
are here concerned only with the actual conduct of men traceable in the
early forms of society.

+584+. But while social life is the basis of ethical construction, the
actual ethical constitution of men has been influenced by religion, in
later times by the supplying of lofty ideals and sanctions, in early
times by a magical determination of things injurious. It is this second
category that is covered by the term 'taboo,' a Polynesian word said to
mean 'what is prohibited.' Prohibitions arising from natural human
relations constitute civil law; those arising from extrahuman or other
magical influences constitute taboo.[936]

+585+. Early man, regarding all objects as possibly endowed with power,
selects out of the whole mass by observation and experience certain
objects which affect his life, his relations with which he finds it
desirable to define. These are all mysterious;[937] some are helpful,
some harmful. The helpful objects become lucky stones, amulets. The
injurious or dangerous objects are the more numerous; in an atmosphere
of uncertainty the mysterious is dreaded, avoided, and guarded against
by rules.[938]

+586+. The objects affected by the conception of taboo are as various as
the conditions of human life--they include things inanimate and animate,
and events and experiences of all sorts. Sometimes the danger is
supposed to be inherent in the object, sometimes the quality of
dangerousness is imposed on it or infused into it by some authority; but
in all cases there is present the force (mana) that, in savage theory,
makes the external world a factor in human destinies.[939] This force
may be transmitted from one object to another (usually by contact[940]),
and thus the taboo infection may spread indefinitely, a silent and
terrible source of misfortune, sometimes to a single person, sometimes
to a whole community. Ceremonies connected with taboo are designed to
protect against this destructive influence.

+587+. The principal taboo usages may be classed roughly under certain
heads, which, however, will sometimes overlap one another.

+588+. _Taboos connected with the conception of life._ For early man the
central mystery of the world was life, and mystery and danger attached
to all things connected with its genesis, maintenance, and cessation--to
pregnancy, birth, death, corpses, funerals, blood. Against these things
precautions, in the form of various restrictions, had to be taken.
Pregnancy was sometimes regarded as due to supernatural agency, and in
all cases was noted as a mysterious condition in which the woman was
peculiarly exposed to evil influences; she was sometimes required to
keep her head covered or to avoid moonshine, or to live separated from
her husband.[941]

+589+. Care for women during pregnancy and after the birth of a child
might be induced by natural human kindliness. But certain usages in
connection with birth indicate fear of superhuman dangers. In many
regions (Central Asia, Africa, Oceania, China) the mother is taboo for a
certain time, being regarded apparently as a source of danger to others,
as well as being herself exposed to danger. The child also is surrounded
by perils. Mother and child are protected by isolation, ablutions
(baptism), amulets, conjurations, and by consecration to a deity.[942]
The intimate relation between father and child may make it necessary to
impose taboos on the former--he is sometimes required to go to bed (the
_couvade_, or man-childbed), to abstain from work and from certain foods
held to be injurious, and to avoid touching weapons and other dangerous
things; thus, through the identity of father and child, the latter is
guarded against the hostile mana that may be lurking near. The seclusion
of the mother sometimes varies in duration according to the sex of the
child; in most cases, apparently, the period is longer for a male
child;[943] in the Jewish ritual the period for the maid-child is twice
as great (eighty days) as that for the male;[944] the difference in the
points of view, perhaps, is that the evil influence may direct itself
particularly against, or be more serious for, the male as socially the
more important, or it may be more dangerous for the female as the

+590+. _Taboos connected with death._ The danger to the living arising
from a death is of a twofold nature: the corpse, as a strange, uncanny
thing, is a source of peril; and there are possible external
enemies--the spirit that produced the death, and the ghost of the
departed. Against these dangerous things avoidance of the corpse is the
common precaution--a dead body must not be touched, or, if it is
touched, he who touches must undergo purification.[946] Perhaps the
various modes of disposing of corpses (exposure, inhumation, cremation)
were originally attempts to get rid of their dangerous qualities; later
other motives came in. The body of a suicide was especially feared, and
was staked down on a public way to prevent its reappearance; it was
perhaps the abnormal and desperate character of the death that produced
this special fear. The dread of a corpse is, however, not universal
among savages--in many cases it is eaten, simply as food or to acquire
the qualities of the deceased, or for other reasons. It is feared as
having hurtful power, it is eaten as being sacred or helpful.

+591+. The house in which a death occurs shares the evil power of the
dead body, and sometimes must be destroyed, together with all its
furniture, or abandoned or purified.[947] Death diffuses its baleful
influence through the atmosphere, making it unfavorable for ordinary
work, which, accordingly, is often then suspended for a time.[948]
Seclusion is sometimes enjoined on widower or widow,[949] and mention of
the name of the deceased is forbidden--the identity of spouse or name
with the dead effects the transmission of what is dangerous in him. In
another direction the earthly dwelling of a dead person is protected--a
curse is pronounced on one who violates it.[950]

+592+. _Taboos connected with woman and the relations between the
sexes._ Among many peoples there is dread of the presence of women and
of their belongings under certain circumstances.[951] The ground of this
fear may lie in those physiological peculiarities of woman which are
regarded as mysterious and dangerous, and the antagonism of feeling may
have been increased by the separation between the sexes consequent on
the differences in their social functions and their daily pursuits.
Woman seems to move in a sphere different from that of man; she acts in
ways that are strange to him. Whatever its ground, the feeling of dread
is a real one: a case is reported of a man who, on learning that he had
lain down on his wife's blanket, became violently ill.

+593+. Various restrictions are imposed on women at periods of sexual
crisis. The girl on reaching the age of puberty is generally (though not
always[952]) immured, sometimes for weeks or months, to shield her from
noxious influences, human and nonhuman. During menstruation a woman is
isolated, may not be looked on by the sun, must remain apart from her
husband, and her food is strictly regulated.[953] It is not infrequently
the case that certain foods are permanently forbidden women, for what
special reasons is not clear.[954] The rule forbidding a wife to eat
with her husband may have come originally from nonreligious social
considerations (her subordination to the man, or the fact that she
belonged to a social group different from his), but in that case it
later acquired a religious character. Women have commonly been excluded
in savage communities from solemn ceremonies (as those of the initiation
of males) and from tribal councils;[955] such rules may have originated
in the natural differentiation of social functions of the sexes or in
the desire of men to keep the control of tribal life in their own
hands, but in many cases the presence of women was supposed to vitiate
the proceedings supernaturally. In industrial enterprises, such as
hunting and fishing, they are sometimes held to be a fatal
influence.[956] In family life a wife's mother was debarred from all
social intercourse with her son-in-law.[957]

+594+. Where procreation was ascribed to the union of the sexes, sexual
intercourse, as being intimately connected with life, was credited with
supernatural potency, generally unfavorable to vigor.[958] It has been
largely prohibited on all important public occasions, such as hunting
and war, and particularly in connection with religious ceremonies.[959]
Various considerations may have contributed to the establishment of such
customs, but in their earliest form we have, probably, to recognize not
any moral effort to secure chastity, but a dread of injurious mana
resident in women.[960] We may compare the fact that women have often
been regarded as specially gifted in witchcraft.[961]

+595+. _Taboos connected with great personages._ The theory of mana
includes the belief that special supernatural power resides in the
persons of tribal leaders, such as magicians, chiefs, priests. It
follows that danger attaches to their bodies (particularly to head,
hair, and nails), to their names, and to their food and other
belongings. These things must be avoided: their food must not be eaten
by common folk; their houses and other property must not be used; their
nail-cuttings must be buried so that danger may be averted from the
community; their names must not be mentioned. They themselves, being
peculiarly sensitive to malign influences, must be protected in the
house and when they walk out; and it is in some cases not safe for the
common man to look on the chief as he passes through the village.

+596+. Not all these regulations are found in any one community, but the
principle is the same everywhere. The greatest development of taboo
power in chiefs occurs in Polynesia, the home of taboo. There they are
all-powerful. Whatever a chief touches becomes his property. If he
enters a house, steps into a canoe, affixes his name to a field, it is
his. His control appears to be limited only by the accident of his
momentary desire. No one thinks of opposing his decisions--that would be
fatal to the opposer. This social situation passes when a better form of
civil government is established, but some features of the old conception
cling to later dignitaries: till recently the nail-parings of the
emperor of Japan were carefully disposed of lest, being inadvertently
touched, they should bring misfortune.

+597+. A priest also may carry taboo infection on his person. In
Ezekiel's scheme of ritual organization it is ordered that when the
priest, having offered sacrifice, goes forth into the outer court where
the people are, he shall put off the garments in which he ministered and
lay them in a sacred place, and put on other garments, lest some one
touching him should be made ritually unclean, that is taboo, forbidden
to mingle with his fellows or to do his ordinary work for a certain time
(generally till the evening).[962] In many regions there have been and
are numerous restrictions on priests, some of which are in their own
interests (to preserve their ritual purity), some in the interests of
others (to guard them against the infection of taboo).[963] Other
quasi-official or devoted persons (as, for example, the Hebrew
Nazirite[964]) were subject to restrictions of food. Strangers, who in
a primitive period were frequently put to death, in a more humane period
were subjected to purifying processes in order to remove the taboo
infection that might cling to them.[965]

+598+. _Industrial taboos._ The customs of certain Polynesian chiefs,
described above, cannot be said to aid industry, but there are taboo
usages designed to protect and further popular occupations. These
doubtless have a natural nonmagical basis--the necessity of making good
crops and protecting private property would be recognized everywhere,
and would call forth legal enactments; but it was inevitable, in certain
communities, that such enactments should be strengthened by supernatural
sanctions such as those offered by the conception of taboo.

+599+. Protective arrangements of this sort abound in Oceania and
Indonesia. In Samoa the sweet-potato fields are taboo till the crop is
gathered.[966] Hawaiian fisheries are protected by the simple device of
forbidding the taking of certain fish at certain seasons; here the
economic motive is obvious, but taboo penalties are annexed.[967] During
planting time in New Zealand all persons employed in the work were taboo
for other occupations and obliged to give all their time to the
planting; and the same rule held for hunting and fishing.[968] The
Borneo Kayans refrain from their usual occupations during planting,
harvesting, and the search for camphor.[969] Similar restrictions, of an
elaborate kind, are in force in Sumatra,[970] and in Assam.[971]

+600+. The property of private persons was protected: the common man
might impose a taboo on his land, crops, house, and garments, and these
were then safe from depredation. It was true, however, in New Zealand as
elsewhere, that the potency of the imposed taboo depended on the
influence of him who imposed it; chiefs, as uniting in their persons
civil and religious authority, were the most powerful persons in the
community, and taboos ordered by them were the most effective. In
Melanesia taboo is largely employed for the protection of private
property--curses are pronounced against trespassers, and the authority
of the tabooer is reënforced by that of the local spirit or ghost
(_tindalo_);[972] here taboo has become definitely an element of civil
law, in which it tends to be absorbed.

+601+. _Taboos connected with other important social events._ It appears
that all occurrences supposed to affect the life of the community have
been, and often still are, regarded as bringing with them, or as
attended by, supernatural influences (resident in mana or in spirits)
that may be dangerous. Against these perils the usual precautions are
taken, one of the commonest (as in cases mentioned in the preceding
paragraphs) being abstinence from ordinary work; the belief, apparently,
is that such work is tainted with the injurious influence with which the
atmosphere is charged.

+602+. Among religious ceremonies the expulsion of evil spirits was
naturally attended with danger, and work was prohibited. Such was the
custom in Athens at the Anthesteria and on the sixth day of the
Thargelia, and in Rome at the Lemuria.[973] Among existing tribes there
are numerous examples of this sort of restriction: it is found in West
Africa[974] and in Indonesia (Kar Nicobar, Bali[975]); in Assam it takes
the form of a taboo (_genna_) for laying to rest the ghosts of all who
have died within the year[976] (an All Souls ceremony).

+603+. In general, sacred seasons, times of great communal ceremonies,
demand the avoidance of ordinary pursuits, which, it is feared, may
imperil the success of the ceremonies by necessitating contact with
things infected or nonsacred. The earlier Hebrew usage recognized such
seasons (new moon, sabbath, and perhaps others); the later usage
increased the number of tabooed days as the ritual was expanded and
organised.[977] For Greece we have the Plynteria, on the principal day
of which work was suspended;[978] in Rome the feriae were such days,
regular or occasional.[979] The inbringing of first fruits was a
peculiarly solemn occasion, when gratitude to the deity mingled with
fear of hostile influences; so among the Hebrews[980] and at Athens[981]
and in Tonga.[982] Polynesian restrictions on the occasion of ceremonies
are given by Ellis.[983] All such days of abstinence from ordinary work
tend to become holidays, times of popular amusement, and a taboo element
may be suspected in such festivals as those of the later Hindu
period.[984] Naturally, also, days of restriction become sacred to

+604+. Great nonreligious tribal events and peculiar situations demand
restrictive precautions. Warriors prepare for an expedition by remaining
apart from their wives.[985] Women whose husbands are absent are
sometimes immured or forbidden all intercourse with human beings; by
reason of the identity of husband and wife supernatural harm to the
latter will affect the former. Afflictive occurrences, such as famines,
pestilences, earthquakes, are signs of some hostile supernatural power,
defense against which requires the avoidance of ordinary pursuits.
Arbitrary enactments by chiefs may attach restrictions to a particular
day. Sometimes restrictive usages, of obscure origin, become communal
law. Thus, every Toda clan has certain days of the week (not the
occasion of special ceremonies) in which it is forbidden to follow
ordinary occupations; among the things forbidden are the giving of
feasts, the performance of funeral ceremonies, the cutting of nails, and
shaving; women and dairymen may not leave the village, and the people
and buffaloes may not move from one place to another.[986] Doubtless
this system of prohibitions is the outcome of many generations of
experience--the organization of various local usages.

+605+. _Taboos connected with the moon._ Unusual celestial phenomena,
such as eclipses, meteors, and comets, have always excited terror, being
referred to some hostile supernatural agency, and have called forth
special placative and restrictive ceremonies. They are accounted for in
savage lore by various myths.[987] But the permanently important taboos
have been those that are associated with the phases of the moon. These
periodical transformations, unexplained and mysterious, seemed to early
man to have vital relation with all earthly life--the waxing and waning
of the moon was held to determine, through the sympathy existing between
all things, the growth and decay of plants, animals, and men.[988] Hence
arose the widely diffused belief that all important undertakings should
be begun while the moon was increasing, and innumerable regulations for
the conduct of affairs were established, not a few of them surviving in
civilized popular belief and practice to the present day.

+606+. Sometimes the changes in the moon are minutely observed. The
Nandi describe every day of the month by the appearance of the moon or
by its relation to occupations.[989] Natural observation in some cases
divided the lunar month into four parts: the Buddhist uposatha days are
the four days in the lunar month when the moon is full or new or halfway
between the two;[990] in Hawaii the 3d-6th, 14th-15th, 24th-25th,
27th-28th days of every month were taboo periods;[991] the Babylonians
had five such periods in certain months (four periods with one period
intercalated). But, though the quartering of the lunation may seem to us
the most natural division of the month, in actual practice it is rather
the exception.[992] The simplest division, indeed, is that into two
parts, determined by new moon and full moon (Cambodia, Siam; cf. the
Mexican period of thirteen days). The division into three periods of
ten days each (Egypt, Greece, Annam, Japan) ignores lunar phases and
seeks a convenient and symmetrical arrangement. With this decimal system
is perhaps connected the division of the month into six periods of five
days each (Yoruba, Java, Sumatra, and perhaps Babylonia). The Romans had
a somewhat irregular official division of the first half of the month
into three parts (Kalends, Nones, Ides) corresponding in a general way
to lunar phases, and also commercial periods of eight days (_nundinae_),
perhaps of similar origin. A seven-day division is found in Ashantiland
(and perhaps in Peru), and in Java there is reported a division of a
year into thirty periods of seven days each.

+607+. It appears, then, that in several communities there has been a
division of the month in the interests of convenience, without regard to
lunar phases; that in several cases a seven-day week has been fallen
upon; and that of the phases of the moon new moon and full moon have
been most frequently looked to as chronological marks. The new moon,
apart from its function of indicating the beginning of the lunar month,
has also by many tribes been hailed with joy as a friend restored to
life after seeming extinction.[993] The full moon, while it has not
entered so intimately into the emotional life of man, has played an
important part by marking the division of the month into two equal

+608+. _The Hebrew sabbath._ Taboo days are days of abstinence from
work, set apart as seasons of rest.[994] Such was the original form of
the Hebrew sabbath--it is described in the earlier Old Testament notices
simply as a day on which ordinary work was unlawful.[995] The history of
its precise origin and development is, however, by no means clear.
Theories that derive it from the cult of some particular deity or
regard it as primarily a day for placating a supernatural Power[996] may
be set aside. It may be assumed that it is an early institution somehow
connected with the moon, and a definite indication of origin appears to
be furnished by the fact that in a Babylonian inscription the term
_shabattu_[997] is used for the full moon. The identification of Hebrew
sabbath with full moon is favored by the collocation of new moon and
sabbath in early Old Testament documents[998] as days on which trading
was unlawful. These, obviously, were the two chief taboo days of the
month; the fact that new moon stands first is doubtless due to its
position in the month.

+609+. It is uncertain whether the Babylonian full-moon day was ritually
particularly important, and it is not clear how the Hebrews came to
invest this day, if it was their sabbath, with peculiar significance. In
the earlier legal documents it is merely a restrictive period--man and
beast are to rest from toil;[999] in later codes religious motives for
the observance of the day are introduced--first, gratitude to Yahweh for
the rescue of the nation from Egyptian bondage, and then respect for the
fact that Yahweh worked in creating the world six days and stopped work
on the seventh day.[1000] In the sixth century we find the sabbath
elevated to the position of specific sign of Yahweh's protective
relation to the people, and still later it is regarded as a day of
joyous obedience to divine law.[1001] Thus, the process of moralization
of the day was probably a long-continued one.[1002]

+610+. In the various experimental divisions of the month, as we have
seen, a week of seven days has been approached independently in several
places (Babylonia, Hawaii, Java, Ashantiland). The basis of this
division is doubtless the quartering of the lunation, and it has been
reënforced, probably, by considerations of convenience--seven is an
intermediate number, six days of work and one of abstinence and rest
(holiday) commends itself as a practical arrangement. It appears among
the Hebrews as early as the eighth century B.C.;[1003] it may have been
derived from or suggested by Babylonian usage, or it may have been an
ancient Hebrew custom--data on this point are lacking. In any case the
Jewish genius for religious organization seized on the seven-day scheme
and wove it into the system of worship. A more important step taken by
the Jews was the ignoring of lunar phases (except, of course, new moon
as the beginning of the month) and reckoning the week and the seventh
day (the sabbath) in a continuous line. We have noted cases in which
lunar phases were ignored, but this Jewish arrangement appears to be
unique, and its simplicity and convenience have commended it to the

+611+. _Lucky and unlucky days._ The malefic influences emanating from
various objects and resident in the air attached themselves to certain
days, and out of the vast mass of experiences in every community there
grew up systems of days when things might or might not be done with
safety and advantage. There were the great occasions, economic and
astronomical, referred to above, and there were particular occurrences,
such as a death or a defeat, that stamped a day as unlucky. There are
many such beliefs, the origin of which is lost in a remote antiquity.
The ancient civilized nations had their codes of luck. Egypt had a long
list of unlucky days.[1004] In Babylonia onerous restrictions were
imposed on kings, seers, and physicians on certain days (the 7th, 14th,
19th, 21st, 28th) of the sixth and eighth months[1005] (and perhaps of
other months). A brief list of days favorable and unfavorable to work
is given by Hesiod.[1006] The Roman _dies nefasti_, properly
'irreligious days,' were inauspicious, unlucky.[1007] Similar lists of
lucky and unlucky days are found among existing tribes,[1008] and the
popular luck codes in Christian communities are numerous and
elaborate.[1009] These have done, and still do, great harm by
substituting irrational for rational rules of conduct.

+612+. In many of the cases cited above and in many totemistic
regulations there are prohibitions of particular sorts of food. Such
prohibitions, very numerous, are found in all grades of
civilization.[1010] They have arisen from various causes--climatic
conditions, hygienic beliefs, religious conceptions (as, for example,
the recognition of the sacred character of certain animals, and the
connection of certain foods with supernatural beings and
ceremonies[1011]), sometimes, perhaps, from accidental experiences; the
history of most of the particular usages escapes us. The fundamental
principle involved is the identity of the food with him who eats
it--when it is charged with supernatural power (by its own sacredness,
or by its connection with a sacred person, or by ecclesiastical decree)
it becomes malefic to an unauthorized person who partakes of it.

+613+. A peculiar form of prohibition of foods appears when a society is
divided into groups that are kept apart from one another by social and
religious traditions that have hardened into civic rules. In such cases
the diet of every group may be regulated by law, and it may become
dangerous and abhorrent for a superior to eat what has been touched by
an inferior. The best example of this sort of organization is the Hindu
system of castes, which has a marked and unhappy effect on the life of
the people.[1012] All such arbitrary social divisions yield gradually to
the influence of education and civic freedom, and this appears to be the
tendency in India at the present day.

+614+. _Punishment of violation of taboo._ Where the hostile power is
inherent in an object, punishment is supposed to follow violation
automatically--through contact the malefic influence passes into the
man's body and works destruction. Many experiences seem to the savage to
establish the certainty of such a result. Fervid belief, moreover,
produced by long tradition, acts powerfully on the imagination, and in
taboo-ridden communities thus often brings about the bodily ill called
for by the theory: a man who ate of food that he found on the roadside,
learning afterwards that it belonged to a chief, fell ill and died in a
few hours.[1013] When taboo regulations have been taken up into the
civil law,[1014] punishment for violations is inflicted by the civil
authorities. The tendency to make taboo a part of the civil law, and to
subordinate the former to the latter, increases with the advance of
knowledge and political organization; and one result of this movement is
that great personages are sometimes permitted to violate with impunity
taboos imposed by inferiors. The native theory in such cases doubtless
is that the great man's mana overcomes the taboo infection; but at
bottom, we may surmise, lies the sense of the dominance of civil

+615+. The chief's mana, however, sometimes comes into play as a means
of relief. A man who has inadvertently (or perhaps, in some instances,
purposely) violated a taboo may escape punishment by touching some part
of a chief's body. Here the innate potency of the superior man expels or
destroys the taboo force that has entered the inferior--another example
of how the primitive theory of taboo is modified by conceptions of
social rank and authority.

+616+. _Removal of taboo._ In general, magical ceremonies may be
employed to counteract the injurious influence resident in a thing or an
act, or to destroy the evil consequences resulting from a violation of
the taboo law. For this purpose sprinkling with water, bathing in water,
and the employment of charms are held to be effective. Thus in the old
Hebrew code the taboo resting on a house supposed to be infected with
the plague is removed by sprinkling the house with water and the blood
of a slain bird, and setting free a second bird alive, which is supposed
to carry the plague-power off with it.[1015] A woman is tabooed forty
days at the birth of a male child, and eighty days at the birth of a
female child; the taboo is removed by a holocaust and a

+617+. A general taboo regulation may be set aside by tribal agreement
in the interests of convenience or pleasure. On certain occasions the
restrictions on the intercourse of the sexes are removed for a brief
period, at the expiration of which the prohibitory law resumes its
place.[1017] Many special ceremonies in various parts of the world have
to do with modifications of marriage laws.[1018]

+618+. _Taboo and magic._ Reference is made above to magical procedures
in connection with taboo customs. Taboo and magic have a common basis in
the conception of an occult force (which may conveniently be called
_mana_) resident in all things, but they contemplate different sides of
this force, and their social developments are very different. Taboo
recognizes the inherent malefic manifestations of the force (known by
supposed experience), and avoids them; magic uses the mana energy to
effect results impossible for unaided human power. In taboo man feels
himself to be under the dominance of an occult law, and his virtue is
blind obedience; in magic he feels himself to be the master of a great
energy, and what he needs is knowledge. Taboo has originated a mass of
irrational rules for the guidance of everyday life; magic has grown
into a quasi-science, with an organized body of adepts, touching
religion on one side and real science on another side.

+619+. A closer relationship between magic and taboo has been assumed in
view of the fact that both rest to some extent on the principle of the
association of ideas, the principle that like procedures produce like
results. It is true that some taboo rules depend on this
conception:[1019] the flesh of timid animals is avoided, that of
courageous animals is eaten, under the belief that the man partakes of
the character of the food he eats; association with women is sometimes
supposed to make a man or a boy effeminate. It is to be expected that in
the immense number of taboo prohibitions and precautions some should be
found in which the association of ideas is the determining factor. But
for the majority of taboo regulations this explanation does not hold. In
the economic and sexual taboos mentioned above, in the dread of corpses,
in the fear of touching things belonging to a chief, and in other cases
there are customs that can only be referred to a belief in an injurious
potency residing in certain objects.[1020] Practically, savage tribes
distinguish between taboo and magic.

+620+. Contamination of customs has always been the rule in human
communities, early and late, savage and civilized. We have seen how
there has often been a coalescence between taboo regulations proper and
ordinary civil law. To state the case more fully, these have been fused
into a unity of social life with individual initiative, magical notions,
arbitrary enactments. The actual social constitution even of slightly
developed tribes is composite, the outcome of long experience and
experiment in which all the lines of social feeling and thought have
gradually drawn together and been compacted into a more or less unitary
mass. While these lines have influenced each the others, it is possible,
to a considerable extent, to distinguish the sphere of each. Thus we
can, in many cases, see where ordinary civil law comes in to adopt,
modify, or set aside taboo rules, and so we can generally recognize the
line of demarcation between definite taboo and the conception of
association of ideas. In some cases the explanations offered of taboo
customs are afterthoughts--imagined hypotheses to account for things
already in existence.[1021]

+621+. The despotism exercised by taboo systems over certain Polynesian
communities is one of the extraordinary facts of human history. In New
Zealand and Hawaii the restrictions on conduct were so numerous and were
carried out so mercilessly that life under these conditions would seem
to us intolerable.[1022] In addition to a great number of particular
prohibitions and to the constant fear of violating the sacredness of the
persons of chiefs and trenching on their prerogatives, we find in New
Zealand the amazing rule that on the occasion of a great misfortune (as
a fire) the sufferer was to be deprived of his possessions--the blow
that fell on him was held to affix a stigma to all that he owned.
Besides the traditional taboos there were the arbitrary enactments of
chiefs which might constantly introduce new possibilities of suffering.
Yet with all this the people managed to live in some degree of comfort,
somewhat as in civilized communities life goes on in spite of
earthquakes, epidemics, bank failures, the injustices of law, and the
tyranny of the powerful.

+622+. The duration of certain taboo periods among various peoples in
various ages has varied greatly. Taboos relating to foods, chiefs, and
the intercourse of the sexes are usually permanent everyday customs;
those that relate to economic procedures are in force for the time
demanded by each industry. In Hawaii the catching of certain species of
fish was forbidden for half the year, and the Borneo harvest taboo
(carrying prohibition of other work) lasts sometimes for weeks. There is
mention in a Maori legend of a taboo of three years.[1023] According to
the later Hebrew law, in every seventh year all agricultural operations
ceased.[1024] A portent may demand a long period of restriction, as in
the case of the Roman nine-day ceremony (_novendiales feriae_).[1025] As
has been remarked above, economic taboos are often dictated by
convenience--they are prudential rules to which a supernatural sanction
has been attached.

+623+. _Diffusion of taboo._ Polynesia, particularly New Zealand and
Hawaii, is the special home of taboo--the only region in which it is
known to have taken the form of a well-compacted, all-embracing system.
It exists in Melanesia, but it is there less complicated and
general,[1026] and the same thing is true of British New Guinea.[1027]
In parts of Borneo it is found in modified form: there are two sorts of
taboo, one, called _mali_, absolutely forbidding work on certain
occasions, the other, called _penti_, allowing work if it is begun by a
person not _penti_; before the birth of a child the latter form of taboo
rests on both parents.[1028] The Land Dyaks have their _lali_ days and
the Sea Dyaks their _pemate_,[1029] these terms being the equivalents of

+624+. Though there is no proof of the existence of all-pervading taboo
systems among the peoples of Asia and America, there are notices of
taboo regulations in particular cases in these regions. At the birth of
a child the Hindu father was subject to certain restrictions along with
the mother, and his taboo was removed by bathing.[1030] Among the Sioux
Indians on the death of a child the father is taboo for a period of six
months or a year.[1031] In West African Calabar there are taboos (called
_ibet_) on individuals, connected with spirits, the guardians of
children.[1032] In Assam economic and other taboos are elaborate and
well organized.[1033] Such observances, in connection with death, are
found among the Kafirs[1034] and the Eskimo.[1035]

+625+. For the ancient civilized peoples there is no proof of the
existence of general taboo systems. Various particular prohibitions,
involving a sense of danger in certain things, are mentioned above; they
relate chiefly to corpses, to infected houses, to women in connection
with menstruation and childbirth,[1036] to certain official persons (as
the Roman flamen dialis). There are also the lists of unlucky days
(Egyptian, Babylonian, Greek, Roman). The origin of food prohibitions
(Hebrew, Pythagorean) is uncertain;[1037] they may have arisen, as is
suggested above, from general regard for sacred animals and plants, or
from totemistic relations, or from other conditions unknown to us; the
Hebrew lists of forbidden animals may have been gradually expanded under
the guidance of antagonism to surrounding non-Yahwistic cults. Whether
the ancient taboo usages are the remains of older more extensive systems
or represent the extreme point to which tabooism was carried by the
communities in question the data do not enable us to decide.

+626+. In various places, outside of the Polynesian area, we find terms
that bear a more or less close resemblance in signification to
taboo.[1038] Melanesian _tambu_ is that which has a sacred
character.[1039] The Borneo terms (_lali_, _pemate_, _mali_, _penti_)
are mentioned just above, and there is the _pomali_ of Timor (in the
Malayan Archipelago). The Malagasy _fady_ is defined as 'dangerous,
prohibited.'[1040] In Gabun (West Africa) _orunda_ is said to mean
'prohibited to human beings.'[1041] The Hebrew _tamē_ is used of
things dangerous, not to be touched, ritually defiling,[1042] and this
sense sometimes attaches to the term _qadosh_ (rendered in the English
version by 'holy'), which involves the presence of a supernatural (and
therefore dangerous) quality.[1043]

+627+. From all the facts known it may be concluded that the conception
of taboo exists or has existed in some form in a great part of the
world,[1044] though its development has differed greatly in different
regions. In general its prevalence appears to have been in inverse
proportion to that of totemism--it is lacking or feeble in the chief
totemic centers, Australia and North America, and strongest in
Polynesia, where totemism is hardly recognizable. It may be said that,
while totemism appears in those forms of social life that have been
created by hunting communities,[1045] taboo is the product of more
settled societies, in which agriculture plays an important part. But
while this is true, at least in a general way, we are not able to trace
all the influences that have determined the development of totemism and
taboo; some of these are lost in the obscurity of the remote past, and,
unfortunately for purposes of investigation, both taboo and totemism, as
we now meet them in actual operation, are in process of decay. Why, for
instance, taboo has flourished in Hawaii with its fishing industries and
has not flourished in certain half-civilized, partly agricultural North
American tribes we are unable to explain precisely. We may fall back on
the vague statement that every community has accomplished that for which
its genius fitted it, but how the genius of any one people has fitted it
for this or that particular task it is not always possible to say.

+628+. _The disappearance of the taboo system_ in civilized nations is
to be referred to the general advance in intelligence and morality.
Usually this movement is a gradual and silent one, marked by a quiet
dropping of usages as they come to be held unnecessary or oppressive.
Sometimes a bold individual rebels against the established custom and
successfully introduces a new era: thus in Yoruba, under an old custom,
when a king died his eldest son was obliged to commit suicide; this
custom was set at defiance by a certain Adelu in 1860, and has not since
been observed.[1046] All the influences that tend to broaden thought go
to displace taboo. The growth of clans into tribes, the promotion of
voluntary organizations, secret societies, which displace the old
totemistic groups, the growth of agriculture and of commercial
relations--all things, in a word, that tend to make the individual
prominent and to further family life lead naturally to the abrogation of
oppressive taboos.

+629+. Doubtless also among lower tribes intercourse with higher
communities has had the same result. One of the most remarkable episodes
in the history of taboo is its complete overthrow in the Hawaiian
Islands in the year 1819 by a popular movement.[1047] The movement was
begun by members of the royal family, particularly by one of the queens,
and was eagerly followed by almost the whole population--the result was
the final overthrow of the system. This was before the arrival of
Christian missionaries; but as foreigners had visited the islands many
years before (Captain Cook first came in 1778), it is possible that the
suggestion of the reform came from observation of the fact that the
taboos were disregarded by those men without evil effects. In any case
it was the acceptance of better ideas by the people that led to the
revolutionary movement.

+630+. _Rôle of taboo in the history of religion._ The relation of taboo
to morality and religion and to the general organization of society
appears from the facts stated above. It has created neither the sense of
obligation nor the determination of what is right or wrong in conduct.
The sense of obligation is coeval with human society--man, at the moment
when he became man, was already potentially a moral being (and a
religious being as well).[1048] His experience of life induced rules of
conduct, and these, with the concurrence of some hardly definable
instincts, became imperative for him--the conception involved in the
word 'ought' gradually took shape. The practical content of the
conception was determined by all sorts of experience; the decisive
consideration was whether or not a given thing was advantageous. The
belief arose that certain disadvantageous things were to be referred to
extrahuman influences, and such things were of course to be
avoided--this belief produced the taboo system.

+631+. The prohibitions of morality sprang from social relations with
human beings, the prohibitions of taboo from social relations with
superhuman beings--duties to both classes of beings were defined by
experience. The rule "thou shalt not kill thy clansman" was a necessity
of human society; the rule "thou shalt not touch a corpse" sprang from
the fear of a superhuman, malign, death-dealing Power. Avoidance of
poisonous herbs was an obligation founded on common experience;
avoidance of a chief's food and certain other foods arose from dread of
offending a spirit or some occult Power. And so with all taboo
prescriptions as contrasted with others relating to conduct.[1049]

+632+. Taboo is in essence religious, not moral. In so far as it
supplies a supernatural sanction for moral conduct proper and maintains
rational social relations (as when a man's wife and other property are
made taboo to all but himself), it is often beneficent. On the other
hand, it is antimoral when it elevates to the rank of duties actions
that have no basis in human relations or are in any way antagonistic to
a healthy human instinct of right. This it has often done, and there has
accordingly resulted a conflict between it and morality--a conflict that
has formed no small part of the ethical history of the race, its echoes
remaining to the present day. In all religions it has been hard to bring
about an intelligent harmony between the moral and the ritual. Taboo was
not originally irrational--it sprang from the belief (rational for the
early time) in the presence of the supernatural in certain objects, and
this belief was held to be supported by early experience, according to
which it seemed that violations of taboo were followed by sickness or
death or other misfortunes. It came to be thought irrational with the
progress of knowledge and reflection.

+633+. Taboo, being a religious conception, has been adopted and
fostered by all popular systems of religion. It has been set aside not
by religion as such but by all the influences that have tended to
rationalize religion. Religious leaders have modified it so far as
modification has been demanded by public opinion. So enlightened and
spiritual minded a man as the apostle Paul declared that an unworthy
participation in the eucharistic celebration produced sickness and
death.[1050] Innumerable are the taboos that have passed silently into

+634+. Taboo, then, is a concomitant of man's moral life that has
sometimes opposed, sometimes coalesced with natural morality. Like all
widely extending institutions it has tended in part to weld men
together; like all irrational restrictions it has tended also to hold
men apart. Like all positive law it has fostered the sense of moral
obligation, but like all arbitrary law it has weakened the power of
intelligent and moral obedience. It has been not the guardian of
morality, but a temporary form (useful in a primitive stage of society)
in which a part of the moral law expressed itself. The real moral force
of society has been sympathetic social intercourse, which, under the
guidance of an implicit moral ideal, has been constantly employed in
trying to spiritualize or to reject those enactments of taboo that have
been proved by experience, observation, and reflection to be



+635+. The climax of the organization of external religion appears in
the conception of gods proper; this conception is always associated with
more or less well-developed institutions. Early religious life expresses
itself in ceremonies; the god is the embodiment of man's ideal of the
extrahuman power that rules the world. It is not always easy to
distinguish the true gods from the other supernatural beings with which
early man's world is peopled.[1052] As far as concerns power, the ghosts
and the spirits appear to do all that the gods are credited with doing;
the sphere of ghostly action is practically unlimited, and the spirit
that dwells in a spring, in a river, or in a mountain, is as mighty in
his sphere as Indra or Apollo in his sphere; the difference between them
and gods is a difference of intellectual and moral culture and of the
degree of naturalization in a human society--a god might be defined as a
superhuman Being fashioned by the thought of a civilized people (the
term 'civilized' admitting, however, of many gradations). Still, gods
proper may be distinguished from other Powers by certain characteristics
of person and function. Ghosts are shadowy doubles of human beings,
sometimes nameless, wandering about without definite purpose except to
procure food for themselves, uncertain of temper, friendly or unfriendly
according to caprice or other circumstances, able to help or to harm,
and requiring men to be constantly on the alert so as not in an
unguarded moment to offend them. Souls of recently deceased ancestors,
more highly organized ghosts, conceived of also as attenuated bodies,
have powers not essentially different from those of the simpler ghosts,
but are differentiated from these in function by their intimate
relations with the family or clan to which they belong, and by their
more definite human nature; they are as a rule permanently friendly, are
capable of definite sympathetic social intercourse with living men, and
are sometimes controllers and patrons, hardly to be distinguished from
local or departmental gods. Spirits are ethereal beings residing in, or
closely connected with, certain objects (trees, rivers, springs, stones,
mountains, etc.), sometimes permanently attached to these objects,
sometimes detached; roaming about, sometimes kindly, more generally
inimical, authors of disease and death, to be feared and to be guarded
against, but sometimes in function (though not in origin) identical with
ancestral ghosts. Totems, in their developed form, are revered, but
rarely if ever worshiped. The term 'animal-gods' may mean either living
animals regarded as divine, or animals believed to be the forms assumed
by gods; in the latter case they may be taken to be real gods of an
inferior type.

In distinction from the four classes of Powers just mentioned, a true
god is a supernatural being with distinct anthropomorphic personality,
with a proper name or a distinctive title, exercising authority over a
certain land or people or over a department of nature or a class of
phenomena, dwelling generally in a sanctuary on the earth, or in the
sky, or in the other world, and in general sympathetic with men. Gods
have rational human qualities, human modes of procedure, and are human
beings in all things except power.[1053]

+636+. The god appears to have been at the outset a well-formed
anthropomorphic being. His genesis is different from that of the ghost,
spirit, ancestor, or totem. These, except the spirit, are all given by
experience: totems are familiar objects plainly visible to the eye;
ghosts and ancestors are known through dreams and appearances by day,
and by tradition; and the conception of the spirit is closely allied to
that of the ghost, though it is in part a scientific inference rather
than a fact of experience. In distinction from these a god is a larger
product of imagination, springing from the necessity of accounting for
the existence of things in a relatively refined way. The creator is a
beast only in low tribes, and in process of time, if the tribe continues
to grow in culture, is absorbed in the cult of a true god. It is rarely,
if ever, that a beast, whether a totem or only a sacred thing, becomes a
god proper.

The best apparent examples of such a growth are the Egyptian bull Apis,
who had his temple and ministers, the Hindu monkey-god Hanuman, and the
divine snake of the Nagas of India.[1054] But, though in these cases the
beast forms receive divine worship, it is not clear whether it is the
beast that is worshiped or a god incarnate in the beast; the question is
difficult, the data being meager. The myths in which gods appear in
beast forms do not prove a development of the former out of the latter.
It is not necessary to suppose that Zeus was once a bull, Artemis a bear
or a sow, Adonis a boar, and Aphrodite a sow or a dove. The myths may be
naturally explained as arising from the coalescence of cults, the local
sacred beast becoming attached to a local deity who had a different

The god is a figure of slow growth. Beginning as a sort of headman,
identified sometimes with an ancestor, sometimes with a beast, his
character is shaped by all the influences that go to form the tribal
life, and he thus embodies from generation to generation the tribe's
ideals of virtue.

+637+. The list of classes of supernatural Powers given above must be
regarded, as is there intimated, as a general one. One class appears
sometimes to shade into another; in the theistic schemes of low tribes
it is often difficult to define the conceptions of supernatural beings
with precision.

_Early mythical founders of culture._ Before proceeding to a
consideration of true gods, a class of beings must be mentioned that
appears to stand on the borderland between divine animals, spirits, and
gods. There are various sorts of beings that appear sometimes in animal
form, sometimes in human form, their function being the arranging of the
affairs of the world, the origination of institutions, and sometimes a
definite creation of various things. The title "founders" or
"transformers" or "culture-heroes" has been given them. They arise,
just as the true gods do, from the necessity of accounting for the
beginnings of things,[1055] and, from a comparison of the ideas of
various tribes, a certain growth in the conception may be recognized.

+638+. In some cases the figure is that of a mere trickster, a
mischievous being, the hero of countless stories, who acts from caprice
or malice, though his actions may result in advantage to men. Such are
many of the animal forms of the North American Indians: the coyote of
the Thompson River Indians,[1056] the raven of North British
Columbia,[1057] the mink and the blue jay of the North Pacific
Coast.[1058] In other cases, as also to some extent in the Thompson
River region, he appears in a more dignified form as a benevolent

This growth of the trickster into the real culture-hero may be referred
to a progress in thought and refinement.[1059] Among the Northern Maidu
of California there is a sharp distinction between the two characters:
the coyote is tricky and mischievous in the bad sense, with no desire to
do anything profitable to men; the benevolent and useful work of the
world is ascribed to a personage called "the creator," who is always
dignified and regardful of the interests of man.[1060] This sort of
distinction, intended to account for the presence of both good and evil
elements of life, is found in inchoate form among other low peoples (as,
for example, the Masai and the Australians[1061]), but reaches its full
proportions only in the great civilized religions.

+639+. In this class of vaguely conceived creators or transformers we
may place the Central Australian Arunta ancestors, who embodied the idea
of the identity of beasts and human beings, and are the originators of
all the arts and institutions of the tribes; they established the
totemic groups and the ceremonies, and, in the developed myth,
perpetuate their existence by entering the bodies of women and being
born as human beings.[1062] The relative antiquity of this conception of
the origin of things is uncertain; in one point of view it is crude, but
in another it is an elaborate and well-considered attempt to explain the
world. These Arunta ancestors, notwithstanding their half-bestial forms,
are represented as acting in all regards like human beings, and as
having planned a complete system of tribal organization, but no
religious worship is offered them--they figure only in sociogonic myths
and in the determination of the totemic status of newborn children.
Among the Navahos we find a combination of beast and man in the work of
creation.[1063] In their elaborate cosmogonic myth the first actors are
Coyote, First Man, and First Woman, and there is discord between Coyote
and his human coworkers. Here again the object seems to be to account
for the diverse elements of the tribal life.

+640+. Many such personages, originators or introducers of the arts of
life and the distribution of territory, are described in the folk-tales
and myths of the North American tribes. The conception, it may be
concluded, existed all over the world, though for many communities the
details have not yet been brought to light.[1064] A noteworthy personage
of this class is the Melanesian Qat (especially prominent in the Banks
Islands), a being credited with almost plenary power, the creator or
arranger of seasons, the introducer of night, therefore an important
cultural power, yet mischievous, the hero of numerous folk-stories; he
does not appear in animal form but lives an ordinary family life. He is
not worshiped--he is regarded rather as the explanation of phenomena, a
genuine product of early cosmogonic science. He appears to be the
nearest approach in Melanesia to a real creator (with the exception
perhaps of a somewhat uncertain female being called Koevasi); but
alongside of him stand a number of spirits and ancestral ghosts who play
an important part in the organization of society.[1065] For the Koryaks
of Northeastern Siberia the "Big Grandfather" is an arranger of all
things out of preëxisting material;[1066] the Chukchee, on the other
hand, regard as creator a benevolent being residing in the zenith. Vague
stories of simitar arrangers are found among the East African Nandi, and
the South African Zulus.[1067]

+641+. Traces of this function of organizing society appear in the
mythical figures of some higher religions. Among such figures may be
reckoned the Babylonian Gilgamesh, the Old Testament Cainides, the Greek
Heracles, Theseus, Orpheus, and others.[1068] But these personages
generally take on human form and are treated as factors in the regular
social development.

+642+. The "culture-hero" thus seems to be a natural product of
incipient civilization. He represents the vague feeling that the
institutions of society arose out of human needs and that the
origination of these institutions demanded more than human wisdom and
power.[1069] He partakes of the nature of both men and gods--he is
all-powerful, yet a creature of caprice and a slave of accident. To him
society is supposed to owe an incalculable debt; but his mixed nature
affords a wide field for bizarre myths and folk-stories, and he of
necessity gives way to more symmetrical divine figures.

+643+. The god, in the true sense of the word, is the highest
generalization of the constructive religious imagination. In his
simplest and earliest form he appears as a venerable supernatural man,
wise according to the wisdom of his place and time--such is the natural
conception of the lower tribes. His position is described by the titles
"the old one," "the father," "the grandfather";[1070] he is a superhuman
headman or chief, caring for his people, giving them what they need,
sharing their ethical ideas and enforcing their ethical rules. He is an
all-sufficient local ruler or overseer, his functions touching the whole
life of his people and of no other people. In the progress of
myth-making (that is, in the construction of early scientific theology)
such gods are not infrequently represented as men who have gone up to
the sky; this is a natural way of accounting for their superterrestrial
abode. Savage conceptions of the origin and history of such figures are
usually vague, and their theologies fluctuating and self-contradictory;
but there are two points as to which opinion is firm: the god is like
men in everything except power, and his functions are universal. He
represents not a monotheistic creed (which takes the whole world as the
domain of God), but a narrow tribal acceptance of the sufficiency of the
local divine patron.[1071]


+644+. The character just described is that of the earliest known gods;
it is embodied in certain figures found in various parts of the world.
Such divine figures belong to the simplest form of social organization,
the clan; it is in the clan that they are shaped, and they reflect the
conceptions, political and ethical, of the clan. In Southeast Australia
the personages called Daramulun, Baiame, Bunjil, correspond to this
description: they are supernatural old men who have always existed; they
are taken for granted without inquiry into their origin; they direct the
affairs of the tribe in a general way in accordance with the moral
ideas of the place and time.[1072] The Australians have other beings
with vaguely expressed characters and functions, but our information
regarding these is so meager that it is not possible to form a distinct
judgment of their character. Similar figures are the Klamath Indian "Old
Man"[1073] and the Zulu Unkulunkulu, an old man, the father of the
people, only dimly understood by the natives who have been questioned on
this point; they are uncertain whether he is dead or alive, but in any
case he is revered as a great personage.[1074]

+645+. Other such deities are reported in South Africa, as the Qamata of
the Xosa, Morimo of the Bakuana, and farther north Molungu.[1075] On the
West Coast also, in Ashanti, Dahomi, and Yoruba, a number of deities
exist which were in all probability originally local.[1076] Such appears
to be the character of certain gods of the non-Aryan tribes of India, as
the Kolarian Sunthals and Koles.[1077] Perhaps also the god Vetala was
originally such a local deity with the savage characteristics proper to
the time and place, though later he was half Brahmanized and became a
fiend.[1078] Among the Todas every clan has its god, who was the creator
and instructor of the people. The large number of gods now recognized by
the various Toda communities are essentially the same in character and
function, and the existing system has doubtless been formed by the
coalition of the clans.[1079] In North America the Navahos have a number
of local deities, the _yei_ (Zuñi, _yeyi_), some of which are called by
terms that mean 'venerable.'[1080] The Koryak guardians of occupations
and houses may be of the nature of such objects of worship in the
clans,[1081] and so also the Patagonian family-gods. Cf. the Greek
κουροτροφος. In Japan the early system of supernatural beings
has been obscured by the great religions of the later time--Shinto in
its developed form, and Buddhism--but the indications are that the
general term _kami_, a designation of all supernatural things, included
local deities.[1082]

+646+. It is not clear how early the practice began of giving these
beings proper names. In the lowest known tribes we meet descriptive
titles such as "old one," "grandfather," "grandmother"; and so among
some civilized peoples, as the Semites, whose local deities are often
known simply as _baals_ ('possessors,' 'lords'), sometimes as lords of
particular places, as, for example, the Arabic Dhu ash-Shara (Dusares),
'lord of the Shara.' A god identified with a particular object may be
called by its name; so 'Heaven' is said to have become the proper name
of a Huron deity (cf. Zeus, Tien, Shangti).[1083] Names of Pawnee gods
are Bright Star (Evening Star), Great Star (Morning Star), Motionless
One (North Star), and many other such; the Navahos have The Woman Who
Changes (apparently the changing year), White Shell Woman, Child of
Water;[1084] the Kolarian Sunthals, Great Mountain;[1085] the Brazilian
Arawaks, River-born.[1086] A proper name becomes necessary as soon as
definite social relations with a god are established. Divine names in
civilized religions, of remote origin, are often inexplicable.

+647+. Among the simple clan gods divinized men should be included. In
many parts of the world, as is remarked above, chiefs and other great
personages are regarded as divine; this attribution of divinity is a
part of that general early conception according to which there was an
element of power in all things, naturally embodied in a special way in
important men. This sort of divinization is particularly prominent in
Melanesia and parts of Polynesia; it exists also in Japan and in West
Africa. As a rule it is only the recently dead that are thus regarded as
divine objects of worship, and the cult would thus be substantially a
part of the worship of ancestors; but such divinized men frequently
bore a peculiarly intimate relation to the clan or community and became
specific protectors.[1087] So far as their origin is concerned, this
class of divine patrons differs essentially from the old clan god, whose
genesis probably belongs to a remote antiquity and is based on the
general consciousness of some powerful influence in nature.[1088]

+648+. Clan gods are found abundantly among the ancient civilized
peoples, Egyptian, Babylonian, Canaanite, Arabian, Greek, Roman, and
probably existed among other peoples as to whom we have no exact
information. In Old Egypt every hamlet had its protecting deity; these
continued to be the objects of popular worship down to a very late time,
the form of the deity being usually that of a living animal.[1089]

+649+. A similar religious constitution obtained among the old Semitic
peoples. This is obvious in the case of the Canaanites (including the
Phoenicians), where every clan or community had its divine lord (the
Baal), who was a universal deity sufficient for all the needs of the
living, though particularly connected with the dominant interests of his
people.[1090] Such, probably, was the original form of the Hebrew Yahweh
(Jehovah); in his Sinaitic home he was naturally connected with the
phenomena of desert and mountain, and in Canaan, whither the Israelites
brought his cult, he was after a while recognized as the giver of crops
also, and gradually became a universal god in the larger sense of the
term.[1091] The Phoenician Baals--such as the Tyrian Melkart, 'the
king of the city'--are obviously local deities.[1092] The same thing is
true of the various gods that appear in pre-Mohammedan Arabia; the
deity of any particular clan or tribe was known to the people as "the
god" (Arabic _Allah_, that is, _al-Ilahu_), and the title "Allah,"
adopted by Mohammed as the name of the supreme and only god, thus in so
far fitted in with the usage of the people.[1093]

+650+. In Babylonia also a very large part of the divine names found in
the inscriptions must be understood to refer ultimately to local
deities, each supreme in his own territory; the later theologians
(probably priests) endeavored to organize these into a sort of pantheon,
but never succeeded in differentiating the various deities distinctly.
In general it may be said that all these old Semitic gods had one and
the same character; each in his place was supreme, and it is difficult
to find any difference in real character and function among the great
gods, as Ea, Bel, Marduk, Sin, Shamash, Ishtar, Nabu, Ashur, Eshmun, and

+651+. The same remark will probably hold good of the popular worship of
the old Greeks. When Pausanias traveled through Greece he found
everywhere local cults which bore evidence of primitiveness, and
obviously pertained to the clan gods of the various regions. In many
cases these had been identified with old animal-gods or had been
interwoven into the general later scheme and had been merged with the
great gods of the developed pantheon.[1095] The functions ascribed to
various deities in the Veda suggest a similar origin for them. When we
find that many of them are credited with the same larger or smaller acts
of creation, protection, or blessing, we may suspect that they were
originally clan gods that have been incorporated in the great theologic
system, and that "henotheism" is mainly a survival from this earlier
scheme or an extension of it.[1096] Similar local gods appear in
Peru[1097] and Mexico.[1098]

+652+. One class of _Greek "heroes"_ may be considered as belonging in
the category of clan gods.[1099] When the hero appears to be originally
a god his worship is identical in character with that offered to local
deities; so in the case of Achilles and many others.[1100] Such an one
is often a divine patron of a definite (usually small) territory, has
his sacred shrine with its ministers, and his specific sacrificial cult.
A trace of this type may perhaps be recognized in Hesiod's
"halfgods,"[1101] the heroes of the Trojan war and others, whom he
places just after the age of bronze and just before his modern age of
iron; their origin is thus made relatively late, as was natural if they
descended culturally from old gods.

+653+. A similar view appears in the fact that a hero is sometimes of
mixed parentage--his father or his mother is divine: a local god,
standing in close cultic connection with a greater deity, is easily made
into a son of the latter. In general, in the popular worship there seems
to be no distinction between old heroes and gods. Where such a hero
stood in close relations with a community--if, for example, as was
sometimes the case, he was the patron or tutelary divinity of a family,
or a mythical ancestor--there was doubtless a peculiar tenderness in the
feeling for him. But his general function probably was simply that of
local patron.[1102]

+654+. Clan gods are specially important in the history of worship--they
form the real basis of the great theistic development. Ghosts and
spirits continue to be recognized and revered or dreaded, but they are
not powerful social bonds--it is the local deity about whose person
organized public worship grows up, and it is he whose functions are
gradually enlarged till he becomes a universal god. The initial forms of
religion are everywhere limited locally and intellectually; it is only
by loyalty to the home as a center and standing-place that man's
religious affections and ideals have expanded so as to embrace the
world, and reach a high standard of ethical purity and logical


+655+. It must be regarded as an advance in religious conceptions and
religious life when natural phenomena are divided into classes and
assigned each to its special deity; such a scheme brings men into more
intimate and sympathetic relations with the gods. It presupposes a
relatively advanced observation of nature and some power of coördination
and generalization, and seems to be found only in communities that have
some well-organized communal life. In general it belongs to the
agricultural stage and to the higher civilizations that have grown out
of this stage. Care for food appears to be the starting-point; later,
all sorts of social interests demand consideration.

+656+. This specialization of functions is possibly in part an elevation
of the old scheme of spirits according to which every object in the
world was conceived of as inhabited or controlled by some spiritlike
being. It is not probable that the departmental gods are always
developed directly out of spirits--they appear sometimes to belong
rather in the clan system, are anthropomorphic, human, lending
themselves more readily than spirits do to human intercourse.[1103] It
is true that the lower cults of animals and spirits persist alongside of
the higher religious forms, and the various groups often appear to blend
with one another, as is generally the case in transitions from one
system of thought to another.

+657+. Deities with this sort of specialized functions appear in all
parts of the world and at various periods of culture. The particular
sort of specialization differs according to climatic conditions and
social organization--that is, it depends in any community on the nature
of the phenomena that touch the life of the community closely. But the
general principle remains the same--it is the effort to penetrate more
deeply into the nature of the supernatural Powers, and to enter into
more intimate and helpful relations with them; it is the beginning of a
more practical study of theology proper.

+658+. A somewhat low and vague form of specialization of function is
found in Melanesia, where certain beings appear as patrons of
work.[1104] These are said by Codrington to be ghosts, yet to be prayed
to just as if they were gods; and in fact, being men with indefinitely
great powers, they can hardly be distinguished from such deities as
Daramulun and Unkulunkulu, except in the fact that their function is
specific. In Australia the published reports do not describe
departmental gods proper, with the possible exception of an undefined
being in the North. A more developed scheme exists in Polynesia. In New
Zealand there were deities of food-planting and of forests.[1105] The
highest point of Polynesian civilization seems to have been reached in
the Hawaiian Islands, where, besides several great gods, there were
deities of the sky, the sea, winds, and lightning, of agriculture, and
of various occupations and professions, such as fishing, and even

+659+. The Sea Dyaks have a god of rice-farming and one of war.[1107] In
the Malay Peninsula there is a confused mingling of supernatural beings
of various sorts, with a great development of magic; the determination
of the functions of the better-developed gods is rendered difficult by
the fact that the Malays have been much affected by Hindu
influence.[1108] Such influence is possibly to be recognized also in the
systems of the Dravidian and Kolarian tribes, though in them there seems
to be a native non-Aryan element. The Khonds have gods of rain, fruit,
hunting, and boundaries. Among all these tribes the chief deity is the
sun-god, by whose side stands the earth-god; these may well be
primitive, though their present form may be due to Hindu

+660+. The Masai of Eastern Africa have two chief gods--one black, said
to be good; the other red, said to be bad.[1110] The only trace of a
recognition of cosmic powers appears in their myth that the sky and the
earth were once united in one embrace;[1111] but it is not clear that
they recognize a god of the sky and one of the earth. Among the Bantu,
who are largely, though not wholly, pastoral, there appears to be no
trace of an apportionment of natural phenomena among supernatural
beings.[1112] On the West Coast of Africa there is a somewhat elaborate
scheme of departmental deities. The sky is the chief god, but in Dahomi
and Ashanti there are gods of lightning, fire, the ocean, the rainbow,
war, markets, silk, cotton, and poison trees, smallpox, sensual desire,
discord, and wisdom; in Dahomi there is a tutelary god of the royal
family. The Yorubans have a similar system, embracing gods of the Niger,
nightmare, wealth, gardens, and divination.[1113] This more elaborate
system corresponds to their more highly developed scheme of social

+661+. The tribes of Northeastern Asia are less developed religiously.
The Koryaks are said to have benevolent and malevolent deities, but
appear not to have made much progress in the recognition of the distinct
departments of nature.[1114] The Ainu have a large number of specific
deities: the goddess of fire, whose title is "Grandmother"; gods of the
kitchen, of doors, of springs, and of gardens.[1115] As the Ainu culture
resembles that of Northeastern Asia in several respects, it is possible
that in the latter region there exists a more highly specialized scheme
than has yet been reported. In Central Asia also it seems that no great
progress has been made in this direction by native thought. The
statement of Herodotus[1116] that the Thracians in time of thunderstorms
used to shoot arrows at the sky and threaten the god, may point to a
recognition of a god of the sky or of storm. In the greater part of
Central Asia the conception of local spirits has prevailed and still
prevails (Shamanism), a phase of religion that stands below that of the
division of nature into departments. In certain districts of Mongolia,
in which the theistic system is complicated, departmental deities are
now found, but the obvious dependence of this region on Buddhism
(Lamaism) and other outside cults makes it doubtful whether or how far
this scheme of gods is of native origin.[1117]

+662+. In North America the Algonkin and Maskoki nations and the Skidi
Pawnee have deities of the sky, the heavenly bodies, the winds, and
fire.[1118] In the western part of the continent the theistic systems
are less developed, but the details of the cults have not yet been fully
collected; so far as appears, a departmental organization has not been
made. In Brazil there is a trace of such a conception among the Tupis;
but the South American tribes remain at a low level of theistic

+663+. The three greater religions of America, the Maya, the Mexican,
and the Peruvian, offer much more interesting material, in regard to
which the information which has been handed down to us is often
unfortunately meager. Particularly, little definite is known of the Maya
system; the indications are that the Mayas were superior in civilization
to the Aztecs, and their religious customs and conceptions
correspondingly higher than those of the latter.[1120]

+664+. The Aztec religion is that which the Spaniards on their arrival
found to be the dominant one in Mexico. It was the religion of a
conquering race, formed in part by a coalition of tribes and a
combination of cults. From the records (none of which are
contemporaneous) it appears that there was a very considerable
specialization of function in the Aztec deities. These were probably
local gods with universal functions gradually differentiated.
Huitzilopochtli, apparently a patron of vegetation (with three annual
festivals corresponding to agricultural seasons), became especially the
god of war, in accordance with the character of the Aztecs. Another side
of social life was embodied in the conception of Tezcatlipoca, who
represented law and justice, but naturally became also a god of war. In
sharp contrast with these stands Quetzalcoatl, a milder god, apparently
a representative of general culture and good life. But he is commonly
held to be of foreign origin. If a foreigner, he was nevertheless
adopted by the Aztecs and embodied one side of their life, particularly,
perhaps, the protests against the human sacrifices, which were so
prominent a feature in the cults of the other two deities. There were
further a god of rain, a goddess of harvest, and a goddess of sensual
pleasure, besides a great number of minor specialized deities. With this
specialization of function, however, there was no corresponding
development of character in the gods, no pantheon proper. The myths
which have been preserved relate to the origin of social customs and to
the birth of gods. They appear to have been developed only a step beyond
the myths of the Redmen.[1121]

+665+. The Peruvian cult differs from the Mexican in that it recognizes,
in its developed form, one preëminent deity, the sun-god, from whom
issues all authority. Along with him stand two prominent figures,
Viracocha and Pachacamac, who also are credited with great powers.
Apparently they were local universal deities who were incorporated into
the Peruvian system and subordinated to the sun-god. All three are only
vague, general figures, having no histories except a few stories of
origins, and the Peruvian myths do not differ in essential character
from those of the Aztecs.[1122]

+666+. In this category we may include a large number of minutely
specialized deities of the Egyptians, the Greeks, and the Romans. As
among some lower tribes already referred to, so here many common objects
and pursuits are regarded as being under the fostering care of specific
deities. In Egypt the ripe ear of the grain, the birth of a child and
its naming, and other things had their special divinities.[1123]

+667+. The Greeks had such divine patrons of the corncrib, beans,
plowshare, cattle, city walls, banquets, potters, physicians, athletic
contests, and even one hero known as the "frightener of horses" and a
deity called the "flycatcher."[1124]

+668+. The Romans carried out this specialization in even greater
detail. Almost every object and every event of the communal life had its
patron deity: the house, the hearth, the field, the boundary stone,
sowing and reaping, the wall, breath, marriage, education, death; the
Lares were the special protectors of the house or of the field, and all
patrons of the home were summed up under the general designations _dii
penates_ and _dii familiares_. Most of these beings have proper names,
but even where there are no such names, as in the case of the _dii
penates_, there can be little doubt that they were looked on as personal
individualized beings.[1125] The tendency was, as time went on, to add
to the number of these specialized patrons, as appears from the Roman
_indigitamenta_[1126] lists of such divine beings redacted by the
priests, who were disposed, naturally, to make the objects of worship as
numerous as possible; but herein they doubtless responded to a popular

+669+. This disposition to define practical functions minutely appears
also in the cultic history of the greater gods of the old Roman
religion: the rôle of Jupiter as god of sky and rain was definitely
fixed, and Tellus was not the divine mother of the human race but the
beneficent bestower of crops. As the functions of such greater gods
became more numerous and more definitely fixed, epithets were employed;
Jupiter had a dozen or more of such adjectival additions, and it appears
that at a later time such epithets were personalized into deities; but
this academic or priestly procedure does not set aside the fact that the
early Roman religion recognized a vast number of divine beings as the
specific patrons of certain things and acts.

+670+. It was quite natural for the practical Roman mind to place
everything of importance under the care of a divine being--a procedure
which is simply carrying out in greater detail modes of thought which we
have seen to be common in many of the lower tribes. Augustine thinks
this specialization amusing, ridiculous, and difficult to understand. He
brings up the whole question of origin when he asks why it was necessary
to have two goddesses for the waves of the sea--one, Venilia,
representing the wave as advancing to the shore; the other, Salacia,
representing the wave as receding.[1127] This seems, to be sure, an
unnecessary specialization; but, considered in connection with the whole
Roman system, it is not less intelligible than the multiplication of
deities attending upon the birth and education of a child, on the
processes of farming, and on the fortunes of war. Since human life is
guided by the gods, thought the Romans, there is no act that may not
have its god; this system is the objectivation of the conception of
divine special providence.[1128]

+671+. To certain Semitic deities highly specialized functions have been
supposed to belong; but the known facts hardly warrant this supposition.
In the names Baal-Marqod, Baal-Marpe, Baal-Gad, the second element may
be the name of a place; that is, the Baal may be a local deity (as the
Baals elsewhere are). The title Baal-berit[1129] has been interpreted as
meaning "lord of a covenant"--that is, a deity presiding over treaties;
but the expression is not clear. Baalzebub is in the Old Testament the
god of the Philistine city Ekron, where he had a famous oracle;[1130] it
is highly improbable that the name means "lord of flies" (which would
rather be Baal-zebubim), but the sense is obscure. The New Testament
Baal [Beel]-zebul[1131] (the only correct form) has been variously
explained. The second element, _zebul_, occurs in the Old Testament as a
name of the heavenly abode of the deity,[1132] and the title has been
regarded as the Semitic rendering of a Greek or Roman title of a god of
heaven (Zeus Ouranios; cf. Caelestis, epithet of Jupiter); as foreign
deities were called "demons" by the later Jews, the chief of these
deities, it is held, might well be taken to be the "prince of demons."
However this may be, Beelzebul cannot be ranked among the deities with
highly specialized functions.[1133]

+672+. The scheme of gods just described is closely allied to that of
tutelary deities for individual human beings. A transitional step may be
recognized in the assignment of special divine protectors to every house
or village or grove, as among the Ainu (with whom the tutelary power is
the head of a bear), in Borneo (where every house has a human skull as
protector), among the Khonds, in the Vedic Vastoshpati, the "lord of the
house," in the Hindu "house goddess," and in the Chinese tutelary god
for every year.[1134] From such a scheme to the assignment of a
protecting spirit to every human being there is but a step, and this is
made natural or necessary by the increasing sense of the value of the
individual. Such tutelary spirits or deities are found in Polynesia and
Africa.[1135] The North American manitu and the Central American
nagual,[1136] referred to above, are not only special objects of worship
but also constantly present guardians of individual men. The Iroquois
have special tutelary spirits.[1137] In Ashanti such a function is
performed by the indwelling spirit, which is scarcely distinguishable
from the man himself.[1138] The Roman _genius_ represents the man's
individual life, but becomes also his guardian;[1139] and the _daimon_
of Socrates was possibly originally a being of the same sort,[1140]
though he may have identified it with conscience.

+673+. In the great religions of antiquity every city and every state
had its special divine protector. The Persian fravashis are the
guardians of individual human beings. The later Jews held that there was
a guardian angel for every nation and for every person.[1141] All such
conceptions embody the human sense of dependence on divine aid and the
demand for specific divine protectors standing near to man and
sustaining special relations with individuals. In some forms of
Christianity the function of protection is assigned to patron saints.

+674+. Certain classes of departmental or specific gods may be mentioned
here for the purpose of indicating their development.

+675+. _Creators._ The work of the creation of the world is assigned
among various peoples to a great variety of beings. In the earliest
strata of religious belief animals play a great rôle as creators. The
known examples of their creative function are so numerous that we may
well be disposed to regard it as universal. In general it is the
best-known animal, or the one credited with the greatest sagacity, that
is regarded as creator.[1142]

+676+. But the natural progress of thought involved the advance to the
conception of anthropomorphic creators. A transitional stage is
presented by the Australian Arunta, in whose mythical system the authors
of tribal institutions and the makers of heavenly bodies are the
half-animal, half-human ancestors; this seems to be an attempt at a
transformation of the old scheme of creation by animals--unwilling to
abandon the earlier conception, these tribes have satisfied themselves
by the theory that the ancestors and creators, though animals in nature,
must at the same time have been human.[1143] We may compare with these
the Melanesian and Samoan supernatural beings who are incarnate in
animal forms and are at the same time originators of civilization.[1144]
These zoömorphic beings are not necessarily totems, as in Australia;
outside of the Arunta it does not appear that totems as such are ever
regarded as creators[1145]--they are ancestors, but at that point their
function appears to cease.

+677+. There are however ghosts, which, while of course representing
ancestors, are regarded not specially in their ancestorial capacity, but
rather as powerful beings who have been more or less active in framing
the constitution of society. This form of ghost occurs in Melanesia,
where also spirits, vague beings who never were human, play a great
rôle. The best authorities find it somewhat difficult to distinguish
between such ghosts and spirits on the one hand, and gods on the other
hand.[1146] The Qat of the Banks Islands is in one sense a creator,
since he determines the regular courses of the seasons and is the
introducer of night; yet, since he does not actually create the world,
but only rearranges the existing material, he belongs rather in the
category of transformers or initiators. Real anthropomorphic gods appear
as creators in very early tribes. Such, for example, are Baiame,
Daramulun, Bunjil of Australia,[1147] perhaps Supu of the Melanesian
island of Vate.

+678+. In Polynesia there is a better-defined cosmogonic
anthropomorphism. The Hawaiian creators Kane and Tangaloa appear to be
fully formed deities.[1148] The Maoris have the divine figures Heaven
and Earth, whose children are the producers of all things in the world.
But Maui, who seems to be a general Polynesian figure, is rather a
culture-hero than a god, though his achievements were of a very serious
sort. The Tapa of the Borneo Land Dyaks,[1149] and the Boora Pennu of
the Khonds[1150] may be regarded as real gods. On the West Coast of
Africa the Yorubans, the most advanced of the coast tribes, with a
well-developed pantheon, have deities who may be called creators; such
are Obatala, who, according to one account, made the first human pair
out of clay, and Ifa, the restorer of the world after the flood.[1151]
In North America the New England Kiehtan and the Virginian Oki have
creative functions.[1152] The Navahos ascribe the creation of certain
animals to a god Bekotsidi, whose character and rôle, however, are
vague.[1153] The Brazilian Tupan and Jurupari appear to be divine
creators.[1154] For a good many tribes in all parts of the world the
published reports give no precise information regarding the beginning of
things, but it seems probable that fuller acquaintance with them would
reveal conceptions similar to those described above.

+679+. The great civilized nations, with their well-formed
anthropomorphic deities, have constructed elaborate cosmogonies, which
commonly begin with the conception of an unshaped mass of material out
of which the gods arise and create the world. There is no great
difference in these various schemes: Babylonians and Greeks have fallen
upon substantially the same general view of creation; the variations
among the various peoples are due to circumstances of place and culture.
It is noteworthy that the Maoris have a cosmogony which is not unlike
that of the great civilized nations of antiquity, but the origin of
their scheme of the world is not clear.[1155]

+680+. _Gods of the other world._ The class of departmental gods
includes those who have charge of the other world. As soon as the abode
of men after death is definitely fixed, it is natural that a deity
presiding over this other world should arise. Among the lower tribes
this sort of god is not frequent.[1156] One of the clearest cases of
such organization occurs in Fiji.[1157] Here, in addition to other
deities who deal with the dead on their entrance into this farther
world, the great deity Ndengei has his abode, and one of his functions
is to pass on the merits of those who present themselves from the world
of living men. He is, however, in part an otiose deity and can hardly be
said to rule over this otherworldly realm. Similar undeveloped deities
are found among the Maoris and the Finns.[1158]

+681+. But fully formed and effective divine rulers of the other world
occur only in the more advanced religions, such as the Babylonian, the
Egyptian, the Hindu, the Persian, the Greek, the Roman.[1159] From the
nature of their abode such deities have very little to do with the life
on earth except when, as in the Egyptian system and to some extent in
the Fijian, there is a judge of conduct, with authority to assign the
dead their places, good or bad. In such cases they become important
moral factors in life.

+682+. An ethical god of the other world appears not to have been
created by the Semites. The Babylonian Underworld goddess or god has
nothing to do with moral character, and among the Hebrews, so far as the
statements in the Old Testament go, no special deity was assigned to the
other world; whether such an Underworld deity once existed and was lost
by the Hebrews, or has been expurged by the later editors of the Old
Testament books, must remain uncertain;[1160] in the late pre-Christian
period the national god, Yahweh, was regarded as controlling the
Underworld as well as Heaven and Earth.[1161] The Greek Aïdes or
Ploutōn and the Roman Pluto also are not ethical gods in the higher
sense, as indeed no early deity of any people has such a moral
character. At a later period ethical distinctions were introduced into
the administration of the other world.

By reason of paucity of data it is difficult to determine the precise
characters of various Celtic, Slavic, and Germanic deities whose names
appear in the records. They are gods of clans and of departments of
nature; none of them can properly be reckoned among the great

+683+. _Division into good and bad Powers._ Among many savage and
half-civilized peoples we find that a distinction is recognized between
good and bad ghosts and spirits--a distinction at first vague, based on
passing experiences in which all the fortunes of men, favorable and
unfavorable, are referred to these beings. Their morals are those of the
human communities with which they are connected: they may be amiable or
malignant, beneficent or revengeful, but the ethical element in their
characters and deeds is not distinctly recognized and is not made the
basis of the distinction between the two classes. The world is seen to
be full of Powers that make for weal or for woe--a conception that
contains the germ of all the later development but is at first nebulous.

+684+. In a somewhat higher form of culture these two classes of Powers
may be unified respectively into, or replaced by, two gods, one helpful,
the other harmful. Such appears to be the scheme of the Masai, who have
their black god and red god.[1163] A Californian cosmogonic myth
describes a nonmoral conflict of work between the good "Creator" and the
malicious Coyote.[1164] A real unification appears, however, to be
rare; it supposes in fact a degree of reflection and organization that
we should not expect to find among lower peoples. The story, for
example, that has been told of a well-developed dualistic system of the
Iroquois is based on a misconception.[1165] Dualism proper is not
recognizable among the savages of America, Polynesia, Asia, or
Africa.[1166] In the Old Testament prior to the sixth century B.C. the
spirits, good and bad, which are not essentially different from those we
find among the lower tribes, are massed under the control of Yahweh, and
do his bidding without moral reflection; when he sends a lying spirit
into the mouth of Ahab's prophets[1167] this spirit goes without malice
merely to perform the will of the supreme god. This massing of all
spirit Powers under the control of one god is a step toward unity and
clearness in the conception of the government of the world.

+685+. At a later stage of social growth there appears the conception of
a cosmic struggle, the conflict between the natural forces that tend to
disorder and those that tend to order. Philosophical reflection led to
the supposition of an original chaos, a medley of natural forces not
combined or organized in such a way as to minister to the needs of human
life; and a similar conception of conflict may have arisen from
observation of the warring elements at certain seasons of the year.

+686+. The adjustment of the rival forces and the establishment of a
system of physical order is referred to the great gods. Such a picture
of the original state of things is contained in the elaborate Babylonian
cosmologies that have come down to us; in these the dragon of disorder
(Tiamat) is completely conquered by the god Bel-Marduk, who represents
the Babylonian civilization of the time in which the cosmology arose. Of
the same nature is the Egyptian myth of the contest between Horus (the
light) and Set (the dark), in which, however, the victory of Horus is
not described as being absolute[1168]--a representation suggested,
possibly, by the recognition of the persistence of the good and bad
elements of the world; compare the cosmologies of the Maidu and the
Khonds mentioned above (§684). In the Greek and Teutonic myths in which
the Giants are the enemies of the great gods a more humane and settled
government of the world is introduced by Zeus and Wodan. Traces of this
construction of the universe are to be found also among the Maoris, the
Hawaiians, and other peoples of a like grade.[1169]

+687+. In the original form of these myths there is no moral element
beyond the fact that the settlement of the cosmic powers was necessary
in order to the establishment of good social life. Individual wicked
deities do not appear at this stage, but the way is prepared for them by
the picture of cosmic struggle in which powers friendly and unfriendly
to men are opposed to one another. A similar conception is found in the
figures of the Fates, who are the embodiment of the course of events in
the world--the immovable, remorseless, absolute fortune of men, good and
bad--a picture of life as it has presented itself, doubtless, to men in
all periods of history. Out of this came the abstract conception of
Fate, the impersonal power that controls all things.

+688+. The deeper conception of a conflict between the moral good and
the moral evil in life belongs to the latest period in religious
history. Here the determining fact is the control of the world by the
high gods, who have their adversaries, but in general prove victors. At
the foundation of this scheme of the world lies the conception of order,
which is particularly defined in the Vedic _arta_ and the Avestan
_asha_[1170]--the regulation of the world in accordance with human
interests, in which the ethical element becomes more and more prominent
as human society is more and more formed on an ethical basis.

+689+. Ethical dualism is most fully embodied in the Persian conception
of two gods, good and bad, with the understanding that the good god,
Ahura Mazda, exercises a certain restraint on the bad god, Angro Mainyu,
who is finally to be crushed.[1171] This optimistic point of view, which
has no doubt existed in germinal shape among all peoples, appears also
in the modified dualism of the Old Testament and the late Jewish and
Christian schemes. The Old Testament Satan is originally a divine being,
one of the "sons of the Elohim" (that is, he belongs to the Elohim, or
divine, class); his function is that of inspector of human conduct,
prosecutor-general, with a natural tendency to disparage men and demand
their punishment. As a member of Yahweh's court and council he makes
regular reports to his divine lord and pleads cases before the divine
court.[1172] In this character he is suspicious and mischievous but not
immoral; but a little later a trace of malice appears in him,[1173] and
in the uncanonical Jewish book of the Wisdom of Solomon and in the New
Testament he advances to the position of the head of the kingdom of
moral evil, so that he is called also "the god of the present
age"[1174]--that is, he is the controller of the existing unregenerate
element in human society, and is to be displaced when the ideal age
shall be established.

+690+. _Man's attitude toward demons._ Demons[1175] (the term being
taken to include all early malefic superhuman beings, whether ghosts or
spirits) are feared and guarded against, but rarely receive worship. As
they are the authors of all physical ills that cannot be explained on
natural grounds, measures, usually magical, are taken to thwart their
purposes--to prevent their intervention or to overcome and banish the
evil begun by them. As they are not credited with moral principle,
hostility to them rests not on ethical feeling but merely on fear of
suffering.[1176] If they are placated, it is in cases in which they
approach the character of gods and in so far cease to be demons in our
sense of the word. They serve a useful purpose in that, taking on their
shoulders all the ills of life, they leave the clan gods free from the
suspicion of unfriendliness to men.[1177] On the other hand, the belief
in them has created a pseudo-science of relief from suffering and a
great host of pseudo-doctors who for a long time exercised a large
control over society and bound men in fetters of ignorance.

+691+. In early societies demons have not individual names. In savage
societies there are malefic deities, with individual names, connected
with sicknesses and other ills; but such deities are not demons. Demons
do not enter into friendly social relations with men,[1178] and
observation of experiences is not carried so far as to assign every ill
to a separate author. In more advanced societies, as, for instance, the
Babylonian,[1179] demons are divided into classes according to their
various lines of activity, and to these classes names are given. If some
individual demon, representing a particular ill, becomes specially
important, it may receive an individual name. In general, the demonic
name-giving follows the theistic, but lags behind it. Clan gods have at
first some such appellation as Old One, Grandfather, or a descriptive
epithet (as among some American Indian tribes), and later, Lord, Lady,
Mighty One, Exalted One; in process of time they receive proper names,
which must have arisen at a relatively early period, since the meaning
of the names of most of the old deities was to the ancients, as it is to
us, unknown. In the case of the demonic world this development has not
been carried so far, for the reason stated above, namely, that these
beings, unlike gods, have not become real citizens of the communities
with which they are connected.

+692+. In like manner the organization of demons has not kept pace with
that of gods. In most regions they have remained a mob, every individual
pursuing his way independently. It is only in advanced cults that they
form a community with a head. In China and Persia the sharp division of
supernatural forces into two classes was the outcome of great religious
reformations that followed the usual savage chaos of the hordes of
demons. The Jewish demonology (probably influenced by the Persian) chose
for the head of its kingdom of evil an old god (the Satan) or the
similar figure Azazel.[1180]

+693+. It does not appear that religious worship has ever been offered
to a being regarded as morally bad and in honor of moral badness. The
"devils" reported by early (and some recent) travelers as the recipients
of religious homage turn out on inquiry to be clan gods whose anger is
feared.[1181] The cult of many savage and many civilized deities has
been, and is, characterized by gross cruelty and licentiousness; but it
is certain that human sacrifice and sexual indulgence were, and are, in
these cases not regarded as morally wrong. Durga (Kali), wife of Çiva,
most terrible and repulsive of female deities, while she is feared, is
also revered as the giver of all good gifts; and the Thugs, when they
offered her their strangled victims, ascribed no more moral blame to her
than to themselves--their work they regarded not as murder but as pious
sacrifice.[1182] The Gnostic sects, Ophites and Cainites, looked on the
serpent and Cain as friends of the supreme Deity and of man; they were
enemies only of the Demiourgos, the Jewish god Yahweh, who, they held,
wished to keep man in ignorance.[1183] The Mesopotamian Yezidis also
(the so-called devil-worshipers) revere only beings that they regard as
morally good or as destined to become good. Their peculiar attitude
toward Satan (a mingling of fear and respect) is based not on his
connection with evil but on their expectation that, though he is now
fallen from his high angelic estate, he is ultimately to be restored to
his original dignity.[1184]

+694+. Thus, it cannot be said that a demon has ever developed into a
god. The malefic Powers of savages have generally been absorbed by
higher beings or have otherwise disappeared. Some gods, such as the
Hebrew Satan and certain Greek deities, have been degraded to the
demonic class. In some cases, particularly in the Zoroastrian system, a
being who is the consolidation of all malign supernatural activities has
been credited with all-but divine power and authority.[1185] But the two
classes remain distinct--the true "god" is a friendly member of a human
society, and when he is angry may be placated; the true "demon" is
essentially hostile to men and must be thwarted and expelled.[1186]

+695+. _Gods of abstractions._ Gods of abstractions, found in certain
theistic systems, are to be distinguished on the one hand from deities
that are simply personalizations of physical objects (such as Vesta and
Agni) and on the other hand from poetical personifications, such as that
of Wisdom in the Jewish books of Proverbs, Ecclesiasticus, and the
Wisdom of Solomon, and from concrete figures like the Logos of Philo and
the Fourth Gospel. Though these abstract forms appear to be relatively
late (posterior to the formation of the greater gods), the meagerness of
our data makes it difficult to describe their genesis and the
conceptions of their character by the peoples among whom they arise.
Some facts known to us, however, may help us to understand in part the
process by which they came into existence.

+696+. We have already considered the tendency in human communities to
particularize the divine objects of worship and to personalize external
objects; everywhere, it would appear, there is a disposition to assign a
particular divine control to every fact that is specially connected with
human interests. We have to note, further, the tendency to concretize,
as, for example, in many cases in which evil, physical or moral, is
regarded as a concrete thing that may be removed bodily from the
community.[1187] This sort of conception we may suppose to be connected
with early psychological theory, according to which anything that
affects man is credited with manlike form and power. The facility with
which the abstract and the concrete may be identified is illustrated by
such modern terms as deity, majesty, highness, state, government,
direction, counsel; in these expressions the abstract quality or act is
incarnated in certain persons, and so we may imagine that at a certain
stage of society any quality or act might be isolated and regarded as a
personal thing. A series of victories, for example, might suggest the
conception of 'victory' as a thing present in these events, and the
tendency to personalize would then create the divine figure Victory.
Historically a personalization may have arisen, in some cases, through
the isolation of an epithet of a deity (so, for example, Fides may have
come from Dius Fidius),[1188] but in such cases the psychological basis
of the personalization is the same as that just stated. From these, as
is remarked above, must be distinguished poetical and philosophical

+697+. Whatever be the explanation of the process, we find in fact a
large number of cases in which such abstractions appear as deities and
receive worship.

+698+. _Semitic._ The material for the Semitic religions on this point
is scanty.[1189] The Arabic divine names supposed by Nöldeke to
represent abstractions are Manāt (fate), Sa'd (fortune), Ruḍā
(favor), Wadd (love), Manāf (height), 'Auḍ (time). Whether these
are all abstract terms is doubtful. _Wadd_ means also 'lover,' divine
friend or patron. _Sa'd_ occurs as adjective 'fortunate,' is the
appellation of certain stars, and the god Sa'd is identified by an Arab
poet with a certain rock[1190]--the rock is doubtless an old local
divinity. _Ruḍā_ is found apparently only as a divine name (in
Palmyrene and Safa inscriptions and as a god of an Arabian tribe)--the
form may be concrete, in the sense of 'favoring,' divine patron. As
"time" (_dahr_, _zaman_) often occurs in Arabic poetry in the sense of
'fate,' the god 'Auḍ may be an embodiment of this conception.[1191]
_Manāf_, if understood, as is possible, in the sense 'high place,' is
not abstract but concrete, though in that case the original reference of
the term is not clear.

+699+. Manāt is one of the three great goddesses of Mecca, the others
being Al-Lât ('the goddess') and Al-Uzza ('the mighty one'); as these
two names are concrete, there is a certain presumption that _Manāt_
likewise is concrete. The original meaning of the word is obscure. It
does not occur as a common noun, but from the same stem come terms
meaning 'doom, death,'[1192] and, if it be allied to these, it would be
an expression for 'fate' (like _'Auḍ_). However, the stem is used in
the sense 'number, determine, assign,' and Manāt may be the divine
determiner of human destinies. From this same stem comes the Biblical
_Meni_, and apparently the Assyrian _Manu_.[1193] The ordinary North
Semitic conception of the source of human destinies is that they are
determined by the gods and written on tablets or in a book,[1194] and
the same conception may have existed in the South Semitic area.[1195]
The other deity mentioned in Isaiah lxv, 11, is Gad; the word means in
Arabic and Hebrew 'fortune, good fortune,' and occurs as the name of a
deity in Phoenician and Aramaic inscriptions, but the data are not
sufficient to fix its original sense. It is the name of a Hebrew tribe,
which is perhaps so called from the tribal god, and the name of a
tribal god is probably concrete.[1196]

+700+. It seems, then, that for most if not all of the names of the
Semitic deities just mentioned abstract senses, though possible, are not
certain. Nöldeke remarks that most of these terms are poetical--they may
be ornate epithets given to old concrete divine figures, in which case
the real cults were attached to these latter and not to abstractions. It
must be regarded as doubtful whether Semitic religion created any
abstract deity.

+701+. _Egyptian._ The most prominent Egyptian abstract deity is Maat,
'truth.' She fulfilled an important function in the judgment-hall of
Osiris in the Underworld, and was widely revered, but had no mythical
history, and seems to have been rather a quasi-philosophical creation
than a vital element of the Egyptian religious life. A god Destiny is
mentioned, who generally bestowed a happy fate.[1197]

+702+. _Roman and Greek._ The most fully developed form of this
conception is found in the Roman cult.[1198] The civic genius of the
Romans led them to give prominence to the maintenance of public and
private rights; thus among their deities appear public safety or
salvation (Salus Publica), public faith or fidelity to engagements
(Fides), civic harmony (Concordia), connubial purity (Pudicitia), filial
devotion (Pietas), the boundary of property (Terminus), victory
(Victoria), liberty (Libertas). There are further the gods Youth
(Juventus and Juventas) and Desire[1199] (Cupido), perhaps as things
fundamental in human life.[1200] Fortune (Fortuna) is the mass of
evidence determining life by the will of the gods, with which the
utterances of the gods (Fata) are identical, and the embodiment of the
determining agencies is the Parcæ. Several of these deities have their
correspondents in the Greek theistic system:[1201] Eros (desire); Tuche
(that which is allotted one by the gods or by the course of events);
Moira (Aisa), the unification of all the powers that determine man's
destiny. The god Kronos was by some improperly identified with "time"

+703+. _Aryan._ Among the Aryans of India the god Kama (desire) appears
to be identical with Cupido. Some other abstractions, such as Piety and
Infinity, are akin to Mazdean conceptions.[1203] Brahma, originally
'magical formula,' then 'prayer,' and later 'pious thought,' becomes
finally Brahma, the all-embracing god. Ṛta (arta), 'order,' at first,
perhaps, the proper order of the sacrificial ritual, becomes finally
'moral order or righteousness' and 'cosmic order.' This conception is
still more prominent in the Avesta,[1204] in which Asha (Order) is one
of the Amesha-spentas, only inferior to the supreme god; the other
companions of Ahura Mazda have similar titles and may equally be
regarded as the personalization of abstract ideas.[1205] In the same
category may be included the Mazdean conceptions Endless Time (Zrvan
Akarana) and Endless Space (Thwasha), which appear to be treated in the
Avesta as personal deities.[1206] The organizers of the Mazdean faith,
having discarded almost all the old gods, invested the supreme god with
certain moral qualities, and these, by a natural process of thought,
were concretized (Ahura Mazda is sometimes included in the list of
Amesha-spentas). Thus arose a sort of pantheon, an echo of the old
polytheism; but the history of the process of formulation is

+704+. Most, if not all, of the abstract conceptions mentioned above are
also placed, in the various theistic systems, under the control of great
gods. Thus, for example, Jupiter is the guardian of boundaries and has
the epithet "Terminus," and Zeus is the patron of freedom
(Eleutherios).[1208] It is, however, not necessary to suppose that the
abstractions in question are taken from the functions of the great gods.
Rather these epithets of the gods are to be explained from the same
tendency that produced gods of abstractions. It was the sense of the
importance of the boundary in early life that led both to the creation
of the god Terminus and to the assignment of the epithet "Terminus" to
Jupiter. The desire or love that was so important an element in human
life both fashioned itself into a personality and was put under the
guardianship of a special deity. Public safety was a cherished idea of
the Romans and was doubtless held to be maintained by every local or
national god, yet could none the less become an independent deity. The
data are not sufficient to enable us to determine in all cases the
question of chronological precedence between the deification of the
abstraction and the assignment of the epithet to a god. We know that in
the later Roman period abstractions were personalized, but this
procedure was often poetical or rhetorical.[1209]

+705+. A general relation may be recognized between the intellectual
character of a people and the extent to which it creates abstract gods.
The Semitic peoples, among whom the development of such gods is the
feeblest, are characterized by objectiveness of thought, indisposition
to philosophical or psychological analysis, and a maintenance of local
political and religious organization; it is natural that they should
construct concrete deities exclusively or almost exclusively. Egypt also
was objective, and carried its demand for visible objects of worship to
the point of incarnating its gods in living animals; such living gods
tend to banish pale abstractions, and such conceptions played an
insignificant part in Egyptian religion. In India, with its genius for
philosophical refinement, we might expect to find this latter class of
gods; but Indian thought speedily passed into the large pantheistic and
other generalizations that absorbed the lesser abstractions. Greece
appears to have had the combination of philosophy and practicalness that
favors the production of a certain sort of abstract gods, and a
considerable number of these it did produce;[1210] but here also
philosophy, in the form of large theories of the constitution and life
of man, got the upper hand and repressed the other development. The
Romans had no pretensions to philosophic or æsthetic thought, but they
had a keen sense of the value of family and civic life, and great skill
in using religion for social purposes. It is they among whom specialized
deities, including abstractions, had the greatest significance for the
life of the people--family and State.

+706+. With the growth of general culture all specialized divinities
tend to disappear, absorbed by the great gods and displaced by better
knowledge of the laws governing the bodily and mental growth of
men.[1211] The divinities of abstractions, so far as they were really
alive, had the effect of making great civic and religious ideas familiar
to the people. Later (as in modern life) such ideas were cherished as
the outcome of reflection on domestic and national relations--in the
earlier period they were invested with sacredness and with personal
power to inspire and guide. Exactly what their ethical influence on the
masses was it is hardly possible to determine; but it may be regarded
as probable that they helped to keep alive certain fundamental
conceptions at a time when reflection on life was still immature.


+707+. The term "nature gods" may be taken as designating those deities
that are distinguished on the one hand from natural objects regarded as
divine and worshiped, and on the other hand from the great gods, who,
whatever their origin, have been quite dissociated from natural objects;
in distinction from these classes nature gods are independent deities
who yet show traces of their origin in the cult of natural

+708+. These three classes often shade into one another, and it is not
always easy to draw the lines between them. It is worth while, however,
to keep them separate, because they represent different stadia of
religious and general culture; the nature gods are found in societies
which have risen above the old crude naturalism, but have not yet
reached the higher grade of intellectual and ethical distinctness. But
as they are in a real sense dissociated from natural objects, they tend
to expand as society grows, and it is unnecessary to attempt to deduce
all their functions from the characteristics of the objects with which
they were originally connected. In some cases, doubtless, they coalesce
with the local clan gods whose functions are universal; and in general,
when a god becomes the recognized deity of his community, the tendency
is to ascribe to him a great number of functions suggested by the
existing social conditions. In some cases the particular function of the
god may be derived from the function of the natural object whence he is
supposed to spring; but the number and variety of functions that we
often find assigned to one deity, and the number of deities that are
connected with a single function, indicate the complexity of the
processes of early religious thought and make it difficult to trace its
history in detail.

+709+. Among natural objects the heavenly bodies, sun, moon, and stars,
and particularly the sun and moon, have very generally attracted men's
attention and become objects of worship. The deification of the sun may
be traced through all stadia of development, from the crudest
objectivism to a highly developed monolatry or a virtual
monotheism.[1213] Veneration of the physical sun, or a conception of it
as a supernatural man, is found in many parts of the world.[1214] It has
not been observed, apparently, in Australia, Melanesia, Indonesia, and
on the North American Pacific Coast;[1215] these regions are all
backward in the creation of gods--devoting themselves to the elaboration
of social organization they have contented themselves largely with an
apparatus of spirits and divine animals. In Central and Northern Asia
and among the Ainu of Jesso, while there appears to be a recognition of
the sun as divine, it is difficult to distinguish real solar
divinities.[1216] In Japan mention is made of a sun-goddess but she
plays an insignificant part in the religious system.[1217]

+710+. The cult is more developed in Eastern and Central North America,
particularly in the former region. The Navahos (in the center of the
continent) have a vague deity of the sun, but the cult is most prominent
among the Algonkin (Lenâpé) and Natchez tribes; the last-named
especially have an elaborate cult in which the sun as deity seems to be
distinct from the physical form.[1218]

+711+. The highest development of this cult in America was reached in
Mexico and Peru. In both these countries, which had worked out a
noteworthy civilization, the solar cult became supreme, and in Peru it
attained an ethical and universalistic form which entitles it to rank
among the best religious systems of the lower civilized nations.[1219]

+712+. The Egyptians, with their more advanced civilization, finally
carried sun-worship to a very high point of perfection. The hymns to Ra,
the sun-god, reached the verge of monotheism and are ethically high, yet
traces of the physical side of the sun appear throughout.[1220] The same
thing is true of the old Semitic sun-cult. The Babylonian and Assyrian
Shamash is in certain respects an independent deity with universal
attributes, but retains also some of the physical characteristics of the
sun.[1221] In Africa, outside of Egypt, the only trace of an independent
sun-god appears to be in Dahomi, where, however, he is not prominent;
why such a god should not be found in the neighboring countries of
Ashanti and Yoruba is not clear; climatic conditions would affect all
these countries alike.[1222]

+713+. In the Veda the sun-god Savitar has a very distinguished position
as ethical deity, but earlier than he the similar figure Surya
represents more nearly the physical sun, and this is true perhaps also
of Mitra.[1223] With the latter it is natural to compare the Avestan
Mithra; he is held by some to have been originally a god of light, but
he seems also to have characteristics of the sun in the Avesta,[1224]
and in late Persian the word _mihr_ ('sun') indicates that he was at any
rate finally identified with the sun. It is noteworthy that a distinct
sun-worship is reported among certain non-Aryan tribes of India,
particularly the Khonds;[1225] this cult may be compared with that of
the Natchez mentioned above,[1226] though the Khonds are less socially
advanced than these American tribes.

+714+. The cultic history of the moon is similar to that of the sun, but
in general far less important. In addition to its charm as illuminer of
the night, it has been prominent as a measurer of time--lunar calendars
appear among many tribes and nations, uncivilized (Maoris, Hawaiians,
Dahomi, Ashanti and Yorubans, Nandi, Congo tribes, Bantu, Todas, and
others) and civilized (the early Babylonians, Assyrians, Hebrews,
Greeks, Romans, perhaps the early Egyptians, and now all Mohammedan
peoples). Naturally it has been associated with the sun in myths,
standing to it in the relation of brother or sister, husband or wife.
Among existing noncivilized peoples it sometimes receives worship as a
god[1227] or as connected with a god.[1228] In these cases it retains to
a great extent its character as an object of nature. So the Greek
Selenē and the Roman Luna, standing alongside of the lunar gods
proper, probably indicate an early imperfect deification of the moon.

+715+. Though the stars were generally regarded, both among savages and
in ancient civilized communities, as animated (possessed of souls), and
in a sort divine,[1229] instances of the deification proper of
particular stellar bodies are rare. In Egypt they were reverenced, but
apparently not worshiped.[1230] The Babylonian astronomers and
astrologers began early to connect the planets with the great gods
(Jupiter with Marduk, Venus with Ishtar, etc.), and stars, like other
heavenly bodies, were held by them to be divine, but a specific
divinization of a star or planet does not appear in the known
literature.[1231] The same thing is true of China, where, it may be
supposed, reverence for the stars was included in the general high
position assigned to Heaven.[1232] In the Aryan Hindu cults stars were
revered, and by the non-Aryan Gonds were worshiped, but there is no
star-god proper.[1233]

+716+. In the Old Testament and the Apocrypha there are passages in
which stars and planets are referred to in a way that indicates some
sort of a conception of them as divine: they are said to have fought
against Israel's enemies, and in the later literature they are (perhaps
by a poetical figure of speech) identified with foreign deities or with
angels.[1234] But there is no sign of Israelite worship offered them
till the seventh century B.C., when, on the irruption of Assyrian cults,
incense is said to have been burned in the Jerusalem temple to the
mazzalot (probably the signs of the zodiac) and to all the host of
heaven (the stars);[1235] and there is still no creation of a
star-god.[1236] The early Hebrews may have practiced some sort of
star-worship; there are traces of such a cult among their neighbors the

+717+. The Arab personal name Abd ath-thuraiya, 'servant (worshiper) of
the Pleiades,' testifies to a real cult,[1237] though how far it
involves a conception of the constellation as a true individual deity it
may be difficult to say. It has been supposed that the pre-Islamic Arabs
worshiped the planet Venus under the name Al-Uzza,[1238] but this is not
certain. It is true that they worshiped the morning star, and that
ancient non-Arab writers identified the planet with Al-Uzza because it
was with this goddess that the Roman goddess Venus was generally
identified by foreigners. But Al-Uzza was an old Arabian local deity who
gradually assumed great power and influence, and it is certain that she
could not have been originally a star. It must, therefore, be considered
doubtful whether the Arabs had a true star-god.

+718+. A well-defined instance of such a god is the Avestan
Tistrya.[1239] His origin as an object of nature appears plainly in his
functions--he is especially a rain-god, and, as such, a source of all
blessings. Alongside of him stand three less well defined stellar
Powers. The Greeks and Romans adopted from Chaldean astronomy the
nominal identification of the planets with certain gods (their own
divine names being substituted for the Babylonian); this did not
necessarily carry with it stellar worship,[1240] but at a late period
there was a cult of the constellations.[1241]

To some savage and half-civilized peoples the rainbow has appeared to be
a living thing, capable of acting on man's life, sometimes friendly,
sometimes unfriendly.[1242] It figures largely in myths, but is not
treated as a god.


+719+. Along with the deities described above there is a class of higher
gods with well-defined personalities, standing quite outside physical
nature and man, with definite characters, and humanized in the higher
sense. In contrast with the bizarre or barbarous anthropomorphic forms
of the earlier deities these have the shape of refined humanity, capable
of taking part in the life of the best men; they are the embodiment of a
reflective conception of the relations between men and the great world.
Inchoate divine forms of this sort may be recognized among certain
half-civilized communities, but in their full form they are found only
among civilized peoples, being indeed the product of civilization; and
among such peoples they exist in varying degrees of approach to

+720+. The process of growth from the clan deities and the nature gods
up to these higher forms may be traced with some definiteness in the
great civilized nations of antiquity. We can see that there has been a
scientific movement of separation of gods from phenomena. There is the
distinct recognition not only of the difference between man and physical
nature, but also of the difference between phenomena and the powers that
control them.[1243] At the same time there is an increasing belief in
the predominance of reason in the government of the world, and along
with this a larger conception of the greatness of the world and finally
of its unity. Artistic feeling coöperates in the change of the character
of divine beings--the necessity of giving symmetry and clearness to
their persons, whereby they more and more assume the form of the highest
human ideals. Necessarily the ethical element advances hand in hand with
the intellectual and artistic; it becomes more and more difficult to
conceive of gods as controlled by motives lower than those recognized by
the best men.

+721+. This general progress of thought is in some cases embodied in the
conception of a succession of dynasties--one set of gods is overthrown
or succeeded by another set; the most extreme form of the overthrow
appears in the conception of the death of a whole community of gods, but
this occurs not in the form of natural development, but only when one
stadium or phase of religion is overmastered and expelled by another.

+722+. In Babylonia the earliest pair of deities, Lakhmu and Lakhamu,
vague forms, were succeeded by a second pair, Anshar and Kishar,
somewhat less vague, and these in their turn yielded to the more
definite group represented by Ea, Bel, and Marduk--deities who became
the embodiments of the highest Babylonian culture; in Assyria Ashur and
Ishtar occupied a similar position. In the long religious history of the
Hindus many of the gods prominent in the Veda disappear or sink into
subordinate positions, and deities at first unimportant become supreme.
The Greek succession of dynasties resembles the Babylonian. The ancient
Heaven and Earth are followed by Kronos,[1244] and he is dethroned by
Zeus, who represents governmental order and a higher ethical scheme of
society. The Romans appear to have borrowed their chronology of the gods
from the Greeks: the combination of Saturnus with Ops (who belongs
rather with Consus), the identification of these two respectively with
Kronos and Rhea, and the dynastic succession Cælus,[1245] Saturnus,
Jupiter, seem not to be earlier than the Hellenizing period in Rome.

+723+. These changes, when original, may have been due partly to the
shifting of political power--the gods of a particular dominant region
may have come into prominence and reigned for a time, giving place then
to deities of some other region which had secured the hegemony; the
history of the earliest gods lies far back in a dim region without
historical records and therefore is not to be reconstructed definitely
now. But such light as we get from literary records of later times
rather suggests that the dynastic changes are the product of changes in
the conception of the world, and these are as a rule in the direction of
sounder and more humane thought.

+724+. There is a general similarity between the great deities that have
been created by the various civilized peoples, since civilization has
been practically the same everywhere. But the gods differ among
themselves according to the special characters, needs, and endowments of
the various peoples, so that no deity can be profitably studied without
a knowledge of the physical and mental conditions of the community in
which he arose. But everywhere we find that any one god may become
practically supreme. Here again the political element sometimes comes
in--a dominant city or state will impose its special god on a large
district. There is also the natural tendency among men to concentrate on
an individual figure. As legendary material has always gathered around
particular men, so the great attributes of divinity gather about the
person of a particular god who, for whatever reason, is the most
prominent divine figure in a given community. Such a god becomes for the
moment supreme, to the exclusion of other deities who under different
circumstances might have had similar claims to precedence; and under
favorable conditions a deity thus raised to the highest position may
maintain himself and end by becoming the sole deity of his people and of
the world. In any case such a divine figure becomes an ideal, and thus
influences more or less the life of his worshipers.

+725+. In Oriental polytheistic systems the desire to secure
completeness in the representation of divine activity shows itself in
the combination of two or more forms into a unity of action. On the
lower level we have the composite figures of Egypt and Babylonia,
congeries of bodies, heads, and limbs, human and nonhuman--the result
partly of the survival of ancient (sometimes outgrown) forms or the
fusion of local deities, partly of the imaginative collocation of
attributes. Many compound names may be explained in this way; in some
cases they seem to arise from accidental local relations of cults.

As illustrations of lines of growth in divine figures we may take brief
biographies of some of the greater gods. It is in comparatively few
cases that the development of a god's character can be satisfactorily
traced. There are no records of beginnings--we can only make what may be
judged to be probable inferences from names, cults, and functions. The
difficulty of the subject is increased by the fact that mythologians and
theologians have obscured early conceptions by new combinations and
interpretations, often employing familiar divine figures simply as
vehicles of late philosophical ideas or some other sort of local dogmas.

+726+. _Egypt._[1246] The cult of the sun in Egypt issued in the
creation of a group of solar divinities, the most important of whom are
Horus (Har or Hor) and Ra (or Rê).

Horus appears to have been the great god of united Egypt in the earliest
times about which we have information. The kings of the predynastic and
early dynastic periods are called "worshipers of Horus," a title that
was adopted by succeeding monarchs, who had each his "Horus name."[1247]
He was also the special patron of some small communities--a fact that
has been variously interpreted as indicating that the god's movement was
from local to general patron,[1248] or that it was in the opposite
direction[1249]; the former of these hypotheses is favored by what
appears elsewhere in such changes in the positions of deities. As Horus
is always connected with light he may have been originally a local
sun-god; it is possible, however, that he was a clan god with general
functions, who was brought into association with the sun by the natural
progress of thought. In any case he became a great sun-god, but yielded
his position of eminence to Ra. The myth of his conflict with Set, the
representative of darkness, is probably a priestly dualistic
construction, resting, perhaps, on a political situation (the struggle
between the North and the South of the Egyptian territory).[1250]

+727+. The general development of Ra is plain, though details are
lacking. It may be inferred from his name (which means 'sun') that he
was originally the physical sun. Traces of his early crudeness appear in
the stories of his destruction of mankind, and of the way in which Isis,
by a trick, got from him his true name and, with it, his power.[1251]
With the growth of his native land (Lower Egypt) he became the great
lord of the sun, and finally universal lord;[1252] his supremacy was
doubtless due in part to the political importance of On (Heliopolis),
the seat of his chief shrine. What other circumstances contributed to
his victory over Horus are not recorded; in general it may be supposed
that political changes occasioned the recedence of the latter.

The primacy of Ra is illustrated by the fact that Amon was identified
with him. Amon, originally the local god of Thebes,[1253] became great
in the South as Ra became great in the North, rising with the growth of
the Theban kingdom. His hold on the people, and particularly (as was
natural) on the priests, is shown in a noteworthy way by the episode of
Amenhotep IV's attempt to supplant him by establishing a substantially
monotheistic cult of the sun-god Aton; the attempt was successful only
during the king's life--after his death Amon, under the vigorous
leadership of the Theban priests, resumed his old position and
maintained it until the first break-up of the national Egyptian
government. But it was Amon-Ra that became supreme from the fourteenth
century onward. The combination of the names was made possible by the
social and political union of the two divisions of the land, and it was
Ra who gave special glory to Amon.[1254]

+728+. A different line of growth appears in the history of Osiris--he
owed his eminence mainly to his connection with the dead. Where his cult
arose is not known; he was a very old god, possibly prominent in the
predynastic period;[1255] at a later time the importance of Abydos, the
chief seat of his worship, may have added to his reputation. But the
ceremonies of his cult and the myths that grew up about his name
indicate that he was originally a deity of vegetation, the patron of the
underground productive forces of the earth, and so, naturally, he became
the lord of the Underworld,[1256] and eventually (as ethical conceptions
of life became more definite in Egypt) the embodiment of future justice,
the determiner of the moral character and the everlasting fate of men.
Why he and not some other underground god became Underworld judge the
data do not make clear. His association with the death and
revivification of plants gave a peculiarly human character to his
mythical biography and a dramatic and picturesque tone to his
cult.[1257] Of all ancient lords of the Otherworld it is Osiris that
shows the most continuous progress and reaches the highest ethical
plane--a fact that must be referred to the intense interest of the
Egyptians in the future.[1258]

+729+. The three most prominent female deities of the Egyptian pantheon,
Hathor of Dendera, Neith (Nit, Neit) of Sais, and Isis of Buto, exhibit
one and the same type of character, and each is occasionally identified
with one of the others. Hathor was widely worshiped, but was not
otherwise especially noteworthy. The famous inscription said to have
stood in the temple of Neith at Sais ("What is and what shall be and
what has been am I--my veil no one has lifted"[1259]) seems not to be
immediately connected with any important religious movement, though it
is in keeping with the liberal and mystical tendency of the later time.
The third goddess, Isis, had a more remarkable history. Her beginnings
are obscure, and she appears in the inscriptions later than the other
two. She may have been a local deity,[1260] brought into association
with Osiris (as his sister or his wife) through the collocation of their
cults, and thus sharing his popularity; or she may have been a late
theological creation.[1261] Whatever her origin, as early as the
sixteenth century B.C. she appears as a great magician (poisoning and
healing Ra by magic arts),[1262] then (along with Osiris) as civilizer,
and finally as model wife and mother, and as serene and beneficent
mistress of the land. It was, apparently, in this last character that
she became the gathering-point for the higher religious and ethical
ideas of the time, and the central figure in a religious scheme that was
widely adopted in and out of Egypt and seemed to be a formidable rival
of Christianity.[1263]

+730+. _India._ It is in India that we find the most varied and most
sweeping development in the functions and positions of deities--a result
due in part to the long-continued movement of philosophic thought,
partly to changes in the popular religious point of view occasioned by
modifications of the social life.[1264]

The etymology of the name Varuna is doubtful, but the representation of
him in the Rig-Veda points to the sky as his original form--he is a
clear example of a sky-god who becomes universal. Of his earliest
history we have no information--in the most ancient records he is
already fully formed. In the Rig-Veda he embraces the whole of life--he
is absolute ruler and moral governor, he punishes sin and forgives the
penitent. In conjunction with Mitra he is the lord of order.[1265]
Mitra, originally the physical sun, is naturally associated with Varuna,
but in the Rig-Veda occupies a generally subordinate position, though he
appears sometimes to have the attributes of his associate; the two
together embody a lofty ethical conception. In accordance with the Hindu
fondness for metaphysical abstractions and generalizations the nature
god Varuna in the course of time yielded the primacy to Prajapati, 'lord
of beings,'[1266] who in his turn gave way to the impersonal Brahma. In
the popular cults as well as in philosophical systems Varuna sank (or
perhaps returned) to the position of patron of phenomena of
nature--there was no longer need of him.

+731+. A god of somewhat uncertain moral character is Indra, who as a
nature god is closely connected with the violent phenomena of the air
(rain, thunder, and lightning). In this relation he is often terrible,
often beneficent, but with low tastes that it is difficult to explain.
His fondness for soma, without which he attempts nothing, is perhaps a
priestly touch, a glorification of the drink that played so important a
part in the ritual; or he may herein be an expression of popular tastes.
The sensuous character of the heaven of which he (as air-god) is lord
arose doubtless in response to early conceptions of happiness;[1267] it
is not unlike the paradise of Mohammed, which is to be regarded not as
immoral, but only as the embodiment of the existing conception of happy
family life. Yet Indra also became a universal god, the controller of
all things, and it was perhaps due to his multiform human character as
warrior and rain-giver[1268] (in his victorious conflict with the
cloud-dragon), and as representative of bodily enjoyment, that he became
the favorite god of the people. It is not hard to understand why Agni,
fire, should be associated with him and share his popularity to some
extent; but the importance of fire in the sacrifice gave Agni a peculiar
prominence in the ritual.

+732+. The most curious case of transformation and exaltation is found
in the history of Soma, at first a plant whose juice was intoxicating,
then a means of ecstatic excitement, a gift to the gods, the drink of
the gods, and finally itself a god invested with the greatest
attributes. This divinization of a drink was no doubt mainly
priestly--it is a striking illustration of the power of the association
of ideas, and belongs in the same general category with the deification
of abstractions spoken of above.[1269]

+733+. An example of a god leaping from an inferior position to the
highest place in the pantheon is afforded by Vishnu, a nature god of
some sort, described in the early documents as traversing the universe
in three strides. Relatively insignificant in the earlier period and in
the Upanishads, he appears in the epic, and afterwards, as the greatest
of the gods, and, in the form of his avatar Krishna, becomes the head of
a religion which has often been compared with Christianity in the purity
of its moral conceptions. By his side in this later time stands his
rival Çiva, the chief figure in a sect or system which shared with
Vishnuism the devotion of the later Hindus. The rise of these two gods
is to be referred probably to the dissatisfaction in the later times
with the phenomenal character which still clung, in popular feeling, to
the older deities. Varuna, once supreme, sank after a while to the
position of a god of rain, and Indra, Agni, and Soma were frankly
naturalistic, while the impersonal Brahma was too vague to meet popular
demands. What the later generation wanted was a god personal and
divorced from physical phenomena, supreme, ethically high, but invested
with warm humanity. These conditions were fulfilled by Vishnu and Çiva,
and particularly by Krishna; that is, the later thought constructed
these new deities in accordance with the demand of the higher and the
lower religious feeling of the time: the two sides of the human demand,
the genial and the terrible, are embodied, the first in Vishnu, the
second in Çiva.

+734+. The primeval pair, Heaven and Earth, though represented as the
parents of many gods and worshiped with sacrifices, play no great part
in the Hindu religious system. Dyaus, the Sky, never attained the
proportions of the formally identical Zeus and Jupiter. His attributes
are distinctly those of the physical sky. The higher rôle is assigned to
Varuna, who is the sky conceived of as a divine Power divorced from
merely physical characteristics;[1270] the mass of phenomena connected
with the sky (thunder, lightning, and such like) are isolated and
referred to various deities. Prithivi, the Earth, in like manner,
retains her physical attributes, and does not become the nourishing
mother of all things.[1271]

With a partial exception in the case of Ushas[1272] (Dawn) the early
Hindu pantheon contains no great female figure; there are female
counterparts of male deities, but no such transcendent personages as
Isis, Athene, and Demeter. Whether this fact is to be explained from
early Hindu views of the social position of women, or from some other
idea, is uncertain. In certain modern religious cults, however, the
worship of the female principle (Çakti) is popular and influential. It
is probable that in early times every tribe or district had its female
divine representative of fertility, an embryonic mother-goddess. If the
Aryan Hindus had such a figure, she failed to grow into a great
divinity. But the worship of such deities came into Aryan India at a
relatively recent date, apparently from non-Aryan sources, and has been
incorporated in Hindu systems. Various forms of Çakti have been brought
into relation with various gods, the most important being those that
have become attached to the worship of Çiva.[1273] To him is assigned as
wife the frightful figure called Durga or Kali (and known by other
names), a blood-loving monster with an unspeakably licentious cult.
Other Çakti deities are more humane, and there is reason to suppose that
the ground of the devotion shown to Kali, especially by women, is in
many cases simply reverence for the female principle in life, or more
particularly for motherhood.[1274]

+735+. The original character of the Hindu lord of the Otherworld, Yama,
is obscured by the variety of the descriptions of him in the documents.
In the Rig-Veda he appears both as god and (as it seems) as man. He is
the son of the solar deity Vivashant (Vivashat); he is named in
enumerations of gods, and Agni is his friend and his priest; he receives
worship, and is besought to come to the sacrifice.[1275] On the other
hand, he is never called "god," but only "king";[1276] he is spoken of
as the "only mortal," and is said to have chosen death; he is associated
in heaven with the "fathers."[1277] The modern interpretations of his
origin have followed these two sets of data. By some writers he has been
identified with the sun (particularly the setting sun), and with the
moon.[1278] But these identifications are set aside for the Veda by the
fact that in lists of gods he is distinguished from sun and moon.[1279]
By others he is regarded as the mythical first man, the first ancestor,
with residence in the sky, deified as original ancestors sometimes were,
and, as the first to die and enter the world beyond, made the king of
that world.

Though Yama is not the sun in the Veda, it is possible that he was so
regarded in the period preceding the Vedic theological construction, and
in support of this view it may be said that the sun setting, descending
into the depths, is a natural symbol of the close of man's life,[1280]
and rising, represents the man's life in the beyond--thus the sun would
be identified with man, and not unnaturally with the first man, the
first to die. In support of the other view may be cited the great rôle
ascribed by many peoples to the first man: in savage lore he is often
the creator or arranger of the world,[1281] and he is sometimes, like
Yama, the son of the sun.[1282] Such an one, entering the other world,
might become its lord, and in process of time be divinized and made the
son of the creator sun.[1283] The Hindu figure is often compared to the
Avestan first man, Yima; but Yima, so far as appears, was never
divinized, and is not religiously of great importance. Nor do the late
Jewish legends and theosophical speculations bear on the point under
consideration: in Paradise, it is said, Adam was waited on by angels,
the angels were commanded by God to pay him homage (so also in the
Koran), and he is described as being the light of the world; and Philo
and others conceived of a first or heavenly man (Adam Kadmon), free from
ordinary human weakness, and identical with the Logos or the
Messiah--therefore a judge in the largest sense of the word.[1284] But,
while these conceptions testify to the strong appeal made to the
imagination by the figure of the mythical first man, they throw little
light on the original form of Yama--the early constructions do not
include the judge of the other world, and the later ones are too late to
explain so early a figure as the Vedic king of that world.

+736+. In the Rig-Veda Yama is specifically the overlord of the blessed
dead--the pious who were thought worthy to dwell in heaven with the gods
and to share to some extent their divinity; with the wicked he seems to
have nothing to do. The general history of the conception of the future
life suggests that in the earliest Indo-Iranian period there was a hades
to which all the dead went.[1285] If there was a divine head of this
hades (originally an underground deity, like Osiris, Allatu, and
Ploutos) he would accompany the pious fathers when, in the later Hindu
theologic construction, they were transported to heaven; and if the
first ancestor occupied a distinguished place among the dead,[1286] he
might be fused with the divine head into a sort of unity, and the
result might be such a complex figure as Yama appears to be. However
this may be, the Vedic Yama underwent a development in accordance with
the changes in the religious ideas of the people, becoming at last an
ethical judge of the dead.[1287]

+737+. _Persia._ The Mazdean theistic system presents special
difficulties.[1288] The nature of its divine world is remarkable, almost
unique, and the literature that has come down to us was edited at a
comparatively late period, probably not before the middle of the third
century of our era, so that it is not always easy to distinguish the
earlier and the later elements of thought. It is generally regarded as
certain that the two branches of the Aryan race, the Indian and the
Persian, once dwelt together and formed one community, having the same
general religious system: the material of spirits is substantially the
same in the two and they have certain important names in common--to the
Indian Asura, Soma, Mitra, the Persian Ahura, Haoma, Mithra correspond
in form exactly. But in the way in which this material was modified and
organized the two communities differ widely.

+738+. The peculiarity of the Persian system is that it practically
disregards all the old gods except Mithra and Anahita, substituting for
them beings designated by names of qualities, and organizes all
extrahuman Powers in two classes--one under the Good Spirit (Spenta
Mainyu), the other under the Bad Spirit (Angro Mainyu). The former is
attended by six great beings, Immortal Spirits (Amesha-spentas): Good
Mind, Best Order or Law, Holy Harmony or Wisdom, Piety, Well-being,
Immortality.[1289] In the Gathas, which are commonly held to be the most
ancient Zoroastrian documents, these attendants of the supreme god are
often nothing but qualities, but on the other hand are often personified
and worshiped. The rival of the Good Spirit is surrounded similarly by
lying spirits (_drujas_), among whom one, Aeshma, holds a prominent
place. The two divine chiefs stand side by side in the earliest
literature almost as coequal powers; but it is explained that the
wicked one is to be destroyed with all his followers.

+739+. In some of the early hymns (Yaçnas) Mithra is closely attached to
Ahura Mazda--the two are called "the lofty and imperishable ones." The
goddess Anahita, first mentioned in an inscription of Artaxerxes II, and
described only in the late Fifth Yasht, appears to have been originally
a deity of water. It was, doubtless, her popularity that led to her
official recognition by Artaxerxes; possibly her formal recognition by
the Mazdean leaders was a slow process, since she does not appear in the
older Avesta. In the Yasht she receives worship (being in the form of a
beautiful young woman) as the dispenser of all blessings that come from
pure water; she is said to have been created by Ahura Mazda, and is
wholly subordinated to him. Besides these two a great number of lesser
gods are mentioned; the latter, apparently the old local gods and
spirits here subordinated to the supreme god, are unimportant in the
official cult. The souls of the departed also become objects of worship.

+740+. It thus appears that Zoroastrianism was a reform of the old
polytheism. The movement closely resembles the struggle of the Hebrew
prophets against the worship of the Canaanite Baals and other foreign
gods. In both cases there is evidence going to show that popular cults
continued after the leaders of the reform had thrown off the offensive
elements of the old system: the Hebrew people continued to worship
foreign gods long after the great prophets had pronounced against them;
and the official recognition of Ahura Mazda in the Achæmenian
inscriptions[1290] by no means proves that lower forms of worship were
not practiced in Persia by the people.[1291]

+741+. If we ask for the grounds of this recoil from the old gods, we
must doubtless hold that ethical feeling was a powerful motive in the
reform, though economic and other considerations were, doubtless, not
without influence.

Since Ahura Mazda is ethically good and his worship ethically pure,
there is clearly in its origin hostility to low modes of worship and to
materialistic ideas. Possibly also we have here a struggle of a clan for
the recognition of its own god, as among the Israelites the Yahweh party
represented exclusive devotion to the old national god. If there was
such a clan or party in Persia, it is obvious that it produced men of
high intelligence and great moral and organizing power, and all that we
know of the religious history leads us to suppose that the establishment
of the supremacy of Ahura Mazda was the result of a long development.

+742+. As to the provenance of the Mazdean supreme lord, not a few
scholars of the present day hold that he was identical with the Indian
Varuna. It is in favor of this identification that the qualities of the
two deities are the same, and there is also the noteworthy fact that
Ahura Mazda is coupled with Mithra as Varuna is coupled with Mitra;
according to this view the Mazdean deity was originally the god of the
sky, by whose side naturally stands the sun. In a case like this,
involving a general agreement between two systems of thought, there are
two possible explanations of the relation between them: it may be
supposed that one borrowed from the other (in the present case the
borrowing would be on the part of the Persians); or the explanation may
be that the two communities developed original material along the same
general lines, though with local differences. In the absence of
historical data it is perhaps impossible to say which of these
explanations is to be preferred. There is, however, no little difficulty
in the supposition that one community has actually borrowed its
religious system from a neighbor; the general probability is that each
followed its own line.

+743+. Nor is it probable that the rejection of the old divine names by
the Persians was the result of hostility toward their Indian neighbors.
It is doubtless a curious fact that the Indian name for 'evil spirit,'
_asura_, is in Persian the name of a good spirit, Ahura, while the
Indian _diva_, the general term for a god, is in Persian the designation
of a wicked spirit, _daeva_. The Persian employment of _daeva_ for 'evil
spirit' may be explained as a protest not against Indian gods, but
against the deities of their own land; so the Hebrew prophets or their
editors apply opprobrious names, "no-god" and other terms, to deities
regarded by them as inadequate. The abstractions of the Mazdean system
have been referred to above. They seem to have been resorted to from a
feeling of profound disgust at the worship of some class of people.
Unfortunately we have not the historical data that might make the
situation clear. In the Gathas the people of Ahura Mazda are suffering
from the incursions of predatory tribes, and the greater part of the
appeals to the deity are for protection for the herds against their
enemies. We thus have a suggestion of a struggle, political and
religious, between the more civilized Aryans and the savage Tataric
tribes around them.

+744+. In the later period of Mazdeanism the old titles of supreme deity
were succeeded (though not displaced) by the terms "Boundless Time" and
"Boundless Space," the latter doubtless suggested by the vault of
heaven. These generalizations, however, had little influence on the
development of the theological side of the religion, which has continued
to regard Ahura Mazda and Angro Mainyu as the two heads of the world and
the determiners of human life. The rituals of the Mazdean and Hindu
faiths were influenced by the ethical developments of the two, becoming
simpler and more humane with the advance toward elevated conceptions of
God and man.

+745+. In view of such facts as are known it may be surmised that the
Mazdean system originated with an Aryan agricultural tribe or body of
tribes dwelling near the Caspian Sea, in contact with hostile nomads.
These Aryans, we may assume, had the ordinary early apparatus of spirits
and nature deities (gods of the sun, water, etc.), but, at the same
time, a disposition to concentrate worship on a single god (probably a
sky-god), who became the chief tribal deity and was naturally regarded
as the source of all things good, the Good Spirit; the phenomena of life
led them (as it led some other early peoples) to conceive of a rival
spirit, the author of things hostile to life. With economic conditions
and intellectual characteristics very different from those of their
Hindu brethren, they developed no capacity for organizing an elaborate
pantheon--they were practically monolatrous, were content with an
all-sufficient Good Spirit (the Bad Spirit being tolerated as an
intellectual necessity), gradually subordinated to him such gods as the
popular feeling retained, and relegated to the sphere of evil the host
of inferior hurtful spirits or gods (_daevas_) whose existence they
could not deny.[1292] The religious leaders, representing and enforcing
the tribal tendency of thought, in the course of time gave more and more
definite shape to the cult; perhaps Zoroaster was a preëminent agent in
this movement. Ethical purification, as a matter of course, went hand in
hand with cultic organization. The old gods or spirits, associates of
the supreme god, became embodiments of moral conceptions, and a ritual
of physical and moral purity was worked out. Such may have been the
general history of the official system; data for a detailed
chronological history are lacking.[1293]

+746+. _China._ Chinese religion is characterized by a remarkable
restraint in ecclesiastical development: simple religious customs, no
native priestly order, few gods, almost no myths. The basis of the
popular religion is the usual material, comprising ancestors, spirits
(including tutelary spirits), a few departmental gods (of war, of the
kitchen, etc.), some of which are said to be deified men. The system is
thus nearly the same as that of the central Asiatic Mongolians.[1294]

+747+. The reflective movement (which must have begun long before the
sixth century B.C., the period of Confucius and Lao-tsze) is marked by
the attempt to perfect the social organization, regard being paid mainly
to visible, practical relations. Stress is laid on the principle of
order in family and state, which is held to reflect the order of the
universe;[1295] speculation is avoided, there is a minimum of religion.
In the more developed religious system the two prominent features are,
first, the dominant conception of the unity of the family and of the
state led to the emphasizing of the worship of ancestors--a cult which,
going back to a very early time, has been interwoven in China with the
individual and communal life in a thoroughgoing way, with a constant
infusion of moral ideas; and in the next place, the order of society and
of the external world is represented by Heaven.[1296]

+748+. Originally, doubtless, Heaven was the physical sky (as among the
Hindus and Persians and many other peoples), but at an early period came
to be practically the supreme god. A sort of monotheistic cult has thus
been established as the official religion. The emperor is the Son of
Heaven and the High Priest of the nation, and in the great annual
sacrifices performed by him the host of minor powers is practically
ignored and worship is addressed to the controlling powers of the world.
This official worship does not set aside the cult of the various
spirits, whose existence is recognized by the minor officials as well as
by the people. The cult of local spirits has grown to extraordinary
dimensions. They fill the land, controlling the conditions of life and
demanding constant regard; and the experts, who are supposed to know the
laws governing the action of the spirits (for example, as to proper
burial-places), wield enormous power, and make enormous charges of
money. These spirits are treated as of subordinate importance in the
official religion. The process by which China has reached this religious
attitude must have extended over millenniums, and, as is stated above,
the intellectual movement in the direction of simplicity and clearness
has been attended by an advance in ethical purity.

+749+. The tendency of Chinese thought is illustrated by the two systems
of philosophy which in the sixth century B.C. formulated the conception
of a universal dominant order:[1297] Confucius represents the extreme
logical development of natural order in human life as a product of
cosmic order--he is content absolutely to deal with the practical
affairs of life and discourages attempts to inquire into the nature of
gods or into the condition of men after death. Lao-tsze, on the other
hand, similarly taking the Way (_tao_), or Universal Order, as the
informing and controlling power of the world, appears to have laid the
stress on the relation between it and the human soul--a conception that
has affinities with the Stoic Logos. But it is Confucianism that has
remained the creed of educated China. Taoism, beginning, apparently, as
a spiritual system, did not appeal to the Chinese feeling, and speedily
degenerated into a system of magical jugglery. Thus the Chinese, with
the feeblest religious sense to be found in any great nation, have
nevertheless reached the grandiose conception of the all-embracing and
all-controlling supreme Heaven. In their case the governing
consideration has been the moral organization of social life, and Nature
has swallowed up all great partial deities.

+750+. _Japan._ Japan has produced no great god;[1298] out of the mass
of nature gods reported in the Kojiki not one becomes preëminent. There
is recognition of Heaven and Earth as the beginning of things, and of
the sun as a deity, but neither the sky-god nor the sun-goddess becomes
a truly high god. Japanese theistic development appears to have been
crippled at an early period by the intrusion of Chinese influences; the
very name of the national religion, Shinto, 'the Way of the Gods,' is
Chinese. The emperor was deified, and ancestor-worship became the
principal popular cult;[1299] but Confucianism and Buddhism overlaid the
native worship at an early period. The later forms of Shinto have moved
rather toward the rejection of the old deities than toward the creation
of a great national god.

+751+. _Semitic peoples._ Among the various Semitic peoples there is so
marked a unity of thought that, as Robertson Smith has pointed
out,[1300] we may speak of the Semitic religion, though there are
noteworthy local differences. Generally we find among these
communities, as elsewhere, a large number of local deities, scarcely
distinguishable in their functions one from another.[1301] A noteworthy
illustration of the long continuance of these local cults is given in
the attempt of the last king of Babylon, Nabonidus, to centralize the
worship by bringing the statues of the local deities to Babylon; the
result was a general popular protest. Similarly an attempt was made by
King Josiah in the seventh century B.C. to centralize all Israelite
worship in Jerusalem, but the history of the succeeding generations
shows that the attempt was not successful. The local gods represent the
clannic and tribal organization, to which the Semites appear to have
clung with peculiar fondness.

+752+. Semitic religion shows an orderly advance through the medium of
tribal and national feeling in conjunction with the regular moral and
intellectual growth of the community. First one god and then another
comes to the front as this or that city attains leadership, but these
chief gods are substantially identical with one another in functions.
The genealogical relations introduced by the priestly theologians throw
no light on the original characters of the deities and are often ignored
in the inscriptions. A natural division into gods of the sky and gods of
the earth may be recognized, but in the high gods this distinction
practically disappears.

+753+. Turning first to the Tigris-Euphrates region, we find certain
nature gods that attained more or less definite universal
character.[1302] The physical sky becomes the god Anu, who, though
certainly a great god, was never so prominent as certain other deities,
and in Assyria yielded gradually to Ashur. Why the Semites, in marked
contrast with the Indo-Europeans and the Chinese, have shown a
relatively feeble recognition of the physical heaven we are not able to
say; possibly the tribal feeling referred to above may have led to a
centering of devotion on those deities that lay nearer to everyday life,
or in the case of Babylonia it may be that the city with which Anu was
particularly connected lost its early importance, and its deity in
consequence yielded to others.[1303] The sun is a more definite and more
practically important object than the expanse of the sky, and the
Semitic sun-god, Shamash, plays a great rôle from the earliest to the
latest times. The great king Hammurabi (commonly placed near the year
2000 B.C.), in his noteworthy civil code, takes Shamash as his patron,
as the inspirer of wisdom and the controller of human right; and from
this time onward this deity is invoked by the kings in their
inscriptions. The worship of the sun was established in Canaan at an
early time (as the name of the town Bethshemesh, 'house of Shemesh,'
shows), and under Assyrian influence was adopted by a large number of
Israelites in the seventh century B.C.; the prophet Ezekiel represents
prominent Israelites as standing in the court of the temple, turning
their backs on the sacred house and worshiping the sun;[1304] but as to
the nature of the sun-god and his worship in these cases we have no
information. Other nature deities that rose to eminence are the
moon-god, Sin, and the storm-god, Ramman.

+754+. The other deities of the Babylonian and Assyrian pantheons seem
not to be connected by their names with natural phenomena. They are
attached to particular cities or districts, and each district or city,
as it becomes a great religious center, raises its favorite god to a
position of preëminence. Generally the choice of a special deity by a
particular city lies back of historical documents, and the reason for
such choice therefore cannot be definitely fixed. The attributes and
functions of the resulting great gods, as has already been remarked, are
substantially everywhere the same, and where one function becomes
prominent, it is often possible to explain its prominence from the
political or other conditions.

+755+. Moreover, as in all theological constructions that follow great
political unifications, it was natural to extend the domain of a
principal god to whatever department of life or of nature appealed
especially to the theologian. When we find certain gods invested with
solar functions it does not follow that they were originally
sun-gods--such functions may be a necessary result of their preëminence.
Out of the great mass of Babylonian and Assyrian deities we may select a
few whose cults illustrate the method of development of the religious
conceptions. As non-Semitic (Sumerian) religious and other ideas and
words appear to have been adopted by the Semitic Babylonians, it is not
always easy to distinguish between Semitic and non-Semitic conceptions
in the cults as known to us.

+756+. _Babylonia._ The god Ea appears to have been originally the local
deity of Eridu, a city which in early times stood on the Persian Gulf.
This proximity to the sea may account for the fact that Ea was generally
associated with water (in Babylonia, as elsewhere, there were many
deities of waters). It is not certain that this was his original rôle,
but it was, in any case, assigned him in the course of the theistic
construction. It is not improbable that in the original form of the
Babylonian epic it was Ea who sent the flood and saved one man--a
natural representation for the god of Eridu; in later recensions of the
poem it is first Bel and then Marduk who assumes the principal rôle. As
Eridu was probably a prominent political center, Ea, as its chief god,
naturally became the creator, the bestower of wisdom, the author of the
arts of life, in general a universal god. As the political center
shifted, the popular interest changed and Ea yielded more or less to
other gods, continuing, however, throughout the whole Babylonian and
Assyrian period to receive high consideration.

+757+. Enlil, the god of Nippur, had a similar career; originally local,
he became supreme. A peculiar feature of his history is the fact that
the title Bel, 'lord' (which is the Semitic equivalent of the
non-Semitic Enlil), clung to him in a peculiar way and practically
ousted the original name. This title was assigned to various gods (so in
Canaan the title Baal), and its special appropriation by the god of
Nippur must be referred to the preponderant importance of that city in
the period before the rise of Babylon. In the Babylonian system he is
lord of the lower world, that is, apparently, the divine king of the
earth; his original domain, the district of Nippur, was extended to
embrace the whole world--a sort of extension that was common in all
ancient religions. His importance is evident from the fact that he was a
member of the early triad, Anu, Bel, Ea, names that have been supposed
to represent three divisions of the world into heaven, earth, and ocean.
It seems probable, however, that this triadic grouping was the work of
relatively late constructionists; it is more likely that the original
prominence of these three deities was due to the fact that they
represented the more important political communities.[1305]

+758+. A particularly good illustration of the dependence of a god's
position on the political position of his region is furnished by the god
Marduk, a name the meaning of which is uncertain. He is first clearly
mentioned in the inscriptions of Hammurabi (ca. 2000 B.C.), but
mentioned in such a way that his cult must go back to a much earlier
time. From the devotion paid him by Hammurabi, and much later by
Nebuchadrezzar II (sixth century B.C.), it is generally assumed that he
was the local god of Babylon. He rose with the fortunes of this city,
finally becoming supreme: he was regarded as creator, and invested with
all the highest functions; in the later astronomical constructions he is
represented as the arranger of the zodiacal system and all that was
connected with it, but, as is pointed out above, this is no ground for
regarding him as having been originally a sun-god. A glimpse into the
method of theological reconstruction is afforded by the representation
in the cosmogonic epic where he is invested with supreme power by the
older gods--this investiture is with probability regarded by
Assyriologists as representing the leadership attained by the city of
Babylon (ca. 2000 B.C.), whose religious hegemony lasted throughout the
existence of the Babylonian state.

+759+. _Assyria._ The Assyrian pantheon is in general identical with
that of Babylon, but has certain features which are due to the peculiar
character of the Assyrian civilization. The god Ashur, originally the
local god of the city or district of Ashur, and then the chief god of
Assyria, was naturally a war-god--Assyria was essentially a military
nation, differing in this regard from Babylonia. He is, however, more
than a mere god of war--he has all high attributes, and came to
represent in Assyria that approach to monotheism which in Babylon was
embodied in the later cult of Marduk.

+760+. Babylonian and Assyrian _female deities_ are of two classes:
those who are merely consorts of the male deities, and those who
represent fertility. The first class we may pass over--the goddesses of
this class are vague in character and functions and play no important
part in the religious system; they appear to be artificial creations of
the systematizers. The deities of the second class, however, are
important. From a very early time the fertility of nature has been
referred appropriately to female Powers, and in the Semitic pantheon a
large number of such divinities occur. A deity of this sort naturally
becomes a mother-goddess, with all the attributes that pertain to this
character; in some cases a mother-goddess becomes supreme.

+761+. A very early female divinity is Bau, worshiped particularly at
the city Lagash and by King Gudea. Her function as patron of
productiveness is probably indicated in the spring festival held in her
honor on New Year's Day, in which she is worshiped as the giver of the
fruits of the earth. There are several local female deities that seem to
be substantially identical in character with Bau. Innanna (or Ninni) in
Uruk (Erech) was the mistress of the world and of war, and Nana is
hardly to be distinguished from her.[1306] In Agade Anunit has a similar
rôle; in Lagash Nina was the determiner of fate, and the mother of the

+762+. These names appear to be titles signifying 'mistress,' 'lady,'
and this is probably the meaning of the name of the great goddess who
finally ousted or absorbed her sisters, Ishtar.[1307] In the earliest
form in which Ishtar appears, in the old poetry, she is the deity of
fertility; when she goes down to the Underworld all productiveness of
plants and men ceases; and her primitive character at this time appears
in the account of her marriages with animals, in which there is to be
recognized the trace of the old zoölatrous period; but as patron of
fertility she becomes in time a great goddess and takes on universal
attributes--she is the mother of gods and men, universal protector and
guide. Where war was the chief pursuit she became a goddess of war; in
this character she appears in Babylonia as early as the time of
Hammurabi, and later in Assyria. In the genealogical constructions she
was brought into connection, as daughter, wife, or other relation, with
any god that the particular conditions suggested. As the Assyrians grew
morally she was endowed with all the highest virtues (so in the
Penitential Psalms), and occupied so preëminent a position that under
favorable circumstances she might perhaps have become the only god of
the land.

+763+. If her name signified originally 'lord' or 'lady,' the occurrence
of several Ishtars in Assyria (particularly Ishtar of Nineveh and Ishtar
of Arbela) is easily understood; so in Canaan, as we learn from the Old
Testament, there was a great number of local Ashtarts.[1308] We can thus
also explain the male deities Ashtar in Moab and Athtar in South
Arabia.[1309] None of these, however, attained the eminence of the
Babylonian and Assyrian Ishtar; her supremacy in Mesopotamia was due
doubtless in part to the political importance of the cities that adopted
her. She had her rivals, as we have seen, in Marduk and Ashur and
others; and that she was able to maintain herself is to be ascribed in
some measure to the importance attached by her worshipers to the
fertilizing power of nature.

+764+. The other Semitic peoples, with the exception of the Hebrews,
offer little material for tracing the development of the great gods. For
the Aramean region the records are sparse; Aramean deities appear to be
of the same character as the Canaanite.[1310] In Canaan (including
Phoenicia) out of the vast number of local divinities, the Baals and
Ashtarts, few attained to eminence, and it is doubtful whether any one
of them deserves the title "great."[1311] The divine patrons of cities
were locally powerful; such were the Baal of Tyre, called Melkart ('the
king of the city'), the Ashtart of Sidon, and Tanit of Carthage;[1311]
these owed their reputation to their official positions, and there is no
other record of their development. The same thing is true of the Moabite
Kemosh, the Ammonite Malkom (Milkom), and the Philistine Dagan (Dagon)
and Baalzebub. None of these became ethically great or approached
universality. The Phoenician Eshmun was known to the Greeks, and was
identified by them with their Asklepios (Æsculapius), probably because
among the various functions attaching to him as local deity healing was
prominent; but of his theologic history little is known.[1312] Several
North Arabian deities, especially Dusares (Dhu ash-Shara) and the
goddesses Al-Lât and Al-Uzza, were widely worshiped, their cults
extending over the whole Nabatean region; but the communities to which
they belonged never produced a great civilization or attained great
political significance, and these deities always retained traces of
their local nature.[1313] The same remark is to be made of the South
Arabian gods known to us; they were locally important, but we have
little information concerning their characters.[1314]

+765+. The clearest example of the orderly advance of a deity to
preëminence is afforded by the Hebrew Yahweh (Jehovah). Originally, it
would seem, a local deity, the god of certain tribes on the northern
boundary of Arabia,[1315] he was adopted by the Hebrews under conditions
which are not quite clear, and was developed by them in accordance with
their peculiar genius. At first morally and intellectually crude, he
became as early as the eighth century B.C. ethically high and
practically omnipotent.[1316] For many centuries he was regarded merely
as the most powerful of the gods, superior to the deities of other
nations, and it was only after the beginning of our era that the Hebrew
thought discarded all other gods and made "Yahweh" synonymous with
"God." In each period of their history the conception that the Hebrews
had of him was in accord with the economic and intellectual features of
the time.[1317]

+766+. A word may be added respecting the Semitic titles Ilu, or El, and
Elohim, which have been supposed by some recent writers to prove the
existence of an early monotheism, particularly in Southern Arabia. The
terms mean simply 'god,' and were applied by early Semitic communities
to any deity, particularly to the local god. In the Arabia of Mohammed's
time a tribe would call its deity simply "the god," a sufficient
designation of him for the place;[1318] this designation, in Arabic
_al-ilahu_, came to be pronounced "Allah," and this familar term, as is
remarked above, was adopted by Mohammed and expanded (probably under the
influence of some advanced Arabian circle of thinkers of his time) into
the conception of the one only god, which he and others had derived from
Christians and Jews. In certain parts of the Old Testament also "Elohim"
stands for the national god, conceived of as all-sufficient. But these
are late conceptions. There is no proof that in South Arabia or in
Babylonia the term Ilu meant anything else than the local deity, though
such a deity would naturally receive all the attributes that his
worshipers demanded in their religious constructions. Most of the
appellations of Semitic deities are epithets, and while this mode of
conceiving of the gods militated against the development of them into
distinct personalities and the construction of a pantheon, it was
favorable, on the other hand, to isolation and to the tendency to
elevate any favorite deity to a position of preëminence.

+767+. _Greece._ The Greeks, with their rich imagination and artistic
feeling, filled the world with divine figures, well-defined types of
Greek character, ideals of Greek thought. Greece alone has constructed a
true pantheon, a community of gods all individualized, but all compacted
into a family or a body of government. The question of their historical
development involves great difficulties, partly because the wide
diffusion of their cults in Hellas occasioned many local expansions of
the original conceptions in the various regions, partly because most of
the deities appear fully or almost fully formed in the earliest literary
monuments, so that we are dependent on cultic procedures and passing
allusions for a knowledge of their preliterary character. Without, then,
attempting an investigation of the obscure prehistoric theogonic period,
the general lines of growth of some of the principal divine personages
may be followed (as far as the data permit) as examples of the way in
which the great gods were gradually created.[1319]

+768+. Zeus, originally doubtless a sky-god (not the sun), represents
an old Indo-European divine conception, found substantially also among
all the great peoples of antiquity, as well as in many half-civilized
tribes. But nowhere has he attained so eminent a position as in Greece.
The Hindu Dyaus (the 'shining one')[1320] is not prominent in the Vedic
mythology or in later times, and the Mazdean Ahura Mazda, if he was
originally the sky, had dropped his physical characteristics and become
only a spirit; the Latin Jupiter approaches Zeus most nearly in name and
character. A sky-god is naturally conceived of as universal ruler,[1321]
but in any particular region he assumes the characteristics of the
ruling human personages of the place and time. Zeus appears first as a
barbarian chieftain with the ordinary qualities of such persons. Stories
that have come down about him reflect a period of what now seems
immorality, though it was the recognized morality of the time; he is
deceitful and changeable and completely unregardful of any definite
marriage laws. His cult in some places (for example, in Arcadia) had
savage features. Whether he had originally in the Hellenic world a
special home, and if so what it was, cannot now be determined.[1322]

+769+. In the historical period he appears as a chief god in many places
in Greece, gradually absorbs the functions of other gods, and receives
numerous titles derived from places and functions. He is the father of
gods and men, but not the sole creator of the world. His gradual rise in
moral character may be traced in the literature. In Homer he is a
universalized Agamemnon, with very much the intellectual and moral
qualities of Agamemnon; a process of growth in the conception of him in
the Homeric poems is indicated by the incongruities in his
portraiture--at one time he is a creature of impulse and passion, at
another time a dignified and thoughtful ruler. In Pindar and the
tragedians of the fifth century he has become the representative of
justice and order in the world, and in later writers he comes to be more
specifically the embodiment of everything that is good in the universe.
He represents the Greek conception of civic authority, and thus the
nearest approach to monotheism discoverable in the Greek mythological
system; and as embodying the finer side of religious feeling he both
punishes and forgives sin.

+770+. Next in importance to Zeus as representative of Greek religious
thought stands Apollo. The meaning of the name and the original seat of
the god are obscure; he appears to have been a Pan-Hellenic deity; he
was definitely shaped by the whole mass of Hellenic thought. Originally,
perhaps, the local deity of some hunting and pastoral region, and
possessing the quasi-universal attributes of such deities, the wide
diffusion of his cult (through conditions not known to us) brought him
into relation with many sides of life. While he shares this
many-sidedness with several other gods, the Greek genius of theographic
organization assigned him special headship in certain distinctively
Hellenic conceptions. Zeus embodied the theocratic idea, and Apollo the
ideas of Pan-Hellenic civic unity, artistic feeling, and the more
intimate ethical and religious experience. He became the patron of the
Amphictyonic assembly and of literature and art, and, especially in
connection with the Delphic oracle, the fosterer of ethical conceptions
of ritual and of sin. How it came to pass that these particular
departments were assigned him it is not possible to say. Such
specialization was natural to the Greeks, but the determining conditions
in particular cases have not been recorded, and can only be surmised.
His growth kept pace with that of the Hellenic people--in the Iliad he
is a partisan, and his words and deeds do not always command our
respect, but in the later theological constructions he throws off his
crudeness. His connection with the sun was a natural consequence of his
rise to eminence; he is not a sun-god in the earliest literary remains.

+771+. Poseidon, second only to Zeus in power, is also of obscure
origin.[1323] His specific marine character is certain, though as a
great god he had many relations and functions.[1324] Possibly he was
originally the local deity of some marine region, and by reason of the
importance of his native place, or simply through the intimate
relationship between the Greek communities, and in accordance with the
Greek spirit of organization, came to be generally recognized as the god
of the ocean.[1325] Though he was widely revered he remained largely a
nature god--he never attained the majesty and moral supremacy of Zeus,
never, indeed, represented specifically any refined moral or religious
conception. Whether this ethical and religious meagerness was a
consequence of the vagueness of the relation between the sea and human
life, or of some other fact, is a point that can hardly be determined.

+772+. Hermes, to judge from his history, was the creation of some
pastoral community, an ideal of rustic excellence: fleet of foot, a
leader in popular amusements, skilled in simple music, eminent in an art
much valued in early times--the art of stealing cattle. When he was
taken into the circle of Greek theological thought his swiftness
recommended him to the position of messenger of the gods,[1326] and his
function as psychopompos, the guide of souls to the other world, would
then follow naturally; from this function it cannot, however, be
inferred that he was originally a chthonic deity--a character that does
not accord with the early portraitures of him. Like other gods he grew
morally, but he never reached ethical distinction. Skill in theft was in
early times often regarded as a virtue,[1327] and in general he who got
the better of his fellows was esteemed a master of good luck and
prosperity; and a bestower of outward prosperity Hermes came to
be.[1328] His main quality was cleverness, in contrast with the
intellectual power of Apollo.

+773+. On the other hand, another rustic figure, the Arcadian herd-god
Pan,[1329] never developed into a great Hellenic god. His worship was
widely diffused; he appears often in artistic representations, and
Pindar thought him worthy of a hymn (of which, unfortunately, only
fragments survive), but in general he remained uncouth and half savage,
a goatlike figure, the companion of satyrs, or (as the Homeric hymn
depicts him) a merrymaker. He seems to have been an embodiment of the
lower rustic pleasures, a local god, probably not a divinized

+774+. His name, however, taken to mean 'all,' gave occasion to fanciful
interpretations. He was so called, it was said, because he gave delight
to all the Immortals;[1331] or his person and his musical and other
instruments were supposed to represent universal nature--his horns the
rays of the sun and the horns of the moon, his spotted fawnskin the
stars, his pipe of seven reeds the harmony of the heavens, his crook the
year, which returns on itself, and so on.[1332] The Stoics and the
Orphic writers made him Universal God, the creator of the world.[1333]
In the popular cult, however, he remained the merry patron of herds. The
most satisfactory explanation of his name is that which derives it from
the stem _pa_, 'feed'--he is then "the goatherd."[1334] The story told
by Plutarch, of a voice heard crying on the coast of Epirus, "Great Pan
is dead," arose from some misapprehension, but no precise explanation
of its origin has been given.[1335] Poets like Pindar and Vergil,
disposed to preserve and dignify the old traditions, treat Pan
respectfully and sympathetically, but such constructions are

+775+. Ares seems to be the creation of a war-loving tribe; in the Iliad
he is a fierce warrior, armed cap-a-pie, delighting in battle and
slaughter. Through the machinations of Hera and Athene he is overcome by
human heroes, the poet's feeling being, possibly, contempt for the mere
savage fighter; in fact, Ares in the Iliad is, from our point of view,
hardly a respectable character--he violates his promise, and when
wounded cries out like a hurt child. But as war-god he was widely
revered in Greece; in Thebes especially he was honored as one of the
great gods. Hesiod makes him the son of Zeus and Hera,[1337] but he
never attains moral or other dignity; in the popular cult he remained,
probably, merely the patron of war. In the later artistic
representations he is the ideal of warlike vigor and grace. In the
Homeric hymn (which may be of Orphic origin) he is transformed into a
lover of peace and a source of all pure and lofty aspirations--a violent
procedure, induced by the poet's unwillingness that an Olympian should
represent anything but what was morally good.

+776+. The process of development of a god's character is illustrated
with special clearness by the history of Dionysus. It is generally
agreed that he was of foreign origin, an importation from Thrace. The
features of his earliest cult known to us are marked by bald savagery.
His worshipers indulged in wild orgies, probably excited by intoxicating
drinks, tore to pieces a goat (as in Thrace) or a bull (as in Crete) and
ate the flesh raw;[1338] and the evidence goes to show that they
practiced human sacrifice. All these procedures have parallels in known
savage cults. Omophagic orgies are described by Nilus (among the
Saracens), and such customs are reported as existing or having existed
in the Fiji Islands and elsewhere.[1339] Among many tribes intoxication
is a common preparation for the work of the shaman; and human sacrifice
has been practiced in all parts of the world. There is nothing peculiar
in the office of soothsayer that accompanied the Dionysiac cult; mantic
persons and procedures have formed a prominent part of the constitution
of the lower peoples everywhere.

+777+. Dionysus, in a word, was originally the local god of a savage
community; the data are not sufficient to fix precisely his original
place and the original conception of him. His mantic function does not
necessarily show that he was a ghost. It is true that the dead were
often consulted (and necromancy long survived among civilized peoples),
but any spirit or god might take possession of a worshiper and make him
the vehicle of revelation. Nor is the phallus-cult peculiar to Dionysus;
this cult is widely diffused, and its origin is to be referred not
specifically to the recognition of the general generative power of
nature, but to the mystery of human life.[1340] In his original home
Dionysus seems to have represented everything that touched the life of
his people. When, at a certain time, he passed into Hellas (carried,
doubtless, by immigrants), he took on the character necessitated by his
new surroundings--a process of transformation began. Exact chronological
data are lacking, but as in the Iliad[1341] he is the son of Zeus, he
must have been adopted by the Greeks very early. In his new home he
became the patron of the vine.[1342] In a vine-growing region any
prominent deity may become a wine-god;[1343] but the special connection
of Dionysus with wine in Greece suggests that in his earlier home he was
somehow identified with intoxicating drinks. With vegetation in general
also he may have been connected in Thrace--such a relation would be
natural for a clan god--and in that case his Hellenic rôle as god of
vegetation would follow as a matter of course; or, if he advanced from
the vine to the whole of vegetable nature, the development is

+778+. When and on what grounds he was accepted as one of the Olympians
is not clear;[1344] perhaps it was on account of the importance of vine
culture, perhaps from the mysterious character of his cult, the
enthusiasm of divine inspiration reflected in the frenzy of the
worshipers, or from these causes combined; his later name, Bacchus,
which seems to refer to cultic orgiastic shouting, would appear to
indicate this element of the cult as a main source of his popularity.
Once established as a great god he was credited with various functions.
The Greek drama arose in connection with his worship, and at Eleusis the
old element of seizure by the god was transformed by the higher thought
of the time into the conception of ethical union with the deity. Thus
the old savage god came to stand for man's highest aspirations.

+779+. As among other peoples, so among the Greeks the government of the
Underworld was gradually organized, and a head thereof appointed.[1345]
Already in the Iliad and in Hesiod[1346] the universe is divided into
three parts under the rule of the Kronids Zeus, Poseidon, and Aïdes
respectively; the earth, however, and Olympos, says Poseidon, are the
common property of them all--there was no complete governmental
separation between the Underworld and the Upperworld. The Greeks, with
their joy in the present, gave comparatively little prominence to the
future (being herein sharply contrasted with the Egyptians).

+780+. The title generally given to the underground chief, Hades
(apparently 'the invisible one'), indicates the vagueness that attached
to this deity.[1347] In the Iliad he is a dark and dread divinity. The
precise significance of his title Plouton[1348] is uncertain; but under
this name he is connected in the myths with processes of vegetation--it
is Plouton who carries off Persephone, leaving the world in the deadness
of winter. The figure of the underground deity appears to have taken
shape from the combination of two mythological conceptions--the
underground fructifying forces of nature, and the assemblage of the dead
in a nether world or kingdom.[1349] His only moral significance lay in
his relation to oaths, wherein, perhaps, is an approach to the idea of a
divine judge below the earth.[1350]

+781+. The _female deities_ of the Greeks are no less elaborately worked
out than the male gods, and, like these, are types of human character
and representatives of human pursuits.[1351]

+782+. The great goddess Hera is in Homer attached especially to Argos,
Sparta, and Mycenæ, but at a very early time was Pan-Hellenic. The
meaning of her name and her origin are uncertain. There is no good
ground for regarding her as having been originally a moon-goddess
(Selene was the real moon-goddess). What is certain is that she had a
special relation to women and particularly to childbirth; but such a
function is so generally attributed to some goddess that we can only
suppose that she rose to eminence through local conditions unknown to
us. The most interesting point about her is that she came to be the
representative of the respectable Greek matron, jealous of her wifely
rights, holding herself aloof from love affairs, a home person, entitled
to respect for the decency of her life, but without great womanly charm.

+783+. By a natural mythological law she was regarded as the consort of
Zeus, and gradually acquired dignity without, however, ever coming to be
a distinct embodiment of any form of intellectual or moral life. As Zeus
embodied the conception of civil and political headship, so Hera appears
to have embodied the idea of the wife as controller of the purely
domestic affairs of the family, her business being the bringing up of
children and the oversight of servants--duties that may have seemed at
an early period not to require great moral and intellectual power.

+784+. A distincter form is that of Demeter, who, whatever the meaning
of her name,[1352] certainly represents the fertile earth--a figure
similar to hundreds of others in the world, and doubtless existing at
various points in Greece under local names; she probably represents a
unification of the different conceptions of the fertile earth, a process
that went on in the natural way in Greek thought, and was formulated by
the poets. Her historical connection with the great Asian earth-goddess,
the Mother-Goddess, is uncertain. Demeter, however, never became the
great earth-mother; she remained attached to the soil, except that in
the Eleusinian mysteries she (probably as patron of fertility) was
allegorized into a representation of those moral conceptions of the
future that gradually arose in Greece.

+785+. The group of deities that may be called maiden goddesses is of
peculiar interest. A maiden goddess is originally an independent deity
who, for whatever reason, has not been brought by the myth-makers into
marriage relations with a male deity. Generally such independence is a
result of the fact that the goddess is the representative of fertility.
She may, in accordance with early customs of human society, choose
temporary consorts at will (as is the case with Ishtar); she may be in
her sole person (like the Dea Mater) the productive power of the world;
or she may remain a virgin, occupied only with the care of some
department of life (so Athene and Artemis). Which of these characters
she takes depends on early social conditions and on the nature of the
local theistic organization. In Greece these goddesses assume various

+786+. There is first the primitive divine Power of vegetation, called
simply the Kore, the Maiden, a figure ultimately identical with Demeter
and in the later constructions represented as her daughter. She is not
necessarily to be regarded as a development out of an original
corn-spirit. Her title "maiden" may be compared with the Semitic title
"mistress," mentioned above, and with the names expressing family
relations, "sister," "mother"--only this particular designation defines
her simply as an unmarried female divinity. The "corn-maiden" of modern
European folk-lore may be the cultic degradation of an old deity.[1353]
The title Kore became almost a proper name, though the designation was
not so definite as in the cases of Bel and Ishtar.[1354]

+787+. As the Kore is the representative of vegetable life, so Hestia
stands in general for the indoor life, the family. She long retained
this local character, but gradually assumed the position of the great
goddess of the home center, the hearth,[1355] and was connected with the
household fires and festivals. She represents the more intimate social
life of the family in contrast with Hera, who stands for the government
of the household.

+788+. The development of the functions of Artemis is comparatively
clear. The origin of the name is doubtful, but in the earliest records
she is connected with the fertile earth, with vegetable and also with
animal life.[1356] This character indicates that she was at one time a
local, all-sufficient deity, though it is hardly possible to determine
her original seat. As a local goddess in the hunting area she was
naturally connected with the chase, and as a female divinity she was the
patroness of marriage and the protector of human birth. Her original
nature as the maiden appears in the representation of her as a virgin
which occurs in Homer.[1357] There is no contradiction between this
character and her function of presiding over marriage and birth if we
consider her as a local goddess who from one point of view was regarded
as a simple maiden, from another point of view as the protector of
women.[1358] Thus invested with the control of these important features
of life she naturally became a general patroness, a guardian. Later she
was connected with Apollo as his sister, exactly by what steps we do not
know; and in the mythical constructions she was represented as the
daughter of Zeus and Leto.[1359]

+789+. The Hellenic goddess Artemis is to be distinguished from the
Ephesian deity to whom the Greeks gave the same name, though when the
Greeks came into close contact with Asia Minor the two were identified.
And in fact, though in historical origin the two deities are to be kept
apart, they doubtless go back to the same conception. The Ephesian
goddess was the Great Mother--she stood specifically for the idea of
maternity which lies at the basis of the world; the Greek divinity,
beginning as a local protectress, took on larger functions which gave
her general resemblance to the universal mother.

+790+. The relation between Artemis and Hekate is an illustration of the
process of coördination and harmonization that went on continually among
the Greeks. Hekate does not appear in Homer, but in Hesiod she has the
full form of a great deity--she exercises control over heaven, earth,
and sea;[1360] and at a later period she becomes similarly connected
with the Underworld. This variety of functions can be explained only by
the supposition that she also was a local deity, who, like all local
deities, was regarded as universal.[1361] As the meaning of her name is
uncertain and her original region unknown, it can be only surmised that
her cult spread gradually in Greece through the growing unification of
the Hellenic states. Like Artemis she presided over human birth. The
functions of the two goddesses being so nearly the same (they appear to
represent similar conceptions arising at different centers), it was
natural that in the later times they should be identified or closely

+791+. Athene is said in a late myth (not in the Iliad) to have been
born from the head of Zeus, a representation that has led many recent
scholars to regard her as the goddess of the thunderstorm, the lightning
that cleaves the clouds, the divine warrior that slays the dragon. But
ingenious and attractive as this interpretation is, to determine the
origin of the goddess it is safer to go to the earlier forms of her
cult. At a very early period she is connected with ordinary social
occupations.[1362] She is the patroness of the cultivation of the land;
in Athens, where the olive was important, it was she who bestowed this
tree on the city; here she is the maiden, the genius, the divine patron
of vegetation. She presided over the domestic employments of women,
spinning and weaving--that is, she is the goddess of household
work.[1363] As is the case with so many divine patrons of men's early
simple employments, she grew with the community and became gradually a
great goddess, and necessarily a patroness of cities. In her character
of general patroness she became a goddess of war--a necessity for all
ancient states. On the other hand, in a community (like Athens, for
example) where intellectual insight was highly esteemed she would
naturally become the representative of cleverness and wisdom.

+792+. The peculiar nature of the wisdom that is prized by men depends
on time and place. In the earliest periods what Athene bestows is a high
degree of common sense and skill in devising ways and means, such as
Odysseus shows. In later times of larger cultivation she bestows wisdom
in the higher sense, intellectual breadth. Exactly how it came to pass
that the two figures Artemis and Athene developed on such different
lines we are unable to say--the beginning of the divergence goes back to
times of which we have no records; but, as gods represent the elements
of human life, it was natural that a gradual differentiation should take
place; the same general conception would be particularized in different
ways in different places, just as divergent forms of the same original
word acquire different significations in speech.[1364] As for the later
combination of these deities with heavenly bodies and many other things,
these are to be regarded as the product of later poetical imagination
and the tendency to universalize all great deities.

+793+. Aphrodite exhibits more clearly than any other deity the process
or the direction of the Hellenization of a foreign god. Her titles
Cypris, Paphia, Cytherea, as well as her connection with Adonis, point,
as is generally held, to a Semitic origin[1365]; she seems to have been
identical with the great Babylonian, Assyrian, and Syrian goddess Ishtar
(Astarte)[1366]. Received into the Greek pantheon at a very early time
(already in the Iliad she is one of the Olympians), she yet shows the
main characteristics of the Semitic deity[1367]--she is especially the
representative of fertility and sexual passion, and also has relation to
war. The lines of development, however, were different in different
communities. In Babylonia and Assyria Ishtar became a great universal
national deity, charged particularly with the care of all the interests
of the state, while in Syria and Canaan the corresponding figures
(Attar, Ashtart) remained to a great extent local, and were especially
prominent in festivals.

+794+. In Greece the conception of Aphrodite was worked out in a
non-Semitic way in two directions. By poets and philosophers she was
made the beneficent producer of all things, shedding her charm over
animate and inanimate nature;[1368] and the sentiment of love, for which
she stood, was exalted into a pure affection, the basis of married life.
The baser side of her cult, with its sexual license (Asiatic of origin),
remained along with the higher conception of her,[1369] but the latter
was the special contribution that the Greeks made to her development.

+795+. The theistic scheme of the old Greek polytheistic period is the
broadest and finest that the ancient polytheism produced. It recognized
a divine element in all sides of human life, from the lowest to the
highest; it marked out the various directions of human feeling and
effort, and in its final outcome it reached the conception of a unity in
the divine government of the world, and gave expression to man's best
aspirations for the present and for the future. True, it gave way at
last to philosophy; but it had recognized those elements of thought on
which philosophy was based. The Persian and Hebrew systems expressed
more definitely the idea of a divine monocracy, and lent themselves
easily to the formation of a religious society, a church, but they did
not escape the limitations of mere national feeling. The Greeks founded
no church--they formulated universal ethical and religious conceptions,
and left the development to the individual. All the great ancient
religions reached a high ethical plane and a practical monotheism, but
the Greek was the richest of all in the recognition of the needs of

+796+. _Rome._ The Roman pantheon (if the Italian divine community can
properly be called a pantheon) had not the fullness and fineness of the
Greek--in accordance with the Roman genius it included only deities
having special relations with the family and its work and with the
state.[1370] The rich Roman development of specific gods of the home is
referred to above.[1371] The old nature gods long retained their place,
doubtless, in popular worship, but were gradually subordinated to and
absorbed in the larger divine figures. And the great gods themselves
began at an early time to be assimilated to Greek deities and to assume
their functions and even their names.[1372]

+797+. The most important of the nature gods are Sol, Luna, and Tellus
(primitive figures that soon gave way to deities divorced from the
physical sun, moon, and earth), and the patrons of agricultural work,
Consus and Ops, Liber and Libera, Silvanus and Faunus. The natural
features represented by these deities did not disappear entirely from
the greater deities, but were purified and elevated. Anna Perenna, for
example, as representative of the round of years, remained by the side
of Janus, but he embodied this conception in a larger civic way.

+798+. The greatest of the Roman gods, Juppiter[1373] or Jupiter, is
identical in name with Zeus, but differs from him in mythological
development and in the final form of his character. As sky-god he was
connected with atmospheric phenomena (rain and lightning) and so
naturally with wine and other crops. But as chief god of the state he
speedily rose above these connections, and as Optimus Maximus became the
representative of all Roman virtues. Along with this native development
he was in later times more or less identified with Zeus. By his side
stood the national deity Quirinus, who remained a local patron and never
rose to large proportions. Related to him are Sancus and Dius Fidius,
who represented some primitive conceptions similar to those belonging to
his early form, but they did not develop into great gods. These three
were practically absorbed by him, but the history of this process is

+799+. Janus, the guardian of the entrance to the house (_janua_)--a
function of prime importance in early times, had a prominent place in
the cult. He was invoked at the beginning of the day, the month, and the
year; in the Salian hymn he is called "god of gods" and "good creator";
he was served by the rex sacrorum, who was the first in priestly
dignity. He may thus have been a chief god in the oldest Latin
scheme.[1374] Yet he seems never to have come to stand for anything
intellectually or morally high except in late philosophical thought.
Though the guardian of public as well as private houses, he was not the
patron of the city. He remained in the cult a sort of family and clan
god, and represented only the ideas of a primitive mode of life, the
great rôle being assigned to the sky-god.[1375]

+800+. To judge from the old rituals Mars was in the earliest time of
which there is any record a god of vegetation. The Arval Brothers, who
were charged with the care of crops, addressed their petitions to him,
and it was to him that the Roman husbandman prayed for a blessing on his
labors.[1376] What may have been his still earlier character we have no
means of determining with certainty. The view that he was originally a
god of the fructifying sunlight[1377] seems to rest mainly on a
precarious etymology, the derivation of his name from a stem _mar_
meaning 'to shine'; but it does not appear that ancient peoples
attributed the growth of crops to the sun.[1378] Analogy would rather
lead us to regard him as an old local deity, naturally connected with
vegetation. However this may be, the importance of agriculture for the
life of the community raised him to a position of eminence, his priestly
college, the Salian (traditionally referred to Numa), was one of the
greatest, he was connected with various departments of life, and for the
warlike Romans he naturally became the patron of war. The cult of the
old war-goddess Bellona maintained itself, but she never attained the
highest rank; she is not the equal of Mars, with whom in the later
constructions she was brought into connection. In the Hellenizing period
he was identified with Ares.[1379]

+801+. The name Saturn is generally connected with the stem _sa_
(_sero_, _satum_, _sata_), to sow, and he is accordingly regarded as an
agricultural deity, the special patron of agricultural work. Whether or
how he differed originally from Mars is not clear--perhaps in original
differentiation of functions, he being attached to the work of sowing,
Mars to vegetation in general; or perhaps they were two similar deities
belonging originally to different regions, and differentiated when
brought together in the same system. Information on this point is
lacking. That Saturn was an ancient Latin god is probable from the fact
that he was traditionally said to be an old king of Latium. Of his
earliest cult in Rome little is known. The feast that bears his name,
the Saturnalia (held on December 17 and some following days), was a time
of popular festivity, when social distinctions were laid aside (slaves
were on an equality with masters). Similar festivals are found
elsewhere.[1380] Midwinter, when the work of gathering in the harvest
was over, was a natural time for festivities.[1381] Saturn, or the
figure from which he arose, may have presided over this season
originally, or he may have been gradually connected with an old
ceremony. The process of Hellenizing him began early. He was identified
with Kronos, made the father of Jupiter and the head of a pre-Jovian
divine dynasty, and, in accordance with the tendency to regard the
former days as better than the present, the _Saturnia regna_ became the
golden age of the past.[1382] Apart from this he seems to have had no
ethical significance.

+802+. In the case of certain deities, as Volcanus, Neptunus, Mercurius,
Sancus, a pronounced Roman development cannot be traced, partly because
of the lack of full data, partly, in the case of Volcan, Neptune, and
Mercury, because of an early and complete identification with the Greek
gods Hephaistos, Poseidon, and Hermes.

+803+. The Roman _female deities_[1383] are far less developed than the
Greek--their functions are simple, their mythological interest small.
The members of the group representing the productive power of the
earth--Bona Dea, Dea Dia, Libera, Fauna, Ceres, Proserpina,[1384] and
others--were not worked up by the Romans into great personalities.

+804+. Juno, an independent deity, originally not the wife of Jupiter,
is, in the developed cult, the special patron of the maternal side of
the life of women, and, as such, is a great domestic power, the
embodiment of a large part of family life. It was probably as great
sky-goddess that she attained this position--the chief female deity is
naturally the protector of women. The name came to designate the woman's
personality as childbearer, and more generally her inner essence or
self, as "genius" came to designate the male essence.[1385] Whether this
usage was simply an extension of the idea of 'protectress' to that of
'self,' an identification of woman with her specific function in the
family, or rested on some older conception, is not clear. However this
may be, she became a great goddess, in the later construction the wife
of Jupiter, and was identified with Hera, to whom in fact she is nearly
related in function and character. Though her name appears to contain
the same stem (_iu_) as 'Jupiter,' and her epithet 'Lucina' the stem
_luc_, 'to shine,' there is no proof that she was, in early times,
regarded as a light-deity, or particularly as moon-goddess. She was
sky-goddess, but not, for that reason, necessarily light-goddess.

+805+. The importance attached by the Romans to the family life is
expressed in the cult of Vesta, the guardian of the hearth as the center
of that life.[1386] The Penates, however, the divine protectors of the
household, were no less important in the family cult than she. The state
also had its Vesta and its Penates. To this character of sacredness
stamped on the life of the private family and the larger family, the
state, ethical significance and influence must doubtless be ascribed.

+806+. Diana appears to have originated in the time when life was spent
largely in forests, and trees were a special object of worship; she was
in historical times connected with groves.[1387] Her cult was widely
diffused in Italy, and she became (perhaps because she embodied the
common feature of the old life) the representative of Italian unity. As
great female deity she was the helper of women in childbirth. Her name
is based on the stem _di_, 'to shine,'[1388] which appears in 'Jupiter'
and 'Juno'; but she is not a sky-goddess--the "shining" in her case is
that of trees and plants, the green color that gleams in the light, so
that the grove is called _lucus_, the 'shining mass.'[1389] Diana was
soon identified with Artemis, and was endowed with her attributes.

+807+. Another Italian goddess, Minerva, stood, probably, in the earlier
time for the simpler arts of a simple community--she was the patroness
of manual work and of the healing art. The expression _omnis Minervae
homo_, descriptive of a man capable in his line of work, almost reduces
her to an abstract idea. The name (as the older form, Menerva, more
clearly indicates) is based on the stem _man_ (found in Latin _mens_),
and appears to mean 'endowed with mind' (or, 'spirit'), though exactly
what was the range of this conception in the earliest times is not
clear.[1390] Later her function was extended to embrace intellectual
capacity, but it was not until her identification with Athene (not later
than the third century B.C.) that she attained her full cultic

+808+. Venus, though an old Italian deity (as her name and her ancient
temples show), was so early Hellenized that her proper native
development was cut short. The fact that she was in early times the
patroness of gardens[1392] suggests that she was originally a deity of
the productive field; probably she belonged in the group of goddesses
(Libera, Bona Dea, and others)[1393] who presided over fertility. It
would seem that every region in Italy had such a _numen loci_ (naturally
mainly agricultural). It is not clear to what particular spot Venus was
originally attached,[1394] or how she came to be revered over a wide
region. Under ordinary Italian conditions she might have become a deity
like Ceres. But in Sicily, at Mount Eryx, according to tradition, her
cult came into contact with that of Aphrodite, whose qualities she soon

+809+. In the third century B.C. the cult of the Sicilian Venus (Venus
Erycina) was brought to Rome by direction of the Sibylline Books, and
from this time onward her advance to prominence was continuous. As a
great goddess she became (like Ishtar and Aphrodite) in a warlike
community the patron of war (Venus Victrix). When the Æneas myth was
adopted in Rome she took the place of Aphrodite as mother of that hero
(who became the founder of the Roman state), and was honored by Julius
Cæsar and others as Venus Genetrix. The old Roman moral feeling appears
in the dedication of a temple (114 B.C.) to Venus Verticordia as
atonement for the unchastity of three Vestals.[1396] In general the
later functions and cult of Venus were reproductions or imitations of
those of Aphrodite. Such a divine figure, it seems, the Romans would
never have developed out of their own resources.

+810+. The general characteristics of the great ancient national
religions are indicated in the preceding descriptions. In the
sacrificial cult and the general apparatus of worship there is no
important difference between them, but they differ notably among
themselves in the construction of the divine world. The simplest
theistic system is the Chinese, which regards the world as order
controlled by Heaven. The western cults fall into two divisions, the
Egypto-Semitic and the Indo-European. The Egyptian and the Semitic,
though they differ in collateral points (divinization of kings, idea of
the future life), agree in lacking a true pantheon. On the other hand,
notwithstanding resemblances between the Hebrew and the Persian, the
difference between the Semitic group and the Indo-European is
well-defined. This difference may be indicated by pointing out certain
peculiarities of the Semitic theistic system.

+811+. _Features of Semitic theism._ 1. Paucity of departmental gods and
absence of highly specialized gods. Of this latter class, so prominent
in Greece and Rome, there is no clear trace in Semitic cults.[1397]
Departmental deities are not found in Arabia, Canaan (including Israel
and Phoenicia), and Syria. The Hebrew Yahweh obviously controls all
departments of nature and life. The Phoenician Eshmun (a name of
uncertain meaning) was identified by the Greeks with their Asklepios as
god of healing, but no special function of this sort is attributed to
him in Semitic records. As he was somehow connected with the Kabiri, the
"great gods," it is probable that he was a local divinity credited with
general powers.[1398] There is more ground for recognizing real
departmental gods in Babylonia and Assyria, though even there the
evidence is not quite satisfactory. The great gods, Ea, Bel, Sin,
Shamash, Marduk, Ishtar, Ashur, preside over all human interests. Nabu
stands for agriculture as well as for wisdom, and Ea for wisdom as well
as for the great deep. Nergal is not the only god of war. Perhaps the
distinctest case of specialization is Ramman (Ninib, Adad), the
storm-god[1399]: the "thunderbolts of Im [Ramman]" are mentioned in "The
War of the Seven Evil Spirits"; yet Shamash stands with him against the
storm-spirits. In general it appears that the recognition of special
departments for gods is inchoate and feeble in Babylonia and Assyria.
There is a separate deity for the Underworld, sometimes a goddess,
sometimes a god, but they are vague figures.[1400] The connection of
certain gods with certain stars was a late construction, and seems to
have had no significance for worship except a general
deanthropomorphizing tendency.

+812+. 2. There is no trace of a cult of heroes in the Semitic area.
The Babylonian Etana, Gilgamesh, and Nimrod (an enigmatical figure), and
the Old Testament Nephilim do not receive worship.[1401] The dead were
consulted, but there was no cult of the great ancestors.[1402] The
divinization of Babylonian kings, referred to above,[1403] seems not to
have carried worship with it.

+813+. 3. The Semitic material of malefic spirits, while in general the
same as that found elsewhere in the world, has a couple of special
features. In Babylonia there was a sort of pandemonium, a certain
organization of demons,[1404] with proper names for some classes; demons
usually have not proper names, but may receive such names when they come
into specially definite relations with men. The demon Lilit mentioned in
the Old Testament,[1405] is probably Babylonian. The two great Hebrew
hostile beings, Satan and Azazĕl, are rather gods than demons.[1406]
They were both most highly developed under Persian influence, and in the
Book of Enoch take on the character and rôle of Angro Mainyu. Their
history exhibits, however, the disposition of the later Jews to organize
the realm of supernatural evil; about the first century B.C. the
serpent-god of Genesis iii was identified with Satan.[1407]

The Greek malefic beings, Ker, Harpy, Fury, Gorgon, Sphinx, and the
like, appear to have been developed out of ghosts[1408]--whether or not
this is true of the Babylonian demons the known material does not enable
us to say. Organization of such beings was carried out fully by the
Persians, but not by any other Indo-European people and not by the

+814+. 4. On abstract gods and phallic cults see the discussions of
these points above.[1409]

+815+. 5. Semitic theistic myths differ from Indo-European in that they
are almost wholly without the element of personal adventures of
gods.[1410] Since all known genuine Semitic myths seem to have their
original home in Babylonia, and Babylonian mythical material bears marks
of Sumerian influence, the question has been raised whether we have any
genuinely Semitic mythical biographies of gods. However this question
may be answered, it remains true that the Semites show little
disposition to work out this line of thought.

+816+. Of the origin of these peculiarities of the Semitic theistic
system, as of all such origins, it is impossible to give any
satisfactory explanation. Geographical and climatic conditions have been
appealed to: the Semitic area was small and isolated--the Semites were
shut off by oceans, mountains, and rivers from the rest of the world,
were disposed to migrate only within the limits of their area,[1411] and
long lived under the monotonous influence of the desert; thus, it is
said, their conception of the world became objective and limited--they
were clannish, practical, unanalytic, and unimaginative. But the origin
of races is obscure, and the genius of every ancient people was formed
and developed in remote ages under conditions not known to us. We can do
little more than note the characteristics visible in historical times.

+817+. Paucity of myths and the other features mentioned above accord
with the later rôle of Semitic, especially Hebrew, theism--the tendency
to conceive of the deity as on the one hand aloof and transcendent, and
on the other hand standing in close social relations with man as his
lord and protector. This proved to be socially the most effective idea
of God, and has been adopted by all the great nations of the western

+818+. The contributions of the Indo-European religions to the religious
thought of the world are indicated in the preceding sketches. What is
to be learned from the Chinese the future must show. The general history
of civilization leads us to expect a gradual combination and fusion of
all lines of religious development, in which every system will
contribute its best, and the lower elements will be discarded.[1412]



+819+. Myths represent the savage and half-civilized science of origins,
the imaginary construction of the world. From the earliest times men
have shown curiosity respecting the origin of the things that lie about
them. In the presence of plains and mountains, trees and rivers, sun,
moon, and stars, beasts and human beings, they have felt the necessity
of accounting for the beginning of all these objects.[1413] This attempt
at giving a natural history of the world is in itself a scientific
procedure, but in the earlier periods of humanity it naturally attached
itself to the hypothesis of superhuman Powers--the production of this
variety of mysterious things appeared to demand capacity above that of
man. The science and the fancy of early man combined to produce a great
mass of theories and stories which to their inventors seemed to be a
satisfactory account of the origin of all things.[1414]

+820+. Myths thus furnish an important contribution to the history of
early opinion, scientific and religious; in the absence of written
records they often offer our only means of information concerning early
thought. They describe the origin not only of the physical world but
also of communities and social organizations and institutions. They have
a noteworthy vitality, lasting from the beginning of human communal life
into periods of advanced civilization; and, when adopted by great
religious organizations and interwoven into their theories of salvation,
they perpetuate to civilized times the ideas of the crude period in
which they originated. In many cases they stand side by side, and in
sharp contrast, with elevated moral conceptions of the deity, and then
have to be harmonized, usually with a great expenditure of exegetical
ingenuity, with the higher ideas of society.

+821+. The mythopoeic age, in the widest sense of the term, embraces
the whole period in which appeal is made, for the explanation of
phenomena, to other than natural agencies; but it is generally
understood to extend only up to the time when, though a general divine
Power is invoked for creation, this is regarded as working solely
through the laws of nature.[1415] And within this period the myth-making
impulse lasted longer in some directions than in others. In general, the
mythical theories concerning the larger processes, as, for example, the
creation of the world, received no addition after the establishment of a
settled civilization; but after this time even well-advanced communities
continued to invent mythical accounts of the origin of customs,
institutions, genealogies, and similar facts. Throughout the whole
myth-making period a progression may be recognized in the character of
the myths: from the earlier animal and human creators we pass to the
higher anthropomorphic forms, the great gods; there is increased
literary excellence, a molding and a remolding of the old crude stories,
with a combination of them into well-ordered histories; they are
constantly modified by the growing acquaintance with the laws of nature
and by the higher intellectual conceptions of the deity; and they are
more and more infused with ethical significance.

+822+. An examination of myths all over the world shows that the most of
them, especially those relating to creation and to the histories of the
gods, originated at a period when men stood intellectually and morally
on a very low plane.[1416] The first myth-makers were savages, with all
the well-known characteristics of savage life. Having next to no
knowledge of natural law, and holding to a practical identity of nature
among men, beasts, and physical things, they had no difficulty in
imagining all sorts of transformations and creative procedures. No limit
was conceived of for the power of beasts and men--there was no object in
heaven or earth which, according to the current ideas, could not have
been produced by some procedure which was similar to the procedures of
ordinary life. The ethical character of the creators and of the
introducers of general culture was that of the communities that imagined
them; naturally the stories were full of ethical barbarities and
violations of all the moral rules recognized at a later period; and, as
is remarked above, these stories continued into civilized times, and had
to be interpreted by various devices.

+823+. One of the most noteworthy facts in the history of mythology is
the general similarity of the myths that are found all over the world.
Allowing for continuous moral and intellectual progress and for local
differences of surroundings, it may be said that the theories of the
production of the earth and the heavenly bodies, of man and other
objects, of customs and institutions, show substantially the same types
everywhere. The question has been raised whether this virtual identity
is to be explained by the supposition of independent origination at
various points, or is to be attributed to a borrowing by one community
from another. The question of the migration of myths is a part of the
larger question of the migration of culture, and is attended with all
the difficulties that attach to this latter. It is not possible at
present to give an answer which shall embrace all the phenomena.
Obviously any satisfactory solution of the problem must be preceded by a
thorough examination of all particular myths, all social
characteristics, and all geographical and migratory relations affecting
the early communities; and on these points there is yet much to learn.

+824+. It is well known that customs and beliefs have sometimes passed
from one tribe or nation to another, when there has been close social
intercourse between the two. It is known also that early men were
capable of long journeys by land and by water: the migration legends of
various peoples are full of the details of such movements; in
comparatively recent times there have been great migrations of large
bodies of people, as, for example, from the Arabian desert to the north
and northwest, and from the central Asiatic steppes westward and
eastward; and the tribes of the Pacific Ocean appear to have traversed
long distances in their canoes. And when we consider the great lapse of
time, many thousands of years, that preceded the formation of the human
society with which we are acquainted, it appears to be impossible to
assign any limit to the possibility of tribal movements on the face of
the earth. On the other hand, we do not know whether, or how far, such
migrations issued in social fusion; and all the well-attested cases of
borrowing of customs and ideas have sprung from long-continued social

+825+. Further, a distinction must be made between general resemblances
and minute agreement or complete identity; there may be a similarity so
great as to force on us the hypothesis of imitation, and there may be
general similarities that may be ascribed to ordinary human thought
working in different places under similar conditions. In fact, the
conditions of existence have not varied very greatly over the globe.
There are differences of climate and soil and surface-configuration, but
everywhere there have been the sky with the heavenly bodies, the
sequence of day and night, sunshine and rain, hunting and fishing,
trees, rivers, beasts and birds, and the cultivable soil; and as man's
problem was everywhere the same--namely, how to put himself into good
relation with his surroundings--and as his intellectual equipment was
everywhere substantially the same, it would not be surprising if he
should fall on similar methods of thought and procedure independently in
various parts of the world. It was natural to early man to think of the
sun as a ball of fire which had somehow been thrown up into the sky, and
of the moon as associated with the sun as sister or wife or husband, and
of the stars as children of these two. For creative agents early man had
to look to the beings about him, particularly to beasts, birds, and
insects. The process of creation was simple--the story usually amounts
merely to saying that such and such a beast or other being made this or
that object; and there is very rarely, if ever, a conception of an
absolute beginning; almost always a reconstruction of existing material
is assumed.

+826+. Both explanations of the resemblances in myths, it thus appears,
are reasonable in themselves, and every case must be considered
separately. That a community has borrowed one story does not prove
borrowing in the case of any other story; and that a people has been a
center of distribution of certain myths does not prove that it was the
originator of all myths. These two propositions appear to be
self-evident, but they have often been ignored in discussions of the
provenance of mythical material.[1417]

+827+. The similarities in myths all over the world extend over the
whole domain of religion. Myths may be divided into those which deal
with the creation of the world and of man (cosmogonic), those which deal
with the origins of tribes and nations (ethnogonic), those which refer
to the origin of customs and institutions (sociogonic), and those which
are based on the forms and movements of the heavenly bodies, clouds,
winds, and so forth (solar, lunar, procellar, and so forth).

+828+. _Cosmogonic myths._[1418] Among early tribes the creators are
very often familiar animals, such as the coyote, the raven, the hare
(North America), the wagtail (among the Ainu), the grasshopper (among
the Bushmen)--in general, whatever animals appear to the men of a
particular tribe to show skill and power. Reference is made above to the
reasons which led early men to pay such high regard to the lower
animals.[1419] But in more advanced savage communities the creative
function is ascribed to a man, as among the Thompson River Indians and
in Southeast Australia; in Central Australia the authors of creation or
of the arrangement of things are beings who are indifferently men or
animals, but are regarded as the ancestors of the tribes. In the higher
religions the creators are nature gods and great gods, and finally the
one God stands alone as creator.

+829+. The act of creation is commonly represented as a process. Mud is
brought up from a pool, or an island is raised from the sea (the
Maoris, the Redmen), and these are stretched out so as to meet the needs
of men; or a dragon or a giant is cut to pieces and the various parts of
the universe are made from the pieces (Babylonia, India, Scandinavia);
or, in still later times, an unformed mass of water is conceived of as
the original state out of which all things are fashioned (Babylonians,
Hebrews, Hindus, Greeks); or the universe issues from an egg (the origin
of the egg being left unexplained),[1420] or the earth is represented as
the mother of all things (California). Elaborate cosmogonies are found
in New Zealand (the Maoris), in North America (the Pawnees, the Lenâpé,
and so forth), in Australia, and elsewhere. An interesting example is
the Californian Achomāwi cosmogony. In the beginning, according to
this scheme, were only the sea and the sky, and from the sky came down
the Creator; or a cloud, at first tiny, grew large, condensed, and
became the Silver-Gray Fox, the Creator, and out of a fog, which in like
manner was condensed, came the Coyote, and these two made the earth and

+830+. In all these cases the creation is out of already existing
material[1422] and the creator is really a culture-hero or transformer,
a character that clings to deities in the most advanced religions, as
the Egyptian, Babylonian, and Greek. The character of these early
transformers and creators is that of the communities in which they
originate. Morally they represent both the higher and the lower sides of
life, and this is true in all periods--the Hindu Indra is as tricksy and
unmoral as the North American Coyote, and the early form of Zeus
resembles these and other savage figures.[1423] The conceptions of the
creator grew more and more ethically good, but the lower representations
continued to exist side by side with the higher.[1424]

+831+. It is not altogether strange that the two sorts of creative
Powers should be early thought of as mutually antagonistic. The Maidu
bad creator is constantly opposing and bringing to naught the work of
his good rival, and their collision produces the actual state of things
on the earth.[1425] It is probably by way of explanation of the evil in
the world that in this myth the bad Coyote finally overcomes his rival.
The resemblance of this scheme to the Mazdean dualism, except in the
outcome, is obvious. For a full account of these systems we must await
further information; but at present there is no ground for holding that
the similarity is due to borrowing.

+832+. In various early cosmogonies the representation is found of an
earlier race or an early world that had been destroyed, sometimes by a
flood (Babylonia, India, Greece, Polynesia, North America, South
America), sometimes in other ways.[1426] Flood stories probably arise
from local inundations, and may therefore have been constructed
independently in various regions. In some cases the general conditions
favor the supposition of distribution from one point: it seems probable,
for example, that the Babylonian flood story was adopted by the
Canaanites and from them by the Hebrews (the supposition of common
descent from an original Semitic myth is made improbable by the
closeness of resemblance between the Babylonian and Hebrew forms); it
may have passed to India, but the Hindu story may be accounted for from
local conditions. But we know of no such intercourse between the
Americas, Polynesia, and Western Asia, as would suggest a migration of
the myth from the latter to the two former, though this is conceivable.

+833+. The origin of man is included in that of the world. He is made
from clay or wooden figures or stones, or, as in Australia, out of a
shapeless mass. The conception found in various parts of the world, that
the present race of men was preceded by another, appears to be due
sometimes to a real, though often confused, tradition of an earlier
population, sometimes to a vague conception of the conflict and
incompleteness in the world. Traditions of predecessors are found in
various parts of the world. In North America--as, for example, among the
Navahos--a part of the early history is the conflict with certain mighty
and evil beings who made good life impossible--a semidualistic
scheme.[1427] This view comes from the general disposition to conceive
of the past as the time of mightier agencies, good and bad, than now

+834+. A not uncommon representation is that man was originally not
mortal, or that it was a question whether or not he should be mortal
(death being generally regarded by early man as an abnormal event,
produced by supernatural agency). In such cases mortality is brought
about by an accident or an error: among the Maoris by a mistake of the
hero Maui;[1428] among the Hebrews by the disobedience of the first man,
or by his failure to eat of the tree of life; in South Africa by the
accident that the messenger who was to announce immortality was outrun
by one who announced mortality.[1429]

+835+. The belief that the earliest men were longer-lived and of larger
stature than their successors is found among certain peoples.[1430] Of
the origin of this belief in ancient times we have no accounts. It may
have been suggested by various objects supposed to be remains of men, or
it may have been due simply to a tendency to conceive of the beginners
of human society as superior beings (dedivinized gods). The Hebrew
tradition ascribed great age to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and
Moses, on a generally descending scale; the longevity of the
antediluvians is perhaps a speculative continuation of the series back
of Abraham on an ascending scale, though special mythical traits here
come in.

Connected with the general belief in the superiority of early conditions
of life is the belief in a primitive earthly paradise; the history of
this conception is not clear, but in some cases the paradise appears to
have been the delightful abode of a deity, into which human beings were
for various reasons admitted, or the primeval fair and happy

+836+. The belief that the world or the existing order is to be
destroyed appears to be connected with the conception of history as
involving a cycle of ages, and the theory of ages may have arisen from
the tradition or the knowledge of social and political revolutions, the
rise of each new phase of civilization involving the destruction of its
predecessor. Traditions of past cataclysms may have helped toward the
formulation of an expectation of coming destruction. This expectation,
generalized under the influence of belief in a final judgment of men by
God, would lead to the announcement of a final destruction of the
present world. This destruction, which ushers in a new age, is
accomplished in various ways, sometimes by water, wind, or fire,[1432]
sometimes by supernatural enemies.[1433] The Hindu and the Persian
schemes of successive ages are relatively late theological
constructions, but they are based on the older idea that present things
must have an end.[1434] The Navaho series of five worlds represents,
apparently, nothing but traditions of social changes, interspersed with
minor ætiologic myths.[1435]

+837+. Many other cosmogonic details, common to various peoples, might
be added. Transformation from human to animal or mineral forms and the
reverse are to be found, as we have seen, everywhere. The slaying of
dragons by gods or heroes is often connected with creation, but belongs
sometimes in the category of cultural or nature myths. Abnormal forms of
birth and generation may be sometimes products of savage fancy, or they
may be attempts to set forth the mysterious or the supernatural in
certain beings, or they may be nature myths: in various mythologies a
god or a hero is born from the side or the thigh or the head of the
mother or the father; fecundation by other means than sexual union
appears in North America, Egypt, Greece, and generally in savage
tribes.[1436] The representation of the primeval parents, Heaven and
Earth, as having been originally united in a close embrace and then
separated, Heaven being lifted up and Earth remaining below, is so
remarkable that it might be doubted whether it arose independently in
different places; yet, as it is found in New Zealand,[1437] in
Egypt,[1438] in India,[1439] among the Masai of Eastern Central
Africa,[1440] and as the supposition of borrowing for these widely
separated communities would be difficult (except, perhaps, as between
Egypt and the Masai land), it is simpler to regard the myth as a natural
effort of early science.[1441] It need hardly be added that with all the
similarities in the various cosmogonic systems the diversities among
different peoples are as numerous as the differences of surroundings and

+838+. Among most early communities the great figures of the past
(creations of imagination) to whom are ascribed the introduction of the
arts of life and the general betterment of society are regarded as
demigods, descended from parents one of whom is divine and the other
human; it is sometimes the father, sometimes the mother, that is
divine.[1442] This conception is a simple and natural explanation of the
supposed extraordinary powers of the personages in question. A more
refined conception represents man as receiving life from the breath of
God,[1443] whence easily comes the idea that man is the child of God and
has in him a spark of divinity.

+839+. _Ethnogonic myths._ Early science has to account not only for
the origin of the world and the human race, but also for the origin of
particular tribes and their surroundings. The area involved is the known
world, which among savage peoples is small in extent but increases with
knowledge, the general method of accounting for social division
remaining, however, the same. As a rule, the center of the distribution
of mankind is the territory of the particular tribe in which the myth
originates. There is always the conviction, expressed or implied, that
the tribe in question is the center of the world and the favorite of the
creative Power;[1444] it being established in its place, the rest of the
world is divided among other tribes--a conception that survives among
civilized peoples of antiquity.[1445]

+840+. The ethnogonic history generally takes the form of a
genealogy--every tribe or other group is derived from a mythical
ancestor, who among savages is frequently a beast, or half-beast
half-human, or even in some cases a rock or a stone. Familiar examples
are the genealogical systems of the Australians, the Maoris of New
Zealand, the Samoans, the American Indians;[1446] but the conception
appears to be universal. There was indeed no other natural way of
accounting for the origin of a tribe: as an existing family would reckon
its beginning from the grandfather, so the tribe would come from some
remote person, and so at a later time the nation, and then finally the
human race. As there were no historical records of such beginning, the
scientific imagination of early peoples constructed the first parents in
various ways, often by personifying the tribe and transferring its name
to the mythical ancestor. It is in this way that the genealogical lists
of the post-Mohammedan Arabians arose; it is certain that they had no
records of the past extending further than a few generations, and in
some cases the origins of the names in genealogical lists may be fixed.
The Greek method of naming ancestors is simple and obvious: the sons of
Hellen are Dorus, Xuthus, Æolus; the sons of Xuthus are Achæus and Ion;
and these are all descended from Deucalion. In like manner the
Pelasgians are carried back to the ancestor Pelasgus, and the
Peloponnesians to Pelops. The Roman Romulus, Remulus, Remus, are natural
inventions based on the name of the city.

+841+. Genealogical elaboration was carried out more fully by the
Hebrews than by any other ancient people. Not only were tribal names,
Jacob, Israel, Judah, Joseph, Ephraim, and the rest, personified, but
they were arranged in a well-shaped family system; and, the same method
being applied to all the nations known to them, these were carried up to
the three sons of Noah, and finally through Noah up to the first man,
whose Hebrew name, Adam, means simply man.[1447] The table of nations in
Genesis x is a remarkable example of ethnographic organization. As it is
based on geographical relations, it does not in all particulars accord
with modern ethnological schemes, but it is a noteworthy attempt to
embrace the whole world in a family picture. The view that the division
of the earth among the various peoples revolved around the Israelite
territory is expressed in the poem cited above,[1448] which is of the
seventh century B.C., and it may be inferred that this large
genealogical unification was completed among the Israelites at a time
when they felt the influence of the great Assyrian civilization, with
which they seem to have come into somewhat intimate contact. Later
examples are found in Vergil's Æneid and Milton's "History of Britain"
(in which he adopts early attempts at genealogical construction).

+842+. _Sociogonic myths._ Most of the customs and institutions of early
peoples go back to a time when there were no records, and their
introduction was naturally referred, so soon as reflection thereon
began, to gods and heroes of primeval time.

+843+. The arts of life are commonly explained in this mythical way.
The beginnings of agriculture are referred in Melanesia to the Little
One or to Qat, in Mexico to the god or culture-hero Quetzalcoatl, in
Peru to Viracocha or Pachacamac, or to Manco Capac and his wife. For the
Algonkins Michabo, the Great Hare, was the teacher of fishing and of
other pursuits.[1449] The Babylonian god Ea was the instructor of his
people in all the arts of civilization.[1450] In the Old Testament
Cainite (Kenite) genealogy the originators of pastoral life, of
metal-working, and of music, are the ancient ancestors.[1451] In the
Book of Enoch the employment of metals, the use of writing, and in
general all the early arts of civilization are ascribed to the fallen
angels, whose children are represented in the Book of Genesis[1452] as
the culture-heroes of the olden time. The introduction of writing into
Greece is ascribed by the Greeks to the mythical hero or demigod
Cadmus.[1453] Fire is in India the production of the god Agni[1454] (who
is simply fire elevated to the rank of a personal divinity); in the
Greek myth it is stolen and given to men by the demigod Prometheus[1455]
against the will of the gods, who are jealous of human progress.[1456]
Among various savage tribes there are similar histories of the
derivation of the use of fire from superhuman beings.[1457]

+844+. Early ceremonies, as we have seen,[1458] are universally
connected with religion, and their origin is ascribed to divine or
semi-divine figures of the past. In Australia the initiation ceremonies,
which take up a great part of the tribal life, are regarded as having
been established by the mythical ancestors.[1459] Among the Hebrews
when circumcision, an early initiation ceremony,[1460] became
religiously important, its establishment was referred to the ancestor
Abraham, who is said to have acted by direct command of God,[1461] but
in earlier documents there are hints of other origins for the
rite.[1462] The ritual dances of the North American Indians, which are
very elaborate, are accompanied by explanations in which the origin of
every detail is referred to some event or person in the supernatural
past;[1463] and similar explanations are given of the dances of
Mexico.[1464] In many cases the restrictions of food and other things
are ascribed to the experiences of the ancestors or to the commands of
deities: the Hebrew usage of not eating a certain sinew is connected
with the story of the struggle between Jacob and a divine being.[1465]

+845+. Festivals also were treated in this manner as soon as men began
to reflect on the origin of society. As one feature in the festival
sacred to Mars (March 1) was the dancing of the priests who carried
curious shields, it was narrated, to account for this, that the shield
of Mars fell down from heaven;[1466] and the goddess Maia, according to
one conjecture, was invented to explain the name of the month of
May.[1467] A Greek explanation of the fact that children at a later
period were not called by the mother's name was that in the contest
between Poseidon and Athene for the control of the city of Athens the
latter deity prevailed by the votes of the women, who were in the
majority, and to appease the wrath of Poseidon this rule was then made
by the men.[1468] The Gileadite festival in which maidens lamented the
death of the daughter of Jephthah[1469] was doubtless an old rite in
which the death of some divinity was bewailed. The Greek Boedromia was
referred to the succor given by Theseus against the Amazons,[1470] and
in the celebration of the Eleusinian mysteries ætiological myths
connected with Demeter, Kore, and Dionysos formed the central part of
the proceedings.[1471] In the Old Testament the spring festival
(Passover) is connected with the departure of the people from Egypt, and
the autumn festival (Tabernacles) with the sojourn in the wilderness;
and by the later Jews the midsummer festival (the Feast of Weeks,
Pentecost) was similarly brought into connection with the giving of the
law on Mount Sinai.

+846+. _Relation between myth and ritual._ The question whether myth
comes from ritual or ritual from myth has been much discussed. Obviously
universal precedence cannot be allowed to either of the two. There are
cases in which primary mythical beliefs determine the form of religious
procedure: the belief, for example, that a god, as anthropomorphic
divine patron, must be placated and provided with all the accessories of
a potentate, leads to the offering of food and other gifts and to the
establishment of abodes and attendants; the sense of his aloofness and
of his powerful and dangerous qualities induces cautionary rules for
approach to his presence; because he has manlike intellectual and
emotional limitations his favor must be secured by prayers and praises;
if he has a son, this latter may act as mediator between his father and
a suppliant, or one god may mediate with others in behalf of men.[1472]
On the other hand, there are many examples of myths that arise as
explanation of ritualistic details.[1473] It is sometimes hard to say on
which side the precedence in time lies. In general, it seems, it is from
broader and fundamental mythical conceptions that ritual arises, while
mythical narratives spring from particular ritualistic observances.

+847+. Important religious changes which have come to pass through
natural changes of thought, usually by the movement toward greater
refinement, are explained as having been introduced by some great
reformer. The abrogation of human sacrifice was a reform of great
moment: in Mexico it is ascribed to the god Quetzalcoatl,[1474] and in
the Old Testament to Abraham acting by command of God.[1475] One of the
Incas of Peru is said to have reached monotheistic views by a process of
reasoning, and the post-Biblical Jewish myths ascribed the same
achievement to Abraham.[1476]

+848+. As a rule sacred places were connected with stories of the
presence of divine personages or mythical ancestors. In Samoa, the
Hawaian group, and other Pacific Islands many stones are connected with
stories of heroes, spirits, or gods.[1477] In Central Australia every
stone, rock, or tree has its myth of the half-bestial ancestors.[1478]
In Greece, as Pausanias relates, there was hardly a place that did not
have its story of the origin of some sacred spot or thing due to a
god.[1479] In the earlier books of the Old Testament the sacred places,
which were Arabian or Canaanite shrines adopted by the Hebrews, are
generally connected with the presence of the patriarchs or other great
men. The magical qualities of springs, pools, and other bodies of water
are explained by stories in which a god or other divine person descends
into them, or in some other way communicates power.[1480]

+849+. _Myths of heavenly bodies, winds, and vegetation._ As the sun,
the moon, and other objects of nature were regarded as anthropomorphic
persons and naturally came into relation with men, their imagined
adventures have produced a great mass of stories in all parts of the
world. These stories are partly attempts to account for phenomena and
partly are simply products of fancy; the myth-maker is very often a mere
story-teller. The sun, conceived of usually as an old man, is supposed
to live in a house up in the sky, to have his wife and children, to
receive visitors, and to interfere to some extent in human affairs. An
eclipse was obviously to be regarded as the work of an enemy of the sun,
usually a dragon (so in many low tribes, and in India). A great excess
of heat on the earth might be explained by the supposition that the
chariot of the sun had been driven too near the surface.[1481] The
waning of the moon was supposed to be due to her sorrow at the loss of
her children, the stars, which were devoured by the sun. The moon might
be a fair woman who becomes enamored of a human being. At a later time
in the progress of astronomical knowledge the planets and certain of the
stars were individualized--they became actors in human history or, still
later, the abode of supernatural beings.[1482]

+850+. The beginnings of astrological theory are probably to be
recognized at a very early period. The height of the sky above the
earth, the persistence with which the stars seem to look down on men,
the invariability of their courses, the mysteriousness of their origin
would naturally lead to the belief that they had some control over human
affairs. Meteors, regarded as falling stars, have always been objects of
dread. The development of astrology has been due to the increase of
astronomical knowledge and to the tendency to organize religion in its
aspect of dependence on the supernatural Powers.[1483]

+851+. Winds have played a less prominent part in theistic history than
the heavenly bodies, but have given rise to not a few myths in
religions of different grades of culture and in different parts of the
world.[1484] In the Scandinavian myths the storm wind as a
representative of the prevailing climatic condition has assumed special
prominence. In the Iliad when a messenger is dispatched to the abode of
the winds to secure their aid, these are found feasting like a human
family.[1485] Later, winds are, of course, subordinated to the great

+852+. From time to time theories have arisen explaining many deities
and heroes as representatives of the heavenly bodies, and many stories
of gods and heroes as reflecting the phenomena of the sky or the air.
Such theories have been carried so far sometimes as to explain
everything in mythology as a solar or lunar or astral myth. These
constructions leave much to the fancy, and it is not difficult to find
in mythical narratives references to the movements of the sun or the
moon or the stars or the winds. It is possible that such reference
really exists in certain stories. It is probable also that simple myths
representing such phenomena have been in later times elaborated and
brought into connection with a more detailed astronomical knowledge. The
same principles of interpretation should guide us here as are referred
to above.

+853+. There are doubtless cases in which a hero or a god represents the
sun or the moon, the correspondence between the adventures of the hero
and the movements of the heavenly bodies being plain. The twelve labors
of Heracles may represent the passage of the sun through the twelve
signs of the zodiac; but if this be the case, it is certain that such
construction was relatively late, and that the separate adventures must
be referred to some more simple facts. If Heracles slays the Hydra, it
is more natural to regard this as having represented originally some
mundane phenomenon of nature or some simple conflict of the savage life.
The same thing is probably true of the adventures of the Babylonian
hero Gilgamesh, who is sometimes considered to be the original of
Heracles. Nothing is easier than to expound the story of Samson in the
Old Testament as a series of solar and other phenomena,[1486] but the
probability is that he embodies the vague recollections of early tribal
adventures, and, notwithstanding his name (which means 'solar,' that is,
devoted to the sun), there is no good ground for supposing that his
history has been astronomically worked over. A similar remark applies to
many discussions respecting various deities, Hindu (as Indra), Egyptian
(as Osiris), Semitic (as Nergai, Marduk, Nabu), and Greek (as Apollo).
In all such cases it is necessary to inquire first whether the
explanation of the myth may not be found naturally in some ordinary
human experience or some very simple natural phenomenon, and a line of
demarcation must be drawn between original forms of the myth and later
learned constructions.

+854+. Another source of mythical narration is the history of
vegetation, which at the present time has largely supplanted the solar
theory. The amazing spectacle of the decay and revival of vegetation,
naturally referred to superhuman power, and the importance of plants for
human life, have led to the construction of stories (sometimes founded
on ritual) in which the adventures of the spirit of vegetation are
recounted. Obviously there is a sound basis for this view. The earth was
necessarily regarded as the mother from whom came the corn and wine that
supported human life. The study of the relatively modern European
ceremonies[1487] has brought out the persistence of such an idea, and
the similarity between the new ceremonies and the old may be said to
have demonstrated the existence of an early cult of the divine Power
controlling vegetation.

+855+. The Asian Magna Mater and the Greek Mother (Demeter) or Maiden
(Kore, Persephone) are identical in function with the corn maiden of
modern times, and the latter figure may be a degraded or socialized
descendant of an early deity. When we add that ancient local deities all
took account of the products of the soil, it will not seem improbable
that a great mass of stories should have arisen describing the
adventures of the Spirit of Vegetation.[1488] The descent of a hero or a
god into Hades may be explained as the passage of the sun from its
summer warmth to its winter feebleness, or as the annual death and
revival of vegetation. Which of these views shall be adopted will depend
in any case on the particular coloring of the story, on the
signification of the names involved, or on the ceremonies accompanying
the worship. It is not now possible to frame a theory that shall embrace
all possible phenomena.

+856+. Certain great myths have in the course of time taken on elaborate
literary form, and in this form show traces of advanced thought on some
fundamental questions. Such myths occur among half-civilized peoples.
There is, for example, the great mythical cosmogony of the Maoris of New
Zealand--a scheme seemingly so philosophic in form that it excites
wonder as to how it could have arisen in such a place.[1489] The story
of the adventures of Maui, a general Polynesian figure, constitutes a
Polynesian history of the rise of civilization. Among the North American
Indians the mythological systems of the Algonkins, the Pawnees, and
other tribes, include the origin of all forms of natural objects and all
institutions of society. The histories of the Great Hare of the Lenâpé,
the Thunder Bird of the West, and the various transformers or
culture-heroes, are scarcely less elaborate than the New Zealand
stories. The mythologies of the Finns also (given in the Kalevala) are
noteworthy. Passing to higher forms, it is sufficient to note the
suggestive story of Balder among the Scandinavians, and, in the ancient
world, the Egyptian Osiris myth, the Great Dragon myth of the Babylonian
cosmogony, the various forms of the story of a primeval paradise, and
the ceremonies and ideas that have arisen in connection with the death
of a god.

+857+. The motif of the _antagonism between light and darkness_ appears
to be attached to or involved in certain myths, especially the great
cosmogonies and stories in which solar deities figure prominently. The
original unformed mass of matter is often, perhaps generally, conceived
of as being in darkness, and its transformation is attended with the
appearance of light[1490]--light is an essential element in the
conditions that make earthly human life possible; in contrast with the
Upperworld the Underworld is dark. The diffusion of light is a main
function of the sun, and the high gods dwell in continual
brightness.[1491] Light is the symbol of right, security, and happiness.
But it is doubtful whether the expression of the antithesis and conflict
of light and darkness is the immediate object of the early portraitures
of deities and the mythical narratives of creation and the future of the
world. The Egyptian Ra has no conflict with darkness, and the struggle
between Osiris (and Horus) and Set, while it may be and often is
interpreted in this sense, is susceptible of other interpretations. The
motif in the Babylonian cosmogony is the bringing of order out of
disorder, in which work the creation of light is an incident. In
ethically advanced religious systems, such as the Hindu and the Persian,
the good Powers are connected with light and the wicked Powers with
darkness, but a conflict between these adjuncts is not brought out
clearly. No such conflict appears in Greek mythology. Where a
supernatural being intervenes in defense of light (as when a god
destroys a dragon-creature who attempts to swallow the sun), this is
simply an explanation of a physical phenomenon, and not a conflict
between light and darkness.

+858+. The theory, widely held, that a great body of early myths,
including the conception of the characters and functions of many
deities, represent the struggle between light and darkness, is,
therefore, not sustained by the facts. Such a generalization is found in
late philosophic systems, but it does not belong to early religious
thought, which deals with concrete personal agents.[1492] A conflict
between two gods is often to be explained as the rivalry of two
districts or of two forms of culture. Attacks on luminous bodies, or
defenses of them, are common as ætiological myths, and an antagonism
between light and darkness then naturally appears, as is observed above,
as an accessory or incident, but not as an immediate object of mythical
portraiture. The closeness of the relation between the
light-and-darkness theory and the solar theory of myths is obvious.

+859+. _Myth and legend._ In the course of the formulation of myths they
have naturally become mingled with legend. As they narrate the
achievements of the great supernatural figures of the past, these
achievements have often become blended in the twilight of tradition with
actual (though embellished) experiences of the clan or tribe and of the
great men therewith connected.[1493] In such cases it is generally
difficult to decide where legend ends and myth begins, and every story
must be investigated separately, and its nature determined from what is
known of the real history of the time and of the development of mythical
ideas. Familiar examples of this combination of legend and myth appear
in connection with the Homeric poems, certain Asian and Greek cults, and
the early histories of Greece and Rome and Israel.[1494] The elucidation
of such narratives must be left to the technical investigator in the
various historical periods. In general, it may be said, there is enough
historical material to enable us to trace the development of tribes and
nations with a fair degree of certainty; and the caution already
expressed against excessive mythological interpretation is especially in
place in such researches.[1495]

The material published under the general title of "folk-lore" consists
of various elements--purely religious usages and ideas, mythical and
legendary narratives, and fanciful stories. As the term, defined
precisely, refers only to popular survivals from defunct religious
systems, its material shows a constant process of modification from
generation to generation by newer ideas. The mythical element,
extricated from the general mass, must be treated in accordance with the
general principles of the criticism of myths.[1496]

+860+. _Mythical biographies._ As gods and heroes are the actors in
mythical constructions of society, the stories in such constructions
generally assume the form of anecdotal biographies of these personages.
Such sketches gather fresh material from generation to generation, are
gradually worked up into literary shape, and, being brought into
connection with historical traditions, assume historical form, and are
then sometimes accepted in their homes and elsewhere as
historical.[1497] As they embody the ideas of the times in which they
originate, they have, in so far, historical and psychological value.
Charm of style has given some of these stories literary value, and they
have been accepted as part of the literary treasure of the world. They
are sometimes combinations or fusions of myth and legend, and these two
elements are not always easily distinguishable the one from the

+861+. In questions that touch the original nature of a god the possible
difference between earlier and later conceptions of him must, of course,
be borne in mind. When a deity has been definitely shaped and has become
a patron of a community, he may be identified by the people, or
particularly by poets and priests, with any object or idea that is of
special interest to the community. The baals of the agricultural
Canaanites presided over irrigation, but were not specifically
underground gods;[1499] they were rather general divine patrons
interested in all that interested the people. A solar deity, becoming
the favorite god of an agricultural community, may be regarded as
connected with vegetation; or a god of vegetation may be associated, in
astronomical circles, with the sun. A divine figure is often composite,
the product of the coalescence of several orders of ideas. In general it
may be said that the simplest and least socially refined function of a
god is likely to indicate his original character. We must go behind the
conceptions of cultivated times to the hints given in popular
observances and poetry.

+862+. _Interpretation of myths._ For savage and half-civilized
communities, and for the masses in civilized times, the stories of the
achievements and adventures of gods, heroes, and ancestors, accepted as
history, have been and are sources of enjoyment and of intellectual
impulse. Narrated by fathers to their families, and recited or sung by
professional orators and poets to groups and crowds throughout the
land,[1500] they have been expanded and handed down from generation to
generation, receiving from every generation the coloring of its
experiences and ideas, and in the course of time have taken literary
shape under the hands of men of genius, and have been committed to
writing. For the early times they not only formed a body of historical
literature, but also, since they described relations between men and
gods, came to be somewhat vague yet real sacred scriptures of the
people.[1501] As such, being regarded simply as statements of facts,
they needed no outside interpretation; and being molded by human
experience, they carried with them such moral and religious instruction
as grew naturally out of the situations described. A more highly
cultivated age, dissatisfied with bald facts, desired to find in the
stories the wisdom of the fathers, and the imagination of poets and
philosophers was long occupied with discovering and expounding their
deeper meanings till further research set aside such attempts as
useless. The treatment of mythical material thus shows three stadia: the
acceptance of myths as genuine history; esoteric explanations of their
assumed profound teachings; and finally, return to their original
character as primitive science, having their origin in crude conceptions
of life. A brief sketch may show how the interpretation of myths has
come to be regarded as an historical and sociological science.

+863+. _Ancient interpretations of myths._ When the progress of thought,
especially in Greece, made it impossible to accept the current beliefs
concerning gods and their doings, it was felt necessary to put some
higher meaning into them--they were rationalized and spiritualized by a
process of allegorization. This process seems to have begun in Greece as
early as the sixth century B.C.[1502] It was the philosophers who
undertook to reinterpret the Homeric mythical material, and the extent
to which this procedure had been carried in the time of Plato is
indicated by the fact that he ridicules these modes of dealing with the
poet.[1503] But Homer maintained his place in literature, and the demand
for a spiritualizing of his works increased rather than diminished. A
science of allegory was created, Pergamus became one of its chief
centers,[1504] and the Alexandrian Jew Philo applied the method to the
interpretation of the Pentateuch. It was speedily adopted in the
Christian world, and has there maintained itself, though in diminishing
extent, up to the present day.[1505] As a serious interpretation of
ancient myths, outside of the Old Testament, it is no longer employed.
Myths are, indeed, important as reflecting early opinions, religious and
other--good doctrinal matter may be extracted from them, but this must
not be ascribed to the intention of their authors and reporters. In the
Old Testament itself the Jewish editors have socialized the mythical
material (weaving it into the history, as in Genesis), or have brought
it under the work of the national deity.

+864+. _Recent interpretations._ In recently proposed interpretations we
may note first certain attempts at a _unification_ of some body of myths
or of all known mythical material. These attempts, almost without
exception, take the sky and the heavenly bodies as their basis.

At the end of the eighteenth century, when the theory of human unity
had taken hold of the French revolutionists, C. F. Dupuis[1506]
undertook to explain all the cults of the world as having come from the
worship of the universe--a conception broad enough to cover everything;
but he practically reduces it to the worship of the heavenly bodies,
particularly the sun, and derives all myths from stellar objects. His
work is ingenious, learned, and suggestive, but in his day the facts of
ancient mythology were insufficiently known.

+865+. In the next century the study of Sanskrit and Old Persian widened
the field of knowledge, the science of Indo-European grammar was
created, and on this followed attempts at the construction of an
Indo-European mythology. The first definitely formulated unification was
the theory of F. Max Müller,[1507] which derived all Aryan
(Indo-European) myths from phenomena of the sun and the dawn, largely,
he held, through misunderstandings of the meaning of old descriptive
terms (myths as a "disease of language"). It is conceivable that a word,
originally used simply as descriptive of an actual fact, may have passed
into a proper name and become personalized and the center of adventures;
but the character of early man's thought, as we now know it, makes it
impossible to regard such a view as a probable explanation of the mass
of mythological material. Müller's services to the science of the
history of religions were great, but his theory of the origin of myths
has now been generally abandoned.[1508]

+866+. The great discoveries of literary material made in Egypt and
Babylonia since the middle of the nineteenth century have aroused
special interest in the religions of these countries. Leadership in
ancient civilization is claimed by Egyptologists and Assyriologists,
each party for its own land. It is, however, Babylonia that has given
rise to the largest theories of the unity of myths--a fact due in part
to its development of astronomy, in part, perhaps, to the resemblance
between the Babylonian mythical material and that of the Old Testament.
Dupuis[1509] had observed that the ancient Chaldeans taught that the
heavenly bodies controlled mundane destinies, and, according to
Diodorus, that the planets were the interpreters of the will of the
gods. This is substantially the point of view of E. Stucken,[1510] who,
in common with Dupuis (though, apparently, independently), holds to the
unity of ancient religions and the astral origin of all myths. From
Babylonia, he thinks, myths passed to all parts of the world, Egypt,
Asia, Europe, Polynesia, and America--in such migrations, however, it
was the motif that passed; the personages might vary in different
lands.[1511] Finally he traces all sagas of all peoples to the creation
myth.[1512] This supreme unification is reached by arguments so
far-fetched as to deprive them of force.

Stucken's position was adopted and elaborated by H. Winckler, who was
followed by A. Jeremias and some others.[1513] Winckler attempts to show
that a single religion existed in the ancient Oriental world (with a
single system of myths), and that this was dominated by the conception
that there was a correspondence between the heavenly world and the lower
world in such wise that all earthly affairs were indicated by the
movements of the heavenly bodies, whence arose the whole religious
system of Western Asia and Greece.

+867+. What is true in this theory (to which the name of
"Panbabylonianism" has been given) is that Semitic mythology is a unit,
with Babylonia as its birthplace, and that certain elements are common
to the Egyptian, Semitic, Greek, and other mythological systems. The
substantial identity of Babylonian, Aramean (Syrian), and Canaanite
myths is generally acknowledged:[1514] the Old Testament dragon-myth
(which occurs also in the New Testament Apocalypse) is found in full
shape only in Babylonian material;[1515] the Syrian Adonis myth is at
bottom the Babylonian story of Tammuz and Ishtar. The probability is
that all early Semitic schemes of creation and prehistoric life are
essentially one. Further, such conceptions as the origin of the world
from an unshaped mass of matter and the origin of man from the earth are
widely distributed over the earth.

+868+. Babylonia, then, is the chief mythopoeic center for the Semitic
region, but we are not warranted in extending its influence as
myth-maker beyond this region. The myths of the Indo-European peoples
have in general the stamp of independent creation. Loans there may be
(as, for example, in the myths connected with Aphrodite and Heracles,
and perhaps others), but these do not affect the character of the whole.
The relation between the Semitic and the Egyptian mythologies is still
under discussion.

+869+. The astral element of the theory, based on arbitrary parallelisms
carried out without regard to historical conditions, is an unauthorized
extension of the generally accepted fact that certain myths are astral.
Winckler's assumption of an astral "system" that obtained throughout the
Western world is supported only by unproved assertions of the sort just
referred to.

+870+. Jensen's contention that all myths come from the Babylonian
Gilgamesh story[1516] exhibits the same general method as the theories
of Stucken and Winckler (giving assertion in place of proof), differing
from them only in the material of comparisons.

+871+. The fundamental vice of these theories (apart from the arbitrary
character of the assertions made by their authors) is the failure to
take into account the historical development of mythical conceptions,
their beginnings in the rudest periods of human thought, and their
gradual elaboration and distinct formulation in the great communities,
in which process, along with the varieties of local conditions, certain
fundamental resemblances remain throughout.[1517]

+872+. Besides these more prominent or more definitely formulated
theories there has been in some quarters a disposition to insist too
strongly on lines of mythical development connected with the plant
world, particularly with the death and revival of vegetation. All that
we know of the history of mythical material among existing savages and
in the earliest forms of belief of civilized nations forbids the
limitation of the origin of myths to any one department of nature or to
any one part of the world. Myths, like gods, may be composite: of this
nature, probably, are some cosmogonic histories,[1518] and the stories
of Gilgamesh, Heracles, Perseus, and many others. The lines of origin
mentioned above have, naturally, in some cases, coalesced, and their
combination into single coherent narratives has been spread over long
periods of time. For this reason there is always need of detailed
investigations of particular myths as a preparation for a general
history of mythology.[1519]

+873+. _Modern critical methods in the interpretation of myths._ The
treatment of myths has followed the general course of the development of
thought in the world. In the old national religions they were
incorporated in the substance of the religious beliefs. The reformers of
thought either ignored them (so, for example, Confucius and Buddha), or
denounced their absurdities (so Plato and others), or allegorized or
rationalized them (so many Greek philosophers); the early Christian
writers treated Old Testament myths as history, and ridiculed the myths
of Greece and Rome. During the long period when the European peoples
were assimilating the ideas of Christianity the study of myths remained
in abeyance. After the classical revival there was a return to the
allegorizing method, the fondness for which has not yet completely died

+874+. The extension of knowledge in the eighteenth century gave an
impetus to the study of religion, the results of which for mythological
investigation appear in the works of Dupuis and others.[1521] These
authors were necessarily ignorant of many important facts, but they
have the merit of having collected much material, which they treated as
something that had to be explained in accordance with the laws of human

+875+. The turning-point in the development of mythological science was
the rise of the modern critical study of history, begun by Voltaire and
Gibbon and carried on by Niebuhr and others. A vigorous group of writers
arose in Germany. Creuzer,[1522] indeed, holding that the myths of the
ancients must embody their best thought, and falling back on symbolism,
cannot be said to have advanced his subject except by his collection of
materials; there is some basis for his position if the ancient myths are
taken in the sense given them by the later poets and philosophers, but
the supposition of a primary symbolism in myths is set aside by an
examination of the ideas of undeveloped races. Creuzer's theory was
effectively combated by Voss.[1523] Other writers of the time adopted
exacter methods of inquiry,[1524] and K. O. Müller,[1525] particularly,
laid the foundation for a scientific treatment of myths by
distinguishing between their real and their ideal elements, between the
actual phenomenon and the imaginative (the true mythical) explanation of

+876+. The next generation witnessed two retrograde movements in the
interpretation of myths. F. Max Müller, dazzled by the wealth of
Sanskrit mythological material, revived the solar theory, with a
peculiar appendage;[1526] the defects of his theory must not blind us to
the great service he performed in arousing interest in the comparative
study of myths and leading the way to a formulation of the conception of
the general history of religion. On another side the vast accumulation
of the religious ideas and usages of lower tribes led Herbert Spencer to
his euhemeristic view.[1527] Neither of these theories has seriously
affected the growth of the science of mythology.

+877+. A saner direction was given to investigation by the great
biological and sociological studies made in the second half of the
nineteenth century.[1528] E. B. Tylor definitely stated the view that
the origin of myths is to be found in all the ideas of early man. By a
very large collection of facts[1529] he showed that the same
representations that are familiar in Egyptian, Semitic, Hindu, Greek,
Roman, and other ancient myths occur also in the systems of
half-civilized and savage communities; and he pointed out how such
representations had their basis in the simple ideas of undeveloped men
and how their survival is to be traced through all periods of history.
This fruitful view has been illustrated and developed by later
writers,[1530] and much light has been thrown on the genesis and growth
of myths by studies of existing popular customs in civilized

+878+. Interest in the subject has now become general, and collections
of material are being made all over the world.[1532] At the same time it
is recognized that every local mass of myths must be studied first by
itself and then in connection with all other known material, and that
great caution must be exercised in dealing with questions of origin,
transmission, and survival. Archæological and geographical discoveries
have widened the known area of human life on earth; it is seen that the
history of man's development is more complicated than was formerly

+879+. We are still without a general survey of myths arranged in some
orderly fashion.[1533] The material for such a collection is scattered
through a great number of publications, in which the mythical stories
are not always treated critically. The most useful principle of
tabulation, perhaps, would be an arrangement according to motifs, under
which geographical or ethnological and geographical relations might be
noted. At the present time it would be possible only to make a beginning
in such a work, since the obtainable material is not all recorded, and
the complicated character of many myths makes an arrangement by place
and motif difficult. Still, even an incomplete digest would be of
service to students of mythology and would pave the way for a more
comprehensive work. The importance of the study of mythology for the
general history of religions is becoming more and more manifest. This
study, in its full form, includes, of course, psychological
investigation as well as collections of statistics; but the psychology
finds its material in the facts--we must first know what men believe,
and then explain why they believe.

+880+. It must, however, be added that myths have influenced mainly the
dogmas and ceremonies of religion--their part in more intimate or
spiritual worship, the converse of the worshiper with the deity, has
been comparatively slight. Religious ceremonies are ordinary social
customs and forms transferred to dealings with supernatural Powers.
Dogmas are quasi-philosophical expressions of conceptions concerning the
nature of these Powers and their relations with men, and sometimes
contain mythical material which is then introduced into worship; if, for
example, a man is divinized and worship is paid him, the tone of the
worship is affected by the divine character thus ascribed to him. But in
general, as men, in worship proper, approach a deity to get some
advantage from him, the appeal is to him directly without regard to
ceremonies or minute dogmas. Savages, though in theory they may make a
god to be an animal or a plant, come to him devoutly as a superior being
who can grant their requests. In higher religions the deity addressed is
for the moment an omnipotent friend standing apart from the stories told
of him. Rival sects lose sight of their differences in the presence of
needs that drive them to God for help. Prayer is a religious
unifier--communion with the Deity is an individual experience in which
all men stand on common ground, where ritual and dogmatic accessories
tend to fade or to disappear.

+881+. Long after myths in their original forms have ceased to be
believed they persist in the form of "fairy tales," which retain
something of the old supernatural framework, but sink into mere stories
for amusement.[1534]

But fairy tales are not the only form in which ancient myths persist.
Myths have played their prominent part in the history of religion for
the reason that they embody the conception of the tangible supernatural
in a vivid and dramatic way. To this personalization and socialization
of the supernatural men have continued to cling up to the present time;
the mass of men demand not only the presence of the supernatural as
protection and guidance, but also the realization of it in objective
form. This objectiveness was useful and necessary in early times, and
the demand for it remains in periods of advanced civilization. In the
reigning religions of the world at the present day myths continue to
hold their place and to exercise their influence,[1535] the more that in
the course of time they become fused with the constantly advancing
ethical and spiritual thought of the communities in which they exist.
The tendency appears to be to minimize, under the influence of general
enlightenment, the crude supernatural parts of such combinations, to
exalt the moral and spiritual, and to allegorize or rationalize the
rest. But along with such process of rationalization the mythical form
is maintained and continues to be a powerful element in the general
structure of religious opinion and life.



+882+. The regulation of relations with the superhuman world has been
attempted by means of friendly social intercourse with supernatural
Powers, and by studying their methods of procedure with a view to
applying these methods and thereby gaining beneficial results. Friendly
social intercourse is practical religion in the higher sense of that
term. The application and use of superhuman procedures takes two lines
of action: the powers of superhuman agents may be appropriated and used
independently of them, or the object may be simply to discover their
will in order to be guided by it. The first of these lines is magic, the
second is divination. While the two have in common the frank and
independent employment of the supernatural for the bettering of human
life, their conceptions and modes of procedure differ in certain
respects, and they may be considered separately.


+883+. The perils and problems of savage life, more acute in certain
directions than those that confront the civilized man, demand constant
vigilance, careful investigation, and prompt action. So far as familiar
and tangible enemies (beasts and men) are concerned, common sense has
devised methods of defense, and ordinary prudence has suggested means of
providing against excessive heat or cold and of procuring food. But
there are dangers and ills that in the savage view cannot be referred
to such sources, but must be held to be caused by intangible, invisible
forces in the world, against which it is man's business to guard
himself. He must learn what they are and how to thwart or use them as
circumstances may require. They could be studied only in their deeds,
and this study involves man in the investigation of the law of cause and
effect. The only visible bond between phenomena is that of sequence, and
on sequence the savage bases his science of causes--that which precedes
is cause, that which follows is effect. The agencies he recognizes are
spirits, gods, the force resident in things (mana), and human beings who
are able to use this force.

+884+. But belief in such agencies would be useless to man unless he
also believed that he could somehow determine their actions, and belief
in the possibility of determining these appears to have come to him
through his theory of natural law. The reasoning of savages on this
point has not been recorded by them, but the character of their known
procedures leads us to suppose that they have a sense of a law governing
the actions of superhuman Powers. Being conscious that they themselves
are governed by law, they may naturally in imagination transfer this
order of things to the whole invisible world; spirits, gods, and the
mana-power, it is assumed, work on lines similar to those followed by
man, only with superhuman breadth and force. The task before the
originators of society was to discover these modes of procedure in order
to act in accordance with them. The discovery was made gradually by
observation, and there grew up thus in process of time a science of
supernatural procedure which is the basis of the practice of magic.

This science does not necessarily regard the superhuman power as
purposely antagonistic to man. Rather its native attitude appears to
have been conceived of as one of indifference (as nature is now regarded
as careless of man); it was and is thought of as a force to be guarded
against and utilized by available means, which, of course, were and are
such as are proper to an undeveloped stage of social growth.

+885+. Magic is a science of sequences, but only of sequences supposed
not to be explicable from ordinary experience. When the savage puts his
hand into the fire or receives a spear-thrust in his body he recognizes
visible and familiar causes of pain, and accepts the situation as a fact
of life, calling for no further explanation. But when the pain comes
from no familiar tangible source he is driven to seek a different sort
of source. A cause there must be, and this cause, though superhuman,
must follow definite methods--it must have the will to act, and it must
have knowledge and skill to carry out its designs. To discover its
methods man must observe the processes of nature and imitate them, and
must at the same time have in mind familiar human modes of action. The
savage scientific explanation of mysterious facts is that superhuman
Powers are intellectually akin to human beings; the question of motive
in such Powers (except in the case of developed gods) seems not to be
considered. The basis of magical procedure is imitation of nature and of
man. This principle is supplemented by the conception of the unity of
the world, a feeling at first vague, that all things have the same
nature and are bound together in a cosmos; animals and men, trees,
stones and waters, and fragments of all these are parts of one great
whole, and each feels, so to speak, what is done to or by one of the
others. This feeling, derived from observation and reflection, is not
formulated, but is influential in the construction of the unconscious
philosophy of the savage.

+886+. The methods of man's magical procedure follow these principles;
they are as various as the sequences that savage man thinks he
observes.[1537] Many of them are suggested by natural phenomena. Since
rain was observed to fall from the sky, it was held that in time of
drought it might be obtained by casting water into the air and letting
it fall, or by dipping a stone in water and letting it drip; in general,
by any process in which water falls on the ground. The wind might be
raised by ejecting air from the mouth (as by whistling). Or ordinary
human actions might be imitated: a stick thrown or pointed toward an
enemy, it was believed, would cause a spear to enter his body;[1538] a
hostile glance of the eye, indicating desire to inflict injury, might
carry ill luck.[1539] In such cases the fundamental conceptions are the
sympathy that comes from unity and the activity of the pervasive mana.
These conceptions are visible in procedures in which action on a part of
the human body, or on an image or picture of it, was supposed to reach
the body itself. The possession of a piece of the bone, skin, hair, or
nail of a man might enable one who had knowledge of superhuman laws and
processes to affect the man with sickness or even to cause his death.
Contact of objects naturally suggests their unity, but the sympathy
between them was not held to be dependent on contact; a man's bone
remained a part of him, however far it might be separated from him. A
dead body did not lose its virtues; the qualities of a dead warrior
might be acquired by eating his flesh. The mysterious unity of things
seems to have resided, in savage thought, in the omnipresent mana, a
force independent of human limitations. Not that there was a definite
theory on the subject, but something of this sort seems to be assumed in
the ideas and usages of many low tribes.[1540]

On the other hand, a magical effect may be set aside by magic. A sick
man, believing his sickness to be the work of a magician (the usual
savage theory of the cause of bodily ills), sends for another magician
to counteract the evil work; and a magician, failing to cure his
patient, ascribes his failure to the machinations of a powerful rival.
In all such cases the theory and the methods are the same; the magic
that cures is not different in principle (though it may differ in
details) from the magic that kills.

+887+. The facts observed by practicers of magic probably contributed to
the collections of material that furnished the starting-point for the
scientific study of physical phenomena. The interest in the facts arose
at first simply from their relation to magical procedure--it was from
them that certain laws of supernatural action were learned, and men thus
got control of this action. Magic is essentially a directive or coercive
procedure and differs in this respect from fully formed religion, which
is essentially submissive and obedient.

+888+. It is true that coercion of divine beings appears in
well-developed religions. A Babylonian goddess (Nana) was carried off by
the Elamites to their land that she might there do duty as divine
protector; restored to her proper home 1635 years later, she resumed her
old functions.[1541] The Egyptians are said by Plutarch to have slain
their divine animals if these failed to avert or remove calamity.[1542]
Prometheus and certain Homeric heroes are victorious over gods. In some
savage tribes divine kings are put to death if they fail to do what is
expected of them. A god was sometimes chained or confined in his temple
to prevent his voluntary or constrained departure. A recusant deity was
sometimes taunted or insulted by his disappointed worshipers.[1543]
There is, however, a difference between the two sets of coercive acts.
The force used by developed religion is physical, that employed in magic
is psychological and logical. When a god is chained or carried off, it
is only his body that is controlled--he is left to his own thoughts, or
it is assumed that he will be friendly to his enforced locus. Magic
brings the supernatural Power under the dominion of law against which
his nature is powerless. Religion, even when it employs force,
recognizes the protective function of the deity; magic is without such
acknowledgment, without emotion or worship. While it has, on one side, a
profounder conception of cosmic force than appears in early religion, it
is, on the social side, vastly inferior to the latter, to which it has
necessarily yielded in the course of human progress. Nevertheless, if
religion in the broadest sense includes all means of bringing man into
helpful relations with the supernatural world, then magic is a form of

+889+. The much-discussed question whether magic was the earliest form
of religion is not susceptible of a definite answer for the reason that
we have no account of man's earliest conceptions of his relations with
the world of invisible forces. There is some reason to hold, as is
remarked above,[1544] that in the lowest stage of life known to us men
were logically indifferent spectators of the world, but in general stood
in awe of phenomena, so that fear was their prevailing feeling. It may
be surmised that this feeling would engender a sense of antagonism to
such superhuman Powers as came to be conceived of, on which would
naturally follow a desire to get control of them. Yet it is impossible
to say at what stage of social development the necessity would be felt
of establishing friendly relations with the Powers. The two lines of
effort may have begun and gone on side by side, the two springing from
the same utilitarian impulse, but each independent of the other--a
coexistence that actually appears in many tribes; finally the coercive
effort tends to yield to the kindly influences of organized society.
There is no ground for calling magic a "disease of religion." The
presumption, from the general law of progress, is that, when there is a
chronological difference, the socially lower precedes the socially
higher. Religion and magic come to be mutually antagonistic, except in
cases where religious authorities adopt magical procedures, giving them
a theistic and socially useful coloring. Magic has been a natural, if
not a necessary, step in the religious organization of society.[1545]

+890+. Since religion and magic have in common the purpose to establish
relations with extrahuman Powers the dividing line between the two is in
some cases not easily fixed--the same procedure may be held to belong in
the one category or the other, according as it invokes or does not
invoke the aid of a god in friendly and submissive fashion. We may thus
be carried back to a time when a sharp distinction between the two did
not exist, as there was a time when such a distinction is not visible
between "gods" (friendly divine members of the human community) and
"demons" (unfriendly outside beings), both classes being regarded simply
as agents affecting human life. Even when some fairly good form of
organization has been reached it is often hard to say to which class a
particular figure belongs. The Hawaiian Pele (the "goddess" of the great
and dangerous volcano) is often vindictive, and then differs little or
not at all from a demon that sends sickness and death.[1546] The
Babylonians gave the same name (_shedu_) to a class of demons proper and
to the divine or half-divine winged beings (to which, apparently, the
Hebrew cherubs are allied) that guarded the entrances to temples, sacred
gardens, and palaces.[1547] The Navaho beings called _yei_ and _anaye_
seem to hover on the border line between the divine and the demonic
classes.[1548] The difference between the two seems to be merely that
the one class (the gods) has been adopted (for reasons not originally
ethical) into the human community, while the other has not received such
adoption.[1549] In such a case a given figure may easily pass from one
class into the other. According to the Thompson River folk-lore the sun
was once a cannibal but became beneficent.[1550] The early Christians
converted the Græco-Roman gods (_daimonia_) into "demons."[1551] There
being this fluid relation between supernatural beings, it is not strange
that such a relation should exist between procedures intended to act on

+891+. Magic, as we have seen, is based on the observation of sequences,
and before the development of reflection and the acquisition of a
knowledge of natural law the disposition of human beings is to regard
all sequences as exhibiting the relation of cause and effect. A typical
example is that of the anchor driven ashore, a piece of which was broken
off by a man who died soon after; the conclusion was that the anchor
caused his death and therefore was divine, and accordingly it received
religious worship.[1553] In the course of ages thousands of such
sequences must have been observed, and these, handed down from one
generation to another, would shape themselves into a handbook of magic.
They would, however, be constantly reëxamined and sifted under the
guidance of wider experience and a better acquaintance with natural
causes, and this process, carried on by experts, would give rise to the
science of magic as we find it among lower tribes.

Magic, like religion, is a social product. The two, as is remarked
above, may coexist in the same community. But when a State religion is
established to which all citizens are expected to conform, the pursuit
of magic assumes the aspect of departure from, and hostility to, the
tribal or national cult. It is then under the ban, and can be carried on
only in secret[1554] (as is the case with prohibited religions also).
Secrecy of practice is not of the essence of magic; among the Australian
Arunta, for example, magical ceremonies constitute the publicly
recognized business of the community acting through its accredited
representatives; the partial exclusion of women and uninitiated boys
from these ceremonies (and from political councils) is due mainly to the
desire of the elders to keep the power in their own hands. The State
religion may sometimes be forced by public opinion to adopt particular
magical procedures.

+892+. It was natural that the specific study of sequences and laws
should fall into the hands of special persons and classes of men. The
human agent in the discovery of laws is the magician (sorcerer, shaman),
who, since he was generally a physician also, sometimes received the
name of "medicine man." As the office of chief arose for the direction
of social culture and political affairs, so the office of magician arose
naturally for the direction of supernatural relations. He may have been
the earliest religious teacher and guide.[1555] He knows the will and
nature of the supernatural Powers and is therefore a necessity to men.
He is specifically in charge of all that relates to the control of these

+893+. In the course of time there arises a differentiation of
functions, and, when religion becomes friendly, the office of priest is
created. The priest, like the magician, understands the will of the
gods, but his procedure is intended simply to propitiate them or to
discover their will in particular cases.[1556] He is a development out
of the magician in so far as friendly religion is a development out of
magical religion.[1557] The prophet also, in the rôle in which he
appears among the Greeks, is a development out of the old magician; he
knows the will of the gods and is thus able to predict events. This is
the character of the old Hebrew seer; the Hebrew prophet, originally a
seer, assumed in the course of time a quite different character--he
became a preacher of ethical religion.

+894+. The office of magician, once established, became subject to all
the rules that govern official persons in barbarous, half-civilized, and
civilized societies. Of the way in which the position was attained in
the earliest times we have no information, but in relatively low tribes
it appears that it is attained in various ways. There is sometimes a
suggestion of vocation in a dream or a vision.[1558] Among some tribes a
candidate for the office has to undergo a process of education, that is,
of training in the signs by which the presence of superhuman Powers is
recognizable and of the way of dealing with disease and other
evils.[1559] It is not unusual that the candidate is required to submit
to a test, sometimes of physical endurance (as is required also in the
case of the young warrior), but chiefly of susceptibility to
supernatural influences and capacity of insight, and of the conduct of
magical operations.[1560] Generally in the lower tribes the office comes
by free choice of the individual, or by choice of the body of magicians,
without regard to the social position of the man. In West Africa, says
Miss Kingsley, everybody keeps a familiar spirit or two for magical
purposes; this is unlawful only when the spirit is harmful.[1561]

+895+. In somewhat more advanced societies the office falls into the
hands of families and descends from father to son, in which case the
younger man is instructed by the older in the secrets of the
profession.[1562] In some higher religions magical performances are in
the hands of certain clans or tribes. In most of these cases women as
well as men may be masters of the art. In the more advanced systems it
is often the case that it is especially women who are considered adepts;
so it was in Babylonia;[1563] in the Old Testament Saul seeks the woman
of Endor;[1564] Thessalian witches were famous;[1565] women who tie
magical knots are provided against in the Koran by a special form of
prayer;[1566] in Europe, medieval and later, the practicers of magic
have generally been women.

+896+. The grounds for the ascription of magical superiority to
women--whether from their supposed greater susceptibility to demoniac
influence, or for some other reason--are not clear. In the lowest tribes
sorcerers are commonly men[1567]--the profession is an influential and
honored one, and naturally falls into the hands of leading men; the
magician is often the most powerful man in the community.

+897+. Reputation for magical power appears sometimes to attach to a
tribe or other body of persons as the representatives of a religion
which is adopted by a lower community. Possibly this is the explanation
of the rôle ascribed at an early period to the Mazdean Magi.[1568] The
Magi (apparently Median of origin) formed the priestly tribe of the
Mazdean religion, and we do not know that they played originally any
part as sorcerers. But it seems that they were so considered in Greece
as early as the fifth century B.C.,[1569] and after the Moslem conquest
of Persia and the suppression of Zoroastrianism a fire-worshiper or
Magian is especially a representative of magic.[1570] On the other hand,
it sometimes happens among adjoining tribes that the lower become the
special practitioners of magic,[1571] which is then considered to be a
mysterious art, alien to the official religion, and therefore proper to
the ministers of the old mysterious cults.

+898+. The power exercised by the magician extends over the whole world
of men and things, and is generally considered to be practically without
limit. He guards men against diseases, noxious beasts, and all other
forms of injury; he destroys one's enemies and guards one against plots
of enemies, including other magicians; he is able to induce or destroy
love, to give physical strength, to inflict disease, to kill, and to
restore to life; he ascends to heaven or descends into the world below;
he is able to coerce the gods themselves; in fact, he does everything
that a god is commonly supposed to do--the tendency was to identify the
magician and the god.[1572] Such identification is natural or necessary
in early faiths, inasmuch as it was held that there was no difference of
nature between men and gods. A god was as a rule the stronger. But how
gods arose and how they gained their superior strength was not clear,
and it might thus easily happen that a man should acquire powers equal
to those of divine beings.[1573]

+899+. The methods employed by the magician to effect his purpose are
various. In early times it is usual for him to fall into an ecstatic
state; by drinking intoxicating liquors, by violent movements, or by
contemplation he gets out of himself and comes into relations with the
mysterious potencies. In such a condition he acts as his imagination
suggests.[1574] But in the organized forms of magic long experience has
devised various means of producing results beyond the power of ordinary
men. Certain objects are magically charged with supernatural power
(charms), and these worn on the person guard the possessor against
malign influences. Various formulas are employed which are supposed to
coerce the Powers; these are sometimes names of ordinary objects
regarded as sacred, the name of some plant or animal.[1575] Names of
divine persons have special potency. The name of a god was supposed to
carry with it his power, and the utterance of his name secured all that
he could secure; thus, in the early Christian times the tetragrammaton
YHWH (Yahweh) had absolute power against demons.

+900+. Similar efficacy attached to sacred compositions, prayers,[1576]
and the like. The Mazdean petition, Honover (Ahuna-Vairya), was so
employed, and in Christian circles even the Lord's Prayer. Charms or
incantations often took rhythmical form--verses, couplets, or quatrains
were widely used. All such methods were the product of ages of
experience.[1577] They were handed down from generation to generation,
often in families or classes of magicians, were modified or enlarged
from time to time, and thus came at last to form a literature.

+901+. In the great civilized religions magical practice gradually
assumed a tone somewhat different from that of the earliest times. It
continued to be coercive toward evil Powers, but in regard to the good
Powers it assumed rather to discover their modes of action. It was not
anti-religious; it remained alongside of the official religious systems
in friendly relations. It relied on the assistance of the good gods and
not on that of the demons. There was good magic and bad magic, white
magic and black magic, as these came to be called. A procedure of white
magic can thus, from the point of view of religion, hardly be
distinguished from prayer to a deity. The difference between the two
appears to be that the magic produces abnormal or violent effects, which
experience taught could not reasonably be expected from the deity. It is
the old crude science brought (as the lesser divine Powers were brought)
into a relation of subordination to the chief god of the community.

+902+. Elaborate magical systems are found in some of the ancient
national religions. In India the Atharva-Veda, though it contains a mass
of crude old material, is nevertheless recognized as one of the sacred
books, standing by the side of the Rig-Veda, though of less authority
and significance than that. The Atharvan was originally a priest of
fire, but in this work he becomes simply a magician; the immense number
of magical procedures in the book provided for all emergencies of
life.[1578] The Babylonian magical formulas also go back to an early
time, but they were preserved by the priests and recognized as a
legitimate element in the religious practice.[1579] The old Egyptian
stories introduce a number of magical proceedings, and the formulas have
been preserved in treatises.[1580] Of the earliest periods of the
Mazdean religion we have unfortunately no records; in the time of the
decadence of the national religion, especially in the Thousand and One
Nights, the fire-worshiper or Magian is commonly a wicked magician, as
was natural since he belonged to a faith hostile to Islam, and the
practicer of good magic is generally a Moslem.[1581] The early Greeks
and Romans appear not to have been greatly interested in magical
practices, though these existed.[1582] But a great outburst of magic
occurred in the Græco-Roman world in the first and second centuries of
our era, the magician being, however, generally not Greek or Roman, but
of an inferior alien race.[1583] Among the old Hebrews we have no
details of magical procedure except in the invocation of the dead;[1584]
this procedure was denounced by the prophets as hostile to the worship
of the national god, but it continued among the people a long
time.[1585] The practice of magic existed abundantly among the early
peoples of Europe, the Teutons, and others. The primacy, however, in
magic belongs to the Finns and Lapps, alien races regarded as inferior
in civilization.

+903+. The hold of magic on the minds of men is shown by the fact that
it has persisted up to the present day. Its basis is a belief in occult
powers and the conviction that man may attain to mastery over them.
Certain forms of this belief, called theosophical, are held by many at
the present day; it is supposed that men are capable of transcending the
ordinary limitations of humanity. In general, however, the whole system
of magic yielded gradually to the organized religions, the essence of
which was a friendly and rational relation with the deity. Religion has
organized itself in accord with the general organization of human social
systems. It has seen the necessity of getting rid of force, of depending
on humane feeling, cultivating simply friendly relations, attempting a
unity of work, a coöperation of divine and human forces. All this has
worked against magic. In addition to these tendencies the constantly
growing belief in the domination of natural forces has made it
impossible in civilized societies to accept the powers called

+904+. To sum up: magic is a means of securing superhuman results by
adopting the methods of the superhuman Powers.[1587] It may be coeval
with religion proper or may have preceded it in human religious
organization. In any case it has been, up to the present day, the rival
of religion, though more and more driven to take a secondary place. It
has collected physical facts which have served as a basis for the study
of physical science and have indirectly furthered the cause of religion
by leading men to recognize natural law and also by necessitating a
distinction between theistic and other superhuman results.[1588] In the
absence of distinct religious systems it has been a bond of social
union, and to that extent has been a civilizing influence. On the other
hand, it has fostered belief in a false science of sequences and thus
helped to introduce confusion into thought and the conduct of life. The
aim of religion has been, and is, to banish magic from the world.[1589]


+905+. Divination is the science that seeks to discover the will of the
supernatural Powers by means of the observation of phenomena. Men desire
to learn the causes of present and past misfortunes and the story of the
future, that they may know at any moment what is the best course to
pursue. The underlying supposition is that these things are indicated by
the appearances and movements of the various objects of the world. It is
in these phenomena that the purposes of superhuman forces become visible
to man; the gods, it is held, cannot but so reveal themselves (for they
produce all phenomena), and man's task is to discover the laws of
phenomenal revelation. The question of the motive in this revelation is
not distinctly raised, but it is taken for granted that the Powers are
willing to help man by guiding his uncertain footsteps; their attitude
is so far friendly--they belong in feeling to the human community.[1590]

Divination has in common with magic the assumption of the unity of the
world and its control by law, and the search for divine activity in the
facts of life. But the two differ essentially in their aims. Divination
seeks to learn the divine will in order to be guided; magic studies
divine action in order to imitate it and accomplish divine results.
Divination is an inquirer, and its virtue is obedience; magic is an
investigator, and its virtue is achievement. Both are self-seeking, but
divination is the more reverent and allies itself more easily with
religion. But both tend to become corrupt and decadent, and their rôles
are determined from time to time by the conditions of the communities in
which they are found.[1591]

+906+. The organization of divination resembles that of magic in several
respects. It comes to have its special functionaries, into whose hands
all its authority falls. The divinatory power (like the magical) comes
to a man sometimes as a gift of nature (that is, of a god) or in some
mysterious external way, sometimes as a result of a course of training
in which the significance of the various signs is learned. It is
sometimes a property of a clan or a family and descends from father to
son, always, however, under the condition of instruction of the young by
the old. The diviner, like the magician, sometimes performs various
ceremonies for the purpose of bringing himself into relation with the
gods, and his utterances are frequently given in an ecstatic condition.
In this condition he is said in some instances (as among the
Todas[1592]) to speak a language not his own, with which in his ordinary
state of mind he is unacquainted, or to utter words that are not
understood either by himself or by others. Ecstasy means possession by
the deity; the interpretation of the diviner's words, which, in the
ecstatic condition, are the words of a spirit or a god, is sometimes
left to the bystanders, or, if unintelligible to them, must be recovered
by the seer himself when he returns to his normal condition.

+907+. The highest development of ecstasy is found in the prophet
proper. Originally the prophet was a foreteller and acted under the
inspiration of a god, a divine seizure that was allied to madness. The
ravings of the savage shaman[1593] are repeated in the ravings of
Cassandra and in the excited utterances and bodily exhaustion of the
early Hebrew prophets.[1594] A nobler use of ecstasy is exhibited in the
youth of Byblos, who rescued an unfortunate Egyptian envoy from insult
and secured him honorable treatment.[1595] The more advanced thought
tended to abandon the abnormal state of the diviner and make him simply
a recipient of divine knowledge by the favor of a god--the gods came to
choose thoughtful men instead of beasts as their intermediaries.[1596]
The Hebrew prophets whose utterances have been preserved, from Amos
onward, are men of insight, essentially critics of the national life,
and moral watchmen; but features of the old conception of divinatory
power continue for some time to attach to them.[1597]

+908+. The differentiation of functions between magician, diviner, and
priest appears to have taken place at a comparatively early period,
though it is probable that in the earliest times all these characters
might be united in a single person. As soon as an organized religion is
established the priest acquires his specific function as intermediator
between men and gods, often, however, retaining the power of discovering
the will of the deity.[1598] Magic, as we have seen, tends to become an
unsocial and hostile thing, and the magician is in later times punished
or discountenanced by public opinion. The diviner, on the other hand,
has generally retained possession of his public for the reason that he
is in sympathy with the gods of the community and his work is held to be
wholly friendly. In all stages of religious development, except the very
highest, he has been recognized by public opinion and by law as a part
of the religious constitution of society and has often attained great
civil and political power.[1599] Among civilized peoples he comes to be
a man of learning, acquainted with many things besides the mere signs of
the will of the gods.

+909+. Divinatory signs may be grouped in various classes according as
they belong to the outer world or to men's inward experiences, and
according as they present themselves without or with preparation by man.
Outward signs in ordinary occurrences which, so far as human initiative
is concerned, are accidental may be called, for convenience, "omens."
Uncommon occurrences may be called, if they appear in the forms of men
and animals, "prodigies," and if they are seen in the physical world,
"portents." These designations are arbitrary, and sometimes two or more
of them may be appropriate for the same event. Inward signs are dreams,
revelations in the ecstatic state, and prophetic inspirations.[1600] We
may begin with divination from the observation of external objects, and
consider first such as are accidental (omens, prodigies, portents).

+910+. Omens, prodigies, and portents are to be regarded as the product
of ages of experience. The observations of early men seem to them to
show that certain appearances are followed by certain events, and the
details of experience, handed down and interpreted by successive
generations, are in the course of time sifted, systematized, and
formulated. In savage and half-civilized communities divinatory signs
are usually simple, drawn from appearances of familiar objects and
occurrences. They become more complicated in civilized times--they are
mingled with elaborate astrological ideas. Divination becomes a science
for the practice of which a technical education is required. Belief in
omens and other signs survives among the highest civilized peoples long
after the conceptions on which they rest have been abandoned. The origin
of signs among savage peoples may often be traced with more or less
probability; in the case of such as survive in periods of high culture
the origin is necessarily obscured by the lapse of time and can be
surmised only by comparison with earlier conceptions.

The belief in such signs may be traced over a great part of the world.
It is found among the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Hindus,
Chinese, Hebrews, Greeks, Romans, Arabians, and at a later time among
the Celtic, Slavic, and Teutonic peoples.[1601] At the present day it
occurs most highly developed in Polynesia, Northern Africa, Southern
India, and Central Asia; it is relatively unimportant in Western and
Central Africa, North America, South America, and Australia. One
difference between divination and magic thus appears to be that the
latter is vigorous in savage communities that pay little attention to
the former. Further collections of facts may require a modification of
this statement; but, in general, it would seem that an organization of
signs, demanding, as it does, orderly reflection on phenomena, is proper
to communities that have advanced beyond the hunting and nomadic stages.
For the rest, there are few objects or occurrences that have not been
regarded at some time by some people as indications of divine will in
respect to present, past, or future events.

+911+. A fair illustration of the early belief in omens is afforded by
the divinatory system that prevails in Samoa and the neighboring group
of islands.[1602] It appears that all omens are derived either from the
movements of animals that are regarded as incarnations of deities,[1603]
or from phenomena that are held to be produced immediately by deities.
The flight of owls, bats, or rails, according to its direction,
indicates the result of a battle or a war; the howling of a dog is a
sign of coming misfortune; if a centipede crawls on the top of a mat it
is a good omen, if on the bottom of a mat it is bad; it is unfortunate
when a lizard crosses one's path; if a basket be found turned upside
down in a road, this is a sign of evil; the way in which sacred stones
fall to the ground is an indication of the future. The animals mentioned
above (and there are many other such) are all regarded as incarnations
of deities. So as to portents: loud thunder, taken to be the voice of
the great god Tangaloa, is a good sign; the significance of lightning
(which also is sent by the god) depends upon the direction taken by the
flash. An eclipse is regarded as a presage of death. A similar system of
interpretation of signs is found elsewhere. The Masai and the Nandi draw
omens from the movements of birds.[1604] In Ashantiland the cry of the
owl means death.[1605] When in Australia the track of an insect is
believed to point toward the abode of the sorcerer by whom a man has
been done to death, the conception is probably the same. The modern
Afghans hold that a high wind that continues three days is a sign that a
murder has been committed.[1606] Examples from Brazil, Borneo, New
Zealand, Old Calabar and Tatarland are given by Tylor.[1607] In the
early Hebrew history it appears that a rustling in trees was looked on
as a sign of divine intervention.[1608]

+912+. In ancient Babylonia and Assyria an elaborate system of
interpretation of ordinary occurrences prevailed--the movements and
appearances of various species of birds, of bulls, of dogs of all colors
are noted, with minute interpretations.[1609] The Greeks recognized
omens in the acts of various animals, especially in the flight and cries
of birds; so important were these last that the words for 'bird' came to
be employed for 'omens from birds' and even simply for 'omens';[1610]
Aristophanes, laughing at the Athenians, declares that they called every
mantic sign 'bird'.[1611] Skepticism, however, appears in Hector's
passionate rejection of the signs of birds and his declaration that the
best omen is to fight for one's country.[1612] A similar mantic
prominence of birds appears in ancient Rome where the terms for the
observation of birds (_auspicium_, _augurium_) came to signify 'omens'
in general. The preëminence thus accorded to birds was due perhaps to
the fact that they move in a region above the earth, the larger species
(οιωνός) seeking the sky near the abode of the gods, as well as
to the frequency and variety of their actions.[1613] The feeling of
direct contact with the deity appears in the significance attached to
the movements of a sacrificial animal: if it approached the altar
willingly, this, showing accord with the deity, was a good omen, and
unwillingness was a bad omen.[1614] Among the later Romans the entrance
of a strange black dog into a house, the falling of a snake through the
opening in the roof, the crowing of a hen were unfavorable signs which
prevented the immediate undertaking of any new affair;[1615] these were
all unusual and therefore uncanny occurrences. Some of the animals that
furnish omens are totems, and in such cases the totemic significance
coalesces with that of the omen; the animal that appears to the young
Sioux candidate as his manitu has both characters--it is the sign of
divine acceptance and the embodiment of the divine patron.[1616]

+913+. Prodigies connected with the birth of children are numerous. The
complete or incomplete character of the infant's body, various marks and
colors, and the number produced at a birth have been carefully noted by
many peoples. The birth of twins seems to have been more commonly
regarded in savage and half-civilized communities either as a presage of
misfortune (as being unusual and mysterious) or as a sign of conjugal
unfaithfulness (as indicating two fathers, one of whom might be a god).
Interpretations of births are given in Babylonian records.[1617]
Everywhere monstrous births, misshapen forms, and abnormal colors in the
bodies of men and beasts have been regarded as indications of divine

+914+. That the stars early attracted the attention of man is shown by
the fact that constellations are recognized in some lower tribes--for
example, in the New Hebrides Islands, among the Todas, the Masai, the
Nandi, and elsewhere.[1618] Since all heavenly bodies were regarded
originally as divine, and later as controlled by divine beings,
sometimes also as the abodes of the dead or as the souls of the dead, it
was natural that astral movements should be looked on as giving signs of
the will of the gods. Astronomy appears to have been pursued in the
first instance not from interest in the natural laws governing the
movements of sun, moon, and stars, but from belief in their divinatory
significance. How far this study was carried on all over the ancient
world we have no means of knowing; but, as far as the records go, it
was the Babylonians that first reduced astral divination to the form of
a science,[1619] and it is probable that from them it spread over
Western Asia and India, and perhaps into Europe. Babylonian and Assyrian
documents contain many accurate statements of the appearances of
heavenly bodies; and in the third or second century B.C., as we learn
from the Book of Daniel, the term 'Chaldean' was synonymous with
'magician.' While astronomy was pursued by the Egyptians with great
success, whereby they made a notable construction of the calendar, they
seem not to have cultivated astrology, though they associated certain
stars with certain gods and with lucky or unlucky days.[1620]

+915+. Of all divinatory methods astrology has played the greatest rôle
in human history, and is still believed in and studied by not a few
persons. It derived its prominence originally, no doubt, from the
splendor and mystery of the sidereal heavens; the identification (by the
Babylonians) of certain planets with certain deities gave it more
definite shape. It was necessarily a learned pursuit, and, falling
naturally into the hands of priestly bodies, was developed by them in
accordance with the needs of the situation. Rules of interpretation were
established that became more and more specific. In the early period of
astrology it was concerning matters of public interest that information
was sought--crops, wars, and the fortunes of the king as the head of the
nation.[1621] At a later time, but before the beginning of our era, in
accordance with the growth of ethical individualism, the stars were
interrogated for the destinies of private individuals;[1622] the aspect
of the heavens at the moment of birth, the horoscope, announced the fate
of the nascent man.[1623]

In the hands of the Chaldeans astrology remained exclusively or largely
a science of omens. An advance toward a higher conception, however, was
made by their identification of certain planets with certain
gods,[1624] whereby the regularity and certainty of movement of the
astral world were carried over to the world of divine Powers. When, in
the centuries just preceding and following the beginning of our era,
Chaldean astrology was adopted by the Greeks and Romans, it was
organized by them in accordance with their philosophy, and it entered
into alliance with all the higher religious tendencies of the period. In
the unchangeableness of stellar movements the Stoics saw a principle
substantially identical with their doctrine of fate. Along various lines
(in Judaism and Christianity, and in the mysteries of Mithra and Isis)
men were moving toward the conception of a single supreme ruler of the
world, and astrology fell into line with this movement. The starry
universe was held to be the controller of human life, worthy of worship,
and able to call forth emotion. Thus astrology became a
religion[1625]--it was adopted by learned and unlearned, its ethical and
spiritual quality being determined by the character and thought of the
various groups that professed it. For some centuries it was a religious
power in the world; as a religious system it gave way gradually to more
definite constructions, but it survived as a science long after it had
ceased to be believed in as a life-giving faith.

The persistence of faith in it as a science is an additional
illustration of men's demand for visible signs of the intervention of
the deity in human affairs;[1626] as often as certain supposed
embodiments of the supernatural are discarded, others are taken up. The
earlier philosophical views of the relation of the heavenly bodies to
human life are now generally abandoned, and such belief in this relation
as now exists has no scientific basis, but is founded on vague desire.

In savage and in civilized times eclipses, comets, the appearance of a
new star, and earthquakes have been regarded as indications of the
attitude of the deity--sometimes favorable, sometimes unfavorable.

+916+. The words and actions of men and their normal peculiarities of
bodily form have furnished comparatively few divinatory signs, the
reason being, probably, that in early times animals and other nonhuman
things arrested the attention of observers more forcibly, while in later
times such acts and forms were more readily explained from natural
conditions and laws. The palpitation of the eye, which seems sometimes
to uneducated man to be produced by an external force, has been taken as
a presage of misfortune. A burning sensation in the ear is still
believed by some persons to be a sign that one is being talked about; in
early stages of culture the sensation was regarded as a warning sent by
the guardian spirit or some other superhuman being. Sneezing was once
looked on as a happy omen: when Telemachus gave a resounding sneeze
Penelope interpreted it as a sign that news of his father was at
hand.[1627] An act performed without ulterior purpose may be taken to
symbolize some sort of fortune. When the Calif Omar sent an embassy to
the Persian King Yezdegird summoning him to embrace Islam, the angry
king commanded that a clod of earth should be brought and that the
ambassadors should bear it out of the city, which they accordingly did;
and this act was taken both by Arabs and by Persians as a presage of
Moslem victory--the invaders had a portion of Persian soil.[1628] An
element of magic, however, may have entered into this conviction; the
bit of soil was supposed, perhaps, to carry with it the whole land. A
chance word has often been seized on as an indication of the future, or
a proper name taken as a presage.

+917+. The belief in the sacredness or divinity of the human body has
led to the search for divinatory signs in its parts. But it is only the
hand that has been extensively employed in this way. The hand has
offered itself as most available for divination, partly, perhaps,
because of the variety and importance of its functions, partly because
of the variety of lines it shows and the ease with which it may be
examined. Chiromancy, or palmistry, has been developed into a science
and has maintained itself to the present day; but it has largely lost
its divinatory significance and has become a study of character, which
is supposed to be indicated by the lines of the hand. In its divinatory
rôle it has often been connected with astrology.

+918+. The preceding examples deal with occurrences that present
themselves without human initiation. In certain cases the materials for
divination are arranged by men themselves. In such methods there is
always an appeal to the deity, a demand that a god shall intervene and
indicate his will under the conditions prepared by men, the assumption
being that the god has prepared the event or thing in question, and
that, when properly approached, he will be disposed to give his
worshipers the assistance desired. The casting of lots and similar
random procedures have been common methods of divination the world over.
The African Kafir diviner detects criminals by the fall of small objects
used as dice. The Ashanti discover future events by the figures formed
when palm wine is thrown on the ground, and from the nature of the
numbers, whether even or odd, when one lets fall a handful of nuts. In a
dispute the Yoruban priest holds in his hand a number of grass stalks,
one of which is bent, and the person who draws the bent stalk is
adjudged to be in fault.[1629] The Hebrews had the official use of
objects called "urim and thummim" (terms whose meaning is unknown to
us), which were probably small cubes, to each of which was somehow
attached an answer "yes" or "no," or the name of a person. Thus, when
David inquired whether he was to attack the Philistines, the answer
seems to have been "yes."[1630] When it was a question who had violated
the taboo announced by Saul, the urim and thummim first decided that it
was not the people but the royal family; and then, as between Saul and
Jonathan, that it was the latter who was guilty.[1631] According to the
Book of Ezekiel the Chaldean King Nebuchadrezzar drew lots by arrows to
determine what road he should take in a campaign.[1632] The old Arabs
employed a species of divination by arrows, which, when thrown down, by
their position indicated the will of the gods; and in the division of
the flesh of a beast slaughtered by a clan or group, the portions to be
assigned to various persons were determined by the drawing of
arrows.[1633] Divination by lot was also largely employed by the Greeks
and the Romans.[1634] The method called "sortes vergilianae" is still in
vogue; it was and is a custom among pious persons, Christian or Moslem,
to learn the course that they are to take in an emergency by opening a
Bible or a copy of the Koran at random and accepting the first words on
which the eye falls as an indication of the divine will, the deity being
supposed to direct the eye.[1635]

+919+. One of the commonest and most important methods of divination in
antiquity was the examination of the entrails of animals
(haruspication). Of this system there are a few examples among savage
peoples,[1636] but it has attained special significance only among the
great civilized nations and especially among the Babylonians, the
Etruscans, and the Greeks and Romans. The slaughtered animal was
generally held to be itself sacred or divine, and, as it was offered to
the deity, it was a natural belief that the god would indicate his will
by the character of the inward parts, which were supposed to be
particularly connected with the life of the animal. Of these animal
parts the liver was regarded as the most important. The liver was for
the Babylonians the special seat of thought, whether from its position
or its size or from some other consideration we have no means of
knowing. The explanation of the form and appearance of the liver became
itself a separate science, and this science was developed with
extraordinary minuteness by the Babylonians. The whole structure of the
liver, together with the gall, bladder, and the ducts, was analyzed, and
to every part, every line, and every difference of appearance a separate
significance was assigned. Thus hepatoscopy, demanding long training and
influencing political action (and, doubtless, calling for ingenuity and
tact in interpretations), assumed great importance in Babylonia and
Assyria; and it was hardly less important among the Etruscans, the
Greeks, and the Romans.[1637] It is held by some scholars that Babylonia
was the original home of the developed science, whence it passed into
Greece and Italy.[1638] It may be recognized in Babylonia in the third
millennium B.C., and there is no improbability in the supposition that
Babylonian influence was felt in Asia Minor and Eastern Europe; but, in
view of the number of possibly independent centers of culture in this
region in ancient times and the paucity of data, the question may be
left open.

+920+. Other parts of the animal bodies also were employed in
divination. Tylor[1639] mentions the examination of the bones of the
porcupine among North American Indians, the color giving indications as
to the success of hunting expeditions. The shoulder blade, when put into
the fire, showed by splits in it various kinds of fortune. The heart was
of less significance in ancient thought than the liver, it being of less
size, and its function in the circulation of the blood not being known.
The brain also did not come, until a comparatively late period, to be
regarded as the seat of the intellect.[1640]

+921+. From these external signs we may now pass to consider divinatory
facts derived from men's inward experience.

_Dreams._ The importance attached all over the world to dreams as
presages is a familiar fact. It would appear that among savage peoples a
dream is regarded as representing an historical fact, the actual
perception of an occurrence or a situation. It is believed that the
mysterious inward thing, the soul, endowed with peculiar power, is
capable, during sleep, of leaving the body and wandering to and
fro;[1641] why, then, in its journeys, should it not be able to see the
plans of friends and enemies, and in general to observe the course of
events? We do not know the nature of savage logic in dealing with these
visions of the night, but some such line of reasoning as this, it seems
probable, is in their minds. The soul, they hold, is an entity,
possessing intellectual powers like those of the ordinary living man--it
sees certain things, and its knowledge becomes the possession of the man
when he awakes. Thus the soul in dreams is a watchman, on the lookout
for what may help or harm the man. Perhaps there is, even in low tribes,
a vague feeling that it has extraordinary powers of perception; whether
such a feeling, if it exists, is connected with a belief that, during
sleep, the soul is freed from the limitations of the everyday corporeal
man we are not able with our present data to say.[1642] Savages often
follow the suggestions made in dreams[1643] (particularly when they are
vivid) and are confirmed in their faith by occasional fulfillments of
predictions; the mind, working during sleep on the observations made by
day, may sometimes fall on situations that afterwards really appear, and
a few such realizations are sufficient to establish a rule or creed.

+922+. This naïve conception of dreams as products of the soul's
perception of realities survives to a greater or less extent among
higher tribes and nations, but finally gives way, when some sort of
theistic construction is reached, to the view that they are sent
immediately by deities. An approach to this view appears in North
America when, for example, a Pawnee Indian sees in a dream some being
who gives him important information, though in the folk-tales nothing is
said of the source of the dream.[1644] A step in advance appears in the
belief of the Ashanti, according to which the existence of a tutelary
family deity is indicated in a dream;[1645] it is, however, not clear
whether or not they hold that the tutelary deity has himself suggested
the dream. In the higher religions a dream is often sent by a patron
deity as a prediction or for guidance in a coming emergency. Doubtless
it was only in the case of specially distinct dreams and such as related
to important matters that attention was paid to them--the deity
intervened only in affairs that called for his special direction.
Examples are numerous in the history of the great nations of antiquity.
The Egyptian King Merneptah in a time of great danger had a dream in
which the god Ptah appeared to him and bade him banish fear;[1646] and
the Hebrew Yahweh is represented as having sent dreams to a king of
Egypt (probably in the interests of the Hebrews) to warn him of a coming
famine.[1647] The Assyrian Ashurbanipal was favored with special
communications from Ishtar, and the god Ashur in a dream ordered Gyges,
King of Lydia, to submit to the Assyrian king.[1648] In some documents
of the Pentateuch Yahweh regularly announces his will in dreams to both
Hebrews and non-Hebrews;[1649] and a Hebrew writer of a later time (the
third or second century B.C.) represents the God of Israel as giving
Nebuchadrezzar an outline of the history of the rise and fall of the
kingdoms of Western Asia and Greece.[1650] A god might employ a dream
for a less worthy purpose: Zeus sends a dream to Agamemnon to mislead
him and thus direct the issue of the war.[1651] So important for life
did the Greeks conceive the dream to be that, as it would seem, they
personified it.[1652]

_Incubation._ Divine direction by dreams was not always left to chance.
The custom arose of sleeping near a shrine (_engkoimesis_, incubation)
where, doubtless, after appropriate ritual preparation the god was
expected to signify his will in a dream (his generally friendly feeling
was assumed and the dream would be of the nature of an answer to
prayer). This was one of the means employed by Saul when he desired to
learn what would be the issue of the impending battle with the
Philistines.[1653] In Greece, and later in Italy, the most famous shrine
of incubation was that of Asklepios (Aesculapius), which was widely
resorted to and came to exert a good moral influence.[1654] The renown
of the shrine was doubtless increased by the fact that Asklepios was a
god of healing.[1655]

+923+. As a dream was often obscure the services of a trained
interpreter became necessary in order that the dream might be effective.
The interpreters were magicians, priests, or sages[1656]--men in
intimate association with deities and acquainted with their modes and
vehicles of revelation;[1657] dreams thus became equivalent to oracular
responses. An interpreter would become famous in proportion to the
number of fulfillments of his interpretations, and his god would share
in the glory of his renown.[1658] Of the particular conditions through
which certain men and certain shrines attained special fame we have few

Oneiromancy, in unorganized form, was studied in very early periods of
religious life. It shared in the general advance of thought, and in the
course of time a traditional science of the explanation of dreams arose.
There were records of experiences, particularly of notable fulfillments,
and it became possible to make lists of dreams with
interpretations;[1659] these were written down and passed on from
generation to generation, increasing in volume as they went. Such
manuals have played no inconsiderable part in the life of the

+924+. _Ordeals._ Divination has played an important part in civil life
as a means of determining the guilt or innocence of an accused person.
From very early times ordeals of various sorts have been devised for
securing a judicial opinion when ordinary means of investigation have
failed. One of the simplest methods is to require an accused person to
swear that he is innocent, the belief being that the god will avenge
false swearing with immediate and visible punishment.[1661] This method
is employed by the Ashanti:[1662] the accused is required to drink a
certain decoction; if he is made sick by it this is proof of his
innocence;[1663] and if there be a question between two men, and one
after drinking is made sick, the other is regarded as guilty, and
executed. On the Lower Congo the accused swallows a pill made of a bark
said to be poisonous; if he soon vomits it he is declared innocent, if
not, he is adjudged guilty.[1664] A similar procedure was employed in
Samoa:[1665] standing in the presence of representatives of the village
god, the suspected person laying his hand on the object wishes that if
he is guilty he may speedily die. Among the Hill people of Ceylon also
this custom exists. Ordeals in Loango are described by Purchas.[1666]

+925+. Among the ancient nations the earliest example of an ordeal
occurs in the code of Hammurabi (about 2000 B.C.). Here the accused is
thrown into the sacred water, and if not drowned is declared innocent;
he is protected by the deity.[1667] The same principle appears in the
old Hebrew ordeal: when a woman was accused of unfaithfulness to her
husband the accused was made to drink sacred water; if she was innocent
no bad consequences followed; if she was guilty she died.[1668] In
India, where various tests by fire, water, and food have been and are
employed, the decision is sometimes as in the Hebrew procedure;
sometimes (when the accused is thrown into the water) the principle
(found elsewhere abundantly) is recognized that it is the innocent
person that suffers and the guilty that is uninjured.[1669] The ordeal
as a civil process continued in Europe until the Middle Ages. In the
submersion in water of a woman suspected of being a witch the principle
of decision was the same as is now practiced in Ashantiland and
India--if the woman was drowned it was a sign that she was innocent, but
if she rose unharmed from the water she was adjudged guilty and was put
to death.[1670]

+926+. The imprecation is similar to the ordeal. A man invokes the curse
of the deity on his enemy, and it is supposed that such curse will bring
its punishment.[1671] A curse was regarded as an objective thing, which
reached its object quite independently of guilt or innocence.[1672] In
Morocco a conditional curse is pronounced and is supposed to become
effective if the wrong complained of is not righted.[1673] These ordeals
and imprecations were sometimes effective in fixing guilt; the dread of
incurring the wrath of the deity sometimes forced a guilty person to
confess, or his dread of the punishment produced signs of guilt. On the
other hand, it is probable that just as often innocent persons were
convicted and punished through such tests.

With all such systems of signs may be compared the Chinese quasi-science
called Fung-Shui ('Wind and Water'), which determines proper sites for
graves and for temples and other buildings by observations of the
influences of the sky (moisture, warmth, wind, thunder), of waters and
hills, and of the earth, and by the study of various magical
combinations. Thus, it is held, it is possible in important undertakings
to obtain the favor and support of the good Powers of the world. The
site of a grave, affecting the future of the dead, is of especial
significance, and the Fung-Shui interpreters, regularly trained men,
levy what contributions they please from surviving relatives, sometimes
purposely prolonging their investigations at a ruinous cost to the
family of the deceased.[1674] The system sprang from the Chinese
conception of heaven and earth as the controlling Powers of the world;
but, neglecting the higher side of this conception, it has sunk into a
fraudulent trade.[1675]

+927+. _Oracles._ As men went to the tents or palaces of chiefs or kings
for guidance in ordinary matters, so they went to the dwelling places of
superhuman Powers for direction in matters that were beyond human ken.
Such appeal to divine or quasi-divine beings began early in religious
history. In Borneo and the islands of Torres Straits the abodes of
skulls are places from which responses are obtained;[1676] speaking
heads are found there and elsewhere. The Sunthals of West Bengal have
the ghost of a specially revered ancestor as a dispenser of superhuman
knowledge.[1677] When local gods arose every local shrine, it is
probable, contained an oracle.[1678] The shrines of the great gods
naturally acquired special prominence, their oracles were consulted by
kings and other leaders on affairs of importance, and thus came to exert
a great influence on the course of events.[1679] The stars also, though
they had no earthly habitations, were consulted through their
interpreters. Such astrological oracles, as used by men like Posidonius,
the teacher of Cicero, might be morally inspiring; but when, at a later
time, the consultation of heavenly bodies fell into the hands of
wandering "Chaldeans" (who might be of any nation) it became a system of
charlatanry, and thus morally debasing.[1680]

The greater nations of antiquity differed considerably among themselves
in regard to the part played in their lives by oracles. In general, the
organization of oracular shrines grew in proportion to the rise of
manlike gods--deities whose relation to men was socially intimate. In
Egypt such shrines were not of prime importance;[1681] the functions of
the gods were mainly governmental--the most human of them, Osiris,
became an ethical judge rather than a personal friend. The
pre-Mohammedan Arabs did not create great gods, and their resort to
local divinities was commonly in order to ask whether or not a proposed
course of action was desirable; the answer was "yes" or "no."[1682] The
famous warrior and poet, Imru'l-Kais, desiring to go to war to avenge
his father's death, received at a shrine three times a negative answer,
whereupon, hurling abusive epithets at the god, he exclaimed, "If it
were your father, you would not say 'no.'" Such independence was
probably rare; most men would have accepted the divine decision. The
answer of the Hebrew oracle was, as among the Arabs, "yes" or "no" (by
urim and thummim)--the gods were remote, and the oracle, whose minister
was a priest, gradually yielded to the prophet, the human interpreter
of the deity.[1683] The Philistines appear to have had well-organized
oracles; when King Ahaziah was sick he sent to inquire of Baalzebub, god
of Ekron, whether or not he should recover.[1684] Many Babylonian and
Assyrian deities gave oracular responses;[1685] it is not known whether
the shrines were resorted to by the people at large, and their
importance was probably diminished by the great rôle played by the
priestly interpretation of omens, whereby the will of the gods was held
to be clearly revealed. The Romans under the republic were practically
independent of oracles at shrines: in household affairs they had a
family god for every department and every situation, and for State
matters they found the Sibylline oracles sufficient.[1686] Later, with
the widening of the horizon of religion, the resort to Greek and other
oracular shrines became general--a departure from the old Roman
constitution.[1687] The greatest development of oracular service took
place in Greece. The Greek gods, with their anthropomorphically
emotional characters, entered intimately and sympathetically into human
life, communal and individual. The great shrines of Zeus at Dodona and
Apollo at Delphi were centers of Hellenistic religious life, and there
were others of less importance.[1688] Zeus, as head of the pantheon,
naturally took a distinguished place as patron of oracles; and Apollo's
relation to music and inspiration may account in part for the
preëminence of his oracular shrine. In many cases, however, the grounds
of the choice of a particular deity as oracle-giver escape us.

The human demand for divine guidance long maintained the influence of
oracles everywhere, and it is not improbable that in general they
furthered what was good religiously and socially. They were bonds of
union between communities, and their authoritative rôle would naturally
force on them a certain sense of responsibility. As to the character of
the mouthpieces of the gods and the material on which they based their
answers to questions we have not the means of forming a definite
opinion. There can be little doubt that the official persons were
sometimes sincere in the belief that they were inspired--such is the
testimony of observers for both savage and civilized communities--and
many modern instances bear out this view. On the other hand, there is
reason to suppose that pretense and fraud often crept into the
administration of the oracles. When the questions were known beforehand
the responses may have been based on information that came from various
quarters and on insight into the particular situation about which the
inquiry was made. When the questions were not known beforehand we are in
the dark as to the source of the answers. Sometimes, doubtless, they
were happy or unhappy guesses; sometimes they were enigmatical or
ambiguous in form, so that they could be made to agree with the events
that actually occurred. In most cases the authorities would know how to
explain the issue in such a way as to maintain the credit of the oracle.
The best-known and the most impressive of the utterers of oracles is the
priestess of Apollo at Delphi, the Pythia. She occupied a commanding
position in the Hellenic world (and beyond it), such as was enjoyed by
few persons of the time.[1689] She was invested with special sanctity as
the dispenser of divine guidance to the Western world (to nations and
individuals). It was required of her that she be morally and
ceremonially pure, and she had to undergo a special preparation for the
delivery of her message. The manner of her revelation did not differ
from that of similar officials in noncivilized communities--she spoke in
a condition of ecstasy; she is the best representative of the intimate
union of the diviner and a great god, a union that tended to give
dignity and wisdom as well as authority to the oracular utterance.[1690]
She was, thus, in the best position for exerting a good influence on the
world of her time. How far the oracles of Apollo and other deities
furthered the best interests of religion it may be difficult to say--the
data for an exact answer are lacking. Socially they were useful in
maintaining a certain unity among peoples, and they may sometimes have
upheld justice and given judicious advice, but they were always exposed
to the temptation of fraud.

_Necromancy._ While in ancient times the dead were everywhere placated
by gifts and were sometimes worshiped, the consultation of them for
guidance seems to have been relatively infrequent. The attitude of
existing lower tribes toward ghosts varies in different places,[1691]
but the predominant feeling seems to be fear; these tribes have not
accomplished that social union between themselves and the departed
without which, as it appears, the living do not feel free to apply to
the latter for information concerning things past, present, and
future.[1692] Savage and half-civilized peoples depend for such
information on divination by means of common phenomena (omens) and on
the offices of magicians and soothsayers, and references in published
reports to necromantic usages among them are rare and vague. But among
civilized peoples also application to the dead is not as frequent as
might be expected; there is still fear of ghosts, and the part assigned
in early times to spirits in the administration of human life has been
given over to gods--family divinities and the great oracular deities
supply the information that men need. There are few signs of dependence
on necromancy in China, India, Persia, and Rome. The Babylonian mythical
hero Gilgamesh procures (through the aid of an Underworld god) an
interview with his dead friend Eabani in order to learn the nature of
the life below;[1693] this story points, perhaps, to necromantic
usages, but in the extant literature there are no details of such
usages. Application to the dead is certified for the old Hebrews not
only by the story of Saul's consultation of Samuel (which, though a
folk-story, may be taken to prove a popular custom) but by a prophetic
passage condemning the practice.[1694] Teraphim were employed, probably,
for divination, but there is no proof that they were connected with
necromancy.[1695] After the sixth century B.C. we hear nothing of
consultation of the dead by the pre-Christian Jews. Among the Greeks
also such consultation seems not to have enjoyed a high degree of favor.
There were oracles of the dead (of heroes and others), but these were
inferior in importance to the oracles of the great gods[1696] and
gradually ceased to be resorted to. Where the practice of incubation
existed, answers to inquiries were sometimes, doubtless, held to come
from the dead, but more commonly it was a god that supplied the desired

The stages in the history of necromantic practice follow the lines of
growth of psychical and theistic beliefs. There was first the era of
spirits when men were doubtful of the friendliness of ghosts, and held
it safer in general to trust to soothsayers for guidance in life. Then,
when the gods took distinct shape, they largely displaced ghosts as
dispensers of knowledge of the future, and these latter, standing
outside of and in rivalry with the circle of State deities, could be
approached only in secret--necromancy became illicit and its influence
was crippled. And when, finally, in the earlier centuries of our era,
the old gods disappeared, the rise of monotheistic belief was
accompanied by a transformation of the conception of the future of the
soul; it was to be no longer the inert earthly thing of the old theories
but instinct with a high life that fitted it to be the companion of
divine beings and the sharer of their knowledge and their ideals.[1697]
This conception led to the belief in the possibility of a nonmagical
friendly intercourse with the departed, who, it was assumed, would be
willing to impart their knowledge to their brethren on earth. Saints
have thus been appealed to, and it has been attempted in recent times to
enter into communication with departed kin and other friends.

+928+. The office of diviner, though it has always been an influential
one, has followed in its development the general course of social
organization, becoming more and more specialized and defined. In the
simplest religions the positions of magician and diviner are frequently
united in one person. In Greenland the Angekok, acting as the
interpreter or mouthpiece of a supernatural being from whom men learn
how they may be fortunate, foretells the condition of the weather and
the fortunes of fishing.[1698] A similar combination of the offices is
found among the Ainu, and apparently among the Cakchiquels, among whom
the divining function is said to have related particularly to war.[1699]

+929+. There was, however, as is remarked above, a tendency to invest
the priest with the function of divination. The Arabian _kahin_ was a
soothsayer, the Hebrew _kohen_ was a priest.[1700] The Yorubans have a
special god of divination whose priest is the soothsayer of the
community. In Ashantiland priests and priestesses, who are exceedingly
influential and powerful, owe a great deal of their importance to their
ability to explain signs and omens, especially to discover guilt and to
foretell events.[1701] In the elaborate divinatory ceremonies of the
Ahoms of Southeastern Asia, the conductors, who are highly considered in
the community, are priests; these people are partly Hinduized, but
probably retain much of their ancient religious forms.[1702] A
noteworthy specialization of functions is found among the Todas of
Southern India, who distinguish the diviner from the magician, the
prophet, and the dairyman. The diviner is inspired by a god, gives his
utterances in an ecstatic state, and for the most part limits himself
to the explanation of the origin of misfortunes.[1703] It would be a
matter of interest to trace, if it were possible, a history of this
specialization, but the early fortunes of the Toda religion are without
records and can only be surmised. In ancient Gaul the diviner, it is
said, was distinguished from the priest and the prophet.[1704] Where
divination is the duty of the priestly body, there is sometimes a
differentiation within this body, some persons devoting themselves
specifically to soothsaying; so among the Babylonians, where this
function was most important.[1705]

+930+. Among the old Hebrews the soothsaying function is connected not
only with priests but also with prophets.[1706] The priest was the
official diviner, employing the urim and thummim. Prophets and dreamers
are mentioned together as persons of the same class and as sometimes
employing their arts for purposes contrary to the national religion;
various classes of diviners are mentioned as existing among the
Israelites in the seventh century B.C., but the distinctions between
them are not given.[1707] From a statement in Isaiah ii, 6, it may
perhaps be inferred that some form of divination was imported into
Israel in the eighth century or earlier from the more developed
Philistines and from the countries east of the Jordan;[1708] and the
passage just referred to in Deuteronomy probably reveals Assyrian
influence. While the Egyptian documents have much to say of magic, they
give little information with regard to the existence of a class of
diviners; but it appears, according to a Hebrew writer,[1709] that the
art of divination might belong to any prominent person--Joseph is
represented as divining from a cup.

+931+. The greatest development of the office of the diviner in ancient
times was found among the Greeks and Romans.[1710] The Greek word
_mantis_ appears to have been a general term for any person, male or
female, who had the power of perceiving the will of the gods. The early
distinction between the _mantis_ and the _prophetes_ is not clear.
Plato, indeed, distinguishes sharply between the two terms:[1711] the
_mantis_, he says, while in an ecstatic state cannot understand his own
utterances, and it is, therefore, the custom to appoint a _prophetes_
who shall interpret for him; some persons, he adds, give the name
_mantis_ to this interpreter, but he is only a _prophetes_. We find,
however, that the terms are frequently used interchangeably; thus the
Pythia is called both _mantis_ and _prophetis_. Whatever may have been
the original sense of these terms, the office of diviner in Greece was
in the main separate from that of priest. It is found attached to
families and was hereditary. It was recognized by the State from an
early time and became more and more influential. According to Xenophon
Socrates believed in and approved divination.[1712] Plato held that it
was a gift of the gods, and that official persons so gifted were to be
held in high esteem.

+932+. In Rome, in accordance with the genius of the nation, soothsaying
was at a comparatively early period organized and taken in charge by the
State. There were colleges of augurs,[1713] standing in various
relations to political and social life, having their heads (chief
augurs)--thus in their organization similar to the priesthood, but
standing quite apart from this. The same sort of organization was
established in the Etruscan office of _haruspex_[1714] when this was
introduced into Rome. The members of these colleges were at first
Etruscans and, as such, looked down on; but gradually Roman youth of
good family and education were trained for the duty, and in the time of
the Emperor Claudius the social difference between augurs and haruspices
seems to have been almost eliminated.[1715]

+933+. _Sibyls._ In the old Græco-Roman world inspired women played a
great rôle.[1716] The belief in such personages goes back to the old
conception of the possession of human beings by a supernatural being,
which, as we have seen, was common in early forms of religion. This idea
assumed various shapes in Greece, and in the course of time the inspired
women were connected with various deities. In the Dionysus cult the
orgiastic rites (in which women took a chief part) seem to have grown up
from old agricultural ceremonies in which the spirit or god of
vegetation was invoked to give his aid. Such ceremonies naturally
coalesced here as elsewhere with the license of popular festivities. The
legends connected with the Dionysus cult introduced savage features into
the rites, as, for example, in the story of Pentheus.[1717] But whatever
may have been the case in Thrace, whence the cult came to Greece, it was
not so in historical times in Greece, where the celebrations were
controlled by the State. These exhibit then only the natural frenzy of
excited crowds without the element of divination.

+934+. The development of the rôle of women as representatives of
deities is illustrated by the character of the priestesses of oracular
shrines.[1718] These, like the Dionysiac devotees, are seized and
possessed by the god, and speak in a state of frenzy. But their frenzy
is controlled by civilized conditions. It exists only as a preparation
for divination; it is the movement of the god in them laboring to
express himself, and his expression is couched in intelligible human
language. The priestess is a part of an organized and humanized cult
and, as such, represents to a certain extent the ideas of a civilized
society. The Dionysiac woman yields to an excess of animal excitement,
without thought for society; the priestess feels herself responsible to
society. A similar progress in civilized feeling appears among the old
Hebrews; the incoherency of the earlier prophets[1719] gives way to the
thoughtful discourses of the ethical leaders.[1720] The manner and the
expression of revelation always conform to existing social usages.

+935+. Of a still different character is the figure of the Sibyl,
created by the Greeks and adopted by the Romans.[1721] She, too, is
possessed by a god and sometimes, at least, raves in ecstasy; but she
does not officiate at a shrine and is not controlled by any official
body. She dwells in a cave or a grotto, has her life in the open air,
and gives her answers on the leaves of the forest. She represents the
divine voices that are heard by early men everywhere in the world; in
the myth, when she displeases Apollo she is condemned to fade finally,
after a long life, into a voice.[1722] She is not, like the Pythia, an
actual human being--she is never seen except in legends and myths. She
is a creature of Greek imagination, the embodiment of all the divine
suggestions that come to man from the mysterious sounds around him.

+936+. The historical origin of the fully developed figure of the Sibyl
is obscure.[1723] In the literature she appears first in the sixth
century B.C. along with the Pythia, but she was then thought of as well
established and ancient. She is not mentioned by Homer or Hesiod, but
their silence is not proof positive that the conception of the character
did not exist in their time; they may have had no occasion to mention
her, or the figure may have been so vague and unimportant as not to call
for special mention. For such a figure it is natural to assume a long
development, the beginnings of which are, of course, enveloped in
obscurity. However this may be, the Sibyl appears to have received full
form under the religious impulse of post-Homeric times, under conditions
the details of which are not known to us.

+937+. In the scant notices of the figure that have been preserved the
indications are that there was originally only one Sibyl--she was the
mythical embodiment of divine revelation, as the muse was the embodiment
of intellectual inspiration. At a later time many sibyls came into
being; Varro reckons ten and other authors give other numbers.
Apparently a process of local differentiation went on; when the idea of
the revealer was once established and the historical beginnings of the
figure were unknown, many a place would be ambitious to have so noble a
figure domiciled in its midst. One line of tradition referred the
original Sibyl to the Ionian Erythræ, and when the Sibylline Books were
burned in the year 83 B.C., it was to Erythræ that the Romans sent to
make a new collection of oracles. Whatever the original home of the
figure, one of the most famous of the Sibyls was she of Cumæ.[1724] She
was regarded as being very old, and she was probably a permanent diviner
of that place. It was from Cumæ, according to the legend, that the
Sibylline Books came to Rome. The story of how they were first offered
to King Tarquinius Priscus, who refused to pay the price, how three of
them were destroyed and then three more, and how finally the required
price was paid for the remaining three, points to a belief that the
material of the oracles had once been larger than that which came to
Rome. There is also the assertion that the utterances of the Sibyl were
at that time recorded in books. This fact suggests that oracular
responses had long been known at Cumæ, and that some persons, of whose
character and functions we know nothing, had from time to time written
them down, so that a handbook of divination had come into existence.

+938+. In whatever manner the oracles were first brought to Rome it is
certain that they were accepted by the Romans in all good faith, and
they came to play a very important part in the conduct of public
affairs. They were placed in the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus under the
charge of two men (_duumviri_), and later a college was established for
their guardianship. They were used in Rome especially for guidance in
national calamities: when the existence of the city was threatened by
the victorious career of Hannibal, it was the Sibyl who prescribed the
importation of the worship of the Phrygian Great Mother. It is certain
that the books were manipulated by political and religious leaders for
their own purposes, old dicta being recast and new ones inserted as
occasion required;[1725] but probably this procedure was unknown to the
people--it does not appear that it affected their faith. Even Augustine
speaks of the theurgi as dæmones, and cites a passage from the Erythræan
Sibyl as a prediction of Christ.[1726]

+939+. To the poetical books which have come down to us under the name
of Jewish Sibylline Oracles no value attaches for the history of the
Sibyl except so far as they are an indication of the hold that the
conception kept on men's minds.[1727] They are a product of the passion
for apocalyptic writing that prevailed among the Jews and Christians in
Palestine and Alexandria, from the second century B.C. into the third
century of our era. The fame of the Græco-Roman Sibyl was widespread,
and to the Jews and Christians of that time it seemed proper that she
should be made to predict the history of Judaism and Christianity;
possibly it was believed that such a prophetess must have spoken of this
history. Naturally the Jewish Sibyl has a Biblical genealogy--she is the
daughter of Noah.

+940+. Her utterances, given in heavy Greek hexameters, have been
preserved for us in a great mass of ill-arranged fragments, with many
repetitions, indicating them as the work of various authors. What we
have is clearly only a part of what was produced, but the nature of the
whole body of pseudo-predictions is easily understood from the material
that has been preserved. They follow the history down to the author's
time, giving it sometimes an enigmatical form, and the future is
described in vague phrases that embody the guesses or hopes of the
writer. It seems certain that all of the existent material of these
oracles is from Jewish and Christian hands. Even when Greek mythical
stories are introduced, as in the euhemeristic description of the origin
of the Greek dynasties of gods in the third book, the whole is
conceived under the forms of Jewish or Christian thought. The Sibyllines
are quoted by Josephus and by many Christian writers from Justin Martyr
to Augustine and Jerome and later. They give a picture of certain Jewish
and Christian ideas of the period and of the opinions held concerning
certain political events, but otherwise have no historical value. An
illustration of the fact that the belief in them as real inspired
prediction continued to a late time is found in the hymn _Dies Irae_, in
which the Sibyl is cited along with David as a prophet of the last
judgment. The whole history of the figure is a remarkable illustration
of the power of a written record, held to be a divine revelation, to
impress men's minds and control their beliefs and actions.

+941+. While divination has played a great part in the religious history
of the world, it has rarely brought about important political or
religious results.[1728] The exceptions are the great Greek oracles of
Dodona and Delphi and the Roman Sibylline Books; to these last, as is
observed above, the Roman people owed the introduction of some important
religious cults. But for ordinary procedures priests and other
officiators everywhere were disposed to give favorable responses,
especially to the questions of prominent men; and military and other
political enterprises were usually in such form that they could not
conveniently be modified in accordance with unfavorable omens--the omen
had to be favorable. There were exceptions, but this was the general
rule. The science of divination, however, did good service in fostering
the observation of natural phenomena, and especially in the development
of astronomy and anatomy. In connection with these observations it
called into being bodies of men--corporations that in process of time
became centers of general culture.

+942+. On the ethical side it may be doubted whether divination has been
an advantage to society. It has produced much deceit, unconscious and
conscious. Whether diviners believed or did not believe in their
science, the result was bad. If they did not believe, they fostered a
system of deceit. Whether there was real belief or not, the practice of
divination encouraged false methods and turned men's minds away from
immediate appeals to the deity, and in general from a spiritual
conception of religion. On the other hand, it helped to maintain the
external apparatus of religion, which for ancient life was an important
thing. Like all great institutions its effects have been partly good,
partly bad. It belongs to a lower stage of human thought and tends to
disappear gradually before enlightenment.



+943+. The preceding survey of early religious customs and institutions
discloses a recognizable unity in diversity. Everywhere we find the same
classes of sacred objects and the same methods of approaching them.
Whether the supernatural Powers are conceived of as animals or as plants
or as what we call inanimate things, or, in more advanced thought, as
ghosts or spirits or gods, they are held to be factors in human life,
are regarded with awe, are dreaded and avoided, or are welcomed as
helpers, and in any case are propitiated by gifts and other marks of
respect. The potency inherent in things is the object of observation,
its laws are studied, and it is used for purposes of life. The
diversities in the form of ceremonies, in the conception of the
characters of the Powers, and in the general tone and coloring of
worship arise from economic and cultural differences, and are as
numerous as the tribes of men; the unity of cults is a result of the
psychological unity of the human race--the religious needs of men in all
stages of culture are the same; there is nothing in the highest
religious systems that is not found in germ in the lowest.

+944+. The earliest expression of religious feeling, as is pointed out
above,[1729] is in the form of ceremonies. But ceremonies tend to group
themselves round the persons of divine beings. Gods, as the controllers
of human fortunes here and hereafter, naturally become the centers of
religious thought. Their characters and functions reflect the ideals of
their worshipers, and all ritualistic and other usages and all doctrines
concerning the relations between gods and men and, in general, all ideas
concerning the physical and moral constitution of the world attach
themselves perforce to the divine embodiments of these ideals. Thus, in
one sense, the history of the gods is the history of religion. From the
earliest times up to the present the efforts of men have been directed
toward defining the divine Powers that have been supposed to stand
behind all phenomena. The problem of harmonizing diverse divine
activities has always been a serious one, and its solution has been
sought in various ways. Gods have been locally limited, every one to his
own human tribe, district, or nation; or, when they dwell together and
their spheres of influence are larger, they have been given free scope
of action, and the resulting contradictions in human affairs have been
accepted as a part of the mysterious nature of things; or order has been
sought in simplification--headship has been ascribed to some one deity,
and the relation between him and the subordinate divinities has been
somehow explained or has been left unexplained. The process of
simplification has gone steadily on with the result that the great
religious systems of the world fall into groups distinguished from one
another by their conceptions of the divine government of the world,
whether as pluralistic or as unitary. The development of these different
conceptions may be traced here in outline, though the absence of exact
data and the variety and complexity of the formative influences
(economic, philosophical, political, and other) necessarily make it
difficult or impossible to account satisfactorily for all details. The
groups to be considered are polytheism, dualism, and monotheism, to
which may be added brief mention of systems that do not recognize a
personal divine ruler of the world.


+945+. The first stage in the final theistic history of the world up to
the present day, polytheism, appears in all the great civilized nations.
The great polytheistic systems have much in common: for example,
protection of civil order and morality by a god; prominence of the god
of a ruling tribe or family or of a great city; disposition to embody
certain general facts, as war, love, learning, in divine figures;
tendency to make some god universal. On the other hand, they differ
among themselves in certain regards: in the degree of specialization and
differentiation of divine functions, and in the stress that they lay on
the various departments of human life. Their agreements and
disagreements seem to be in some cases independent of racial relations
and climatic conditions; their roots lie so far back in history that we
have no means of tracing their genesis and development.

+946+. The Egyptian and the Semitic peoples were parts of the same
original stock,[1730] and their systems of social and political
organization were substantially identical--the government in its
developed form was monarchical, but tribal and other locally isolated
forms of organization maintained themselves to a certain extent--and
their literary and artistic outputs do not differ materially. We might,
then, expect their religions to be in the main identical. In fact they
agree in having a relative meagerness of theistic differentiation, but
in some important points they are far apart. The Semites were
indifferent to the future life, the Egyptians constructed it elaborately
(in this point taking precedence among the ancients); the Semites were
averse to divinizing human beings, for the Egyptians kings were divine.
In this last point Egypt resembles China, but in other respects is at a
world-wide remove from it. Other peoples thought of their gods as having
relations with beasts; the Egyptians alone, among civilized nations,
worshiped the living animal.[1731] Some Greek writers regarded Egypt as
the religious mother of Greece, but Hellenic cults show little
resemblance to Egyptian.

+947+. The Hebrews had the general Semitic theistic and cultic scheme,
but in their capacity (in their higher development) to content
themselves with one deity, and in their elaboration of ritualistic forms
and institutions, were more closely akin to the Aryan Persians than to
any Semitic community, and borrowed freely from them. The resemblance
between the two cults, however, was confined to these two points; in
other respects they were very different.

+948+. The linguistic identity of the Indo-European peoples does not
carry with it theologic identity. The theistic scheme of India is more
nearly allied, in the disposition to grant equality of significance to
all gods, to the Egyptian and Semitic than to the Persian and the Greek,
yet the tone and color of the Hindu deities do not resemble the tone and
color of the Egyptian and Babylonian divinities.

Even between Greece and Rome the religious differences are great. Greece
stands alone in its artistic creation of divine forms. Rome rather
resembles the Hebrews in its sobriety of theistic creations, and
particularly is like the Chinese in the purpose to make religion
subservient to the interests of the family and the State; Roman
religion, like Chinese, might be described as a body of public and
private ceremonies to which gods were attached.[1732] The Roman gods,
however, are much more definite figures than the Chinese; the latter are
either unimportant folk-gods or powers of nature.

+949+. The contrast between Mexico, with its considerable number of
departmental gods, some of them savage, and Peru, whose
quasi-monotheistic system is relatively mild, is striking. But the
origin of these two peoples (who perhaps are made up of different sets
of tribes) is involved in obscurity, and it is uncertain whether or not
we should expect a greater resemblance between their cults.

+950+. The differentiation in the theistic scheme of the Teutons,
especially the Scandinavians, is noteworthy. Several of their deities,
particularly Wodan (Odin), Thor, and Loki, are well-developed persons,
and these and some others do not differ materially in character from the
earlier corresponding Hindu and Greek gods. A comparison between the
Teutonic figures and the Celtic and Slavic would be pertinent if we knew
more of the character of these last; but the information about them is

+951+. The extent of the anthropomorphization of gods in any system may
be measured by the richness and refinement of its mythology. When the
gods live apart from men, being conceived of mainly as transcendent
Powers, or when they are not fully developed men, there is little room
for the play of social emotions and for the creation of biographies of
individual deities. It is the humanized god that has emotional life, and
it is in this mythical life that the religious feeling of the worshiper
is expressed with greatest fullness of detail.

+952+. The development of mythology through all its gradations of
fullness and fineness can be traced in the religious systems of the
world.[1734] Where there is no recognizable worship there is, of course,
no mythology. This is the case in Australia, in Pygmy lands, in Tierra
del Fuego, in parts of New Guinea, and perhaps elsewhere.[1735] Scarcely
above these are parts of Central and Southern Africa, the countries of
the Bantu, the Hottentots, and the Bushmen.[1736] A feeble mythological
invention appears among the Zulus, whose conception of gods is
indistinct;[1737] and the Masai and the Nandi, who are somewhat farther
advanced in the construction of deities, show mythopoeic imagination
in a single case only (the famous myth of the embrace of the earth and
the sky), and this is perhaps borrowed.[1738] Along with these we may
place the Todas whose theogonic conceptions appear to have been cramped
by their buffalo cult, and their mythical material is small and

+953+. A somewhat higher stage of mythopoeic development is represented
by peoples of Oceania and North America. The myths are still
prevailingly cosmologic and sociologic, but the beginning of
biographical sketches of supernatural Powers is visible. The Melanesian
Qat and the Polynesian Maui are on the border line between
culture-heroes and gods, but they are real persons, and their
adventures, while they describe origins, are also descriptions of
character. Hawaii and Borneo have departmental gods and a body of
stories about them.[1740] Certain tribes of Redmen have not only divine
genealogical systems but also narratives resembling the Melanesian in
character, the line between myth proper and folk-lore being often hard
to trace.[1741] The stories fall into more or less well-defined groups,
and of the Coyote and, less definitely, of certain other personages
biographies might be written.

+954+. The half-civilized peoples of Madagascar, West Africa (Dahomi,
Ashanti, Yoruba), the Malay Peninsula, and Southern India (Khonds) have
more coherent figures and stories of divine personages.[1742] Here
something like living human beings appear, though there is crudeness in
the portraiture, and the interest is chiefly in the history of origins.
The Malayan and Khond figures are especially noteworthy, but are not
free from the suspicion of influence from higher religions.

+955+. True literary mythology is found only in civilized peoples, and
among these a gradation is recognizable. We have first the stage of
culture represented by the Japanese, the Finns, the Mexicans, and the
Peruvians, with fairly well-developed gods, who have emotions and
histories. In this group Japan takes the lowest place;[1743] it is
chiefly in the figures regarded as deified men that definiteness of
character and human warmth are found. Japanese theogony was depressed by
the interest of the people in family and State organization; the gods,
though civilized, are vague personalities. The Finnish literary mythical
material, given in the Kalevala, has a highly humanized coloring and is
worked up into a coherent story; the social system revealed in the myths
is superior in many regards to that of the Redmen, but the theistic
scheme is crude.[1744] The few Mexican myths that have come down to us
(probably only the remains out of a large mass) show reflection and
portray human experiences.[1745] Both in Mexico and in Peru the Spanish
conquest appears to have destroyed no little material that, if
preserved, would have illustrated the mythical constructions of these
lands. In Peru, further, it may be that the monotheistic tinge of the
State religion had the effect of banishing subordinate deities and the
stories connected with them. For whatever reason little is known of its
mythical material, but the little that is known shows a certain degree
of refinement. South America, excluding Peru, has no mythical
constructions of interest.[1746]

+956+. Of the great religions the Chinese may be passed by in the
present sketch; its form leaves no place for mythology; its virtual
monotheism excludes lesser supernatural figures as actors in the drama
of human life.[1747]

+957+. The Persian cosmogonic myths are merely statements of great facts
without biographical features. In the hands of late writers they shaded
into legendary accounts of the origin of the kingdom, and the whole was
colored by the developed Mazdaism. We thus have theological
constructions rather than true myths.[1748] The few mythical stories
that have survived play an insignificant part in the religious system--a
sort of result that is to be expected whenever a substantially definite
monotheistic conception has been reached.

+958+. Egypt produced a couple of myths of great interest.[1749] The
story of Ra's anger with men, and his act of wholesale destruction,
belongs in the group of myths (in which flood stories and others are
included) the motif of which is antagonism between gods and men. The
conception of such antagonism seems to go back to the early opinion
that all misfortunes were caused by supernatural beings; in civilized
times some great calamity would be singled out as a special result of
divine anger, and imagination would construct a history of the event,
why the god was angry, and how he was appeased. What particular
occurrence this Egyptian story refers to is unknown.

The Osiris myth has better literary form and more cultic
significance.[1750] The slaying of Osiris by Set, Isis's search for the
body of her husband, and the rôle of the young Horus as avenger of his
father make a coherent history. Osiris had the singular fortune of being
the most widely popular god in Egypt, the hero of a romantic episode,
and the ethical judge of men in the Underworld. The motif of the myth is
the cosmic struggle between life and death; the actors are made real
persons, and the story is instinct with human interest. No great cultic
association like the Eleusinian mysteries was created in connection with
it, but the echo of the conception appears in the great rôle later
assigned to Isis.

+959+. All Semitic myths of which we have records are cosmogonic or
sociologic or, in some late forms, theological constructions. It is
Babylonia that has furnished the greater part of the material, perhaps
all of it.[1751] The stories preserved give little or no portraiture of
divine persons--it is always cosmic phenomena that are described, and
gods and heroes are introduced simply as actors. The purpose in the two
cosmogonic poems--to explain the reduction of the world to order and the
existing constitution of earth and sky--is one that is found everywhere
in ancient systems of thought. The Gilgamesh epic, a collection of
popular usages and tales without definite unity, is contaminated with
legend; Gilgamesh is now a god, now a national hero; at the end,
however, there is a bit of speculation concerning the future state of
men. Ishtar's descent to the Underworld is a pure nature myth; Ishtar
and the goddess of the Underworld are real persons, yet merely
attachments to the fact. The seizure of the tablets of fate from Bel by
the storm-god Zu represents some natural phenomenon (perhaps the reign
of winter), possibly, also, a transference of headship from one deity to
another. The story of Adapa is in part an explanation of how men came to
lose immortality. There is, thus, in these myths a fairly full history
of the origin of the large facts of human life, with little interest in
the personalities of the divine actors.

Hebrew mythical material is in general identical with Babylonian; its
Old Testament form has been more or less revised by late monotheistic
editors. The two cosmogonies in Genesis, the flood story, and the dragon
of chaos (a late figure in the Old Testament[1752]) are merely
descriptions of cosmic or local facts. The dispersion at Babel (not now
found in Babylonian records, but paralleled elsewhere) deals with a
sociological fact of great interest for the Hebrews, marking them off,
as it did, from all other peoples.[1753] The heroes of the early
time[1754] belong to folk-lore, probably a mixture of myth and legend.
The explanation of various human experiences in the Eden story[1755]
appears to be of Hebrew origination; it is, however, rather a late
theological theory than a myth. The Syrian and Palestinian Tammuz
(Adonis) myth is identical in general form with the Babylonian myth of
Tammuz and Ishtar.[1756]

+960+. The Indo-European mythical material shows an advance over the
Egyptian and Semitic in distinctness and fullness of life corresponding
to the distincter individuality of the Indo-European divine personages.
These are not mere powers in the world, more or less identified with
natural forces and phenomena, nor a collection of deities substantially
identical in character and functions; they have grown into persons,
differing, indeed, in the degree of individualization, but all
pronounced personalities.

+961+. Hindu myths, though less numerous and less highly elaborated
than the Greek, still reflect fairly well the characters of certain
divinities, especially Indra, Agni, the Açvins, the Maruts, and some
others.[1757] Indra, particularly, is portrayed in detail, so that he is
as distinct a person as Ares or Mars. Krishna and other figures in the
epics live human lives with all human virtues and vices.

+962+. The full literary form of the myth is found only in Greece. As
Zeus, Apollo, Athene, Aphrodite, and others are well-defined
personalities, each with certain intellectual and moral characteristics
and with a unity of development, so the stories about them recount
adventures and acts that form biographical unities; and, as these
stories are of diverse nature, some reflecting barbarous periods, others
marked by refinement, they exhibit, when brought together and arranged
in order of moral or intellectual excellence or according to their
geographical or ethnical origin, not only the history of the gods, but
also the development of Greek religious feeling. Being the embodiment of
human experiences, they lend themselves readily to processes of
allegorizing and spiritualizing.[1758]

+963+. Roman gods, homely figures, occupied with agriculture and affairs
of State, have no adventures and no biographies. The practical Roman
mind was concerned with the domestic functions of divine beings, and the
Roman genius was not of a sort to conceive gods as individuals leading
lives filled with human passions. Myths do not figure in the Roman
religious scheme except as they are borrowed from Greece or from some
other land.

+964+. Teutonic mythology is largely cosmogonic or cosmologic, not
without shrewd portraitures and attractive episodes, but never reaching
the point of artistic roundness and grace.[1759] The adventures of Odin,
Thor, Loki, and other divine persons reflect for the most part the
daring and savagery of the viking age, though there are kindly features
and an occasional touch of humor.[1760] Loki in some stories is a
genuine villain, and the death of Balder is a real tragedy. The great
cosmogonic and eschatological myths are conceived in grandiose style.
The struggle between gods and giants is in its basis the widespread
nature myth of the conflict of seasons. The overthrow of the old divine
government (the Twilight of the Gods) and the rise of a new order appear
to have a Christian coloring, but the belief that the world is to be
destroyed may be old Teutonic.[1761]

The history of theistic movements in civilized peoples shows that the
effectiveness of a polytheistic system as a framework of religious life
is in proportion to the extent of its anthropomorphization of deities,
that is, it is in proportion to their humanization that gods enter into
intimate association with human experiences. On the other hand, it is
true that the tendency toward a unitary conception of the divine
government of the world is in inverse proportion to such humanization;
the more definitely aloof from men the gods have stood (as among the
Hebrews and the Persians), the easier it has been for the people to
attach themselves to a single deity as all-sufficient. The Romans form
no exception to this general rule, for though, while they did not create
great anthropomorphic deities, there was yet no native Roman movement
toward monolatry, the place of such deities in worship was taken by a
multitude of minor divine patrons who presided over all the details of
private and public life and satisfied the demand for divine guidance.

While polytheism has assumed various forms, differing from one another
in elaboration of deities and in general cultural character, it has had,
as a system, a distinctly marked place in human experience.

+965+. _General rôle of polytheism._ Polytheism has played a great rôle
in the religious history of the world. Representing in general a
thoughtful protest against the earlier shapeless mass of spirits, it
expressed more definitely the belief in the intellectual and moral
divine control of all things. It flourished at a time when there was no
general demand in human thought for coöperation in supernatural Powers.
The sense of variety in the world was predominant, corresponding to the
absence of coöperation among the tribes and nations of the world; the
apparently isolated character of natural phenomena and the independence
of the nations, each of the others, seemed to men to demand a number of
separate divine agencies. These were all made to accord with the
external and internal condition of their worshipers and met the demands
of life in that they represented redemption, salvation, and, in general,
all blessings. They were not offensive ethically to the people for the
reason that they embodied the ethical conceptions and usages of their
time. Thus they furnished the framework for religious feeling--they
secured the union of divine and human in life, brought the divine,
indeed, into most intimate contact with the human, and so supplied the
material for the expression of pious feeling. When the gods were
represented by idols, these tended to become merely the symbols and
reminders of their divine originals. The elastic character of this
theistic system permitted the widest variety of cults, with the
possibility of bringing any new social tendency or idea into immediate
connection with a divine patron, so that human life became religious
with a degree of intelligence and intensity that has perhaps not existed
under any other system.

+966+. The great civilizations of the ancient world arose and were
developed under polytheism--many noble human characters and customs and
institutions were created under the dominance of this system in
Babylonia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, and elsewhere--that is to say, human
instincts and aspirations developed freely under a theistic organization
that satisfied in general the intellectual and moral needs of the time.
The different polytheistic cults of the world differed considerably in
intellectual and moral value. These differences pertain to the diversity
of characteristics among the nations of the world and are to be studied
in connection with the histories of the various peoples. Here it is
sufficient to note the general position which polytheism has occupied in
the whole religious development of the world.[1762]

+967+. At a relatively early time, however, dissatisfaction arose with
the discordances of the polytheistic conception. It raised many problems
and failed to account for many phenomena, and efforts were made to
systematize and simplify the conceptions of the divine government of the
world. These efforts took the shape of dualism, monotheism, pantheism,
Buddhism, Confucianism, and later tended to regard the supernatural in
the world as Ultimate Force or as Moral Ideal. These tendencies may be
examined in the order just given.


+968+. In all the religious systems so far considered the existence of
human suffering is assumed. The sole object of religious practices, in
all cults except the highest, has been to secure extrahuman or
superhuman aid and comfort in the ills of life. There has been the
conviction, for the most part implicit, that man is not in harmony with
his surroundings. We have now to consider those systems of religious
thought in which the existence of this disharmony is more or less
distinctly announced and the effort is made to discover its source.

The conception of two sets of Powers in the world, one helpful and the
other harmful, is suggested by human experience and by the larger
observation of natural phenomena, and it is found all over the world,
among low communities as well as high, perhaps in all tribes of
men.[1763] Possibly there are some low groups, such as the Fuegians and
the African Pygmies in which the conception does not exist; but as the
religious ideas of these low groups are yet imperfectly understood, we
cannot say what their position on this point is. In general, for the
lower tribes the world is peopled by spirits, which are the ghosts of
the departed or the embodiment of natural forces, and the feeling has
been that these are sometimes friendly, sometimes unfriendly.[1764] In
some cases the hurtful spirits stand in contrast with a god who may be a
strict ruler and somewhat indifferent to men, but not hostile; in other
cases there is a simple division of spirits into two classes, the
friendly and the unfriendly,[1765] and in the higher forms of savage
life there may be two such classes of deities.[1766] The double feeling
of man respecting the attitude of ghosts toward living human beings is
referred to above.[1767]

+969+. In certain higher forms of savage and half-civilized life we find
the conception of a definite contrast between the two sets of Powers.
The Hottentots are said to believe in two opposed supernatural beings,
the struggle between them ending to the advantage of the one who is
beneficent toward men.[1768] The Masai have two powerful beings, one
accounted good, the other bad; the difference between them is not
ethical, but represents only the relation of their acts to man's
well-being.[1769] The Malays have a very elaborate system of good and
evil spirits, but the system is colored by foreign influences.[1770] For
the Ainu snakes are an embodiment of merely physical evil, and other
Powers are the dispensers of physical well-being.[1771] The Arab jinn
represent the unwholesome and antagonistic conditions of nature, stand
opposed to the gods, and are without ethical motives.[1772] Even the
Andamanese, one of the lowest of human communities, have a division of
Powers into one who is friendly and two who are unfriendly.[1773] In all
these cases we have to recognize simply the expression of the perception
of two sets of physical agencies in the world. It is easy to exaggerate
the nature of these contrasts and to represent certain low tribes as
possessing general divine embodiments of good and evil.

+970+. Such a conception has been attributed to the American
Redmen,[1774] but on insufficient grounds. The most careful recent
investigations of the religious ideas of the Creeks, the Lenâpé, the
Pawnees, and the Californian Shasta (four typical communities) fail to
discover anything that can be called a real dualistic conception.[1775]
Dorsey mentions a Pawnee myth of the introduction of death into the
world by a member of the heavenly council of gods who felt himself
slighted; but this isolated story does not prove the existence of a
general dualistic scheme--the act in question has parallels in savage
systems that recognize various unfriendly Powers.[1776] The reports we
have of two definite morally antagonistic deities in Redmen tribes
resolve themselves on examination into misconceptions or exaggerations
on the part of the reporters; or, so far as the antagonism really
exists, it is due to Christian influence. The Iroquois dualistic system
as described by Chief Cusic (in 1825)--two brothers, Good Mind and Bad
Mind, the former the creator of all things good, the latter the creator
of all things bad--appears in the version of Brébeuf (in 1636) as a
simple nature myth, the two deities in question being somewhat more
definite forms of the friendly and unfriendly spirits met with in all
lower communities.[1777] In like manner Winslow's two opposed Powers of
the New England Algonkins turn out not to be morally antagonistic to
each other, in fact, according to Brinton, not antagonistic at
all.[1778] These facts warn us to treat with caution the vague
statements of early travelers respecting dualistic views supposed to be
held by tribes in North America and South America.[1779]

+971+. In West Africa the Ashanti embody the sources of physical
misfortune in several deities, who are malignant but do not stand in
opposition to the friendly gods. A preliminary step to the conception of
a god of misfortunes is the assignment of a sort of headship to one of a
mass of unfriendly or hurtful spirits--such a crude organization is
natural in a community in which there is a fairly developed form of
social organization, and the head spirit easily grows into a god. A
simple headship over hurtful spirits appears to be found in the Ainu
system, though this latter is in general not well developed.[1780]

+972+. A definite antagonism of good and bad Powers is found in the
religion of the non-Aryan Khonds of Orissa: the earth-goddess Tari, the
creature but the opponent of the sun-god Bella Pennu, introduced sin and
death into the world and contested (and, according to one native
account, still contests) with her creator the control of life. This
explanation of the origin of death is a higher form of stories that
occur abundantly in savage lore, with the important difference that in
these death comes by accident, but here by malicious purpose. It is not
clear whether or not the characters of Tari and Bella Pennu are
conceived of ethically. The weapons (comets, winds, mountains) employed
by the two deities indicate that the basis of the representation is a
nature myth. Advanced eschatological thought appears in the opinion,
held by some natives, that the good god was victorious in the

+973+. In the great ancient religions, with the exception of
Zoroastrianism, no dualistic scheme appears. An Egyptian god may be
angry, as, for example, Ra, who in a fit of resentment causes men to be
slain but soon repents; and Set, the enemy of Osiris, a nature god,
seemed at one time to be on the way to become an embodiment of evil, but
the Egyptian cult rejected this idea and Set gradually
disappeared.[1782] The Babylonian cosmogonic myth, in which Tiamat is
the enemy of the gods of order, has no cultic significance; the great
mass of demonic beings was not organized into a kingdom of evil, and the
Underworld deities, nature gods, while subject to ordinary human
passions, are not hostile to the gods of heaven and earth. The Hebrews
adopted the Babylonian cosmogonic myth,[1783] but it became a mere
literary attachment to the conception of the supreme god Yahweh, and was
otherwise ineffective.

+974+. The same thing is true of certain cosmogonic myths of the Greeks,
such as the war of the Titans against Zeus and similar episodes. Ate and
the Erinyes are embodiments of man's own evil nature or represent the
punishment that overtakes guilt, but they do not represent a formal
opposition to goodness nor are they organized into a definite
body.[1784] The Roman Furies are practically identical in function with
the Erinyes. In the old Teutonic religion the only figure who approaches
essential badness is Loki; but he, though at times malignant and
treacherous (as a human chieftain might be), remains a recognized member
of the assembly of gods. As a nature god he may represent the elements
of darkness and unhappiness in life, just as the various evil spirits in
the world do, but he never approaches the position of an independent
creator of evil.[1785] The Celtic deities Llew and Dylan are said to
stand over against each other and to represent good and bad tendencies
and elements of life; but they are not very distinct and are probably
nothing more than somewhat developed local deities.[1786] In the Chinese
and Japanese cults there is no indication of a conflict; evil spirits
there are in abundance, but no cosmic antagonism.

+975+. In India the cosmogonic myths are to be interpreted in the same
way as those mentioned above. Soma and Indra, as slayers of the demon
Vritya, represent order as against disorder, but Vritya never had cultic
significance; he appears only as a bodily demonstration of the power of
the great gods. The asuras are not essentially different from the
harmful spirits of savages, though it is true that they come into
conflict with the friendly gods. Rahu, who causes eclipses by swallowing
the sun, is only a nature deity of great might. In the Mahabharata there
are powerful demons, and the Çivaite cult includes the worship of dread
beings, but such worship only reflects the fear of the unfriendly
elements of physical nature.[1787] Nor do we find in the persons of
Durga, Kali, and the Yakshas, unpleasantly savage as these are, a
conception of evil as an organized force directed against the good gods;
they are rather the embodiment of evil human dispositions. The
underground demons are punishers of sin, but not themselves morally
evil. There is, it is true, in the Hindu religious scheme the general
antithesis of light and darkness, which are connected with right and
wrong--an antithesis that appears abundantly in other religious
systems;[1788] but the powers of darkness are not organized against the
powers of light, and there is no complete dualism, though we have here,
perhaps, the starting-point for such a conception.

+976+. While thus a vague sense of duality has existed all over the
world, and in certain cases, as it seems, there were vague attempts at
organization, it is only in Zoroastrianism that the decisive step has
been taken. We have to recognize in this system a distinct movement
towards a unitary conception of the world; but the sense of difference
in human experiences was so great in the mind of the creators of the
system that they were led to a unification in two divisions.[1789] The
origin of the movement lies far back at a time when there were no
records of thought and social movements, and it is impossible now to say
definitely what were the original elements of the cult. We may surmise
that there was an Indo-Iranian conception of a general contrast between
light and darkness, and that this was the starting-point or the basis of
the developed Iranian theological system. The old Indic and the old
Iranian religions seem to have been independent developments from a
common original mass of material; but we do not know what determined the
differences in the two developments. The constructions were the work,
doubtless, of successions of reformers, but the details of these
long-continued efforts have not come down to us.[1790] The essential
point is that the evil mass in the world was conceived of as a unity by
the Iranians and assigned a head, Angro Mainyu. This name does not occur
in the Achæmenian inscriptions, but it is mentioned in the Gathas and by
Aristotle,[1791] so that it appears to belong to an early stratum of the
Iranian religion. The present state of the world is regarded as the
result of a constant series of antagonisms between the two creators,
Spenta Mainyu (Ahura Mazda) and Angro Mainyu, these being attended each
by a circle of helpers. A polytheistic interpretation of the helpers is
avoided by making them abstractions (though with a tendency toward
personification), the representatives of various features or elements in
the government of the world or in the experiences of men.[1792]

+977+. A strictly dualistic system recognizes only two Powers in the
world. The Avestan religion, however, admits other deities besides Ahura
Mazda and Angro Mainyu; Mitra, Anahita, and others are objects of
worship. The ancient national faiths, that is, were not content with a
simple division of things between two divine beings. An approach to such
a view was made by Judaism, which, partly under Persian influence,
produced the figure of the Satan, a quasi-independent being hostile to
the Supreme Deity.[1793] Christianity, adopting this conception from
Judaism, elaborated it into the person of the Devil, the veritable head
of a kingdom of evil, called in the New Testament "the god of this
age."[1794] Though doomed to final defeat, as Ahriman in the Avesta is
doomed, the Devil in the orthodox Christian system is practically
omnipresent and is powerful enough to defeat the plans of God in many
cases. In modern enlightened Christian feeling, however, he has become
little more than a name. Though he is credited in theory with suggesting
evil and alluring men to sin, this dogma has small force in the better
minds against the strong conviction of individual freedom and
responsibility. Current Christianity, in its highest forms, is
theoretically, but not really, dualistic. The Satan is taken more
seriously by Islam, which has adopted the conception from Christianity
and Judaism.[1795] For the ordinary Moslem he belongs in the category of
evil spirits and is as real as one of the jinn; he may be cursed and
stoned and driven away,[1796] but he does not affect the Moslem belief
in the oneness of God.

+978+. From the conquest of Persia by Alexander to the fall of the
Parthian dynasty (a period of over five hundred years) little is known
of the history of Mazdaism beyond the fact that it seems to have been
adopted by the Parthians in a debased form; but about the time of the
Persian revival under the Sassanians (226 A.D.) it passed the bounds of
its native land and made its way into the Roman Empire in the shape of
Manichæism, a mixture of dualistic and Christian Gnostic conceptions.
That Manichæism had a certain force is shown by the fact that it
attracted such a man as Augustine, and its survival for several
centuries in spite of persecutions attests its vitality. It may be
doubted whether its attractiveness lay so much in its dualism as in its
gnosticism, though the former element maintained itself in some minor
Christian sects. However this may be, it gradually faded away, leaving
no lasting impression; it was a form of faith not suited to the peoples
who professed Christianity.[1797]

+979+. The modern philosophic proposals to recognize two deities instead
of one are as yet too vague to call for discussion. Dualism, though it
accounts in some fashion for the twofold character of human experiences,
raises as many problems as it solves; in particular it finds itself
confronted apparently by a physical and psychological unity in the world
which it is hard to explain on the hypothesis of conflicting
supernatural Powers.[1798] On the moral side the record of dualistic
schemes is in general good. The ethical standard of Mazdaism is high,
and the ethical practice of Mazdean communities hardly differs from that
of other prominent modern religious bodies. Though the Manichæans were
accused of immoral practices, it does not appear that Mani himself or
any prominent disciple of his announced or favored or permitted such


+980+. The preceding survey has shown that the theory of dualism has not
proved in general acceptable to men. It was adopted by one people only,
and even by them not in complete form, and its character as a national
cult was destroyed by the Moslem conquest of Persia in the seventh
century. The Zoroastrian system was indeed carried by a body of
emigrants to India and has since been professed by the Parsis there; but
it has been converted by them into a practical monotheistic cult, so
that a consistent dualism now exists nowhere in the world. The thought
of the great civilized nations has turned rather to a unitary view of
the divine government of the world.

+981+. The history of the movement which has elevated monotheism to the
highest place among the civilized cults extends over the whole period of
man's life on the earth. It is pointed out above[1799] that very
generally in low tribes a local supernatural personage is invested with
great power: he is creator, ruler, and guardian of morals; where a
tolerably definite civil and political organization exists he has
virtually the position and performs the functions of the tribal chief,
only with vastly greater powers and privileges; where there is no such
organization he is simply a vaguely conceived, mysterious man who has
control of the elements and of human fortunes, and punishes violations
of tribal custom. Such a personage is, however, at best only the highest
among many supernatural Powers. It is immaterial whether we regard such
a figure as developed from a spirit or as the direct product of
religious imagination. He is always crudely anthropomorphic and,
notwithstanding his primacy, is limited in power by his own nature, by
other supernatural Powers, and by men. Frequently, also, he tends to
become otiose and virtually loses his supremacy;[1800] that is to say,
in the increased complexity of social life a god who was once sufficient
for the needs of a simpler organization has to give way to a number of
Powers which are regarded as the controllers of special departments of
life. Such an otiose form may sometimes indicate a succession of divine
quasi-dynasties, somewhat as in the Greek sequence of Ouranos, Kronos,
Zeus. Handed down from a former generation, he becomes dim and is
neglected. That he is not worshiped is a result of the fact that other
divine beings, standing nearer to existing human interests, have come to
the front.

+982+. The theory has been held in the past, and is still held, that
monotheism was the primitive form of religion and that the worship of
many spirits or many gods is a corruption of primitive thought due to
man's intellectual feebleness or to his moral depravity. It is urged
that such a monotheistic system was the natural one for unsophisticated
man. The view has been widely held also that it was the result of a
primitive divine revelation to men. It is obvious that neither of these
opinions is susceptible of proof on a priori grounds; the question can
be settled only by a survey of the phenomena known to us. When the facts
are clearly stated, it is then allowable to deduce from them such
conclusions as may seem legitimate.

+983+. As a matter of fact, it does not appear that real monotheistic
belief exists or has existed among savage and half-civilized communities
of whose history we have any knowledge. Where a certain supernatural
being is described by observers as "the god" or "the supreme god" of a
tribe, it turns out on inquiry that he is at most, as is remarked above,
a very prominent divine figure, perhaps the most prominent, but never
standing alone and never invested with those physical, intellectual, and
moral capacities that are necessary for a complete monotheistic faith.

+984+. While, however, this conclusion is generally admitted for the
majority of cases,[1801] it has been held, and is still held, that there
are found in savage cults certain "self-existent, eternal, moral" beings
who satisfy all the conditions of a monotheistic faith. Among the
examples cited are the American gods described by Strachey and Winslow
as supreme in power and ethically good.[1802] But, even in the curt and
vague accounts of these early observers (who were not in position to get
accurate notions of Indian beliefs), it appears that there were many
gods, the supposed supreme deity being simply the most prominent in the
regions known to the first settlers. The "Great Spirit" of the Jesuit
missionaries is found, in like manner, to be one of many supernatural
patrons, locally important but not absolute in power.[1803] The Zulu
Unkulunkulu is revered by the natives as a very great being, morally
good according to the standards of the people, but he is of uncertain
origin and is valueless in the existing cult.[1804] The much-discussed
Australian figures, Baiame, Bunjil, and Daramulun, appear not to differ
essentially from those just mentioned. The reports of the natives who
have been questioned on the subject are often vague and sometimes
mutually contradictory, and exact biographical details of these divine
personages are lacking; but careful recent observers are of opinion that
they are nothing more than supernatural headmen, having such power as
tribal chiefs or headmen possess, and credited in different regions with
different moral qualities.[1805]

+985+. In the systems of many other low tribes there are quasi-divine
beings who are credited with great power and are revered without being
thought of as eternal or as standing alone in the government of the
world. A specially interesting example is the Andaman Puluga, a sort of
creator who receives no worship; his abode is a mountain or the sky, and
he seems to have been originally a local supernatural figure who is
traditionally respected but is no longer thought of as an efficient
patron.[1806] The mysterious Ndengei of Fiji is judge of the dead, but
one of many gods and not all-powerful.[1807] In many tribes there is no
one great divine figure; the control of things is divided among hosts of
spirits and gods. This is the case with the Ainu, the Maoris, the
Greenlanders, the Kwakiutl of Northwest America,[1808] and is probably
the rule in most of the lower communities.

The terms 'self-existent' and 'eternal' are not found in savage
vocabularies and seem to have no representatives in savage thought.
Savage cosmology carries the history of the world back to a certain
point and stops when there is no familiar hypothesis of genesis.[1809]
As a rule spirits (as distinguished from ghosts) are not thought of as
having a creator; they are a part of the system of things and are not
supposed to need explanation, and so it seems to be with simple clan
gods. Nor is there any reason, in savage theory, why gods or spirits
should die; death is an accident for human beings, not an essential
feature of their constitution; but such an accident is not usually
supposed to occur in the case of gods. What takes the place of the
conception of 'eternal' in savage thought is an existence that is
supposed to continue for the reason that its cessation does not come
into consideration. As to creation, there is no need, in a low
community, to suppose more than one originator of the world, and
cosmogonic theory may stop at that point, though this is not an
invariable rule. The title "father" for persons of distinction, human or
divine, is found among many undeveloped peoples, and a headman or patron
may be called, by a natural extension of thought, "all-father," a title
that is not essentially different in signification from the simple
"father," and does not carry with it the refined sense of later times.
The question of savage monotheism need present no difficulty if the
conditions are clearly defined.[1810] It is true that there is in some
cases a monarchical conception of the divine control of a clan or a
tribe, and that this simple system is followed by a more or less
elaborate theology. In both civil and religious systems the increasing
complexity of social life has called forth correspondingly complex
organizations, but this movement away from simplicity does not denote
falling off in civil and religious purity and wisdom. A true monotheism
has never arisen except as a criticism of polytheism.

+986+. It is obvious that the popular cults of the great nations of
antiquity were far removed from monotheism. The Egyptians, the
Babylonians and the Assyrians, the Phoenicians, the Hebrews, the
Arabs, the Hindus, the Greeks and the Romans, down to a late period,
worshiped a multitude of gods and were not disturbed by any feeling of
lack of unity in the divine government of the world. The proof that such
was the case among the ancient Hebrews down to the sixth century B.C. is
found in the Old Testament writings: the historical books from the
entrance of the Hebrew tribes into Canaan down to the destruction of
Jerusalem by the Chaldeans and the prophetical writings of the eighth,
seventh, and sixth centuries represent the people generally as addicted
to the worship of a great number of gods. In Persia also, since the
Mazdean system recognized a considerable number of deities, it cannot be
doubted that the people were polytheistic, not to speak of the
probability that there were survivals of a lower form of religion which
preceded Mazdaism. In the modern nations of the east of Asia, China and
Japan, the popular worship is anything but monotheistic: in China the
local spirits play a very great part in the life of the people, and in
Japan the old gods are still objects of worship. It may be added that
among the masses in some nominally Christian countries, particularly
among the peasants of Southern Europe, the old polytheism continues in
the form of the worship of saints and the Madonna.

+987+. While the popular cults in the civilized world have held somewhat
pertinaciously to pluralistic views, there has been a general tendency
in advanced circles everywhere toward a unitary conception of the
government of the world. As this tendency has been general it must be
referred to the general progress of thought, the demand of the human
mind for unity or simplicity. The particular lines of the movement have
varied among different peoples according to the peculiarities of their
culture, and the unitary feeling has varied in its degree of
definiteness. In some cases the political predominance of a city or
region has secured preëminence for its deity, or national attachment to
the national god has elevated him above all other gods; where a people
has cultivated poetry or philosophy, the idealizing thought of the one
or the scientific analysis of the other has led in the same direction.

+988+. First, then, we may note the disposition to give substantial
absoluteness to some one god, the choice of the deity being determined
by the political condition as is suggested above, or by local
attachments, or possibly by other conditions which do not appear in the
meager records of early times. Examples of this form of thought are
found in several of the great nations of antiquity. The hymns to the
Egyptian gods Ra, Amon, Amon-Ra, Osiris, and the Nile describe these
deities as universal in attributes and in power. At the moment the poet
conceives of the god whom he celebrates as practically the only one--if
Ra does everything, there is no need of any other deity. At another
moment, however, the same poet may celebrate Osiris with equal
enthusiasm--these high gods are interchangeable. The suggestion from
such fluid conceptions of the divine persons is that the real thought in
the mind of the poet was the supremacy of some divine power which is
incorporated now in one familiar divine name, now in another. It does
not, however, quite reach the point of well-defined monotheism, for
these gods remain distinct, sometimes with separate functions and

+989+. But this mode of conceiving of the supernatural Power would
naturally pave the way for monotheism, and it is not surprising that
very early in Egypt a definite monotheistic view was developed. King
Amenophis IV, or to give him the name that he adopted in conformity with
his later cult, Khuen-Aten, made a deliberate attempt to elevate the
sun-god Aten to the position of sole ruler and object of worship. Though
the nature of his belief in this deity is not stated in the documents
with the fullness and precision that we should desire, it seems clear,
from the fact that he ordered the destruction of the shrines of the
other deities in the land, that he regarded the worship of this one god
as sufficient. The movement was not a successful one in so far as the
national religion was concerned--it lasted only during his lifetime and
that of his son, and then a counter-revolution swept Aten away and
reinstated the Theban Amon in all his former dignity and powers--but its
very existence is a testimony to the direction of thought of educated
minds in Egypt about the year 1400 B.C. The Aten revolution appears to
have been distinctively Egyptian--there is no trace of foreign influence
in its construction. It has been suggested that Amenophis got his idea
from Semites of Western Asia or particularly from the Hebrews. But
neither the Hebrews nor any other Semitic people of that period were
monotheistic, nor do we find in Egyptian history at the time such social
intercourse as might produce a violent upturning of the religious usage.
We can only suppose that Amenophis was a religious genius who put into
definite shape a conception that was in the air, and by the force of his
enthusiasm made it for the moment effective. Such geniuses have arisen
from time to time in the world, and though the revolution of this
Egyptian king may seem to us to have sprung up with abnormal abruptness,
it is more reasonable to suppose that the way had been prepared for it
in Egyptian thought. He was a man born out of due time; but it cannot be
said that his attempt was without influence on succeeding generations.

+990+. Passing now to the oldest Semitic civilizations, we find in
Babylonia and Assyria many local deities, one or another of whom comes
to the front under the hegemony of some city or state. Here we are met
by the fact already referred to that the gods are interchangeable--it is
practically a matter of indifference whether one deity or another is
elevated to headship. In the great empires the gods of the capital
cities naturally became preëminent; so Marduk in Babylonia and Ashur in
Assyria. The royal inscriptions speak of these gods as if they were
all-powerful and all-controlling. In both countries the goddess Ishtar
appears as the supreme director of affairs, and other deities are
similarly honored. What might have been the issue if the later
Babylonian kingdom had continued for a long time it is impossible to
say, but the impression made by the words of the devout king
Nebuchadnezzar II (605-562 B.C.) is that he would have been content with
Marduk as the one object of worship. Babylonia produced no such radical
reformer as the Egyptian Amenophis--there is no formulation of
monotheism; but the general tone of the Babylonian religion of the sixth
century is not very different from that of the Hebrew religion of the
same time.

+991+. The religious point of view of the Vedas belongs in the same
category with the early Egyptian. Varuna, Agni, and Indra appear in the
hymns, each in his turn, as supreme. The rôle of Varuna seems to be
practically identical with that of the Iranian Ahura, but unlike the
latter he does not succeed in expelling his brother divinities. This
difference of development between the Hindu and the Iranian people we
cannot hope to explain. India moved not toward monotheism, but toward
pantheism. But the Vedic hymns prove the existence of a certain sense
of oneness in the world, held by the poets, though not by the mass of
the people, and destined to issue in a very remarkable religious system.

+992+. It has been by a very different line that China has reached its
unitary conception of the world. The details of the movement are
obscure, but its general course is clear.[1811] As with many other
peoples it is the objects of nature to which Chinese worship is mainly
paid, but the Chinese mind, impressed by the power of these objects, is
content to rest in them in their visible form; no proper names are
attached to them, and they have a more or less vague personality which
varies in definiteness at different times and with different persons.
The theistic system is a reflection of the social system. The eminently
practical Chinese mind lays the chief stress on the earthly life: in the
common everyday life the family is the unit; but the general course of
affairs is controlled by the great natural Powers of earth and sky,
whence arise the two great divisions of Chinese worship. The State is a
larger family in which the duke or emperor or other chief political
officer occupies the same position that is occupied by the father in the
smaller social circle; the government is patriarchal, with gradations
which correspond to those of the family. Life, it is held, is controlled
by the heavenly bodies, by the mountains and rivers of the earth, and by
deceased members of families. To these the people sacrifice, the
principal part being taken by the civil heads of the larger and smaller
constituent parts of the empire; there is thus no place for priests. As
the emperor (or other head of the State) is supreme on earth, so Heaven
and Earth, Sun and Moon occupy the highest positions in the divine
hierarchy, and ancestors are influential and entitled to worship
according to the rank of the families they represent.[1812] From an
early time, long before Confucius, the headship of the divine Powers, it
would seem, was assigned to Heaven--not the physical sky, but, at least
in the thinking circles of the nation, the Power therein residing. Thus
arose the conception of an imperial divine government in which Heaven,
though it does not stand alone, is recognized as supreme. The larger
theistic conception is embodied in the annual sacrifices conducted by
the emperor,[1813] especially at the winter and summer solstices when
sacrifices are offered to Heaven and Earth, Sun and Moon, the Four
Quarters and the mountains and rivers of the empire and to his
ancestors, whose worship includes the interests of the whole State. Thus
with a vast number of objects of worship (spirits of all departments of
life, and a few gods proper) the Chinese religion has attained and
maintained a general unitary conception of the divine government of the

+993+. Some resemblance to the Chinese system appears in the religion of
Peru, so far as this can be understood from the accounts that have come
down to us.[1815] The supreme position given to the Sun in Peru and to
the Inca as child of the Sun is parallel to the supremacy of Heaven in
China and the headship of the emperor as the son of Heaven. The Peruvian
cult appears not to have reached the distinctness of the Chinese. There
were, in fact, in Peru a considerable number of tolerably well-formed
divinities along with a vast crowd of spirits. Yet it appears that the
sun was regarded, at least by the Inca and his circle, as supreme ruler
of the world. The Sun, as god, has no proper name in Peru, as in China
Heaven, as god, has no proper name. In both countries, it would seem,
the imagination of the people was overpowered by the spectacle of the
majesty of a great natural object. The two religions differ in their
ritual development: while the Inca, like the Chinese emperor, was the
religious head of the nation, the Peruvians created an elaborate system
of worship, with temples and ministrants, which is wanting in
China.[1816] The remarkable character of the Peruvian system makes it
all the more regrettable that the data available do not enable us to
trace its growth from the simplest beginnings.

+994+. Still another line of theistic development is furnished by the
Hebrew system. The Hebrews are remarkable among ancient peoples as
having had, so far as our information goes, only one national god. This
god they brought with them into Canaan from the wilderness over which
they appear to have roamed with their flocks for a period and under
conditions not definitely known to us. Arrived in Canaan, the masses
were attracted by the local Canaanite deities (whose worship represented
a higher civilization than that of the nomadic Hebrews), and later, in
the seventh century B.C., a great part of the people of the little
kingdom of Judah adopted the Assyrian astral cult; but a group of
Israelites had always remained faithful to the national deity Yahweh
(Jehovah) and vigorously opposed all foreign worship. It was naturally
the more thoughtful and ethically better-developed part of the community
that took this uncompromising position, and their spokesmen, the writing
prophets whose discourses are preserved in the Old Testament, became
preachers of morality as well as champions of the sole worship of
Yahweh. It does not appear that they denied the existence of other gods,
but they regarded their own god as superior to all others in power,
standing in a peculiarly close relation to his people and bound to them
by peculiarly intimate ties.

+995+. This attachment to one deity proved to be the dominant sentiment
of the nation. As time went on and the people were sifted by the
Assyrian and Babylonian deportations, the higher moral feeling of the
best men attached itself more and more definitely to the national god.
Thus was established a monolatry which was practically monotheism,
though a theory of absolute monotheism was never formulated by the
pre-Christian Jews. It must be added, as is remarked above, that, from
the third or second century B.C. on, the somewhat undefined range of
activity attributed to Satan produced a sort of dualism, yet without
impairing the practically unitary conception of the divine government of
the world.[1817] The course of their national fortunes and the
remarkable power of self-contained persistence of the Jews brought
about a segregation of the people and, finally, their organization into
a community governed by a law held to be divinely revealed. This
capacity of social religious organization was the distinctive
characteristic of the Jewish people and, supported by their unitary
theistic system and a high moral code, gave the example of popular
monotheism which, through the medium of Christianity, finally imposed
itself upon the Roman world.

+996+. In the ancient world the most thorough investigation of the
theistic problem was made by the Greeks, whose leading thinkers, like
the Hebrews, moved steadily toward a unitary conception of the divine
power, but, unlike the Hebrews, did not succeed in impressing their
views on the people at large. What the theistic conception in the
pre-Homeric times was we are unable to say definitely, but presumably in
every separate community there was a local deity who had practically the
direction of affairs. In process of time, through conditions not known
to us, Zeus came to be recognized throughout the Hellenic world as the
principal deity. In the Homeric poems and in Hesiod we find a political
or governmental organization of the gods which followed the lines of the
social organization of the times. As Agamemnon is the head chief over a
group of local chiefs, so Zeus, though not absolutely supreme, is a
divine king, the head over a considerable number of deities who have
their own preferences and plans, and in ordinary matters go their own
way and are not interfered with so long as they mind their own business;
but at critical points Zeus, like Agamemnon, intervenes, and then no god
disputes his decisions.

+997+. This conception of the divine government appears, therefore, to
rest on the Greek demand for political organization; the world was
thought of as divided into various departments which had to be brought
into a unity by the ascription of a quasi-supreme authority to some one
personage. Necessarily, however, larger intellectual and ethical ideas
were incorporated in this political view. Though the popular
anthropomorphic conceptions of the deities appear throughout the Homeric
poems (the gods being sometimes morally low as well as limited in
knowledge and power), yet on the other hand they are said to know
everything. To Zeus in particular lofty qualities are ascribed; he is
the father of men and their savior and the patron of justice. How it
came about that these two sorts of conceptions of a supreme deity are
mingled in the poems is a question that need not be discussed here; a
similar mingling of contradictory ideas is found in the Old Testament,
in which the unmoral god of the people stands alongside of the highly
developed ethical Yahweh of the great prophets.

+998+. In Homer and Hesiod, however, the conception of headship is
complicated by the introduction of the idea of fate. In the Iliad Zeus
is sometimes ignorant of the future and has to employ the scales of
destiny, and in Hesiod appear the three Fates who control the lives of
men independently of the gods. The conception of a controlling fate may
be regarded as an effort to reach an absolutely unitary view of the
world. Above all the divine powers that regulate affairs, after the
manner of the government by a king with his attendant chieftains and
officers, there is a sense of a dim and undefined power of unknown
origin, mysterious, absolute, universal. The question whether this
conception was a reflection of a sense of the controlling power resident
in the universe itself, or merely an endeavor to rise above the
variations of anthropomorphic deities, is important from the point of
view of the genesis of ideas, but its decision will not affect the fact
just stated.[1818] Obviously in the Homeric world there appears this
general conviction that men and gods are bound together in unity and
that some force or power controls all things.[1819]

+999+. This sense of the governmental unity is further developed by the
later great poets who infused into it higher and more definite moral
elements. The polytheistic view continues; to the thinkers of the time
there was no more difficulty in conceiving of a single headship along
with many deities of particular functions than was felt by Hebrew
prophets who recognized the existence of foreign deities, with Yahweh
as a superior god, or by the modern Christian world with its apparatus
of angels, saints, and demons alongside of the supreme God. For Pindar
Zeus is lord of all things and is far removed from the moral impurities
of the popular conception. Æschylus represents him as supreme and in
general as just, though not wholly free from human weaknesses. A real
unity of the world is set forth by Sophocles: there is a divinely
ordered control by immutable law, and the will of Zeus is unquestioned.
The unitary conception is found also in Euripides notwithstanding his
skeptical attitude toward the current mythology. The sense of symmetry
potent in the poets forced them to this unitary conception of
government, and the natural progress of ethical feeling led them to
ascribe the highest ethical qualities to the deities.

+1000+. Similar motives appear in the speculations of the Greek
philosophers: Greek philosophy in seeking to discover the essential
nature of the world moved definitely toward the conception of its
unity--so, for example, as early as the sixth century, in Xenophanes and
Parmenides. The conception of a supreme spiritual ruler of the world
appears in Heraclitus and Anaxagoras (fifth century). To these and other
Greek thinkers the unity of the world and the dominance of mind or
spirit appeared to be necessary assumptions. The most definite
expression of these conceptions is found in Plato and Aristotle.
According to Plato (in the Timæus) God, the eternal Father, created the
world (for nothing can be created without a cause), brought order out of
disorder and made the universe to be most fair and good, so that it
became a rational living soul, the one only-begotten universe, created
the gods and the sons of the gods, and framed the soul to be the ruler
of the body. Aristotle, in simpler phrase, represents the ground of the
world as self-sufficient Mind, an eternal Power (δυναμις), from
which all action or actuality (ενεργεια) proceeds.[1820]

+1001+. There are certain apparent limitations, it is true, to this
conception of unity. Both Plato and Aristotle recognize the existence of
a host of subordinate deities (created but immortal) to whom is
assigned a share, by direction of the supreme God, in the creation of
things; yet essentially these deities are nothing more than agents or
intermediaries of the divine activity, and may be compared to the
natural laws and agents of modern theism and, more exactly, to the
Hebrew angels through whom, according to the Old Testament, God governed
the world. Plato has also a somewhat vague notion of a something in the
nature of the material of the world that limits or constrains the divine
creative power--a "necessity" that forces the deity to do not the
absolutely best but the best possible. Perhaps this is a philosophical
formulation of the old "fate," perhaps Plato is merely trying to account
for certain supposed inconcinnities and inadequacies in the world. He is
not quite consistent with himself, since he represents the creation of
the universe as resulting from the fact that necessity yielded to the
persuasion of mind, which thus became supreme.[1821] In spite of this
vagueness his view is unitary, and the unitary conception is continued
by the Stoics, its best Stoic expression being found in the famous hymn
of Cleanthes to Zeus: "Nothing occurs on earth apart from thee" and "We
are thy offspring."[1822]

+1002+. In the last centuries before the beginning of our era the Jews,
partly under Persian and Greek influence, clarified their theistic view,
attaining a practically pure monotheism, only retaining their apparatus
of angels and demons. This theistic scheme passed over in complete form
to early Christianity, in which, however, greater prominence was given
to the chief demon, the Satan; his larger rôle arose from the fact that
he was brought into sharp antagonism with the Christ, the head of the
kingdom of God. When Christianity was adopted by the Græco-Roman world,
the doctrine of the Trinity was worked out and formulated in accordance
with Greek and Roman philosophic thought, but was held not to impair the
monotheistic view since the three Persons were regarded as being in
substance one. Islam adopted the Jewish form of monotheism, with its
Satan and angels, retaining also the old Arabian apparatus of demonic
beings (the jinn).

+1003+. A certain tendency to a practically unitary view is discernible
in the cults of Isis and Mithra, which were widely diffused in the Roman
Empire.[1823] In both these cults the main interest of the worshipers
was centered in a single deity, though other deities were recognized.
The unifying impulse was devotional, not philosophic.

So far as a unitary conception of the divine government of the world
existed it must be referred to the spirit of the age which had outgrown
the old crude polytheism. Such modern monotheistic movements as the
Brahma-Samaj and the Parsi in India, the Babist in Persia, and the
reformed Shinto in Japan owe much to European influence, though
doubtless some part of them is the outcome of natural progress in
intellectual and moral conceptions.


+1004+. The systems of theistic thought considered above all make a
sharp separation between God and the world. Plato and Aristotle regarded
mind or spirit as a force that dominated matter. The Persian, Hebrew,
and Christian theologies conceive of the deity as transcendent, standing
outside of and above the world and entering into communication with it
either by direct revelation or through intermediaries. To certain
thinkers of ancient times this dualistic conception presented
difficulties--an absolute unity was held to be incompatible with such
separation between the world and God. The precise nature of the
reflections by which the earliest philosophers reached this conclusion
is not clearly set forth, but it may be surmised that in general there
were two lines of thought that led to this inference: first, a
metaphysical conception of unity as something that was demanded by the
sense of perfectness in the world; and, secondly, observation of facts
that appeared to characterize the world as a unit. Among several
different peoples, and apparently in each independently, the idea arose
that the divine manifests itself in the world of phenomena and is
recognizable only therein. Such a view appears in India in the Vedanta
philosophy, and in Greece a little later it is more or less involved in
Orphic theories and in the systems of several philosophers. The tendency
to deify nature appears even in writers who do not wholly exclude gods
from their schemes of the world--in the sayings of Heraclitus, for
example: "All things are one," "From all comes one, and from one comes
all." A similar view is attributed to Xenophanes by Aristotle,[1824] and
traces of such a conception appear in Euripides.[1825] For the modern
forms of pantheism, in Spinoza and other philosophers, reference must be
made to the histories of philosophy.

+1005+. Pantheism has never commended itself to the masses of men. It is
definitely theistic, but the view that the divine power is visible only
in phenomena and is to be identified practically with the world is one
that men in general find difficult to comprehend. The demand is for a
deity with whom one may enter into personal relations--the simple
conception of a god who dwells apart satisfies the religious instincts
of the majority of men. The ethical questions arising from pantheism
seem to them perplexing: how can man be morally responsible when it is
the deity who thinks and acts in him? and how can he have any sense of
loyalty to a deity whom he cannot distinguish from himself? Nor do men
generally demand so absolute a unity as is represented by pantheism.
Such questions as those relating to the eternity of matter, the
possibility of the existence of an immaterial being, and the mode in
which such a being, if it exists, could act on matter, have not seemed
practical to the majority of men. Man demands a method of worship, and
pantheism does not permit organized worship. For these reasons it has
remained a sentiment of philosophers, though it has not been without
effect in modifying popular conceptions of the deity: the conception of
the immanence of God in the world (held in many Christian orthodox
circles), when carried to its legitimate consequences, it is often hard
to distinguish from pantheism.

+1006+. _Nontheistic systems._ A further attempt to secure a complete
unity of the world appears in those systems of thought which regard the
world as self-sufficient and, therefore, dispense with extramundane
agency. These start either from the point of view of man and human life
or from contemplation of the world. In China the sense of the sole
importance of the moral life and the impossibility of knowing anything
beyond mundane life led Confucius practically to ignore divine agency.
He did not deny the existence of Powers outside of men, but he declined
to speak of them, regarding them as of no practical importance. This
sort of agnosticism appears in Greece as early as the fifth century
B.C., when Protagoras's view that "man is the measure of all things"
makes extrahuman Powers superfluous. Epicurus reached a similar
practical atheism apparently from a scientific view of the construction
of the world. According to him there are gods, but they are
otiose--living a life of happy ease, they are to be thought of as a
pleasant phenomenon in the world, but ineffective as regards human
fortunes, and men may go their ways certain that if they obey the laws
of the world the gods will not interfere with them.

+1007+. The Sankhya philosophy of India dispenses completely with gods,
holding that the primordial stuff is eternal, but it also holds that
souls have a separate existence and are eternal. Thus a species of
dualism emerges. Buddhism goes a step further, ignoring the soul as well
as gods. It is agnostic in that, admitting the world to have a cause, it
holds that it is impossible to know this cause. Its practical aim--to
get rid of suffering by getting rid of desire, and thus to pass into a
blissful state of existence in which apparently there is to be no effort
as there is to be no pain--has enabled it to establish a vigorous
organization, a sort of church, in which the undefined universe takes
the place of a personal god, and character takes the place of soul, this
character (Karma) passing from one being to another without the
assumption of identity in the beings thus united in destiny.[1826]

+1008+. In Greece pure materialism (similar in essence to the Sankhya)
took the shape of the assumption of an original and eternal mass of
atoms whence have come all forms of being (so Democritus in the fifth
century B.C.), and this conception was adopted by Epicurus and expounded
at length by Lucretius.[1827] The necessary qualities and movements
being attributed to the atoms, the conclusion was that nothing else was
required in order to explain the world. With this may be compared the
view of Empedocles (fifth century) that love and hate (in modern phrase,
attraction and repulsion) are the creative forces of the world. The
simplicity of this scheme has commended it to many minds in modern as in
ancient times. Man, it is said, can know nothing outside of phenomena,
and, so far as regards the origin of things, it is as easy to conceive
of an eternal self-existent mass of matter as of an eternal
self-existent deity. The nobler part of man, it is held, is not thereby
surrendered--reason and all high ethical and spiritual ideals have grown
naturally out of the primordial mass. In such systems there is often the
hypothesis of an original force or life resident in matter, and this
force or life, being credited with all that has issued from it, may be
regarded as having the elements of personality, and in that case becomes
practically a deity. Such a deistic materialism approaches pantheism


+1009+. The theistic conceptions of men have followed the general line
of social development. All systems and shades of thought are faithfully
reflected in the various ideas that men have formed for themselves of
the gods. Human nature is the highest thing known to men, and their
conception of supernatural forces has been based on ideals derived from
experience. The sphere of divine activity has been determined for men by
their systems of physical science; the moral character of the gods is a
reflection of human ethical conceptions; the internal activity of the
deity in man's mind is defined by man's spiritual experience.

+1010+. From the earliest times the extent to which the gods were
supposed to intervene in human affairs has been fixed by scientific
observation, by the knowledge of natural law--the gods have been called
on to intervene only when it was necessary because ordinary powers
failed. When finally the conception is reached that all nature is
governed by natural law, the theistic view assumes that the deity works
through ordinary natural means, and the supposition of particular
interventions is rejected by the mass of scientific thinkers. It was
natural in early times to suppose that reward and punishment were
administered by the deity in this world in accordance with the
principles of right, that the good prospered and the bad failed; but
this view has vanished before observation, and, by those who demand an
exact accordance between conduct and fortunes, the final compensations
of life have been relegated to the other world.

+1011+. The belief in miracles, however, has never completely vanished
from the world. A miracle is an intervention by the deity whereby a
natural law is set aside. No a priori reasoning can ever prove or
disprove the possibility of miracles--such proof or disproof would
involve complete knowledge of the universe or of the divine power in the
universe, and this is impossible for man. The indisposition to accept a
miracle has arisen from the conviction that the demand for interventions
that set aside the natural order is a reflection on the wisdom of the
Creator's arrangement of the world, and further from long-continued
observation of the dominance of natural law, and, when appeal is made to
alleged miraculous occurrences, from the arbitrary way in which,
according to the reports, these have been introduced. In the records of
peoples we find that miracles increase in number and magnitude in
proportion as we go back to dim times without exact historical
documents. They appear, it is held, in connection usually with
insignificant affairs while the really great affairs in later times are
left without miraculous elements.[1828] The history of the world, so
historical science holds, receives a satisfactory explanation from the
character of the general laws of human nature, and the principle of
parsimony demands that no unnecessary elements of action be introduced
into affairs. The exclusion of miracles from the world does not exclude
divine agency and government; it only defines the latter as being in
accordance with man's observation of natural law.

+1012+. Philosophy constructs the constitution of the deity and the
relation of divine elements to the world. Whether the deity stands
outside of the world or within it, whether the divine power is unitary
or dual or plural, or whether there is any need to assume a power
outside of physical nature--these are the questions that are discussed
by philosophy, whose conclusions sometimes favor a religious view of the
world, sometimes oppose it. Few persons are able to follow elaborate
philosophic lines of thought--the majority of men accept the simple
doctrine of a personal god who is generally supposed to stand outside of
the world. The controlling consideration here is that everything must
have a cause--a line of reasoning in accordance with common sense, but
not always, in its crude form, regarded by philosophers as decisive.

+1013+. The moral character of a deity is always in accordance with the
moral ideas of his worshipers. Religions have sometimes been divided
into the ethical and the nonethical; but so far as the character of the
deity is concerned no such division holds, for there never has been a
supernatural Power that has not reflected the moral ideas of its time
and place. A cannibal god is not only natural in a cannibal society, but
he represents moral ideals, namely, the attempt to acquire strength by
absorbing the physical substance of men. The deity who deceives or is
vindictive arises in a society in which deceit and vindictiveness are
regarded as virtues. The pictures of what we regard as immoralities in
the deity as given in the Iliad and in the Old Testament were not
regarded as immoral by the writers. The progress in the characterization
of the deity has been not by the introduction of an ethical element, but
by the purification and elevation of the already existing ethical



+1014+. Religion is social because man is a social animal. This does not
exclude individual religion--in fact religion must have begun with
individuals, as is the case with all social movements. Morality, indeed,
understood as a system of conduct among human beings, could not exist
except in a society which included at least two persons; but if we could
imagine a quite isolated rational being, he might be religious if, as is
perfectly possible, he conceived himself as standing in relation with
some supernatural being or beings. This question, however, is not a
practical one--there is no evidence of such isolation, and no
probability that there ever has been a time when man was not social.

+1015+. It is generally agreed that men lived at first in small detached
groups, gradually forming tribes and nations, and finally effecting a
social fusion of nations. Religious worship has followed these changes.
Religion is simply one line of social growth existing along with others,
science, philosophy, art; all these, as is remarked above,[1830] go on
together, each influencing and influenced by the others. Human life has
always been unitary--no one part can be severed from the others; it is a
serious error, impairing the accuracy of the conception of religion, to
regard it as something apart from the rest of human life.

+1016+. The external history of religion, then, is the history of social
growth in the line of religious organization; that is, it has been
determined by religious outward needs in accordance with the growth of
ideas. In the consideration of this history we have to note a growth in
ritual, in devotional practices, and in the organization of religious
usages, first in tribal or national communities and then in religious
communities transcending national and racial boundaries.


+1017+. We assume a human society recognizing some supernatural or
extrahuman object or force that is regarded as powerful and as standing
in some sort of effective relation with human life. It is possible that
societies exist that do not recognize any such object or force or,
recognizing them, do not employ any means of entering into relation with
them. Such cases, if they exist (and their existence has not been fully
established), we may pass by with the remark that the absence of worship
need be taken to show only that ritual has been a slow growth.

Our information regarding the least-developed communities indicates that
with them religion, when it exists, is an affair of custom, of tradition
and usage, handed down during a period the history of which we have no
means of knowing. Worship as it first appears consists of ceremonies,
generally, perhaps always, regarded as having objective
effectiveness.[1831] The ritual act itself, in the earliest systems, is
powerful, in a sort magical, but tends to lose this character and take
on the forms of ordinary human intercourse.

+1018+. The precise ways in which extrahuman Powers were first
approached by men it is not possible now to determine--these procedures
lie far back in a dim prehistoric time. Coming down to our first
knowledge of religious man it may be assumed that the superhuman Powers
recognized by him were of varying sorts: a quasi-impersonal energy
which, however, must probably be ascribed ultimately to a personal
being; animals; ghosts; spirits resident in objects; anthropomorphic
beings. With all these it was necessary to establish relations, and
while the methods employed varied slightly according to the nature of
the object of worship, the fundamental cultic principle appears to have
been the same for all. Several different methods of approaching the
Powers appear in the material known to us, and these may be mentioned
without attempting exact chronological arrangement.

+1019+. One of the earliest methods of establishing a relation with the
Powers is by certain processes--acts or words. The most definite
example of a mere process is that found among the Central Australians,
the nature of which, however, is not yet well understood. They perform
ceremonies intended to procure a supply of food. It is not quite clear
whether these ceremonies are merely imitations of animals and other
things involved, or whether they contain some recognition of a
superhuman Power. In the former case they are magical, not religious in
the full sense of the term. But if they involve a belief in some force
or power with which man may enter into relation, however dim and
undefined this conception may be, then they must be regarded as
belonging definitely in the sphere of religion. A certain direct effect
is in many cases supposed to issue from ritualistic acts, a belief that
is doubtless a survival of the old conception of mana.[1832]

+1020+. In many cases efficacy is attached by savages to singing--the
word "sing" is used as equivalent to "exert power in a superhuman way."
It is not the musical part of this procedure that is effective--the
singing is simply the natural tendency of early man--the power lies in
the words which may be regarded as charms. A charm is primarily a form
of words which has power to produce certain results with or without the
intervention of the gods.[1833] In the form of an invocation of a deity
the charm belongs to a comparatively late stage of religion; but where
its power lies wholly in its words, it involves merely some dim sense of
relation, not necessarily religious. Obviously the idea of law underlies
all such procedures, but the law may be a sort of natural law and the
charm will then not be religious. Religious charms are to be sharply
distinguished from prayers; a prayer is a simple request, a charm is an
instrument of force.[1834] The history of the growth of savage charms it
is impossible for us to recover; it can only be supposed that they have
grown up through a vast period of time and have been constructed out of
various signs and experiences of all sorts that appeared to connect
certain words with certain results. There is no evidence that they came
originally or usually from prayers that had lost their petitionary
character, petrified prayers, so to speak, of which there remained only
the supposition that they could gain their ends, though bits of prayers,
taken merely as words, are sometimes supposed to have such potency.
Charms and prayers are found side by side in early stages of religion;
the former tend to decrease, the latter to increase. Charms are allied
to amulets, exorcism, and to magic in general.[1835]

+1021+. Certain processes and words are supposed to have power to summon
the dead and to gain from them a knowledge of the future. This is a case
of coercion by magical means. Nonmagical coercion belongs to a
relatively late period in religious history and may be passed over at
this point. It is not in itself incompatible with religion; a god is
subject to caprice and ill humor, and may have to be controlled, and we
know that coercion of the gods has been practiced by many peoples, with
the full sanction of the religious authorities.[1836] But coercive
procedures do not accord with the general line of social development.
The natural tendency is to make friends with the gods, and coercive
methods have died out with the growth of society.

+1022+. The methods of establishing friendly relations with the
supernatural Powers are the same as those which are employed to approach
human rulers, namely, by gifts and by messengers or intermediaries.

_Gifts._ The custom of offering gifts to the dead is universal.[1837]
Among low tribes and in highly civilized peoples (the Egyptians and
others) things are placed by the grave which it is supposed the spirits
of the dead will need. Food and drink are supplied, and animals and
human beings are slain and left to serve as ministers to the ghosts in
the other world. Possibly these provisions for the dead are sometimes
suggested by sentiments of affection, but more commonly the object in
making the provision appears to be to secure the favor of the deceased:
ghosts were powerful for good or for evil--they were numerous, always
hovering round the living, and the main point was to gain their good
will. For a similar reason such gifts were made to spirits and to gods.
It was a common custom to leave useful articles by sacred trees and
stones, or to cast them into rivers or into the sea. The food and drink
provided was always that in ordinary use among the worshipers: grain,
salt, oil, wine, to which were often added cooking and other utensils.
It was common also to offer the flesh of animals, as, for example, among
the Eskimo, the American Indians (the Pawnees and others), the Bantu,
the Limbus, and the Todas of Southern India.[1838] It was supposed that
the god, when he was in need of food, sometimes used means to stimulate
his worshipers on earth to make him an offering.

+1023+. Since it was obvious that the food set forth for the spirit or
deity remained untouched, it was held that the gods consumed only the
soul of the food. This conception, which is found in very early times,
was natural to those who held that every object, even pots and pans, had
its soul. The ascending smoke carried with it the essence of the food to
spirits and deities--they smelled the fragrance and were
satisfied.[1839] The visible material part of the offering, thus left
untouched by the god, was often divided among his worshipers, and
generally it furnished a welcome meal. These communal feasts are found
in various parts of the world, among the Ainu of the Japan Archipelago,
the American Indians, and others.[1840] They were social and economical
functions. It was desirable that the good food not consumed by the deity
should be utilized for the benefit of his worshipers. There was also the
natural desire and custom of eating with friends. To this was added the
belief that the bodies of such animals possessed powers which the
worshiper might acquire by eating. The powers and qualities of the
animal were both natural and sacred, or divine. The devotion of the dog,
the courage and physical power of the bear, the cleverness of the
fox--all such natural powers might be assimilated by the worshiper; and
since the animal was itself sacred, its body, taken into the human body,
communicated a certain special capacity. Thus the virtue of the communal
feast was twofold: it placated the supernatural Power, and it procured
for the worshiper a satisfactory meal and probably also an infusion of
superhuman power. The favor of the deity was gained simply by the
presents offered him; in these early times there is no indication of the
belief that there was a recognized sacramental sharing of sacred food by
the gods and their worshipers.

+1024+. _Messengers._ The supernatural Power was sometimes approached by
a messenger who was instructed to ask a favor. The messenger was an
animal regarded as sacred, akin to men and to gods, and therefore fitted
to be an intermediary. Examples of such a method of approaching a deity
are found among the Ainu, in Borneo, and among the North American
Indians. The Ainu, before slaying the bear who is to serve as messenger,
deliver to him an elaborate address in which he is implored to represent
to his divine kinsfolk above how well he has been treated on earth and
thus gain their favor; he is also invited to return to earth that he may
be again captured and slain. His flesh is eaten by the worshipers, and
his head is set up as an object of worship. Thus, he is after death a
divine Power and a portion of his own flesh is offered to his head, but
this is simply to gain his good will, and there is no suggestion of a
joint feast of gods and men.[1841] Somewhat like this is the procedure
in Borneo, where on special occasions when some particular favor is
desired, a pig is dispatched with a special message to the gods.[1842]
In America the sacred turtle, regarded as a brother to the tribe and
affectionately reverenced by his human brethren, is dispatched with
tears to the other world to join his kinsmen there and be an ambassador
and friend.[1843] A similar conception is to be found perhaps in the
great Vedic animal sacrifice in which the victim was likewise made ready
by ceremonies to go to the heavenly court and there stand as the friend
of the worshipers.[1844]

+1025+. In all these cases there was a certain identification of the
victim with men on the one side and gods on the other. This is simply a
part of the general belief in the kinship existing between all forms of
being. Early men in choosing animal gifts for the gods, or an animal as
messenger to them, could not go astray, for all animals were sacred. The
effective means of procuring the favor of the supernatural Powers is
always a friendly gift or a friendly messenger. When animals lost their
religious prestige, their ambassadorial function gave way to the
mediatorial function of gods and men.

Incense, tobacco, and other such things that were burned before the
deity are also to be regarded as food, though in the course of time,
when the recollection of this primitive character was lost, a
conventional significance was attached to the act of burning. A more
refined period demanded more refined food for the gods, such as ambrosia
and nectar, but these also were finally given up.

+1026+. Food was conveyed to the gods either by simply laying it down at
some sacred place (where it was devoured by beasts, but more generally
taken by official ministers of the god), or by burning it.[1845] In the
body of the victim the blood came to play the most important part as an
expiatory force. Early observation, as is pointed out above,[1846]
showed that the life was in the blood, and so a principle of economy
naturally suggested that it would be sufficient to offer the blood to
the deity, though this was generally supplemented by some choice portion
of the flesh. Thus, the opinion arose that blood had a special
expiatory power, and this conception remained to a late period.[1847]
But the expiatory power rested finally on the fact that the blood was a
gift of food to the gods. The gift was most effective, apparently, when
the whole of the animal was burned, since thus the greatest honor was
shown the deity and the most ample satisfaction of his bodily needs was
furnished. The holocaust proper appears in religious history at a
comparatively late stage, but the essence of it is found in all early
procedures in which the whole of any object is given to the deity.

+1027+. _Human sacrifice._ That taste for human flesh on the part of men
is not unnatural is shown by the prevalence of cannibal customs in many
parts of the world. When such customs existed, it was natural that the
flesh of human beings should be offered to the supernatural Powers.

The slaying of human beings at the graves of deceased clansmen or
friends has prevailed extensively, though apparently not among the
lowest tribes; it represents a certain degree of reflection or
intensity; it is found in the midway period when religious customs were
fairly well organized and when manners were not yet refined. Not every
slaughter at a grave, however, is an act of religious offering to the
dead. It is sometimes prompted by the spirit of revenge, to ease the
mind of the slayer, or perhaps by desire to do honor to the
deceased--doubtless there was a sentiment of piety toward the dead.

+1028+. The slaughter of slaves and wives to be the attendants of the
deceased in the other world is of the nature of an offering--it is
intended to procure the good will of the ghost. The self-immolation of
widows and other dependents was in some cases a selfish act. It was
supposed that the persons thus offering themselves up would procure
certain advantages in the other world, while at the same time they would
there minister to the manes of their husbands or lords.

As there was no practical difference between ghosts and spirits or gods
in respect of power and influence in human life, the offering of human
beings to these last came as a matter of course. Their bodily appetites
were the same as those of men--they were fond of human flesh. Wherever
it was necessary to invoke their special aid this sort of offering was
presented: for the success of crops; to insure the stability of houses
and bridges[1848]; to avert or remove calamities, such as pestilence and
defeat in battle.

+1029+. While in the simpler societies human sacrifice was simply an
offering of food to the Powers, in later times it came to be conceived
of as the devotion of an object to the deity, and thus as a sign of
obedience and dependence. The offering of first-born children was a
recognition of the fact that the god was the giver of children as of
crops. The sacrifice of the dearest object, it was supposed, would
soften the heart of the deity. In some cases the person who was supposed
to be the occasion or source of misfortune was offered up. In general,
human sacrifice followed the lines of all other sacrifices and
disappeared when it became repugnant to humane and refined feelings.

+1030+. The testimonies to its existence are so numerous that we may
suppose it to have been universal among men.[1849] There is a trace of
its early existence in Egypt.[1850] In the Semitic region it is known to
have been practiced by the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Moabites,
Hebrews, Arameans, and some Arabs.[1851] There is no evidence of the
practice in Babylonia; an indication of its existence in Assyria is
possibly found in an Old Testament passage.[1852] Its existence in early
times in India is held to be implied in the Rig-Veda.[1853] It appears
in the Brahmanic period also: a man (who had to be a Brahman or a
Warrior) was bought, allowed liberty and the satisfaction of all his
desires (except that sexual intercourse was forbidden) for one year, and
then ceremonially slain.[1854] It is only recently that the sacrifice of
children in the New Year festival at the mouth of the Ganges has been
abolished; and it is doubtful whether, in spite of the efforts of the
British Government, it has been completely put down among the wild
tribes, as the Gonds and the Khonds.[1855] The records of China, from
the eighth century B.C. onward are said to prove the existence of human
sacrifice.[1856] Among the ancient Scandinavians and Germans it was
frequent.[1857] In more recent times the practice is known either to
exist or to have existed in Polynesia (Fiji, Samoa), Melanesia (Florida
Islands), Borneo (formerly),[1858] and North America (the Iroquois, the
Natchez, the Florida peninsula, and the Southwest coast).[1859] Nowhere
does it appear on so large a scale as in Mexico; and it existed also in
Peru.[1860] In Africa it was practiced to a frightful extent in
Ashantiland and Dahomiland and more guardedly in Yoruba.[1861]

+1031+. Its gradual disappearance (a result of increasing refinement of
feeling) was marked by the substitution of other things for human
victims or of aliens for tribesmen. In early times indeed it seems to
have been slaves and captives taken in war that were commonly
sacrificed. In more civilized times the blood of a tribesman, as more
precious than other blood, was regarded as being more acceptable to the
deity, and it was then a sign of advance when aliens were substituted
for tribesmen. Lower animals were sacrificed in place of men: in India,
where the recently sown fields had been fertilized with human blood, it
became the practice to kill a chicken instead of a human being; and so
in the story of Abraham (Gen. xxii) a ram is substituted for the human
being.[1862] Elsewhere paste images are offered to the deity as
representing men; an interesting development is found in Yoruba, where
the proposed victim, instead of being sacrificed, becomes the protector
of the sacrificer; that is, he is regarded as substantially divine, as
he would have been had he been sacrificed.[1863]

+1032+. Along with gifts, which formed perhaps the earliest method of
conciliating divine beings, we find in very early times a number of
procedures in honor of the deity, and intended in a general way to
procure divine favor. Among these procedures dances and processions are
prominent. The dance, as is observed above,[1864] is simply the
transference to religious rites of a common social act. It is, however,
often supposed to have been communicated supernaturally, and in some
cases it attains a high religious significance by its association with
stories of divine persons. This organized symbolic dance has been
developed to the greatest extent among certain North American Indian
tribes.[1865] Here every actor and every act represents a personage or
procedure in a myth, and thus the dance embodies religious conceptions.
This sort of symbolism has been adopted also in some sections of the
Christian church, where it is no doubt effective in many cases as an
element of external worship.

+1033+. While human sacrifice continued to a comparatively late period,
it was the ordinary sort of sacrifice that constituted the main part of
the ancient religious bond of society.[1866] In the course of time the
apparatus of sacrifice was elaborated--altars, temples, priests came
into existence, and an immense organization was built up. Sacrifices
played a part in all the affairs of life, took on various special
shapes, and received different names. They were all placatory--in every
case the object was to bring men into friendly relations with the god.
They were _expiatory_ when they were designed to secure forgiveness for
offenses, whether by bloody or by unbloody offerings, or by anything
that it was supposed would secure the favor of the deity. They were
performed when it was desired to procure some special benefit, for on
such occasions it was necessary that the deity should be well disposed
toward the supplicant; such _supplicatory_ or _impetratory_ sacrifices
have been among the most common--they touch the ordinary interests of
life, the main function of religious exercises in ancient times being to
procure blessings for the worshiper. These blessings secured, it was
necessary to give thanks for them--_eucharistic_ sacrifices formed a
part of the regular worship among all civilized peoples. When the crops
came in, it was felt to be proper to offer a portion, the first fruits,
to the deity, as among the Hebrews and many others, and, this custom
once established, the feeling naturally arose that to partake of the
fruits of the earth before the deity had received his part would be an
impious proceeding likely to call down on the clan or tribe the wrath of
the god. When a gift was made to a temple, since it was desirable that
the deity should accept it in a friendly spirit, a sacrifice was proper.
In the numerous cases in which some person or some object was to be
consecrated to the deity a sacrifice was necessary in order to secure
his good will; the ordination of temple-ministers, or the initiation of
the young into the tribe, demanded some _consecrative_ sacrifice. And,
on the other hand, there was equal necessity for a sacrifice, a
_deconsecrative_ or _liberative_ ceremony, when the relation of
consecration was to be terminated (as in the case of the Hebrew
Nazirite) or when a person was to be relieved from a taboo--in this
latter case the ceremony of cleansing and of sacrificing was intended to
secure the approval of the deity in whose name and in whose interest the
taboo had been imposed.

+1034+. Sacrifices might be individual or communal, occasional or
periodical. The early organization of society into clans made the
communal sacrifice the more prominent[1867]--the clan was the social
unit, the interests of the individual were identical with those of the
clan, and there was rarely occasion for a man to make a special demand
on the deity for his individual benefit. Such occasions did, however,
arise, and there was no difficulty in an individual's making a request
of the tribal god provided it was not contrary to the interests of the
tribe. If the petitioner went to some god or supernatural Power other
than the tribal god, this was an offense against tribal life.

+1035+. The great communal sacrifices were periodical. They were
determined by great turning-points in the seasons or by agricultural
interests. Sowing time; when the crops became ripe; harvest time;
midsummer and midwinter--such events were naturally occasions for the
common approach of the members of the tribe to the tribal deity. The
same thing is true of military expeditions, which were held to be of
high importance for the life of the tribe. War was, as W. R. Smith calls
it, a "holy function,"[1868] and its success was supposed (and is now
often supposed) to depend on the supernatural aid of the deity. The
particular method of conducting the ceremonies in such cases varied with
the place and time, but the purpose of the worshiper and the general
methods of proceeding are the same among all peoples and at all times.
Occasions connected with the individual, such as birth, initiation,
marriage, death, and burial, are also affairs of the family or clan, and
the same rule applies to sacrifices on such occasions as to the great
communal periodical offerings.

+1036+. It was inevitable that the ritual, that is, the specific mode of
procedure, should receive a great development in the course of history.
As colleges of priests were established, ceremonial elaborateness would
become natural, and precise methods of proceeding would be handed down
from generation to generation. Thus in many cases the worshiper had to
be prepared by purificatory and other ceremonies, and the priest had to
submit to certain rules before he could undertake the sacrifice. The
victim was selected according to certain prescriptions: it had to be of
a certain age or sex, of a certain color, generally free from impurities
and defects, and sometimes it was necessary that it should show itself
willing to be sacrificed.[1869] These details do not at all affect the
essence of the sacrifice. They are all the result of the ordinary human
tendency to organization, to precise determination of particulars, and
while certain general features are easily understood (those, for
example, relating to the perfectness of the victim) others are the
result of considerations which are unknown to us. It would be a mistake
to seek for the origin of sacrifice in such ritualistic details.


+1037+. Up to a very recent time the institution of sacrifice was
generally accepted either as a natural human custom, due to reverence
for the gods, or as of divine prescription. In very early documents, as,
for example, in the Iliad and in certain parts of the Old Testament, it
is assumed that the material of sacrifice is the food of the gods--a
fact of interest in the discussion of the origin of sacrifice, never,
however, in ancient times formulated as a theory. In the Græco-Roman and
later Jewish periods sacrifices seem to have been conceived of in a
general way as a mark of respect to the deity and fell more and more
into disuse as the ethical feeling became distincter. In the New
Testament there is a trace of the view that the victim is a substitute
for the offerer: in the Epistle to the Hebrews it is said that the blood
of bulls and goats could never effect the remission of sin--a nobler
victim was necessary.[1870] A similar conception is found in the later
Greek and Roman literature, but there is still no distinct theory. In
the third century of our era Porphyry, who was greatly interested in
religious matters and, doubtless, represents a considerable body of
thoughtful current opinion, says simply that sacrifices are offered to
do honor to a deity or to give thanks or to procure favors.[1871] The
early Christian writers make no attempt to explain the origin of the
custom, nor do we find any such attempt in the European philosophy of
the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It was not until the spirit of
historical inquiry had entered the sphere of religious investigation
that the question as to the historical beginning and the significance of
sacrifice was fairly put.

+1038+. In discussions of this question a distinction is sometimes made
between bloody and unbloody offerings--they are supposed to differ in
placatory or expiatory virtue, and one or the other of them is held to
precede in order of time. The facts seem, however, not to warrant this
distinction. Everywhere the two sorts of offering have equal power to
please and placate the deity; the special prominence that may be given
to the one or the other is due to peculiar social conditions that do not
affect the essential nature of the rite.[1872] As to precedence of one
or the other in time the available data offer nothing definite beyond
the fact that choice between them is determined by the circumstances of
a community--the material of an offering is whatever (food or other
thing) seems natural and appropriate in a particular place and at a
particular time, and this may vary, of course, in the same community at
different stages of culture.

+1039+. Current theories of the origin and significance of sacrifice
divide themselves into two general groups, the one laying stress on the
idea of gift, the other on the idea of union with the deity. Both go
back ultimately to the same conception, the conviction, namely, that
man's best good can be secured only by the help of the supernatural
Powers; but they approach the subject from different points of view and
differ in their treatment of the rationale of the ritual.

+1040+. The conception of an offering as a gift to a deity is found in
very early times and is common in low tribes. In Greece the word for
"gift," as offering, occurs from Homer on, and in Latin is frequent, and
such a term is employed in Sanscrit. The common Hebrew term for
sacrifice (_minḫa_) has the same sense; it is used for both bloody
and unbloody offerings, though from the time of Ezekiel (sixth century
B.C.) onward it became a technical term for cereal offerings.[1873] The
details of savage custom are given by Tylor,[1874] who proposes as the
scheme of chronological development "gift, homage, abnegation." This
order, which is doubtless real, embodies and depends on growth in social
organization and in the consequent growth in depth and refinement of
religious feeling. The object of a gift is to procure favor and
protection; homage involves the recognition of the deity as overlord,
and, in the higher stages of thought, as worthy of reverence--always,
however, with the sense of dependence and the desire for benefits;
abnegation is the devotion of one's possessions and, ultimately, of
one's self; this idea sometimes assumes a low form, as if the deity were
pleased with human loss and suffering, or as if human enjoyment were
antireligious,[1875] sometimes approaches the conception of the unity of
the worshiper with the object of worship.[1876]

+1041+. A special form of the gift-theory, with a peculiar coloring, is
that which holds that some object is substituted for the worshiper who
has fallen under the displeasure of the deity and is in danger of
punishment. This conception, however, is found only in the most advanced
religions. The cases in which an animal is substituted for a human
victim[1877] are of a different character--they are humane
reinterpretations of old customs. In early popular religion the only
examples of a deity's deliberately inflicting on innocent persons the
punishment of another's wrongdoing are connected with the old conception
of tribal and national solidarity--OEdipus, Achan, David, and others,
by their crimes, bring misfortune on their peoples; when the guilty have
received their punishment the innocent are relieved. A real vicarious
suffering is not found in these cases or in any ancient sacrificial
ritual--the victim is not supposed to bear the sin of the
sacrificant.[1878] It is only in comparatively late theological
constructions that vicarious atonement occurs. Some Jewish thinkers were
driven to such a theory by the problem of national misfortune. The pious
and faithful part of the nation, the "Servant of Yahweh," had shared in
its grievous sufferings, and, as the faithful did not deserve this
punishment, the conclusion was drawn that they suffered for the
iniquities of the body of the people;[1879] their suffering, however,
was to end in victory and prosperity. In this conception the theory of
solidarity is obvious, but it differs from the old tribal theory in that
the suffering of the innocent brings salvation to the whole mass. In the
prophetic picture there is no explanation of how this result was to be
brought about--there is no mention of a moral influence of the few on
the many--only there is the implication that the nation, taught by
suffering, would in future be faithful to the worship of the national
deity. It does not appear wherein the ethical and religious significance
of the unmerited suffering of the pious consisted; apparently the object
of the writer is merely to account for this suffering and to encourage
his countrymen. In another passage,[1880] suffering is represented as
having in itself expiatory power; the view in this case is that a just
deity must punish sin, forgives, however, when the punishment has been

+1042+. The view that the efficacy of sacrifice is due to the fact that
it brings about a _union between the deity and the worshiper_ has been
construed in several different ways according as the stress is laid on
one or another of the elements of the rite. One theory represents
atonement, the reconciliation of god and man, as effected by the
physical act of sharing the flesh of a sacred animal; another finds it
in the death of an animal made sacred and converted into an intermediary
by a series of ceremonies; a third holds that union with the divine is
secured by whatever is pleasing to the deity.

+1043+. _Reconciliation through a communal meal._ Meals in which the
worshipers partook of the flesh of a sacred animal (in which sometimes
the dead animal itself shared) have probably been celebrated from an
immemorial antiquity. Examples of such customs among savages are given
above.[1881] A familiar instance of a communal meal in civilized society
is the Roman festival in which the shades of the ancestors of the clan
were honored (the _sacra gentilicia_)--a solemn declaration of the unity
of the clan-life.[1882] A more definite act of social communion with a
deity seems to be recognizable in the repasts spread in connection with
the Eleusinian mysteries, which appear, however, to have been merely a
social attachment to the mysteries proper.[1883] In the feasts of the
Mithraic initiates, in which mythological symbolism is prominent, a more
spiritual element becomes visible: the participant absorbs something of
the nature of the god--power to overcome evil, with hope of

+1044+. In the ancient records of these ceremonies there is no theory of
the means by which man comes into friendly relations with the deity. The
meal is an act of friendly intercourse--it doubtless involves the
ancient belief that those who eat together thus absorb a common life and
are bound together by a strong tie. In the earliest and simplest
instances the feeling apparently is that the communion is between the
human participants--the divine animal is honored as a brother; but, even
when, as among the Ainu,[1885] he receives a part of the food, the tie
that binds him to them rests on the fact of original kinship rather than
on the communal eating. Later the view that the god was pleased and
placated by the nourishment offered him assumed more definite
form;[1886] but it is doubtful whether on such occasions man was
regarded as the guest of the deity.[1887]

+1045+. However this may be, it is the effect of the food on the god
that has been made by W. Robertson Smith the basis of an elaborate
theory of sacrifice;[1888] his view is that the assimilation of the
flesh and blood of the kindred divine animal strengthens the deity's
sense of kinship with his worshipers, and thus, promoting a kindly
feeling in him, leads him to pardon men's offenses and grant them his
protection. Smith's argument is mainly devoted to illustrating the
ancient conception of blood-kinship between gods, men, and beasts. He
assumes that sacrifice is the offering of food to the deity (the blood
of the animal, as the seat of life, coming naturally to be the most
important part of the offering), the sacredness of the victim, and the
idea of communion, and further that the victim is a totem--the existence
of totemism in the Semitic area, he holds, though not susceptible of
rigid proof, is made practically certain by the wide diffusion of the
totemic conception elsewhere.[1889] As evidence that the effective thing
in sacrifice is the sharing of sacred flesh and blood, he adduces a
great number of offerings (such as the shedding one's own blood and the
offering of one's hair) in which there is no death of a victim, and no
idea of penal satisfaction of the deity. In the Israelite ritual he lays
special stress on the common clan-sacrifice (the _zebaḥ_) in which a
part of the victim is given to the god and a part is consumed by the
worshiper; this he contrasts with offerings that are given wholly to the
god, and, leaving aside piacula and holocausts, this distinction he
makes correspond to that between animal and vegetable offerings, the
latter, he holds, being originally not conciliatory. Thus, he concludes,
the expiatory power lies in the sharing of animal flesh. Here the theory
is confronted by the holocaust and the piaculum, expiatory sacrifices in
which there is no communal eating. Smith meets this difficulty by
suggesting that these two sorts of sacrifice belong to a relatively late
period, when, in the progress of society, the original conception had
become dim. As time went on, he says, the belief in kinship with animals
grew fainter. Sacrificial meals became merely occasions of feasting, and
at the same time the establishment of kingly government familiarized men
with the idea of tribute--so sacrifice came to be regarded as a gift and
the victim was wholly burnt (holocaust); the same result was reached
when the feeling arose that the victim was too sacred to be eaten--it
must be otherwise disposed of (piaculum). The piacula he refers to times
of special distress, when recourse was had to the sacrifice of ancient
sacred animals, old totems (Hebrew: "unclean" animals), supposed to have
special potency.[1890] It is true that in the course of time certain old
conceptions grew dim, but this does not set aside the fact that
expiatory power was supposed to attach to animal sacrifices in which
there was no communal eating; though some of these were late, they
doubtless retained the old idea of the nature of the efficacy of

+1046+. In Smith's theory there is confusion between the two ideas of
communion and expiation or placation. All the facts adduced by him go to
show only that the earliest form of animal sacrifice took the form of
communal eating; and in such repasts, as in the savage feasts on the
bodies of warriors and others, the prominent consideration seems to have
been the assimilation of the qualities of the thing consumed--in this
case a divine animal. There is not a word of proof of the view that the
placation of the deity was due to his assimilation of kindred flesh and
blood. Such a view is not expressed in any ancient document or
tradition, and, on the other hand, placation by gifts of food (animal or
vegetable) and other things appears in all accounts of early ritual.
Even in the sacramental meals of later times, Eleusinian, Christian, and
Mithraic, there is no trace of the theory under consideration. In the
"Teaching of the Twelve Apostles" (ix f.) the conception of the
eucharistic meal is simply symbolical. The origin of the Australian
custom[1891] (in which the food brought in by a clan is not eaten till
the old men have first tasted it) is obscure; but there is no hint that
the food was supposed to be shared by a supernatural being.[1892]
Piacula arose under the influence of a deep sense of individual relation
to the deity, and sometimes in connection with voluntary associations in
which a special sanctity was held to accrue to the initiates through the
medium of a cult in which special sacrifices were prominent It was
natural that peculiarly solemn or dreadful offerings should be made to
the deity in times of great distress; the placating efficacy in such
cases seems to have been due to the pleasure taken by the deity in the
proof of devotion given by the worshipers. In general, the communal meal
lost its early significance as time went on, and came at last to be
celebrated merely as a traditional mark of respect to the deity, or as a
social function; the belief in its efficacy, however (and sometimes
belief in its magical power), survived into a relatively late period.

+1047+. In one point, the death of the god, J. G. Frazer, while
accepting Smith's theory in general, diverges from his view. Smith
regards the death of the god as having been originally the sacrificial
death of the divine totem animal, with which later the god was
identified. Frazer[1893] (here following Mannhardt[1894]) finds its
origin in the death of the vegetation-spirit (the decay of vegetation),
which was and is celebrated in many places in Europe, and furnishes an
explanation of the myths of Adonis, Attis, Osiris, Dionysus, Demeter and
Proserpine, and Lityerses. This explanation is adopted and expanded by
Hubert and Mauss.[1895] So far as the mere fact of the sacrifice of a
divine being is concerned it might be accounted for by either of these
theories; but the numerous points of connection between the deities in
question and the ancient ideas concerning the death of vegetation make
the view of Mannhardt and Frazer the more probable. The kernel of the
original custom is not expiation but celebration or worship; the myths
are dramatic developments of the simple old idea. Frazer suggests that
the spirit or god, supposed to be enfeebled by age, was slain by the
worshipers in order that a more vigorous successor might infuse new life
into the world--an explanation that is possible but cannot be considered
as established or as probable.[1896] However this may be, it was at a
relatively late period that the conception of communion was introduced
into ceremonies connected with the death of a deity. Originally the
grain, identified with the god, was eaten in order to acquire his
strength;[1897] such seems to be the purpose in the Mexican ceremonies
in which paste images of the deity were eaten by all the people. With
the growth of moral and spiritual conceptions of worship such communal
eating came naturally to be connected with a sense of union of soul with
the deity, as we find in the higher religions, but still without the
feeling that reconciliation and unity were effected through the
absorption, by god and man, of the same sacred food.

+1048+. In some forms of Christianity the sacramental eating is brought
into connection with the atoning death of a divine person, but this
latter conception came independently by a different line of thought. Its
basis is the idea of redemption, which is an element in all sacrifice
proper. And, as the death of the divine victim is held to rescue the
worshiper from punishment for ill doing, the conclusion is natural that
the former stands in the place of the latter. In the higher forms of
thought such substitution could only be voluntary on the part of the
victim. Traces of the self-sacrifice of a god have been sought in such
myths as the stories of the self-immolation of Dido and Odin; but the
form and origin of these myths are obscure[1898]--all that can be said
of them in this connection is that they seem not to contain expiatory
conceptions.[1899] The higher conception of a divine self-sacrifice is a
late historical development under the influence of convictions of the
moral majesty of God and the sinfulness of sin.

+1049+. _Union with the divine through a sanctified victim._ The
conception of sacrifice as bringing about a union of the divine and the
human is reached in a different way from that of Smith by MM. Hubert and
Mauss, and receives in their hands a peculiar coloring.[1900] They hold
that the numerous forms of sacrifice cannot be reduced to "the unity of
a single arbitrarily chosen principle"; and in view of the paucity of
accurate accounts of early ritual (in which they include the Greek and
the Roman) they reject the "genealogical" (that is, the evolutionary)
method, and devote themselves to an analysis of the two ancient rituals,
the Hindu and the Hebrew, that are known in detail and with exactness.
They thus arrive at the formula: "Sacrifice is a religious act which, by
the consecration of a victim, modifies the state of the moral person who
performs it, or of certain objects in which this person is interested."
The procedure in sacrifice, they say, consists in establishing a
communication between the sacred world and the profane world by the
intermediation of a victim, that is, of a thing that is destroyed in the
course of the ceremony; it thus serves a variety of purposes, and is
dealt with in many ways: the flesh is offered to hostile spirits or to
friendly deities, and is eaten in part by worshipers or by priests; the
ceremony is employed in imprecations, divination, vows, and is
redemptive by the substitution of the victim for the offender; the soul
of the beast is sent to join its kin in heaven and maintain the
perpetuity of its race; all sacrifices produce either sacralization or
desacralization--both offerer and victim must be prepared (for the
victim is not, as Smith holds, sacred by nature, but is made sacred by
the sacrifice), and, the ceremony over, the person must be freed from
his sanctity (as in the removal of a taboo); all sacrifice is an act of
abnegation, but the abnegation is useful and egoistic, except in the
case of the sacrifice of a god.

+1050+. The essay of MM. Hubert and Mauss is rather a description of the
mode of procedure in Hindu sacrifice than an explanation of the source
of its power. A victim, it is said, sanctified by the act of sacrifice,
effects communication between the two worlds, but we are not told
wherein consists this sanctifying and harmonizing efficacy. The rituals
chosen for analysis are the product of many centuries of development and
embody the conceptions of theological reflection; it does not appear why
they should be preferred, as sources of information concerning the
essential nature of sacrifice, to the simple rites of undeveloped
communities. The authors of the essay, though they deny the possibility
of finding a single explicative principle chosen arbitrarily,
themselves announce a principle, which, however, amounts simply to the
statement that sacrifice is placatory. In thus ascribing the virtue of
the ceremony to the act itself it is possible that they may have been
influenced by the Brahmanic conception that sacrifice had power in
itself to control the gods and to secure all blessings for men; it was
credited by them with magical efficacy, and the efficacy depended on
performing the act with minutest accuracy in details--the slightest
error in a word might vitiate the whole proceeding.[1901] The developed
Hindu system thus embodied in learned form the magical idea that is
found in many early procedures, and in some other cults of civilized
communities. So far as regards the variety of functions assigned by MM.
Hubert and Mauss to sacrifice, they may all be explained as efforts to
propitiate supernatural Powers; and the obligation on priests and
worshipers to purify themselves by ablutions and otherwise arises from a
sense of the sacredness of the sacrificial act, which is itself derived
from the feeling that the sacredness of supernatural beings communicates
itself to whatever is connected with them. The view that the victim is
not in itself sacred is contradicted by all the phenomena of early
religion. Though the essay of MM. Hubert and Mauss formulates no
definition of the ultimate efficient cause in sacrifice, passing remarks
appear to indicate that they look on the offering as a gift to
superhuman Powers, and that their object is to show under what
conditions and circumstances it is to be presented.

+1051+. _Sacrifice as the expression of desire for union with the
Infinite._ Professor C. P. Tiele, dissatisfied with existing theories of
the significance of sacrifice, contents himself with a general
statement.[1902] After pointing out that the material of sacrifice in
any community is derived from the food of the community, he passes in
review briefly the theories of Tylor (gifts to deities), Spencer
(veneration of deceased ancestors), and Robertson Smith; all these,
though he thinks it would be presumptuous to condemn them hastily, he
finds insufficient, most of them, he says, confining themselves to a
single kind of offering, whereas every kind should be taken into
account, gifts presented, objects and persons consecrated, victims slain
with or without repasts, possessions and pleasures renounced, acts of
fasting and abstinence, every kind of religious self-denial or
self-sacrifice. The question being whether one and the same religious
need is to be recognized in all the varieties, he finds the root of
sacrificial observances in the yearning of the believer for abiding
communion with the supernatural Power to which he feels himself akin,
the longing of finite man to become one with the Infinity above him.

+1052+. Tiele here has in mind the highest form of the religious
consciousness, which he carries back to the beginnings of religious
thought. He is justified in so doing in so far as all later developments
must be supposed to exist in germinal form at the outset of rational
life; but such a conception tells us nothing of the historical origin of
customs. The idea of the relation between the finite and the infinite is
not recognizable in early thought; to trace the history of such an
institution as sacrifice we desire to know in what sort of feeling it
originated, and we may then follow its progress to its highest
definition. All the details mentioned by Tiele are included under the
head of gift except acts of abstinence and self-sacrifice, and these
last belong properly not to what is technically known as "sacrifice,"
but to man's endeavor to bring himself into ethical harmony with an
ethical deity. With equal right prayer and all moral conduct might here
be included; Tiele thinks of "sacrifice" as embracing the whole
religious life. In the earliest known cults the "yearning for union with
the Infinite" takes the form of desire to enter into friendly relations
with superhuman Powers by gifts, in order to derive benefit from them;
when old forms have been outgrown the conviction arises that what is
well-pleasing to God is the presentation of the whole self, as a "living
sacrifice," in service in accordance with reason (Rom. xii, 1).

+1053+. The various theories of the origin and efficacy of sacrifice
(omitting the ambassadorial conception) are thus reducible to three
types: it is regarded as a gift, as a substitution, or as an act
securing union (physical or spiritual) with the divine. These have all
maintained themselves, in one form or another, up to the present day.
The old ritual slaughter of an animal and the presentation of vegetables
and other things have, indeed, vanished. The movement of thought against
animal sacrifice began in the Western world (among the Greeks and the
Hebrews) probably as early as the fourth century B.C.[1903] In Greece
the formulation of philosophic thought and the rise of individualism in
religion (embodied, for example, in the great Mysteries) brought larger
and more spiritual ideas into prominence. Rational law and inward
impulse took the place, in the higher circles, of ritual offerings. The
object of law, says Plato, is the encouragement of virtue of all kinds
and the securing of the highest happiness; but, he holds, there is
something higher than law: the good Athenian is above other men, for he
is the only man who is freely and genuinely good by inspiration of
nature, and is not manufactured by law.[1904] The Mysteries assumed that
every man, with suitable inward preparation, was fitted to enter into a
spiritual union with the deity. The later Jews showed equal devotion to
their law, held to be divinely given, laying the stress on the moral
side;[1905] jurists became more important than priests, and the
synagogue (representing individual worship) more influential than the
temple-ritual. In certain psalms[1906] sacrifice is flatly declared not
to be acceptable to God; this attitude had been taken by the earlier
prophets,[1907] but is emphasized in the psalms in the face of the later
opinion that the sacrificial ritual was of divine ordination (so in
Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers). In the Gospels the sacrificial ritual is
practically ignored. In India the Brahmanic and Buddhistic movements
toward rational conceptions of religion showed themselves as early as
the sixth century B.C. Thus, over a great part of the civilized world
intellectual and moral progress took the form of protest against the old
idea of sacrifice.

+1054+. Yet old customs are long-lived, and the ancient theories, as is
remarked above, still have a certain power. The crudest of them--that
the deity may be propitiated by gifts--shows itself in the belief that
ill-doing may be atoned for by the support of charitable and religious
institutions--by the building of churches and hospitals, by the
maintenance of religious worship, and by aid to the poor. Society has
benefited largely by this belief, especially in medieval Europe and to
some extent in Buddhistic and Moslem communities; it has formed a
transition to higher conceptions, by which it has now been in great
measure replaced. The same thing is true of ascetic observances. The
idea of sacrificial substitution, which has been prominent in organized
Christianity from an early period (though it has no support in the
teaching of Jesus), might seem to be prejudicial to religion for the
reason that it tends to depress the sense of individual responsibility
by relegating the reconciliation with the deity to an external
agency--and such has often been its effect; but this unhappy result has
been more and more modified, partly by the natural human instinct of
moral responsibility and the ethical standard of the Christian
Scriptures, partly by the feeling of gratitude and devotion that has
been called forth by the recognition of unmerited blessing. The third
theory of sacrifice, according to which its essence is union with the
divine, has passed gradually from the sphere of ritual to that of moral
culture. In mystical systems, Christian and Moslem, it has lent itself
sometimes to immorality, sometimes to a stagnant, egoistic, and
antisocial quietism; but in the main it has tended to avoid or abandon
mechanical and mystical features, and confine itself to the conception
of sympathetic and intelligent coöperation with what may be regarded as
the divine activities of the world.

+1055+. _Further external apparatus of religion._ Along with the growth
of sacrifice there has been a natural development of everything that was
necessary to give permanent form to public worship--ritual, priests,
temples, idols, and whatever was connected with the later church


Apart from magical procedures the earliest known public religious
worship consisted simply in the offering of an animal, a vegetable, a
fluid, or other object to a superhuman being, the offering being
performed by any prominent person and without elaborate ceremonies.
Inevitably, however, as the social organization grew more complex and
the conception of sanctity more definite, the ceremonial procedure
became more elaborate. The selection and the handling of the victim came
to be objects of anxious care, and the details increased in importance
as they increased in number. It was believed that minute accuracy in
every ritual act was necessary for the success of the offering. Various
elements doubtless entered into this belief: often a magical power was
attributed to the act of sacrifice; and there was a feeling, it may be
surmised, that the deity was exacting in the matter of ceremonies--these
were marks of respect, such as was paid to human potentates, and
well-defined court rituals (on which the religious ritual was probably
based) appear in early forms of society. Thus ritual tended to become
the predominant element in worship, serving first the interests of unity
and order in religion, and later always in danger of becoming a
mechanical and religiously degrading influence.

+1056+. In most savage and half-civilized communities sacrifice is a
simple affair, and the details of the ceremonies of worship are rarely
reported by travelers and other observers.[1908] An exception exists in
the case of the Todas of Southern India, who have elaborate ceremonies
connected with the milking of buffaloes.[1909] The ordinary buffaloes of
a village are cared for by some prominent man (never by a woman), who is
sometimes a sacred person and while carrying on his operations performs
devotional acts (prayer and so forth), but without a fixed ritual. A
higher degree of sanctity attaches to the institution called _ti_, which
comprises a herd of buffaloes belonging to a clan and provided with
dairies and grazing-grounds; each dairy has appropriate buildings, and
the _ti_ is presided over by a sort of priest called a _palol_. The
migration of the buffaloes from one grazing-ground to another is
conducted as a sacred function. In the case of an ordinary herd the
procession of animals is accompanied by a religious official who
carries the dairy implements; on reaching the destination the new dairy
is purified, the sun is saluted, and prayer is offered. In a _ti_
migration the procedure is more elaborate: the milking of the buffaloes
is accompanied by prayers for the older and the younger members of the
herd, and every act of the _palol_ is regulated by law. The same thing
is true of the animal sacrifices: the slaughter of the victim and the
disposal of the various parts are accomplished in accordance with
definite rules that are handed down orally from one generation to
another. The Todas are a non-Aryan people, hardly to be called
half-civilized: if the buffalo-ritual is native with them, the natural
inference will be that the custom is ancient. Rivers adduces a
considerable number of similarities between Toda institutions and those
of the Malabar coast (such as polyandry and other marriage
institutions), and this agreement, as far as it goes, may point to a
common culture throughout a part of Southern India;[1910] the early
history of these tribes is, however, obscure. It is possible that the
Todas have borrowed some customs from the Hindus. They have certainly
adopted some Hindu gods, and Rivers suspects Hindu influence in their
recognition of omens and lucky and unlucky days, in certain of their
magical procedures, and in their use of pigments and ashes in some
sacred ceremonies. There seems, however, to be no proof that the
buffalo-ritual has been borrowed from the Hindus. On this question,
which is of importance as bearing on the early history of ritual, it is
to be hoped that further information will be got.

+1057+. Various nonsacrificial rituals (dances and so forth) are
referred to above.[1911] Magical processes should be here included so
far as they involve a recognition of superhuman agents; they are then to
be regarded as religious. Definite magical ritual is found in many of
the lower tribes, and there are ceremonies in which a shaman is the
conductor--these are governed by fixed customs as to dress, posture,
acts, and words.[1912] They differ from magical processes in that they
are assemblies of the people, religious because there is communication
with spirits. In the Californian tribes and others they become occasions
of merrymaking; a peculiar feature of these gatherings among the Maidu
and other tribes is the presence of a clown who mimics the acts and
words of the dancers and performs knavish tricks; the origin of this
feature of the dances is not clear. In all such ceremonies the tendency
to regulate the details of religious performances is apparent, and such
regulation is found in so many parts of the world that it may be
regarded with probability as universal.

+1058+. For the ancient national religions we have the fullest details
in the case of the Hindus and the Hebrews. The Hindu sacrificial ritual
is described by MM. Hubert and Mauss;[1913] the Hebrew procedure is
given in the later sections of the Pentateuch.[1914] The Egyptian ritual
also appears to have been elaborate, including much music.[1915] These
show methods similar to those described above, and probably the same
general modes of procedure were followed in Babylonia and Persia, though
of the ritual in these countries only slight notices have been handed
down.[1916] The great Chinese Imperial sacrifices are described by H.

+1059+. These national systems exhibit a gradual quiet enlargement of
the ritual resulting from increasing specialization in the conception of
sin and forgiveness and in the functions of religious officials. A
different sort of development appears in the rites of the cults that
sprang up on the ruins of the old faiths--Greek Mysteries, Mithraism,
Isisism, Christianity. These were all redemptive religions, highly
individualistic and intense, efforts to infuse into old forms the ideas
concerning moral purity, union with the deity, immortality, and future
salvation that had arisen in the Græco-Roman world by the natural
growth of thought and the intermingling of the various existing schemes
of religious life. They are all marked by a tendency toward elaborate
organization, a sharp differentiation from the national cults, and
purificatory and other ceremonies of initiation. The differentiation was
most definite in Christianity, the ritual was most highly developed in
the other movements. In the Greek public Mysteries[1918] and in those of
Mithra[1919] there were (besides ablutions) the old communal meals,
processions, striking dramatic performances, and brilliant effects of
light and music, and in Mithraism trials of courage for the neophyte
after the manner of the old savage initiations. The ceremonies in the
Isis cult were less sensational, more quiet and dignified.[1920] In all
these cults there was symbolism, and the moral teaching was of a lofty

+1060+. Christian ritual was at first simple,[1921] but rapidly grew in
elaborateness. The liturgy and the eucharistic ceremonies were expanded
into great proportions, and came to be the essence of worship. This
movement went on throughout Christendom (with variations here and there)
up to the rise of Protestantism, and after that time continued in the
Greek and Roman Churches. Protestantism, in its recoil from certain
doctrines of the Church of Rome, threw off much of its ceremonial, which
in the minds of the people was associated with the rejected dogmas.
Since the separation, however, especially in the last hundred years, the
violent antagonism having largely quieted down, there has been in some
Protestant bodies a slow but steady movement in the direction of
ritualistic expansion; procedures that three centuries ago would have
called forth earnest protest are now accepted and interpreted in
accordance with Protestant ideas. Doubtless the temperament of a people
has something to do with the amount of ceremonial it favors in religious

+1061+. The history of ritual thus shows that it tends to grow in
elaborateness and importance as social forms become more elaborate and
important--the mode of approaching the deity imitates the mode of
approaching human dignitaries, postures are borrowed from current
etiquette.[1922] Form was especially sought after under the old
monarchies, Egyptian and Assyrian.[1923] The exaggerated Oriental court
etiquette, introduced into Roman life as early as the time of
Diocletian, was maintained and developed under the Byzantine
emperors.[1924] These usages may have affected the growth of the Greek
and Roman Church liturgies.[1925] In modern China, under the imperial
government, divine worship was substantially identical in form with the
worship of the emperor. In some cases it may be doubtful in which
direction the borrowing has been.

The expansion of liturgical forms has often been accompanied by the
effort to interpret them symbolically. Intelligent reflection has led to
the conviction that forms without religious meaning are valueless, and
it has been easy, after ceremonies were established, to attach spiritual
definitions to their details. This relieves their materialism, and gives
a certain realness and force to religious feeling.


+1062+. A priest is a person commissioned by the community or its head
to conduct the sacrificial service and related services connected with
shrines. Such a person differs in two respects from the religious
official of the simplest times, the magician (shaman, or medicine man):
the latter acts in his own name and by his own authority, and the
methods he employs are magical--they are based on the belief that the
supernatural Powers are subject to law and may be controlled by one who
knows this law; the priest acts in the name and by the authority of the
community, and his methods are dictated by the friendly social relation
existing between the community and the Powers. He differs, further, from
those religious ministrants (chiefs of clans, fathers of families, and
other prominent men) who acted by virtue of their social or political
positions in that his functions are solely religious and are in that
regard distinct from his civil position. He represents a differentiation
of functions in an orderly nonmagical religious society. Such an office
can arise only under a tolerably well-organized civil government and a
fairly well-defined sacrificial ritual. It is doubtless a slow growth,
and there may be, in a community, a period of transition from one grade
of religious ministers to another when the distinction between the
priest and the magician or between the priest and the headman is hardly
recognizable; the distinction comes, however, to be well marked, and
then indicates an important turning-point in religious history. It may
be, also, that at certain times under certain circumstances the civil
ruler may have priestly functions or the priest may exercise civil
authority; but these exceptional cases do not affect the specific
character of the sacerdotal office.

+1063+. The priest is a sacred person, and is affected by all the
conditions pertaining to the conception of "sacred." In early times he
has to be guarded against contamination by impure or common (profane)
things, and care has to be taken that his quality of sacredness be not
injuriously communicated to other persons or to any object.[1927] The
parts of his person, such as hair and nail-parings, must not be touched
by common folk. The dress worn by him when performing his sacred duties
must be changed when he comes out to mix with the people. He must keep
his body clean, and the food that he may or may not eat is determined by
custom or by law. His sexual relations are defined--sometimes he is
forbidden to marry or to approach a woman, sometimes the prohibition
extends only to marriage with a certain sort of woman (a foreigner, a
widow, or a harlot). In some cases he is forbidden to engage in warfare
or to shed human blood;[1928] the ground of this prohibition was
physical, not moral.[1929]

+1064+. Similar rules in regard to food, marriage, chastity applied to
priestesses.[1930] Women were often, in ancient times, the ministrants
in the shrines of female deities--there was a certain propriety in this
arrangement; they were, however, in some cases attached to the service
of male deities.[1931] Their duties were in general of a secondary
character: they rarely, if ever, offered sacrifice;[1932] they were
often in charge of the temple-music; the function of soothsaying or of
the interpretation of oracular sayings was sometimes assigned them. On
the other hand, female ministrants in temples, who were closely
connected with temple duties, were sometimes considered as wives of the
god, and in some cases had sexual relations with priests and worshipers,
and became public prostitutes.[1933] This custom does not exist among
the lowest tribes, and it attained its largest development in some of
the great civilized cults. It seems not to have existed in Egypt.[1934]
The consecrated maidens described in the Code of Hammurabi appear to
have been chaste and respected;[1935] the relation between these and the
harlots of the early Ishtar cult is not clear. A distinction may be made
between priestesses proper and maidens (hierodules) consecrated to such
a deity as Aphrodite Pande