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Title: Elements of Folk Psychology - Outline of a Psychological History of the Development of Mankind
Author: Wundt, Wilhelm
Language: English
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Outlines of a Psychological History of the Development of Mankind



Authorized Translation by Edward Leroy Schaub, Ph.D.

Professor of Philosophy in Northwestern University

London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd.
New York: The Macmillan Company

_First published: July 1916._
_Revised edition: April 1921._


The keen interest which the present age is manifesting in problems
connected with the interpretation of human experience is no less a
result than it is a precondition of the fruitful labours of individual
scholars. Prominent among these is the distinguished author of the
volume which is herewith rendered accessible to English readers. The
impetus which Professor Wundt has given to the philosophical and
psychological studies of recent years is a matter of common knowledge.
Many of those who are contributing richly to these fields of thought
received their stimulus from instruction directly enjoyed in the
laboratory and the classrooms of Leipzig. But even more than to Wundt,
the teacher, is the world indebted to Wundt, the investigator and the
writer. The number and comprehensiveness of this author's publications,
as well as their range of subjects, are little short of amazing. To
gauge the extent of their influence would require an examination of a
large part of current philosophical and psychological literature. No
small measure of this influence, however, must be credited to those
whose labours have made possible the appearance of Wundt's writings
in other tongues. Of the English translations, we owe the first to
Professors Creighton and Titchener. Succeeding their translation of
the "Lectures on Human and Animal Psychology," came the publication,
in English, of the first volume of the "Principles of Physiological
Psychology," of the two briefer treatises, "Outlines of Psychology" and
"Introduction to Psychology," and, in the meantime, of the valuable
work on "Ethics."

Though Professor Wundt first won recognition through his investigations
in physiology, it was his later and more valuable contributions to
physiological psychology, as well as to logic, ethics, epistemology,
and metaphysics, that gained for him his place of eminence in the world
of scholarship. One may hazard the prophecy, however, that the final
verdict of history will ascribe to his latest studies, those in folk
psychology, a significance not inferior to that which is now generally
conceded to the writings of his earlier years. The _Völkerpsychologie_
is a truly monumental work. The analysis and interpretation of
language, art, mythology, and religion, and the criticisms of rival
theories and points of view, which occupy its five large volumes of
over three thousand pages, are at once so judicial and so suggestive
that they may not be neglected by any serious student of the social
mind. The publication of the _Völkerpsychologie_ made necessary a
number of defensive and supplementary articles. Two of these, in a
somewhat revised form, together with an early article on "The Aim and
Methods of Folk Psychology," and an additional essay on "Pragmatic
and Genetic Psychology of Religion," were published in 1911 under
the title, _Probleme der Völkerpsychologie_. Finally, in 1912, there
appeared the book which we are now presenting in translation, the
_Elemente der Völkerpsychologie_. As regards the difference in method
and character between the _Elemente_ and the _Völkerpsychologie_,
nothing need be added to what may be gleaned from the author's Preface
and Introduction to this, his latest, work. Here, too, Professor
Wundt indicates his conception of the nature and the problem of folk
psychology, a fuller discussion of which may be found both in the
_Völkerpsychologie_ and in the first essay of the _Probleme_.

He who attempts to sketch the "Outlines of a Psychological History of
the Development of Mankind" necessarily incurs a heavy indebtedness,
as regards his material, to various more specialized sciences. The
success with which the data have been sifted in the present instance
and the extent to which the author has repaid the special sciences in
terms of serviceable principles of interpretation, must, to a certain
extent, be left to the determination of those who are engaged in these
specific fields. Human beliefs and institutions, however, as well as
all products of art and modes of labour, of food-getting, of marriage,
of warfare, etc.--in short, all elements of human culture--even though
subject to natural conditions of various sorts, are essentially mental
processes or the expression of psychical activities. Hence no theory
relating to these phenomena is acceptable, or even respectable,
that does violence to well-established psychological principles.
The unpsychological character of many of the hypotheses that still
abound in ethnological, sociological, and historical literature, in
itself renders necessary such discussions as those comprised within
the present volume. One of the very valuable, even though not novel,
features of the "Elements," therefore, is its clear exposure of the
untenability of rationalistic and other similarly erroneous types of

The dependence of folk psychology, as conceived by Professor Wundt,
upon general psychology--or, in this particular case, upon the author's
system of physiological psychology--will be apparent. It should not
be overlooked, however, that the examination of the mental processes
that underlie the various forms in which social experience comes to
expression involves a procedure which supplements, in an important
way, the traditional psychological methods. More than this. Wundt's
_Völkerpsychologie_ is the result of a conviction that there are
certain mental phenomena which may not be interpreted satisfactorily by
any psychology which restricts itself to the standpoint of individual
consciousness. Fundamental to the conclusions of the present volume,
therefore, is the assumption of the reality of collective minds. For
Professor Wundt, however, this assumption is not in the least of a
dogmatic character. On the contrary, its acceptance is necessitated by
the failure of opposing theories, and its validity is sustained by the
fact that it renders intelligible a large and important body of facts.
If this be admitted, it follows that folk psychology supplements not
merely the methods of individual or physiological psychology, but also
its principles and its laws. As yet, however, the prevailing tendency
of psychologists, both in England and in America, is to retain the
point of view of individual consciousness even when dealing with those
phenomena which Wundt considers to be creations of the social group.
That this occurs so frequently without any apparent thought of the
necessity of justifying the procedure is--whether the position itself
be right or wrong--an illustration of the barriers offered by a foreign

For the general reader who professes no acquaintance with the nature or
the viewpoint of psychological science, it may not be amiss to remark
that the author aims, in this book, to present, not a discussion of
the philosophical validity of ideas or of the ethical or religious
value of customs and institutions, but merely a descriptive account
of human development. The "Elements" is an attempt to answer the
question as to what beliefs and practices actually prevailed at the
various stages of human development and what psychological explanation
may be given of them. Such an investigation is quite distinct from an
inquiry as to whether these beliefs and practices are justifiable. It
is equally foreign, moreover, to the question as to whether the ideas
that are entertained may be held either to bring us into relation with
trans-subjective realities or to acquaint us with a truth that is, in
any significant sense, eternal. However sacred or profane, true or
delusional, experiences may be to the philosopher, the theologian, or
the man of practical affairs, to him who is psychologizing they all
alike are mental phenomena demanding, not evaluation, but observation,
analysis, and reduction to mental laws. Wundt explicitly emphasizes
the fact that his psychological account neither represents nor renders
unnecessary a philosophy of history; similarly, it may be added, the
present work is neither the equivalent nor the negation of ethics,
jurisprudence, theology, epistemology, or metaphysics. Nevertheless,
while the distinctions which we have suggested should be strictly kept
in mind, a just appreciation of the significance of such books as the
"Elements" demands that we recognize their notable value to all the
various philosophical disciplines. Works of this sort succeed above all
others in stimulating and sustaining a keen empirical interest on the
part of philosophy, and they supply the latter with a fund of carefully
selected and psychologically interpreted facts. Doubtless it is in
connection with ethics and the science of religion that these services
are most obvious. Even the epistemologist, however, will find much
that is suggestive in Wundt's account of the origin and development of
language, the characteristics and content of primitive thought, and
the relation of mythological and religious ideas to the affective and
conative life. That the _Völkerpsychologie_ may contribute largely
toward the solution of metaphysical problems has been strikingly
demonstrated by Professor Royce in his profound volumes on "The Problem
of Christianity."

The trials of the translator have been recounted too often any longer
to require detailed mention. President G. Stanley Hall has suggested
that the German proclivity to the use of long, involved sentences,
loaded with qualifying words and phrases, and with compounds and
supplementary clauses of every description, may perhaps be said to
have the merit of rendering language somewhat correspondent with the
actual course of thought. The significance of this statement can be
appreciated by no one quite so keenly as by a translator, for whom the
very fact which President Hall mentions causes many German sentences to
be objects of despair. In the present instance, the endeavour has been
to reproduce as faithfully as possible both the meaning and the spirit
of the original, while yet taking such liberties as seemed necessary
either to clarify certain passages or to avoid any serious offence to
the English language. In a number of cases, no absolutely satisfactory
equivalent of the German term seemed available. The very expression
'folk psychology,' for example, may scarcely be said to commend itself
in every respect. Its use seemed unescapable, however, in view of
the fact that the author, in his Introduction, expressly rejects the
terms _Sozialpsychologie_ and _Gemeinschaftspsychologie_ in favour of
_Völkerpsychologie. Bildende Kunst_ has been rendered 'formative art,'
not in the belief that this translation is wholly unobjectionable, but
because it seemed preferable to all possible alternatives, such as
'plastic,' 'shaping,' or 'manual' art. Those who are familiar with, or
who will take notice of, the very precise meaning which the present
author gives to the terms _Märchen, Sage, Legende,_ and _Mythus_ will
understand without explanation our frequent use of the word 'saga'
and the necessity of the term 'märchen' in the translation. Wundt has
always attached great significance to the distinctions which he has
drawn between the various forms of the myth, and, more especially,
to his contention that the earliest and, in a sense, the progenitor
of these was the märchen. The crying need of exact definition and
of clear thinking in a field so confused as that of mythology led
him, on one occasion, to enter a plea for a clear-cut and consistent
terminology such as that which he was attempting to maintain (_vide
Völkerpsychologie, Band V, Zweiter Teil, Zweite Auflage, s._ 33). In
this instance again, therefore, it seemed best to give to the author's
own terms a preference over words which, while more familiar to the
English reader, are less suited to convey the precise meaning intended.

The most pleasant of the translator's duties consists in acknowledging
the very material assistance which he has received from his wife, whose
preparation of an enlarged index for this English edition is but the
last of many services which she has rendered in connection with the
present undertaking.




_October_ 1915.


This volume pursues a different method, in its treatment of the
problems of folk psychology, from that employed in my more extensive
treatment of the subject. Instead of considering successively the main
forms of expression of the folk mind, the present work studies the
phenomena, so far as possible, synchronously, exhibiting their common
conditions and their reciprocal relations. Even while engaged on my
earlier task I had become more and more convinced that a procedure of
this latter sort was required as its supplement. Indeed, I believed
that the chief purpose of investigations in folk psychology must
be found in a synthetic survey. The first prerequisite of such a
survey is, of course, a separate examination of each of the various
fields. The history of the development of the physical organism aims
to understand not merely the genesis of the particular organs but
primarily their co-operation and the correlation of their functions. An
analogous purpose should underlie an account of the mental development
of any human community and, finally, of mankind itself. In addition to
the problem of the relations of the separate processes to one another,
however, we must in this case face also the broader question as to
whether or not mental development is at all subject to law. This it
is, therefore, that the sub-title of the present volume is intended to
suggest. That we can be concerned only with outlines, moreover, and not
with an exhaustive presentation of details, follows from the very fact
that our aim is a synthetic survey. An exhaustive presentation would
again involve us in a more or less detached investigation of single
problems. A briefer exposition, on the other hand, which limits itself
to arranging the main facts along lines suggested by the subject-matter
as a whole, is, without doubt, better adapted both to present a clear
picture of the development, and to indicate its general amenability to
law, the presence of which even the diversity of events cannot conceal.

This being my main purpose, I believed that I might at once reject
the thought of giving the various facts a proportionate degree of
attention. In the case of the better known phenomena, it appeared
sufficient to sketch their place in the general development. That
which was less familiar, however, or was still, perhaps, generally
unknown, seemed to me to require a more detailed discussion. Hence the
following pages deal at some length with the forms of original tribal
organization and of the consummation of marriage, with soul, demon, and
totem cults, and with various other phenomena of a somewhat primitive
culture. On the other hand, they describe in barest outline the social
movements that reach over into historical times, such as the founding
of States and cities, the origin of legal systems, and the like. No
inference, of course, should be drawn from this with regard to the
relative importance of the phenomena themselves. Our procedure, in this
matter, has been governed by practical considerations alone.

The above remark concerning the less familiar and that which is as yet
unknown, will already have indicated that folk psychology in general,
and particularly a history of development in terms of folk psychology,
such as this book aims to give, are as yet forced to rely largely
on suppositions and hypotheses, if they are not to lose the thread
that unites the details. Questions similar to the ones which we have
just mentioned regarding the beginnings of human society, or others,
which, though belonging to a later development, nevertheless still
fall within the twilight dawn of history--such, for example, as those
concerning the origin of gods and of religion, the development of myth,
the sources and the transformations in meaning of the various forms
of cult, etc.--are, of course, as yet largely matters of dispute. In
cases of this sort, we are for the most part dealing not so much with
facts themselves as with hypotheses designed to interpret facts. And
yet it must not be forgotten that folk psychology rests on precisely
the same experiential basis, as regards these matters, as do all other
empirical sciences. Its position in this respect is similar, more
particularly, to that of history, with which it frequently comes into
touch in dealing with these problems of origin. The hypotheses of folk
psychology never refer to a background of things or to origins that
are by nature inaccessible to experiential knowledge; they are simply
assumptions concerning a number of conjectured empirical facts that,
for some reason or other, elude positive detection. When, for example,
we assume that the god-idea resulted from a fusion of the hero ideal
with the previously existing belief in demons, this is an hypothesis,
since the direct transition of a demon into a god can nowhere be
pointed out with absolute certainty. Nevertheless, the conjectured
process moves on the factual plane from beginning to end. The same is
true, not merely of many of the problems of folk psychology, but in
the last analysis of almost all questions relating to the beginning
of particular phenomena. In such cases, the result is seldom based on
actually given data--these are inaccessible to direct observation,
leaving psychological probability as our only guide. That is to say,
we are driven to that hypothesis which is in greatest consonance with
the sum total of the known facts of individual and of folk psychology.
It is this empirical task, constituting a part of psychology and, at
the same time, an application of it, that chiefly differentiates a
psychological history of development, such as the following work aims
briefly to present, from a philosophy of history. In my opinion, the
basis of a philosophy of history should henceforth be a psychological
history of development, though the latter should not intrude upon the
particular problems of the former. The concluding remarks of our final
chapter attempt, in a few sentences, to indicate this connection of a
psychological history of development with a philosophy of historical
development, as it appears from the point of view of the general
relation of psychology to philosophical problems.



_March_ 31, 1912.




     INTRODUCTION History and task of folk psychology--Its relation
     to ethnology--Analytic and synthetic methods of exposition--Folk
     psychology as a psychological history of the development of
     mankind--Division into four main periods.


     1. THE DISCOVERY OF PRIMITIVE MAN Early philosophical
     hypotheses--Prehistoric remains--Schweinfurth's discovery of the
     Pygmies of the Upper Congo--The Negritos of the Philippines, the
     inland tribes of Malacca, the Veddahs of Ceylon.

     habitation, food, weapons--Discovery of bow and arrow--Acquisition
     of fire--Relative significance of the concept 'primitive.'

     3. THE ORIGIN OF MARRIAGE AND THE FAMILY Bachofen's "Mother-right"
     and the hypothesis of an original promiscuity--Group-marriage and
     the Malayan system of relationship--Erroneous interpretation of
     these phenomena--Polygyny and polyandry--The monogamy of primitive

     4. PRIMITIVE SOCIETY The primitive horde--Its relation to the
     animal herd--Single family and tribe--Lack of tribal organization.

     5. THE BEGINNINGS OF LANGUAGE Languages of primitive tribes of
     to-day--The gesture-language of the deaf and dumb, and of certain
     peoples of nature--natural gesture-language--Its syntax--General
     conclusions drawn from gesture-language.

     6. THE THINKING OF PRIMITIVE MAN The Soudan languages as examples
     of relatively primitive modes of thinking--The so-called 'roots'
     as words--The concrete character of primitive thought--Lack of
     grammatical categories--Primitive man's thinking perceptual.

     7. EARLIEST BELIEFS IN MAGIC AND DEMONS Indefiniteness of the
     concept 'religion'--Polytheistic and monotheistic theories of
     the origin of religion--Conditions among the Pygmies--Belief
     in magic and demons as the content of primitive thought--Death
     and sickness--The corporeal soul--Dress and objects of personal
     adornment as instruments of magic--The causality of magic.

     8. THE BEGINNINGS OF ART The art of dancing among primitive
     peoples--Its importance as a means of magic--Its accompaniment
     by noise-instruments---The dance-song--The beginnings of
     musical instruments--The bull-roarer and the rattle--Primitive
     ornamentation--Relation between the imitation of objects and
     simple geometrical drawings (conventionalization)--The painting of
     the Bushmen--Its nature as a memorial art.

     MAN Freedom from wants--Significance of isolation--Capacity
     for observation and reflection--No inferiority as to original
     endowment demonstrable--Negative nature of the morality of
     primitive man--Dependence upon the environment.


     1. THE GENERAL CHARACTER OF TOTEMISM The word 'totem'--Its
     significance for cult--Tribal organization and the institution of
     chieftainship--Tribal wars--Tribal ownership of land--The rise of
     hoe-culture and of the raising of domestic animals.

     2. THE STAGES OF TOTEMIC CULTURE Australian culture--Its low level
     of economic life--Its complicated tribal organization--Perfected
     weapons--Malayo-Polynesian culture--The origin and migrations
     of the Malays--Celestial elements in Malayo-Polynesian
     mythology--The culture of the American Indians and its distinctive
     features--Perfection of totemic tribal organization--Decline of
     totem cults--African cultures--Increased importance of cattle
     raising--Development of despotic forms of rulership--Survivals of
     totemism in the Asiatic world.

     3. TOTEMIC TRIBAL ORGANIZATION Similarity in the tribal
     organizations of the Australians and the American Indians--Totem
     groups as cult associations--Retrogression in America--The totem
     animal as a coat of arms--The principle of dual division--Systems
     consisting of two, four, and eight groups.

     4. THE ORIGIN OF EXOGAMY Unlimited and limited exogamy--Direct
     and indirect maternal or paternal descent--Effects upon
     marriage between relatives--Hypotheses concerning the origin of
     exogamy--Hygienic theory--Marriage by capture.

     5. MODES OF CONTRACTING MARRIAGE Marriage by peaceful
     capture within the same kinship group--Exogamous marriage by
     barter--Marriage by purchase and marriage by contract--Survivals
     of marriage by capture.

     6. THE CAUSES OF TOTEMIC EXOGAMY Relation of clan division to
     totem groups--Totem friendships--Parental and traditional totem
     alliances--The rise of exogamy with direct and with indirect
     maternal or paternal descent.

     7. THE FORMS OF POLYGAMY Origin of group-marriage--Chief wife and
     secondary wives--Polyandry and polygyny and their combination--The
     prevalence and causes of these forms of marriage.

     classification--Tribal and individual totemism--Conception
     and sex totemism--Animal and plant totemism--Inanimate totems
     (churingas)--Relation to ancestor worship and to fetishism.

     9. THE ORIGIN OF TOTEMIC IDEAS Theories based on names--Spencer
     and Lang--Frazer's theory of conception totemism as the origin of
     totemism--The animal transformations of the breath soul--Relations
     to soul belief--Soul animals as totem animals.

     10. THE LAWS OF TABOO The concept 'taboo'--The taboo in Polynesia
     --The taboo of mother-in-law and father-in-law--Connection with
     couvade--The sacred and the impure--Rites of purification--Fire,
     water, and magical transference.

     11. SOUL BELIEFS OF THE TOTEMIC AGE The psyche as a breath and
     shadow soul--Its relation to the corporeal soul--Chief bearers of
     the corporeal soul--Modes of disposition of the dead.

     12. THE ORIGIN OF THE FETISH Fetishes in totem cult--Attainment of
     independence by fetishism--Fetishes as the earliest forms of the
     divine image--Retrogressive development of cult objects--Fetish
     cult as a cult of magic and demons--Amulet and talisman.

     legends of the Australians--The animal ancestor--Transition to the
     human ancestor--Relation to disposal of the corpse and to cults of
     the dead--Surviving influences of totemism in ancestor cult.

     14. THE TOTEMIC CULTS Customs relating to disposition of
     the corpse and to sacrifices to the dead--Initiation into
     manhood--Vegetation cults--Australian Intichiuma festivals--Cults
     of the soil at the stage of hoe-culture--Underlying factor of
     community of labour--Unification of cult purposes and their
     combination with incipient deity cults.

     15. THE ART OF THE TOTEMIC AGE Tatooing--Ceramics--Construction
     of dwellings--Pole-houses--The ceremonial dance--Instruments of
     concussion and wind Instruments--Cult-songs and work-songs--The
     märchen-myth and its developmental forms.


     1. GENERAL CHARACTER OF THE HEROIC AGE Significance of the
     individual personality--The hero an ideal human being, the god an
     ideal hero--Changes in economic life and in society--The rise of
     the State.

     the founding of States--Plough-culture--Breeding of domestic
     animals--The wagon--The taming of cattle--The ox as a draught
     animal--The production of milk--Relation of these achievements to
     cult--Warfare and weapons--Rise of private property--Colonization
     and trade.

     in the general development of society--The duodecimal and the
     decimal systems in the organization of political society--The mark
     community and military organization.

     family--The patriarchal family--Paternal descent and paternal
     dominance--Reappearance of the monogamous family.

     5. THE DIFFERENTIATION OF CLASSES Common property and  private
     property--The conquering race and the subjugated  population--
     Distinction in rank and property--The influence of State and of
     legal system.

     6. THE DIFFERENTIATION OF VOCATIONS The priesthood as combining
     class and vocation--Military and political activity--Agriculture
     and the lower vocations---The gradual equalization of respect
     accorded to vocations.

     7. THE ORIGIN OF CITIES The original development of the
     city--Castle and temple as the signs of a city--The guardian deity
     of city and State--Secondary developments.

     8. THE BEGINNINGS OF THE LEGAL SYSTEM Custom and law--Civil law as
     the original province of law--Political and religious factors--The
     council of elders and the chieftain--The arbitrator and the
     appointed judge--The religious sanction of legal practices.

     9. THE DEVELOPMENT OF PENAL LAW Blood revenge and its
     replacement--Wergild--Right of sanctuary--Development of
     imprisonment out of private custody of wrongdoer--The _Jus
     Talionis_--Increase in complexity of rewards and punishments.

     judicial function--Influence of social organization--Logical
     classification of forms of the State lacking in genetic
     significance--Development of constitutions out of history and

     11. THE ORIGIN OF GODS Degeneration theories and developmental
     theories--Hypotheses of an original monotheism or
     polytheism--Theory based on nature-mythology--Demon theory of
     Usener--Characteristics distinguishing the god from the demon and
     the hero--The god as the result of a fusion of ideal hero and

     12. THE HERO SAGA The hero of saga and the hero of märchen--The
     purely mythical and the historical hero saga--Magic in märchen and
     saga--The religious legend--The saint legend.

     13. COSMOGONIC AND THEOGONIC MYTHS The gods as demoniacal
     beings--Their struggle with the demons of earliest times--Myths of
     creation--Sagas of flood and of universal conflagration--Myths of

     ideas of the beyond--The spirit-village--The islands of
     the blessed--Myths of the underworld--Distinction between
     dwelling-places of souls--Elysium--The underworld and the
     celestial regions--Purgatory--Cults of the beyond--The conception
     of salvation--Transmigration of souls.

     15. THE ORIGIN OF DEITY CULTS Relation of myth and cult--Religious
     significance of cult--Vegetation cults--Union of cult
     purposes--Mystery cults.

     16. THE FORMS OF CULT PRACTICES Prayer--Conjuration and the prayer
     of petition--Prayer of thanksgiving--Praise--The penitential
     psalm--Sacrifice--Purpose of sacrifice originally magical--Jewish
     peace-offering and sin-offering--Development of conception
     of gift--Connection between value and sacrifice--Votive and
     consecration gifts--Sacrifice of the first fruits--Sanctification
     ceremonies--Means of lustration as means of sanctification--Water
     and fire--Baptism and circumcision--Magical sanctification--Human
     sacrifice as a means of sanctification.

     17. THE ART OF THE HEROIC AGE Temple and palace--The human
     figure as the subject of formative art--Art as generic and as
     individualizing--The appreciation of the significant--Expression
     of subjective mood in landscape painting--The epic--Its influence
     upon the cult-song--The drama--Music as an accessory and as an
     independent art.


     1. THE CONCEPT 'HUMANITY' Herder's idea of humanity as the goal of
     history--The concepts 'mankind' and 'human nature'--Humanity as a
     value-concept--The idea of a cultural community of mankind and its
     developmental forms.

     2. WORLD EMPIRES The empires of Egypt and of Western Asia--The
     monarch as ruler of the world--The ruler as deity--Apotheosis
     of deceased rulers--Underlying cause of formation of
     empires--Disappearance of world empires from history.

     3. WORLD CULTURE The world dominion of Alexander--Greek
     as the universal language--Writing and speech as factors
     of culture--Travel as symptomatic of culture--Hellenistic
     world culture and its results--The culture of the
     Renaissance--Cosmopolitanism and individualism.

     4. WORLD RELIGIONS Unity of the world of gods--Cult of Æsculapius
     and cults of the beyond--Their transition into redemption
     cults--Buddhism and Christianity--Development of the idea of a
     superpersonal deity--The incarnate god as the representative of
     this deity--Three aspects of the concept 'representative.'

     5. WORLD HISTORY Twofold significance of the concept
     'history'--History as self-conscious experience--The rôle of
     will in history--Prehistoric and historic periods--Influence of
     world culture and world religions on the rise of the historical
     consciousness--The philosophy of history--Its relation to a
     psychological history of the development of mankind.




The word '_Völkerpsychologie_'(folk psychology) is a new compound in
our [the German] language. It dates back scarcely farther than to about
the middle of the nineteenth century. In the literature of this period,
however, it appeared with two essentially different meanings. On the
one hand, the term 'folk psychology' was applied to investigations
concerning the relations which the intellectual, moral, and other
mental characteristics of peoples sustain to one another, as well as
to studies concerning the influence of these characteristics upon the
spirit of politics, art, and literature. The aim of this work was a
characterization of peoples, and its greatest emphasis was placed on
those cultural peoples whose civilization is of particular importance
to us--the French, English, Germans, Americans, etc. These were the
questions of folk psychology that claimed attention during that period,
particularly, to which literary history has given the name "young
Germany." The clever essays of Karl Hillebrand on _Zeiten, Völker und
Menschen_ (collected in eight volumes, 1885 ff.) are a good recent
example of this sort of investigation. We may say at the outset that
the present work follows a radically different direction from that
pursued by these first studies in folk psychology.

Practically coincident with the appearance of these earliest studies,
however, was a radically different use of the term 'folk psychology.'
The mental sciences began to realize the need of a psychological
basis; where a serviceable psychology did not exist, they felt it
necessary to establish an independent psychological foundation for
their work. It was particularly in connection with the problems of
philology and mythology, and at about the middle of the century, that
the idea gradually arose of combining into a unified whole the various
results concerning the mental development of man as severally viewed
by language, religion, and custom. A philosopher and a philologist,
Lazarus and Steinthal, may claim credit for the service of having
introduced the term 'folk psychology' to designate this new field of
knowledge. All phenomena with which mental sciences deal are, indeed,
creations of the social community. Language, for example, is not the
accidental discovery of an individual; it is the product of peoples,
and, generally speaking, there are as many different languages as there
are originally distinct peoples. The same is true of the beginnings of
art, of mythology, and of custom. The natural religions, as they were
at one time called, such as the religions of Greece, Rome, and the
Germanic peoples, are, in truth, folk religions; each of them is the
possession of a folk community, not, of course, in all details, but in
general outline. To us this fact has come to appear somewhat strange,
because in our age these universal mental creations have already long
transcended the limits of a single people. Though this is true, it does
not imply that the folk community is not really the original source
of these mental creations. Now, in the works of Lazarus and Steinthal
and in the _Zeitschrift für Völkerpsychologie und Sprachwissenschaft_
edited by them and appearing in twenty volumes from 1860 on, the
conception had not as yet, it is true, received the precise definition
that we must give it to-day. Nevertheless, a beginning was made, and
the new venture was successfully launched along several different
lines. Some uncertainty still prevailed, especially with regard to the
relation of these studies to philosophy, and as to the method which
psychology must follow when thus carried over into a new field. It was
only gradually, as the psychological point of view gained ground in the
special fields of research, that this condition was improved. To-day,
doubtless, folk psychology may be regarded as a branch of psychology
concerning whose justification and problem there can no longer be
dispute. Its problem relates to those mental products which are created
by a community of human life and are, therefore, inexplicable in
terms merely of individual consciousness, since they presuppose the
reciprocal action of many. This will be for us the criterion of that
which belongs to the consideration of folk psychology. A language can
never be created by an individual. True, individuals have invented
Esperanto and other artificial languages. Unless, however, language
had already existed, these inventions would have been impossible.
Moreover, none of these languages has been able to maintain itself,
and most of them owe their existence solely to elements borrowed from
natural languages. How, again, could a religion have been created by
an individual? There have, indeed, been religions whose founders were
individual men: for example, Christianity, Buddhism, and Islamism. But
all these religions rest on earlier foundations; they are elaborations
of religious motives arising within particular folk communities.
Thus, then, in the analysis of the higher mental processes, folk
psychology is an indispensable supplement to the psychology of
individual consciousness. Indeed, in the case of some questions the
latter already finds itself obliged to fall back on the principles
of folk psychology. Nevertheless, it must not be forgotten that just
as there can be no folk community apart from individuals who enter
into reciprocal relations within it, so also does folk psychology, in
turn, presuppose individual psychology, or, as it is usually called,
general psychology. The former, however, is an important supplement to
the latter, providing principles for the interpretation of the more
complicated processes of individual consciousness. It is true that the
attempt has frequently been made to investigate the complex functions
of thought on the basis of mere introspection. These attempts,
however, have always been unsuccessful. Individual consciousness is
wholly incapable of giving us a history of the development of human
thought, for it is conditioned by an earlier history concerning which
it cannot of itself give us any knowledge. For this reason we must
also reject the notion that child psychology can solve these ultimate
problems of psychogenesis. Among cultural peoples, the child is
surrounded by influences inseparable from the processes that arise
spontaneously within its own consciousness. Folk psychology, however,
in its investigation of the various stages of mental development still
exhibited by mankind, leads us along the path of a true psychogenesis.
It reveals well-defined primitive conditions, with transitions leading
through an almost continuous series of intermediate steps to the more
developed and higher civilizations. Thus, folk psychology is, in an
important sense of the word, _genetic psychology_.

In view of the general nature of the task of the science, objection
has sometimes been raised to its being called folk psychology. For,
the study is concerned, not merely with peoples but also with more
restricted, as well as with more comprehensive, social groups. Family,
group, tribe, and local community, for example, are more restricted
associations; on the other hand, it is to the union and reciprocal
activity of a number of peoples that the highest mental values and
attainments owe their origin, so that, in this case, folk psychology
really becomes a psychology of mankind. But it is self-evident that, if
it is not to fade into indefiniteness, a term such as 'folk psychology'
must be formulated with reference to the most important conception
with which it has to deal. Moreover, scarcely any of the proposed
emendations are practicable. '_Gemeinschaftspsychologie_' (community
psychology) may easily give rise to the misconception that we are
concerned primarily with such communities as differ from the folk
community; _Sozialpsychologie_ (social psychology) at once reminds us
of modern sociology, which, even in its psychological phases, usually
deals exclusively with questions of modern cultural life. In an account
of the total development of mental life, however--and this is the
decisive consideration--the 'folk' is the most important collective
concept and the one with which all others are associated. The 'folk'
embraces families, classes, clans, and groups. These various
communities are not excluded from the concept 'folk,' but are included
within it. The term 'folk psychology' singles out precisely the folk
as the decisive factor underlying the fundamental creations of the

When this point of view is taken, the question, of course, arises
whether the problem thus assigned to folk psychology is not already
being solved by ethnology, the science of peoples, or whether it ought
not to be so solved. But it must be borne in mind that the greatly
enlarged scope of modern ethnology, together with the increased
number and the deepened character of its problems, necessarily
precludes such a psychological investigation as falls to the task of
folk psychology. I may here be allowed to refer to one who, perhaps
more than any other recent geographer, has called attention to this
extension of ethnological problems--Friedrich Ratzel. In his treatise
on anthropography and in a number of scattered essays on the cultural
creations of peoples, Ratzel has shown that ethnology must not only
account for the characteristics and the habitats of peoples, but
must also investigate how peoples originated and how they attained
their present physical and mental status. Ethnology is the science
of the origin of peoples, of their characteristics, and of their
distribution over the earth. In this set of problems, psychological
traits receive a relatively subordinate place. Apparently insignificant
art products and their modifications may be of high importance in the
determination of former migrations, fusions, or transferences. It is
in this way that ethnology has been of valuable service to history,
particularly in connection with prehistoric man. The central problem
of ethnology concerns not only the present condition of peoples, but
the way in which they originated, changed, and became differentiated.
Folk psychology must be based on the results of ethnology; its own
psychological interest, however, inclines it to the problem of mental
development. Though of diverse origins, peoples may nevertheless
belong to the same group as regards the mental level to which they
have attained. Conversely, peoples who are ethnologically related
may, psychologically speaking, represent very different stages of
mental culture. The ethnologist, for example, regards the Magyars and
the Ostiaks of Obi as peoples of like origin. Psychologically, they
belong to different groups: the one is a cultural people, the other
is still relatively primitive. To the folk psychologist, however,
'primitive' always means the psychologically primitive--not that which
the ethnologist regards as original from the point of view of the
genealogy of peoples. Thus, folk psychology draws upon ethnology, while
the latter, in turn, must invoke the aid of the former in investigating
mental characteristics. The problems of the two sciences, however, are
fundamentally different.

In fulfilling its task, folk psychology may pursue different
methods. The course that first suggests itself is to single out one
important phenomenon of community life after another, and to trace
its development after the usual pattern of general psychology in its
analysis of individual consciousness. For example, an attempt is made
to trace the psychological development of language by the aid of the
facts of linguistic history. This psychology of language is then
followed by a study of the development of art, from its beginnings
among primitive races down to its early manifestations among cultural
peoples, at which point its description is taken up by the history
of art. Myth and religion are similarly investigated as regards the
development of their characteristics, their reciprocal relations, etc.
This is a method which considers in longitudinal sections, as it were,
the total course of the development described by folk psychology.
For a somewhat intensive analysis this is the most direct mode of
procedure. But it has the objection of severing mental development into
a number of separate phases, whereas in reality these are in constant
interrelation. Indeed, the various mental expressions, particularly
in their earlier stages, are so intertwined that they are scarcely
separable from one another. Language is influenced by myth, art is
a factor in myth development, and customs and usages are everywhere
sustained by mythological conceptions.

But there is also a second path of investigation, and it is this
which the present work adopts. It consists--to retain the image used
above--in taking transverse instead of longitudinal sections, that
is, in regarding the main stages of the development with which folk
psychology is concerned in their sequence, and each in the total
interconnection of its phenomena. Our first task, then, would be
the investigation of _primitive man_. We must seek a psychological
explanation of the thought, belief, and action of primitive man on
the basis of the facts supplied by ethnology. As we proceed to more
advanced stages, difficulties may, of course, arise with regard to
the delimitation of the various periods; indeed, it will scarcely be
possible to avoid a certain arbitrariness, inasmuch as the processes
are continuous. The life of the individual person also does not fall
into sharply distinct periods. Just as childhood, youth, and manhood
are stages in a continuous growth, so also are the various eras in the
development of peoples. Yet there are certain ideas, emotions, and
springs of action about which the various phenomena group themselves.
It is these that we must single out if the content of folk psychology
is to be classified, with any measure of satisfaction, according to
periods. Moreover, it should be particularly noticed that, in starting
our discussion with primitive man, as we naturally must, the term
'primitive' is to be taken relatively, as representing the lowest
grade of culture, particularly of mental culture. There is no specific
ethnological characteristic that distinguishes this primitive stage
from those that are more advanced; it is only by reference to a number
of psychological traits, such as are indicative of the typically
original, that we may determine that which is primitive. Bearing in
mind this fact, we must first describe the external traits of primitive
culture, and then consider the psychological factors of primitive life.

Of the second period in the development of civilization, we may
safely say that in many respects it represents a newly discovered
world. Historical accounts have nothing, to say concerning it. Recent
ethnology alone has disclosed the phenomena here in question, having
come upon them in widely different parts of the earth. This period
we will call the _totemic age_. The very name indicates that we are
concerned with the discovery of a submerged world. The word 'totem,'
borrowed from a distant American tongue, proves by its very origin
that our own cultural languages of Europe do not possess any word
even approximately adequate to designate the peculiar character of
this period. If we would define the concept of totemism as briefly
as possible, it might perhaps be said to represent a circle of ideas
within which the relation of animal to man is the reverse of that
which obtains in present-day culture. In the totemic age, man does not
have dominion over the animal, but the animal rules man. Its deeds
and activities arouse wonder, fear, and adoration. The souls of the
dead dwell within it; it thus becomes the ancestor of man. Its flesh
is prohibited to the members of the group called by its name, or,
conversely, on ceremonial occasions, the eating of the totem-animal
may become a sanctifying cult activity. No less does the totemic idea
affect the organization of society, tribal division, and the forms
of marriage and family. Yet the elements that reach over from the
thought-world of this period into later times are but scanty fragments.
Such, for example, are the sacred animals of the Babylonians,
Egyptians, and other ancient cultural peoples, the prophetic
significance attached to the qualities or acts of animals, and other
magical ideas connected with particular animals.

Totemic culture is succeeded--through gradual transitions--by a _third_
period, which we will call the _age of heroes and gods_. Initial steps
towards the latter were already taken during the preceding period,
in the development of a rulership of individuals within the tribal
organization. This rulership, at first only temporary in character,
gradually becomes permanent. The position of the chieftain, which
was of only minor importance in the totemic age, gains in power when
the tribal community, under the pressure of struggles with hostile
tribes, assumes a military organization. Society thus develops into the
_State_. War, as also the guidance of the State in times of peace,
calls out men who tower far above the stature of the old chieftains,
and who, at the same time, are sharply distinguished from one another
through qualities that stamp them as typical personalities. In place of
the eldest of the clan and the tribal chieftain of the totemic period,
this new age gives rise to the _hero_. The totemic age possesses
only fabulous narratives; these are credited myths dealing, not
infrequently, with animal ancestors who have introduced fire, taught
the preparation of food, etc. The hero who is exalted as a leader in
war belongs to a different world, a world faithfully mirrored in the
heroic song or epic. As regards their station in life, the heroes of
Homer are still essentially tribal chieftains, but the enlarged field
of struggle, together with the magnified characteristics which it
develops, exalt the leader into a hero. With the development of poetry,
the forms of language also become modified and enriched. The epic is
followed by formative and dramatic art. All this is at the same time
closely bound up with the origin of the State, which now displaces
the more primitive tribal institutions of the preceding period. When
this occurs, different customs and cults emerge. With national heroes
and with States, national religions come into being; and, since these
religions no longer direct the attention merely to the immediate
environment, to the animal and plant world, but focus it primarily upon
the heavens, there is developed the idea of a higher and more perfect
world. As the hero is the ideal man, so the god becomes the ideal hero,
and the celestial world, the ideally magnified terrestrial world.

This era of heroes and gods is finally succeeded by a _fourth_
period. A national State and a national religion do not represent the
permanent limits of human striving. National affiliations broaden into
humanistic associations. Thus there begins a development in which we
of the present still participate; it cannot, therefore, be referred to
otherwise than as an age that is coming to be. We may speak merely of
an advance _toward_ humanity, not of a development _of_ humanity. This
advance, however, begins immediately with the fall of the barriers
that divide peoples, particularly with regard to their religious
views. For this reason, it is particularly the transcendence of the
more restricted folk circle on the part of religions that constitutes
one of the most significant events of mental history. The national
religions--or, as they are generally, though misleadingly, called, the
natural religions--of the great peoples of antiquity begin to pass
beyond their original bounds and to become religions of humanity.
There are three such world religions--Christianity, Islamism, and
Buddhism--each of them adapted in character and history to a particular
part of mankind. This appears most clearly in the contrast between
Christianity and Buddhism, similar as they are in their endeavour to
be world religions. The striving to become a world religion, however,
is also a symptomatic mental phenomenon, paralleled externally by the
extension of national States beyond the original limits set for them
by the tribal unit. Corresponding to this expansion, we find those
reciprocal influences of cultural peoples in economic life, as well as
in custom, art, and science, which give to human society its composite
character, representing a combination of national with universally
human elements. Hellenism and the Roman Empire afford the first and,
for Occidental mental development, the most important manifestations of
these phenomena. How immense is the chasm between the secret barter of
primitive man who steals out of the primeval forest by night and lays
down his captured game to exchange it, unseen by his neighbours, for
implements and objects of adornment, and the commerce of an age when
fleets traverse the seas, and eventually ships course through the air,
uniting the peoples of all parts of the world into one great commercial
community! We cannot undertake to delineate all aspects of this
development, for the latter includes the entire history of mankind.
Our concern is merely to indicate the outstanding psychological
factors fundamental to the progression of the later from that which
was original, of the more perfect from the primitive, partly under the
pressure of external conditions of life and partly as a result of man's
own creative power.




Who is the primitive man? Where is he to be found? What are his
characteristics? These are the important questions which here at
once confront us. But they are questions to which, strangely enough,
the answer has, up to very recent times, been sought, not in the
facts of experience, history, or ethnology, but purely by the path
of speculation. At the outset the search was not, for the most part,
based on investigations of primitive culture itself, but took as
its starting-point contemporary culture and present-day man. It was
primarily by means of an abstract opposition of culture to nature
that philosophy, and even anthropology, constructed natural man. The
endeavour was not to find or to observe, but to _invent_ him. It was
simply by antithesis to cultural man that the image of natural man took
shape; the latter is one who lacks all the attainments of culture.
This is the negative criterion by means of which the philosophy of the
Enlightenment, with its conceited estimate of cultural achievements,
formed its idea of primitive man. Primitive man is the savage; the
savage, however, is essentially an animal equipped with a few human
qualities, with language and a fragment of reason just sufficient to
enable him to advance beyond his deplorable condition. Man in his
natural state, says Thomas Hobbes, is toward man as a wolf. He lives
with his fellow-beings as an animal among animals, in a struggle for
survival. It is the contrast of wild nature with peaceful culture,
of ordered State with unorganized herd or horde, that underlies this

But this antithesis between the concepts of culture and of nature,
as objectively considered, is not the only factor here operative;
even more influential is the contrast between the subjective moods
aroused by the actual world and by the realm disclosed by imagination
or reason. Hence it is that the repelling picture of primitive man is
modified as soon as the mood changes. To an age that is satiated with
culture and feels the traditional forms of life to be a burdensome
constraint, the state of nature becomes an ideal once realized in a
bygone world. In contrast to the wild creature of Thomas Hobbes and his
contemporaries, we have the natural man of Jean Jacques Rousseau. The
state of nature is a state of peace, where men, united in love, lead a
life that is unfettered and free from want.

Alongside of these constructions of the character of natural man,
however, there early appeared a different method of investigation,
whose aim it was to adhere more closely to empirical facts. Why should
we not regard those of our human institutions which still appear to be
a direct result of natural conditions as having existed in the earliest
period of our race? Marriage and the family, for example, are among
such permanent cultural institutions, the one as the natural union of
the sexes, the other as its necessary result. If marriage and family
existed from the beginning, then all culture has grown out of the
extension of these primitive associations. The family first developed
into the patriarchal joint family; from this the village community
arose, and then, through the union of several village communities, the
State. The theory of a natural development of society from the family
was first elaborated by Aristotle, but it goes back in its fundamental
idea to legend and myth. Peoples frequently trace their origin to an
original pair of ancestors. From a single marriage union is derived the
single tribe, and then, through a further extension of this idea, the
whole of mankind. The legend of an original ancestral pair, however, is
not to be found beyond the limits of the monogamous family. Thus, it
is apparently a projection of monogamous marriage into the past, into
the beginnings of a race, a tribe, or of mankind. Wherever, therefore,
monogamous marriage is not firmly established, legend accounts for the
origin of men and peoples in various other ways. It thinks of them as
coming forth from stones, from the earth, or from caverns; it regards
animals as their ancestors, etc. Even the Greek legend of Deukalion and
Pyrrha contains a survival of such an earlier view, combined with the
legend of an original ancestral pair. Deukalion and Pyrrha throw stones
behind them, from which there springs a new race of men.

The thought of an original family, thus, represents simply a projection
of the present-day family into an inaccessible past. Clearly,
therefore, it is to be regarded as only an hypothesis or, rather,
a fiction. Without the support which it received from the Biblical
legend, it could scarcely have maintained itself almost down to the
present, as it did in the patriarchal theory of the original state
of man to which it gave rise. The Aristotelian theory of the gradual
origin of more comprehensive organizations, terminating in the State,
is no less a fiction; the social communities existing side by side in
the period of Greece were arbitrarily represented as having emerged
successively in the course of history. Quite naturally, therefore, this
philosophical hypothesis, in common with the corresponding legend of
the original family, presupposes primitive man to have possessed the
same characteristics as the man of to-day. Thus, it gives no answer at
all to the question concerning the nature of this primitive man.

When, therefore, modern anthropology made the first attempt to answer
this question on the basis of empirical facts, it was but natural to
assume that the characteristics of original man were not to be learned
from a study of existing peoples, nor, indeed, from history, but that
the data for the solution of the problem were of a _prehistoric_
nature, to be found particularly in those human remains and those
products of man's activity that have been preserved in the strata of
the earth's crust. What we no longer find _on_ the earth, so it was
held, we must seek _under_ the earth. And thus, about six decades
ago, _prehistoric anthropology_ began to gather material, and this
has gradually grown to a considerable bulk. Upon the completion of
this task, however, it appeared, as might, of course, have been
expected, that psychology could gain but little in this way. The only
source from which it might derive information lay in the exhumed
objects of art. Then, however, the very disappointing discovery was
made that, as regards implements of stone, drawings on the walls of
caves which he inhabited, and pictures cut into horn or bone, the
artistic achievements of the man of diluvial times did not differ
essentially from those of the present-day savage. In so far as physical
characteristics are concerned, however, the discovered remains of
bones seemed to point to certain differences. While these differences,
of course, were incapable of establishing any direct psychological
conclusions, the fact that the measurements of the skeletal parts
more closely resembled those of animals, and, in particular, that the
measurements of the interior of the skull were smaller than those of
the savages of our own time, offered indirect evidence of a lower
development. Because of the close relation of cranial capacity to size
of brain, moreover, a lower degree of intelligence was also indicated.
Nevertheless, the remains that have been brought to light have not
as yet led to any indubitable conclusions. There have been fairly
numerous discoveries pointing to races that resemble the lower tribes
among contemporary peoples, and but a few cases in which uncertainty
is possible, and concerning which, therefore, there exists a conflict
of opinions. A typical instance is the history of one of the first
discoveries made in Europe of the remains of a prehistoric man. It was
in 1856, in German territory, that there was discovered, in a grotto or
cave in the Neander valley, near Duesseldorf, a very remarkable skull,
though only, of course, the bones of the cranium and not the facial
bones. All were at once agreed that these were the remains of a very
primitive man. This was indicated particularly by characteristics which
are still to be found, though scarcely in so pronounced a form, among
certain lower races of men. Of special significance were the strongly
developed, prominent bone-elevations above the eye-sockets. Some of the
investigators believed that the long-sought '_homo primigenius_' had
perhaps at last been discovered. It was generally agreed that the form
of the skull resembled most closely that of the modern Australian. In
more recent years, however, anthropologists have developed somewhat
more exact methods of measurement and of the reconstruction of a
skeleton from parts only incompletely given. When Hermann Klaatsch,
equipped with this knowledge, carried out such a reconstruction of the
Neanderthal skull, he came upon the surprising fact that its capacity
was somewhat greater than that of the present-day Australian. Little
as this tells us concerning the actual intelligence of these primitive
men, it nevertheless clearly indicates how uncertain the conclusions
of prehistoric anthropology still are. A number of other recent
discoveries in Germany, France, and elsewhere, have proved that several
prehistoric races of men once lived in Europe. Some of these, no doubt,
date back far beyond the last glacial period, and perhaps even beyond
the period preceding this, for we now know that several glacial periods
here succeeded one another. Nevertheless, no important divergencies
from still existent races of men have been found. This, of course,
does not imply that no differences exist; it means merely that none
has as yet been positively detected, and that therefore the anatomy of
prehistoric man can give us no information concerning the psychological
aspect of the question regarding the nature of primitive man.

Considerably more light is thrown on this question when we examine the
products of human activity, such as implements, weapons, and works of
art. Traces of man, in the form of objects hammered out of flint and
shaped into clubs, chisels, knives, and daggers, capable of serving
as implements of daily use no less than as weapons, are to be found
as far back as the first diluvian epoch, and, in their crudest forms,
perhaps even as early as the tertiary period. The more polished
objects of similar form belong to a later age. Still more remarkable
are the works of art--in particular, the cave pictures of prehistoric
animals, such as the cave bear and the mammoth. Nevertheless, none of
these achievements is of such a nature as to afford positive evidence
of a culture essentially different from, or lower than, that of the
primitive man of to-day. Two outstanding facts, especially, make a
comparison difficult. On the one hand, wood plays an important rôle
in the life of modern primitive man, being used for the construction
of tools, weapons, and, in part, also of baskets and vessels. But the
utensils of wood that may have existed in prehistoric times could not
have withstood the destructive forces of decomposition and decay. All
such utensils, therefore, that prehistoric man may have possessed have
been lost. Thus, for example, it will be difficult ever to ascertain
whether or not he was familiar with the bow and arrow, since the arrow,
as well as the bow, was originally made of wood. Secondly, there is at
the present time no primitive tribe, however much shut off from its
more remote environment, into which barter, which is nowhere entirely
absent, may not introduce some objects representing a higher form of
civilization, particularly metals and metal implements. If, however, we
bear in mind that, in the one case, products have suffered destruction
and that, in the other, articles have been introduced from without, the
impression made by prehistoric utensils and products of art--aside from
certain doubtful remains dating back beyond the diluvial epoch--is not
essentially different from that made by the analogous products of the
Negritos of the Philippines or the inland tribes of Ceylon. Though the
material of which the implements are constructed differs, the knives,
hammers, and axes in both instances possess the usual form. Thus, the
wooden knife which the Veddah of Ceylon still carves out of bamboo
is formed precisely like some of the stone knives of the diluvial
period. We find a similar correspondence when we examine the traces of
dwellings and decorations that have been preserved, as well as certain
remains that throw light upon customs. The oldest prehistoric people
of Europe dwelt in caves, just as the primitive man of the tropics
does to-day in the rainy season. In a rock cavern near Le Moustier,
in France, there was discovered a skeleton whose crouching position
points to a mode of burial still prevalent among primitive peoples,
and one which is doubtless always a fairly positive indication of a
belief in demons such as arises in connection with the impression
made by death. The dead person is bound in the position that will
best prevent his return. Thus, all these prehistoric remains suggest
a culture similar to that of primitive tribes of to-day. But, just
because they reveal conditions not essentially different from those
of the present, these remains make another important contribution to
our knowledge of primitive man. They indicate the great stability of
primitive culture in general, and render it probable that, unless there
are special conditions making for change, such as migrations and racial
fusions, the stability increases in proportion to the antiquity. Though
this may at first glance seem surprising, it becomes intelligible
when we consider that isolation from his surroundings is an important
characteristic of primitive man. Having very little contact with other
peoples, he is in no wise impelled to change the modes of action to
which his environment has led him from immemorial times.

Thus, the correspondence of the prehistoric with that which is
to-day primitive indicates a high degree of permanence on the part
of primitive culture. But, even apart from this consideration, it is
apparent that we must really seek primitive man in the inhabited world
of the present, since it is here alone that we can gain a relatively
accurate knowledge of his characteristics. Our information concerning
primitive man, therefore, must be derived from ethnology. We must not
seek him _under_ the earth, but _on_ the earth. Just where, however,
is he to be found? For decades the natives of Australia were believed
to represent a perfect example of primitive culture. And, as a matter
of fact, their material culture and some of their mythological
ideas still seem to be of a very primitive character. Because of
the conjecture that it was here dealing with a relatively primitive
type of man, modern anthropology has for two decades applied itself
with great partiality to the study of Australian tribes. English and
German investigators have given us many works, some of them excellent,
treating of the continent of Australia, which appears almost as unique
with respect to its population as in its flora and its fauna. From
these investigations, however, which are reported particularly in
the volume by Howitt published in 1900, in the works of Spencer and
Gillen, and, finally, in those of Strehlow, a German missionary, it
is apparent that the Australian culture is anything but primitive: it
represents, rather, a stage of development already somewhat advanced.
In certain respects, indeed, it may contain very primitive elements,
such as are not to be found even among tribes that are, on the whole,
on a lower level. Australian culture, however, possesses an enormously
complex social organization, and this places it above that which may
be called primitive. In its present form, it presupposes a development
of probably thousands of years. Assuredly, therefore, the Australian
should not be included in a chapter on primitive man. He will rather
claim our attention in the next chapter, as a well-defined type of
the totemic age. Indeed, he is beginning, in part, to lose even the
characteristics of this age, mainly, no doubt as a result of racial
fusion, whose influence is here also in evidence.

Although the races of Australia are unquestionably not primitive, as
was formerly believed and is still held in certain quarters, there are
other parts of the earth which, in all probability, really harbour
men who are primitive in that relative sense of the term which alone,
of course, we are justified in using. If one were to connect the
discovery of this primitive man with any single name, the honour would
belong to a German traveller and investigator, George Schweinfurth.
He was the first to discover a really primitive tribe--that is, one
which remained practically untouched by external cultural influences.
When Schweinfurth, sailing up the Upper Nile in 1870, listened to the
narratives of the Nubian sailors in charge of his boat, he repeatedly
heard accounts of a nation of dwarfs, of people two feet tall (so the
exaggerated reports went), living in the impenetrable forests beyond
the great lakes which constitute the source of the Nile. Schweinfurth
was at once reminded of the old legends regarding pygmies. Such legends
are mentioned even by Homer and are introduced also into the writings
of Herodotus and of Aristotle. Aristotle, indeed, expressly says that
these dwarf peoples of Central Africa exist in reality, and not merely
in tales. When Schweinfurth arrived in the country of the Monbuttus,
he was actually fortunate enough to gain sight of these pygmies. It is
true, they did not exactly correspond to the fantastic descriptions
of the sailors--descriptions such as are current here and there even
to-day. The sailors represented the pygmies as having long beards,
reaching to the earth, and gigantic heads; in short, they imputed to
them the characteristics of the dwarf gnome, who appears also in German
folk-lore. In reality, it was found that the pygmies are, indeed,
small--far below the average normal size of man--but that they are of
excellent proportions, have small heads, and almost beardless faces.

Subsequent to Schweinfurth's discovery, similar tribes were found in
various parts of the earth. Emin Pasha, together with his companion
Stuhlmann, had the good fortune to be able to observe the pygmies of
the Congo more closely even than had been possible for Schweinfurth. In
the Negritos of the Philippines a similar dwarf people was discovered.
They also are of small stature, and, according to their own belief
and that of the neighbouring Malays, are the original inhabitants of
their forests. Besides these, there are the inland tribes of the Malay
Peninsula, the Semangs and Senoi, and, finally, the Veddahs of Ceylon,
studied particularly by the cousins Paul and Fritz Sarasin. All of the
peoples just mentioned live in forests and have probably been isolated
from civilization for thousands of years. The Bushmen of South Africa,
of whom we have long known, also belong to this group, although they
have not to the same extent been free from the influence of surrounding
peoples. In all these cases we have to do with tribes which at one time
probably occupied wider territories, but which have now been crowded
back into the forest or wilderness. In addition to these tribes,
furthermore, there are remnants of peoples in Hindustan, in Celebes,
Sumatra, the Sunda Islands, etc. Concerning these, however, we as yet
have little knowledge. In some respects, doubtless, the inhabitants of
the Andaman Islands should also be here included, although they cannot,
on the whole, be regarded as primitive in the strict sense of the word.
This is precluded by their external culture, and especially by their
legends, the latter of which point to the influence of Asiatic culture.

Observations of these relatively most primitive tribes--and this is
especially worth noting---show them to be remarkably similar. If we
read a description of the characteristics, habits, and customs of
the Negritos of the Philippines and then pass on to the Malaccans,
to the Semangs and Senoi, or, further, to the Veddahs of Ceylon,
we constantly meet with almost the same phenomena, there being but
slight differences depending on the specific character of the natural
environment. We are thus in possession of data that are now observable.
The statements and conclusions which these enable us to make are more
than mere speculations with regard to the past; and they are more than
inferences drawn from the silent fragments of the bones and from a
few of the art products of primitive man. According as the phenomena
are simpler in character and require fewer antecedent conditions for
their explanation, may we be confident that we are really dealing with
primitive conditions. This in itself implies that the criteria of
primitive culture are essentially _psychological_ in nature, and that
racial characteristics and original tribal relationships are probably
negligible so far as this question is concerned. A culture would be
absolutely primitive if no antecedent mental development whatsoever
could be presupposed. Such an absolute concept can never be realized
in experience, here any more than elsewhere. We shall, therefore,
call that man primitive in the relative sense of the term--our only
remaining alternative--whose culture approximates most nearly to
the lowest mental achievements conceivable within the limits of
universal human characteristics. The most convenient measure of these
achievements, and the one lying nearest at hand, is that afforded by
_external_ culture, as expressed in dress, habitation, and food, in
self-made implements, weapons, and other productions serving to satisfy
the most urgent needs of life.


Following the above-mentioned criteria as to what may be regarded as
primitive, the question concerning the external culture of primitive
man may, in general, be briefly answered. Of dress there are only
meagre beginnings: about the loins a cord of bast, to which twigs
of trees are attached to cover the genitals--that is generally all,
unless, through secret barter with neighbouring peoples, cotton
goods, leather, and the like, have been imported. As regards personal
decoration, conditions are much the same. On the next stage of
development, the totemic, there is, as we shall later see, a desire for
lavish decoration, especially as regards the adornment of the body by
painting and tatooing. Little of this, however, is to be found among
primitive tribes, and that which exists has probably been introduced
from without. Some examples of such decoration are the scanty tatooing
in single lines, the painting of the face with several red and white
dots, and the wooden plug bored through the bridge of the nose. The
Negritos of the Philippines bore holes through their lips for the
insertion of a row of blades of grass. Other decorations found are
necklaces and bracelets, fillets, combs, hair ornaments made of twigs
and flowers, and the like.

What is true of his dress holds also of the dwelling of primitive man.
Everything indicates that the first permanent dwelling was the cave.
Natural caves in the hillsides, or, less frequently, artificially
constructed hollows in the sand, are the places of refuge that
primitive man seeks when the rainy season of the tropics drives him
to shelter. During the dry season, no shelter at all is necessary; he
makes his bed under a tree, or climbs the tree to gain protection from
wild animals. Only in the open country, under the compulsion of wind
and rain, does he construct a wind-break of branches and leaves after
the pattern supplied by nature in the leafy shelter of the forest. When
the supports of this screen are inclined toward one another and set up
in a circle, the result is the original hut.

Closely connected with the real dwelling of primitive man, the cave,
are two further phenomena that date back to earliest culture. As his
constant companion, primitive man has a single animal, the _dog_,
doubtless the earliest of domestic animals. Of all domestic animals
this is the one that has remained most faithful to man down to the
present time. The inhabitant of the modern city still keeps a dog
if he owns any domestic animal at all, and as early as primitive
times the dog was man's faithful companion. The origin of this first
domestic animal remains obscure. The popular notion would seem to be
that man felt the need of such a companion, and therefore domesticated
the dog. But if one calls to mind the dogs that run wild in the
streets of Constantinople, or the dog's nearest relative, the wolf,
one can scarcely believe that men ever had a strong desire to make
friends of these animals. According to another widely current view,
it was man's need of the dog as a helper in the chase that led to its
domestication. But this also is one of those rationalistic hypotheses
based on the presupposition that man always acts in accordance with a
preconceived plan, and thus knew in advance that the dog would prove a
superior domestic animal, and one especially adapted to assist in the
chase. Since the dog possessed these characteristics only after its
domestication, they could not have been known until this had occurred,
and the hypothesis is clearly untenable. How, then, did the dog and
man come together in the earliest beginnings of society? The answer
to this question, I believe, is to be found in the cave, the original
place of shelter from rain and storm. Not only was the cave a refuge
for man, but it was equally so for animals, and especially for the
dog. Thus it brought its dwellers into companionship. Furthermore, the
kindling of the fire, once man had learned the art, may have attracted
the animal to its warmth. After the dog had thus become the companion
of man, it accompanied him in his activities, including that of the
chase. Here, of course, the nature of the carnivorous animal asserted
itself; as man hunted, so also did the animal. The dog's training,
therefore, did not at all consist in being taught to chase the game.
It did this of itself, as may be observed in the case of dogs that
are not specifically hunting dogs. The training consisted rather in
breaking the dog of the habit of devouring the captured game. This was
accomplished only through a consciously directed effort on the part of
man, an effort to which he was driven by his own needs. Thus, it is
the cave that accounts for the origin of the first domestic animal,
and also, probably, for the first attempt at training an animal. But
there is still another gain for the beginnings of culture that may
probably be attributed to the cave in its capacity of a permanent
habitation. Among primitive peoples, some of whom are already advanced
beyond the level here in question, it is especially in caves that
artistic productions may be found. These consist of crude drawings of
animals and, less frequently, of men. Among the Bushmen, such cave
pictures are frequently preserved from destruction for a considerable
period of time. Natural man, roaming at will through the forests, has
neither time nor opportunity to exercise his imagination except upon
relatively small objects or upon the adornment of his own body. But the
semi-darkness of the cave tends, as do few other places, to stimulate
the reproductive imagination. Undisturbed by external influences, and
with brightnesses and colours enhanced by the darkness, the memory
images of things seen in the open, particularly those of the animals
of the primeval forest, rise to consciousness and impel the lonely and
unoccupied inhabitant to project them upon the wall. Such activity is
favoured by the fact, verifiable by personal introspection, that memory
images are much more vivid in darkness and semi-darkness than in the
light of day. Thus, it was in the cave, the first dwelling-place of
man, that the transition was made, perhaps for the first time, from
the beginnings of a graphic art, serving the purposes of adornment or
magic, to an art unfettered except by memory. It was an art of memory
in a twofold sense: it patterned its objects after the memory of things
actually observed, and it sought to preserve to memory that which it

From the consideration of dress and habitation we turn to that of
food. Primitive man was not bound to fixed hours for his meals.
Among civilized peoples, so close a connection has grown up between
meals and definite hours of the day that the German word for meal,
_Mahlzeit_, reminds us of this regularity by twice repeating the word
for time---for _Mahl_ also means time. Primitive man knew nothing of
the sort. If he found food and was hungry, he ate; if he found none, he
went hungry. Sometimes, moreover, in order to provide for the future,
he gorged to such an extent as to injure his health. As concerns the
food itself, there is an old theory which has led to misconceptions
concerning primitive man. He was a hunter, we are told; the chase
supplied him with food; only incidentally and occasionally did he
enjoy parts of plants or fruits that he had gathered or accidentally
discovered. It is scarcely correct, however, to assume that systematic
hunting was practised by primitive man. Doubtless he did engage in this
occupation. Yet this furnished him with only an incidental part of his
food supply--apart with which, living as he did from hand to mouth, he
satisfied only his momentary needs. It was with plant food, if at all,
that he made provision for the future. Here may be found also the first
traces of a division of labour: woman gathered the plant food--roots,
bulbs, and berries--while man occasionally found it necessary to hunt.
Plant food being capable of longer preservation, it was woman who
first learned to economize and to make provision for the future. In
part, indeed, the influence of these cultural beginnings persists even
to-day. Moreover, just as mixed food, part plant and part animal, is by
far the most common to-day, so also was it the original diet of man.
The proportion, however, varied more than in later times, according as
the external conditions of life were propitious or otherwise. Of this
the Bushmen afford a striking illustration. Fifty years ago they were
still by preference huntsmen. Armed with their bows, they dared to
hunt the elephant and the giraffe. But after the surrounding peoples
of South Africa--the Hottentots, Betschuans, and Herero--came into the
possession of firearms, which the Bushman scornfully rejects, the game
was, in part, exterminated, and to-day the Bushmen, crowded back into
rocky wastes, derive but a small part of their living from the chase.
They gather bulbs, roots, and other parts of plants, such as can be
rendered edible by boiling or roasting. Their animal food, moreover, is
no longer wild game, but consists, for the most part, of small animals
found while gathering the plant food--frogs, lizards, worms, and even
insects. Hunting, therefore, was never more than one of the customary
means of providing food; and primitive man, especially, was a gatherer
rather than a hunter. The word 'gatherer' implies also that he took
from nature only what it directly offered, and that he was familiar
neither with agriculture nor with the raising of animals. In procuring
his food, moreover, he was aided by a knowledge, often surprising, of
the properties of the objects gathered. This knowledge, probably gained
as a result of many disastrous experiences in his search for food,
enabled primitive man to utilize even such roots and fruits as are not
wholesome in their raw state, either because they are not edible until
prepared by means of fire, or because they are poisonous. Primitive man
learned to overcome the injurious effects of many of these plants.
By reducing them to small pieces, washing them in a solution of lye,
and heating them, he converted them into palatable food. The bulbs and
roots were secured from beneath the surface of the ground by means of
the most primitive of all agricultural implements and the progenitor of
all succeeding ones, the _digging-stick_. This is a wooden stick, with
a pointed end that has been hardened by fire.

Connected with the removal of poison, by means of water and fire, from
parts of plants that are otherwise edible, is still another primitive
discovery--the utilization of the poisons themselves. Only when the
arrow is smeared with plant poisons does the bow become a real weapon.
In itself the arrow wound is not sufficient to kill either game or
enemy; the arrow must be poisoned if the wound is to cause death
or even temporary disability. The Veddahs and the inland tribes of
Malacca therefore use the juice of the upas-tree mixed with that of
strychnos-trees. The best known of these arrow poisons, curare, used in
South America and especially in Guiana, is likewise prepared from the
juice of strychnos-trees.

This brings us to the _weapons_ of primitive man. In this connection it
is highly important to note that all of the primitive peoples mentioned
above are familiar with the use of bow and arrow, but we must also
bear in mind that this is practically their only weapon. Contrary to
what archæological excavations would suggest concerning the earliest
age of peoples, primitive culture, in respect to implements and
weapons, depended only to a small extent upon the working of stone. We
might better speak of this period as an age of wood. Wood is not only
decidedly easier to manipulate than stone, but it is always more easily
obtainable in shapes suitable for constructive purposes. Possibly even
the arrow-head was originally always made of wood, as it sometimes is
even to-day. Only in later times was the wood replaced by a sharpened
stone or by iron acquired through barter.

It is not difficult to see how wood, in the forms which it possesses
by nature, came to be fashioned into clubs, axes, and digging-sticks,
and how bones, horns, shells, and the like were converted into tools
and objects of adornment. But how did primitive man acquire _bow and
arrow_? The general belief seems to be that this weapon was invented
by some resourceful mind of an early age. But an inventor, in the
proper sense of the word, must know in advance what he wishes to
invent. The man, therefore, who constructed the bow and arrow for the
first time must already have had some previous idea of it. To effect
a combination of existing implements, or to improve them in useful
ways, is a comparatively easy matter. But no one can manufacture
implements if he possesses nothing over and above material that is in
itself somehow suitable for the purpose. The most primitive implements,
therefore, such as the digging-stick, the club, and the hammer, are
all products of nature, at most changed slightly by man as their
use requires. But this is obviously not true of bow and arrow. We
may, perhaps, find a suggestion for the solution of our problem in a
hunting weapon which, though belonging, of course, to the later totemic
culture, is in principle simpler than the bow and arrow--the boomerang
of the Australians. The word is probably familiar to all, but the
nature of the weapon is not so well known, especially its peculiarly
characteristic form by virtue of which, if it fails to strike its
object, it flies back to the one who hurled it. The boomerang, which
possesses this useful characteristic, is, in the first place, a bent
wooden missile, pointed at both ends. That this curved form has a
greater range and strikes truer to aim than a straight spear, the
Australian, of course, first learned from experience. The boomerang,
however, will not return if it is very symmetrically constructed; on
the contrary, it then falls to the ground, where it remains. Now it
appears that the two halves of this missile are asymmetrical. One of
the halves is twisted spirally, so that the weapon, if thrown forward
obliquely, will, in accordance with the laws of ballistics, describe
a curve that returns upon itself. This asymmetry, likewise, was
discovered accidentally. In this case, the discovery was all the more
likely, for primitive weapons were never fashioned with exactitude.
That this asymmetry serves a useful purpose, therefore, was first
revealed by experience. As a result, however, primitive man began to
copy as faithfully as possible those implements which most perfectly
exhibited this characteristic. Thus, this missile is not a weapon that
required exceptional inventive ability, though, of course, it demanded
certain powers of observation. The characteristics, accordingly, that
insured the survival of the boomerang were discovered accidentally
and then fixed through an attentive regard to those qualities that
had once been found advantageous. Now, can we conceive of the origin
of bow and arrow in an analogous way? Surely this weapon also was not
devised in all its parts at a single time. The man of nature, pressing
his way through the dense underbrush of the forest and experiencing
in person the hard blows of branches that he has bent back, gains a
lively impression of the elastic power of bent wood. How easily the
attention is forced to the observation that this effect increases when
the wood is bent out of its natural shape, appears strikingly in the
case of a kind of bow found in Asia and the Asiatic islands. The bow
is here constructed out of a piece of wood bent by nature, not in such
a way, however, that the natural curve of the wood forms the curve
of the bow, but contrariwise. Thus arises a _reflexive_ bow, whose
elastic power is, of course, considerably increased. In order that such
a bow may be bent back more easily, some people of a more advanced
culture construct it out of several layers of wood, horn, sinew, or
the like. Having first observed the powerful impulsive force which a
rod gains through being bent, it was a simple matter to render this
force permanently available by bending the rod back and binding its
ends together with a cord of bast, or, if bamboo was used, with strips
torn from the bamboo itself. Thus originated the common form of the
bow. Next, it was, of course, easy to observe that the bowstring thus
contrived would communicate a powerful impetus to a lighter piece of
wood placed against it. In addition to the bow, we then have the arrow,
which is hurled into the distance by the combined propelling power
of the bow and its string. But at this point a new factor appeared,
clearly indicating that several motives generally co-operated in the
case of such so-called primitive inventions. In these inventions nature
itself played no less a part than did the inventive genius of the
individual. The arrow but rarely consists merely of a piece of wood one
of whose ends is somehow pointed or provided with a stone head, or, at
a later period, with an iron head. As is well known, the other end is
feathered, either with genuine bird feathers or, as in the case of the
pygmies of Central Africa, with an imitation of bird feathers made of
palm-leaves. The feathers are usually supposed to have been added to
insure the accurate flight of the arrow. And this accuracy is, indeed,
the resultant effect. As in the case of the boomerang, however, we must
again raise the question: How did man come to foresee this effect,
of whose mechanical conditions he had, of course, not the slightest
knowledge? The solution of this problem probably lies in the fact of an
association of the discharged arrow with a flying bird that pierces the
air by the movement of its feathers. Thus, in the arrow, man copied the
mode of movement of the bird. He certainly did not copy it, however,
with the thought that he was causing movement in a mechanical way. We
must bear in mind that for primitive man the image of a thing is in
reality always equivalent to the thing itself. Just as he believes
that his spirit resides in his picture, with the result that he is
frequently seized with fright when a painter draws his likeness and
carries it away with him, so also does the feathered arrow become for
him a bird. In his opinion, the qualities of the bird are transferred
by force of magic to the arrow. In this case, indeed, the magical
motive is in harmony with the mechanical effect.

Nature directly supplies primitive man not only with the patterns of
his implements and weapons, but also with those of the _vessels_ which
he uses. Of the primitive tribes none is familiar, at the outset,
with pottery. In its stead, suitable natural objects are utilized for
storing what is gathered. The Negritos of the Philippines, for example,
employ coconut shells. The inland tribes of the Malay Peninsula use
bamboo, whose varying thicknesses, and, particularly, whose internodes
enable it to be converted into the desired vessels by cutting the
stem at the upper end of an internode and immediately below it, thus
securing a vessel with a bottom. Wherever primitive peoples cut vessels
out of wood, as occurs among the Veddahs and the Bushmen, we may be
sure that this represents a comparatively late acquirement, following
upon a knowledge of metals and the use of stone implements. Primitive
man possesses no vessels for cooking purposes. He prepares his food
directly in the fire or in hot ashes.

We are now confronted by a final and an especially interesting
question of primitive culture, that of the _acquisition of fire_. This
acquisition made a deep impression on the human mind, and one whose
effects long survived in legend. The totemic age, as we shall see,
is replete with legends of beneficent animals which brought fire to
man. In the heroic age, the fire-bringing animal is displaced by the
fire-bringing hero. We may call to mind Prometheus, who brought fire
from heaven, and by so doing drew upon himself the vengeance of the
gods. Nevertheless, the question concerning the original production
of fire is a very simple one. As in the case of very many utensils
and tools, we must look to natural conditions that present themselves
in the course of experience. Man did not invent the art of kindling
fire; it would be nearer the truth to say that he found it, inasmuch
as he discovered it while making his utensils. In this connection,
particularly, it is highly important to note that the first age, if we
would designate it by its tools, was not an age of stone but an age of
wood. We have already referred to the way in which bamboo was worked
up into vessels for the storing of fruits and liquids. With a sharp
sliver of bamboo, a bamboo-stem is sawed into pieces in order that its
parts may be utilized. If this sawing occurs during dry weather, the
wood is pulverized and the heated sawdust finally becomes ignited. As
soon as it begins to glow, the worker blows upon it and the fire flames
up. This mode of kindling fire has been called that of _sawing_, and
is probably the oldest in origin. After fire was thus accidentally
produced, it became possible to kindle it at will, and this developed
into a skilful art. At a later stage, however, there came the further
need of drilling holes into wood. This gave rise to a second method of
kindling fire, that of drilling. A piece of wood is bored through with
a sharpened stick of hard wood, and the same results occur as in the
case of the sawing. The method of drilling is the more effective; it
produces fire more quickly. Nevertheless, both methods are laborious
and tedious, and we cannot blame the savage for regarding as a magician
the European who before his very eyes lights a match by friction.
Because of the difficulty in producing fire, its preservation plays
an important rôle in the life of the savage. When he changes his
dwelling-place, his first consideration, as a rule, is to take with him
some live fire so that he will not be obliged to kindle it anew.

In conclusion, we may supplement these sketches of external culture
by mention of a feature that is particularly characteristic of the
relation of primitive man to his environment. Primitive man lives in
close association with his fellow-tribesmen, but he secludes himself
from other tribes of the neighbourhood. He is led to do so because they
threaten his means of subsistence; indeed, he himself may fall a prey
to them, as do the Pygmies of Central Africa to the anthropophagic
customs of the Monbuttus. And yet, primitive man early feels the need
of such useful articles as he cannot himself produce but with which
he has, in some accidental manner, become acquainted. This gives rise
to what is generally called 'secret barter.' An illuminating example
of this occurs in the records of the Sarasin cousins as relating to
the Veddahs. The Veddah goes by night to the house of a neighbouring
Singhalese smith and there deposits what he has to offer in barter,
such as captured game, ivory, etc. With this he places a representation
of an arrow-head, made of palm-leaves. The next night he returns and
finds real arrows of iron which the smith has laid out in exchange for
the proffered goods. It might be thought that such a system of barter
would imply an excessive measure of confidence. The smith, however,
knows that, should he take away that which was brought to him without
delivering the arrows, he would himself be struck by an arrow shot from
some sheltered ambush. Thus, many things, especially iron, materials
for clothing, and articles of adornment, come into the possession of
primitive man through secret barter, raising his external culture to a
somewhat higher level.

A retrospective survey of this culture brings to notice especially
the fact that the concept 'primitive' is never valid, as applied to
man, except in a _relative_ sense. Of an absolutely primitive man we
know nothing at all. Moreover, the knowledge of such a being could
hardly render explicable his further development, since he would
really belong to the animal level and therefore to the prehuman
stage of existence. Primitive man is _relatively_ primitive, for,
while he does possess certain beginnings of culture, these are in no
respect more than mere beginnings, all of which are borrowed from
nature and from the direct means of assistance which it offers. It
is precisely these elementary acquisitions, however, that already
differentiate primitive man from the animal. He has the beginnings of
a dwelling and of dress, even though he does no more in either case
than merely to utilize the means which nature offers, or than partly
to imitate and partly to combine these means, as he does in the case
of the leafy wind-break and of the weapons which doubtless represent
the highest achievement of this age--namely, the bow and arrow. But
these are all beginnings which already contain within themselves the
possibilities of higher achievements. The development of the hut out
of the wind-break, of the lance out of the staff and the arrow, of
the woven basket out of the coconut or the gourd, severally represent
easy steps in the advance from nature to culture. Next there comes
the preparation of food by means of fire. This is closely connected
with the discovery of the art of kindling fire, which, in its turn,
was partly an accidental discovery connected with the manufacture of
primitive tools out of wood and partly a real invention. Thus, the
manufacture of tools, on the one hand, and the kindling of fire, which
was connected with it, on the other, are the two primary features
which from early times on distinguished primitive man from animals.
Furthermore, there is the bow and arrow, which is the first real weapon
and differs markedly from all other implements. Its construction also
was dependent upon the assistance of nature. The fact that this was
the only weapon of primitive society throws an important light on the
nature of the latter. The bow and arrow continued to be used for a
long time afterwards--indeed, even down to the appearance of firearms;
it served not only as a weapon of warfare but also as an implement
for hunting. With it alone, however, no organized strife or warfare
of any sort is possible. While, therefore, it is true that the archer
appears on the earliest monuments of cultural peoples, it is only
as the fellow-combatant of the warrior who is armed with shield and
lance. With lance and shield it is possible to fight in closed ranks.
The archer must fight single-handed. Primitive man, therefore, does
not engage in tribal wars; he is familiar only with the strife of
individual with individual. In fact, wherever the bow and arrow is used
exclusively, open warfare is impossible. With it, primitive man slays
his enemy from behind a sheltering bush. It is thus that the Veddah of
nature serves the cultural Veddah, or the Singhalese who has deceived
him in secret barter, or even the fellow-tribesman who steals his wife.
Just as secret barter is carried on in concealment, so also is warfare.
This, however, indicates that the bow and arrow was originally
intended for hunting and not for warfare. From this consideration alone
it is evident that primitive life was not a war of all against all, as
it was described by Thomas Hobbes. On the contrary, there doubtless
existed a state of peace, interrupted only occasionally by the strife
of individual with individual--a strife that resulted from a conflict
of interests, such as occurred even during this early period.


That the origin of marriage and the family really constitutes a
problem, long failed to be recognized. Because of the natural relations
of the sexes it was supposed that man lived in a state of marriage
from the very beginning. Furthermore, the monogamous marriage of the
present was projected back into an indefinite past, where it found
final termination in the idea of a primal pair of ancestors. But, even
apart from this mythological belief, there were also positive grounds
for supposing an original state of monogamy. Do not many animals live
in monogamous union? In addition to nest-building birds, monogamy
prevails particularly among mammals, and, of the latter, among those
that have the closest physical relationship to man. We might cite the
gorilla, the primate that most resembles man, and probably also the
chimpanzee, although in this case we lack positive proof. Why, then,
should not man have carried over monogamous marriage from his animal
state into his primitive culture? This theory, therefore, was regarded
as almost self-evident until after the middle of the last century.
But in 1861, a Swiss jurist and antiquarian, J. Bachofen, published a
remarkable work on "Mother-right." In this book Bachofen attempted to
prove the falsity of the doctrine--previously almost uncontested--that
monogamy was the original form of marriage, and to refute the view,
regarded as equally self-evident, that within this marriage union
man held the supremacy--in brief, the patriarchal theory. Bachofen
started with a discussion of the Lycians as described by Herodotus.
According to this writer, the kinship of the children, among the
Lycians, was determined by the mother, not by the father. The sons
and daughters belonged to the family of the mother, and descent was
traced through her instead of through the father. Bachofen found
similar indications among other peoples also. He called attention, for
example, to Tacitus's reports in the _Germania_ of some of the German
tribes in which a son stands closer to the brother of his mother than
he does to his father. Similar statements occur in Cæsar's _Bellum
Gallicum_ concerning the Britons. Bachofen collected other examples
of the same nature, and also especially emphasized certain elements
in myth and legend that seemed to indicate a like ascendancy of woman
in early times. In his opinion, legend is esteemed too lightly if, as
occurred in his day, it is regarded as entirely meaningless. Of course,
legend is not history; yet it gives a picture, even though in fanciful
terms, of the real conditions of earlier times. On the basis of these
detached observations, Bachofen at once constructed a general theory.
Preceding the patriarchal period of paternal rule, there was maternal
rule, gynecocracy. In earliest times the mother was the head of the
family. In romantic colours Bachofen pictures the era in which the fair
sex guided the destinies of humanity. Later, man, with his rougher
nature but greater intelligence, displaced her and seized the dominion
for himself. Bachofen then asks, How did it come about that, in spite
of this natural superiority of man, woman ruled the family earlier
than he? To this he gives an extremely prosaic and realistic reply,
contrasting sharply with his romantic ideas in connection with the
dominance of woman. We must find a clue, he believes, in those cases
of our own day in which mothers still determine the name, descent,
etc., of their children. This happens when the children are born out of
wedlock. Under such conditions, the child does not know its father, nor
does, perhaps, even the mother. To understand the origin of maternal
descent, therefore, we must suppose that children were universally
born out of wedlock. Thus, prior to the ascendancy of woman, there
existed a state of agamy, in which there was no marriage but only a
promiscuous relation of the sexes. We thus have, as it were, a picture
whose outlines are determined by contrast with the family of civilized
peoples, and which reminds us of Hobbes's account of the earliest
political relations, there being in both cases an entire absence of
order. But it is precisely in this fact, Bachofen believes, that we
have a clue to the origin of gynecocracy if only we bear in mind the
actual characteristics of woman. Woman's nature is such that this
universal promiscuity of the sexes must have become repulsive, first of
all, to her. Turning away all other men, she accepted but a single one.
In so doing, woman proved herself the champion of chastity and morals
which she has since remained. To her, and not to man, is due the honour
of having founded the monogamous family. At the outset she was also its
natural preserver and guardian. The children were counted to her kin;
her kin determined descent; and, in Bachofen's view, this condition,
which arose out of causes of a universal nature, long prevailed
throughout the world generally. But why was it not maintained? It was
not possible, so runs the answer, because, though woman alone was
psychically fitted to establish it--man could never have instituted
monogamy--she was not equally fitted to render it permanent. Woman is
not born to rule. In intelligence, as well as in physical strength,
she is inferior to man. Altogether, therefore, there are three periods
of development: agamy or promiscuity, followed by female supremacy or
mother-right, and, finally, by the dominance of man, or father-right.

These hypotheses of Bachofen created much dispute in succeeding years.
Some of the facts could not be denied from the standpoint of the
antiquarian. Nevertheless, the supposition of the universality of an
early mother-right was quite rightly questioned, and its origin out
of the completely unrestrained condition of the horde was even more
vigorously contested. And so the theory of the Swiss jurist, which was
based essentially on philologic-antiquarian arguments, gradually fell
into the background, until, in the seventies of the nineteenth century,
it suddenly seemed to find important corroboration and a new basis
from an entirely different quarter. It was ethnology that supplied the
new facts, and these were again derived from a study of Australia,
that field of ethnological observation which was generally regarded as
more particularly exemplifying primitive culture. Bachofen believed
to have demonstrated that maternal descent was originally a universal
custom, even in the case of those who are now cultural peoples.
Ethnology revealed the fact that this system of kinship is still very
prevalent in Australia. Indeed, it is so prevalent that even to-day
about three-fifths of the tribes trace descent through the mother and
only two-fifths through the father. In some of the cases in which
the system of paternal descent is now established, moreover, it is
probable that the mother once determined the kinship of the children.
It was on the basis of these facts that, in his volume on the natives
of south-eastern Australia, Howitt, the most thorough investigator of
the social conditions of the Australians, came to a conclusion similar
to that previously reached by Bachofen on the basis of his antiquarian
investigations. In Howitt's view, all family relations were originally
based on the system of maternal descent. This system, though generally
restricted to narrower bounds than in Australia, is likewise to be
found in America, Melanesia, Polynesia, and in several parts of the
Old World, especially among the peoples of northern Siberia and among
the Dravidian tribes in the southern part of Hindustan. These facts
have more and more led present-day ethnologists to a view that is in
essential agreement with Bachofen's theory. Again the question was
raised how such a system of maternal descent was possible. The answer
was that it could be possible only if the mother, but not the father,
was known to son and daughter--again an analogical conclusion from
conditions prevailing in present-day society outside the marriage tie.
Accordingly, the idea was again adopted that, anteceding marriage,
there was an original state of promiscuity. It was believed that there
was originally neither marriage nor family, but merely a condition in
which there were sexual relations of all with all--a picture of the
relations between man and woman suggested by the idea of an original
state of natural rights and of freedom from political restraints, and
forming, as it were, the counterpart of the latter.

But ethnology then discovered other phenomena also that seemed to
favour this view. _Two_ lines of argument, particularly, have here
played an important rôle, and still retain a measure of influence.
The first argument was again derived from the ethnology of Australia.
This region possesses a remarkable institution, describable neither
as monogamy nor as agamy, but appearing, at first glance, to be
an intermediate form of association. This is the so-called _group
marriage_; several men are united in common marriage with several
women. Either a number of brothers marry a number of sisters, or a
number of men belonging to one kinship group marry in common women
of another. Group marriage, therefore, may seem to represent a sort
of transitional stage between promiscuity and monogamy. At first, so
we might picture it to ourselves, the union of all with all became
restricted to more limited groups, and only later to the union of one
man with one woman.

But had not a further argument been added, perhaps neither female
descent alone nor group marriage would have attracted to this theory so
many prominent ethnologists, including, besides Howitt, the two able
investigators of Australia, Spencer and Gillen, the learned exponent
of comparative ethnology, J. G. Frazer, and a number of others. This
further argument was presented with particular thoroughness by the
American ethnologist Lewes Morgan, in his history of primitive man,
"Ancient Humanity" (1870). It is based upon what Morgan has termed
the 'Malayan system of relationship.' We are not, of course, familiar
with this as a system of actual relationship; it occurs only in the
languages of certain peoples, as a system of names--in short, as a
nomenclature--referring in part to relations of kinship, but chiefly
to age-relations within one and the same kinship group. The name
'Malayan' is not entirely appropriate as applied to this system. The
nomenclature is found particularly on the island of Hawaii, though it
also occurs in Micronesian territory. Its essential characteristic may
be very simply described. It consists, or consisted, in the fact that
a native of Hawaii, for example, calls by the name of 'father,' not
only his actual father but also every man of an age such that he could
be his father--that is, every man in the kinship group of the next
older generation. Similarly, he calls by the name 'mother,' not only
his own mother but every woman who might possibly, as regards age, be
his mother. He calls brother and sister the men and women of his own
generation, son and daughter those of the next younger generation, and
so on up to grandfather and grandmother, grandson and grand-daughter.
The Hawaiian native does not concern himself about more distant
generations; great-grandfather is for him the same as grandfather, and
great-grandchild the same as grandchild. The terms, thus, are of the
simplest sort. The brothers and sisters of a man, whom we designate in
the accompanying diagram by M, are placed alongside of him in the same
generation; above, as an older generation, are fathers and mothers;

      Fathers\   |   /Mothers
              \  |  /
   Brothers----  M  ----Sisters
              /  |  \
         Sons/   |   \Daughters

higher, are grandfathers and grandmothers; below, are sons and
daughters and the grandsons and granddaughters. The same, of course,
holds also for women. Thus, the system as a whole comprises five

Now, it was maintained that this system could have arisen only out of
a previous condition of general promiscuity. For, unless the actual
father were universally unknown, how could it be possible that a
person would call by the name of father every man within the same
kinship group who might, as regards age, be his father? If, however,
we propose this argument, we immediately strike a weak point in the
hypothesis, since all women of the older generation are called mother
just as its men are called father. We should certainly expect that the
real mother would be known, because the child derives its nourishment
from her during a period which is especially long among primitive
peoples, and because it grows up close to her. And, furthermore, the
hypothesis is hardly reconcilable with the fact that, for the most
part, Malayo-Polynesian languages differentiate relations by marriage
even more sharply than do our own. An Hawaiian man, for example, calls
the brother of his wife by a different name than does a woman the
brother of her husband. Thus, in place of our word 'brother-in-law'
they have two expressions. In any event, the term 'brother-in-law'
is applied to an individual, and therefore implies marriage. To meet
this point, we would be obliged to fall back on the supposition that
these terms represent later additions to the original nomenclature
of relationship. But even then the fact would remain that, in their
direct reference, these terms are merely names for differences in age.
It therefore remains an open question whether the terms also designate
relationship; to the extent of our observation, this is certainly not
the case. The native of Hawaii, so far as we know anything about him,
knew his father and mother: what he lacked was merely a specific name
for them. Whenever he did not call his father by his given name, he
evidently called him by the same name that he applied to the older men
of his immediate group. Among European peoples also, the terms 'father'
and 'mother' are sometimes used in connection with men and women
outside this relationship. For example, the Russians, particularly,
have a custom of addressing as 'little father' and 'little mother'
persons who are not in the least related to them. That which makes it
highly probable that in the so-called Malayan system of relationship we
are dealing not with degrees of relationship but with age-periods, is,
in the last event, a different phenomenon--one that has hitherto been
overlooked in connection with these discussions. In the very regions
whose languages employ this nomenclature, custom prescribes that the
youths and men live in separation from the women and children from
their earliest years on. This is the institution of the men's club with
its age-groups. Its social rôle is an important one, crowding even
the family association into the background. Under such circumstances,
the individual is naturally interested first of all in his companions
of the same age-group, for each of these usually occupies a separate
apartment in the men's house. Thus, the so-called Malayan system of
relationship is really not a system of relationship at all, but a
nomenclature of age-groups based on social conditions. These conditions
bring it about that companions of the same sex are more closely
associated than are men and women. In the men's houses a companion of
the same group is a brother, one of the next older group, a father.
Together with these men the individual goes to war and to the hunt.
Thus, these phenomena cannot be said to belong to the lowest stage of
culture. Nor, obviously, does this terminology, which has reference
to differences of age, exclude any particular form of marriage. In
this case it is a mistake to associate the names 'father,' 'mother,'
'brother,' etc., with the concepts that we attach to these words.

The hypothesis that the family, whether of monogamous or of polygamous
organization, was preceded by a state of unrestricted sexual
intercourse, so-called agamy or promiscuity, is, however, as was
remarked above, based not only on the fact of maternal descent and of
the Malayo-Polynesian method of designating ages, but also on that
of group-marriage. In this form of marriage, a number of men marry
in common a number of women. This is interpreted as a transitional
stage between an unrestricted sexual intercourse within the tribe and
the limited marriage unions of later times. At first glance, indeed,
this might appear probable. In order, however, to decide whether
such a transition could take place, and how it might occur, we must
first of all consider the relation which group-marriage sustains,
among the peoples who practise it, to the other forms of marriage. It
then appears at once that it is a particular form of polygamy. True,
it is not identical with the form of polygamy most familiar to us,
in which one man possesses several wives. But there is also a second
form, which, though less frequent, is of greatest importance for an
interpretation of group-marriage. One woman may have several husbands.
The two forms of polygamy may conveniently be called _polygyny_ and
_polyandry_, and these terms should always be distinguished in any
attempt at a precise account of polygamous marriage. Polygyny is very
prevalent even in our day, occurring particularly in the Mohammedan
world, but also among the heathen peoples of Africa, and in other
regions as well. It was likewise practised by the ancient Israelites,
and also by the Greeks, although the Indo-Germanic tribes for the most
part adhered to monogamy from early times on. Polyandry is much less
common, and is, indeed, to be found only among relatively primitive
peoples. It occurs in Australia and, in the southern part of Hindustan,
among the Dravidians, a tribe of people crowded back to the extreme end
of the continent by peoples who migrated into India; it is found also
far in the north among the Esquimos of Behring Strait and among the
Tchuktchis and Ghilyaks of Siberia, and, finally, here and there in the
South Sea Islands.

If, now, we wish to understand the relation of these two forms of
polygamy to each other, we must first of all attempt to picture to
ourselves the motives that underlie them, or, wherever the custom has
become fixed through age, to bring to light the motives that were
originally operative. In the case of polygamy, the immediate motive is
evidently the sexual impulse of man which is more completely satisfied
by the possession of several wives than by that of a single one. This
motive, however, does not stand alone; as a rule other contributing
circumstances are present. Two such important factors, in particular,
are property rights and the power of authority. Polygyny flourishes
particularly wherever the general conceptions of property and of
authority, and, connected with the latter, that of the supremacy of
man within the family, have attained undue importance. Under the
co-operation of these motives, the wife becomes the absolute property
of the husband, and may, therefore, wherever polygyny prevails among
barbaric peoples, be given away or exchanged. Bound up with this,
moreover, is the fact that, wherever there are considerable social
differences, dependent on differences in property and rank, it is
principally the wealthy or the aristocratic man who possesses many
wives. In the realm of Islam, the common man is, as a rule, content
with a _single_ wife, so that monogamy here prevails in the lowest
stratum of society.

With polyandry the case is essentially otherwise. In it, entirely
different motives are operative; it might, indeed, be said that they
are the exact opposite of those that bring about polygyny. It is
particularly significant that polyandry is found in regions where there
is a scarcity of women. This scarcity, however, is, in turn, generally
due to an evil custom of barbaric culture, namely, infanticide. In
Polynesia, where polyandry was very prevalent, this custom was at
one time fairly rampant. Even to-day infanticide still appears to
be practised by some of the Dravidian tribes of Hindustan. Similar
conditions prevail among the Australians. In Polynesia, however,
and probably in other localities as well, it was chiefly the female
children who were the victims of infanticide. The natural result was
a decrease in women and a striking numerical disproportion between
the sexes. Thus, Ellis, one of the older English investigators of
conditions in these territories, estimated the relation of men to women
as about six to one. Under such circumstances the custom of polyandry
is intelligible without further explanation. It was not possible for
every one to possess a wife of his own, and so several men united to
win one wife in common.

We might ask why it was chiefly girls who fell victims to this murder.
That children in general should be sacrificed, under the rough
conditions of nature, is not inexplicable. It is due to the struggle
for the necessities of life and to the indolence that shrinks from the
labour of raising children. The desire is to preserve the lives of only
a limited number; the remainder are killed immediately after birth. In
Polynesia, the murder was forbidden if the child had lived but a single
hour. Occasionally, magical motives are operative, as in the case of
the horror which the man of nature feels towards deviations from the
normal and towards the birth of twins. That male children are more
often spared than female, however, can scarcely be explained otherwise
than on the ground that a particular value is placed on men. The man
is a companion in sport and in the chase, and is regarded as more
valuable for the further reason that he aids in tribal warfare. This
higher value reverts back even to the child. It is evidenced also in
the fact that, in the case of women, the arrival of adolescence is not
celebrated with the same solemn ceremonies as are held in the case of
young men. Whereas great celebrations are held when the youth reaches
the age of manhood, little notice is taken, as a rule, of the maiden's
entrance into womanhood. By means of these celebrations, the youths
are received into the society of men, and, together with companions of
their own age, are initiated into the traditional ceremonies. In these
ceremonies women are not allowed to participate.

Though the causes of polyandry are thus entirely different from those
of polygyny, it does not at all follow that these forms of marriage
are mutually exclusive. On the contrary, they may very well exist
side by side, as, indeed, they actually do in many places. But how,
then, is so-called group-marriage related to these two forms? It is
obviously nothing but a combination of polyandry and polygyny. In fact,
whenever a group of men marries a group of women, these two forms of
polygamy are both involved. Every man has several wives, and every
wife has several husbands. Only, indeed, on the basis of a purely
external and superficial consideration could one look upon polygyny
and polyandry as unconjoinable, because they are, in a certain sense,
opposing ideas. As a matter of fact, they do not really exclude each
other. If we bear in mind the causes mentioned above, it is obvious
that under certain conditions of life, such as occur particularly
in a more primitive environment, their combination is more probable
than their mutual exclusion. If, especially among tribes who have
not yet developed sharply defined distinctions based on property and
power, as, for example, among the Australians, every man strives to
obtain several wives (which is the state of polygyny), while, on the
other hand, there actually exists a dearth of women (which means that
motives to polyandry are present), the two forms naturally combine
with each other. This is frequently verified, moreover, whenever we
are able to gain any degree of insight into the particular conditions
surrounding the origin of such group-marriages, and also whenever their
forms undergo a modification of details. Among Australian tribes, for
example, particularly in the southern part of the continent, there is
a common form of group-marriage, in which a man possesses either one
or several chief wives, together with secondary wives; the latter are
the chief wives of other men, whereas his own chief wife is in turn the
secondary wife of those men or of others. This custom is very similar
to what is probably the most common form of polygyny, namely, the
possession by a man of only _one_ chief wife in addition to several
secondary wives,--a form of marriage that is obviously derived from
monogamy. One agency that is particularly apt to bring about such a
form of marriage, transitional between monogamy and polygyny, is war.
We know from the Iliad that in barbaric times woman was the booty
of the conqueror, and became his slave or secondary wife. So also,
according to the Biblical legend, Abraham possessed a chief wife,
Sarah, who belonged to his own tribe, but also a secondary wife, Hagar,
who was an Egyptian slave. Wherever the concept of property became
prominent, the purchase of women proved to be a further source of
polygyny. In this case also, there was generally _one_ chief wife,
wherever polyandry did not interfere. When the Mohammedan of modern
times calls his chief wife 'favourite,' it is merely another indication
that this form of polygyny developed from monogamy, since, according
to the old custom, there was but _one_ chief wife. Here, however, the
chief wife is no longer necessarily the wife belonging to a man's own
tribe, as was the case among the ancient Israelites; the favour of the
master determines which wife shall be given the privileged place.

Thus, from whatever angle we view group-marriage, its polygyny and
its polyandry seem to rest on monogamy. This is true also of forms
of group-marriage other than those mentioned above. Where the theft
of women still continues to be a practice more serious than are the
somewhat playful survivals that occur in the marriage ceremonies of
cultural peoples, the one who wishes to steal a wife not infrequently
secures confederates for his undertaking. Custom then commonly gives
these companions a certain right to the stolen woman. This right, of
course, is for the most part temporary, but it may nevertheless come
to approximate the conditions of group-marriage in case the first man
assists his confederates in the same way in which they have aided him.
There is still another and a related motive that may lead to the same
result. When a woman enters into marriage with a man of a certain
tribe, she at once enters into very close relations with the tribe
itself. Where tribal association has gained a preponderant importance,
custom sometimes grants to all the male members of the tribe certain
transient rights with respect to the woman on the occasion of her
marriage. This occurs particularly when the man and woman belong to
different tribes--that is, in the case of exogamy, an institution
characteristic of the totemic age and to be considered later. For,
the lively consciousness of kinship differences naturally tends to
strengthen the right of appropriation belonging to the entire tribe.
A similar thought is reflected in the mediæval _jus primæ noctis_ of
certain provinces of France and Scotland, except that in place of the
right of the kinship group to the possession of the individual we here
find the authority of the lord over his vassals.

Thus, all these phenomena, belonging in part to the transitional
stage between monogamy and polygamy and in part to a combination of
the two forms of polygamy, namely, polygyny and polyandry, point to
monogamy as the basal form of marriage, and that form from which, under
the influence of particular conditions, all others have developed.
Whether or not we regard it as probable that the system of maternal
descent was at one time universal, no argument for the existence of
an original promiscuity can be based upon it. If we call to mind
the close association of the youths and men of the kinship group in
the men's house, it will be apparent that such conditions of social
intercourse make for a particularly intimate bond between mother and
children. Before his entrance into the community of men, the boy lives
in the company of the women. This close association between mother and
children is sufficient to account for the origin of maternal descent.
But, owing to the gradual change of cultural conditions, it is to be
expected that maternal descent should pass over into paternal descent
as soon as more positive conceptions of authority and property are
formed. Moreover, the possibility also remains that among some tribes
paternal descent prevailed from the very outset; positive proof is
here not available. We cannot, of course, deny the possibility that
under certain cultural conditions man exercised the decisive influence
from the very beginning, as early, indeed, as one may speak of clan
membership and hereditary succession. The most primitive stage of
culture, as we shall see in the following discussion, lacks the
conditions for either maternal or paternal descent, inasmuch as it
possesses neither clearly defined clans nor any personal property worth

Thus, the arguments based on the existing conditions of primitive
peoples, and contending that the original condition of mankind was that
of a horde in which both marriage and the family were lacking, are
untenable. On the contrary, the phenomena, both of group-marriage,
valued as the most important link in the chain of proof, and of the
simpler forms of polygamy, everywhere point to _monogamy_ as their
basis. Furthermore, these arguments all rest on the assumption that
the peoples among whom these various phenomena occur, particularly
the combination of polygyny and polyandry in group-marriage, occupy a
primitive plane of social organization. This presupposition also has
proven fallacious, since it has become evident that this organization,
especially among the Australian tribes, is an extremely complicated
one, and points back to a long history involving many changes of custom.

Meanwhile, primitive man, in so far as we may speak of him in the
relative sense already indicated, has really been discovered. But the
Australian does not belong to this class, nor, even less, can many of
the peoples of Oceania be counted within it. It includes only those
tribes which, having probably been isolated for many centuries and
cut off from the culture of the rest of the world, have remained on
the same primitive level. We have become familiar with them in the
preceding account of the external culture of primitive man. We find
them to be forest peoples who have, for the most part, been crowded
back into inaccessible territory and who have entered but slightly
into intercourse with the outside world, inasmuch as their needs are
limited. They generally call themselves, whether rightly or wrongly
we need not inquire, the original inhabitants of these regions,
and they are regarded as such by their neighbours. They include,
in addition to several tribes of Hindustan (as yet insufficiently
studied), particularly the Semangs and Senoi of the interior of the
Malay Peninsula, the Veddahs of Ceylon, the Negritos of the Philippines
and Central Africa, and, finally, to some extent, also the Bushmen.
This is certainly a considerable number of peoples, some of whom live
at great distances from the others. In spite of this, however, even
their external culture is largely the same. Considering the primitive
character of their social institutions and customs, it would seem safe
to say that without doubt they approach the lowest possible level of
human culture. Besides bow and arrow they have scarcely a weapon, no
vessels of clay, and practically only such implements as are presented
directly by nature herself. At this stage there is scarcely anything
to distinguish man from the animal except the early discovered art of
kindling fire, with its influence on the utilization of the food that
is gathered. Briefly summarized, these are the main traits of primitive
culture that are known to us.

What, now, is the status of marriage and the family at this period? The
answer to this question will come as a surprise to those who are imbued
with the widespread hypotheses that presuppose the primitive state to
be that of the horde. And yet, if these hypotheses be regarded in the
proper light, our answer might almost be expected. Among the primitive
tribes that we have mentioned, monogamy is everywhere found to be not
only the exclusive mode of marriage, but that which is always, so to
speak, taken for granted; and this monogamy, indeed, takes the form of
single marriage. It is but rarely that related families live together
more or less permanently, forming the beginning of the joint family.
The Bushmen alone offer something of an exception to this rule. Among
them, polygyny, together with other practices, has been introduced.
This is probably due to the influence of neighbouring African peoples,
such as the Hottentots and the Bantus. Elsewhere conditions are
different. This is true especially of the Semangs and Senoi, whose
isolation has remained more complete, and of the Veddahs of nature,
as the Sarasin cousins call them in distinction from the surrounding
Veddahs of culture. Among these peoples, monogamy--indeed, lifelong
monogamy--has remained the prevailing form of marriage. Connected with
it is found the original division of labour, which is based on sex.
Man provides the animal food by hunting; woman gathers the vegetable
food--fruits, tubers, and seeds--and, by the employment of fire, if
necessary, renders both it and the game edible. This basis of division
of labour, which appears natural and in harmony with the endowment of
the sexes, contrasts with the conditions of later culture in that it
indicates an approximate equality of the sexes. Furthermore, Rudolf
Martin and the two Sarasins, investigators of the primitive Asiatic
tribes of Malacca and Ceylon, commend the marriage of these peoples
as being a union of husband and wife strictly guarded by custom.
In forming a moral estimate of these conditions, it should not be
overlooked that the exclusive possession of the wife is probably due to
jealousy as much as it is to mutual faithfulness. Among the Veddahs,
the intruder who threatens this possession is struck to earth by a
well-aimed arrow shot from behind ambush, and custom approves this act
of vengeance as a justifiable measure on the part of the injured man.
Therefore, even though a French traveller and investigator may, to a
certain extent, have confused cause and effect when he stated that the
monogamy of these tribes had its origin in jealousy, the exercise of
the right of revenge may, nevertheless, have helped to strengthen the
custom. But, of course, in view of the primitive state of culture that
here prevails, this custom of revenge is itself merely an indication of
the undisputed supremacy of monogamy. Even as the individual, and not
the clan, exercises this vengeance, so also does marriage continue to
be restricted to single marriage. Of the formation of joint families,
which arise out of the union of immediate blood relations, we find at
most, as has been remarked, only the beginnings.


The more extensive social groups generally result from the fact that
during the rainy season families withdraw into caves among the hills.
The larger caves are frequently occupied in common by a number of
families, particularly by such as are most closely related. Yet the
groups of co-dwellers are not so much determined by considerations
of kinship as by the size of the places of refuge; a single family
occasionally occupies a small cave by itself. Nevertheless, this
community life plainly furnishes the incentive to a gradual formation
of wider social groups. This, no doubt, accounts for the fact that
during the favourable season of the year several families of the
Veddahs claim for themselves a specific plot of ground, whose supply of
game, as well as of the products of the soil, which the women gather,
belongs exclusively to them. Thus, there is a division of the people
into districts, and these are determined geographically rather than
ethnologically. Every one is entitled to obtain his food, whether game
or products of the soil, from a specified territory. Custom strictly
guards this communal property, just as it protects the single marriage.
The Veddah, for example, who encroaches upon the territory belonging to
a group other than his own, is in no less danger of falling a victim to
an arrow shot from an ambush than is the one who trespasses on marriage

These various institutions form the beginnings of social organization,
but as yet they do not represent developed clan groups or established
joint families of the patriarchal type. On the contrary, as they
arise through the free association of individuals, so also may they
be freely dissolved. Each man has exclusive possession of his wife.
Without interference on the part of his clan, moreover, he exercises
absolute control over his children, who remain with the individual
family just as in the case of a developed monogamy. There is no trace
of sex-groups, such as are later to be found in the case of the men's
houses and the age-groups. Only temporarily, on the occasion of common
undertakings, such as the hunting of large animals, which requires a
considerable measure of strength, or when new hunting-grounds are being
sought, is a leader appointed from among the older men. His leadership,
however, ceases with the completion of the undertaking. There are no
permanent chiefs, any more than there are clans or tribal organizations.

Thus, in summary, we might say: Whenever the social organization
of primitive man has remained uninfluenced by peoples of a higher
culture, it consists in a firmly established monogamy of the form of
_single marriage_--a mode of existence that was probably carried over
from a prehuman stage resembling that of the present-day anthropoids.
There are also scanty beginnings of social groups. If we consider
these tribes as a whole, they still continue to lead the life of a
_horde_, meaning by this an unorganized, in contrast to an organized,
tribe of people. Indeed, it was through a curious change of meaning
that this word acquired its present significance. It is supposed to
have originated in a Mongolian idiom, whence it found its way first
into the Russian and later into other European languages. The Tartars
called a division of warriors a _horda_. First used in this sense, the
word apparently did not receive its present meaning in Germany until
the beginning of the eighteenth century. Having in mind the "Golden
Horde" of the Tartars, a horde was understood to mean a particularly
dreaded division of warriors. The furious force of these Asiatic
hordes, and the terror which they spread, later caused the concept
to be extended to all unorganized, wild, and unrestrained masses of
men. Taking the word in this wider significance, we may now say that
the horde, as a fairly large social group in which only very meagre
suggestions of an organized tribal system occur, is characteristic of
primitive times, no less than are the isolated single family and the
beginnings of the joint family. Thus defined, however, the horde does
not differ essentially from the animal _herd_, in the meaning which the
latter concept would possess when applied to human-kind. And it is not
impossible that in the extension of the meaning of the term 'horde,'
this association of the foreign word with the original Germanic word
'herd' played a part. A horde, we might say, is a human herd, but it is
precisely a _human_ herd. Between the members of a horde, therefore,
there exists a relation that is lacking in the animal herd, in flocks
of migratory birds, for example, or in herds of sheep and cattle. This
relation is established and preserved through a community of language.
Herder, therefore, truthfully remarks that man was from the beginnings
a 'herding animal,' in so far as he possessed social instincts. Even
in the formation of language these social instincts were operative.
Without a community life, and, we may add, without the mental
interaction of individuals, language would be impossible. Language,
however, in turn, strengthened this community life, and elevated it
above the status of the animal herd or of an association concerned
merely with momentary needs.

Thus, these reflections concerning the social relations of primitive
man lead us to a further field of phenomena which likewise affords
a glimpse into the mental characteristics of primitive peoples. For
that which differentiates the horde from the herd is the _language_ of
primitive man, together with the activity most closely bound up with
language, namely, _thinking_.


Our knowledge of those peoples whom we, avoiding the errors of the
past, may now regard as primitive, led to the conviction that the
Asiatic and African tribes described above were actually primitive,
in the above-mentioned relative sense of the word. Naturally the
question concerning the language of these peoples then began to arouse
considerable attention, on the part, not only of ethnologists, but also
of those interested in philology. The question is of equal importance,
to say the least, for the psychologist. For language is bound up
with thought. From the phenomena of language, therefore, we may draw
inferences concerning the most general characteristics of thought. Such
fundamental differences of language as exist, for example, between the
Chinese and the Indo-Germanic tongues do not, of course, allow the
direct conclusion that there are quantitative differences in mental
culture. They do imply, however, that there are divergent directions
and forms of thought. In their ceaseless change, the latter react upon
language, and this, in turn, again influences mental characteristics.
We cannot suppose that, in the period of Old High German, much less
in that of the original German, our ancestors employed the same forms
of thought with which we of to-day are familiar. To a lesser degree,
similar changes have undoubtedly transpired within much shorter spaces
of time.

These considerations make the question concerning the language of
primitive man of the utmost psychological importance. Linguistic
investigations, however, so far as they, in their early attempts,
had been able to survey the field, had brought to light a fact which
discouraged all efforts to discover an original language. Indeed, it
was inevitable that at first glance this discovered fact should have
appeared exceedingly strange, particularly when viewed in connection
with the life of primitive man. It appeared that, for the most part,
the original languages of primitive tribes no longer exist. It is true
that in the vocabularies of the Semangs and Senoi of Malacca, of the
Veddahs of Ceylon, of the Negritos of the Philippines, and in other
vocabularies that have been collected, single words may be found which
do not occur in the languages of the neighbouring tribes; and it is
noteworthy that the bow and arrow are the objects most frequently
designated by such words, a proof of the fact that these are really
relatively primitive inventions. On the whole, however, the Veddahs
speak the language of the Singhalese and Tamils; the Semangs and Senoi,
as well as the Negritos of the Philippines, that of their neighbours,
the Malays; similarly, among the African tribes, the Pygmies of Central
Africa have apparently appropriated the language of the Monbuttus and
other negro races, and the Bushmen that of the Hottentots.

How may this remarkable fact be explained? That these tribes formerly
possessed languages of their own can scarcely be doubted. For, as
respects physical characteristics, they are absolutely distinct races.
Considering their characteristics as a whole, moreover, it is utterly
impossible that they could have lacked language before coming into
contact with the peoples who entered the country at a later period.
How, then, did these people come apparently to lose their original
language? To this we may briefly reply that there here transpired
what always occurs when the well-known principle of the struggle for
existence is applied to the field of mental phenomena. The stronger
race crowded out the most important mental creation of the weaker, its
language. The language of the weaker race, which was probably very
meagre, succumbed to a language that was more highly developed. At
first glance, this explanation would appear to contradict what we know
concerning the life of these primitive tribes. With what anxiety they
isolate themselves from their neighbours! A striking proof of this is
offered by the practice of secret barter, in which primitive man sets
out from the forest, if possible by night, and deposits his captured
game at a place which custom has set apart for this purpose, returning
the next night to take whatever the more civilized neighbouring tribes
have left in exchange--iron implements and weapons, material for
clothing, and especially articles of adornment. The participants in
this barter do not see each other, much less speak with each other. But
where such seclusion exists, how is it possible for a strange language
to penetrate? This problem appears almost insoluble. Nevertheless,
a solution that appears at least probable was suggested by the
investigations of Kern, an able Dutch scholar. His studies were based
mainly on the development of the various Malayan idioms. A remarkable
exception to the rule that primitive tribes have adopted the language
of their more civilized neighbours came to light in the case of the
Negritos of the Philippines. Their neighbours, as well as those of
the tribes of the interior of Malacca, belong to that much-migrating
race, the Malayans. If we compare the Negrito word-formations that
have been collected during the past forty years with the vocabulary
of the neighbouring Malayans, it is evident that all the words are
entirely different, or at least seem to be so with few exceptions.
When, however, Kern traced the probable development of these words, and
compared them, not with the present-day usage of the Malays but with
older stages of their language, he found that the latter invariably
contained the counterparts of the Negrito words. Thus, while these
Negritos have remained untouched by the present-day Malays, who
probably entered the country at least several centuries ago, they have
evidently derived their language from a Malayan influx that occurred
much earlier still. To this may be added the demonstrable fact,
gleaned from another source, that from very early times the Malayan
tribes undertook migrations at widely separated intervals. Traversing
the seas in their unsteady boats, they at various times peopled such
islands, in particular, as were not too remote from the mainland. Now
the testimony of language, to which we have referred, demonstrates
that there were at least two such migrations to the Philippines, and
that they occurred at widely different times. The original Malayan
dialect, which has now become extinct or unknown to the modern Malays,
was assimilated by the Negrito peoples, who probably occupied this
territory before the arrival of any of the Malays. But this leads to
a further inference. If the language was appropriated in prehistoric
times and if the conditions of the present are such as would make this
scarcely possible, we must conclude that the interrelations of the
immigrants and the original inhabitants were formerly not the same as
those that now prevail. And, as a matter of fact, this seems altogether
probable, if we call to mind the descriptions which modern travellers
give of their experiences among these primitive peoples. The traits of
character that particularly distinguish them are fear and hatred of
their more civilized neighbours; corresponding to this, is the contempt
felt by the latter, because of their higher culture, for the more
primitive peoples. The only thing that restrains the immigrant people
from waging a war of extermination against the original inhabitants
is the fear of the poisoned arrow which the Negrito directs against
his enemy from behind an ambush. In view of these facts it is not
difficult to understand the almost universal isolation of primitive
man at the present time. On the other hand, travellers who have
been admitted into the lives of the primitive tribes of Malacca and
Ceylon and have sought to gain their friendship, unanimously assure us
that, whenever a person has once succeeded in coming close to these
people and in overcoming their distrust, he finds their outstanding
characteristics to be good nature and readiness to render assistance.
We may, therefore, be justified in assuming that the seclusion of
primitive man was not an original condition, but that it grew up, here
and elsewhere, as a result of the war of extermination to which he was
exposed on the part of the races attempting to crowd him out of a large
part of his territory. Before this state of affairs arose, barter also
could scarcely have possessed that character of secrecy which only fear
and hatred could give it. In all probability the intercourse which
necessarily took place in early times between the older inhabitants
and the newer peoples, led to a competition of languages in which
the poorer and less developed language of primitive man inevitably
succumbed. Nevertheless, the primitive language may also have quietly
exercised a reciprocal influence upon the more advanced language.
An observation that we cannot escape, even on far higher stages of
linguistic development, is the fact that, in such a struggle between a
superior minority and a less civilized majority, the former determines
the main stock of words, and even, under favourable conditions, the
grammatical form, whereas the latter exercises a decisive influence
on pronunciation. That a similar process occurred in connection with
the displacement of primitive languages, the language of the Bushmen
offers proof. This is essentially a Hottentot dialect, even though
it is characterized by certain traits of primitive thought. The
Hottentots, however, have derived their well-known clacking sounds from
the Bushmen, who also gave these sounds to the languages of the Bantu

But are we deprived of all knowledge concerning the most primitive
grammatical forms and concerning the related question of the origin
of language, by virtue of the fact that the languages of primitive
peoples have, with the exception of meagre remnants, apparently been
lost? There is a consideration touching the question of primitive forms
of thought and language that enables us, in spite of the difficulty
suggested, to answer this question in the _negative_. The development
of language does not at all keep pace with that of the other forms of
culture. Primitive forms of thought especially, and the corresponding
expression which they receive in language, may long persist after
external culture is relatively advanced. And thus, among tribes that
are in general far beyond the primitive stage, linguistic forms may
still be found which are exact counterparts of phenomena that, from a
psychological point of view, must be regarded as primitive. As regards
this point, it is especially the African languages of the Soudan that
offer a typical field for linguistic study. If we analyse the syntax of
such a language and the forms of thought which the sentence structure
allows us to infer, we gain the impression that it is hardly possible
to imagine a form of human thought whose essential characteristics
could be more primitive. This is clearly apparent from a consideration
of the Ewe language of the peoples of Togo, a German colonial
possession. This is a Soudan language, on whose grammar D. Westermann,
a German missionary, has given us a valuable treatise. While the
Ewe language does not contain all the essential features apparently
characteristic of relatively primitive thought, it does exemplify some
of them. We are led to this conclusion particularly when we compare
it, together with other Soudan languages, with a form of language
which, though it arises under highly advanced cultural conditions, may
nevertheless be regarded as primitive, since it is actually formed anew
before our very eyes. I refer to _gesture-language_. In this case, it
is not sounds, but expressive movements, imitative and pantomimic, that
form the means by which man communicates his thoughts to man. Though
we may regard gesture-language as an original form of language, in so
far as we can observe it at the moment of its creation, we must not, of
course, forget that the genesis of the forms of gesture communication
familiar to us belongs to a higher culture whose conditions differ
widely from those of primitive thought.

Now, of the various forms of gesture-language, the one that is least
subject to change is doubtless the means of communication employed
by those who are bereft of hearing, and therefore of speech as well,
namely, the _deaf and dumb_. A similar means of communication through
signs and gestures may also be observed among peoples of low culture.
Especially when they consist of tribes with markedly different
dialects, do such peoples make use of gestures in communicating
with one another. Investigations of the spontaneously arising
gesture-language of deaf-mutes date largely from the first half of
the nineteenth century. More recent studies have been made of the
gestures of the North American Indian tribes, and similar, though less
complete, observations have been reported concerning the Australians.
In these cases, however, gestures sometimes serve also as a sort of
secret language. This is even more true of certain signs that occur
among some of the peoples of southern Europe, as, for example, among
the Neapolitans. In considering the question before us, such cases
must, of course, be excluded, since the motive of communicating ideas
may here be entirely displaced by that of keeping them secret; instead
of a language that arises spontaneously, we have a means which is, on
the whole, consciously elaborated for purposes of mutual understanding.
If we disregard these cases, which belong to an entirely different
order of facts, and examine the data gathered from widely different
parts of the earth and from very diverse conditions of culture, we
find a remarkable agreement. In certain details, of course, there are
differences. The ideas of the Indian are not in all respects like those
of the civilized European or those of the Australian. Nevertheless,
the gestures that refer to specific concrete objects are frequently so
similar that many of the signs employed by the gesture-language of the
deaf-mutes of Europe may be found among the Dakota Indians. Could we
transfer one of these deaf and dumb persons to this group of Indians,
he would probably have no difficulty at all in communicating with them.
In more recent times the opportunity of investigating spontaneous
gesture-language has not been so great, because deaf-mutes have become
more and more educated to the use of verbal language. The principal
material for the study of the natural gesture-language of deaf-mutes
is, therefore, still to be found in the older observations of Schmalz
(1838, 2nd ed. 1848), a German teacher of people thus afflicted, and in
the somewhat later reports of an Englishman by the name of Scott (1870).

What, now, do these observations teach us concerning the origin of
gesture-language, and therefore probably also concerning the factors
underlying the origin of language in general? According to the
popular notion, a so-called impulse for communication or, perhaps,
certain intellectual processes, voluntary reflections, and actions,
account for the fact that the contents of one's own consciousness
come to be communicated to other individuals. If, however, we observe
gesture-language in its origin, we obtain an entirely different
view. This mode of communication is not the result of intellectual
reflections or conscious purposes, but of emotion and the involuntary
expressive movements that accompany emotion. Indeed, it is simply a
natural development of those expressive movements of human beings
that also occur where the intention of communicating is obviously
absent. As is well known, it is not only emotions that are reflected
in one's movements, particularly in mimetic movements of the face,
but also ideas. Whenever ideas strongly tinged with feeling enter
into the course of emotions, the direct mimetic expressions of the
face are supplemented by movements of the arms and hands. The angry
man gesticulates with movements which clearly indicate the impulse
to attack that is inherent in anger. Or, when we have an ideational
process of an emotional nature, and ideas arise referring to objects
that are present to us, we point to the objects, even though there be
no intention of communicating the ideas. Directions in space, likewise,
as well as past time and futurity, are involuntarily expressed by
means of backward and forward pointing movements; 'large' and 'small'
are expressed by the raising and lowering of the hands. When further
movements are added, indicating the form of an object by describing its
image in the air with the hands, all the elements of a gesture-language
are complete. What is lacking is only that the emotionally coloured
idea be not a mere expression of one's own emotion, but that it evoke
the same emotion and, through this, the same idea, in the minds of
others. Under the influence of the emotion aroused within them, those
addressed must then reply with the same, or slightly different,
expressive movements. When this occurs, there is developed a common
thinking in which impulsive movements are more and more displaced
by voluntary actions, and ideational contents, together with the
corresponding gestures, enter into the foreground of attention. By
virtue of this ideational content, movements expressive of emotions
come to be expressions of ideas; the communication of an individual's
experiences to others results in an exchange of thought--that is, in
language. This development, however, is influenced by that of all
the other psychical functions, and especially by the transition of
emotional and impulsive movements into voluntary actions.

Of what nature, now, is the content of such a gesture-language as
arises independently within a community, and which may, in so far,
be regarded as primitive? To this we may briefly reply that all
elements of this language are perceptible to the senses, and therefore
immediately intelligible. Hence it is that deaf-mutes, though of
different nationalities, can make themselves understood without
difficulty, even upon meeting for the first time. This intelligibility
of gesture-language, however, rests upon the fact that the signs it
employs--or, translated into the terminology of spoken language, its
words--are direct representations of the objects, the qualities, or
the events referred to. Whenever the object discussed is present, the
gesture of _pointing_ with the hand and finger is itself the clearest
way of designating the object. Thus, for instance, 'I' and 'you' are
expressed by the speaker's pointing to himself or to the other person.
This suggests a similar movement to designate a 'third person' who
is not present. The sign in this case is a backward movement of the
finger. Whenever the objects of conversation are present in the field
of vision, the dumb person, as a rule, dispenses with every other form
of representation but that of merely pointing to them.

Since the objects under discussion are, on the whole, only rarely
present, there is a second and important class of gestures, which,
for the sake of brevity, we may call _graphic_. The deaf-mute, as
also the Indian and the Australian, represents an absent object by
pictures outlined in the air. What he thus sketches in only very
general outlines is intelligible to one practised in gesture-language.
Moreover, there is a marked tendency for such gestures to become
permanent within a particular social group. For the word 'house,'
the outlines of roof and walls are drawn; the idea of walking is
communicated by imitating the movements of walking with the index and
middle fingers of the right hand upon the left arm, which is held out
horizontally; the idea of striking is represented by causing the hand
to go through the movements of striking. Not infrequently, however,
several signs must be combined to make a gesture intelligible. In the
German and English deaf and dumb language, the word 'garden,' for
example, is expressed by first describing a circle with the index
finger to indicate a place, and by then lifting the thumb and the index
finger to the nose as the gesture for smelling. 'Garden,' thus, is, as
it were, a place where there are flowers to smell. The idea 'teacher'
cannot, of course, be directly represented or pictured; it is too
complicated for a language of representation. The deaf and dumb person,
therefore, is likely to proceed by first making the gesture for man.
For this purpose, he singles out an incidental characteristic, his
gesture being that of lifting his hat. Since women do not remove their
hats in greeting, this gesture is highly typical. The distinctive sign
for woman consists in laying the hands upon the breast. Now, in order
to communicate the idea of 'male teacher,' the hat is first lifted as
the above gesture for man, and then the index finger is raised. This is
done either because pupils in school raise the index finger to indicate
their knowledge of a certain thing or, perhaps, because the teacher
occasionally raises his finger when he wishes to command attention or
to threaten punishment.

Pointing and graphic gestures thus represent the two means which
gesture-language employs. Within the second of these classes of
gestures, however, we may distinguish a small sub-group that may be
called _significant_; in this case, the object is not represented by
means of a direct picture, but by incidental characteristics--man, for
example, is expressed by lifting the hat. The signs are all directly
perceptible. The most important characteristic of gesture-language, as
well as the most distinctive feature of an original language, is the
fact that there is no trace of abstract concepts, there being merely
perceptual representations. And yet some of these representations--and
this is a proof of how insistently human thought, even in its
beginnings, presses on to the formation of concepts--have acquired a
symbolical meaning by virtue of which they become sensuous means, in
a certain sense, of expressing concepts which in themselves are not
of a perceptual nature. We may here mention only _one_ such gesture,
noteworthy because it occurs independently in the language of the
European deaf and dumb and in that of the Dakota Indians. 'Truth' is
represented by moving the index finger directly forward from the lips,
while 'lie' is indicated by a movement towards the right or left. The
former is thus held to be a straight speech and the latter a crooked
speech, transcriptions which also occur, as poetical expressions,
in spoken language. On the whole, however, such symbolical signs
are rare if the natural gesture-language has not been artificially
reconstructed; moreover, they always remain perceptual in character.

Corresponding to this feature is also another characteristic which all
natural gesture-languages will be found to possess. In vain we search
them for the grammatical categories either of our own or of other
spoken languages--none may be found. No distinction is made between
noun, adjective, or verb; none between nominative, dative, accusative,
etc. Every representation retains its representative character,
and that to which it refers may exemplify any of the grammatical
categories known to us. For example, the gesture for walking may
denote either the act of walking or the course or path; that for
striking, either the verb 'to strike' or the noun 'blow.' Thus, in
this respect also, gesture-language is restricted to perceptual signs
expressing ideas capable of perceptual representation. The same is
true, finally, of the sequence in which the ideas of the speaker
are arranged, or, briefly, of the syntax of gesture-language. In
various ways, depending on fixed usages of language, our syntax, as
is well known, permits us to separate words that, as regards meaning,
belong together, or, conversely, to bring together words that have
no immediate relation. Gesture-language obeys but _one_ law. Every
single sign must be intelligible either in itself or through the one
preceding it. It follows from this that if, for example, an object
and one of its qualities are both to be designated, the quality must
not be expressed first, since, apart from the object, it would be
unmeaning; its designation, therefore, regularly occurs after that
of the object to which it belongs. Whereas, for example, we say 'a
good man,' gesture-language says 'man good.' Similarly, in the case
of verb and object, the object generally precedes. When, however, the
action expressed by the verb is thought of as more closely related to
the subject, the converse order may occur and the verb may directly
follow the subject. How, then, does gesture-language reproduce the
sentence 'The angry teacher struck the child'? The signs for teacher
and for striking have already been described; 'angry' is expressed
mimetically by wrinkling the forehead; 'child' by rocking the left
forearm supported by the right. Thus, the above sentence is translated
into gesture-language in the following manner: First, there are the
two signs for teacher, lifting the hat and raising the finger; then
follows the mimetic gesture for anger, succeeded by a rocking of the
arm to signify child, and, finally, by the motion of striking. If we
indicate the subject of the sentence by S, the attribute by A, the
object by O, and the verb by V, the sequence in our language is ASVO;
in gesture-language it is SAOV, 'teacher angry child strikes,' or, in
exceptional cases, SAVO. Gesture-language thus reverses the order of
sequence in the two pairs of words. A construction such as '_es schlug
das Kind der Lehrer_ (VOS), always possible in spoken language and
occurring not infrequently (for example, in Latin), would be absolutely
impossible in gesture-language.

If, then, gesture-language affords us certain psychological conclusions
regarding the nature of a primitive language, it is of particular
interest, from this point of view, to compare its characteristics
with the corresponding traits of the most primitive spoken languages.
As already stated, the so-called Soudan languages typify those that
bear all the marks of relatively primitive thought. These languages
of Central Africa obviously represent a much more primitive stage
of development than do those of the Bantu peoples of the south or
even those of the Hamitic peoples of the north. The language of the
Hottentots is related to that of these Hamitic peoples. It is, in fact,
because of this relationship, and also because of characteristics
divergent from the negro type, that the Hottentots are regarded as a
race that immigrated from the north and underwent changes by mixture
with native peoples. If, now, we compare one of the Soudan languages,
the Ewe, for example, with gesture-language, one difference will
at once be apparent. The words of this relatively primitive spoken
language do not possess the qualities of perceptibility and immediate
intelligibility that characterize each particular gesture-sign. This
is readily explicable as a result of processes of phonetic change,
which are never absent, as well as of the assimilation of foreign
elements and of the replacement of words by conceptual symbols that
are accidental and independent of the sound. These changes occur in
the history of every language. Every spoken language is the outcome of
recondite processes whose beginnings are no longer traceable. And yet
the Soudan languages, particularly, have preserved characteristics that
show much more intimate connections between sound and meaning than our
cultural languages possess. The very fact is noteworthy that certain
gradations or even antitheses of thought are regularly expressed
by gradations or antitheses of sound whose feeling tone plainly
corresponds to the relation of the ideas. While our words 'large'
and 'small,' 'here' and 'there,' show no correspondence between the
character of the sound and the meaning, the case is entirely different
with the equivalent expressions in the Ewe language. In this language
large and small objects are designated by the same word. In the one
case, however, the word is uttered in a deep tone, while in the other a
high tone is used. Or, in the case of indicative signs, the deep tone
signifies greater remoteness, the high tone, proximity. Indeed, in
some Sudan languages three degrees of remoteness or of size are thus
distinguished. 'Yonder in the distance' is expressed by a very deep
tone; 'yonder in the middle distance,' by a medium tone; and 'here,' by
the highest tone. Occasionally, differences of quality are similarly
distinguished by differences of tone, as, for example, 'sweet' by a
high tone, 'bitter' by a deep tone, 'to be acted upon' (that is, our
passive) by a deep tone, and activity (or our active) by a high tone.
This accounts for a phenomenon prevalent in other languages remote from
those of the Soudan. In Semitic and Hamitic languages, the letter 'U,'
particularly, has the force of a passive when occurring either as a
suffix to the root of a word or in the middle of the word itself. For
example, in the Hebrew forms of the so-called 'Pual' and 'Piel,' as
well as 'Hophal' and 'Hiphil,' the first of each pair is passive, and
the second, active in meaning. It was frequently supposed that this
was accidental, or was due to linguistic causes of phonetic change
other than the above. But when we meet the same variations of sound
and meaning in other radically different languages, we must stop
to ask ourselves whether this is not the result of a psychological
relationship which, though generally lost in the later development
of language, here still survives in occasional traces. In fact, when
we recall the way in which we relate stories to children, we at once
notice that precisely the same phenomenon recurs in child-language--a
language, of course, first created, as a rule, by adults. This
connection of sound and meaning is clearly due to the unconscious
desire that the sound shall impart to the child not merely the meaning
of the idea, but also its feeling-tone. In describing giants and
monsters, she who relates fairy-tales to the child deepens her tone;
when fairies, elves, and dwarfs appear in the narrative, she raises
her voice. If sorrow and pain enter, the tone is deepened; with joyous
emotions, high tones are employed. In view of these facts, we might say
that this direct correlation of expression and meaning, observed in
that most primitive of all languages, gesture-language, has disappeared
even from the relatively primitive spoken languages; nevertheless,
the latter have retained traces of it in greater abundance than have
the cultural languages. In the cultural languages they recur, if at
all, only in the onomatopoetic word-formations of later origin. We
may recall such words as _sausen_ (soughing), _brummen_ (growling),
_knistern_ (crackling), etc.

The question still remains how the other characteristics of
gesture-language, particularly the absence of grammatical categories
and a syntax which follows the principle of immediate and perceptual
intelligibility, compare with the corresponding characteristics of the
relatively primitive spoken languages. These characteristics, indeed,
are of incomparably greater importance than the relations of sound and
meaning. The latter are more strongly exposed to external, transforming
influences. Word-formations, however, and the position of the words
within the sentence, mirror the forms of thought itself; whenever the
thought undergoes vital changes, the latter inevitably find expression
in the grammatical categories of the language, and in the laws of
syntax which it follows.


From the point of view just developed, the investigation of the
grammatical forms of primitive language is of particular importance for
the psychology of primitive man. True, as has already been remarked,
the languages of the most primitive tribes have not been preserved
to us in their original form. And yet it is in this very realm of
grammatical forms, far more even than in that of sound pictures and
onomatopoetic words, that the Soudan languages possess characteristics
which mark them as the expression of processes of thought that
have remained on a relatively primitive level. This is indicated
primarily by the fact that these languages lack what we would call
grammatical categories. As regards this point, Westermann's grammar
of the Ewe language is in entire agreement with the much earlier
results which Steinthal reached in his investigation of the Manda
language, which is also of the Soudan region. These languages consist
of monosyllabic words which follow one another in direct succession
without any intermediate inflectional elements to modify their meaning.
Philologists usually call such languages 'root-languages,' because a
sound complex that carries the essential meaning of a word, apart from
all modifying elements, is called by their science a verbal root. In
the Latin word _fero, fer_, meaning 'to bear,' is the root from which
all modifications of the verb _ferre_ (to carry) are formed by means
of suffixal elements. If, therefore, a language consists of sound
complexes having the nature of roots, it is called a root-language.
As a matter of fact, however, the languages under discussion consist
purely of detached, monosyllabic _words_; the conception 'root,'
which itself represents the product of a grammatical analysis of our
flectional languages, may only improperly be applied to them. Such a
language is composed of detached monosyllabic words, each of which has
a meaning, yet none of which falls under any particular grammatical
category. One and the same monosyllabic word may denote an object,
an act, or a quality, just as in gesture-language the gesture of
striking may denote the verb 'to strike' and also the noun 'blow.'
From this it is evident to what extent the expressions 'root' and
'root-language' carry over into this primitive language a grammatical
abstraction which is entirely inappropriate in case they suggest the
image of a root. This image originated among grammarians at a time
when the view was current that, just as the stem and branches of a
plant grow out of its root, so also in the development of a language
does a word always arise out of a group of either simple or composite
sounds that embody the main idea. But the component parts of a language
are certainly not roots in this sense; every simple monosyllabic word
combines with others, and from this combination there result, in
part, modifications in meaning, and, in part, sentences. Language,
thus, does not develop by sprouting and growing, but by agglomeration
and agglutination. Now, the Soudan languages are characterized by
the fact that they possess very few such fixed combinations in which
the individual component parts have lost their independence. In this
respect, accordingly, they resemble gesture-language. The latter also
is unfamiliar with grammatical categories in so far as these apply to
the words themselves; the very same signs denote objects, actions, and
qualities--indeed, generally even that for which in our language we
employ particles. This agreement with gesture-language is brought home
to us most strikingly if we consider the words which the primitive
spoken languages employ for newly formed ideas--such, for instance,
as refer to previously unknown objects of culture. Here it appears
that the speaker always forms the new conception by combining into a
series those ideas with which he is more familiar. When schools were
introduced into Togo, for example, and a word for 'slate-pencil' became
necessary, the Togo negroes called it 'stone scratch something'--that
is, a stone with which we scratch something. Similarly 'kitchen,' an
arrangement unknown to these tribes, was referred to as 'place cook
something'; 'nail,' as 'iron head broad.' The single word always
stands for a sensibly perceptual object, and the new conception is
formed, not, as epistemologists commonly suppose, by means of a
comparison of various objects, but by arranging in sequence those
perceptual ideas whose combined characteristics constitute the
conception. The same is true with regard to the expressions for such
thought relations as are variously indicated in our language by the
inflections of substantive, adjective, and verb. The Soudan languages
make no unambiguous distinction between noun and verb. Much less are
the cases of the substantive, or the moods and tenses of the verb,
distinguished; to express these distinctions, separate words are always
used. Thus, 'the house of the king' is rendered as 'house belong king.'
The conception of case is here represented by an independent perception
that crowds in between the two ideas which it couples together. The
other cases are, as a rule, not expressed at all, but are implied in
the connection. Similarly, verbs possess no future tense to denote
future time. Here also a separate word is introduced, one that may be
rendered by 'come.' 'I go come' means 'I shall go'; or, to mention
the preterit, 'I go earlier' means 'I went.' Past time, however, may
also be expressed by the immediate repetition of the word, a sensibly
perceptual sign, as it were, that the action is completed. When the
Togo negro says 'I eat,' this means 'I am on the point of eating'; when
he says 'I eat eat,' it means 'I have eaten.'

But ideas of such acts and conditions as are in themselves of a
perceptual nature are also occasionally expressed by combining several
elements which are obtained by discriminating the separate parts of
a perceptual image. The idea to bring, for example, is expressed by
the Togo negro as 'take, go, give.' In bringing something to some
one, one must first take it, then go to him and give it to him. It
therefore happens that the word 'go,' in particular, is frequently
added even where we find no necessity for especially emphasizing the
act of going. Thus, the Togo negro would very probably express the
sentence, 'The angry teacher strikes the child,' in the following
way: 'Man-school-angry-go-strike-child.' This is the succession
that directly presents itself to one who thinks in pictures, and it
therefore finds expression in language. Whenever conceptions require
a considerable number of images in order to be made picturable,
combinations that are equivalent to entire sentences may result in a
similar manner. Thus, the Togo negro expresses the concept 'west' by
the words 'sun-sit-place'--that is, the place where the sun sits down.
He thinks of the sun as a personal being who, after completing his
journey, here takes a seat.

These illustrations may suffice to indicate the simplicity and at the
same time the complexity of such a language. It is simple, in that it
lacks almost all grammatical distinctions; it is complicated, because,
in its constant reliance on sensibly perceptual images, it analyses our
concepts into numerous elements. This is true not merely of abstract
concepts, which these languages, as a rule, do not possess, but even
of concrete empirical concepts. We need only refer to the verb 'to
bring,' reduced to the form of three verbs, or the concept 'west,' for
whose expression there is required not only the sun and the location
which we must give it but also its act of seating itself. In all of
these traits, then, primitive language is absolutely at one with

The same is true of the syntax of the two kinds of language. This also
is no more irregular and accidental in the Soudan language than it is
in gesture-language. As a rule, indeed, it is stricter than the syntax
of our languages, for in the latter inflection makes possible a certain
variation in the arrangement of words within a sentence according
to the particular shade of meaning desired. In primitive language,
the arrangement is much more uniform, being governed absolutely and
alone by the same law as prevails in gesture-language--namely, the
arrangement of words in their perceptual order. Without exception,
therefore, object precedes attribute, and substantive, adjective.
Less constant, however, is the relation of verb and object, in the
Ewe language; the verb generally precedes, but the object may come
first; the verb, however, always follows the subject whose action it
expresses. This perceptual character of primitive language appears most
strikingly when we translate any thought that is at all complicated
from a primitive language into our own, first in its general meaning,
and then word for word. Take an illustration from the language of the
Bushmen. The meaning would be substantially this: 'The Bushman was
at first received kindly by the white man in order that he might be
brought to herd his sheep; then the white man maltreated the Bushman;
the latter ran away, whereupon the white man took another Bushman, who
suffered the same experience,' The language of the Bushmen expresses
this in the following way: 'Bushman-there-go, here-run-to-white man,
white man-give-tobacco, Bushman-go-smoke, go-fill-tobacco-pouch,
white man-give-meat-Bushman, Bushman-go-eat-meat, stand-up-go-home,
go happily, go-sit-down, herd-sheep-white man, white man-go-strike
Bushman, Bushman-cry-loud-pain, Bushman-go-run-away-white man, white
man-run-after-Bushman, Bushman-then-another, this one-herd-sheep,
Bushman-all-gone.' In this complaint of the man of nature against his
oppressor, everything is concrete, perceptual. He does not say, The
Bushman was at first kindly taken up by the white man, but, The white
man gives him tobacco, he fills his pouch and smokes; the white man
gives him meat, he eats this and is happy, etc. He does not say, The
white man maltreats the Bushman, but, He strikes him, the Bushman
cries with pain, etc. What we express in relatively abstract concepts
is entirely reduced by him to separate perceptual images. His thought
always attaches to individual objects. Moreover, just as primitive
language has no specific means for expressing a verb, so also are
change and action overshadowed in primitive thought by the concrete
image. The thinking itself, therefore, may be called _concrete_.
Primitive man sees the image with its separate parts; and, as he sees
it, so he reproduces it in his language. It is for this very reason
that he is unfamiliar with differences of grammatical categories and
with abstract concepts. Sequence is still governed entirely by the
pure association of ideas, whose order is determined by perception
and by the recollection of that which has been experienced. The above
narrative of the Bushman expresses no unitary thought, but image
follows upon image in the order in which these appear to consciousness.
Thus, the thinking of primitive man is almost exclusively associative.
Of the more perfect form of combining concepts, the apperceptive, which
unites the thoughts into a systematic whole, there are as yet only
traces, such as occur in the combination of the separate memory images.

Many analogues to the formal characteristics of primitive thought
revealed in these linguistic phenomena may be met in child-language.
There is a wide divergence, however, with respect to the very
element which has already disappeared, with the exception of slight
traces, from the language of primitive peoples. I refer to the
close correlation of sound and meaning. As regards this feature,
child-language is much more similar to gesture-language than is
possible in the case of forms of speech that have undergone a long
historical development. For, child-language, like gesture-language, is,
in a certain sense, continually being created anew. Of course, it is
not created, as is sometimes supposed, by the children themselves. It
is a conventionalized language of the mothers and nurses who converse
with the child, supplemented, in part, by the child's associates along
the lines of these traditional models. The sound-complexes signifying
animals, 'bow-wow' for the dog, 'hott-hott' for the horse, 'tuk-tuk'
for the chicken, etc., as also 'papa' and 'mamma' for father and
mother, are sounds that are in some way fitted to the meaning and at
the same time resemble so far as possible the babbling sounds of the
child. But this entire process is instituted by the child's associates,
and is at most supplemented by the child himself to the extent of a few
incidental elements. For this reason, child-language has relatively
little to teach us concerning the development of speaking and
thinking; those psychologists and teachers who believe that it affords
an important source of information concerning the origin of thought
are in error. Such information can be gained only from those modes of
expressing thought which, like gesture-language, are originated anew
by the speaker and are not externally derived, or from those which,
like the spoken languages of primitive peoples, have retained, in their
essential characteristics, primitive modes of thinking. Even in these
cases it is only the _forms_ of thought that are thus discoverable. The
content, as is implied by the formal characteristics themselves, is, of
course, also of a sense-perceptual, not of a conceptual, nature. And
yet the particular character or quality of this content is not inherent
in the forms of the language as such. To gain a knowledge of its nature
we must examine the specific ideas themselves and the associated
feelings and emotions.

Thus, then, the further question arises: Wherein consists the content
of primitive thought? _Two_ sorts of ideas may be distinguished. The
one comprises that stock of ideas which is supplied to consciousness
by the direct perceptions of daily life--ideas such as go, stand, lie,
rest, etc., together with animal, tree (particularly in the form of
individual animals and trees), man, woman, child, I, thou, you, and
many others. These are objects of everyday perception that are familiar
to all, even to the primitive mind. But there is also a _second_ class
of ideas. These do not represent things of immediate perception;
briefly expressed, they originate in feeling, in emotional processes
which are projected outward into the environment. This is an important
and particularly characteristic group of primitive ideas. Included
within it are all references to that which is not directly amenable
to perception but, transcending this, is really _supersensuous_,
even though appearing in the form of sensible ideas. This world of
imagination, projected from man's own emotional life into external
phenomena, is what we mean by _mythological_ thinking. The things and
processes given to perception are supplemented by other realities that
are of a non-perceptible nature and therefore belong to an invisible
realm back of the visible world. These are the elements, furthermore,
which very early find expression in the _art_ of primitive man.


In entering upon a consideration of the development of primitive myths,
we are at once confronted by the old question disputed by mythologists,
ethnologists, and students of religion, Where and when did religion
originate? For is not religion always concerned with the supernatural?
Now, in certain cases, even primitive man supplements the sensuous
world in which he lives and whose impressions he has not so much as
elaborated into abstract concepts, with supersensuous elements, though
he himself, of course, is unaware of their supersensuous character. The
question, therefore, lies near at hand: Is religion already present at
this stage, or is there at most a potentiality of religion, the germ
of its future development? If the latter should be true, where, then,
does religion begin? Now, our interest in the history of myth-formation
derives largely from the very fact that the problem is intimately bound
up with that of the origin of religion. Merely in itself the origin of
the myth might have relatively little interest for us. The question,
however, as to how religion arose acquires its great importance through
its connection with the two further questions as to whether or not
religion is a necessary constituent of human consciousness and whether
it is an original possession or is the result of certain preconditions
of mythological thought.

It is interesting to follow this ancient dispute, particularly its
course during the last few decades. In 1880, Roskoff wrote a book
entitled "The Religion of the Most Primitive Nature-Peoples." In this
work he assembled all the available facts, and came to the conclusion
that no peoples exist who have not some form of religion. About
ten years ago, however, the two Sarasins, students of Ceylon and
of the primitive Veddah tribes, summed up their conclusions in the
proposition: The Veddahs have no religion. If, however, we compare
Roskoff's facts concerning primitive peoples with those reported
by the Sarasins concerning the belief of the Veddahs in demons and
magic, it appears that the facts mentioned by these investigators are
essentially the same. What the former calls religion, the latter call
belief in magic; but in neither case is there a statement as to what
is really meant by religion. Now, we cannot, of course, come to an
understanding with reference to the presence or absence of anything
until we are agreed as to what the thing itself really is. Hence, the
question under dispute is raised prematurely at the present stage of
our discussion; it can be answered only after we have examined more
of the steps in the development of myth and of the preconditions of
the religion of later times. We shall therefore recur to this point in
our third chapter, after we have become acquainted with such religions
as may indubitably lay claim to the name. Postponing the question for
the present, we will designate the various phenomena that must be
discussed at this point by the specific names attaching to them on the
basis of their peculiar characteristics. In this sense, there is no
doubt that we may speak of ideas of magic and of demons even in the
case of primitive peoples; it is generally conceded that such ideas
are universally entertained at this stage of culture. But the further
question at once arises as to the source of this belief in magic and
in demons, and as to the influences by which it is sustained. Now, in
respect to this point _two_ views prevail, even among the ethnologists
who have made an intensive study of primitive peoples. The one view
may briefly be called that of nature-mythology. It assumes that even
far back under early conditions the phenomena of the heavens were the
objects that peculiarly fascinated the thought of man and elevated it
above its immediate sensible environment. All mythology, therefore, is
supposed originally to have been mythology of nature, particularly of
the heavens. Doubtless this would already involve a religious element,
or, at least, a religious tendency. The second view carries us even
farther in the same direction. It holds that the ideas of primitive
man, so far as they deal with the supersensuous, are simpler than
those of the more highly developed peoples. Just for this reason,
however, it regards these ideas as more perfect and as approaching more
nearly the beliefs of the higher religions. As a matter of fact, if we
compare, let us say, the Semangs and the Senoi, or the Veddahs, with
the natives of Australia, we find a very great difference as regards
this point. Even the mythology of the Australians is undoubtedly much
more complex than that of these peoples of nature, and the farther
we trace this myth development the greater the complexity becomes.
That which is simple, however, is supposed to be also the higher and
the more exalted, just as it is the more primitive. The beginning is
supposed to anticipate the end, as a revelation not yet distorted by
human error. For, the highest form of religion is not a mythology
including a multitude of gods, but the belief in _one_ God--that is,
monotheism. It was believed, therefore, that the very discovery of
primitive man offered new support for this view. This theory, however,
is bound up with an important anthropological consideration--the
question concerning the place of the so-called _Pygmies_ in the
history of human development. It was on the basis of their physical
characteristics that these dwarf peoples of Africa and Asia, of whom
it is only in comparatively recent times that we have gained any
considerable knowledge, were first declared by Julius Kollman to
be the childhood peoples of humanity, who everywhere preceded the
races of larger stature. Such childhood characteristics, indeed, are
revealed not only in their small stature but in other traits as well.
Schweinfurth observed that the entire skin of the Pygmies of Central
Africa is covered with fine, downy hair, much as is that of the newly
born child. It is by means of these downy hairs that the Monbuttu negro
of that region distinguishes the Pygmy from a youth of his own tribe.
The Negrito is primitive also in that his dermal glands are abnormally
active, causing a bodily odour which is far greater than that of
the negro, and which, just as in the case of some animals, increases
noticeably under the stress of emotion. If, in addition to these
physical characteristics, we consider the low cultural level of all
these dwarf peoples, the hypothesis that the Pygmies are a primitive
people does not, indeed, seem altogether strange. Starting with this
hypothesis, therefore, William Schmidt, in his work, "The Place of the
Pygmies in the Development of Mankind" (1910), attempted to prove the
proposition that the Pygmies are the childhood peoples of humanity
in their mental culture no less than in their physical development.
This being their nature, they are, of course, limited intellectually;
morally, however, they are in a state of innocence, as is demonstrated
among other things by the pure monogamy prevailing among them, as well
as by their highest possession, their monotheistic belief.

Now, the supposition of moral innocence rests essentially on the
twofold assumption of the identity of primitive man with the Pygmy
and of the legitimacy of holding that what has been observed of _one_
tribe of Pygmies is true of the primitive condition generally. But
this identity of primitive man with the Pygmy cannot be maintained.
The most typical traits of primitive mental culture are doubtless to
be found among the Veddahs of Ceylon. The Veddahs, however, are not
really Pygmies, but are of large stature. Moreover, there are primitive
people who are so far from being Pygmies that they belong rather to
the tall races. We might cite the extinct Tasmanians, whose culture
was probably a stage lower than that of the modern Australians. In
most respects, many of the tribes of Central Australia exhibit traits
of primitive culture, even though their social organization is of a
far more complicated nature. Finally, all the peoples whose remains
have been found in the oldest diluvial deposits of Europe belong to
the tall races. On the other hand, there are peoples of small stature,
the Chinese and the Japanese, who must be counted in the first ranks
of cultured peoples. Thus, mental culture certainly cannot be measured
in terms of physical size but only in terms of itself. Mental values
can never be determined except by mental characteristics. It is true
that W. Schmidt has sought to support his theory regarding the Pygmies
by reference to the reports of E.H. Man, a reliable English observer.
According to these reports, the Andamanese, one of these dwarf peoples,
possess some remarkable legends that are doubtless indicative of
monotheistic ideas. Since the Andamans are a group of islands in the
Sea of Bengal and the inhabitants are therefore separated from other
peoples by an expanse of sea, Schmidt regarded as justifiable the
assumption that these legends were autochthonous; since, moreover, the
legends centre about the belief in a supreme god, he contended that we
here finally had proof of the theory of an original monotheism. The
main outlines of the Andamanese legends as given by E.H. Man are as
follows: The supreme god, Puluga, first created man and subsequently
(though with regard to this there are various versions) he created
woman. She was either created directly, as was man, or man himself
created her out of a piece of wood, possibly a reminiscence of Adam's
rib. Then God gave man laws forbidding theft, murder, adultery,
etc., forbidding him, furthermore, to eat of the fruits of the first
rainy season. But man did not keep the Divine commandments. The Lord
therefore sent a universal flood, in which perished all living things
with the exception of two men and two women who happened to be in
a boat. In this story, much is naturally distorted, confused, and
adapted to the medium into which the legend is transplanted. But that
it points to the Biblical accounts of the Creation, Paradise, and the
Flood, there cannot, in my opinion, be the slightest doubt. If it
is objected that the Andamans are altogether too far separated from
the rest of the world by the sea, and also that no missionaries have
ever been seen on these islands, our answer would be: Whatever may be
the 'when' and the 'how,' the _fact that_ the Biblical tradition at
some time did come to the Andamanese is proven by the legend itself.
This conclusion is just as incontestable as is the inference, for
example, that the correspondence of certain South American and Asiatic
myths is proof of a transmission. Indeed, the two latter regions are
separated by an incomparably wider expanse of sea than that which
divides the Andamans from Indo-China and its neighbouring islands.
It should also be added that the inhabitants of the Andaman Islands
have obviously progressed far beyond the condition in which we find
the inland tribes of Malacca, the Veddahs of Ceylon, or the Negritos
of the Philippines. They practise the art of making pottery--an art
never found among peoples who are properly called primitive; they have
a social organization, with chiefs. These phenomena all characterize
a fairly advanced culture. When, therefore, we are concerned with
the beliefs of peoples who are really primitive, the Andamanese must
be left out of consideration. According to the available proofs,
however, these people possess a belief neither in one god nor in many
gods. Moreover, even far beyond the most primitive stage, no coherent
celestial mythology may be found, such as could possibly be regarded
as an incipient polytheism. No doubt, there are ideas concerning
single heavenly phenomena, but these always betray an association with
terrestrial objects, particularly with human beings or animals. And,
to all appearances, these ideas change with great rapidity. Nowhere
have they led to the actual formation of myths. Among the Indians of
the Brazilian forests, for example, the sun and moon are called leaves
or feather-balls; by several of the Soudan tribes they are conceived
as balls that have been thrown to the sky by human beings and have
stuck there. Such ideas alternate with others in which the sun and
moon are regarded as brothers or as brother and sister, or the sun is
said to be chasing the moon--images influenced particularly by the
phenomena of the moon's phases. As a matter of fact, this whole field
of ideas reveals only _one_ belief that is practically universal,
appearing among peoples of nature and recurring even among civilized
peoples. Because of the rare occurrence of the phenomenon, however,
it has never led to a real mythology. I refer to the belief that in an
eclipse of the sun, the sun is swallowed by a dark demon. This belief,
obviously, is very readily suggested to the primitive imagination;
it occurs in Central Africa, in Australia, and in America, and is
found even in Indian mythology. Taken by itself, however, the notion
is incapable of engendering a myth. It is to be regarded merely as
an isolated case to be classed with a more richly developed set of
demon-ideas that dominate the daily life of primitive man. At this
stage, these ideas are the only elements of an incipient mythology that
are clearly discernible and that at the same time exercise an important
influence upon life. In so far as the mythology of primitive man gains
a permanent foothold and influence, it consists of a _belief in magic
and demons_. There are, however, two motives which engender this belief
and give form and colour to the ideas and emotions springing from them.
These are _death_ and _sickness_.

Death! There are doubtless few impressions that have so powerful an
effect upon the man of nature; indeed, civilized man as well is still
very greatly stirred by the phenomenon of death. Let his companion
meet with death, and even the outward actions of a primitive man
are significant. The moment a person dies, the immediate impulse of
primitive man is to leave him lying where he is and to flee. The
dead person is abandoned, and the place where he died continues to
be avoided for a long time--if possible, until animals have devoured
the corpse. Obviously the emotion of _fear_ is regnant. Its immediate
cause is apparently the unusual and fear-inspiring changes which death
makes in the appearance of a man. The suspension of movements, the
pallor of death, the sudden cessation of breathing--these are phenomena
sufficient to cause the most extreme terror. But what is the nature of
the ideas that associate themselves with this fearsome impression? The
flight from the corpse is evidence that man's fears are primarily for
himself. To tarry in the presence of a dead person exposes the living
man to the danger of being himself overtaken by death. The source of
this danger is evidently identical with that which has brought death
to the recently deceased person himself. Primitive man cannot think
of death except as the sudden departure from the dying person of that
which originally brought life. Nevertheless, there is evidently bound
up with this conception the further idea that powers of life are still
resident in the body; the latter remains firmly associated in the mind
of primitive man with the impression of life. Here, then, we have the
original source of the contradictory idea of a something that generates
life and is therefore independent of the body, while nevertheless being
connected with it. So far as we can gain knowledge of the impression
which death makes on the mind of primitive man, two disparate motives
are indissolubly united. He regards life as something that, in part,
continues in some mysterious manner to dwell within the corpse, and,
in part, hovers about, invisible, in its vicinity. For this reason,
the dead person becomes to him a _demon_, an invisible being capable
of seizing upon man, of overpowering or killing him, or of bringing
sickness upon him. In addition to this primitive idea of demons, we
also find the conception of a _corporeal soul_, meaning by this the
belief that the body is the vehicle of life, and that, so long as it
has not itself disappeared, it continues to harbour the life within
itself. The corporeal soul is here still regarded as a unit which
may, by separating itself from the body, become a demon and pass over
into another person. No certain traces are as yet to be found of
belief in a breath or shadow-like soul. As will appear later, this is
a characteristic feature of the transition from primitive to totemic
culture. When some investigators report that the soul is occasionally
referred to by the Semangs of Malacca as a small bird that soars into
the air at the death of a person, it is not improbable that we here
have to do either with the Semangs of culture, who have undergone
marked changes under Malayan influence, or with the presence of an
isolated idea that belongs to a different cultural circle. For in no
other case are ideas similar to that of the psyche to be found on
the level of primitive culture. On the other hand, the burial customs
of the Malays and of the mixed races living in the immediate vicinity
of the primitive peoples of the Malay Peninsula, already exhibit a
striking contrast to the flight of primitive man from the corpse.

The next group of ideas, those arising from the impression made by
_sickness_, particularly by such sicknesses as attack man suddenly,
are also restricted to the conception of a corporeal soul. For, one
of the most characteristic marks of this conception is that magical,
demoniacal powers are believed to issue from the body of the dead
person. These powers, however, are not, as occurs in the above case,
regarded as embodied in any visible thing--such as the exhalations
of the breath or an escaping animal--that separates itself from the
person. On the contrary, the demon that leaves the corpse and attacks
another person in the form of a fatal sickness, is invisible. He is
purely the result of an association between the fear aroused by the
occurrence of death and the fright caused by an unexpected attack
of sickness. The dead person, therefore, continues to remain the
seat of demoniacal powers; these he can repeatedly direct against
the living persons who approach him. Primitive man believes that the
demon may assume any form whatsoever within the body, and deceitful
medicine-men take advantage of this in ostensibly removing the sickness
in the form of a piece of wood or of a stone. But it is precisely
these ideas that are totally unrelated to that of a psyche and its
embodiments. Though the corpse is perhaps the earliest object that
suggests sickness-demons, it is in no wise the only one. Indeed, the
attack of sickness is in itself sufficient to arouse fear of a demon.
Thus, the Semangs and Senoi distinguish a vast number of different
sickness-demons. Such ideas of demons, however, as we find among the
Malays and the Singhalese, where demons are regarded as counter-agents
to sickness-magic and usually take the form of fantastical animal
monsters, never occur except at a later cultural stage. Any resemblance
of these demons to 'soul animals,' which, as we shall find in our next
chapter, are always actual animals, is confined to the fact that they
have some similarity to animals. Obviously they are creations of the
imagination, due to fear and terror. Their only difference from the
monsters of similar origin that are projected into the outward world is
that they are reduced to proportions which fit the dimensions of the
human body.

Closely connected with the magic of sickness is counter-magic, an
agency by which disease is removed or the attack of sickness-demons
warded off. Even primitive man seeks for such modes of relief. Hence,
probably, the original formation of a special group of men, which,
though not, of course, at the very first a fixed professional class,
was nevertheless the precursor of the latter. Among the American
Indians, these were the 'medicine-men'; the peoples of northern Asia
called them 'shamans'--more generally expressed, they were magicians.
The name 'medicine-man,' indeed, is not inappropriate. The medicine-man
of the savages is, in truth, the predecessor of the modern physician,
and also, in a certain sense, of the modern priest. He not only
ministers to the individual whom he restores to health by means of
his counter-magic, but he can himself directly practise magic. Since
he has power over demons, he can exorcise them from the body; but he
can also magically cause them to enter it. Thus, the medicine-man has
a twofold calling. He is feared, but he is also valued as a helper in
need. His position differs according as the one or the other emotion
predominates. He was the first to investigate the effect of herbs on
man. He probably discovered the poisons, and, by rendering the arrow
poisonous, gained a still higher authority in the eyes of the savage.
For the arrow, too, is a means of magic. But he also discovered methods
of removing poisons, and thereby transformed poisonous plants into
articles of food. His calling, then, is a supremely important one,
though also at all times dangerous for the one who practises it. He
is not only exposed to persecution if he fails to accomplish what is
expected of him, or if he is suspected of evil magic, but the magician,
when pressed by need, also becomes a deceiver. The deception of the
medicine-man, indeed, apparently dates back to the very earliest
times. Koch-Grünberg tells us that among the Central Brazilians the
medicine-men expel disease by carrying about with them a piece of wood,
which they bring forth, after various manipulations, as the alleged
seat of the demon. If the suggestion thus given is effective, the
patient may, of course, feel himself improved. At any rate, we must
not think that the mass of the people is led to lose belief in magic;
in most cases, perhaps, the medicine-man himself remains a deceived

Nevertheless, on the primitive stage, death and sickness are the main
sources of belief in magic and in demons. From this as a centre, the
belief radiates far out into all departments of life. The belief
in magic, for example, assumes the form of _protective magic_, of
magical defence against demoniacal influences. In this form, it
probably determines the original modes of dress, and, more obviously
and permanently still, the adornment of the body. In fact, in its
beginnings, this adornment was really designed less for decoration than
for purposes of magic.

In connection with the external culture of primitive man we have
already noted his meagre dress, which frequently consisted merely of a
cord of bast about the loins, with leaves suspended from it. What was
the origin of this dress? In the tropical regions, where primitive man
lives, it was surely not the result of need for protection; nor can we
truthfully ascribe it to modesty, as is generally done on the ground
that it is the genital parts that are most frequently covered. In
estimating the causes, the questions of primary importance are rather
those as to where the very first traces of dress appear and of what
its most permanent parts consist. The answer to the latter question,
however, is to be found not in the apron but in the _loin-cord_, which
is occasionally girt about the hips without any further attempt at
dress. Obviously this was not a means of protection against storm and
cold; nor can modesty be said to have factored in the development of
this article, which serves the purposes both of dress and of adornment.
But what was its real meaning? An incident from the life of the Veddahs
may perhaps furnish the answer to this question. When the Veddah enters
into marriage, he binds a cord about the loins of his prospective
wife. Obviously this is nothing else than a form of the widely current
'cord-magic,' which plays a not inconsiderable rôle even in present-day
superstition. Cord-magic aims to bring about certain results by means
of a firmly fastened cord. This cord is not a symbol, but is, as all
symbols originally were, a means of magic. When a cord is fastened
about a diseased part of the body and then transferred to a tree, it
is commonly believed that the sickness is magically transplanted into
the tree. If the tree is regarded as representing an enemy, moreover,
this act, by a further association, is believed to transfer sickness
or death to the enemy through the agency of the tree. The cord-magic
of the Veddah is obviously of a simpler nature than this. By means of
the cord which he has himself fastened, the Veddah endeavours to secure
the faithfulness of his wife. The further parts of primitive dress
were developments of the loin-cord, and were worn suspended from it.
Coincidentally with this, the original means of adornment make their
appearance. Necklaces and bracelets, which have remained favourite
articles of feminine adornment even within our present culture, and
fillets about the head which, among some of the peoples of nature, are
likewise worn chiefly by the women, are further developments of the
loin-cord, transferred, as it were, to other parts of the body. And,
as the first clothing was attached to the loin-cord, so also were the
bracelet and fillet, and particularly the necklace, employed to carry
other early means of protective magic, namely, amulets. Gradually the
latter also developed into articles of adornment, preferably worn, even
to-day, about the neck.

The assumption that the present purpose of clothing is also the
end that it originally served led naturally to the theory that when
the loin-cord alone is worn--as a mere indication, seemingly, of
the absence of clothing--this is to be regarded not as an original
custom but as the remnant of an earlier dress now serving solely as an
adornment. But this supposition is contradicted, in the first place,
by the fact that the loin-cord occasionally occurs by itself precisely
amidst the most primitive conditions, and, in the second place, by the
general development not only of clothing as such but also of certain
means of adorning the surface of the body, particularly painting and
tattooing. Now, there is a general rule that development proceeds not
from the composite to the simple, but, conversely, from the simple
to the complex. Moreover, indications of the influence of magical
ideas are generally the more marked according as the stages on which
the phenomenal occur are the earlier. The loin-cord, particularly,
is occasionally put to certain magical uses which are scarcely
intelligible without reference to the widely prevalent cord-magic. If
the binding of a cord of bast of his own weaving about the hips of
his prospective wife signifies a sort of marriage ceremony for the
Veddah, as it undoubtedly does, this must imply that the cord is a
means of magic that binds her for life. Instances have been found of
another remarkable and complex custom that substantiates this 'magical'
interpretation. A man binds a loin-cord of his own weaving about the
woman and she does the same to him--an exchange of magic-working
fetters which is a striking anticipation of the exchange of rings
still customary with us upon betrothal or marriage. For the exchange
of rings, to a certain extent, represents in miniature the exchange
of cords practised by primitive man, though there is, of course,
this enormous difference that, in the primitive ceremony the binding
has a purely magical significance, whereas the later act is merely
symbolical. All these phenomena indicate that even the beginnings of
clothing involve ideas of magic. Later, of course, a number of other
motives also enter in, gradually leading to a change in meaning and
to a wide departure from the idea originally entertained. Owing to
the influence of climatic changes, there arises, in the first place,
the need of protection; and the greater this becomes, the more does
magic recede. And so, even among primitive tribes, the loin-cord is
gradually replaced by the apron proper, which no longer requires a
special cord for its support. In the course of this transition into a
means of protection, the feeling of modesty more and more enters into
the development as a contributing factor. According to a law operative
everywhere, even under very different conditions, modesty is always
connected with such parts of the body as are required by custom to be
kept covered. To do what custom forbids arouses the feeling of shame,
particularly in such cases as this, where the violation is so direct
and apparent. It is for this reason that the feeling of shame may be
aroused by the exposure of very different parts of the body. Thus, the
Hottentot woman wears an apron in front and also one behind. The latter
covers a cushion of fat over the seat, which is greatly developed in
the case of the Hottentot woman and is regarded by these tribes as a
particular mark of beauty. To a Hottentot woman it is no worse to have
the front apron removed than for some one to take away the rear apron.
In the latter case, she seats herself on the ground and cannot be
made to get up until the apron has been restored to her. When Leonard
Schultze was travelling in the Hottentot country of Namaqua Land, he
noticed a certain Hottentot custom which strictly prescribes that the
legs must be stretched out when one sits down upon the ground--they are
not to be bent at the knees. When one of his companions, unfamiliar
with the custom, sat differently, a Hottentot struck him on the knees
so that they straightened out; when the reason was asked, the answer
was that "this manner of sitting brings misfortune." The reply is
significant, particularly because it shows how the feeling of shame,
which arises at a later period in the development of the original idea
of magic and is due to the influence of custom, itself, in turn, reacts
associatively on the older magical ideas. The violation of custom is
regarded as dangerous, and as a matter requiring, wherever possible,
the employment of protective magic. The reasons for guarding against a
violation of custom are not merely subjective, but also objective, for
guilt is followed by punishment. Thus, there is here an intertwining of

The necklace, bracelet, finger-ring, and sometimes the head-fillet,
occur as specific means of magic, in addition to, and in substitution
for, the loin-cord. In more restricted localities we find also earrings
and nose-rings, the boring through of the lips, and combs to which
twigs and leaves are attached. Of these, the necklace has maintained
itself far down into later culture, for it is the necklace that gives
support to the amulet. The latter is supposed to afford protective
magic against all possible dangers; the finger-ring, on the other
hand, is the favourite vehicle of an active magic, changing things
in accordance with the wishes of the owner--that is to say, it is a
talisman. Similar in its powers to the necklace, furthermore, is the
bracelet--found even in primitive culture--and also the head-fillet,
which encircles the forehead and the back part of the head. The Semangs
and Senoi of the Malaccan forests are invested with the head-fillet
by the medicine-man, who exchanges it for another at particularly
important turning-points of life, such, for example, as the entrance
of the youth into manhood, or of the woman upon marriage. The
head-fillets that have been removed are preserved in the house of the
medicine-man. If the woman is widowed, her former fillet is placed
on her head. This signifies the annulment of the magical union that
existed throughout the period of marriage. Evidently this magic custom
is closely connected with the strict observance of monogamy. These
ceremonial changes in dress are accompanied by a similar change in
name. On entering the married state a woman changes her name, as does
also the youth who passes into manhood. Moreover, this change is not in
the least a mere symbol, but represents a magical act. With the change
in name, the individual himself becomes another person. The name is
so closely connected with the person that even the speaking of it may
exercise a magical influence upon him.

But the magical ideas radiating from death and sickness come to be
associated also with other external objects--objects not attached
to the individual's person, as are clothing and adornment. Examples
of this are implements, and, in particular, the weapon of primitive
man, namely, the bow and arrow. The magical significance has, of
course, frequently disappeared from the memory of the natives. The
Sarasins saw the Veddahs execute dances about an arrow that had been
set upright. On inquiring, the reason, they were told: 'This was done
even by our fathers and grandfathers; why should we not also do it?'
A similar answer could be given in the case of many, indeed, of most
of these magical ceremonies. Those ceremonies particularly that are
in any way complicated are passed down from generation to generation,
being scrupulously guarded and occasionally augmented by additional
magical elements. It is for this reason that, in the presence of the
extraordinarily complicated dances and magical ceremonies of primitive
peoples, we sometimes ask in amazement: How could such a wealth of
connected ideas possibly arise and become expressed in action? To this
it might briefly be replied that they did not arise at all as creations
of a single moment. The meaning of the ceremonies has for the most
part long been lost to the participants themselves, and was probably
unknown even to their ancestors. The general reason for the various
acts that are executed according to ancient usage is that they serve
a magical purpose. The performers firmly believe that the acts will
secure that which is desired, whether it be good fortune or protection
from evil, and that the greater the care and exactitude with which
the act is performed, the more certainly will the magical purpose be
attained. The conditions here are really not essentially different from
those that still prevail everywhere in the cult ceremonies of civilized
peoples. It is the very fact that the motives are forgotten that leads
to the enormous complexity of the phenomena. Even in the case of
the above-mentioned dance about the arrow, there may have entered a
considerable number of motives that were later forgotten. Of them all,
nothing was eventually remembered except that, to insure the welfare of
the individual and that of the group, the act prescribed by custom must
be performed at stated times or under particular conditions.

Quite secondary to these numerous irradiations of magical ideas among
primitive peoples are the general notions connected with natural
phenomena. A cloud may, no doubt, occasionally be regarded as a
demon. And, as already stated, an unusual natural phenomenon, such as
an eclipse of the sun, is likewise almost everywhere regarded as a
demoniacal event. But, on the whole, celestial phenomena play a passing
and an exceedingly variable rôle in the beliefs of primitive man.
Moreover, while the ideas and the resultant acts engendered by death
and sickness are, on the whole, of a uniform character, the fragments
of celestial mythology vary in an irregular and self-contradictory
manner. For this reason the latter cannot be regarded as having any
important significance on the earliest plane of culture. This flatly
contradicts a theory, still prevalent in the scientific world, to
the effect that all mythological thinking is due to the influence of
celestial phenomena, whether it be the moon in its changing phases,
or the sun, the thunderstorm, or the clouds. This theory is certainly
not valid as regards primitive man. It can be maintained only if
we distinguish--as has, indeed, sometimes been done--between two
completely disparate realms, a 'higher' mythology, exemplified by the
above, and a 'lower' mythology. We shall return to this point later. We
are here concerned with the standpoint of nature-mythology only in so
far as it has exercised a decisive influence on the interpretation of
the earliest manifestations of the 'lower' mythology. With respect to
the ultimate psychological motives of mythology as a whole, including
that of primitive man, the idea is even to-day widely current that
mythological thought was from the very beginning a naïve attempt at
an interpretation of the phenomena which man encounters in nature or
in his own life. That is to say, all mythology is regarded as a sort
of primitive science, or, at any rate, as a precursor of philosophy.
This innate need for explanation is then usually associated with an
alleged _a priori_ principle of causality inherent in the mind. The
mythological view of nature, therefore, is supposed to be nothing
but an application--imperfect as yet, to be sure--of the causal law
to the nexus of phenomena. But if we call to mind the condition of
natural man as revealed in his actions, no trace can be found of
any need for explanation such as requires the initial employment of
the concept of causality. Indeed, as regards the phenomena of daily
life and those that surround him on all hands and constantly recur
in a uniform manner, primitive man experiences no need at all for
explanation. For him everything is as it is just because it has always
been so. Just as he dances about an arrow because his father and his
grandfather practised this custom in the past, so also does he hold
that the sun rises to-day because it rose yesterday. The regularity
with which a phenomenon recurs is for him sufficient testimony and
explanation of its existence. Only that which arouses his emotion and
calls forth particularly fear and terror comes to be an object of
magical and demoniacal belief. The primitive level of mythological
thought differs from the more developed stage in also another respect.
In the former case, the phenomena that are most apt to arouse ideas
of magic and of demons are those that concern man himself and that
arouse fear and terror. But here again death and sickness are of
greatest importance. True, a thunderstorm may occasionally find a
place in the nexus of magical ideas, or an eclipse of the sun, or some
other natural phenomenon--and this occurs the more readily according
as the phenomenon is the more unusual and striking. The regularly
recurring features of the primitive myth, however, have their source
in the immediate environment and in the facts of personal experience,
in fear and terror. Thus, it is not intelligence nor reflection as
to the origin and interconnection of phenomena that gives rise to
mythological thinking, but emotion; ideas are only the material which
the latter elaborates. The idea of a corporeal soul, present in the
corpse yet also capable of abandoning it and of becoming a dangerous
demon, is a creation of the emotion of fear. The demons who possess the
sick man and cause his death, or who depart from him in convalescence,
are products of emotion. They are supersensible, as is the soul,
because they are born purely of emotion. Nevertheless, they always tend
to assume a sensible nature, being imaged either as men, or as external
things, such as animals, plants, weapons, and implements. Only in the
course of later development are the demons themselves equipped with
relatively permanent qualities that differ from the characteristics of
the vehicles in which they are regarded as embodied.

Thus, then, we utterly confuse primitive thinking with our own
scientific standpoint when we explain it by the need for the
interpretation of phenomena. Causality, in our sense of the word, does
not exist for primitive man. If we would speak of causality at all
on his level of experience, we may say only that he is governed by
the causality of magic. This, however, receives its stamp, not from
the laws that regulate the connection of ideas, but from the forces
of emotion. The mythological causality of emotional magic is no less
spasmodic and irregular than the logical causality arising out of
the orderly sequence of perceptions and ideas is constant. That the
former preceded the latter is, nevertheless, of great importance.
For the causality of natural law, as we know it, would hardly have
been possible had not magical causality prepared the way for it. Yet
the later arose from the earlier just at that moment in which the
attention of men ceased to be held by the unusual, the startling,
and the fearful, and occupied itself with the orderly, the regular,
and commonplace. For this reason the very greatest advance in the
investigation of natural laws was made by Galileo, when he took as
the object of his research that which was the most commonplace, the
falling of a body to the earth. Primitive man did not reflect about
this phenomenon nor, until a long time afterwards, did civilized
man. That a body should fall to the earth when thrown upwards 'is
self-evident' because it is thus that bodies have always acted. An
echo of this primitive view remains even in the older physics, which,
following Aristotle, tells us that a body falls because the centre of
the earth is its natural point of rest--that is, to put it otherwise,
it must behave as it does because it has always done so.


Though mythological thinking, particularly on the level of belief in
demons and magic, has but slight connection with later science, it
stands in close relation to the beginnings of _art_. This relation
appears, among other things, in the fact that the simplest forms of
the one are connected with the simplest forms of the other. This
connection is twofold. Ideas of magic are, in a certain sense,
projected into the products of art; art, on the other hand, being the
means whereby mythological thinking finds expression, reacts upon
magical ideas and brings about an enhancement of their motives. This
is particularly apparent, in the beginnings of art, in the fact that,
as viewed by civilized man, primitive peoples have brought but _one_
art to a high degree of perfection, the _art of dancing_. For no other
form of artistic expression is early man better endowed. His body is
incomparably more supple than that of civilized races. The life of the
forest, the climbing of trees, and the capturing of game qualify him
for performances that would prove difficult to a modern art-dancer. All
who have witnessed the dancing of men of nature have marvelled at their
great skill and dexterity, and especially at their wonderful ability
in respect to postures, movements, and mimetic expression. Originally,
the dance was a means for the attainment of magical ends, as we may
conjecture from the fact that even at a very early stage it developed
into the cult dance. Nevertheless, from the very beginning it obviously
also gave rise to pleasure, and this caused it to be re-enacted in
playful form. Thus, even the earliest art ministered not only to
external needs but also to the subjective life of pleasure. The direct
source of the latter is one's own movements and their accompanying
sensations. The dance of the group enhances both the emotion and the
ability of the individual. This appears clearly in the dances executed
by the inland tribes of Malacca. These peoples do not seem to have any
round dances. The individual dancer remains at a fixed spot, though he
is able, without leaving his place, to execute marvellous contortions
and movements of the limbs. These movements, moreover, combine
with those of his companions to form an harmonious whole. They are
controlled, however, by still another factor, the attempt to imitate
animals. It is true that, on the primitive level proper, the animal
does not play so dominant a rôle as in later times. Nevertheless, the
imitation of animals in the dance already foreshadows the totemic
period. Some individuals are able, while remaining at a fixed spot,
to imitate with striking life-likeness the movements of even small
animals, and this is regarded as art of the highest order. Yet the
animal-mask, which is later commonly used in cult and magic, is here as
yet entirely lacking. These very mimic and pantomimic dances, however,
unquestionably bear the traces of magic. When the Veddah imitates
game-animals while executing his dance about the arrow, the arrow is
without doubt regarded as a means of magic, and we may conjecture that
the game-animals that are struck by an arrow are supposed actually to
succumb as a result of this mimetic performance.

Among primitive peoples, the dance is not, as a rule, accompanied by
music. At most, means of producing noise are introduced, their purpose
being to indicate the rhythm. The simplest of these noise-instruments
consists of two wooden sticks that are beaten together. The drum is
also common at a very early time; yet it was probably introduced from
without. The real musical accompaniment of the dance is furnished by
the human voice in the _dance-song_. It would, of course, be wrong to
suppose that because the dance originally served purposes of magic,
the dance-song was a sort of primitive cult-song. Of such songs as the
latter no traces occur until later. The contents of the early songs
are derived from the most commonplace experiences of life. The songs
really consist of detached fragments of purely descriptive or narrative
prose, and have no inner connection with the motives of the dance.
That which characterizes them as songs is the refrain. One might say
without qualification that this poetic form of speech begins with the
refrain. The song has grown up out of selected natural sounds. Anything
that has been done or observed may serve as content of the song. After
such material has once been employed, it is continually repeated. Thus
it becomes a folk-song that is sung particularly during the dance. The
melody is of a very monotonous character; could it be translated into
our notes, we would find that in the songs of the Veddahs or of the
inland tribes of Malacca, the melody moves at most within the range
of a sixth. Moreover, there is an absence of harmonic intervals, so
that, not having been phonographically recorded, the songs cannot
be reproduced in our notes except with great uncertainty. Of their
content, the following illustrations may give us some idea. One, of the
songs of the Veddahs runs as follows:--

  The doves of Taravelzita say kuturung.
  Where the talagoya is roasted and eaten, there blew a wind,
  Where the memmina is roasted and eaten, there blew a wind,
  Where the deer is roasted and eaten, there blew a wind.

On a somewhat higher level stands the following song of the Semangs. It
refers to the ring-tailed lemur (macaco), a monkey species very common
in the forests of Malacca; by the Semangs it is called 'kra':--

  He runs along the branches, the kra,
  He carries the fruit with him, the kra,
  He runs to and fro, the kra;
  Over the living bamboo, the kra,
  Over the dead bamboo, the kra;

  He runs along the branches, the kra,
  He leaps about and screams, the kra,
  He permits glimpses of himself, the kra,
  He shows his grinning teeth, the kra.

As is clear, we have here simply observations, descriptions of that
which the Semang has seen when watching the lemur in the forest. This
description, of course, serves only as the material for the music of
speech; that which is really musical is the refrain, which in this case
consists simply of the word _kra_. This music of speech exalts and
supplements the dance; when all parts of the body are in motion the
articulatory organs also tend to participate. It is only the modern
art-dance which has substituted an instrumental accompaniment for the
voice and has thus been able to suppress the natural expression of
emotions. But, even in our culture, the emotions receive active, vocal
expression in the folk-dances of our villages.

Musical instruments, in the strict sense of the word, are almost
unknown to primitive man. Where somewhat complex forms occur, they
appear to have been imported. Such, for example, is the bamboo
nose-flute, occasionally found among the inland tribes of the Malay
Peninsula. The nose-flute is similar to our flutes, except that it
is blown from above instead of from the side, and is not played by
means of the mouth, but is placed against one of the nostrils, so
that the side of the nose serves as the tone-producing membrane. It
has from three to five holes that may be covered with the fingers.
This instrument is a genuine product of Melanesia, and was doubtless
acquired from this region by the Malayan tribes. Of earlier origin,
no doubt, are _stringed instruments_. These are to be found even
among primitive peoples. The forms that occur in Malacca have, in
this case also, obviously come from Oceania. But, on the other hand,
an instrument has been found among the Bushmen and the neighbouring
peoples which may be regarded as the most primitive of its kind and
which throws important light on the origin of musical instruments
of this sort. A bow, essentially similar to that which he employs
in the chase, affords the Bushman a simple stringed instrument. The
string of the bow now becomes the string of a musical instrument.
Its tones, however, cannot be heard distinctly by any one except the
player himself. He takes one end of the bow between his teeth and sets
the string into vibration with his finger. The resonance of the bones
of his head then causes a tone, whose pitch he may vary by holding
the string at the middle or at some other point, and thus setting
only a part of the string into vibration. Of this tone, however,
practically no sound reaches the external world. On the other hand,
the tone produces a very strong effect on the player himself, being
powerfully transmitted through the teeth to the firm parts of the skull
and reaching the auditory nerves through a direct bone-conduction.
Thus, then, it is a remarkable fact that music, the most subjective
of the arts, begins with the very stringed instruments which are the
most effective in arousing subjective moods, and with a form in which
the pleasure secured by the player from his playing remains purely
subjective. But, from this point on, the further development to
tone-effects that are objective and are richer in gradations is reached
by simple transitions effected by association. The _one_ string, taken
over from the bow used in the chase, is no longer sufficient. Hence
the bridge appears, which consists of a piece of wood whose upper side
is fastened at the middle of the bow and whose lower side is toothed
for the reception of several strings. The strings also are perfected,
by being made of threads detached from the bamboo of which the bow
is constructed. Then follows a second important advance. Instead of
taking the end of the bow in his mouth and using his own head as a
resonator, the player makes use of a hollow gourd and thus renders the
tone objectively audible. The best and most direct point of connection
between the gourd and the bow proves to be the end of the stick that
carries the bridge. It is now no longer the head of the player that
furnishes the resonance, but the substituted calabash. In its external
appearance the calabash resembles the head--indeed, upon other
occasions also, it is sometimes regarded as a likeness of the head,
and eyes, mouth, and nose are cut into its rind. Thus, the association
of the gourd with the head may possibly have exerted an influence upon
this step in the development of the musical instrument. Perhaps the
inventor himself did not realize until after the artificial head came
into use that he had made a great advance in the perfection of his
instrument. His music was now audible to others as well as to himself.

Another instrument also, the _bull-roarer_, dates back to the
beginnings of music, though its development, of course, differed from
that of the zither. The bull-roarer, indeed, is an instrument of
tone and noise that is to be found only among relatively primitive
peoples. True, it does not reach its highest development among those
peoples who, from a sociological point of view, occupy the lowest
plane of culture; it becomes an instrument of magic, as we shall see,
only within the totemic culture of Australia. Nevertheless, there has
been discovered, again among the Bushmen, a form of bull-roarer of an
especially primitive character. Doubtless that which led primitive
man to the invention of the zither was the tone which he heard in his
everyday experience in war or in the hunt when he applied an arrow
to his bow. No doubt, also, it was the whirring noise of the arrow,
or that, perhaps, of the flying bird which the arrow imitates, that
led him to reproduce this noise in a similar manner. Indeed, in South
Africa, the bull-roarer, though, of course, used only as a plaything,
occurs in a form that at once reminds one of a flying bird or arrow.
The feather of a bird is fastened at right angles to a stick of wood.
When the stick is vigorously swung about in a circle, a whistling
noise is produced, accompanied, particularly when swung with great
rapidity, by a high tone. This tone, however, is not capable of further
perfection, so that no other musical instrument developed from the
bull-roarer. The contrary, rather, is true. In other forms of the
bull-roarer in which the feathers were displaced by a flat wooden
board--whose only resemblance to a bird was a slight similarity in
form--the noise was more intense but the tone less clear. For this
reason the bull-roarer soon lost its place in the ranks of musical
instruments and became purely an instrument of magic, in which function
also it was used only temporarily. In many parts of the world,
moreover, there is a similar primitive implement, the _rattle_, whose
status is the same as that of the bull-roarer.

It was in connection with ideas of magic and of demons that _formative
art_ or, as it would perhaps be truer to say, the elements from which
this art proceeded, was developed. Such art was not unknown even
to the primitive peoples of the pretotemic age. If anywhere, it is
doubtless among the primitive tribes of Malacca and Ceylon that we
can, in some measure and with some certainty, trace formative art to
its earliest beginnings and to the causes back of these. The Bushman
must here be excluded from consideration, since, as we shall see, he
was clearly affected by external influences. The Veddahs, as well as
the Senoi and Semangs, are familiar with only the simplest forms of
linear decoration. Yet this makes it evident that simple lines, such as
can be produced by cutting or by scratching, form the starting-point
of almost all later development. Here again it is the bamboo that is
utilized, its wood being a material suitable for these simple artistic
attempts. Its connection with art is due also to the fact that it is
used in the manufacture of implements and weapons, such as the bow
and the digging-stick, and, later, the blow-pipe and the flute. As
important objects of adornment, we find the combs of the women, which,
among the Malaccan tribes, are extremely rich in linear decorations.
At first, the dominant motive is the triangle. Just as the triangle
is the simplest rectilinear figure of geometry, so also is it the
simplest closed ornamental pattern. The weapons not infrequently have
a series of triangles included within two parallel straight lines.
This illustrates in its simplest form the universal characteristic of
primitive ornaments, namely, uniform repetition. The pattern later
becomes more complicated; the triangles are crossed by lines between
which there are spaces that are also triangular in form. Such figures
are then further combined into double triangles having a common base,
etc. These are followed by other forms, in which simple arcs take the
place of straight lines. For example, an arc is substituted for the
base of each triangle, again with absolute uniformity. Finally, the
arc, in the form of the segment of a circle, is utilized independently,
either in simple repetition or in alternation. These simple designs
then become increasingly complex by the combination either of the forms
as a whole or of some of their parts. This multiplication of motives
reaches its most artistic development in the women's combs found among
the tribes of the Malay Peninsula. The comb, in some form or other,
is a very common article of adornment among peoples of nature. But it
is just in the form in which it occurs among the Senoi and Semangs
that the comb gives evidence of having originally been, at most, only
incidentally an article of adornment and of having only gradually come
to be exclusively a decoration. In shape, it is like the women's combs
of to-day. The teeth are pointed downwards, and serve the purpose of
fastening the hair. The upper part forms a broad crest. But among
these peoples the crest is the main part of the comb, the function
of the teeth being merely to hold it to the head. For the crest is
decorated in rich profusion with the above-mentioned ornamentations,
and, if we ask the Semangs and the Senoi what these mean, we are told
that they guard against diseases. In the Malay Peninsula, the men do
not wear combs, evidently for the practical reason that, because of
their life in the forest and their journeys through the underbrush,
they cut their hair short. In other regions which have also evolved
the comb, as in Polynesia, such conditions do not prevail; the comb,
therefore, is worn by both men and women. In this, its earliest, use,
however, the comb as such is clearly less an object of adornment than a
means of magic. It serves particularly as a sort of amulet, to protect
against sickness-demons. For this reason the ornamental lines in their
various combinations are regarded as referring to particular diseases.
The marks which a Semang woman carries about with her on her comb are
really magical signs indicating the diseases from which she wishes to
be spared. The head would appear to be a particularly appropriate place
for wearing these magical signs. It is to magical ideas, therefore,
that we must probably look for the origin of this very common means of
adornment. In Malacca, indeed, the combs are carefully preserved; the
drawings made upon them render them, as it were, sacred objects. But it
is impossible to learn directly from the statements of the natives just
how primitive articles of adornment came to acquire the significance
of ornaments. Our only clue is the fact that the decorations on the
bows and blow-pipes are supposed to be magical aids to a successful
hunt; for, among the representations, there are occasionally those
of animals. This fact we may bring into connection with observations
made by Karl von den Steinen among the Bakairi of Central Brazil.
This investigator here found remarkable ornamentations on wood. All
of these were of a simple geometrical design, just as in the case of
other primitive peoples, yet they were interpreted by the natives not
as means of magic but as representations of objects. A consecutive
series of triangles whose angles were somewhat rounded off, was
interpreted as a snake, and a series of squares whose angles touched,
as a swarm of bees. But the representations included also other things
besides animals. For example, a vertical series of triangles in which
the apexes pointed downwards and touched the bases of the next lower
triangles, was regarded as a number of women's aprons--the upper part
was the girdle, and, attached to this, the apron. In a word, primitive
man is inclined to read concrete objects of this kind into his simple
ornamental lines. That we also can still voluntarily put ourselves into
such an attitude, is testified to by Karl von den Steinen himself, when
he tells us that he succeeded without particular effort in discovering
similar objects in certain simple ornamentations. We here have a case
of the psychical process of assimilation. This is characteristic of all
consciousness, but, as might be supposed, from the fact that primitive
peoples live continuously in the open, it is more strongly in evidence
among them than among civilized races.

But the question now arises, Which came first? Did the Bakairi really
wish to represent snakes, bees, women's aprons, etc., and reduce these
to geometrical schematizations? Or did he, without such intention,
first make simple linear decorations, and later read into them, through
imaginative association, the memory images of objects? The latter is
doubtless the case. For it is much easier first to draw simple lines
and then to read complicated objects into them than it is, conversely,
to reduce these pictures at the outset to abstract geometrical
schemata. Indeed, when the Bakairi wishes to draw real objects, he
proceeds just as our children do: he copies them as well as he can.
For example, the Bakairi occasionally draws fishes in the sand for
the purpose of marking out a path, or he attempts to reproduce men
and animals in a way strikingly similar to our children's drawings.
Evidently, therefore, it was not inability to draw the objects
themselves that gave rise to these primitive geometrical decorations.
The decorations came first, and the memory images of the objects of
daily perception were then read into them. The answer, however, to the
question as to why primitive man produces decorations at all, is easily
found by calling to mind the motives discernible in such uniform and
simple series of figures as the triangles and arcs which the Senoi
and the Semangs cut into bamboo. Because of the character of his
locomotor organs, primitive man repeats the movements of the dance at
regular intervals, and this rhythm gives him pleasure. Similarly, he
derives pleasure even from the regularly repeated movements involved
in making the straight lines of his drawings, and this pleasure is
enhanced when he sees the symmetrical figures that arise under his
hand as a result of his movements. The earliest æsthetic stimuli are
symmetry and rhythm. We learn this even from the most primitive of
all arts, the dance. Just as one's own movements in the dance are an
æsthetic expression of symmetry and rhythm, so also are these same
characteristics embodied in the earliest productions of pictorial
art--in the beginning indeed, they alone are to be found. The primitive
song comes to be a song only as a result of the regular repetition
of a refrain that in itself is unimportant. As soon as primitive man
produces lines on wood, his pleasure in rhythmic repetition at once
leads him to make these symmetrical. It is for this reason that we
never find decorations that consist merely of a single figure--a
single triangle, for instance--but always find a considerable number
of figures together, either above one another, or side by side, or
both combined, though the last arrangement occurs only at a somewhat
more advanced stage. If, now, these decorations are more and more
multiplied by reason of the increasing pleasure in their production,
we naturally have figures that actually resemble certain objects.
This resemblance is strengthened particularly by the repetition of
the figures. A single square with its angles placed vertically and
horizontally would scarcely be interpreted as a bee, even by a Bakairi;
but in a series of such squares we ourselves could doubtless imagine
a swarm of bees. Thus there arise representations resembling animals,
plants, and flowers. Because of their symmetrical form, the latter
particularly are apt to become associated with geometrical designs. Yet
on the whole the animal possesses a greater attraction. The animal that
forms the object of the hunt is carved upon the bow or the blow-pipe.
This is a means of magic that brings the animal within range of the
weapon. It is magic, likewise, that affords the explanation of the
statement of the Senoi and the Semangs that the drawings on the combs
of their women are a means of protection against diseases. These two
sorts of purposes illustrate the two forms of magic that are still
exemplified on higher cultural levels by the amulet, on the one hand,
and the talisman, on the other--protection from danger, and assistance
in one's personal undertakings. Now it is easy to understand how
especially the complicated decorations on the combs of the Malaccan
tribes may, through the familiar processes of psychical assimilation,
come to be regarded as living beings, in the form either of animals
or of plants, and how these forms in turn may come to be interpreted
as sickness-demons. For, these demons are beings that have never been
seen; hence the terrified imagination may all the more readily give
them the most fantastic shapes. Indeed, we still find examples of
this in the more elaborate pictures of the art of some semi-cultural
peoples. Thus also are explained many of the masks used among the most
diverse peoples. It is almost always grotesque animal or human masks
that are employed to represent fear-demons. The freer the sway of the
imagination, the easier it is to see the figure of a demon in any
decoration whatsoever. The multiplicity of the ornamental drawings,
moreover, meets the need for distinguishing a great number of such
demons, so that a woman of the Senoi or the Semangs carries about on
her head the demoniacal representation of all known diseases. For,
according to an ancient law of magic, the demon himself has a twofold
rôle--he both causes the sickness and protects against it. Just as a
picture is identified with its object, so also is the drawing that
represents or portrays the sickness-demon regarded as the demon itself.
Whoever carries it about is secure against its attack. Both magic
and counter-magic spring from a common source. The medicine-man who
exercises counter-magic must also be familiar with magic. The two are
but divergent forms of the same magical potency that has its birth in
the emotions of fear and terror.

In summary of what we have thus far learned with regard to the art of
drawing among primitive men, it may be said that this art is throughout
one of _magic_ and _adornment_. These are the _two_ motives from which
it springs, and which, apparently, co-operate from the outset. The mere
drawing of lines in regular and symmetrical repetition is due to that
regularity of movement which also finds expression in the dance and,
even prior to this, in ordinary walking and running. But the artist
himself then attributes a hidden meaning to that which he has created.
Astonishment at his creation fuses with his pleasure in it, and his
wonder at the picture that he has produced makes of it, when animated
and retransformed by the imagination, a magical object. The pictures
carried about on the person, or wrought on an object of daily use,
assist in guarding against diseases and other injuries, or they assure
the success of the weapon and the implement.

In view of these characteristics of a purely magical and decorative
art, it may perhaps at first glance cause surprise that there should
be a people which, although primitive in other essential respects, has
far transcended this stage in artistic attainment, and has, apparently,
followed an entirely different direction in its pathway to art. Such
are the Bushmen. The primitive tribes mentioned above show no traces
of an art of drawing; beyond suggestions of a single object, it is
absolutely impossible to find representations of objects and their
groupings such as are common in the pictures of the Bushmen, which
portray particularly animals and, to a less extent, men. This is all
the more significant in view of the fact that, while the Bushmen
also decorate their weapons and utensils with magical and ornamental
designs, these are of far less importance than in the case of the
primitive tribes referred to above. The painting of the Bushmen,
however, is obviously neither magical nor decorative in character.
Originally these pictures seem to have been drawn in caves; at any
rate, it is here that many of them have been found. We have already
indicated the importance of this primitive dwelling for the beginnings
of a memorial art. When external impressions are absent, as in the
cave, the imagination is all the more impelled to preserve memories
in self-created pictures. The simpler of these resemble, in their
characteristics, the drawings and paintings of present-day children.
But we can plainly distinguish the more primitive work from that which
is more advanced; the latter frequently reproduces its objects with
accuracy, particularly animals, such, for example, as the elk and also
the giraffe, which is a favourite object, probably because of its long
neck. Occasionally, indeed, a quadruped is still represented in profile
with only two legs, but most of the pictures are certainly far beyond
this childish mode of drawing. In general, mineral pigments were used
from the very outset, particularly red iron ore, blue vitriol, etc. We
also find mixtures of pigments, so that almost all colours occur. Now
it might, of course, be supposed that such a picture of an animal has
the same significance as attaches to the drawing occasionally executed
on the bow of a primitive man for the purpose of magically insuring the
weapon of its mark. But the very places where these paintings occur,
far removed as they are from chase and battle, militate against such
a supposition. An even greater objection is the fact that the more
perfect pictures represent scenes from life. One of them, for example,
portrays the meeting of Bushmen with white men, as is evident partly
from the colour and partly from the difference in the size of the
figures. Another well-known picture represents the way in which the
Bushmen steal cattle from a Bantu tribe. The Bantus are represented by
large figures, the Bushmen by small ones; in a lively scene, the latter
drive the animals away, while the far-striding Bantus remain far in
the rear. The picture reveals the joy of the primitive artist over the
successful escapade. This is not magical art, but plainly exemplifies
the first products of a memorial art. The one who painted these
pictures desired first of all to bring before his memory that which he
had experienced, and he doubtless also wished to preserve these scenes
to the memory of his kinsmen. This is memorial art in a twofold sense.
Memory renews the experiences of the past, and it is for memory that
the past is to be retained. But this art also must still be classed as
primitive, for it has not as yet attained to the level of _imitative_
art. It is not an art that reproduces an object by a direct comparison
of picture with copy. This is the sense in which the present-day
portrait or landscape painter practises imitation. Even where the
primitive era transcended a merely magical or decorative art, it did
not advance beyond memorial art. The Bushman did not have the objects
themselves before him, but created his pictures in accordance with his
memory of them. Moreover, suited as the cave is to the development
of a memorial art, it of itself makes imitative art impossible. But
how can we account for the fact that the primitive tribe of Bushmen
attained to a level of art whose exclusion of magical motives ranks
it as relatively advanced, and which must be estimated all the more
highly because it is not shared by the neighbouring African tribes? The
Hottentots, for example, no less than the Bechuanas and the Bantus,
are inferior in artistic accomplishments to the Bushmen, although the
culture of the latter is in other respects far below the level of that
of the former. May we say of this memorial art what seems probable
as regards the magical and decorative art of the inland tribes of
Malacca and of Ceylon, namely, that it arose independently from the
same original motives as the dance? The answer to this question depends
primarily upon the antiquity of these art productions. Do they date
back to an immemorial past, as we may suppose to be the case with the
decorations of the Veddahs and the Malaccan tribes? There are two
considerations, principally, that prove the contrary, namely, that they
are relatively recent creations. In the first place, the paintings
present the pictures of animals, in particular of the horse and the
sheep, with which the Bushman has been acquainted at farthest since
the latter part of the eighteenth century. True, these animals were
brought into Cape Colony as early as the seventeenth century; it was
clearly not until later, however, that the Bushmen became familiar with
them. A second consideration is the remarkable circumstance that these
primitive painters employ essentially the same tools as the Europeans.
This art has now, indeed, almost disappeared, the race having been
crowded back and depleted. But the remains show that the painters
possessed a stone plate on which they mixed their paints and also a
stone pounder with which the mixing was done--that is, a palette and a
pestle. Indeed, for applying the colours they occasionally utilized a
paint-brush made of fine splinters of bone, though some, no doubt, were
content to do this with the fingers.

These are all signs which certainly suggest a not very distant past.
Moreover, art products cannot resemble each other in so many respects
without having some connection in origin. Added to this is the fact
that the very character of such pictures as are still in existence
scarcely allows us to regard them as more than sixty to seventy
years old. From all of this we must conclude that this art is not
primitive at all, but was imported, resembling in this many other
things that gain entrance into the life of a primitive tribe. If the
essential elements of the Biblical account of the Creation reached
the Andamanese, who in other respects are primitive, why may we not
also suppose that a wandering European artist at one time came to
the Bushmen, even before any other elements of European culture had
become accessible to them? Nevertheless, the fact that this painting
exists indicates the presence of a remarkable talent. This brings us to
our last problem in the psychology of primitive man, to the question
concerning his mental equipment in general.


For a general estimate of the mental characteristics of a race or a
tribe, the observation of a single individual or of several individuals
is not adequate. Judgment can be based only on the totality of the
various mental phases of culture--language, custom, myth, and art. But,
if we would also obtain a conception of the mental capacities of a
people or a tribe, we must take into further consideration the mental
endowment of the _individual_. For, in the case of mental capacity,
we must consider not merely that which has actually been achieved but
also everything within the possibility of attainment. Here, again, the
standpoint differs according as we are concerned (to limit ourselves
to the two most important and typical aspects) with an _intellectual_
or a _moral_ estimate. These two aspects, the intellectual, taken in
its widest sense, and the moral, are not only of supreme importance,
but, as experience shows, they in no wise run parallel courses. For an
understanding of mental development in general, therefore, and of the
relation of these its aspects, the early conditions of human culture
are particularly significant.

If, now, we consider the general cultural conditions of primitive
man, and recall the very meagre character of his external cultural
possessions as well as his lack of any impulse to perfect these, we
may readily be led to suppose that his intellectual capacities also
have remained on a very low plane of development. How, some have asked,
could the Bushman have dispensed for decades with firearms--just as
accessible to him as to the surrounding tribes--unless he possessed
a low degree of intelligence? Even more true is this of the Negritos
of the Philippines or the Veddahs of Ceylon. How, unless their
mental capacities were essentially more limited than those of their
neighbours, could they have lived in the midst of highly cultivated
tribes and have remained for decades on an unchanged mental level? But
we need to bear in mind two considerations that are here decisive. The
first of these is the _limited nature of the wants_ of primitive man,
a condition fostered, no doubt, by his relatively small intercourse
with neighbouring peoples. Added to this is the fact that up to very
recent times--for here also many changes have arisen--the primitive
man of the tropics has found plenty of game and plant food in his
forests, as well as an abundance of material for the clothing and
adornment to which he is accustomed. Hence he lacks the incentive to
strive for anything beyond these simple means of satisfying his wants.
It is agreed, particularly by the investigators who have studied those
tribes of Malacca and Ceylon that have remained primitive, that the
most outstanding characteristic of primitive man is contentment. He
seeks for nothing further, since he either finds all that he desires
in his environment, or, by methods handed down from the ancient past,
knows how he may produce it out of the material available to him. For
this reason the Semangs and Senoi, no less than the Veddahs, despise
as renegades those mixed tribes that have arisen through union, in the
one case, with the Malays, and, in the other, with the Singhalese and
Tamils. All the more firmly, therefore, do they hold to that which
was transmitted to them by their fathers. Together with this limited
character of their wants, we find a fixity of conditions, due to their
long isolation. The longer a set of customs and habits has prevailed
among a people, the more difficult it is to overturn. Prior to any
change we must, in such cases, first have mighty upheavals, battles,
and migrations. To what extent all deeper-going changes of culture are
due to racial fusions, migrations, and battles we shall presently see.
The tribes that have remained relatively primitive to this day have led
a peaceful existence since immemorial times. Of course, the individual
occasionally slays the man who disturbs his marriage relations or
trespasses upon his hunting-grounds. Otherwise, however, so long as he
is not obliged to protect himself against peoples that crowd in upon
him, primitive man is familiar with the weapon only as an implement
of the chase. The old picture of a war of all with all, as Thomas
Hobbes once sketched the natural state of man, is the very reverse of
what obtained. The natural condition is one of peace, unless this is
disturbed by external circumstances, one of the most important of which
is contact with a higher culture. The man of nature, however, suffers
less from an advanced culture than he does from the barbarism of
semi-culture. But whenever a struggle arises for the possession of the
soil and of the means of subsistence which it furnishes, semi-culture
may come to include more peoples than are usually counted as belonging
to it. The war of extermination against the red race was carried on by
the pious New England Puritans with somewhat different, though with
scarcely better, weapons than the Hottentots and Herero to-day turn
against the Bushmen, or the Monbuttus against the Negritos of Central

It is characteristic of primitive culture that it has failed to advance
since immemorial times, and this accounts for the uniformity prevalent
in widely separated regions of the earth. This, however, does not at
all imply that, within the narrow sphere that constitutes his world,
the intelligence of primitive man is inferior to that of cultural man.
If we call to mind the means which the former employs to seek out, to
overtake, and to entrap his game, we have testimony both of reflection
and, equally so, of powers of observation. In order to capture the
larger game, for example, the Bushman digs large holes in the ground,
in the middle of which he constructs partitions which he covers with
brush. An animal that falls into such a hole cannot possibly work its
way out, since two of its legs will be on one side of the partitional
division and two on the other. Smaller animals are captured by traps
and snares similar to those familiar to us. The Negritos of the
Philippines, furthermore, employ a very clever method for securing
wild honey from trees without exposing themselves to injury from the
bees. They kindle a fire at the foot of the tree, causing a dense
smoke. Enveloped by this, an individual climbs the tree and removes the
object of his desire, the smoke rendering the robber invisible to the
scattering swarm. It is thus that the Negritos secure honey, their most
precious article of food. How great, moreover, is the inventive ability
required by the bow and arrow, undoubtedly fashioned even by primitive
men! We have seen, of course, that these inventions were not snatched
from the blue, but that they were influenced by all sorts of empirical
elements and probably also by magical ideas, as in the case of the
feathering of the arrow. Nevertheless, the assembling and combining
of these elements in the production of a weapon best suited to the
conditions of primitive life is a marvellous achievement, scarcely
inferior, from an intellectual point of view, to the invention of
modern firearms. Supplementing this, we have the testimony of observers
concerning the general ability of these races. A missionary teacher in
Malacca, whose school included Chinese, Senoi, and Malays, gave first
rank to the Chinese as regards capacity, and second place to the Senoi,
while the Malays were graded last, though they, as we know, are held
to be a relatively talented race. Now, this grading, of course, may
have been more or less accidental, yet it allows us to conclude that
the intellectual endowment of primitive man is in itself approximately
equal to that of civilized man. Primitive man merely exercises his
ability in a more restricted field; his horizon is essentially narrower
because of his contentment under these limitations. This, of course,
does not deny that there may have been a time, and, indeed, doubtless
was one, when man occupied a lower intellectual plane and approximated
more nearly to the animal state which preceded that of human beings.
This earliest and lowest level of human development, however, is not
accessible to us.

But what, now, may be said concerning the moral characteristics of
primitive man? It is clear that we must here distinguish sharply
between those tribes that have hitherto remained essentially
unaffected by external influences and those that have for some time
past eked out a meagre existence in their struggle with surrounding
peoples of a higher culture. The primitive man who still lives
uninfluenced by surrounding peoples--typical examples are, in general,
the natural Veddahs of Ceylon and the inland tribes of the Malay
Peninsula--presents an entirely different picture from that of the
man who seeks in the face of difficulties to protect himself against
his environment. In the case of the tribes of Ceylon and Malacca,
the somewhat civilized mixed peoples constitute a sort of protective
zone, in the former case against the Singhalese and Tamils, in the
latter, against the Malays. These mixed peoples are despised, and
therefore they themselves hesitate to enter into intercourse with the
primitive tribes. Thus they offer an outer buttress against inpressing
culture. The result is that these primitive peoples continue to
live their old life essentially undisturbed. Now, the testimony of
unprejudiced observers is unanimous in maintaining that primitive man
is frank and honest, that lying is unknown to him, and that theft
does not exist. He may, of course, be strongly moved by emotion, so
that the man who disturbs the Veddah's marriage relation may be sure
of a poisoned arrow, as may also the strange huntsman who encroaches
unbidden upon his hunting-grounds. This reprisal is not based upon
legal enactments--of such there are none; it is custom that allows
this summary procedure. Many investigators have believed that these
various characteristics exhibited by unmixed primitive culture indicate
a high state of morality. In this they agree with Wilhelm Schmidt, for
whom primitive men are the infant peoples of the world, in that they
possess the innocence of childhood. It is not only man's moral outlook,
however, but also his moral character, as this very illustration
shows, that depends upon the environment in which he lives. Since the
primitive man who lives undisturbed by external conditions has no
occasion to conceal anything, his honesty and frankness ought scarcely
to be counted to his particular credit; so far as theft is concerned,
how can there be a thief where there is no property? It may, of course,
happen that an individual takes the weapon of his companion for a short
time and uses it. This action, however, is all the more permissible
since each man makes his own bow and arrow. The same is true of
clothing and articles of adornment. Thus, the rather negative morality
of primitive man also has its origin in his limited wants, in the
lack of any incentives to such action as we would call immoral. Such
a positive situation, however, is, no doubt, afforded by the strict
monogamy, which probably originated in the prehuman natural state and
was thenceforth maintained.

Quite different is the moral picture of primitive man wherever he is
at strife with surrounding peoples. Here, as was noted particularly by
Emin Pasha and Stuhlmann in the case of the Negritos of the Upper Nile,
the outstanding characteristics are, in the first place, fear, and then
deception and malice. But can we wonder at this when we learn that
the flesh of the Pygmies is especially prized by the anthropophagic
Monbuttus of that region, and that the pursuit of this human game on
the part of the latter is absolutely unrestrained, except by the fear
of the arrows which the Pygmies shoot from behind ambush? Here, of
course, innocence, frankness, and honesty are not to be expected; under
these circumstances, theft also comes to be a justifiable act. Wherever
the Negrito finds something to take, he takes it. The same is true of
the South African Bushmen, who occupy a similarly precarious position
with respect to the Bantus and Hottentots. The Bushmen are the most
notorious thieves of South Africa. Of this we have striking evidence in
the above-mentioned picture of the Bushman who glorifies and preserves
to memory the theft of cattle. The Bushman is crafty and treacherous,
and steals whenever there is opportunity. But what else could be
expected, when we consider that, by killing off the game with their
firearms, the Hottentots and Bantus deprive the Bushman of that which
was once his source of food, and that they shoot the Bushman himself if
he resists?

To summarize: The intelligence of primitive man is indeed restricted
to a narrow sphere of activity. Within this sphere, however, his
intelligence is not noticeably inferior to that of civilized man. His
morality is dependent upon the environment in which he lives. Where
he lives his life of freedom, one might almost call his state ideal,
there being few motives to immoral conduct in our sense of the word.
On the other hand, whenever primitive man is hunted down and hard
pressed, he possesses no moral principles whatsoever. These traits are
worth noting, if only because they show the tremendous influence which
external life exerts, even under the simplest conditions, upon the
development of the moral nature.




The expression 'totemic age' involves a widened application of the
term 'totem.' This word is taken from the language of the Ojibways
or, as the English call them, the Chippewa Indians. To these Indians
of the Algonquin race, the 'totem' signified first of all a group.
Persons belong to the same totem if they are fellow-members in a group
which forms part of a tribe or of a clan. The term 'clan,' suggested
by the clan divisions of the Scottish Highlanders, is the one usually
employed by English ethnologists in referring to the smaller divisions
of a tribe. The tribe consists of a number of clans, and each clan may
include several totems. As a rule, the totem groups bear animal names.
In North America, for example, there was an eagle totem, a wolf totem,
a deer totem, etc. In this case the animal names regularly refer to
particular clans within a tribe; in other places, as, for example, in
Australia, they designate separate groups within a clan. Moreover, the
totem animal is also usually regarded as the ancestral animal of the
group in question. 'Totem,' on the one hand, is a group name, and, on
the other, a name indicative of ancestry. In the latter connection it
has also a mythological significance. These various ideas, however,
interplay in numerous ways. Some of the meanings may recede, so that
totems have frequently become a mere nomenclature of tribal divisions,
while at other times the idea of ancestry, or, perhaps also, the cult
significance, predominates. The idea gained ground until, directly or
indirectly, it finally permeated all phases of culture. It is in this
sense that the entire period pervaded by this culture may be called the
'totemic age.'

Even in its original significance--as a name for a group of members
of a tribal division or for the division itself--the conception of
the totem is connected with certain characteristic phenomena of this
period, distinguishing it particularly from the culture of primitive
man. I refer to _tribal division_ and _tribal organization_. The horde,
in which men are united purely by chance or at the occasional call
of some undertaking, only to scatter again when this is completed,
has disappeared. Nor is it any longer merely the single family that
firmly binds individuals to one another; in addition to it we find the
tribal division, which originates in accordance with a definite law of
tribal organization and is subject to specific norms of custom. These
norms, and their fixed place in the beliefs and feelings of the tribal
members, are connected with the fact that originally, at all events,
the totem animal was regarded, for the most part, as having not merely
given its name to a group of tribal members but as having actually been
its forefather. In so far, animal ancestors apparently preceded human
ancestors. Bound up with this is the further fact that these animal
ancestors possessed a cult. Thus, ancestor cult also began with the
cult of animals, not with that of human ancestors. Aside from specific
ceremonies and ceremonial festivals, this animal cult originally found
expression primarily in the relations maintained toward the totem
animal. It was not merely a particular animal that was to a certain
extent held sacred, but every representative of the species. The
totem members were forbidden to eat the flesh of the totem animal, or
were allowed to do so only under specific conditions. A significant
counter-phenomenon, not irreconcilable with this, is the fact that on
certain occasions the eating of the totem flesh constituted a sort of
ceremony. This likewise implies that the totem animal was held sacred.
When this conception came into the foreground, the totem idea became
extended so as to apply, particularly in its cult motives and effects,
to plants, and sometimes even to stones and other inanimate objects.
This, however, obviously occurred at a later time.

From early times on, the phenomena of totemism have been accompanied by
certain _forms of tribal organization_. Every tribe is first divided,
as a rule, into two halves. Through a further division, a fairly
large number of clans arise, which, in turn, eventually split up into
subclans and separate totem groups. Each of these groups originally
regarded some particular totem animal or other totem object as sacred.
The most important social aspect of this totemic tribal organization,
however, consists in the fact that it involved certain norms of custom
regulating the intercourse of the separate groups with one another.
Of these norms, those governing marriage relations were of first
importance. The tribal organization of this period was bound up with an
important institution, _exogamy_, which originated in the totemic age.
In the earliest primitive period every tribal member could enter into
marriage with any woman of the tribe whom he might choose; according to
the Veddahs, even marriage between brother and sister was originally
not prohibited. Thus, endogamy prevailed within the primitive horde.
This, of course, does not mean that there was no marriage except within
the narrow circle of blood relationship, but merely that marriage was
permitted between close relatives, more particularly between brothers
and sisters. The exogamy characteristic of totemic tribal organization
consists in the fact that no marriages of any kind are allowed except
between members of different tribal divisions. A member of one
particular group can enter into marriage only with one of another
group, not with a person belonging to his own circle. By this means,
totemic tribal organization gains a powerful influence on custom.
Through marriage it comes into relation with all phenomena connected
with marriage, with birth and death and the ideas bound up with them,
with the initiation ceremonies in which the youths are received into
the association of men, etc. As a result of the magical significance
acquired by the totem animal, special associations are formed. These
become united under the protection of a totem animal and give impetus
to the exoteric cult associations, which, in their turn, exercise a
profound influence upon the conditions of life. Though it is probable
that these associations had their origin in the above-mentioned men's
clubs, their organizing principle was the totem animal and its cult.

Besides its influence on matters connected with the relations of the
sexes, the totem animal was the source of several other ideas. After
the separate tribal group has come to feel itself united in the cult
of the totem animal, a single individual may acquire a particular
guardian animal of his own. Out of the tribal totem there thus
develops the individual totem. Then, again, the different sexes, the
men and the women of the tribe, acquire their special totem animals.
These irradiations of the totemic conception serve partly to extend
it and partly to give it an irregular development. Of the further
phenomena that gradually come to the foreground during the totemic
age, one of the most important is the growing influence of dominant
individual personalities. Such personalities, of course, were not
unknown even to the primitive horde, on the occasion of important
undertakings. But tribal organization for the first time introduces a
permanent leadership on the part of single individuals or of several
who share the power. Thus, totemism leads to _chieftainship_ as a
regular institution--one that later, of course, proves to be among the
foremost factors in the dissolution of the age that gave it birth.
For chieftainship gives rise to political organization; the latter
culminates in the State, which, though destroying the original tribal
organization, is, nevertheless, itself one of the last products of
totemic tribal institutions.

With the firmer union of tribal members there comes also _tribal
warfare_. So long as primitive man remains comparatively unaffected
by other peoples, and particularly by those of a different cultural
level, he lives, on the whole, in a state of peace. An individual
may, of course, occasionally raise his weapon against another person,
but there are no tribal wars. These do not appear until the period
of totemism, with whose firm social organization they are closely
connected. The tribe feels itself to be a unit, as does likewise each
subordinate clan and group. Hence, related tribes may unite in common
undertakings. More frequently, however, they fall into dissension, and
warfare must decide their claims to the possession of territory or
to a disputed hunting-ground. This warfare finds contributory causes
in tribal migrations. New peoples, some of them perhaps from strange
tribes, enter into a territory and crowd out its inhabitants. Thus,
war and migration are closely connected. Strife between tribes and
peoples--that is, warfare--begins with culture in general, particularly
with the most primitive social culture, as we may doubtless designate
totemism in distinction from the still more primitive life of the horde.

This leads to a number of further changes. Tribal ownership of the land
becomes more firmly established, as does also the custom of allotting a
particular share to the clan. Personal property, moreover, comes to be
more and more differentiated from the possessions of the group. Trade,
which in primitive times was almost entirely restricted to secret
barter, becomes public, and is finally widened into tribal commerce.
When this occurs, great changes in external culture are inaugurated.
Implements, weapons, and articles of dress and of adornment are
perfected. This stage having been attained, the totemic age advances
to a utilization of the soil in a way that is unknown to primitive
man. The land is cultivated by means of agricultural implements. Of
these, however, the hoe long continues to be the only one; though it
supplants the digging-stick, its use depends on human power alone. The
care and breeding of animals is also undertaken; the herdsman's or, as
it is usually called, the nomadic, life is inaugurated. The breeding
of useful domestic animals, in particular, is very closely connected
with totemism. The animal, which at the beginning of the period was
regarded as sacred, acquires the status of a work animal. It loses its
dominion over mankind; instead, it becomes a servant, and, as a result,
its cult significance gradually vanishes. The very moment, however,
that marks the passing of the sacred animal into the useful animal also
signalizes the end of the totemic era and the beginning of the age of
heroes and gods.

These various traits are far from giving us a complete picture of
the wide ramifications of totemic ideas and customs. Enough has been
said, however, to indicate how the totemic conception first widens and
deepens its influence, permeating the external social organization
no less than the separate phases of society, and then finally leads
on to its own dissolution. It is precisely this that justifies us in
calling the entire period the totemic age. Yet the boundaries of this
period are naturally much less clearly defined, or sharply demarcated
as to beginning and end, than are those of the preceding primitive
age. Man is primitive so long as he is essentially limited in his
immediate means of support to that which nature directly offers him
or to the labour of his own hands. But even in its beginnings the
totemic age transcends these conditions. Tribal organization and the
connected phenomena of war, migration, and the beginnings of open
trade relations are cultural factors which from the outset represent
an advance beyond the primitive state. But the lower limit of the age
cannot be definitely fixed; still less can we determine the point at
which it terminates. The chieftain of the totemic age is the forerunner
of the ruler who appears in the succeeding period. Similarly, totem
animals are even more truly the precursors of the later herd, and of
agricultural animals. Thus, it is not at all permissible to speak
merely of _a_ culture, as one may do in the case of the primitive
age. There are a number of different cultures--indeed, several levels
of culture, which are in part co-existent but in part follow upon
one another. Their only similarity is the fact that they all exhibit
the fundamental characteristics of the totemic age. Consider the
Veddahs of Ceylon, the Negritos of the Philippines, the inland and
forest-dwelling tribes of Malacca. When we have described the general
cultural conditions of one of these tribes, we have given the essential
features of all. This, however, is far from true in the case of
totemism, for this includes many forms of culture and various periods
of development. Even in speaking of levels of culture we may do so
only with the reservation that each level in its turn includes within
it a large number of separate forms of culture, of numerous sorts and
gradations. Moreover, the external culture, reflected in dress and
habitation, in personal decoration, in implements and weapons, in
food and its preparation, does not in the least parallel the social
phenomena represented by tribal organization, marriage relations, and
forms of rulership. Though the general character of the Polynesian
peoples permits their inclusion within the totemic age, their tribal
organization exhibits the characteristics of totemic society only
imperfectly. In other aspects of their culture, however, they rank far
higher than the Australians or some of the Melanesian tribes; these
possess a very complex social organization, but are, nevertheless,
only slightly superior, on the whole, to primitive peoples. Thus, the
various phases of totemic culture may develop in relative independence
of one another, even though they are in constant interaction. This is
true particularly in the sense that the more developed totemic customs
and cults occur even on low cultural levels, whereas, on the other
hand, they more and more disappear with the progress of culture.


We cannot undertake to describe the extraordinarily rich external
culture attained by those groups of peoples who may, in the main, be
counted as belonging to the domain of totemism. This is the task of
ethnology, and is not of decisive importance for folk psychology.
True, in the case of primitive man, the conditions of external culture
were described in some detail. This was necessary because of the
close connection between these conditions and the psychical factors
fundamental to all further development. The beginning of the totemic
period marks a great change. New forces now come into play, such as are
not to be found among the universal motives that have controlled the
life of man from its very beginning. Of these forces there is _one_ in
particular that should be mentioned--one that is practically lacking
among primitive tribes. This consists in the reciprocal influences
exercised upon one another by peoples who occupy approximately the
same plane of culture but who nevertheless exhibit certain qualitative
differences. Migrations are also an important factor in the totemic
age, as well as is the tribal warfare with which migrations are

If we disregard these qualitative differences and attempt to introduce
a degree of order into the profusion of the totemic world solely on
the basis of general cultural characteristics, we may distinguish
_three great cultural stages_, of which the third, again, falls into
two markedly different divisions. We may ignore certain isolated
remnants of peoples that are scattered over almost all parts of the
world and exhibit very unlike stages of civilization, in order to
give our exclusive attention to those forms of culture that belong to
compact groups. In this event we shall find that the lowest stage is
unquestionably exemplified in the Australian region, as well as by
some of the Melanesian peoples. Above this, we have a second level of
culture, the Malayo-Polynesian. Wide as is the difference between these
cultures, they are nevertheless connected by numerous transitional
steps, to be found particularly in Melanesian and Micronesian regions.
The third stage of totemic culture itself falls into two essentially
different divisions, the American, on the one hand, and the African,
on the other. These divisions, of course, include only the so-called
natural peoples of these countries, or, more accurately expressed,
those tribes which, as regards the characteristics of their social and
particularly of their religious development, still belong to totemic

The fact that _Australian_ culture, in spite of its highly complex
tribal organization, occupies the lowest plane of all, itself indicates
how great may be the discrepancy between totemism in general and the
direct influence which it exerts upon tribal organization and external
culture. This explains why the Australian native was regarded, up to
very recent times, as the typical primitive man. As a matter of fact,
his general culture differs but slightly from that of primitive races.
The Australian also is a gatherer and a hunter, and shows no trace of
a knowledge of agriculture nor, much less, of cattle-raising. Even his
faithful domestic animal, the dog, is rarely used for hunting, but
is regarded solely as the companion of man. Among the Australians,
therefore, the woman still goes about with digging-stick in hand,
seeking roots and bulbs for food. Man's life still centres about the
chase, and, when one hunting-ground becomes impoverished, he seeks
another. Likewise, there is no systematic care for the future. The
food is prepared directly in the ashes of the fire or between hot
stones--for cooking is not yet customary--and fire is produced by
friction or drilling just as it is by primitive man. His utensils also
are in essential harmony with his general culture.

But there is _one_ important difference. There has come a change of
_weapon_. This change points to a great revolution inaugurated at
the beginning of the totemic age. Primitive man possesses only a
long-distance weapon; for the most part he uses bow and arrow. With
this weapon he kills his game; with it the individual slays his enemy
from ambush. On the other hand, war between tribes or tribal divisions,
in which large numbers are opposed, may scarcely be said to exist. This
would not be possible with bow and arrow. Thus, the very fact that
this is the only weapon indicates that relatively peaceful conditions
obtained in primitive culture. Quite otherwise with the Australian! His
weapons are markedly different from those of primitive man. Bow and
arrow are practically unknown to him; they are found only among the
tribes of the extreme north, having probably entered from Melanesia.
The real weapons of the Australian are the wooden missile and the
javelin. The wooden missile, bent either simply or in the form of a
boomerang, whose above-mentioned asymmetrical curve is designed to
cause its return to the thrower, is a long-distance weapon. For the
most part, however, it is employed only in hunting or in play. The
same remains true, to some extent, also of the javelin. The latter has
reached a perfected form, being hurled, not directly from the hand, but
from a grooved board. The pointed end of the javelin extends out beyond
this groove; at its other end there is a hollow into which is fitted a
peg, usually consisting of a kangaroo tooth. When the spear is hurled
from the board this peg insures the aim of the shot, just as does the
gun-barrel that of the bullet; the leverage increases the range. There
are also other weapons which are designed for use at close range--the
long spear, the club, and, what is most indicative of battle, the
shield. The latter cannot possibly be a hunting implement, as might
still be the case with the spear and the club, but is a form of weapon
specifically intended for battle. The shield of the Australian is long,
and usually raised toward the centre. It covers the entire body, the
enemy being attacked with spear or club. Thus, the weapons reflect a
condition of tribal warfare.

The second great stage of culture, which we may call, though somewhat
inaccurately, the Malayo-Polynesian, offers a radically different
picture. To a certain extent, the relation between tribal organization
and external culture is here the reverse of that which obtains in the
Australian world. In Australia, we find a primitive culture alongside
of a highly developed tribal organization; in the Malayo-Polynesian
region, there is a fairly well developed culture, but a tribal
organization which is partly in a state of dissolution and partly in
transition to further political and social institutions, including
the separation of classes and the rulership of chiefs. Evidently
these latter conditions are the result of extensive racial fusion,
which is incomparably greater in the Malayo-Polynesian region than
in Australia. True, we no longer harbour the delusion that Australia
is inhabited by a uniform population. It also has been subject
to great waves of immigration, particularly from New Guinea, from
whence came the Papuans, one of the races which itself attained to
the Malayo-Polynesian level of culture. Naturally the Papuan influx
affected chiefly the northern part of Central Australia. The Tasmanian
tribe, now extinct, was probably a remnant of the original Australian
population. But migrations and racial fusions have caused even greater
changes among those peoples who, culturally, must be classed with the
Malayo-Polynesians. Here likewise there are many different levels, the
lowest of which, as found among the Malayo-Polynesian mixed population,
was yet but slightly higher, in some respects, than Australian culture,
whereas the culture of the true Malays and Polynesians has already
assumed a more advanced character. Ethnology is not yet entirely able
to untangle the complicated problems connected with these racial
fusions. Much less, of course, can we undertake to enter into these
controversial points. We here call attention merely to certain main
stages exhibited by the external culture of these peoples, quite aside
from considerations of race and of tribal migrations. The Negritos and
the Papuans of various parts of Melanesia possess a culture bordering
on the primitive--indeed, they may even be characterized as primitive,
since they possess characteristics of pretotemic society. Of these
tribes, the Papuans of New Guinea and of the islands of the Torres
Straits clearly manifest totemic characteristics, while yet possessing
special racial traits that are exceptionally pronounced. They differ
but little from primitive man, however, so far as concerns either
their method of securing food or their dress, the latter of which is
exceedingly scanty and is made, for the most part, of plant materials.
But these peoples, just as do the Australians, have weapons indicative
of battles and migrations; moreover, they exhibit also other marks of
a somewhat developed culture. The Papuans are the first to change the
digging-stick into the hoe, a useful implement in tilling the soil.
In this first form of the hoe, the point is turned so as to form an
acute angle with the handle to which it is attached. Hence the soil
is not tilled in the manner of the later hoe-culture proper; nothing
more is done than to draw furrows into which the seeds are scattered.
In many respects, however, this primitive implement represents a great
advance over the method of simply gathering food as practised when the
digging-stick alone was known. It is the man who makes the furrows
with the hoe, since the loosening of the ground requires his greater
strength; he walks ahead, and the woman follows with the seeds, which
she scatters into the furrows. For the first time, thus, we discern a
provision for the future, and also a common tilling of the soil. The
gathering of the fruits generally devolves upon the woman alone. But
even among the Papuans this first step in the direction of agriculture
is found only here and there. The possibility of external influences
therefore remains.

Far superior to the Papuan race is the Micronesian population,
which, as regards its racial traits, is intermediate between the
Melanesians and the Polynesians. Migration and racial fusion here
become increasingly important cultural factors. In their beginnings,
these factors already manifest themselves in the wanderings of the
Papuan and Negrito tribes. One of the most striking discoveries of
modern ethnology is the finding of distinct traces of Papuan-Negritic
culture in regions, such as the west coast of Africa, which are very
remote from the original home of the culture in question. The Papuan
races likewise wandered far across the Indian Ocean. Obviously there
were Papuan migrations, probably in repeated trains, from New Guinea
across the Torres Strait to Northern Australia, where they seem to
have influenced social institutions and customs as well as external
culture. Above the level of the Negrito and Papuan peoples, who, in
their numerous fusions, themselves form several strata, we finally have
the Malayo-Polynesian population. The Malayo-Polynesians are widely
spread over the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the earth. Because
of their significance for the particular stage of totemism now under
discussion, we have called the entire cultural period by their name.
The fragments of the Negrito and Papuan races, which are scattered
here and there over limited sections of the broad territory covered by
the wanderings of these tribes, apparently represent remnants of the
original inhabitants. As the result of long isolation, certain groups
of these peoples have remained on a very primitive plane, as have, for
example, the above-described inland tribes of Malacca, or the peoples
of Ceylon and of other islands of the Indian archipelago. Others have
mingled with the Malays, who have come in from the mainland of India,
and with them have formed the numerous levels and divisions of the
Malayo-Polynesian race. This accounts for the fact that this Oceanic
group of peoples includes a great many forms of culture, which are
not, however, susceptible of any sharp demarcation. The culture of
the Negritos and the Papuans, on the one hand, is as primitive as is
that of the Australians--indeed, isolated fragments of perished races
were even more primitive than are the Australians; on the other hand,
however, some of the Malayo-Polynesian peoples are already decidedly in
advance of any other people whose culture falls within the totemic age.

The chief ethnological problem relating to these groups of peoples
concerns the origin of the Malays, who, without doubt, have given the
greatest impetus to the cultural development of these mixed races.
This problem is as yet unsolved, and is perhaps insolvable. The Malay
type, however, particularly on its physical side, points to Eastern
Asia. The resemblance to the Mongolians as regards eyes, skull,
and colour of skin is unmistakable. At the same time, however, the
original Malays probably everywhere mixed with the native inhabitants,
remnants of whom have survived in certain places, particularly in
the inaccessible forest regions of the Malayan archipelago. Now, the
Malays were obviously, even in very early times, a migratory people.
Their wanderings, in fact, were far more extensive than any other
folk-migrations with which we are familiar in the history of Occidental
peoples. Starting, as we may suppose, in Central Asia, that great
cradle of the human race, they spread to the coasts, particularly
to Indo-China, and then to the large islands of Sunda, Sumatra, and
Borneo, to Malacca, and, farther, over the entire region of Oceania.
Here, by mixture with the native population, they gave rise to a new
race, the Polynesians proper. But the Polynesian portion of the race
also preserved the migratory impulse. Thus, the Malayans were the
first to create a perfected form of boat, and to it the Polynesians
added many new features. Thenceforth the Malay was not restricted to
dangerous coast voyages, as was the case with the use of such boats as
those of the Australians or the Papuans of New Guinea. It was a boat
of increased size, equipped with sails and oars and often artistically
fitted out, in which the Malay traversed the seas. With the aid of
these boats--which were, at best, small and inadequate for a voyage
on the open sea--and at a time when the compass was as yet unheard of
and only the starry heavens could give approximate guidance to their
course, the Malays and Polynesians traversed distances extending from
the Philippines to New Zealand. Of course, these expeditions advanced
only stage by stage, from island to island. This is shown by the
legends of the Maoris of New Zealand, who were clearly the first of the
Polynesians to migrate, and who therefore remained freest from mixture
with strange races. The same fact is attested by the great changes in
dialect which the Malayan language underwent even in the course of the
migrations of the Malays--changes which lead us to infer that to many
of the island regions settled by these peoples there were repeated
waves of immigration separated by intervals of centuries.

Connected with this is a further important factor--one which exercised
a destructive influence upon the original totemism, only a few traces
of which have survived among these tribes. The boatman, alone on the
broad seas, with only the starry firmament to direct his course, turns
his gaze involuntarily to the world of stars which serves as his
guide. Thus, particularly in Polynesia, there sprang up a celestial
mythology. This, in turn, again reacted upon the interpretation of
terrestrial objects. By breaking up tribes and their divisions,
furthermore, the migrations destroyed the former tribal organization
and, through the influence gained by occasional bold leaders on such
expeditions, gave rise to new forms of rulership. An added factor was
the change of environment, the effect of which was noticeable even at
the beginning of totemic culture in the influence which the Papuan
migration exercised upon the northern parts of Australia--the parts
most accessible to it. The Oceanic Islands are as poor in animal life
as they are rich in plants. The totemic ideas prevalent in these
regions, therefore, came more and more to lose their original basis.
This accounts for the fact that the entire domain is characterized by
_two_ phenomena which are far in advance of anything analogous that may
be found on similar cultural levels in other parts of the earth. One
of these--namely, the development of a celestial mythology--scarcely
occurs anywhere else in so elaborate a form. Of course, we also find
many clear traces of the influence of celestial phenomena in the
mythological conceptions of the Babylonians and Egyptians, of the
Hindoos, the Greeks, the Germans, etc. But the elements of celestial
mythology have here been so assimilated by terrestrial legend-material
and by heroic figures as to be inseparable from them. Thus, the
celestial elements have in general become secondary features of
mythological conceptions whose characteristic stamp is derived from the
natural phenomena of man's immediate environment. Even the celestial
origin of these elements has been almost entirely lost to the popular
consciousness which comes to expression in the legend. The case is
entirely different with the celestial mythology of the Polynesians,
particularly as it occurs in the legends of the Maoris. In the latter,
the celestial movements, as directly perceived, furnish a large part
of the material for the mythical tales. These deal with the ascent of
ancestors into the heavens or their descent from heaven, and with the
wanderings and destinies of the original ancestors, who are regarded
as embodied in the sun, moon, and stars; thus, they differ from the
mythologies of most cultural peoples, in that they are not simply deity
legends that suggest celestial phenomena in only occasional details.
Moreover, no mention of ancestral or totem animal occurs in Polynesian
mythology. There are only occasional legends, associated with the
mighty trees of this island-world, that may perhaps be traceable to
the plant totems of Melanesia. Such being the conditions, it might
seem that, in any case, we are not justified in including the entire
Malayo-Polynesian culture within the totemic age. Nevertheless, quite
apart from the fact that the other phases of external culture are
all such as indicate the totemic stage of development, the obviously
primitive character of the celestial legends themselves--for they
have not as yet developed true hero and deity conceptions--marks this
culture as one of transition. Its totemic basis has almost disappeared;
yet the earlier manner of securing food, the modes of dress, the
decoration, and the belief in spirits and magic have essentially
remained, even though decoration and weapons, particularly, have
undergone a far richer development. Thus, the external decoration of
the body reached its highest perfection in the artistic dot-patterns
exemplified in the tattooing of the Polynesians. The origin of this
bodily adornment is here again probably to be traced to magical
beliefs. The Polynesians also possess carved wooden idols and
fantastically shaped masks. To the bow and the lance they have added
the knife and the sword; to the long shield, the small, round shield,
which serves for defence in the more rapid movements of single combat.
Many localities also have a peculiar social institution, likewise bound
up with the development of warfare initiated by migration and strife.
This institution consists in an exclusive organization comprising
age-groups and the men's club. The latter, in turn, are themselves
symptomatic of the disintegration of the original totemic tribal
divisions. There is, moreover, _one_ further custom, _taboo_, which
has grown up under totemic influences and has received its richest
development with manifold transformations and ramifications within
this very transitional culture of Polynesia. The earliest form of
taboo, which consists in the prohibition of eating the flesh of the
totem animal, has, it is true, disappeared. But the idea of taboo has
been transferred to a great number of other things, to sacred places,
to objects and names, to the person and property of individuals,
particularly of chiefs and priests. The tremendous influence of these
phenomena, whose origin is closely intertwined with totemism, clearly
shows that this entire culture belongs essentially to the totemic age.

Very different is the _third_ stage of totemic culture. As was remarked
above, this falls into two essentially distinct divisions of apparently
very different origin. American culture, on the one hand, represents
a remarkable offshoot of totemic beliefs; besides this there is the
African culture, which, because of peculiar conditions, again connected
with racial fusion, is, in part, far in advance of the totemic age,
though in some details it clearly represents a unique development of
it. To one who wishes to gain a coherent picture of totemic culture,
nothing, indeed, is more surprising than the fact that foremost among
the peoples who may be regarded as the representatives of this great
epoch are the Australians. Strange to say, the condition of the
Australians approximates to that of primitive man. On the other hand,
the North American Indians, particularly those of the Atlantic Coast
regions, may be classed among semi-cultural peoples, and yet they seem,
at first glance, to have made exactly the same _social_ application of
totemic ideas as have the Australians. The typical tribal organization
of the Australians and that of the Iroquois tribes who formerly lived
in the present state of New York, are, in fact, so very similar that
a superficial view might almost cause them to appear identical. This
is all the more surprising since we have not the slightest ground
for supposing any transference of institutions. That which makes
the similarity so striking is primarily the fact that the single
groups or clans are designated by animal names, that they entertain
the conception of an animal ancestor, and that the regular tribal
organization is based on the principle of dual division. Nevertheless,
the more advanced culture of the Iroquois has already led to certain
changed conditions. The animal ancestor recedes to some extent. In
its stead, there are associated with the animal other conceptions,
such as are connected with more systematically conducted hunting. The
American Indian, in contrast to the Australian, no longer regards the
totem animal as a wonderful and superior being, to be hunted only with
fear and not to be used for food if this can possibly be avoided. He
requires for his subsistence all the game available. Hence he does
not practise the custom of abstaining from the flesh of the totem
animal. On the other hand, he observes ceremonies of expiation, such
as are unknown to the Australian. The totem ceremonies of the latter
are chiefly objective means of magic designed to bring about the
increase of the totem animals. This idea appears among the Indians
likewise. Their totem ceremony, however, has also an essentially
subjective significance and is concerned with the past no less than
with the future. Its object is to obtain forgiveness for the slaying
of the animal, whether this has preceded or is to follow the act of
expiation. Connected with these customs is a further difference, which
is seemingly insignificant but which is nevertheless characteristic.
Whereas the Australian, in many regions, thinks of the totem animal
as his ancestor, the Indian of the prairies speaks of the buffaloes
as his elder brothers. Thus, among the Indian tribes, man and animal
still stand on an equal footing. Hence the animal must be conciliated
if it is to serve as food for man. In many of the myths of the American
Indians, a man is transformed into an animal or, conversely, an animal
assumes the human form. Hand in hand with this change in cult ideas and
customs appear the richer forms of external culture. The weapons are
perfected; dress becomes more complete; decoration of the body itself,
though it does not disappear, more and more finds its substitute in
the rich embellishment of the clothing. Social organization becomes
stable, and advances beyond the original tribal limits. The tribes
choose permanent chieftains and, in times of war, enter into group
alliances with one another. Thus, tribal organization paves the way for
the formation of States, though fixed rulership has not as yet been
established. In so far, the democratic organization of North America
later instituted by the Europeans, shows a trace of similarity to the
free tribal alliances of the natives who had inhabited the country for
centuries. For the most part, moreover, the Indians were familiar with
agriculture, though, of course, in the primitive form of hoe-culture.
Man himself tilled his field with the hoe, since plough and draught
animals were wanting. But a firmer organization is revealed in the
fact that the individual did not go to the field alone, followed by
the woman who scatters the seed, but that the land was prepared by the
common labour of the clan. This caused the rise of great vegetation
festivals, with their accompanying ceremonies. In external details also
these far surpassed the cult festivals which the Australians hold in
connection with the adolescence of the youths or for the purpose of
multiplying the animal or plant totems which serve as human food.

The conditions differ in the southern and, to some extent also,
in the western portion of the great American continent. Closely
related as the various tribes are, the old hypothesis that they
migrated from Asia across Behring Strait is untenable. Moreover, in
spite of their physical relationship and, in part also, of their
linguistic similarities, their culture shows important differences.
In the southern and central parts of America particularly, we find
widely different cultural levels, ranging from the forest Indians
of Brazil, who have made scarcely any essential advance beyond the
primitive culture of the Veddahs or of the natives of Malacca,
to the tribes of New Mexico and Arizona, who have obviously been
influenced by the cultural peoples of the New World, and, under this
influence, have undergone an independent development. All advances
that they have made, however, clearly depend upon the development of
agriculture. In addition to numerous elements of celestial mythology
that have found their way from Mexico, we find vegetation cults and
agricultural ceremonies. The latter are often closely fused with the
borrowed mythology, particularly among the semi-cultural peoples of
the central region of America. These cults--sometimes governed by
totemic conceptions, while in other cases dominated by celestial
mythology--underlie the development of art throughout the whole of
America. Whereas the chief expression of the æsthetic impulse in
Polynesia is the decoration of the body, particularly by means of
tattooing, this practice is secondary, in the case of the American
Indian, to the possession of external means of adornment. It is
primarily the beautiful plumage of the bird kingdom that furnishes
the decorations of the head and of the garment. At the ceremonies of
the Zunis and other New Mexican tribes, the altars are decked with
the feathers of birds. These festivals exhibit a wealth of colour and
a complexity of ceremonial performances that have always aroused the
astonishment of the strangers who have been able to witness them. The
decoration of garments, of altars, and of festal places is paralleled
in its development by that of the pictorial decoration of clay vessels.
Here for the first time we have a developed art of ceramics which
employs ornamentations, pictures of totemic animals, and combinations
of the two or transitional forms. Originally, no doubt, these
ornamentations were intended as means of magic, but they came more and
more to serve the purposes of decoration. All of these factors exert
an influence on the numerous cult dances. All over America, from the
Esquimos in the north far down to the south, a very important part of
the equipment of the dancers is the mask. This mask reproduces either
animal features or some fantastic form intermediate between man and
animal. Thus, this culture is of a peculiar nature. Even externally it
combines the huntsman's culture with that of the tiller of the soil,
although in its agriculture it has not advanced beyond the level of
hoe-culture. As compared with Malayo-Polynesian culture, however,
it presents an important additional factor. This consists in the
community of labour, which is obviously connected with the more stable
tribal organization and with the development of more comprehensive cult
associations. It is this factor that accounts for those great cult
festivals that are associated with sowing and harvest and that extend
far down into the higher civilizations, as numerous rudimentary customs
still testify.

The changes which we likewise find in mythological conceptions also
carry us beyond the narrow circle of original totemism. Again there
appear elements of a nature-mythology, particularly of a celestial
mythology. These supplant the animal cult, but nevertheless retain
some connection with the totem animal; the culture is one in which the
totem animal never entirely loses its earlier significance. Thus, the
vegetation festivals, especially those of North and Central America,
exhibit many cult forms in which ideas that belong to a celestial
mythology combine with the worship of animals and of ancestors. The
conceptions of ancestors and of gods thus play over into one another,
and these god-ancestors are believed to have their seat in the clouds
and in the heavens above. However constantly, therefore, totemic ideas
may be in evidence within the field of external phenomena, a much
superior point of view is attained, by the American races, as regards
the inner life.

Among the _African_ peoples we find the second important form of
culture belonging to this third stage--a culture which in many respects
diverges from the one which we have just described. More clearly even
than in the case of America has the idea been disproven that the
inhabitants of the interior of Africa are essentially a homogeneous
race that has developed independently of external influences. Even
more than other peoples, the Africans show the effects of great and
far-reaching external influences. Hamitic and Semitic tribes entered
the country from the north at an early time; even from the distant
south of Asia, probably from Sumatra and its neighbouring islands,
great waves of immigration, crossing Madagascar in the distant past,
swept on towards the west even to the Gold Coast, introducing elements
of Papuan-Negritic culture into Africa. There were frequent fusions
between these tribes and the negro peoples proper, as well as with
the Hamites, the Semites, and also with those who were probably the
original inhabitants of this region, remnants of whom are still to be
found in the Bushmen. The negro race, which, relatively speaking, has
remained the purest, lives in the Soudan region; the Bantus inhabit the
south of Africa; the north is occupied mostly by Hamitic tribes, whose
advent into this region was followed by that of a people of related
origin, the Semites. Corresponding to the racial mixtures that thus
arose, there are various forms of culture. As regards the Bantus, it
is highly probable that they are a mixed people, sprung from a union
of the Soudan negroes with the Hamites. That the Hamites pressed on,
in very early times, into southern Africa, is proved by the Hottentot
tribe, whose language exhibits Hamitic characteristics, and the colour
of whose skin, furthermore, is lighter than that of the negro proper or
that of the Bantu. The language of the Bantus shows traits resembling
partly the negro idioms of the Soudan and partly Hamitic-Asiatic
characteristics. The element of culture, however, which is peculiar to
the Hamites and which was introduced by them into the northern part
of the continent, is the raising of cattle and of sheep. There can be
scarcely any doubt that the African cattle originally came from Asia.
Probably, however, cattle were brought to Africa on the occasion of
two different Hamitic migrations; this is indicated by the fact that
two breeds of cattle are found in Africa. Moreover, it is clear that,
at the time of their introduction, cattle were not totem animals, but
had already gained a position intermediate between the totem and the
breeding animal. The Hottentot, as well as the Bantu, prizes his cattle
as his dearest possession. Since, however, he slaughters them only
in times of extreme necessity, he has progressed only to the point
of obtaining a milk supply. Yet even this represents an important
advance. Owing to his efforts, the cow no longer merely provides the
calf with milk, as in the natural state, but, long after the time of
suckling has passed, places the milk at man's disposal. Everywhere
in the interior of Africa the cow is still a common milk animal. As
such, it is a highly prized source of nourishment, but it is not used
for agricultural purposes. Thus, its position is midway between that
of the original totem animal of cult and that of the draught animal.
For the Hottentot, cattle are objects of supreme value. As such, they
are accorded a certain degree of reverence. They are not utilized as
beasts of burden nor for slaughter, but only as a source of such means
of nourishment as do not cost their lives. South Africa, therefore,
has remained on the level of hoe-culture. The boundary between these
southern districts in which hoe-culture and the nomadic life prevail
and the northern regions into which the Hamites and Semites have
introduced plough-culture is, practically speaking, the desert of
Sahara. It is only when the animal is used to draw the plough that
it becomes in all respects a useful animal. Thenceforth it no longer
merely gives its milk for food, but it performs the work that is
too hard for man, and, finally, as an animal of slaughter, it takes
the place of the gradually disappearing wild animal of the chase.
Coincident with this development, totemic ideas and customs disappear.
Though these have still left distinct traces in the south, particularly
among the Bantus, it is, at most, isolated survivals that remain among
the Hamitic population of the north.

Thus, the animal has come to be a breeding and a work animal throughout
the whole of Africa, though this is particularly the case wherever
the cultural influences of the immigrant peoples from the East have
been operative. The relations of man to man have likewise undergone
a change in this locality, due, in part, to migrations and tribal
wars. No region so much as Africa has become the centre of despotic
forms of government. It is this factor, together with the potent
influence of ideas of personal property associated with it, that has
contributed, on the one hand, to the origin of polygyny, and, on the
other, to the rise of slavery. Long before Africa became the slave
market of the New World it harboured an intertribal traffic in human
beings. These changes in culture undermined the older cults, so that,
with the dissolution of the totemic tribal organization, the original
totem conceptions disappeared from all parts of this region. All the
more marked was the progress of animism and fetishism, of which the
former is closely connected, in its origin, with totem belief, while
the latter is a sort of degenerate totemism. In certain regions,
furthermore, as among the Bantus and the Hamitic tribes, another
outgrowth of the cult of the dead--namely, ancestor worship--has gained
great prominence alongside of elements of a celestial mythology.

To a far greater extent than in Africa, totemic culture has almost
entirely disappeared throughout the entire _Asiatic_ world. Only in the
extreme north among the Tchuktchis, the Yakutes, and Ghilyaks, and in
the far south among the Dravidian tribes of Hindustan who were pushed
back by the influx of Hindoos, have remnants of totemic institutions
survived. In addition to these, only scanty fragments of totemism
proper may be found in Asia--the home of the great cultural peoples
of the Old World. Surviving effects of totemic culture, however, are
everywhere apparent, no less in the sacred animals of the Babylonians,
Egyptians, Hindoos, Greeks, and the Germanic peoples, than in the
significance attached by the Romans to the flight of birds and to the
examination of entrails, and in the Israelitic law which forbids the
eating of the flesh of certain animals.

In the light of all these facts, the conclusion appears highly probable
that at some time totemic culture everywhere paved the way for a more
advanced civilization, and, thus, that it represents a transitional
stage between the age of primitive man and the era of heroes and gods.


As has already been stated, the beginning of the totemic age is not
marked by any essential change in external culture. As regards dress,
decoration, and the acquisition of food, the conditions that we meet,
particularly among the natives of Central Australia, differ scarcely at
all from those of the primitive races of the pretotemic age. It is only
in the weapons, which are already clearly indicative of tribal warfare,
that we find an unmistakable external indication of deeper-going
differences in social culture. At the same time, however, the totemic
age includes peoples whose general manner of life we are accustomed to
call semi-cultural. The greatest contrast occurs between the natives of
Australia and of some of the portions of Melanesia, on the one hand,
and those of North America, particularly of the eastern part, on the
other. While the former still live the primitive life of the gatherer
and the hunter, the latter possess the rudiments of agriculture, as
well as the associated cult festivals, the beginnings of a celestial
mythology, and richer forms of legend and poetry. Nevertheless, as
regards the most universal characteristic of totemic culture, namely,
the _form of tribal organization_, the two groups of peoples differ but
slightly, although conditions in Australia have on the whole remained
more primitive. This is most clearly shown by the fact that, among the
Australian natives, the totem animal possesses the significance of a
cult object, whereas in America, and particularly among the Atlantic
tribes, whose totemic practices have received the most careful study,
the totem animal has obviously come to be a mere coat of arms. The
difference might, perhaps, be briefly stated thus: In Australia,
the totem names signify groups of cult members within a clan; in
America, they are the designations of clans themselves, but these as
such possess no cult significance. In both regions, however, tribal
organization follows the principle of dual division. The tribe first
divides into two tribal halves (I and II); then each of these separates
into two clans (A and B, C and D); finally, the latter again break up
into subclans, so that eventually we may have eight tribal divisions.
In certain cases, the division has not advanced beyond the dual form;
the upper limit, on the other hand, seems to be eight distinct groups.
The schemata representing tribal organization in Australia and in
America are so similar that it is easy to

                   (Central Australians)

        I                                   II
       / \                                 /  \
      A   B                               C    D
    mnop qrst                           mpqs  nort


        I                                   II
       / \                                 /  \
     /     \                             /      \
  ----     ----                       ----      ----
  |  |     |  |                       |  |      |  |
  A  B     C  D                       E  F      G  H

understand how most authors have come to regard conditions in the
two countries as essentially identical. Yet the divergence in the
nomenclature of the tribal divisions points to significant differences.
The fact is that the clan names of the Australians are entirely
different from the totem names. The former have, as a rule, become
unintelligible to the present-day native, and, since many of them recur
among distinct tribes who now speak different dialects, they probably
derive from an older age. Words such as Ipai, Kumbo, Murri, Kubbi,
etc., may originally, perhaps, have possessed a local significance. At
any rate, clan names but rarely consist of the names of animals. On
the other hand, such words as emu, kangaroo, opossum, eagle-hawk, and
others, are the regular designations of the clans composing the totem
groups. The case is otherwise among the North American Indians. Here
the clans all have animal names. Nor can we anywhere find alongside of
the clans any particular totem groups which might be regarded as cult
alliances. The schema shown on p. 141 exhibits these relations. The
tribal halves are designated by I and II, the clans by A, B, C, etc,
and the independent totem groups existing within the individual clans
by _m, n, o, p,_ etc.

Owing to the external similarity of the tribal organizations, it has
generally been thought that the totem groups of the Australians are
merely clans or subclans, such as are, doubtless, the social groups
of the American Indians, designated by similar totem names. This
interpretation, however, has unquestionably led to serious confusion,
particularly in the description of the tribal organization of the
Australians. A study of the detailed and very valuable contributions of
Howitt and of other early investigators of the sociological conditions
of Australia, inevitably leaves the impression that, particularly as
regards the interpretation of the various group names, the scholars
were labouring under misconceptions which caused the relations to
appear more complex than they really are. Such misconceptions were
all the more possible because the investigators in question were
entirely ignorant of the languages of the natives, and were therefore
practically dependent upon the statements of their interpreters. Under
these circumstances we may doubtless be allowed a certain degree of
scepticism as to the acceptance of these reports, especially when they
also involve an interpretation of phenomena; and we may be permitted an
attempt to discover whether a different conception of the significance
of the various group names may not give us a clearer picture of
the phenomena, and one that is also more adequate when the general
condition of the inhabitants is taken into account. The conditions
prevalent among the American Indians are in general much easier to
understand than are those of the Australians, particularly where the
old tribal organization has been preserved with relative purity,
as among the Iroquois. In this case, however, the totem names have
obviously become pure clan designations without any cult significance.
Now this has not occurred among the Australians; for them, the totem
animal has rather the status of a cult object common to the members
of a group. The fact that the Australians have separate names for the
clans, as was remarked above, whereas the American Indians have come
to designate clans by totem names, provides all the more justification
for attributing essentially different meanings to the two groups
that bear totem names. In attempting to reach a more satisfactory
interpretation of totemic tribal organization, therefore, we shall
consider those totem groups which are obviously in a relatively early
stage of development--namely, the Australian groups--simply as _cult
associations_ which have found a place within the tribal divisions or
clans, but whose original significance is of an absolutely different
nature. In the above schema, therefore, A, B, C, D, etc., represent
tribal divisions or clans, _m, n, o, p,_ etc., cult groups. The latter
are lacking in the part of the diagram which refers to the American
Indians, since these have no cult associations that are independent
of the tribal divisions; indeed, the old totem names have lost their
former cult significance and have become mere clan names. Thus, the
conception here advanced differs from the usual one in that it gives
a different significance to the totem names on the two levels of
development. In the case of the Australians, we regard them as the
names of _cult groups_; in America, where the totem cult proper has
receded or has disappeared, we regard them as _mere clan names_.
But the extension of totem names to the entire clan organization in
the latter case is not, as it were, indicative of a more developed
totemism, but rather of _a totemism in the state of decline_. The
totem animal, though here also at one time an object of cult, is such
no longer, but has become a mere coat of arms. In support of this
view of American totem names, we might doubtless also refer to the
so-called totem poles. Such a pole consists of a number of human
heads representing the ancestors of the clan, and is crowned by the
head of the totem animal. This is obviously symbolic of the idea that
this succession of generations has as its symbol the totem animal that
surmounts it--that is, the totem pole is an enlarged coat of arms.

Because of the great regularity of its occurrence, the dual form of
tribal division must be regarded as everywhere due to the same cause.
Concerning its origin there can scarcely be any doubt. Obviously it has
no real connection with totemism itself. This explains why the tribal
divisions originally derived their names, not from the totem, but from
localities or from other external sources, as the conditions among
the Australians would seem to indicate. A phenomenon which recurs in
widely distant regions with such regularity as does dual division, is
scarcely intelligible except by reference to the general conditions
attendant upon the spread of peoples. A tribe leading the unsettled
life of gatherers and hunters must of inner necessity separate as
its numbers increase or as the food-supply begins to fail. It is but
natural that the tribe should first separate into two divisions on the
basis of the hunting-grounds which the members occupy; the same process
may then repeat itself in the case of each division. The fact that
when deviations from the principle of dual division are found, they
are most likely to occur in the subordinate groups, is also in harmony
with the view that the divisions are due to the natural conditions of
dispersion. For, in the case of the subordinate groups, one of the
smaller units might, of course, easily disintegrate or wander to a
distance and lose its connection with the tribe.

[1] The survey presented in this and in the following section aims
to give only a general outline of the relations between totemism and
tribal organization, as based particularly on several tribes of Central
Australia. For a more detailed account of the conditions and of their
probable interpretation, I would refer to a paper on "Totemism and
Tribal Organization in Australia," published, in 1914, in _Anthropos_,
an international journal.


Though the dual organization of the tribe seems to admit of a
comparatively simple and easy explanation, the totemic exogamy which is
closely bound up with it offers great difficulties. As we have already
seen, totemic exogamy is characterized by the fact that a member of one
specific clan, or of a totem group belonging to the clan, may enter
into marriage only with a member of another clan or totem group.
This restriction of the marriage relationship is generally known as
'exogamy,' a term first introduced by the Scottish ethnologist and
historian, McLennan. In order to distinguish this custom from later
regulations of marriage, such, for example, as exist in present law,
in the prohibition of the union of relatives by blood or by marriage,
we may call it more specifically 'totemic exogamy.' Totemic exogamy
clearly represents the earliest form of marriage restriction found
in custom or law. The phenomena bound up with it may be regarded as
having arisen either contemporaneously with the first division of the
tribe or, at any rate, soon thereafter, for some of the Australian
and Melanesian tribes practise exogamy even though they have not
advanced beyond a twofold division of the tribe. On the other hand,
the primitive horde of the pretotemic age remains undivided, and, of
course, shows no trace of exogamy. True, marriages between parents
and children seem to have been avoided as early even as in pretotemic
times. But this could hardly have been due to the existence of firmly
established norms of custom. Such norms never developed except under
the influence of totemic tribal organization, and they are closely
related to its various stages of development.

Taking as the basis of consideration the above-mentioned conditions in
Australia, where an approximate regularity in the successive stages
of this development is most clearly in evidence, we may distinguish
particularly _three_ main forms of exogamy. The first is the simplest.
If we designate the two divisions of the tribe between which exogamic
relations obtain, by A and B, and the various subgroups of A by _l,
m, n, o,_ and of B by _p, q, r, s,_ we have, as this simplest form,
_unlimited exogamy_. It corresponds to the following schema:--

               I. _Unlimited Exogamy._

           A                             B
      _l m n o                       p q r s_

This means: A man belonging to Class A may take in marriage a woman
from any of the subgroups of Class B, and conversely. Marriage is
restricted to the extent that a man may not take a wife from his own
class; it is unrestricted, however, in so far as he may select her from
any of the subgroups of the other class. This form of exogamy does not
appear to occur except where the divisions of the tribe are not more
than two in number. The marriage classes, A and B, then represent the
two divisions of the tribe; the subgroups _l, m, n, o, p,..._ are totem
groups--that is to say, according to the view maintained above, cult
groups. For the most part, marriage relationships between the specific
cult groups meet with no further restrictions. A man of Class A may
marry a woman belonging to any of the totem groups _p, q, r, s,_ of
Class B--it is only union with a woman belonging to one of the totem
groups of Class A that is denied him. Nevertheless, as we shall notice
later, we even here occasionally find more restricted relations between
particular totem groups, and it is these exceptions that constitute
the transitional steps to limited exogamy. Such transitions to the
succeeding form of exogamy are to be found, for example, among the
Australian Dieri, some of whose totem groups intermarry, only with some
one particular group of the other tribal division.

The _second_ form of exogamy occurs when a member of Class A is not
allowed to take in marriage any woman he may choose from Class B, but
only one from some specific sub-group of B. For example, a man of group
_n_ is restricted to a woman of group _r_.

II. _Limited Exogamy with Direct Maternal or Paternal

         A                                B
   _l m n o                          p q r s_

Both forms of exogamy, the unlimited and the limited, observe the
same law with respect to the group affiliation of children. If, as
universally occurs in Australia, A and B are clans having exogamous
relations, and _l, m, n, o, p,..._ are totem groups within these
clans, then, if maternal descent prevails, the children remain both
in the clan and in the totem of the mother; in the case of paternal
descent, they pass over to the clan and to the totem of the father.
Of these modes of reckoning descent, the former is dominant, and was
everywhere, probably, the original custom. One indication of this is
the connection of paternal descent with other phenomena representing a
change of conditions due to external influences--the occurrence of the
same totem groups, for example, in the two clans, A and B, that enjoy
exogamous relations. The latter phenomenon is not to be found under
the usual conditions, represented by diagrams I and II. In the case
of unlimited exogamy (I), no less than in that of limited exogamy, we
find that if, for example, maternal descent prevails, and, the mother
belongs to clan B and to totem group _r_, the children likewise belong
to this group _r_. This condition is much simplified in the case of the
American Indians. With them, totem group and clan coincide, the totem
names having become the names of the clans themselves. The particular
totem groups, _l, m, n, o, p,..._ do not exist. Exogamous relations
between clans A and B consist merely in the fact that a man of the one
clan is restricted in marriage to women of the other clan. Wherever
maternal descent prevails, as it does, for example, among the Iroquois,
the children are counted to the clan of the mother; in the case of
paternal descent, they belong to the clan of the father.

In the Australian system, however, which distinguishes clan and totem,
and therefore, as we may suppose, still exemplifies, on the whole, an
uninterrupted development, we find also a _third_ form of exogamous
relationship. This last form of exogamy seems to be the one which is
most common in Australia, whereas, of course, it has no place in the
pure clan exogamy of the American Indians. The system indicated in
diagram II, in which children belong directly to the clan of the mother
in maternal descent and to that of the father in paternal descent, may
be designated as limited exogamy with direct maternal or paternal
descent. There developed from this a third system, in which, while
the children are counted to the _clan_ of the parent who determines
descent, they nevertheless become members of a different totem group.
Thus arises a limited exogamy with _indirect_ maternal or paternal
descent, as represented in diagram III.

III. _Limited Exogamy, with Indirect Maternal or Paternal

         A                            B
    _l m n o                      p q r s_

A man of clan A and totem group _l_ may marry only a woman of clan B
and totem group _p_; the children, however, do not belong to the totem
_p_, but to another specifically defined totem group, _q_, of clan B.

The way in which these various forms of exogamy affect the marriage
relations of the children that are born from such unions is fairly
obvious. Turning first to form I--unlimited exogamy--it is clear that,
in the case of maternal descent, which here appears to be the rule,
none of the children of the mother may marry except into the clan of
the father; in paternal descent, conversely, they may marry only into
the clan of the mother. Marriage between brothers and sisters, thus, is
made impossible. Nor may a son marry his mother where maternal descent
prevails, or a daughter her father in the case of paternal descent. In
the former case, however, the marriage of father and daughter would be
permitted, as would that of mother and son in the latter. The marriage
of a son or daughter with relatives of the mother who belong to the
same clan is not allowed in the case of maternal descent. The son,
for example, may not marry a sister of his mother, nor the daughter
a brother of the mother, etc. Since it is maternal descent that is
dominant in the case of unlimited exogamy, the most important result
of the latter is doubtless its prevention of the marriage of brother
and sister, in addition to that of a son with his mother. The system
of paternal descent, of course, involves a corresponding change in
marriage restrictions.

What, now, are the results of form II--limited exogamy with direct
maternal or paternal descent? It is at once clear that such exogamy
prohibits all the various marriage connections proscribed by unlimited
exogamy. Marriage between brothers and sisters is rendered impossible,
as is also, in the case of maternal descent, that between a son and
his mother or the relatives in her clan. Marriage between father and
daughter, however, is permitted. Where paternal descent prevails,
these latter conditions are reversed. Although forms I and II are
to this extent in complete agreement, they nevertheless show a very
important difference with respect to the prohibitions which they place
on marriage. In unlimited exogamy, a man is at liberty to marry into
any totem that belongs to the clan with which his own has exogamous
relations; in limited exogamy, however, he may marry into only _one_ of
the totems of such a clan. Thus, the circle within which he may select
a wife is very materially reduced. Limited exogamy with direct maternal
or paternal descent, accordingly, means a _reapproach to endogamy_.
The wife must be chosen from an essentially smaller group, narrowed
down, in the case of maternal descent, to the more immediate relatives
of the father, or, in paternal descent, to those of the mother. Such
a condition is not at all a strict form of exogamy, as is maintained
by some ethnologists, but is, on the contrary, something of a return
to endogamy. This point is of decisive importance in determining the
motives of the remarkable institution of exogamy.

What are the conditions, finally, which obtain in form III--limited
exogamy with _indirect_ maternal or paternal descent? It is at once
obvious that marriage between brother and sister is here also excluded.
Furthermore, another union is prohibited which was permitted in form
II. For son and daughter, in the case of maternal descent, no longer
belong to the totem group of the mother, _p_, but pass over into
another group, say _q_. Not only, therefore, is a son prevented from
marrying his mother because they both belong to the same clan, but a
father is forbidden to marry his daughter because he may take only a
woman of group _p_, to which his wife belongs. No less true is this
of the son, who now likewise belongs to group _q_, and may therefore
no longer marry a female relative of his father's, since the group
_q_ into which he has entered has exogamous connections with another
totem group of the paternal clan, say with _m_. With this change a step
to a _stricter exogamy_ is again taken; the earlier restrictions on
marriage remain, and the possibilities of marriage between relations
are further reduced by changing the totem of the children. Cousins may
not marry each other. Thus, the limits of exogamy are here narrower
than those, for example, which obtain in Germany. It is evident that
such limitations might become a galling constraint, particularly where
there is a scarcity of women, as is the case, for the most part, in
Australia. This has led some of the Australian tribes to the remarkable
expedient of declaring that a man is not to be regarded as the son of
his father, but, in the case of maternal descent, as the son of his
paternal grandfather--a step which practically amounts to transferring
him into the totem of his father and allowing him to enter into
marriage with his mother's relatives. This circumvention, reminding one
of the well-known fictions of Roman law, may have its justification in
the eyes of the Australians in the fact that they draw practically no
distinction between the various generations of ancestors.

The three forms of exogamy, accordingly, agree in prohibiting the
marriage of brothers and sisters and, in so far as maternal descent may
be regarded as the prevailing system, the marriage of a son with his
mother. Both these prohibitions, doubtless, and especially the latter,
reflect a feeling which was experienced by mankind at an early age.
The aversion to the marriage of a son with his mother is greater than
that to the marriage of brother and sister or even that of father and
daughter. Consider the tragedy of Œdipus. It might, perhaps, be less
horrible were it father and daughter instead of son and mother who
were involved in the incestuous relation. Marriages between brothers
and sisters have, of course, sometimes occurred. Thus, as has already
been remarked, the Peruvian Incas ordained by law that a king must
marry his sister. In the realm of the Ptolemies, likewise, the marriage
of brother and sister served the purpose of maintaining purity of
blood, and even to-day such marriages occur in some of the smaller
despotic negro states. The custom is probably always the result of the
subjugation of a people by a foreign line of rulers. Indeed, even the
Greeks permitted marriage between half-brothers and half-sisters.

Though these natural instincts were less potent in early times than
in later culture, they may not have been entirely inoperative in the
development from original endogamy to exogamy. Nevertheless, one would
scarcely attempt to trace to the blind activity of such instincts those
peculiar forms of exogamy that appear particularly among the Australian
tribes. On the contrary, we would here also at once be inclined to
maintain that the reverse is true, thus following a principle that has
approved itself in so many other cases. The aversion to marriage with
relatives has left its impress on our present-day legislation, not so
much, indeed, in the positive form of exogamy, as in the negative form
which forbids endogamy within certain limits. _This aversion, however,
is not the source so much as it is the effect--at least in great
measure--of the exogamous institutions of early culture._ All the more
important is the question concerning the origin of these institutions.
This question, in fact, has already received much attention on the
part of ethnologists, particularly since the beginning of the present
century, when it has become more and more possible to study the tribal
organization of the Australians. Here, however, we must distinguish
between the general theories that have been advanced concerning the
causes of exogamy as such--theories which date back in part even to
a fairly early period--and hypotheses concerning the origin of the
various forms of exogamy.

Exogamy as such has generally been approached from a rationalistic
point of view. It has been regarded as an institution voluntarily
created to obviate the marriage of relatives, and is supposed to have
arisen contemporaneously with another institution of like purpose,
namely, tribal division. This view is championed, among other scholars,
by the able American sociologist, Lewes Morgan, in his book "Ancient
Society" (1870), and even by Frazer in his comprehensive work "Totemism
and Exogamy" (1910), which includes in its survey all parts of the
earth. Frazer says explicitly: 'In the distant past, several wise
old men must have agreed to obviate the evils of endogamy, and with
this end in view they instituted a system that resulted in exogamous
marriage.' Thus, the determinant motive is here supposed to have
been aversion to the marriage of relatives. According to Morgan's
hypothesis--an extreme example of rationalistic interpretation--the
aversion was due to a gradually acquired knowledge that the marriage
of relatives was injurious in its effects upon offspring. The entire
institution, thus, is regarded as a eugenic provision. We are to
suppose that the members of these tribes not only invented this whole
complicated system of tribal division, but that they foresaw its
results and for this reason instituted exogamous customs. Were people
who possess no names for numbers greater than four capable of such
foresight, it would indeed be an unparalleled miracle. Great social
transformations, of which one of the greatest is unquestionably the
transition from the primitive horde to totemic tribal organization,
are never effected by the ordinances of individuals, but develop of
themselves through a necessity immanent in the cultural conditions.
Their effects are never foreseen, but are recognized in their full
import only after they have taken place. Moreover, as regards the
question of the injurious effects resulting from the marriage of
relatives, authorities even to-day disagree as to where the danger
begins and how great it really is. That the Australians should have
formed definite convictions in prehistoric times with reference to
these matters, is absolutely inconceivable. At most, they might
have felt a certain instinctive repugnance. Furthermore, if these
institutions were established with the explicit purpose of avoiding
marriage between relatives, the originators, though manifesting
remarkable sagacity in their invention, made serious mistakes in their
calculations. For, in the first place, the first two forms of exogamy
only partially prevent a union which even endogamous custom avoids,
namely, that between parents and children; in the second place, the
transition from unlimited to limited exogamy with direct maternal or
paternal descent does not involve an increased restriction of marriage
between relations, but, as we have already seen, marks a retrogression,
in the sense of a reapproach to endogamy.

The above view, therefore, was for the most part abandoned in favour
of other, apparently more natural, explanations. Of these we would
mention, as a second theory, the biological hypothesis of Andrew Lang.
This author assumes that the younger brothers of a joint family were
driven out by the stronger and older ones in order to ward off any want
that might arise from the living together of a large number of brothers
and sisters, and that these younger brothers were thus obliged to marry
outside the group. Even this, however, is not an adequate theory of
exogamy, since it does not explain how the custom has come to apply
also to the older members of the family group. As a final hypothesis,
we may mention one which may perhaps be described as specifically
sociological. In its fundamental aspects it was proposed by MacLennan,
the investigator who also gave us the word 'exogamy.' MacLennan does
not regard exogamy as having originated in times of peace, nor even as
representing voluntarily established norms of custom. He derives it
from war, and in so doing he appeals to the testimony both of history
and of legend. As is well known, even the Iliad, the greatest epic of
the past, portrays as an essential part of its theme a marriage by
capture. The dissension between Achilles and Agamemnon arose from the
capture of Briseis, for whom the two leaders of the Achæans quarrelled
with each other. According to MacLennan, the capture of a woman from a
strange tribe represents the earliest exogamy. The rape of the Sabines
is another incident suggesting the same conclusion. True, this is not
an event of actual history. Nevertheless, legend reflects the customs
and ideas of the past. Now, in the case under discussion, it is clear
that marriage by capture involves a foreign and hostile tribe, for this
is the relation which the Sabines originally sustained to the Romans.
A significant indication of the connection between marriage by capture
and war with hostile tribes occurs also in Deuteronomy (ch. xxi.),
where the law commands the Israelites: 'If in war you see a beautiful
woman and desire her in marriage, take her with you. Let her for
several weeks bewail her relatives and her home, and then marry her.
But if you do not wish to make her your wife, then let her go free;
you shall not sell her into slavery.' This is a remarkable passage in
that it forbids the keeping and the selling of female slaves, but, on
the other hand, permits marriage with a woman of a strange tribe. A
parallel is found in Judges (ch. xxi.), where it is related that the
elders of Israel, being prevented by an oath to Jahve from giving their
own daughters in marriage to the children of Benjamin, advised the
latter to fall, from ambush, upon a Canaanitic tribe and to steal its

In spite of all these proofs, exogamy and the capture of women from
strange tribes differ as regards _one_ feature of paramount importance.
In both legend and history the captured woman is universally of a
_strange_ tribe, whereas totemic exogamy never occurs except between
clans of the same tribe. Added to this is a further consideration. The
above-mentioned passage from Deuteronomy certainly presupposes that the
Israelite who captures a wife in warfare with a strange tribe already
possesses a wife from among his own tribe. This is his chief wife, in
addition to whom he may take the strange woman as a secondary wife.
We may refer to Hagar, the slave, and to Sarah, Abraham's rightful
wife, who belonged to his own tribe. The resemblance between exogamy
and the capture of women in warfare is so far from being conclusive
that exogamy is permitted only between clans of the same tribal group;
hence, in cases where there are four or eight subgroups, it is not
even allowed between members of the two tribal halves. Indeed, the
essential characteristic of exogamous tribal organization, marriage
between _specific_ social groups, is entirely lacking in the marriage
by capture that results from war. Moreover, the woman married under
exogamous conditions is either the only wife or, if she is the first,
she is the chief wife; in the case of marriage by capture in war, the
captured woman is the secondary wife.


Though the theory that exogamy originated in the capture of women
in warfare is clearly untenable, it has without doubt seized upon
_one_ element of truth. Marriage by capture may also occur within
one and the same tribe, and under relatively savage conditions this
happens very frequently. Indeed, it is precisely in the case of the
Australians, to judge from reports, that such marriage is probably
as old as the institution of exogamy itself, if not older. Early
accounts, in particular, give abundant testimony to this effect. That
later writings give less prominence to the phenomenon does not imply
its disappearance. The decreased emphasis is due rather to the fact
that in more recent years the attention of investigators has been
directed almost exclusively to the newly discovered conditions of
tribal organization. Even on a more advanced and semi-cultural stage
we find struggles for the possession of a wife. The struggle, however,
is regularly carried on, not between members of different groups, much
less between entirely strange peoples of widely differing language and
culture, but between members of one and the same tribe. Two or more
members of a tribe fall into a quarrel for the possession of a woman
who, though not belonging to their own clan, is nevertheless a member
of a neighbouring clan of the same tribe. Such conditions are doubtless
to be traced back to earliest times. The victor wins the woman for
himself. The custom of marriage by capture has left its traces even
down to the present, in practices that have for the most part assumed
a playful character. Originally, however, these practices were without
doubt of a serious nature, as were all such forms of play that
originated in earlier customs. Just as ancient exogamous restrictions
are still operative in the prohibitions which the statutes of all
cultural peoples place on the marriage of relatives, so the influence
of marriage by capture is reflected in some of the usages attending the
consummation of marriage, as well as in various customs, such as the
purchase of wives and its converse, the dowry, which succeeded marriage
by capture. Moreover, the fact that marriage by capture occasionally
occurs even in primitive pretotemic culture and that it is practised
beyond that circle of tribal organization whose totemic character can
be positively proved, indicates that it is presumably older than an
exogamy regulated by strict norms of custom. It is just in Australia,
that region of the earth where, to a certain extent, the various stages
of development of exogamy still exist side by side, that we find other
cultural conditions which make it practically impossible to hold that
marriage by capture originated in warfare between tribes. Though the
woman who is here most likely to become an object of dissension between
brothers or other kinsmen may not belong to the same clan and the
same totem as the latter, she is nevertheless a member of one of the
totems belonging to one of the most closely related clans. A woman of
their own clan is too close to the men of the group to be desired as a
wife; a woman of a strange tribe, too remote. In the ordinary course
of events, moreover, there is no opportunity for meeting women of
other tribes. The slave who is captured in war and carried away as a
concubine appears only at a far later stage of culture. The original
struggle for the possession of a woman, therefore, was not carried
on with members of a strange tribe, as though it were to this that
the woman belonged. Doubtless also it was only to a slight degree a
struggle with the captured woman herself--this perhaps represents a
later transference that already paves the way for the phenomena of mere
mock-struggles. The real struggle took place between fellow-tribesmen,
between men of the same clan, both of whom desired the woman. There is
a possibility, of course, that the kinsmen of the woman might oppose
her capture. This aspect of the struggle, however, like the opposition
of the woman herself, was probably unknown prior to the cultural stage,
when the female members of the clan came to be valued, as they are
among agricultural and nomadic peoples, because of the services which
they render to the family. The theory just outlined, moreover, readily
explains the further development of the conditions that precede the
consummation of marriage, whereas the theory that marriage by capture
originated in warfare is in this respect a complete failure. Valuable
information concerning the later stages in the development of the
marriage by capture which originates during a state of tribal peace,
is again furnished by Australian ethnology. Among these peoples, the
original capture has in many instances passed over into an exchange
in which the suitor offers his own sister to the brother of the woman
whom he desires for himself. If this proposal for exchange is accepted
and he has thereby won the kinsmen of the woman to his side, his
fellow-contestants may as well give up the struggle. Thus, exogamous
marriage by capture here gives way to _exogamous marriage by barter_,
an arrangement in entire harmony with the development of trade in
general, which always begins with barter. At the same time, the form
of this barter is the simplest conceivable: a woman is exchanged for a
woman; the objects of exchange are the same and there is no necessity
for estimating the values in order to equalize them.

There may be some, however, who do not possess sisters whom they may
offer in exchange to the men of other clans. What then occurs? In this
case also it is in Australia that we find the beginnings of a new
arrangement. In place of offering his sister in exchange, the suitor
presents a _gift_ to the parents of the bride, at first to the mother.
Gift takes the place of barter. Since there is no woman who may be
bartered in exchange, a present is given as her equivalent. Thus we
have _exogamous marriage by gift_, and, as the custom becomes more
general and the gift is fixed by agreement, this becomes _exogamous
marriage by purchase_. The latter, however, probably occurs only at
a later stage of culture. The man buys the woman from her parents.
Sometimes, as we know from the Biblical example of Jacob and from
numerous ethnological parallels, he enters into service in order to
secure her--he labours for a time in the house of her parents. In an
age unfamiliar with money, one who has possessions purchases the woman
with part of his herd or of the produce of his fields. Whoever owns no
such property, as, for instance, the poor man or the dependent son,
purchases the woman with his labour.

Marriage by purchase, however, does not represent the terminus of the
development. On the contrary, it prepares the way for _marriage by
contract_, an important advance that was already, to a certain extent,
made by the Greeks, and later particularly by the Romans. Not purchase,
but a contract between him who concludes the marriage and the parents
of the woman--this is an arrangement which still finds acceptance with
us to-day. Now, the marriage contract determines the conditions for
both bride and groom, and eventually also the marriage portion which
the man brings to the union, as well as the dowry of the wife. As soon,
therefore, as property considerations come to be dominant within the
field of marriage, marriage by contract opens the way for a twofold
marriage by purchase. The man may either buy the woman, as was done in
the case of the earlier marriage by purchase, or the woman may buy the
man with the dowry that she brings. At first, in the days of marriage
by capture, the struggle with fellow-clansmen or with strangers was
of decisive importance; at a later time, however, differences in
property, rank, and occupation came to be the determining factors in
the case of marriage. Thus, if we regard marriage by gift as a mode of
marriage by purchase, though, in part, more primitive, and, in part,
more spontaneous, our summary reveals three main stages: _marriage by
capture, marriage by purchase_, and _marriage by contract_. Between
these modes of marriage, of course, there are transitional forms,
which enable us to regard the course of development as constant. The
fact, however, that the entire development bears the character of a
more or less thorough-going exogamy, is due to the _oldest_ of these
modes of marriage--a mode which, as we may assume, was prevalent at the
beginning of the totemic age. This is a form of marriage by capture in
which the woman belonged, not to a strange tribe, but to a neighbouring
clan of the same tribe, or to one with which there were other lines of
intercourse. When capture disappeared, the exogamy to which it gave
rise remained. The old customs connected with the former passed over,
though more and more in the form of play, into the now peaceful mode of
marriage by purchase; their survivals continued here and there even in
the last form of marriage, that by contract.


How does this general development of the modes of marriage account for
those peculiar laws of exogamy which are universally characteristic of
totemic culture, representing strict norms of custom that forbid all
marriage except that between specific clans of a tribe, or even only
between pairs of totem groups of different clans? Were these marriage
ordinances, which have evidently arisen in various places independently
of one another, intentionally invented? Or are they the natural outcome
of totemic tribal organization, resulting from its inherent conditions,
just as did the laws of dual tribal division from the natural growth
and partition of the tribes?

Now, the forms of totemic exogamy unmistakably constitute a
developmental series. In the simplest arrangement, there are no
restrictions whatever upon marriage between members of one clan and
those of another with which marriage relations exist. Such exogamy,
however, is relatively rare in Australia, the land in which the
developmental forms of exogamy are chiefly to be found. It seems to
be limited to tribes that have merely a dual organization, in which
event the clan coincides with one-half the tribe. Even in such cases we
find transitions to the next form of exogamy. In this second system,
exogamy is restricted to particular totems of the two clans of one and
the same tribal division; and, just as in the first case, the children
are, as a rule, born directly into the totem group of the mother, or,
less commonly, into that of the father. Following this exogamy with
direct maternal or paternal descent and undeniably proceeding out of
it, we finally have, as the third main form, exogamy with indirect
maternal or paternal descent. In this form of exogamy, as in the
preceding ones, the children belong to the totem of the mother or to
that of the father so far as birth is concerned; as respects their
exogamous totem relation, however, they pass over into another totem of
the same clan. Thus, birth-totem and marriage-totem are here distinct,
and every member of a group belongs to two totems that differ in
significance. Now, in the case of a marriage by capture in which the
individuals belong to different clans, the question of the totem does
not enter. When, therefore, this mode of marriage remains undisturbed
by further conditions, we have exogamy of the first form. When a suitor
seeks to win the favour of the clan by means of a gift presented to
the parents or the kin, marriage by capture passes over directly and
without further change into the simple marriage by purchase. The two
more exclusive forms of exogamy, on the other hand, are obviously
connected with the rise of totemism; they are the result both of
the clan divisions which follow from tribal partition and of the
accompanying separation into totem groups. The question, therefore,
concerning the development of these forms of exogamy, dependent as they
are both upon clan divisions and upon totem groups, is essentially
bound up with the question concerning the temporal relation of the two
important phenomena last mentioned. An unambiguous answer to the latter
question, however, may be gathered precisely by a study of Australian
conditions, at least so far as the development in these regions is
concerned. If we recall our previous schema (p. 141), representing the
tribal organization of the Kamilaroi, and here, as there, designate
the totemic groups (emu, kangaroo, opossum, etc.) comprised within the
clan by _m n o p...,_ it is apparent that the totems must be at least
as old as the division into the two tribal halves. Unless this were the
case, we could not explain the fact that, with very minor exceptions,
precisely the same totems exist in the two tribal divisions. The
condition might be represented thus:--

     I                 II
_mnopq              opmsn_

It is also evident, however, that the totems could not have influenced
this first division, otherwise their members would not have separated
and passed over into the two tribal divisions, as they did in almost
every case. Remembering that the totemic groups are also cult
associations, we might express the matter thus: At the time of the
first tribal division, the cult groups were not yet strong enough to
offer resistance to the separation of the tribal divisions, or to
determine the mode of division; therefore, members of totem _m_, for
example, went here or there according as other external conditions
determined. Conditions were quite different at the time of the second
division, when the tribal half I separated into clans A and B, and II
into C and D, according to the schema:--

     I                 II
    / \               /  \
   /   \             /    \
  A     B           C      D
 mnop  qrst        mpqs   nort

These clans, as we see, separated strictly according to totems. The
bond of cult association had now become so strong that all members of
a particular totem regularly affiliated themselves with the same clan,
though the grouping of the totem divisions within the clans of the two
tribal halves proceeded along absolutely independent lines, as may be
concluded from the fact that the totems composing the clans within the
two tribal divisions are grouped differently. The formation of such
cult or totem groups, thus, may already have begun in the primitive
horde. At that time, however, these cult groups were probably loosely
knit, so that when the horde split up, its members separated, each of
the two tribal divisions, generally speaking, including individuals
of all the various tribes. Not so in the case of those divisions of
the tribe which originated later, after mankind had advanced further
beyond the condition of the horde. By this time the totem unions must
have become stronger, so that the members of a cult group no longer
separated but, together with other similar groups, formed a clan. When
the growth of the tribe, together with the conditions of food supply
and the density of population, led to a separation of the tribe,
certain totem groups invariably joined one division and others, the
other, but the more firmly organized groups remained intact.

A further phenomenon of great importance for the development of
exogamous marriage laws must here be mentioned--one that occurs
throughout the entire realm of totemic culture but is particularly
prominent among the Australian totem groups. This phenomenon consists
in _totem friendships_. Certain totem groups regard themselves as in
particularly close relations with certain other groups. Friendships
similar to these, in a general way, are to be found even in connection
with the highest forms of political organization. For modern States
themselves enter into political alliances or friendships, and these,
as is well known, are subject to change. Such alliances occur from
the beginnings of totemism on up to the advanced plane of modern
international culture. Though these affiliations eventually come
to be determined primarily by the commercial relations of peoples,
the determining factors at the outset were faith and cult. In both
cases, however, the friendships are not of a personal nature, but are
relations based on common interests. This common interest may consist,
for example, in the fact that, as has been observed among some of the
Australian totem alliances, the member of a totem may slay the totem
animal in the hunt, but may not eat of it, though the member of the
friendly totem may do so. Thus, the interest in cult becomes also a
means for the satisfaction of wants, as well as a bond that unites more
closely the particular totem groups.

These facts help to explain how the unlimited exogamy which first
arises from marriage by capture comes to pass over into a 'limited
exogamy,' as it does immediately upon the appearance of conditions
that regulate the forceful capture and substitute for it the friendly
exchange of women. These factors, however, always come into play
whenever the intercourse between tribal members becomes closer, and
particularly when the struggle with strange tribes keeps in check the
strife between individuals of the same tribal association. In such
cases, exchange, or, in later development, purchase, proves the means
of putting an end to force. Thus, blood revenge, which persists into
far later times, is displaced by the _wergild_ which the murderer pays
to the kin of his victim. This transition is precisely the same, in its
own field, as that which occurs in the institution of marriage, for in
the former case also the strife involves members of the same tribe. The
passion, however, which causes the murder and which creates the demand
for vengeance, sometimes prevented the introduction of peaceful means
of settlement. In the case of marriage by capture, however, a marriage
relationship, unrestricted and friendly in character, was doubtless
first developed between the two clans, particularly wherever tribal
division and clan were identical. And though marriage by capture was
for a time still occasionally practised--since all changes of this
sort are gradual--such marriages, nevertheless, more and more assumed
a playful character. The actual capture everywhere finally gave way
to exchange and later to the gift. When, however, the totem groups,
and with them the cult associations that established a bond between
clan and clan, gained the ascendancy, the totem groups naturally
displaced the clan in respect to marriage arrangements; those totems
who maintained close cult relations with one another, entered also into
a marriage relationship. Thus, exogamy became limited; the members of
a totem of clan A married only into the friendly totem of clan B, and
this usage became an established norm whose violation might result in
the death of the guilty person, unless he escaped this fate by flight.
This transition of exogamy from clan to totem group, and from the
unlimited to the limited form, came only gradually. This is clearly
shown by the conditions among the Dieri. Certain of their totems have
already entered upon the stage of limited marriage relationship,
whereas others have not advanced beyond unlimited exogamy.

But even after the development had reached its final form and limited
totemic exogamy was completely established, further changes ensued.
For the basis of such exogamy, we may conjecture, is the fact that
certain totem groups of associated clans enjoy particularly close
relations with one another. Even on these primitive levels, however,
the friendships of such groups are not absolutely permanent any more
than are the political friendships of modern civilized states, though
their degree of permanence is probably greater than that of the
latter. Migrations, changes in hunting-grounds, and other conditions,
were doubtless operative also in totemic culture, loosening the bonds
between friendly totems and cementing others in their stead. This led
to changes in the exogamous relations of totem groups. Instead of
groups _n_ and _r_ of clans A and B, _n_ and _q_ might then come to have
exogamous connections (see diagram III on p. 148). But the severance
of the old connection did not immediately obliterate the tradition of
the former relationship. The influence of the latter would naturally
continue to be felt, not in connection with acts of a transitory
nature, such as wooing and marriage, but in matters _permanent_ in
character and thus affecting the traditional organization of the
tribe. Such a permanent relation, however, is _totem affiliation_.
This explains how it happens that, even after the old totem connection
gave way to the new, it nevertheless continued to exercise a claim
on the totem membership of the children born under the new marriage
conditions; hence also the recognition of the claim on the part of
custom. In _one_ respect, indeed, such recognition was impossible.
More firmly established than any form of exogamy was the law that
children belonged to the mother, or, in the case of paternal descent,
to the father. This law could not be violated. Hence _exogamous_ and
_parental_ tribal membership became differentiated. The latter ordained
that children in every case belong to the totem of the parent who
determines descent; the tradition of the former decreed that children
belong, not to the parental totem, but to some other totem of the same
clan. Such a condition of dual totem membership might, of course,
arise from a great variety of conditions, just as may the similarly
overlapping social relations within our own modern culture--such, for
example, as the military and the so-called civil station of a man.
The customary designation of the first two forms of limited exogamy
as exogamy with direct maternal descent, and of the third as exogamy
with indirect maternal descent, is plainly inappropriate and may easily
give rise to misunderstandings. For it may suggest that the maternal
totem disposes of its rights in respect to marriage arrangements to
another totem group, and that eventually this even occurs in accordance
with a definite agreement. But this is certainly not the case. For
maternal descent or, speaking more generally, the fact that children
belong to the parents, obtains invariably. It would be preferable,
therefore, simply to distinguish the parental totem connection from the
traditional exogamous connection, or one system in which the exogamous
and the parental connections coincide, from a second in which they

The conjecture, therefore, that a traditional marriage relation,
differing from that based on parentage, grew up out of a previous
totem friendship, is based primarily on the importance which totemic
_cult_ alliances in general possessed within the totemic tribal
organization. Other causes, of course, may also have co-operated. Two
further points must be noticed. In the first place, it is not at all
likely that the transition from the parental exogamous relation to the
traditional form occurred at the same time in all the totem groups.
This is not only highly improbable in itself, but is also absolutely
irreconcilable with the fact, shown by the example of the Dieri, that
the earlier transition from unlimited to limited exogamy was gradual.
Moreover, one must bear in mind that the transition from parental to
traditional exogamy, represented by diagram III (p. 148), not only
underwent several repeated transformations, but that, due to the power
which tradition always exerts, a traditional exogamous union of two
totems, after it once arose, may have persisted throughout several
changing cult friendships. An existing marriage relation may not at
all have corresponded to the cult friendship that immediately preceded
it; it may have been based on any earlier friendship whatsoever that
had been favoured by conditions and that had received a firm place in
tradition. These facts show that the hypothetical 'wise ancestors'
of the present-day Australians--sages who are said to have invented
this complicated organization in the immemorial past for the purpose
of avoiding endogamy--are just as superfluous as they are improbable.
The phenomena arose in the course of a long period of time, out of
conditions immanent in the life and in the cult of these tribes. The
various forms of exogamy appearing in the course of this period were
not the causes but the effects of the phenomena in question.


Unless external influences have changed his mode of life, primitive
man, as we have seen, is both monogamous and endogamous, the latter
term being used in a relative sense as denoting a condition in which
marriages are permitted between blood relations as well as between
non-relations. As a result of the external conditions of life,
however, particularly the common habitation of the same protective
cave and the use of adjacent hunting-grounds, unions within a wider
joint family generally predominate. Following upon the rise of
exogamy, polygamy also regularly appears. These two practices give to
the marriage and family relations of totemic society an essentially
different character from that which they possess under primitive
conditions. Even in the totemic era, indeed, polygamy is not universal;
monogamy continues to survive. Monogamy, however, ceases to be a norm
of custom. It is everywhere set aside, to a greater or less extent, in
favour of the two forms of polygamy--polygyny and polyandry.

Now it is apparent that precisely the same conditions that underlie the
development of the various forms of exogamy also generate _polygyny_
and _polyandry_. From the standpoint of the general human impulses
determining the relations of the sexes, both sorts of polygamy are
manifestly connected very closely with the origin of exogamy. Here,
again, the fact that exogamy originated in marriage by capture from
within the tribe is of decisive importance. It is precisely this
friendly form of the capture of brides, as we may learn from the
example of the Australians and of others, that is never carried out by
the individual alone, whether the custom be still seriously practised
or exists only in playful survivals. The companions of the captor aid
him, and he, in turn, reciprocates in similar undertakings. Thereby the
companion, according to a view that long continued to be held, gains a
joint right to the captured woman. Hence the original form of polygamy
was probably not polygyny--the only form, practically, that later
occurs--but _polyandry_. At first this polyandry, which originates in
capture, was probably only temporary in character. Nevertheless it
inevitably led to a loosening of the marriage bond, the result of which
might easily be the introduction of polygyny. The man who has gained a
wife for his permanent possession seeks to indemnify himself, so far as
possible, for the partial loss which he suffers through his companions.
Here, then, two motives co-operate to introduce the so-called
'group-marriage'--the dearth of women, which may also act as a
secondary motive in the claim of the companions to the captured woman,
and the impulse for sexual satisfaction, which is, in turn, intensified
by the lack of women. Similarly, the right to the possession of a
woman, even though only temporarily, also has two sources. In the first
place, the helper demands a reward for his assistance. This reward,
according to the primitive views of barter and exchange, can consist
only in a partial right to the spoils, which, in this case, means
the temporary joint possession of the woman. In the second place,
however, the individual is a member of the clan, and what he gains is
therefore regarded as belonging also to the others. Thus the right of
the closest companions may broaden into a right of the clan. Indeed,
where strict monogamy does not prevent, phenomena similar to marriage
by capture persist far beyond this period into a later civilization.
Thus, in France and Scotland, down to the seventeenth century, the
lord possessed the right of _jus primæ noctis_ in the case of all his
newly married vassals. In place of the clan of an earlier period we
here find the lord; to him has been transmitted the right of the clan.
At the time when these phenomena were in their early beginnings, the
temporary relation might very easily have become permanent. It is thus
that group-marriage originates--an institution of an enduring character
which not only survives the early marriage by capture but which is
reinforced and probably first made permanent by its substitute, namely,
marriage by purchase. In this instance again, Australian custom
offers the clearest evidence. In the so-called 'Pirrauru marriage' of
Australia, a man, M, possesses a chief wife, C^1, called
'Tippamalku.' [image missing, see htm--transcribers.] Another man, N,
likewise has a chief wife, C^2. This wife, C^2, is, however, at the
same time a secondary wife, S^1, or 'Pirrauru' of M. In like manner
the chief wife, C^1, may, in turn, be a secondary wife, S^2, of N.
This is the simplest form of group-marriage. Two men have two wives,
of whom one is the chief wife of M and the secondary wife of N, and
the other is the chief wife of N and the secondary wife of M. Into
such a group yet a third man, O, may occasionally enter with
a chief wife, C^3, whom he gives to M as a secondary wife,
S^3, and eventually to N as a secondary wife, S^4, without
himself participating further in the group. In this way there may well
be innumerable different relations. But the marriage is a 'Pirrauru
marriage' whenever a man possesses not only a chief wife but also one
or more secondary wives who are at the same time the wives of other
men. 'Pirrauru marriage' is a form of group-marriage, for it involves
an exchange of women between the men of a group according to the
reciprocal relation of chief and secondary wives. The very manner in
which 'Pirrauru marriage' originates, however, indicates that in all
probability its basis is _monogamy_, and not, as is supposed by many
ethnologists and sociologists, 'promiscuity,' or the total absence of
all marriage. In harmony with this interpretation is the fact that in
numerous regions of Australia, especially in the northern districts,
it is not group-marriage but monogamy that prevails. There is also,
of course, a form of group-marriage that differs from 'Pirrauru
marriage,' and is apparently simpler. In it, the differences between
chief and secondary wives disappear; several men simply possess
several wives in common. Because this form of group-marriage is the
simpler, it is also usually regarded as the earlier. This view,
however, is not susceptible of proof. The supposition rests simply
and alone upon the consideration that, if a state of absolutely
promiscuous sexual intercourse originally prevailed, the transition
to an undifferentiated group-marriage without distinction of chief
and secondary wives would be the next stage of development. The
reverse, however, would obtain were monogamy the original custom.
For the group-marriage with chief and secondary wives is, of course,
more similar to monogamy than is undifferentiated group-marriage.
Moreover, this order of succession is also in greater consonance with
the general laws underlying social changes of this sort. As a matter of
fact, it would scarcely be possible to find grounds for a transition
from undifferentiated group-marriage to the 'Pirrauru system.' If we
assume that there was a growing inclination for single marriage, it
would be difficult to understand why the circuitous path of 'Pirrauru
marriage' should have been chosen. On the other hand, it is very easy
to see that the distinction between chief and secondary wives might
gradually disappear. Indeed, this is what has almost universally
happened wherever pure polygyny prevails. Wherever polygyny may be
traced back to its beginnings, it always seems to have its origin in
the combination of a chief wife with several secondary wives. Later,
however, when the wife comes to be regarded as property, we find a
formal co-ordination of the wives. Or, there may be a distinction that
arises from the accidental preference of the husband, as in the case
of the Sultan's favourite wife, though in modern times such choice
has again been displaced by a law of more ancient tradition. The
latter change, however, was the result of the external influence of
the culture of Western Europe. Such a retrogressive movement, in the
sense of a reapproach to monogamy, is foreign to the motives immanent
in the development itself. Furthermore, 'Pirrauru marriage' is very
easily explicable by reference to the same condition that best explains
the origin of exogamy, namely, the custom of marriage by capture as
practised between groups enjoying a tribal or cult relationship. The
captured wife is the Tippamalku, or chief wife, of the captor; to the
companions who assist the latter she becomes a Pirrauru, or secondary
wife. This latter relation is at first only temporary, though it later
becomes permanent, probably as a result, in part, of a dearth of
women. By rendering his companions a similar service, the original
captor in turn gains the chief wives of the former as his secondary
wives. As frequently happens, the custom which thus arises outlives the
conditions of its origin. This is all the more likely to happen in this
case, because the general motives to polyandry and polygyny persist and
exercise a constant influence.

Proof that this is the forgotten origin of group-marriage may perhaps
be found in a remarkable feature of the customs of these tribes--one
that is for the most part regarded as an inexplicable paradox. Marriage
with the chief wife is not celebrated by ceremonies or festivals, as is
the union with the secondary wife. Thus, the celebration occurs, not
in connection with that marriage which is of primary importance even
to the Australian, but, on the contrary, on the occasion of the union
which is in itself of less importance. The solution of this riddle can
lie only in the origin of the two forms of marriage. And, in fact,
the two result from radically different causes, if it be true that
capture from a friendly clan is the origin of the Tippamalku marriage
and that assistance rendered to an allied companion underlies Pirrauru
marriage. Capture is an act which precludes all ceremony; alliance with
a companion is a contract, perhaps the very first marriage contract
that was ever concluded--one that was made, not with the woman or with
her parents, but with her husband. The consummation of such a contract,
however, is an act which in early times was always accompanied by
ceremonial performances. These accompanying phenomena may also, of
course, persist long after their source has been lost to memory. Thus,
the difference between the two forms of primitive group-marriage also
indirectly confirms the supposition that monogamy lies at the basis of
group-marriage in general.

After a man has won one or more secondary wives in addition to his
chief wife, in Pirrauru marriage, there will doubtless be a tendency
for him to seek additional chief wives. This will be particularly apt
to occur where, on the one hand, marriage by capture gives way to
marriage by barter and later to marriage by purchase, and where, on
the other hand, group-marriage is on the wane. Custom may then either
recur to monogamy, or it may advance to a polygyny which is pure and
not, as in the case of group-marriage, combined with polyandry. Whether
the former or the latter will occur, will depend, now that marriage by
purchase has become predominant, upon might and property. Since these
are also the factors which insure man's supremacy within the family,
the older forms of combined polyandry and polygyny almost universally
(with few exceptions, conditioned by the dearth of women) give way,
with the advance of culture, to simple polygyny, which is then
practised alongside of monogamy. This polygyny, in turn, also finally
recedes in favour of monogamy. The circle of development, accordingly,
may be represented by the following diagram:--

  Polyandry with Polygyny

As an intermediate stage between monogamy and group-marriage, pure
polyandry, it should be remarked, is doubtless a very transitory
phenomenon. Nevertheless, it has a priority over polygyny in so far as
it first furnishes the motives for the additional practice, and thus
for the very origin, of the latter.

As a matter of fact, the ethnological distribution of the forms
of marriage entirely confirms, as a general rule, the truth of
this diagram. Even in Australia the phenomena of Pirrauru and of
group-marriage are confined particularly to the southern regions. In
the northerly regions, where immigration and racial fusion have played
a greater rôle, both monogamy and polygyny may be found. The same is
true of America and of Africa, monogamy decidedly predominating in
the former and polygyny in the latter. The influence of marriage by
purchase then constantly becomes stronger, with the result that the
woman comes to be regarded from the point of view of property. The rich
man is able to buy more wives than the poor man. In all polygynous
countries and fields of culture, therefore, even in the present domain
of Islamism, the poor man, as a rule, lives in monogamy, the rich man
in polygyny. Only the wealthiest and most aristocratic allow themselves
a real harem with a considerable number of wives.

Linked with these influences is yet a further change. Its beginnings
are to be found as early as Australian culture; in America, it has
progressed somewhat farther; in the other regions of totemism, it has
finally succeeded in crowding out the original conditions with the
exception of meagre remnants and survivals of customs. The change to
which I refer is the _transition from maternal descent_, which, in all
probability, was originally universal, _to paternal descent_. Maternal
descent is in direct harmony with the natural feeling that the children
who are born of the mother, and whose early care rests with her alone,
should also belong to her. In this sense, mother-right represents the
earliest of all conceptions of property. At the same time it precludes
the possibility of that marriage which was avoided even by primitive
man, and which, on higher cultural levels, is abhorred beyond all the
other unions forbidden by the exogamous norms of custom--marriage
between son and mother. The decisive external factor in connection with
maternal descent, however, is the subordinate position of the family
as compared with the association of the age-companions of the same
sex, particularly the men's club. Because of its tribal struggles,
whose increasing importance is externally reflected in the character
of the weapon, it is precisely the totemic era that tends to loosen
the natural family ties of the preceding primitive age, and, as a
result, to allot the child to the mother. This tendency is clearly
expressed in certain transitional phenomena that may occasionally
be observed; they occur more frequently in Melanesia and America,
however, than in Australia. The child, in these cases, inherits the
totem of the mother as well as that of the father; or the son, though
continuing to inherit the totem of the mother, nevertheless passes
over into the clan of the father. These are intermediate phenomena,
preparatory to the general transition from maternal to paternal
descent. At the same time, the fact that membership is inherited in the
paternal clan, in spite of the custom whereby the mother determines
the totem, directly suggests that the bond uniting the men may become
a force which counteracts maternal descent and then readily leads to
paternal descent. This transition is bound to occur, particularly
under the co-operation of other favouring conditions. Such conditions,
as a matter of fact, are present; for social organization gains an
increasing influence upon the whole of life's relations. There are
primarily _three_ factors that militate against the original custom
of maternal descent. The first of these consists in the increasing
authority of the man over his family, particularly over the son, who
was generally subject to stricter regulations than was the daughter.
This authority begins to manifest itself at that time, especially,
when the man's relations with his family again become closer, and the
associations which originally embraced, without exception, all the men
of the clan, are displaced by family groups subject to the control of
a family elder. Coincident with these changes and with the resulting
transition to a patriarchal order, there occurs also the gradual
dissolution of the general system of totemic tribal organization. Now,
the system of maternal descent was closely bound up with totemic tribal
organization from the very beginning. With the disappearance of the
latter, therefore, the former loses its power of resistance against the
forces making for its destruction. Finally, as a third factor, there
is the gradually increasing prominence of personal property. Just as
the wife becomes the property of the man, so also does the child. So
great was this emphasis of the property conception, combined with the
notion of authority, that even among the Romans the _pater familias_
had power extending over the life of his children. Beginnings of such
conceptions, however, are to be found even in more primitive societies.
Polynesian custom, for example, permitted the murder of new-born
children, and free advantage was taken of the permission. Only after
the child had lived for a short time was infanticide prohibited. The
decision, however, as to whether or not the child should be allowed to
live rested primarily with the father.


Our discussions thus far have been restricted to those aspects of
totemism which are directly related to tribal organization. But however
important these phases may be, particularly in so far as they affect
marriage regulations, they are, after all, but an external indication
of the all-pervading influence of totemism upon life as a whole.
Moreover, tribal totemism leaves many things unexplained, especially
the origin of totemic belief. At any rate, the fact that totem groups
were originally cult associations unmistakably points to inner motives
of which the influence of totemism upon tribal organization and upon
exogamy is but the outer expression. To answer the question concerning
the nature of these motives, however, we must first call to mind
the various sorts of totemic ideas. An analysis of these ideas may
proceed in either of _two_ directions. It may concern itself either
with the _social unit_ that regards itself as in relation to the
totem or with the nature of the _object_ that constitutes the totem.
So far as the social unit is concerned, it may be a particular group
of individuals--whether constituting a cult association independent
of the real tribal organization, as in Australia, or, as in America,
representing one of the tribal divisions themselves--that takes the
name of a particular animal or, less frequently, of a plant for its
totemic designation. The individual, however, may also possess a
personal totem. Furthermore, the totemic idea may be associated with
the birth of an individual, conception being regarded as an act in
which the totem ancestor passes over into the germ as a magic being.
This particular form of totemic belief is generally known as conception
totemism. It supposes either that the totem ancestor co-operates with
the father in the begetting of the child or that the father has no
connection with procreation, the child being the direct offspring of
the mother and the totem ancestor. There is, finally, also a fourth,
though a relatively uncommon, form of totemism, generally called 'sex
totemism.' Sex totemism also is social in nature, though in this case
it is not different cult or tribal associations that possess separate
totems, but the sexes, the men and women of a tribe or clan. The men
have a totem, as have also the women, or there may be several totems
for each sex.

Intercrossing with this classification based on the social factor, on
whether the totem is associated with the tribe, the individual, or the
procreation of the individual, there is a second classification. The
latter concerns itself with the nature of the objects that are regarded
as totems. These objects are of various sorts. Here again, moreover,
we must doubtless recognize a development in totemic conceptions. The
original totem, and the one that is by far the most common, is the
animal. Numerous peoples possess no totems except animals. In many
communities, however, plant totems have been adopted, and in certain
regions they have gradually become predominant. Of the plant totems,
the most important are the nutritious plants. In addition to these
two classes of totemic objects, there is, finally, another, though
an exceedingly rare, sort of totem. The totem that is conceived as
an animal ancestor may give way to other fanciful ancestral ideas or
may intercross with them. Various forms of such phenomena are to be
found, particularly in Australia. In this region, such ancestors,
which, doubtless, are for the most part regarded as anthropomorphic,
are sometimes called Mura-mura or also Alcheringa. They are apparently
imaged as mighty human beings possessed of magic powers. They are
believed to have introduced totemism and to have instructed the
forbears of the Australians in magic ceremonies. Mura-mura is the name
that occurs especially in Southern Australia; the term, Alcheringa,
prevails in the north, where the age of these mythical ancestors is
often directly referred to as the Alcheringa age. At times, apparently,
it is believed that these ancestors merely singled out as totems
certain already existing animals. In other cases, however, animals, as
well as mankind, are held to have been created by the magic-working
beings out of formless matter, doubtless earth. It is commonly believed
that the creatures that were thus created were at first lifeless, but
became animals and men when placed in the sun. These various ideas are
for the most part so intertangled in Australian legend that no coherent
history of creation is anywhere discoverable. The legends plainly
embody merely a number of detached fanciful ideas.

Closely connected with these original ancestors there is a third sort
of totem or of totemic objects which we may briefly designate as
_inanimate_. The objects are regarded as possessing magical powers and
as having been bequeathed by the original ancestors, thus representing
a legacy of the magical Alcheringa age. It is particularly stones and
pieces of wood that are held to be the abode of these totemic spirits
and that are represented by legend as having at one time been entrusted
to the custody of the forefathers. These ideas abound particularly in
northern Australia, where the magical objects are called churingas
(or tjurungas). Churingas play an important rôle in the ceremonies of
the totem festivals. For the most part, they consist of symmetrically
shaped stones, somewhat similar to the boomerang; yet other objects
also may be found, particularly such as are somehow striking in
form. These churingas are also associated with other totemic ideas,
particularly with conception totemism. The original ancestor is
supposed to continue his existence, as it were, in the churinga, so
that when this comes into contact with the mother he may pass over
directly into the child.

If, now, we compare with each other the two extreme forms of the first
class of totemic ideas--namely, _tribal_ and _individual totemism_--we
at once face the question, Which is the earlier, the original form?
The ideas connected with the individual totem are certainly much
more widely disseminated than is tribal totemism. Guardian spirits,
particularly demoniacal, protective animals, may be found in many
regions of the earth where there is little or no trace of the tribal
totem. This is true especially of many regions of North America and
of southern Africa, and likewise of numerous islands of Oceania. In
these localities the individual totem is sometimes regarded as a sort
of double of the individual person. If the totem animal dies, the man
whose totem it is must also die. Closely related to this conception
are a vast number of ideas reaching far down into later mythology,
particularly into Germanic lore--ideas according to which the soul of
a man lies hidden in some external object, perhaps in a plant or in an
animal, and, when this vehicle of the soul is destroyed, the man, or
the god or demon who has assumed human form, must die.

In these various modifications, _individual totemism_ is doubtless
more widespread than is tribal totemism. Nevertheless, this by no
means implies that the latter developed from the former. On the
contrary, both may possibly be equally original, grounded as they
are in universal human motives that run parallel and independent
courses. For this very reason, however, it is also possible that
tribal totemism is the older form, for on somewhat higher cultural
levels it recedes in favour of the belief in protective spirits
of individuals. In questions such as this it is helpful to adduce
parallels from later cults whose mode of origin is more familiar. In
the present instance, leaving out of account the animal ideas, the
two forms of totemism are closely analogous to the Roman Catholic
worship of saints. The saints also are regarded partly as guardians
of communities and partly as personal protectors. Thus, on the one
hand, we have the patrons of cities, of monasteries, of vocations,
and of classes; on the other hand, the individual also may possess a
particular patron saint. We know of a certainty, however, that the
patron saints of individuals did not antecede those of the Church
itself. It was this most inclusive community that first elected the
saints, whereupon smaller groups and finally individuals, guided by
motives that were frequently quite external, selected specific patron
saints from among the number of ecclesiastical saints. When the Church
set apart a certain day of the year for the particular worship of one
of its saints, this day was called by the name of the saint; to those
individuals who were named after him, the day became sacred. Thus, the
patron saint of the individual appeared later than the more universal
saint. This order of development, moreover, is in harmony with the
general nature of custom, language, and myth, according to which the
individual succeeds the universal; only secondarily may the process
occasionally be reversed. Usually, however, it is cult associations
and their common cult objects that are first in origin. Our contention
is unaffected by the fact that individual cult objects, as well as
individual totems, may continue to survive after tribal cults and
tribal totems have disappeared. For the need of a personal protector is
generally much more permanent than are the social conditions that gave
it birth. Again we may find verification in the analogous development
of saint worship. Nowadays the patron saints of the vocations, classes,
and cities have more and more passed into oblivion. Among the Roman
Catholic rural population, however, the individual still frequently
has his patron saint, and, even where the saint has disappeared, the
celebration of the 'name-day' has been retained. It is particularly
in the religious realm that personal need gains a greater and greater
ascendancy over community need. Everything seems to indicate that
such a change took place even within totemism, especially under the
influence of the gradual dissolution of the original totemic tribal
organization--a change analogous to that which occurred in the case
of saint worship as a result of the decay of mediæval guilds. These
arguments, of course, cannot lay claim to more than probability. No one
can show how the individual totem developed out of the group totem.
Certain indications, however, suggest that the above was the course of
development. In Australia, the stronghold of original tribal totemism,
a youth is frequently given a personal totem, in addition to the tribal
totem, upon the occasion of his initiation into manhood. The personal
totem is frequently a matter of secrecy, being known only to the
medicine-men or to the elders of the tribe. The fact that this is true
indicates that such a personal totem possesses no public significance
and, moreover, that it is probably bound up with the idea that the
real essence of a man is contained in his name, just as it is in his
picture, so that the mere speaking of the name might bring harm to the
person. It is doubtless probable, therefore, that, after groups came to
be formed within the primitive horde, they were at once bound together
by relations of cult. As Australian conditions indicate, the origin
of totems in the sense of cult groups is at least as old as tribal
organization, if not older.

The same cannot be said of the much more remarkable, though also rarer,
forms of totemism, _conception_ and _sex totemism_. The former of these
may be regarded as a modification of individual totemism, inasmuch as
it relates to the procreation of the individual. However, it also forms
a sort of intermediate stage between tribal and individual totemism.
A woman receives the totem of the child on a specific occasion, of
which she usually has knowledge. Among the Aranda, the conception
may occur at any place whatsoever; among the Warramunga, the woman
retires to a certain spot, the totem place, where the ancestral spirits
dwell. Either during the day or, especially, during the night and
in sleep, the spirit of the ancestor passes over into her. The word
'spirit,' which is employed by English writers, is not, of course, an
accurate rendering of the Australian term, and may easily lead to a
misconception. The German missionary Strehlow has probably done better
in using the word 'germ.' The germ of the child is thought to pass over
into the body of the mother independently of any act of the father,
or, at most, the participation of the latter is held to be merely
secondary, and not essential.

Adherents of the theory of original promiscuity have interpreted these
ideas also as a survival of unrestrained sexual conditions, and thus
as indicative of the fact that paternity was at one time unknown. A
closer acquaintance with the phenomena, however, shows that this can
scarcely be the case. Thus, the idea of the Warramunga that it is the
totem ancestors of a woman's husband and not those of any other man
that pass over into her, clearly presupposes a state of marriage, as
does also the further fact that these same tribes reckon descent in
the line of the father and not in that of the mother. Moreover, the
passing of the totem ancestor into the woman is generally accompanied
by magical ceremonies, such as the swinging of bull-roarers, or contact
with churingas. Or, the totem ancestor may appear to the woman in
sleep or in a waking vision. On the Banks Islands, strange to say, we
find conception totemism without any trace of tribal totemism. The
manner of reception of the totem ancestor also differs; the woman eats
of the flesh of her husband's totem animal, which, since there is no
tribal totemism, is in this case a personal, protective totem. Thus,
conception totemism represents something of an exception in that the
eating of the totem is not forbidden, as it generally is, but rather
constitutes a sort of cult act, as it also does in certain other cases.
In Australia, moreover, conception totemism is to be found only among
several of the northern tribes, to whom it may at one time have come
from Melanesia. Because of the primitive nature of the ideas connected
with conception totemism, particularly when, as among the Aranda, the
husband is ignored and it is believed that conception is mediated
only by the totem ancestor, the northern tribes just referred to have
sometimes been regarded as the most primitive. There are some writers,
on the other hand, by whom the possibility of such ideas is denied on
the ground that these very tribes must be familiar with the process
of procreation in the animal world. But this does not prove the case.
When, however, we learn that the older men of the tribe themselves no
longer entertain the belief in magical generation, particularly as the
exclusive factor, whereas, on the other hand, this is still taught to
the young men, and especially to the children, we may well call to mind
our own childish notions about the stork that brings the babies. Why
might something similar not occur among the Australians, and the belief
possibly retain credence somewhat beyond the age of childhood?

Sex totemism, similarly to conception totemism, is also of somewhat
limited distribution, and seems to occur principally in those regions
where tribal totemism proper is lacking or is at least strongly
recedent. Among the Kurnai of southern Australia, for example, no
tribal totemism has been discovered, though sex totemism occurs and
actually forms the basis of certain marriage ceremonies. Sex totemism
probably has its origin in the individual totem, especially in the
appearance of this totem in dreams. If, after such a totem has appeared
to an individual man or woman, it is then adopted by others of the
same sex, specific sex totems may well come into being, particularly
under the influence of the separate associations of men and women.
It is also significant that in the case of sex totemism nocturnal
animals predominate. The totem of the women is usually the bat; that
of the men, the owl. This fact is indicative of a dream origin and of
a genesis from the individual totem. Diurnal birds may, of course,
also appear in dreams. Whether or not this occurs depends solely upon
concomitant circumstances. At the stage of culture, however, when man
is accustomed to sleep in the open, it is probable that the nocturnal
birds which circle about him will also appear in his dreams. A further
characteristic phenomenon of the regions where sex totemism prevails,
is the manner in which marriage is consummated. In this case also, the
woman eats of the totem of the man. This causes a struggle between the
man and the woman, which is really a mere mock-fight ending with an
offer of reconciliation on the part of the man. With this, the marriage
is concluded. Such customs likewise point back to individual totemism
as their original source, and probably also to marriage by capture.
The fact that tribal totemism everywhere receded with the dominance
of individual totems, explains why sex and tribal totemism seem to be
mutually exclusive. Of the two rare forms of totemism, accordingly,
it is probable that conception totemism was the earlier, and that
sex totemism belongs to a relatively late stage of development. A
further indication of the primitive nature of conception totemism is
to be found in the fact that the Aranda possess a tribal organization
in which the grouping of totems to form clan divisions follows a
principle which elsewhere obtains only in the case of the two tribal
halves. Two clans, A and B, that enjoy exogamous relations with each
other, do not have different totem groups, as they do among all other
tribes; their totem groups are largely the same. Among the Aranda,
therefore, a man of one totem may, under certain circumstances, marry a
woman of the same totem, provided only she belongs to the other clan.
True, phenomena are not lacking--such particularly as those of plant
totems, to be mentioned below, and the ceremonial festivals connected
with them--which indicate that these northern tribes were affected by
Papuan immigrations and by race-mixture. But influences of this kind
are the less apt to lead to the submergence of primitive views and
customs according as they are instrumental, particularly when they
are operative at an early age, in maintaining conditions which might
otherwise possibly disappear as a result of further development.

The _second_ mode of classifying the forms of totemism is based on
the _objects_ which are used as totems and leads to an essentially
different analysis of totem beliefs. Each of the forms which the
classification distinguishes is, of course, also subsumable under one
of the kinds of totemism already discussed. The earliest totem objects,
as has already been mentioned, are without doubt _animals_. In America,
as in Australia, there are practically no totems except animals; in
other places also it is the animal that plays the principal rôle in
totemic mythology. In part, the animal continues to remain predominant
even after the age of actual totemism has passed. Nevertheless, _plant
totemism_ has found its way into certain regions. Here also the facts
are most clearly traceable in Australia, our most important source of
information regarding the history of the development of totemic ideas.
In southern Australia, there are no totems except animals; towards the
north, plant totems gradually begin to make their appearance, until
finally, among the most northerly peoples of central Australia, such
totems have the dominance. Plant totems, moreover, are also found
particularly in Melanesia, from which place they might easily have
come to Australia across the chain of islands which extends from New
Guinea to the north coast of the island-continent. That plants play
an unusually large rôle in the regions of Oceania, in connection with
totemism as well as otherwise, is directly due to external conditions.
These islands are poor in fauna; true, they possess great numbers
of birds, but these are of little value to the hunter. On the other
hand, they have a luxuriant flora. From early times on, therefore, it
is chiefly the plant world that has been the centre of interest and
that has left its stamp upon myth and custom. Clearly, plant totemism
had its origin on these islands. From them it was introduced into
Australia, where it combined with animal totemism. But the regions
into which plant totemism was introduced underwent a great change
in their totemic cults. It is probably only with the appearance of
plant totems that those cult ceremonies arose which are celebrated,
not, as the festivals of tribal totemism originally were, mainly at
the adolescence of youths, but primarily for the sake of effecting a
_multiplication of the totems_. Annually, at stated times, the members
of allied clans unite in magical ceremonies and cult dances, the
well-known 'corroborees,' as they are called by those who practise
them. The primary aim of such cults is to bring about by magical means
an increase of the totem plants and animals. Doubtless we may regard
it as highly probable that this ceremony represents a borrowing on the
part of animal totemism from plant totemism. For the hunter, similarly,
desires that there be a very great abundance of game animals. Yet it
is mainly plants that are the object of concern--a concern caused by
the changes in weather, with its incalculable oscillations between
life-bringing rain and the withering glare of the sun. These are
the motives that find expression in the festivals designed for the
multiplication of the totems, the 'Intichiuma' festivals. The motives
to these ancient cults still frequently find their counterparts in the
customs of the cultural peoples of the present. When, in times of a
long drought, processions pass over the fields and supplicate Heaven
for rain, as occurs even to-day in some regions, we certainly have an
analogous phenomenon. The only difference is that the Australian tribes
invoke their totems instead of Heaven; they call upon the plants which
are to increase and upon the animals which are to be available for
hunting, with the aim of thus exercising a magical influence upon them.

In connection with the Australian ceremonies designed to multiply the
food plants and game animals, we come upon still a _third_ kind of
totem objects. They differ from those of the two preceding classes
in that they are not regarded as independent totems, but merely as
vehicles of the same sort of magical power as is possessed by animal
and plant totems. In distinction from the latter, we may briefly call
them _inanimate totems_. They consist of stones and sticks. These are
utilized as magical objects in the Australian Intichiuma festivals, and
also, under the above-mentioned name of 'churingas,' in connection with
conception totemism. They differ from animate totems in that the latter
are in themselves endowed with magical properties, whereas the former
are always held to derive these powers from living magicians, from the
anthropomorphic or zoömorphic ancestors of antiquity. These magicians
are thought to have transmitted the objects to later generations for
the use of the latter in the practice of magic. Thus, the churingas
have a peculiar status, intermediate between magical beings and magical
implements. They are carefully preserved because--as is indicated by
their use in connection with conception totemism--they are regarded
as legacies left by ancestors; moreover, they are also supposed to
harbour the demoniacal power of these ancestors. One of the factors
determining the selection of these objects is doubtless generally their
shape, which is frequently of a striking nature, such as to arouse
astonishment. Ejected into the object itself, this astonishment becomes
a wonder-working power. Later, the desire to secure such magical means
of aid may become a supplementary factor in the selection of these
objects, and, as widespread phenomena of a similar nature show, may
eventually suffice of itself to constitute an object the bearer of
magical powers. Thus, it is these inanimate vehicles of a magic derived
from totem ancestors, that form the transition from the totem object to
the so-called _fetish_.

Each of the three kinds of totem objects just described, the plant
totem, the animal totem, and the totemic fetish, may assert itself in
connection with the three above-mentioned social forms of totemism.
Moreover, the three kinds of objects may also, to a certain extent,
combine with one another. For, though the animal is very commonly
the only totem, plant totems never occur except in connection with
animal totems, even though there are certain conditions under which
they attain the dominance. Finally, the totemic fetish is always
associated in totemic regions with animal and plant totems, and is also
closely connected with the idea, even here permeating totemic belief,
that there were anthropomorphic ancestors who left these fetishes as
magic-working legacies. Thus, totemism passes over, on the one hand,
into ancestor-worship, and, on the other, into fetishism, with which
it combines, particularly in the 'Intichiuma' festivals, to form a
composite cult. Tribal totemism is the source of the individual totem;
the latter, probably as a result of animistic ideas that displace
tribal totemism, gives rise, as an occasional offshoot, to the sex
totem. This is the conclusion to which we are led by the fact that the
choice of the sex totem is influenced by the dream. The last important
product of individual totemism, in combination with tribal totemism, is
an incipient ancestor worship, which is accompanied by peculiar forms
of fetishism. In view of its origin, we may perhaps refer to this cult
as 'totemic fetishism.' The following diagram illustrates this genetic

                   Tribal and Animal Totemism
                     /                  \
Tribal Totemism--Animal                Individual Animal
     and Plant Totemism                Totemism
                      \                /   |
                      Ancestor Worship   Sex Totemism
                      Totemic Fetishism


We have attempted to trace the succession of the various forms of
totemism by reference to the characteristics which these forms reveal.
Closely connected with this problem is the question concerning the
origin of totemic ideas. With respect to this question, however,
widely different hypotheses have been proposed. Of these, those that
belong to an earlier stage of our ethnological knowledge concerning
this subject can here receive but brief mention. Herbert Spencer held
that the entire institution of totemism arose out of the totem names
of individuals, such, for example, as wolf, deer, eagle, or, among
the Australians, emu, kangaroo, etc. These animal names, according
to him, were at first perhaps nicknames, such as are occasionally to
be found even to-day. Out of the individual totem arose the tribal
totem. The name then became identical with the thing itself--that is,
with the animal, which thus became a protective and ancestral animal.
Though rejecting the idea that the origin of totemism is to be found
in nicknames and epithets, Andrew Lang retained the belief that the
name was primary, and that the substitution of the animal or the plant
for the name occurred only later. This theory is not so strange as
it might appear. As a matter of fact, it is quite characteristic of
primitive thought closely to associate a name and its object. Primitive
man regards his name as a part of himself; this idea is similar to that
which underlies the terror that he sometimes manifests when a sketch
is made of him, a terror due to the belief that a part of his soul
is being carried away in the picture of the artist. And yet there is
_prima facie_ little probability that a phenomenon so widely prevalent
and so highly ramified as totemism could have its source in a fact of
this kind, which is, after all, only incidental. Moreover, in one of
the chief centres of tribal totemism, in the eastern part of North
America, as, for example, among the Iroquois, we find very clearly
defined personal names. These names, however, are never identical
with those of the totems, nor even, as a rule, with those of animals.
Sometimes they are borrowed from the names of flowers, although there
are no plant totems in America; or, they are flattering appellatives
such as we still find in higher civilizations. Moreover, there is no
indication that they ever came to be used for the designation of totems.

The view held by Howitt and by Spencer and Gillen, scholars deserving
of high esteem for their knowledge of Australian totemism, is an
essentially different one. In their opinions, it is the conditions of
a hunting life that are reflected in totemic beliefs. They maintain
that the animals of the chase were the first to become totem animals.
Wherever plant food gained great importance, plant totems were then
added. The evidence for this view is based mainly on those Intichiuma
ceremonies and festivals by means of which the Australians aim to
secure a multiplication of the totems. In these festivals, for example,
grass seed is scattered broadcast by members of the grass seed totem,
or a huge lizard is formed of clay by the members of the lizard totem,
and pieces of it are strewn about. These are magic ceremonies that,
in a certain sense, anticipate the sowing and harvest festivals of
later times. The only difference consists in the fact that these
primitive magic usages are not directed to the rain-bringing clouds or
to celestial deities in petition for a blessing upon the crops, but to
the objects themselves, to the animals and plants. Magic powers are
ascribed to the latter; by virtue of these powers they are to multiply
themselves. In regions where sowing and harvest do not as yet exist,
but where man gains his food solely by gathering that which the earth
of itself brings forth, such festivals and ceremonies are to a certain
extent the natural precursors of the later vegetation festivals.

In view of these facts, the hypothesis of the above-mentioned
investigators seems to have much in its favour. There is a very
important consideration, however, that obviously speaks against it. It
is highly probable that these very ceremonies for the multiplication
of totem objects are not indigenous to Australia, the chief centre of
totemism, but that they, along with the plant totem, were introduced
from without. These plant totems, as was remarked above, appear to
have come from the Melanesian Islands, where the animal totem plays a
small rôle, because the fauna is meagre and man is dependent in great
measure upon plant food. Besides animal and particularly bird totems,
therefore, which also occur on the Melanesian Islands, we find plant
totems throughout the whole of northern Australia. These totems, as we
may suppose, are the result of Papuan immigrations, to which are due
also other objects of Melanesian culture to be found in the Australian
continent. In the south, where there are no totems other than animals,
Intichiuma ceremonies receive small emphasis. In entire harmony with
our contentions are the conditions in America, where no festivals
of this sort are connected with the totems themselves; an analogous
significance is gained only later by the great vegetation festivals,
and these presuppose agriculture, together with the beginnings of a
celestial mythology.

In more recent times, therefore, Frazer, whose great work, "Totemism
and Exogamy," has assembled the richest collection of facts concerning
totemic culture, has turned to an essentially different theory. He
traces all forms of totemism back to conception totemism. Since the
latter, as we have already stated, probably arose out of individual
totemism, we are again confronted by an individualistic view, much as
in the hypothesis of the origin from names. Frazer derives conception
totemism from the dreams which mothers are supposed occasionally to
have experienced before the birth of a child. The animal appearing in
such a dream is thought to have become the totem or guardian animal of
the child. But, though conception totemism, as well as sex totemism,
may possibly have some connection with such phenomena--the fact that
the animals here concerned are chiefly nocturnal animals suggests that
such may be the case--totemism as a whole may, nevertheless, scarcely
be derived from dreams. Still less can this hypothesis be harmonized
with the fact that conception totemism is an anomaly. The ideas centred
about it are but of rare occurrence within the system of totemic
culture as a whole. Moreover, as Frazer also has assumed, they never
appear except as an offshoot of individual totemism, and this in turn,
when viewed in all its phases, cannot be regarded otherwise than as a
product of tribal totemism. In its reference to the dream, however,
this hypothesis may perhaps contain an element of truth, inasmuch as
it involves ideas that obviously play an important rôle in totemism.
This is shown particularly by reference to the totem animals that are
found most commonly in Australia, and that suggest a relation between
totemism and animistic ideas of the soul.

As a matter of fact, the totem is already itself the embodiment of a
soul. Either the soul of an ancestor or that of a protective being
is regarded as incorporated in the animal. The other totems, such
as plants or totem fetishes (churingas), are obviously derivative
phenomena, and the same is true of those legendary beings that inhabit
the churingas as spirits, or that gave them to the ancestors for the
purposes of magic. Now, originally, the totem was probably always
an animal. But a survey of the great mass of animistic conceptions
prevalent in all parts of the world shows that in this case also it
is particularly the animal that is represented as capable of becoming
the receptacle of a human soul after death. Animals, of course, are
not all equally suited to this purpose. Some are more apt than others
to be regarded as soul animals, particularly such as are characterized
by rapid movement, flight through the air, or by other features that
arouse surprise or uncanny dread. Thus, even in the popular belief
of to-day, it is especially the snake, the lizard, and the mouse, in
addition to the birds, that are counted among the soul animals. If,
now, with these facts in mind, we cast a glance over the list of totem
animals, we are at once struck by the fact that the most common among
them are soul animals. In Australia, we find the hawk, the crow, and
the lizard; in America, the eagle, the falcon, and the snake.

In respect to these ideas, the totemic age marks an important
turning-point in the history of soul conceptions. Primitive man regards
that which we have succinctly called the 'corporeal soul' (p. 82) as
the principal, and perhaps originally as the only, soul. At death,
the soul is believed to remain in the body, wherefore primitive man
flees in terror from the corpse. Even at this stage, of course, we
occasionally find traces of a different idea. The soul may also be
regarded as active outside of the body, in the form of a demoniacal
being. But as yet these ideas are generally fluctuating and undefined.
There then comes a change, dependent, just as are the other cultural
transformations, on the strife and warfare arising as a result of
tribal migrations. This change, as we may suppose, is due to the
fact that tribal struggles bring with them the impressive spectacle
of sudden death. One who is killed in battle exhibits the contrast
between life and death so directly that, even though the belief in
the continued existence of the soul within the body still survives,
it nevertheless permits the co-presence of other more advanced
conceptions. Thus _two_ sets of ideas come to be developed. On the
one hand, the soul is believed to depart with the blood. In place of
the entire body, therefore, the blood comes to be the chief vehicle
of the soul. Blood magic, which by itself constitutes an extensive
chapter in the history of magic beliefs, and which is prevalent in all
periods of culture, has its source in this conception. Further factors
then enter into the development. In addition to the blood, the inner
parts of the body, which are exposed in cases of violent death, become
vehicles of the soul. The idea of the sudden departure of the soul
is then transferred from the one who is killed to the dying person in
general. With the exhalation of his last breath, his soul is thought
to depart from him. The soul is therefore conceived as a moving form,
particularly as an animal, a bird, a rapidly gliding snake, or a lizard.

In dealing, later, with the soul conceptions of the totemic age, we
will consider these several motives in their independent influence
as well as in their reciprocal action upon one another. Here we can
touch upon them only in so far as they harbour the sources of totemism
itself. But in this connection two facts are of decisive importance.
In the first place, the original totem, and the one which continues
to remain most common, is the animal; and, secondly, the earliest
totem animals are identical with soul animals. But in addition to soul
animals, other animals also may later readily come to be regarded
as totems, particularly such as continually claim man's attention,
as, for example, game animals. Thus, the soul motives are brought
into interplay with other influences, springing in part from the
emotions associated with the search for daily food, though primarily
with success or failure in the chase. As a result, the soul motives
obviously become less prominent, and the totem animal, freed from this
association, acquires its own peculiar significance, which fluctuates
between the ancestral idea and that of a protective demon. The concern
for food, which was at first operative only as a secondary motive, was
heightened in certain localities where the natural environment was
poor, and, with the influx of immigrant tribes, it assumed ever greater
prominence. In this way, plant totems came to be added to animal
totems; finally, as a result of certain relations of these two totems
to inanimate objects, there arose a fetishistic offshoot of totemism.
This again brought totemism into close connection with ancestor ideas,
and contributed also towards the transition from animal to human

Thus, then, totemic ideas arise as a result of the diremption of
primitive soul ideas into the _corporeal soul_ and the _breath-_ and
_shadow-soul_. That the two latter are associated, is proven also by
the history of totemism. Folk belief, even down to the present, holds
that the soul of the dying person issues in his last breath and that it
possesses the form of an animal. The soul of one who has recently died,
however, appears primarily in dreams and as a phantom form. Now, the
totem animal has its genesis in the transformation of the breath-soul
into an animal. The shadow-soul of the dream, moreover, exercises
an influence on individual totemism, as it does also on conception
totemism and on sex totemism.

Thus, totemism is directly connected with the belief in souls--that
is to say, with _animism_. It represents that branch of animism which
exercised a long-continuing influence on the tribal organization as
well as on the beliefs of peoples. But before turning to these final
aspects of totemism and their further developments, it is necessary to
consider another group of ideas which, in their beginnings, occupied
an important place within the circle of totemic beliefs. The ideas to
which I refer are those connected with the custom of _taboo_.


It is a significant fact that 'totem' and 'taboo' are concepts for
which our cultural languages possess no adequate words. Both these
terms are taken from the languages of so-called natural peoples,
'totem' from an idiom of the North American Indians, and 'taboo'
from the Polynesian languages. The word 'totem' is as yet relatively
uncommon in literature, with the exception of books on ethnology and
folk psychology; the word 'taboo,' on the other hand, is much in use.
A thing is called taboo when it may not be touched, or when it must
be avoided for some reason, whether because of its peculiar sanctity
or contrariwise because its harmful influence renders it 'impure,'
defiling every one who comes into contact with it. Thus, two opposing
ideas are combined in the conception of taboo: the idea of the sacred
as something to be avoided because of its sanctity, and that of the
impure or loathsome, which must be avoided because of its repulsive or
harmful nature. These ideas combine in the conception of _fear_. There
is, indeed, one sort of fear which we call _awe_, and another termed
_aversion_. Now, the history of taboo ideas leaves no doubt that in
this case awe and aversion sprang from the same source. That which
aroused aversion at a later age was in the totemic period chiefly an
object of awe, or, at any rate, of fear--that is, of a feeling in which
aversion and awe were still undifferentiated. That which is designated
by the simplest word [_Scheu_] is also earliest in origin; awe
[_Ehrfurcht_] and aversion [_Abscheu_] developed from fear [_Scheu_].

If, now, we associate the term 'taboo' in a general way with an object
that arouses fear, the earliest object of taboo seems to have been the
totem animal. One of the most elemental of totemic ideas and customs
consists in the fact that the members of a totem group are prohibited
from eating the flesh of the totem, and sometimes also from hunting the
totem animal. This prohibition, of course, can have originated only
in a general feeling of fear, as a result of which the members of a
totemic group are restrained from eating or killing the totem animal.
In many regions, where the culture, although already totemic, is,
nevertheless, primitive, the totem animal appears to be the only object
of taboo. This fact alone makes it probable that totemism lies at the
basis of taboo ideas. The protective animal of the individual long
survived the tribal totem and sometimes spread to far wider regions.
Similarly, the taboo, though closely related to tribal organization
in origin, underwent further developments which continued after the
totemic ideas from which it sprang had either entirely disappeared or
had, at any rate, vanished with the exception of meagre traces. This
accounts for the fact that it is not in Australia, the original home
of the totem, that we find the chief centre of taboo customs, nor in
Melanesian territory, where the totem is still fairly common, nor in
North America, but in Polynesia.

It is in Polynesia, therefore, that we can most clearly trace the
spread of taboo ideas beyond their original starting-point. The taboo
of animals is here only incidental; man himself is the primary object
of taboo--not every individual, but the privileged ones, the superiors,
the priest, the chieftain. Closely related to the fact that man is
thus held taboo, is the development of chieftainship and the gradual
growth of class differences. The higher class becomes taboo to the
lower class. This fear is then carried over from the man himself to
his possessions. The property of the nobleman is taboo to every other
person. The taboo has not merely the force of a police law, similar
to that whereby, in other localities, men of superior rank prohibit
entrance to their parks; it is a religious law, whose transgression
is eventually punished by death. It is particularly the chief and his
property that are objects of taboo. Where the taboo regulations were
strict, no one was allowed to venture close to the chief or even to
speak his name. Thus, the taboo might become an intolerable constraint.
In Hawaii, the chief was not allowed to raise his own food to his
mouth, for he was taboo and his contact with the food rendered this
also taboo. Hence the Hawaian chief was obliged to have a servant feed
him. The objects which he touched became taboo to all individuals. In
short, he became the very opposite of a despotic ruler, namely, the
slave of a despotic custom.

From the individual person, the taboo was further extended to
localities, houses, and lands. A member of the aristocratic class
might render taboo not only his movable property but also his land.
The temple, in particular, was taboo, and, together with the priests,
it retained this character longer than any other object. The taboo
concerned with the eating of certain animals, however, also remained
in force for a long time. Though these animals were at first avoided
as sacred, the taboo of the sacred, in this case, later developed into
that of the impure. Thus, this conception recurs, in a sense, to its
beginning. For the fear that is associated with the animals which the
totem group regards as sacred, is here combined with the fear that the
eating of the flesh is harmful. Sickness or even death is believed to
follow a transgression of such a taboo regulation. Even in its original
home, however, the taboo assumes wider forms. It subjects to its
influence the demon-ideas that reach back even to pretotemic times. The
corpse particularly, and the sick person also, are held taboo because
of the demoniacal magic proceeding from them. Likewise the priest and
the chief are taboo, because of their sacredness. Thus, the taboo gains
a circle of influence that widens according as totemic ideas proper
recede. The taboo which the upper classes placed upon their property
had come to be such a preponderant factor in Polynesian custom that
the first investigators of these regions believed the taboo in general
to be chiefly an institution whereby the rich aimed to protect their
property by taking advantage of the superstition of the masses.

One of the most remarkable extensions of the scope of taboo is the
_taboo which rests on relations by marriage._ The history of exogamy,
whose earliest stages are represented by the totemic marriage laws of
the Australians, clearly teaches that the aversion to marriage between
blood relations was not the cause but at most, to a great extent, the
effect of exogamous customs that everywhere reach back into a distant
past. But there is a second class of marriage prohibitions, and this
likewise has found a place even in present-day legislation--the
prohibition of unions between relations by marriage. Such prohibitions
are from the very beginning outside the pale of exogamous laws.
Indeed, it is clear that all unions of this sort--such, for example,
as are forbidden by our present laws--were permitted by the totem and
clan exogamy of the Australians and that of the American Indians. In
the case of maternal descent, the group from which a man must select
his wife included his mother-in-law as well as his wife. Similarly,
in the case of paternal descent, the husband and father-in-law were
totem associates. There is another set of customs, however, which
is generally connected with even the earliest forms of exogamy, and
which fills out in a very remarkable way the gap that appears in the
original totemic exogamy when this is compared with present-day
legislation. These customs are no other than the laws of taboo. One of
the earliest and most common of these regulations is the _taboo of the
mother-in-law_. Corresponding to it, not so common and yet obviously
a parallel phenomenon occasionally connected with it, is the _taboo
of the father-in-law_. The relative distribution of the two taboos is
analogous to that of maternal and paternal descent in the primitive
condition of society, for it is maternal descent that is dominant.
This is not at all meant to imply that there is any casual[1] relation
between these phenomena. Rather is it true, probably, that they are
based upon similar motives, and that these motives, just as in the
case of marriage between relations, are more potent in the case of
the mother than in that of the father. In general, however, the taboo
of parents-in-law signifies that the husband must so far as possible
avoid meeting his mother-in-law, and the wife, her father-in-law.
Now, it is evident that in so far as this avoidance excludes the
possibility of marriage, the custom is, in a way, supplementary to
exogamy. Wherever maternal descent prevails, no one may marry his
mother; and, where taboo of the mother-in-law exists, no one may marry
his mother-in-law. The same holds of father and daughter, and of father
and daughter-in-law, in the case of paternal descent. This analogy
may possibly indicate the correct clue to the interpretation of the
phenomena. It would certainly be erroneous to regard the taboo of the
mother-in-law as a regulation intentionally formulated to prevent
unions between direct relations by marriage. Yet there is evidence
here of a natural association by virtue of which the fear of marriage
with one's own mother, which, though not caused by the exogamous
prohibition, is nevertheless greatly strengthened by it, is directly
carried over to the mother-in-law. Between a woman and the husband of
her daughter there thus arises a state of taboo such as is impossible
between mother and son because, from the time of his birth on, they are
in close and constant relation with each other. In consequence of the
above-mentioned association, mother and mother-in-law, or father and
father-in-law, form a unity analogous to that which obtains between man
and wife. What is true of the husband, is also true in the case of the
wife; similarly, what holds for the mother of the husband holds no less
for the mother of the wife.

Striking evidence of the effect of an association of ideas that
is perfectly analogous to the one underlying the taboo of the
mother-in-law, is offered by a custom which is doubtless generally
only local in scope and yet is found in the most diverse parts of the
earth, thus showing plainly that it is autochthonous in character. I
refer to the custom of so-called father-confinement or 'couvade.' This
custom prevails in various places, occurring even in Europe, where it
is practised by the Basques of the Pyrenées, a remarkable fragment of a
pre-Indo-Germanic population of Europe. Due, probably, to the heavier
tasks which these people impose upon women, it here occasionally
occurs in an exaggerated form. Even after the mother has already begun
to attend to her household duties, the father, lying in the bed to
which he has voluntarily retired, receives the congratulations of the
relatives. Custom also demands that he subject himself to certain
ascetic restrictions, namely, that he avoid the eating of certain kinds
of food. The custom of couvade is clearly the result of an ideational
association between husband and wife--one that is absolutely analogous
to that between the two mothers of the married couple. The child owes
its existence to both father and mother. Both, therefore, must obey the
regulations which surround birth, and thus they are also subject to the
same taboo. Just as there is very commonly a taboo on the mother and
her new-born child, so also, in the regions where couvade exists, is
this transferred to the husband.

As is well known, the last vestiges of the taboo of the mother-in-law
have not yet disappeared, though they survive only in humour, as do
many other customs that were once seriously practised. In fact, there
is no other form of relationship, whether by blood or by marriage,
that is so subjected to the satire of daily life as well as to the
witticisms and jokes of comic papers as is that of the unfortunate
mother-in-law. Thus, the primitive taboo resting on the mother-in-law
and also, even though in lesser degree, on the father-in-law, has
registered itself in habits that are relatively well known. Graver
results of the regulations of ancient custom are doubtless to be found
in those prohibitions of union between relatives by marriage that still
constitute essential elements of present-day laws. This, of course,
does not mean that these prohibitions are unjustifiable or that they do
not reflect natural feelings. They but exemplify the fact that every
law presupposes a development which, as a rule, goes back to a distant
past, and that the feelings which we to-day regard as natural and
original had a definite origin and assumed their present character as
the outcome of many changes.

Alongside of these later forms of the taboo, and outlasting them, we
have its most primitive form. This is the taboo which rests on the
eating of certain foods, particularly the flesh of certain animals,
though less frequently it applies also to occasional plants. The
latter, however, probably represents a transference, just as does plant
totemism. A particular example of such a taboo is the avoidance of
the bean by the Grecian sect of Orphians and by the Pythagoreans whom
they influenced. The taboo of certain animals survived much longer.
But it was just in this case that there came an important shift of
ideas which gave to the taboo a meaning almost the opposite of that
which it originally possessed. Proof of such a change is offered by
the Levitical Priests' Code of Israel. The refined casuistry of the
priests prescribed even to details what the Israelite might eat and
what was taboo for him. For the Israelite, however, this taboo was
not associated with the sacred but with the unclean. The original
taboo on the eating of the flesh of an animal related, in the totemic
period, to the sacred animal. This is the taboo in its original form.
The Australian shrinks from eating the flesh of his totem animal, not
because it is unclean, but because he fears the revenge of demons
if he consumes the protective animal of his group. In the Priests'
Code, the sacred object has become entirely transmuted into an unclean
object, supposed to contaminate all who eat of it. It is a striking
fact, however, that the animals which are regarded as unclean are
primarily the early totem animals--the screech-owl, the bat, the eagle,
the owl, etc. Of the animals that live in or near the sea, only those
may be eaten that have scales, that is, only fish proper, and not the
snake-like fish. The snake itself and the snake-like reptiles are
taboo, as well as numerous birds--all of which were at a very early
period totem animals. Heading the list of the animals that may be
eaten, on the other hand, are the ox, the sheep, the goat--in short,
the animals of an agricultural and sheep-raising culture. Thus, as
the original magical motives of taboo disappear, their place is taken
by the emotion of fear, which causes the object arousing it to appear
as unclean. Whoever touches such an object is polluted in a physical
as well as a moral sense, and requires a cleansing purification
according to rites prescribed by cult. We cannot avoid the impression,
accordingly, that the unclean animals held to be taboo by the Priests'
Code, are the same as those which this same people regarded as sacred
soul and totem animals at an earlier stage of culture. Thus, these
prohibitions with reference to food are analogous to the impassioned
preaching against false idolatry--both refer back to an earlier cult.
In this category belongs also the prohibition of consuming the blood of
animals in the eating of their flesh. This likewise is the survival of
a very common belief--certainly prevalent also among the Israelites at
one time--that with the blood of an animal one might appropriate its
spirit-power. The priestly law transforms this motive into its direct
opposite. For the text expressly says: "In the blood is the life; but
ye shall not destroy the life together with the flesh."

Thus, the significance of the taboo shifts from the sacred, which
evokes man's fear, to the unclean and demoniacal, which also arouse
fear but in the form of aversion. Closely related to this change is
a group of views and customs resulting from this last form of taboo
and reaching down, as its after-effects, far into the later religious
development. These are the _purification rites_ connected with the
ideas of clean and unclean. The word _lustratio_, by which the Romans
designated these rites, is really more appropriate than the German
word _Reinigung_, since it suggests more than merely the _one_ aspect
of these usages. Indeed, the idea of purification is not even primary,
any more than the conception of the unclean is the initial stage in the
development of the taboo. On the other hand, the idea that a man might
be exposed to demoniacal powers by touching an object or by eating a
certain food, such, for example, as the flesh of certain animals, is in
entire accord with such primitive notions as are expressed in the fear
of the corpse and of sickness, as well as in other similar phenomena.
The essential thing is to escape the demon who is harboured in the
particular object of concern. This impulse is so irresistible that,
whenever the idea of taboo arises, the conception of lustration, of a
magic counteraction to the demoniacal power, is also evolved. Thus,
magic and counter-magic, here, as everywhere, stand in antithesis. The
means of such counter-magic are not only very similar throughout the
most remote parts of the earth, but externally they remain the same
even throughout the various stages of culture. There are only _three_
means by which an individual may free himself from the effects of a
violation of taboo--_water, fire_, and _magical transference_.

Of these means, the one which is the most familiar to us is water.
Just as water removes physical uncleanness, so also does it wash away
soul or demoniacal impurity--not symbolically, for primitive man has
no symbols in our sense of the word, but magically. As water is the
most common element, so also is it the most common magical means of
lustration. Besides water, fire also is employed; generally it is
regarded as the more potent element--in any event, its use for this
purpose anteceded that of water. Fire, no less than water, is supposed
to remove the impurity or the demoniacal influences to which a man
has been exposed. It is especially peculiar to fire, however, that
it is held not only to free an individual from an impurity which he
has already contracted, but also to protect him from the possibility
of contamination. This preventive power, of course, later came to be
ascribed to water also. Indeed, all the various means of lustration
may come to be substituted for one another, so that each of them may
eventually acquire properties that originally belonged exclusively to
one of the others. The third form of purification, finally, consists
in a magical transference of the impurity from man to other objects
or to other beings, as, for example, from a man to an animal. Closely
associated with such a transference are a considerable number of
other magic usages. These have even found their way down into modern
superstition. We need but refer to the above-mentioned cord-magic, by
which a sickness, for example, is transferred to a tree by tying a cord
around it.

In the primitive cult ceremonies of the Australians, lustration is
effected almost exclusively by fire. In America also fire still plays
an important rôle, particularly in the cult ceremonies of the Pueblo
peoples. They kindle a great fire, about which they execute dances. In
the initiation ceremonies of the Australians, the youths must approach
very close to the fire or, at times, leap over it. In this way they are
made proof against future attacks. Such fire-magic reaches down even
into later civilizations. A survival of this sort is the St. John's
fire still prevalent in many regions of Europe and, in view of its
origin, still frequently called 'solstice fire' in southern Germany.
On these occasions also, the young men and maidens leap over the fire
and expose themselves to the danger of its flames, in the belief that
whatever they may wish at the time will come to pass. Here again, as in
the Australian initiation ceremonies, lustration by fire signifies a
magic act having reference to the future.

Water is a far more common means of lustration than fire. It everywhere
gained the ascendancy and at the same time very largely preserved its
original significance. From early times on it combined the power
of removing the impurities resulting from the violation of a taboo,
or, more widely applied, of cleansing from guilt, with the power of
protecting against impending impurity and guilt. Thus, even in the
beginnings of taboo usages, the bath, or ablution, was a universal
means of purification. The _sprinkling_ with water, on the other
hand, which has held its place even in Christian cult, is a means of
purification directed primarily to the future. In the so-called Jordan
festivals of the Greek Catholic Church, ordinary water is changed into
Jordan water by the magic of the priest. The believer is confident that
if he is sprinkled with this water he will commit no sin in the course
of the following year.

Less common, on the whole, is the third form of lustration, that by
magical transference. Israelitic legend affords a striking example of
such lustration in the goat which, laden with the sins of Israel, is
driven by Aaron into the wilderness. He takes the goat, lays both his
hands on its head, and whispers the sins of Israel into its ear. The
goat is then driven into the wilderness, where it is to bury the sins
in a distant place. An analogous New Testament story, moreover, is
related in St. Matthew's Gospel. We are here told that, in Galilee, a
man who was possessed of many demons was freed from them by Jesus, who
commanded them to pass into a herd of swine that happened to be near
by. Since the demons had previously begged Jesus not to destroy them,
they were banished into these animals. The swine, however, plunged into
an adjacent sea, and thus the demons perished with them.

Totem, taboo, lustration, and counter-magic, accordingly, were
originally closely related to one another, though each of them proved
capable of initiating new tendencies and of undergoing a further
independent development. The totem, for example, gave rise to numerous
sorts of protective demons; the taboo was transferred to the most
diverse objects, such as aroused feelings of fear and aversion;
lustration led to the various counter agencies that freed men's minds
from the ideas of contamination and guilt. These institutions,
however, were themselves based upon certain more elementary ideas
whose influence was far from being exhausted in them. On the one hand,
totemic belief grew out of the belief in souls; on the other hand,
totemic ideas were the precursors of further developments. The activity
of totem ancestors was associated with certain inanimate objects,
such as the Australian churingas, to which magical powers were held
to have been transmitted. Inasmuch as the totem animal was also an
ancestral animal, it formed the transition to the elevation of human
ancestors into cult objects, first on a par with animal ancestors and
later exalted above them. Thus, there are three sets of ideas which,
in part, form the bases of totemism, and, in part, reach out beyond
it, constituting integral factors of further developments of the most
diverse character. These ideas may be briefly designated as _animism,
fetishism,_ and _ancestor worship_. Animism, as here used, refers to
the various forms of the belief in souls. By fetishism, on the other
hand, is universally meant the belief in the demoniacal power of
inanimate objects. Ancestor worship, finally, is the worship in cult
of family or tribal ancestors. The original totemism passes over into
the higher ancestor worship, which, in turn, issues in hero cult, and
finally in the cult of the gods.

[1] transcribers' note: "causal" is probably meant here.


Soul ideas, as we have already noted, constitute the basis of totem
belief, and may thus be said to date back into the pretotemic age, even
though it is obviously only within the totemic period that they attain
to their more complete development. If we include the whole of the
broad domain of soul belief under the term _animism_, the latter, in
its many diverse forms, may be said to extend from the most primitive
to the highest levels of culture. It is fitting, however, to enter upon
a connected account of animism at this point, because the development
of the main forms of soul belief and of their transformations takes
place within the totemic age. Moreover, not only is totemism closely
dependent from the very beginning upon soul conceptions, but the
development of soul conceptions is to an equal degree affected by

Soul belief, thus, constitutes an imperishable factor in all
mythology and religion. This accounts for the fact that there are
some mythologists as well as certain psychologists of religion who
actually trace all mythology and religion to animism, believing that
soul ideas first gave rise to demon and ancestor cults, and then to the
worship of the gods. This view is maintained by Edward Tylor, Herbert
Spencer, Julius Lippert, and a number of others. Undeniable as it is
that soul belief has exerted an important influence upon mythological
and religious thought, it nevertheless represents but one factor among
others. For this very reason, however, we must consider separately
its own peculiar conditions, since it is thus alone that we can gain
an understanding of its relation to the other factors of mythological
thought. The fittest place for examining this general interconnection
is just at this point, where we are in the very midst of totemic ideas,
and where we encounter the transformations of soul ideas in a specially
pronounced form. Everything goes to show that the most important
change in the history of the development of soul belief falls within
the totemic period. This change consists in the distinction between a
soul that is bound to the body, and which, because of this permanent
attachment, we will briefly call the _corporeal soul_, and a soul which
may leave the body and continue its existence independently of it.
Moreover, according to an idea particularly peculiar to the totemic
age, this latter soul may become embodied in other living beings,
especially in animals, but also in plants, and even in inanimate
objects. We will call this soul _psyche_, the breath or shadow soul. It
is a breath soul because it was the exhalation of the breath, perhaps,
that first suggested these ideas; it is a shadow soul since it was
the dream image, in particular, that gave to this soul the form of a
shadowy, visible but intangible, counterpart of man. As a fleeting
form, rapidly appearing and again disappearing, the shadow soul is a
variety of breath soul. The two readily pass over into each other, and
are therefore regarded as one and the same psyche.

There is ground for the conjecture that the distinction between these
two main forms of the soul, the corporeal and the breath or shadow
soul, is closely bound up with the changed culture of the totemic age.
Primitive man flees from the corpse--indeed, even from those who are
sick, if he sees that death is approaching. The corpse is left where
it lies, and even the mortally ill are abandoned in their helpless
condition. The living avoid the places where death has entered. All
this changes in an age that has become familiar with struggle and
death, and particularly with the sudden death which follows upon the
use of weapons. This is exemplified even by the natives of Australia,
who are armed with spear and shield. The warrior who falls before the
deadly weapon, whose blood flows forth, and who expires in the midst of
his fellow-combatants, arouses an entirely different impression from
the man of the most primitive times who dies in solitude, and from
whose presence the living flee. In addition to the original ideas of a
soul that is harboured in the body, and that after death wanders about
the neighbourhood as an invisible demon, we now have a further set of
ideas. The soul is believed to leave the body in the form of the blood.
But it may take an even more sudden departure, being sometimes supposed
to leave in the last breath. In this case, it is held to be directly
perceptible as a small cloud or a vapour, or as passing over into some
animal that is swift of movement or possesses such characteristics as
arouse an uncanny feeling. This idea of a breath soul readily leads to
the belief that the psyche, after its separation from the body, appears
in the dream image, again temporarily assuming, in shadowy form, the
outlines of its original body.

Now the most remarkable feature of this entire development is the fact
that the idea of the corporeal soul in no wise disappears, as one
might suppose, with the origin of the breath or shadow soul. On the
contrary, both continue to exist without any mutual interference. This
is noticeable particularly in the case of death in war. The belief
that the soul leaves the body with the blood may here be directly
combined with the belief that it departs with the breath, though the
two ideas fall under entirely different categories. Even in Homer this
combination of ideas is still clearly in evidence. The breath soul is
said to descend to Hades, there to continue its unconscious existence
as a dreamlike shadow, while at the same time the corporeal soul is
thought to inhere not only in the blood but also in other parts of the
body. Certain particular organs of the body are held to be vehicles
of the soul; among these are the heart, the respiratory organs, and
the diaphragm, the latter probably in connection with the immediately
adjacent kidneys, which these primitive soul ideas usually represent
as an important centre of soul powers. The believer in animism was
not in the least aware of any contradiction in holding, as he did for
a long time, that these two forms, the corporeal soul and the breath
soul, exist side by side. His concern was not with concepts that might
be scientifically examined in such a way as to effect a reconciliation
of the separate ideas or a resolution of their contradictions. Even
the ancient Egyptians, with their high civilization, preserved a firm
belief in a corporeal soul, and upon this belief they based their
entire practice of preserving bodies by means of embalmment. The reason
for leaving the mouth of the mummy open was to enable the deceased
person to justify himself before the judge of the dead. That the mummy
was very carefully enclosed in its burial chamber and thus removed
from the sphere of intercourse of the living, indicates a survival of
the fear of demoniacal power which is characteristic of the beginnings
of soul belief. The Egyptians, however, also developed the idea of a
purely spiritual soul. The latter was held to exist apart from the body
in a realm of the dead, from which it was supposed occasionally to
return to the mummy. It was by this simple expedient of an intercourse
between the various souls that mythological thought here resolved the
contradiction between unity and multiplicity as affecting its soul
concepts--a contradiction which even later frequently claimed the
attention of philosophy.

When, on a more advanced cultural level, the structure of the body
came to be more closely observed, a strong impetus was given towards
a progressive differentiation of the corporeal soul. Certain parts of
the body, in particular, were singled out as vehicles of the soul.
Those that are separable from the body, such, for example, as certain
secretions and the products of growth, received a sort of intermediate
position between the corporeal soul proper and the breath soul. Chief
among these was the blood. Among some peoples, particularly the Bantus
of South Africa, the saliva rivals the blood in importance, possibly
because of the readily suggested association with the soul that departs
in the vapour of the breath. The blood soul, however, is by far the
most universal and most permanent of these ideas. In its after-effects
it has survived even down to the present. For, when we speak of a
'blood relationship' uniting those persons who stand close to one
another through ancestry, the word 'blood' doubtless represents a sort
of reminiscence of the old idea of a blood soul. To the dispassionate
eye of the physiologist, the blood is one of the most unstable elements
of the body, so that, so far as the blood is concerned, the father
and mother certainly transmit nothing of a permanent nature to their
descendants. More stable parts of the organism are much more likely
to be inherited. But, in spite of the fact that blood is one of the
most transitory of structures, it continues to be regarded as the
vehicle of the relationship existing between members of a family,
and even between tribally related nations. More striking expressions
of the idea of a blood soul are to be found on primitive levels. In
concluding the so-called blood brotherhood, the exchange of blood,
according to prevalent belief, mediates the establishment of an actual
blood relationship. In accordance with a custom which probably sprang
up independently in many different parts of the earth, each of the two
parties to the compact, upon entering this brotherhood, took a drop of
blood from a small, self-inflicted wound and transferred it to the
corresponding wound of the other. Since the drop of exchanged blood
represents the blood in general--not merely symbolically, as it were,
but in real actuality--the two who have entered into the alliance have
become nearest blood relatives, and thus brothers.

The idea that a soul exists in the blood, however, has also a converse
aspect. This consists in the fear of shedding blood, since the wounded
person would thus be robbed of his soul. The belief then arises that
one who consumes the blood of a sacrificed person or animal also gains
his soul powers--an idea which likewise comes to have reference to
other parts of the body, particularly to the specific bearers of the
soul, such as the heart and the kidneys. Thus, between fear, on the
one hand, and this striving for power, on the other, a conflict of
emotions may arise in which the victory leans now to the one and now
to the other side. But the striving to appropriate the soul which is
contained in the blood tends to become dominant, since the struggle
which enkindles the passion for the annihilation of the enemy is also
probably the immediate cause for acting in accordance with this belief
concerning the blood. To drink the blood of the slain enemy, to consume
his heart--these are impulses in which the passion to annihilate the
foe and the desire to appropriate his soul powers intensify each
other. These ideas, therefore, also probably represent the origin of
anthropophagy. Anthropophagy is not at all a prevalent custom among
primitive tribes, as is generally believed. On the contrary, it is
just among primitive peoples that it seems to be entirely lacking.
It appears in its primary forms, as well as in its modifications,
only where weapons and other phenomena point to intertribal wars, and
the latter do not occur until the beginning of the totemic age. The
totemic age, however, is the period which marks the development not
only of the idea of the blood soul but of other soul ideas as, well.
Accordingly, anthropophagy is, or was until recently, to be found, not
among the most primitive peoples such as have not attained to the level
of totemism, but precisely within the bounds of totemic culture, and,
in part, in connection with its cults. In these cults, man, as well
as the animal, becomes an object of sacrifice in the blood offering.
Human sacrifice of this sort continues to be practised under conditions
as advanced as deity cult. In the latter, anthropophagy even finds a
temporary religious sanction, inasmuch as the priest, particularly,
is permitted to eat of the flesh of the sacrifice. Of course, the
perpetuation and extension of anthropophagy was not due merely to
magical motives; even at a very early period, the food impulse was a
contributing factor. The very fact of the relatively late origin of
the custom, however, makes it highly improbable that the food impulse
would, of itself and apart from magical and cult motives, ever have
led to it, though such an explanation has been offered, especially as
regards the regions of Oceania where animals are scarce.

In the course of religious development, human sacrifice gave way to
animal sacrifice, and cult anthropophagy was displaced by the eating of
the flesh of the sacrificial animal. Inasmuch as the latter cult was
not only more common than the former but everywhere probably existed
prior to the rise of human sacrifice, this later period involved a
recurrence of earlier conditions. Nevertheless, there were phenomena
which clearly indicated the influence of the fear of the blood, and
this militated against the appropriation of the blood soul. Of extreme
significance, for example, was the injunction of the Israelitic
Priests' Code against partaking of the blood of animals. The original
motive for drinking the blood became a motive for abstaining from it--a
counter-motive, in which the prohibition, as in many other cases, may
also indicate an intentional abandonment of an earlier custom. Among
the Israelites, as among many other Semitic tribes, the blood of the
animals was poured out at the sacrificial altar. That which was denied
man was fitly given to the gods, to whom the life of the animal was
offered in its blood.

In early ages, reaching down probably into the beginnings of totemic
culture, _two_ organ complexes, in addition to the blood, were held,
in an especial degree, to be vehicles of the corporeal soul--the
kidneys with their surrounding fat, and the external sexual organs. The
fact that, in many languages, kidneys and testicles were originally
denoted by the same name, indicates that these two organs were probably
regarded as essentially related, a view that may possibly be due to the
position of the urethra, which apparently connects the kidneys with the
sexual organs. The Bible also offers remarkable testimony in connection
with the history of the belief that soul powers are resident in the
kidneys and their appended organs. In the earlier writings of the Old
Testament, the kidneys, as well as the heart, are frequently referred
to as bearers of the soul. It is said of God that he searches the
heart and tries the reins; and Job, afflicted with sorrow and disease,
complains, "He cleaveth my reins asunder and doth not spare." The
sacrificial laws of the Israelites, therefore, state that, in addition
to the blood, the kidneys with their surrounding fat are the burnt
offering which is most acceptable to God. Rationalistic interpretation
has sometimes held that man retains the choice parts of the flesh of
the sacrificial animal for himself and devotes the less agreeable parts
to the gods. Such motives may have played a rôle when sacrificial
conceptions were on the wane. The original condition, however, was
no doubt the reverse. The most valuable part belonged to the gods,
and this consisted of the organs that were pre-eminently the vehicles
of the soul. Though man first aimed to appropriate the soul of the
sacrifice for himself, the developed religious cult of a later period
made this the privilege of the deity.

It was only in early custom and cult, however, that the kidneys played
this rôle. Indeed, as already indicated, it is not improbable that
they owe their importance to the fact that their position led to the
belief that they are a central organ governing particularly the sexual
functions. That this is the case is corroborated by the fact that,
in the further development of these ideas of a corporeal soul, the
kidneys more and more became secondary to the external sexual organs,
and that the latter long continued to retain the dominant importance.
Thus, the _phallus cult_, which was prevalent in numerous Oriental
countries and which penetrated from these into the Greek and Roman
worlds, may doubtless be regarded as the last, as well as the most
permanent, expression of those ideas of a central corporeal soul that
were originally associated with the kidneys and their surrounding
parts. At the outset, the representation of the phallus was held to be
not a mere symbol, as it were, but the very vehicle of masculine power.
As a productive, creative potency, it was regarded as very especially
characteristic of the deity, and, just as the attributes of deities
were supposed to be vested in their images, so also was this divine
power thought to be communicated to the phallus. In addition to and
anteceding these ideas relating to gods, the phallus was held to be the
perfect embodiment of demons, particularly of field-demons, who cause
the ripening and growth of the seed. The belief in phallus-bearing
demons of fertility probably dates back to the totemic age. The cults,
however, to which such ideas of the corporeal soul gave rise, reached
their mature development only in the following period. It was then
that deity belief was elaborated, and it was in connection with the
latter that the phallus became a universal magic symbol of creative
power. With the decline of these cults, the symbol, according to a law
observable in the case of other phenomena also, was again relegated,
for the most part, to the more restricted field of its origin.

Vestiges and survivals of the primitive forms of the corporeal soul
extend far down into later culture. Nevertheless, the second main form
of soul-belief, that of the _psyche_, comes to gain the prepondering
influence, at first alongside of the corporeal soul, and then more and
more displacing it. In this case, the earliest form of the belief,
that in a _breath soul_, proves to be also the most permanent. The
idea that the soul leaves the dying person in his last breath, and
that the breath, therefore, exercises animating or magical effects, or
that in it the soul may pass over from one person to another, is a
very common belief. Probably, moreover, it arose independently in many
different localities. Some primitive tribes have the custom of holding
a child over the bed of a dying person in order that the soul may pass
over into it; or, a member of the family stoops over the expiring one
to receive his soul. Virgil's _Æneid_ contains an impressive account
relating that upon Dido's death her sister attempted to catch the soul,
which, as she assumed, roams about as an aerial form, while she also
carefully removed the blood from the wound in order that the soul might
not remain within the body. Thus, the blood soul and the breath soul
are here closely connected.

In the further destinies of the breath soul, a particularly important
incident is its passage into some swiftly moving animal, perhaps a
bird hovering in the air, or, again, some creeping animal, such as the
lizard or the snake, whose manner of movement arouses uncanny fear.
It is these animals, chiefly, that are regarded as metamorphoses of
the psyche. Remarkable evidence that the bird and snake in combination
were regarded as vehicles of the soul may be found in the pictorial
representations of the natives of northwestern America. The escape of
the soul from the body is here portrayed as the departure of a snake
from the mouth of a human figure seated in a birdlike ship. This
picture combines three ideas, which occur elsewhere also, either singly
or in combination, in connection with the wandering of the soul. There
is, in the first place, the soul-bird; then the soul-ship, readily
suggested by association with a flying bird, and recurring in the ship
which was thought in ancient times to cross the Styx of the underworld;
finally, the soul-snake, representing the soul in the act of leaving
the body. This very common idea of the soul as a snake and, by further
association, its conception as a fish, may be ascribed not only to
the fear aroused by the creeping snake, but also to the circumstances
attending the decomposition of the corpse. The worm which creeps out
of the decaying body is directly perceived as a snake. Thus, corporeal
soul and psyche are again united; in this union they mediate the idea
of an embodied soul, which, in a certain sense, of course, is a psyche
retransformed into a corporeal soul.

With the appearance of these ideas of an embodied soul, totemism
merges directly into soul-belief. Under the influence of the remaining
elements of totemism, however, the soul-ideas come to be associated
with more and more animals. The soul is no longer held to be embodied
merely in the earliest soul-animals--bird, snake, and lizard--but other
animals are added, such particularly as those of the chase, which
have a closer relation to the life of man. Following upon this change
are also the further developments mentioned above. When interest in
the production of vegetable food is added to that of the chase, the
same ideas become associated with plants. Their sprouting and growth
continue to suggest soul-powers; and, even though the ancestor idea
characteristic of the animal totem cannot attain to prominence because
of the greater divergence of plants from man, this very fact causes the
phenomena of sprouting and growth all the more to bring into emphasis
the magical character of these vegetable totems. Hence it is mainly
the plant totem that gives rise to those ceremonies and cult festivals
which are designed for the magical increase of the totems. With the
wane of the soul-beliefs connected with animal totemism, it is not
only plants to which demoniacal powers are ascribed. Even inanimate
objects come to be associated with magical ideas, either because of
certain peculiar characteristics or because of the function which they
perform. It is in this way that the introduction of the plant into
the realm of totemic ideas mediates the transition from the totem to
the _fetish_. On the other hand, as the totem animal comes more and
more to be an ancestral animal, and as the memory of human forefathers
gains greater prominence with the rise of culture, the animal ancestor
changes into the _human ancestor_. Thus, fetishism and ancestor worship
are logical developments of totemism. Though differing in tendency,
they nevertheless constitute developmental forms which are not at all
mutually exclusive, but which may become closely related, just as is
the case with the animal and the plant totems from which they have

Before turning to these later outgrowths of totemic soul-belief,
however, we must consider their influence upon the important customs
relating to the _disposition of the dead_. These customs give
expression to the ideas of death and of the destiny of the soul after
death. Hence the changes that occur at the beginning and in the course
of the totemic age as regards the usages relative to the disposal of
the corpse, mirror the important transformations which the latter
undergoes. Primitive man, as we have seen, flees from the corpse.
Dominated solely by his fear of escaping demons, he allows the dead
to lie where they have died. Thus, no attempt whatsoever is made to
dispose of the dead, or at most there are but slight beginnings in
this direction. It is not the dead who vacate the premises in favour
of the living, but the latter accommodate themselves to the dead.
Totemic culture, accustomed to armed warfare and sudden death, begins
from the outset gradually to lose its fear of the dead, even though not
the fear of death, and this reacts upon the disposal of the corpse.
Of course, the early custom of depositing the corpse in the open air
near the place where death has occurred, does not entirely disappear.
This locality, however, is no longer avoided; on the contrary, anxious
expectation and observation are now fixed upon the corpse. Just as
totemic man drinks the blood of those who are slain in battle, in
order to appropriate their power, so also in the case of those who die
of disease does he wish to acquire their souls the moment they leave
the body. Traces of such a custom, indeed, occur even in much later
times, as is shown in Virgil's above-mentioned account of the death of
Dido. Within the sphere of totemic ideas, however, where the belief
in a corporeal soul is still incomparably stronger, though already
intercrossing with the belief in animal transformations of the psyche,
the custom of depositing the dead in the open indeed continues to be
practised, yet the disposition of the corpse changes, becoming, in
spite of an external similitude, almost the very opposite. The corpse
is no longer left at the place of death, but is stretched out on a
mound of earth. This is the so-called 'platform' method of disposal,
which, as is evident, forms a clear transition to burial, or interment.
Before the mound of earth covers the body, it forms a platform upon
which the corpse is laid out to be viewed, a primitive catafalque, as
it were. This manner of disposing of the corpse has been regarded as
a custom characteristic of the dominance of totemic culture. This is
going entirely beyond the facts, since other modes of disposal are
also to be found even in Oceania and Australia, the chief centres of
totemism. Nevertheless, the phenomena connected with exposure on a
platform indicate that a fusion with soul-ideas has now taken place.
Decomposition follows relatively soon after death, particularly in
a damp, tropical climate. On the one hand, the liquid products of
decomposition that flow from the corpse are interpreted as a departure
of the soul analogous to that which occurs, in the case of death by
violence, in the loss of blood. As the blood is drunk to appropriate
the soul of the deceased, so also do the relatives now crowd in to
partake of the liquid products of decomposition--a transference
similar to that which sometimes occurs when the powers of the blood
are ascribed to the saliva or to other secretions. On the other hand,
the first worm of decomposition to leave the corpse is held to be the
bearer of the soul. Thus, corporeal soul and psyche are here closely
fused. The liquid products that leave the body are in themselves
elements of the corporeal soul, but in their separation from the body
they resemble a psyche incorporated in an external object; conversely,
the worm of decomposition is an embodiment of the psyche, which is
itself represented as proceeding directly from the corporeal soul.

This interplay of soul-forms appears also when we consider the other
modes of disposing of the dead that are practised in regions where
totemic culture or its direct outgrowths prevail. Among some of the
North American Indian tribes, for example, the corpse is buried, but
a small hole is pierced in the mound of earth over the grave, in order
to allow the psyche an exit from the body or also a return to it. This
view of the relation between body and psyche passed down, in a more
developed form, even into the other-world mythology of the ancient
Egyptians. The mummification practised in Egypt was also anticipated,
for the idea of the connection of the soul with the body early led to
the exsiccation of the corpse in the open air. According to another
usage, observed particularly in America, the corpse was first buried,
but then, shortly afterwards, exhumed for the purpose of preserving
the skull or other bones as vehicles of the soul. The fundamental idea
seems to have been that the soul survives in these more permanent
parts of the body; in the case of the skull, an appreciation of the
importance which the various organs of the head possess for the living
person may also have played a rôle. Possibly these ideas likewise
lie at the basis of the discreditable head-hunting practised by the
Indians, even though it be true that the skull, which is preserved
and utilized as a favourite adornment of the exterior of the hut, and
also the representative of the skull, the scalp, have long been mere
trophies of victory, similar to the antlers of the stag and the deer
with which our huntsmen decorate their dwellings. Of the various forms
of disposing of the dead that are peculiar to the totemic age, however,
it is interment, the very opposite of platform disposal, that finally
comes to be adopted in many places. The reason is evidently the same as
that which impelled primitive man to flee from the corpse. The demons
of the dead are to be banished into the earth, so that the living may
pursue their daily activities undisturbed. That this is the aim is
shown by many accompanying phenomena--such, for example, as the custom
of firmly stamping down the earth upon the grave, or of weighting the
burial-mound with stones. Moreover, the custom of burying the corpse
as soon as possible after death--ordained even at the time of the
Israelitic law--can hardly have originated as a hygienic provision.
It is grounded in the fear of demons. When the living themselves no
longer flee from the dead, this fear all the more necessitates the
speedy removal of the corpse to the secure protection of the earth. The
fear of demons is likewise expressed in the fact that prior to burial
the arms and legs of the corpse are bound to the body. This obviously
points to a belief that the binding constrains the demon of the dead,
which is thereby confined to the grave just as is the fettered corpse.
Herein lies the origin of the so-called 'crouching graves,' which are
still to be found among the Bushmen, as well as among Australian and
Melanesian tribes. Gradually, however, a change took place in that the
binding was omitted, though the position was retained--doubtless a sign
that fear of the demon of the dead was on the wane.

Under the influence of the profuse wealth of old and new soul-ideas,
therefore, the totemic age developed a great number of modes of
disposing of the dead. Of these modes, interment alone has survived.
It is simpler than the others and may be practised in connection with
the most diverse ideas of the destiny of the soul. _Cremation_ was the
only form of disposing of the dead that was unknown, at least in large
part, to the totemic age. And yet the motives underlying cremation
belong to the same circle of ideas as those that find expression in
the customs of taboo and lustration. It is not impossible, therefore,
that cremation may itself date back to the totemic age. Yet interment
is universally the earlier mode of disposal; in most parts of the
earth, moreover, it has also enjoyed a greater permanence. Only in
isolated districts has interment been displaced by cremation. Even in
early times it was chiefly among Indo-Germanic peoples that cremation
was practised, whereas the Semites everywhere adhered to interment.
If, therefore, cremation occurred in ancient Babylonia, as it appears
to have done, it probably represents a heritage from the Sumerian
culture preceding the Semitic immigration. But even among Indo-Germanic
peoples interment was originally universal. In Greece, it existed as
late as the period of Mycenian culture. By the time of Homer, on
the other hand, cremation had already become the prevalent mode of
disposition of the corpse. Cremation was likewise practised very early
by the Germans, the Iranians, and the peoples of India. But it was
always conditioned by one fact which, as a rule, would seem to carry
us beyond the boundaries of the totemic era. It is significant that
prehistoric remains show no traces of cremation prior to the beginning
of the bronze age--a period in which man was capable of utilizing the
high degrees of heat necessary to melt metals. The tremendous heat
required for the melting of bronze might well have suggested the idea
of also melting man, as it were, in the fire. Nevertheless, external
circumstances such as these played but a secondary rôle. They leave
unanswered the decisive question regarding the motives that led to
the substitution of cremation for interment. This, then, remains our
unsolved problem, inasmuch as the economic motives at the basis of
the present endeavour to reintroduce cremation were certainly not
operative at the time of its origin. With reference to the origin of
cremation, only psychological probabilities are possible to us. These
are suggested particularly by the ceremonies which accompany cremation
in India--the country where this custom has continued to preserve an
important cult significance down to the very present. Indeed, even
in our own day it has hardly been possible to eradicate from India
the custom of burning the widow of the deceased. In particular, two
different motives to the custom suggest themselves. In the first place,
as we shall presently see, sacrificial usages, and especially the more
advanced forms of the sacrifice to the deceased, are closely connected
with the taboo and purification customs. Purification from a taboo
violation, however, was attained primarily by two means, water and
fire. The latter of these means was employed even in very primitive
times. Now, the corpse, above all else, was regarded as taboo; contact
with it was thought to bring contamination and to demand the rites
of lustration. The one who touched a corpse was likewise held to be
taboo, and as a result he himself might not be touched before having
undergone lustration. By one of those associative reversals which are
common in the field of mythology, this then reacted upon the corpse
itself. The corpse also must be subjected to a lustration by which it
is purified. Such a purification from all earthly dross is mediated,
according to the ideas of India, by fire. When the body is burned,
the soul becomes pure. But connected with this belief, as we may
conjecture, is still a second idea. The soul or psyche departs in the
smoke which ascends from the body as this is burned. The body remains
below in the ashes, while the soul soars aloft to heaven in the smoke.
In this way, the burning of the corpse is closely connected with
celestial mythology, which, indeed, was likewise developed relatively
early among the Indo-Germanic peoples, with whom cremation had its
centre. The customs of the Semitic peoples were different. They adopted
the idea of a celestial migration of the soul only at a late period,
probably under Indo-Aryan influences; but even then they continued to
practise the ancient custom of burial. Amid these differences, however,
there is a certain similarity. For, the Semitic peoples believed
that the celestial migration of the soul would occur only after its
sojourn under the earth, following upon its resurrection, which, it was
thought, would take place only at the end of time. It was in this form,
as is well known, that Christianity took over into its resurrection
belief the ideas developed by Judaism, and, with them, the custom of


If, as is customary, we employ the term 'fetish' to mean any natural
object to which demoniacal powers are ascribed, or, as the word itself
(Fr. _fétiche_ from Lat. _facticius_, artificially constructed)
indicates, an artificial, inanimate object of similar powers, a wide
gulf appears at first glance to separate the fetish from the psyche.
Nevertheless, the two are very closely related, as is indicated by the
totemic origin of certain primitive forms of fetishes. In the cults
of totemic clans, magic stones and pieces of wood are reverenced and
preserved, being regarded as powerful instruments that were originally
fashioned, according to legend, by magic beings of a distant past.
Into the objects has passed the magic power of these ancestors. By
their agency, the plants and animals which man utilizes as food may
be increased; through them, evils may be averted and, in particular,
diseases may be cured. The universal characteristic of the fetish,
however, over and above this special mode of origin, is the fact that
it is supposed to harbour a soul-like, demoniacal being. In fact, most
of the phenomena of so-called fetishism, and those which are still
regarded as typical of it, are to be found outside of totemic cult.
It is primarily African fetishism, a cult form which is apparently
independent of totemism, that has given its characteristic stamp to the
conception of the fetish. Among the Soudan negroes, fetishes generally
consist of artificially fashioned wooden objects, not infrequently
bearing a grimacing likeness of a human face. As regards the possession
of magical powers, however, they do not differ from the so-called
churingas of the Australians, although the latter are, as a rule,
natural objects that have been picked up accidentally and that differ
from ordinary stones and pieces of wood only in their striking form. It
is clearly the form, both in the case of the artificial as well as of
the natural fetish, that has caused the inanimate object to be regarded
as a demoniacal vehicle of the soul. Yet it is not a lifeless object
as such that constitutes a fetish, but the fact that a demoniacal,
soul-like being is believed to lurk within it as an agency of magical

At the time of its origin, which was probably totemic, fetishism
possessed a more restricted meaning than that just given. Defined in
this broader way, however, fetishism may be said to be disseminated
over the entire earth. It is a direct offshoot of the belief in a
corporeal soul, according to which magical powers are resident in
certain parts of the human body. In Australia and elsewhere, the
kidneys, particularly, are held to possess magical powers. The same,
however, is true of the blood--also of the hair, which, as the Biblical
legend of Samson serves to show, was supposed to be an especial centre
of demoniacal power, and is still regarded by modern superstition as
a means of magic. Thus, the transference of the properties of the
soul to inanimate objects of nature appears, on the one hand, to be
closely related to the activity of the soul in certain parts of the
body; on the other hand, it is closely connected with the fact that
certain independent beings, particularly such as arouse the emotions
of surprise or fear by their form and behaviour, were believed to
embody souls. The greater the difference between the object in which
such a demon takes up his abode and the familiar sorts of living
beings, the more does its demoniacal activity become a pure product
of the emotions, which control the imagination that ascribes life
to the object. Thus, while the characteristics of the totem animal
and, to a certain extent, even those of the totem plant, continue to
be determined by their own nature, the fetish is solely the product
of the mental activities of the fetish believer. Whereas the totem,
particularly the totem animal, retains in great part the nature of a
soul, the fetish completely assumes the character of a demon, differing
from the demons resident in storms, solitary chasms, and other uncanny
places only in the fact that it is _inseparable from_ the discovered
or artificially fashioned object. Hence it all the more becomes the
embodiment of the emotions of its possessor, of his fears and of his
hopes, ever adapting itself to the mood of the moment.

The development of magical ideas is in an especial measure due to
the incorporation of demoniacal beings in inanimate objects. Such
objects circulate freely and may even survive the individual who
owns them, gaining by their permanence an advantage over the animate
objects to which soul-like demoniacal powers are ascribed. Inanimate
objects may embody the magical beliefs of whole generations. This is
exemplified even in the age of deity beliefs, for a sanctuary acquires
increasing sacredness with age. And yet the fetish is never valued on
its own account, as is the totem animal--in part, at least--or the
organ containing the corporeal soul. The fetish is merely a means for
furthering purposes of magic. It is especially the fetish, therefore,
that represents the transition from soul-beliefs to pure magic-beliefs.
For this reason we may speak of a 'cult of the fetish' only in so
far as external ceremonies are employed for the purpose of arousing
the fetish to magical activity. Such a fetish cult does not include
expressions of reverence and thanksgiving, as do the soul and totem
cults and later, in a greater measure, the deity cult. A fetishism of
this sort, purely magical in purpose, may be found particularly in the
Soudan regions of Africa. Fetishistic magic-cult here prevails in its
most diverse forms, having, to all appearances, practically displaced
the original soul and totem beliefs, though traces of the latter are
everywhere present. Frequently it is an individual who calls upon his
fetish, perhaps to free him from a sickness, or to protect him from an
epidemic, or also to aid him in an undertaking, to influence distant
objects, injure an enemy, etc. But an entire village may also possess a
fetish in common, committing it to the care of the medicine-man. When
exigencies arise, a threatening war or a famine, such a village fetish
is particularly fêted in order that he may be induced to avert the

Among cult objects the fetish occupies a low place. Nevertheless,
it is precisely because the demoniacal powers were supposed to be
harboured in an inanimate object that the fetish prepared the way for
the numerous transitions that led to the later cult-objects in the
form of divine images. The fetish, as it were, was a precursor within
the totemic age of the divine image of later times. For in the case of
the latter also, the deity was supposed to be present and immediately
operative; the image, therefore, was called upon for assistance just
as was the god himself. Originally, all worship involved an image that
was supposed to embody the deity. The divine image, of course, differed
in essential respects from the fetish, for it incorporated, as the
personal characteristics of the god, those traits that were gradually
developed in cult. The fetish, on the other hand, was impersonal; it
was purely a demon of desire and fear. Because its activity resembled
that of human beings, it was generally given anthropomorphic features,
though occasionally it was patterned after animals. Sometimes no such
representation was attempted, but, as in the case of the Australian
churingas, an object was left just as it was found, particularly if
it possessed a striking form. Nor did the divine image come of a
sudden to its perfected form. Just as it was only gradually, in the
development of the religious myth, that the god acquired his personal
characteristics, so also did art search long in every particular case
for an adequate expression of the divine idea. In so doing, art not
merely gave expression to the religious development, but was itself an
important factor in it. The development, however, had its beginning in
the fetish. Moreover, so long as the god remains a demoniacal power
without clearly defined personal traits, the divine image retains the
indeterminate character of the fetish image. Even among the Greeks the
earliest divine images were but wooden posts that bore suggestions of
a human face; they were idols whose external appearance was as yet
in nowise different from that of fetishes. The same is true of other
cultural peoples in so far as we have knowledge of their earliest
objects of religious art.

But there may be deterioration as well as advance. Wherever artistic
achievement degenerates into the crude products of the artisan, the
divine image may again approximate to the fetish. Religious cult may
suffer a similar relapse, as is shown by many phenomena of present-day
superstition. When religious emotions are restricted to very limited
desires of a magical nature, the cult also may degenerate into its
earliest form, so that the image of the deity or saint, reverting
into a fetish, again becomes a means of magic. It is primarily such
degenerate practices, or, as they might also be called, such secondary
fetish-cults, that give the phenomena of so-called fetishism their
permanent importance in the history of religion. The complexity
of this course of development has led psychologists of religion to
conflicting views in their interpretations of fetishism. On the one
hand, the primitive nature of fetishes, and the fact that the earliest
divine images resemble fetishes, have led to the assertion that
fetishism is the lowest and earliest form of religion. On the other
hand, fetishism has been regarded as the result of a degeneration, and
as universally presupposing earlier or contemporary religious cults of
a higher character. The latter of these views particularly, namely,
the degeneration theory, is still maintained by many historians of
religion, especially by those who believe that monotheism was the
original belief of all mankind. The evidence for this theory is derived
mainly from cultural phenomena of the present. The image of a saint, as
is rightly maintained, may still occasionally degenerate into a fetish,
as occurs when it is regarded as the seat of magical powers, or when
its owner believes that he possesses in it a household idol capable of
bringing him weal or woe. It was particularly Max Müller who championed
the degeneration theory. Even in his last writings on mythology he held
firmly to the view that fetishism is a phenomenon representing the
decay of religious cults. But if we take into account the entire course
of development of the fetish, this view collapses. Though substantiated
by certain events that occur within higher religions, it leaves
unconsidered the phenomena that are primitive. The earliest fetishistic
ideas, as we have seen, go far back into the period of soul and demon
beliefs. Developing from the latter, they were at first closely bound
up with them, though they later attained a relative independence, as
did so many other mythological phenomena. To think of fetishism as a
degeneration of religious cults is inadmissible for the very reason
that, in so far as such cults presuppose deity ideas, they cannot as
yet be said to exist. A striking proof of this contention is offered
particularly by that form of fetish cult, the churingal ceremony of
the Australians, in which the connection with related primitive ideas
may be most clearly traced. The churingal ceremony falls entirely
within the development of totemism, and arises naturally under certain
conditions; it is no more the product of degeneration than is the
appearance of plant totemism in place of animal totemism. The basal
step in the development of the fetish is the incorporation of soul-like
demoniacal powers in inanimate objects, whether these be objects as
they are formed by nature or whether they are artificially constructed.
Such objects may result from a deterioration of religious art, but
this is by no means the only alternative. In their original forms,
they are allied to far more primitive phenomena, such as antedate both
religious art and even religion itself, in the true sense of the word.
For, of the many forms of the fetish, the most primitive is obviously
some natural object that has been accidentally discovered. Such are
the churingas of the Australians, and also many of the fetishes of the
negroes, although others are artificially fashioned. The selection of
such a fetish is determined in an important measure by the fact that it
possesses an unusual form. The man of nature expects to find symmetry
in animals and plants, but in stones this appears as something rare.
Astonishment, which, according to circumstances, may pass over into
either fear or hope, causes him to believe some soul-like being to be
resident in the inanimate object. This accounts for the existence of
such legends as those that have survived among some of the Australian
tribes, in which fetishes, or churingas, are represented as the legacy
of certain fantastically conceived ancestors. From the natural to the
artificial fetish is but a short step. When natural objects are not to
be found, man supplies the want. He constructs fetishes, intentionally
giving them a striking form resembling that of a man or of some animal.
Such fetishes are then all the more regarded as abodes of soul-like

Hence we must also regard as untenable that theory which, in contrast
with the degeneration theory, represents fetishism as a primitive
mythology or even as the starting-point of all mythology and religion.
The fetish is not at all an independent cult-object characteristic
of some primitive or more advanced stage of development. It always
represents a secondary phenomenon which, in its general significance
as an incorporation of demoniacal powers of magic, may occur anywhere.
If, however, we inquire as to when fetishistic ideas make their first
appearance, and where, therefore, they are to be found in their
relatively primitive form, we will find that they are rooted in
totemic ideas. Hence it is as a particular modification of such ideas
that fetishism must be regarded. In the metamorphosis, of course,
some of the essential traits of the original totem disappear. The
fetish, consequently, acquires a tendency toward independence, toward
becoming, apparently, a separate cult-object. This is illustrated by
the fetish cult of many negro tribes. To however great an extent such
independent cults may frequently have displaced the totemism from
which they sprang, they nevertheless belong so properly to the totemic
world of demons and magic that fetishism, in its genuine form, may
unquestionably be regarded as a product of the totemic age.

Further verification of this contention may be found in the history
of certain incidental products of fetishistic ideas, the _amulet_ and
the _talisman_. These occur at all stages of religious growth, but
their development falls principally within the totemic period. The two
objects are closely related, yet they differ essentially both from one
another and from their parent, the fetish. It has, of course, been
denied that a distinction may be drawn between these various objects
of magic belief. From a practical point of view, this may doubtless
sometimes be true, one and the same object being occasionally used
now as a fetish and then again as an amulet or a talisman. But it is
precisely their use that distinguishes these objects with sufficient
sharpness from one another. The amulet and talisman are purely magical
objects, means by which their possessor may produce magical effects.
The fetish, however, is a magic-working _subject_, an independent
demoniacal being, which may lend aid but may also refuse it, or, if
hostilely disposed, may cause injury. The amulet, on the other hand,
always serves the purpose of protection. Not infrequently amulets
are held to ward off merely some one particular disease; others are
designed to avert sickness in general. In a broadened significance,
the amulet then comes to be regarded as a protection against dangers
of every sort, against the weapon no less than against malicious
magic. Nevertheless, the amulet is always a means of protection to its
possessor. It is its _passive_ function, that of protection, which
differentiates the amulet from the talisman. The latter, which is
far less prominent, particularly in later development, and which is
finally to be found only in the world of imaginal tales, is an _active_
means of magic. By means of a talisman, a man is able to perform
at will either some one magical act or a number of magical feats.
The philosopher's stone of mediæval superstition exemplifies such a
means of magic. In this case, the ancient talisman-idea captured even
science. The philosopher's stone was supposed to give its possessor
the power to unlock all knowledge, and thus to gain control over
the objects of nature. This illustrates the talisman in its most
comprehensive function. In its restriction to a particular power, it
makes its appearance in hero and deity legend, and even to-day in the
fairy-tale. Such an active means of magic is represented by the helmet
of invisibility, by the sword which brings death to all against whom it
is turned, or, finally, by the _Tischlein-deck-dich_.

The two magical objects are generally also sharply distinct in their
mode of use. The amulet is designed to render protection as effectively
as possible against external dangers; it must be visible, for every one
must see that its bearer is protected. Hence almost all amulets are
worn about the neck. This was true of primitive man, and holds also
of the survivals of the ancient amulets--women's necklaces, and the
badges of fraternal organizations worn by men. The fact that a simple
cord was used among primitive peoples and still prevails in present-day
superstition, makes it probable that the original amulet was the cord
itself, fastened about the neck or, less frequently, about the loins or
the arm. Later, this cord was used to support the amulet proper. Even
the Australians sometimes wear a piece of dried kidney suspended from
a cord of bast--we may recall that the kidney is one of the important
seats of the corporeal soul. The hair, teeth, and finger-nails of
the dead likewise serve as amulets, all of them being parts of the
body which, because of their growth, might well give rise to the idea
that they, particularly, possessed soul-like and magical powers. The
custom of attaching hair, or a locket containing hair, to a necklace,
has survived even down to the present, though, of course, with a
far-reaching change of meaning. The magical protection of earlier ages
has become a memorial of a loved one who has died. But here likewise we
may assume that the change was gradual, and that the present custom,
therefore, represents a survival of the primitive amulet. There are
other objects also that apparently came to be amulets because of their
connection with soul-ideas. Of these, one of the most remarkable is the
scarab of the ancient Egyptians, which likewise continues to be worn
even to-day. This amulet is a coloured stone shaped like a beetle--more
specifically, the scarab. This beetle, with its red wing-coverings,
has approximately the form of a heart; for this reason, both it and
its representation were thought to be wandering hearts. As an amulet,
however, its original significance was that of a vehicle of the soul,
designed to protect against external dangers.

Whereas the amulet is worn so as to be visible, the talisman, on the
contrary, is hidden so far as possible from the observing eye. It is
either placed where it is inconspicuous, as is, for example, the finger
ring, or it possesses the appearance of a familiar object. The magical
sword gives no visible evidence of its unusual power; the helmet of
invisibility resembles an ordinary helmet; the _Tischlein-deck-dich_ of
the fairy-tale is in form not unlike any other table. It is with much
the same idea that the Soudan negro who sets out upon an undertaking
still takes with him some peculiar and accidentally discovered stone,
in the hope that it will assist him in danger. This also is an example
of a talisman, and not of a fetish.


The ideas fundamental to the cult of _human ancestors_, though also
connected with soul-beliefs, are radically different from those that
gave rise to the fetish. Whereas some mythologists have been inclined
to regard fetishism as the primitive form of religion, others have made
this claim for ancestor worship. The latter have believed that ancestor
worship could be traced back to the very beginnings of culture, and
that the god-ideas of the higher religions were a metamorphosis of
ancestor ideas. This is corroborated, in their opinion, by the fact
that in the age of natural religions the ruler or the aristocracy
very generally claimed descent from the gods, and that the ruler and
the hero were even worshipped as gods. The former is illustrated by
the genealogy of Greek families; the latter, by the Roman worship of
emperors, which itself but represented an imitation of an Oriental
custom that was once very common. All these cases, however, are clearly
secondary phenomena, transferences of previously existing god-ideas
to men who were either living or had already died. But even apart
from this, the hypothesis is rendered completely untenable by the
facts with which the history of totemism and of the earlier, more
primitive conditions has made us familiar. Not a trace of ancestor
worship is to be found among really primitive men. We have clear proof
of this in their manner of disposing of the dead. So far as possible,
the dead are left lying where they happen to be, and no cult of any
kind is connected with them. Totemism, moreover, gives evidence of
the fact that the cult of animal ancestors long anteceded that of
human ancestors. Thus, then, the theory that ancestor worship was the
primitive religion belongs essentially to an age practically ignorant
of totemism and its place in myth development, as well as of the
culture of primitive man. This era of a purely _a priori_ psychology
of religion still entertained the supposition, rooted in Biblical
tradition, of an original state of pure monotheism. In so far as this
view was rejected, fetishism and ancestor worship were generally rivals
as regards the claim to priority in the succession of religious ideas.
The only exception occurred when these practices were regarded as
equally original, as they were, essentially, in the theories of Herbert
Spencer, Julius Lippert, and others. In this event, the original form
of the fetish was held to be an ancestral image which had become an
object of cult.

True, along with the totemic ideas of animal ancestors we very
early find indefinite and not infrequently grotesque ideas of human
ancestors. In the 'Mura-mura' legends of southern Australia these ideas
are so interwoven that they can scarcely be untangled. These Mura-mura
are fanciful beings of an earlier age, who are represented as having
transmitted magical implements to the generations of the present era
and as having instructed the ancestors of the Australians in magical
ceremonies. A few of the legends relate that the Mura-mura also created
the totem animals, or transformed themselves into the latter. Here,
then, we already find a mutual interplay between ideas of human and
conceptions of animal ancestors. As yet, however, no clear-cut idea of
a _human_ ancestor has been formed. This never occurs--a fact of prime
importance as concerns its development--until the _totem ancestor_ has
lost his significance, and the original tribal totemism has therefore
become of subordinate importance, even though totemism itself has not
as yet completely disappeared. Under such circumstances the totem
animal becomes the protective animal of the _individual_; the animal
ancestor is displaced by the demon which mysteriously watches over
the individual's life. This transition has already been touched upon
in connection with the development of totemic ideas. Coincident with
it, there is an important change with respect to the character of the
totem animal. The tribal totem is an animal species. The Australian,
whose totem, let us say, is the kangaroo, regards all kangaroos which
he meets as sacred animals; he may not kill them, nor, above all,
eat of their flesh. In the above-mentioned development of totemism
(which is at the same time a retrogression) the totem animal becomes
individualized. The protective animal--or the animal of destiny, as we
might refer to it, in view of its many changes in meaning--is but an
individual animal. A person may possibly never have seen the animal
that keeps guard over him; nevertheless, he believes that it is always
near at hand. The unseen animal which thus accompanies him is therefore
sometimes also called his 'bush soul'; it is hidden somewhere in the
bushes as a sort of animal double. Whatever befalls the person likewise
happens to it, and conversely. For this reason it is very commonly
believed that, if this animal should be killed, the person also must
die. This makes it clear why the North American Indian calls the
animal, not his ancestor, but his 'elder brother.'

In South African districts, especially among the Bantus where the bush
soul is common, and in North America, where the tribal totem has become
a coat of arms, and fable and legend therefore continue all the more
to emphasize the individual relation between a person and an animal,
the idea of a _human_ ancestor receives prominence. The totemic tribal
organization as a whole, together with the totemic nomenclature of
the tribal divisions, may continue to exist, as occasionally happens
among the Bantus and in North America, even though the tribal totems
proper have disappeared and become mere names, and the animal itself
possesses no live importance except as a personal protector. But since
the totemic tribal organization perpetuates the idea of a succession
of generations, the human ancestor necessarily comes to assume the
place of the animal ancestor. This change is vividly represented by the
totem poles of the Indians of northwestern America. These totem poles
we have already described. The head of the animal whose representation
has become the coat of arms here surmounts a series of faces of human
ancestors. Such a monument tells us, more plainly than words possibly
could: These are the ancestors whom I revere and who, so far as memory
reaches back, have found the symbol of their tribal unity in the animal
which stands at their head. But totem poles do more than merely to
directly perpetuate this memory. Though probably without the conscious
intention of the artists who fashioned them, they also suggest
something else, lost to the memory of living men. In the belief of
earlier ages, this human ancestor was preceded by an animal ancestor to
whom the reverence which is now paid to the human ancestors was at one
time given. Thus, the animal ancestor was not only prior to the human
ancestor from an external point of view, but gave rise to him through a
necessity immanent in the course of development itself.

The transition from animal to human ancestors, furthermore, is closely
bound up with coincident transformations in tribal organization.
Wherever a powerful chieftainship arises, and an individual,
overtowering personality obtains supremacy over a tribe or clan--such
supremacy as readily tends to pass down to his descendants--it is
particularly likely that a cult will be developed in his honour, and,
upon his death, to his memory. Since the memory of this personality
outlasts that of ordinary men, the individual himself is held to live
on after death, even in regions where there is no belief in a universal
immortality. Hence, according to a belief prevalent particularly
among the negro peoples, the ordinary man perishes with death; the
chieftain, however, or a feared medicine-man, continues to live at
least until all memory of him has vanished. In some parts of Africa and
Oceania, moreover, the cult of the living chieftains not only involves
manifestations of a servile subjection but, more characteristically
still, causes even his name to be tabooed. No one is allowed to
speak it, and whoever bears the same name must lay it aside when the
chieftain assumes control.

As a result of the change in totemic tribal organization induced
by the growing significance of chieftainship, the cult of _living_
ancestors, as we may conclude from these phenomena, takes precedence
over that of the just deceased, and still more over that of the long
departed. In comparison with the importance which the man of nature
attributes to living persons, that attaching to the dead is but slight,
and diminishes rapidly as the individuals fade from memory. Individual
rulers, whose deeds are remembered longer than those of ordinary men,
may lay the foundations for an historical tradition. Nevertheless, the
present long continues to assert a preponderating claim in belief as
well as in cult. So long as man himself lives only for the present,
having little regard for the future and scarcely any at all for the
past, his gods also--in so far as we may apply this name to the
supersensuous powers that shape his life--are _gods of the present_.
True, the totem animal is secondarily also an animal ancestor. And yet
it is only the living totem animal that is the object of cult and is
believed to possess protective or destructive powers; compared with it,
the ancestor idea fades into nebulous outlines, gaining a more definite
significance only in so far as it is an expression of the tribal
feeling which binds the members of the community to one another.

A further important factor enters into this development. This is the
cult ceremony connected with the _disposition of the dead_. In this
case, the departed one to whom the ceremony is dedicated is still
directly present to memory. He holds, as it were, an intermediate
position between the realm of the living and that of the dead. The
memorial ceremony held in his honour also restores to memory older
generations of the departed, even though this may cause their specific
features to fade into indefiniteness and to assume outlines whose
vagueness renders them similar. The American totem poles furnish a
concrete portrayal of such a series of ancestors in which individual
characteristics are totally lacking. Nevertheless, even under very
diverse circumstances, we find that the ceremony in honour of one who
has just died comes to develop into a general festival of the dead,
and thus to include more remote generations. The circle of those who
are honoured is likewise extended; the cult comes to be one that
commemorates not merely chieftains but all tribesmen. As the wider
tribal bonds dissolve, the clan, and then later the family, pay their
homage to the departed on the occasion of his funeral, and to earlier
generations of the dead on specific days dedicated to such memories.
This is the course of development in which the ancestor festivals of
the Chinese and Japanese have their origin, as well as the cults of the
Roman _dii manes_; it has introduced elements, at least, of ancestor
worship into the beginnings of all religions, even though this cult but
rarely attained the pre-eminent importance which it possessed among the
cultural peoples of the Orient.

But whatever may have been the character of this earlier strain of
ancestor worship in religious development, the beginning of a true
ancestor cult is closely bound up with the universalization due to
its having become the cult of the hearth and the family. As it is the
human ancestor who displaces the animal ancestor in this cult, so
the transition by which the _family_ comes to be the central factor
in social organization is an external indication of the dissolution
of totemic culture and the dawning of a new era. In view of the
predominant mythological and religious creations of this period, it
might be called the age of heroes and gods. Ancestor worship itself is
at the turning-point of the transition to the new era. In origin, it
belongs to totemic culture: in its later development, it is one of the
most significant indications of the dissolution of totemism, preparing
the way for a new age in which it continues to hold an important
place. At the same time, ancestor worship, no less than its rival,
fetishism, constitutes but one factor among others in the development
of mythological thought as a whole. In certain localities, as in the
civilizations of eastern Asia, it may become sufficiently prominent
to be one of the principal elements of religious cult. But even in
such cases, ancestor worship is never able entirely to suppress the
remaining forms of cult; still less can it be regarded as having given
rise to the other fundamental phases of religious development--these
rest on essentially different motives. Moreover, in connection with the
relation of totemism to the ancestor worship which is rooted in the
former and at the same time displaces it in one line of development, it
is important to notice that in a certain sense the two follow opposite
paths. As we have seen, the original totem--that is, the tribal
totem--is the animal species in general; the last form of totem is the
protective animal, which is an individual animal. Ancestor worship,
on the other hand, begins with the adoration of humanly conceived
benefactors and prominent tribesmen. It ends with a worship in which
the individual ancestor gives way to the general idea of ancestor, in
whom the family sees only a reflection of its own unity and an object
in terms of which reverence is paid to past generations. The fact that
ancestor cult centres about impersonal beings betrays a religious
defect. Herein also is evidenced the continuing influence of the
totemic age, for it was in this period that ancestor worship had its
rise. The defect just mentioned was first overcome with the origin of
_god-ideas_. One of the essential characteristics of gods is precisely
the fact that they are _personal_ beings; each of them is a more or
less sharply defined individuality. This of itself clearly indicates
that ancestor worship is at most a relatively unimportant factor in the
origin of gods.


The primitive stage of human development, discussed in the preceding
chapter, possessed no real cults in the strict sense of the term.
Occasional suggestions or beginnings of cult acts were to be found,
in the form of a number of magical customs. Such, particularly, were
the efforts to expel sickness demons; also, the ceremonial dances
designed to bring success to joint undertakings, as, for example, the
above-mentioned dance of the Veddah about an arrow, whose purpose,
perhaps, was to insure a successful hunt, if we would judge, among
other things, from the fact that the dancers imitated the movements of

In contrast to these meagre magical usages, which, for the most part,
served individual purposes, the totemic age developed a great variety
of cults. Just as the totemic tribal organization is an impressive
phenomenon when compared with the primitive horde, so also do we
marvel at the rich development of cults with which we meet as we pass
to the totemic age. These cults are associated not only with the most
important events of human life but also with natural phenomena, though,
of course, only in so far as the latter affect the interests of man,
the weal or woe that is in store for the individual or for the tribal
community. Generally speaking, therefore, these cults may be divided
into two great classes. Though these two classes of cults are, of
course, frequently merged and united--for the very reason that both
spring from the same emotions of hope, of desire, and of fear--they
are nevertheless clearly distinguishable by reference to the immediate
purpose which the magic of the cult aims to serve. The first of these
classes includes those cults which relate to the most significant
events of human life; the second, those concerned with the natural
phenomena most important to man.

Human life furnishes motives for cult acts in its origin as in its
decline, in birth and in death. Other motives are to be found in
significant intervening events, such primarily as the entrance of the
youth into manhood, though in the case of the maiden, ceremonies of
this sort are very secondary or are entirely lacking. Of these most
important events of life, that of birth is practically removed from
present consideration. No ceremony or cult is connected with it. Not
infrequently, however, the idea prevails that the child becomes capable
of life only on condition that its parents endow it with life a second
time, as it were, by an express act of will. Thus, many Polynesian
tribes allow parents to put to death a new-born infant. Only after
the child has lived several hours has it gained a right to existence
and does the duty of rearing it devolve upon the parents. There is a
survival of similar ideas in the older usages of cultural peoples,
though they have not led to the widespread evils of infanticide as they
have among many peoples of nature. But even among the early Germans,
Romans, and Greeks, the life of a new-born child was secure only after
the father had given recognition to it in a symbolical act--such, for
example, as lifting it from the earth. On the other hand, the previous
act of laying the child on the ground frequently came to be symbolical
of the idea that it, as all living things, owes its existence primarily
to mother earth. With this act of an express recognition of the child,
moreover, there is also bound up the unconditional obedience which the
child, even down to a late period, was held to owe to its parents.

The fewer the cult acts connected with entrance upon life, the greater
is the number that attend departure from it. Almost all cults of the
dead, moreover, originate in the totemic age. Wherever traces of
them appear at an earlier stage, one can hardly avoid the suspicion
that these are due to the influences of neighbouring peoples. Now,
the totemic cults of the dead are closely interrelated with the
above-described usages relating to the disposition of the corpse.
They make their appearance particularly when the original signs of
fear and of flight from the demon of the dead begin to vanish, and
when reverence comes into greater and greater prominence, as well
as the impulse to provide for a future life of the dead--a life
conceived somehow as a continuance of the present. The clansmen
solemnly accompany the corpse to its burial; death lamentations assume
specific ceremonial forms, for whose observance there is very commonly
a special class of female mourners. The cries of these mourners, of
course, still appear to express the emotion of fear in combination
with that of grief. The main feature of the funeral ceremonies comes
to be a _sacrifice to the dead_. Not only are the usual articles of
utility placed in the grave--such, for example, as a man's weapons--but
animals are slaughtered and buried with the corpse. Where the idea of
rulership has gained particular prominence--as, for example, among the
Soudan and Bantu peoples of Africa--slaves and women must also follow
the deceased chieftain into the grave. Evidently these sacrifices are
intended primarily for the deceased himself. They are designed to help
him in his further life, though in part the aim is still doubtless that
of preventing his return as a demon. In both cases, these usages are
clearly connected with the increased importance attached to the psyche,
for they first appear with the spread of the belief in a survival
after death and in soul migration. These sacrifices are doubtless
regarded partly as directly supplying the necessary means whereby the
soul of the dead may carry on its further existence and partly as
magical instruments that make it possible for the deceased to enjoy a
continuance of life. Thus, these sacrifices already involve ideas of a
beyond, though, generally speaking, the latter did not as yet receive
further development.

At this point, sacrifice to the dead undergoes further modifications,
as a consequence of which there are also changes in the accompanying
cult acts. The sacrifice of food dedicated to the use of the deceased
and the bloody sacrifice designed to equip him with magical power,
are no longer offered merely to the departed. As soon as god-ideas
begin to emerge, the sacrifice is brought, in first instance, to
these higher beings, who are implored to furnish protection to the
deceased. As this latter motive gains the ascendancy, the slaughtered
animals are no longer placed in the grave along with the deceased, but
their blood is poured out upon it; of their flesh, moreover, only a
part is thrown upon the grave as the portion of the dead, while the
rest is consumed by the mourners. The feelings of reverence, thus
expressed, issue, in the later development of these cults to the dead,
in general ancestor worship. Not only the deceased himself and those
who have assembled, but particularly the gods under whose protection
the deceased is placed, receive a portion of the sacrifice. When this
occurs, the offering, which had been devoted to the deceased, becomes
sacrifice proper. The offering was given solely to the one who had
died; at first, its purpose was to keep him in his grave, later,
to afford him aid in his further life. Real sacrifice to the dead
involves _three_ parties--the deceased person, the deity, and the
survivors. The deceased gains new life from the blood and flesh of
the sacrificial animal; the deity is subjected to a magical influence
which is to incline him favourably toward the departed; those who
bring the sacrifices participate in this favour, since they enter
into a magical union both with the deceased and with the protecting
deity. In part, these developments extend on beyond the totemic age;
their beginnings, however, are already everywhere present. True, in
this early sacrifice to the dead the attempt to exercise a magical
influence upon the deity--later, as we shall see, the essential feature
of the sacrificial idea--is still in the background. Nevertheless,
this magical feature, which characterizes sacrifice at the height of
its development, has already made its appearance. Because of it, the
original sacrifice to the dead possesses a significance intermediate
between the two distinct concepts of a gift which sacrifice has been
held to embody. Though originally a gift to the deceased, an offering
laid beside him, sacrifice became a means of protective magic for him
and for the survivors. When the deity came to constitute a third member
of this magical group, and as he gradually gained the dominant place,
the idea of a gift again began to displace the purely magical idea.
The gift, however, was now a gift to the deity. This was the final
stage in the development of sacrifice and represents the basis of the
ordinary rationalistic interpretation. Originally, however, sacrifice
possessed a different significance. It was purely a magical act, as is
shown by the further circumstance that it is precisely the sacrifice
to the dead which was already practised at a time when there were as
yet no gods but merely a belief in demons. Additional evidence may be
found in the nature of the sacrificial gifts which are deposited in the
graves, particularly where ancestor worship prevails--as, for example,
in the realms of East Asiatic culture. In these regions, it is not the
objects themselves with which the deceased is to be equipped for his
future life that are buried, but miniature paper representations of
them. These representations are really not symbols, as is generally
held--or, at any rate, this is only a later and retrogressive form of
the idea--but they are sensuously embodied desires originally regarded
as means of magic. In this case also, we may detect the influence of
soul-ideas, which lie at the basis of all beliefs of this sort. As the
psyche of the dead is supposed to reincarnate itself in a new organism,
so likewise are the object-souls incorporated in these representative
miniatures to transform themselves, by means of the magical power
attaching to their shape, into corresponding real objects. But in this
instance again, the further modifications in the sacrifice to the dead
lead on into deity cult. Hence it is not until our next chapter, when
we discuss deity cults, that we will deal with the sacrificial idea in
its total development.

Connected with another life-event to which this age attaches particular
importance is a further significant group of totemic cults. This
consists in the celebration of the adolescence of youths in the
so-called _initiation ceremonies_. In a period such as this, when
intertribal struggles are a matter of increasing concern, the reception
of a youth into the association of men, into the community of the hunt
and of war, represents the outstanding event of his life. Beginnings of
such celebrations were transmitted by the primitive age to the totemic
era, but it is only at this later period that they are developed into
great cult festivals. It is these festivals, particularly, which
everywhere recur in essentially the same form among all the tribes
of Australia. They are great folk festivals, frequently assembling
the clans of friendly tribes. Their celebration consists of dances
and songs, though primarily of ceremonies centring about the youths
who are reaching the age of maturity. For a considerable period these
youths have been prepared for the festival by the older men. They have
been subjected to a strict asceticism for weeks beforehand; meanwhile
they have also been trained in the use of weapons, and instructed in
certain matters of which the young are kept in ignorance. The actual
celebration, which always occurs at night, includes ceremonies which,
in part, involve extreme pain to the novices. The youths are obliged
to stand very close to a fire kindled in the centre of the ceremonial
ground. The older men, with painted faces, then execute dances, in
which the women are forbidden to participate. An important feature of
these dances is the imitation of totem animals. This also provides
an opportunity for humorous episodes. During these pranks, however,
the youths are compelled to remain serious. Moreover, they must give
evidence of fortitude by fearlessly leaping over the fire. In many
of these regions, there is a further ceremony, which is extremely
peculiar and of uncertain significance. This consists in the knocking
out of teeth. Generally the operation is performed by the medicine-man
or, as he ought perhaps to be called in this capacity, the priest.
The latter presses the teeth of his own lower jaw against one of the
incisors of the upper jaw of the novice, thus loosening the tooth so
that it may easily be knocked out with a stone hammer. This is the most
primitive form of tooth deformation, a practice common to numerous
peoples of nature as a means of beautification. That the original
purpose was not cosmetic is clear. Whatever other end it was intended
to serve, however, is uncertain, though it was doubtless connected
with cult. Perhaps its meaning is suggested in the fact that, before
marriage, girls also were frequently deprived of a front tooth, and
that the idea prevailed, possibly in connection with this custom, that
the exchange of breath, and thus the breath-soul, may play a part in
the act of procreation. It is not unreasonable to suppose that these
ideas may represent the origin of the kiss. At any rate, as Preusz has
pointed out, ancient Mexican pictures represent two deities engaged,
apparently, in the act of kissing while (perhaps in reminiscence
also of the blood-soul) red smoke passes from the mouth of the one
to that of the other. Moreover, it may well be that this exchange of
souls in the kiss has its analogue in many regions, particularly in
Melanesia, in the exchange of breath through the nose--the so-called
nose-greeting which might therefore better be called the nose-kiss.
That this exchange is mediated through the nose may be due to the fact
that among many of these tribes kissing with the lips is impossible
because of mouth-rings, lip-blocks, and other deformations, doubtless
originally intended as means of magic. Similar ideas concerning the
mouth and the nose, moreover, and their relation to the psyche, are
suggested even by the Biblical history of the Creation, according to
which God rouses Adam to life by breathing a soul into him through his
nose. Through the mouth, man breathes out his soul; through the nose,
he received it.

Though the festival of initiation into manhood was once associated
with magical acts of cult, as the above ceremony seems to show, the
meaning of this magic has for the most part been lost to the memory
of the natives. For this reason they generally regard the ceremonies,
including that of striking out the teeth, as a means of testing the
fortitude of the young men. This was doubtless a secondary motive
even at a very early time, and when the magical significance dropped
out, it remained as the sole purpose. Nevertheless, the character of
these alleged tests is much too peculiar to be intelligible on the
hypothesis that they were originally intended merely to arouse fear or
pain. And so, in view of the widely prevalent use of fire as a means
of lustration, we may be allowed to regard also the fire-test, which
occupies a central place in these cult forms, as having originally been
a means of magical purification.

The second class of ceremonial festivals and cults, as above remarked,
is associated with certain objective natural phenomena which exercise a
decisive influence upon human life. The natural phenomena most likely
to originate a cult, because representing the most important objects
of desire and fear, are those connected with the need for food, with
the growth of plants, and with the increase of animals, particularly
the animals of the chase. For this reason _vegetation cults_ date back
to the very beginnings of the totemic period. Very probably they
originated in the desire for plant food. Under relatively primitive
conditions there was seldom a lack of game, though there was probably
a scarcity of the vegetables necessary to supplement the food derived
from animals. For plants frequently suffer from unfavourable weather,
whether it be from the heat of the sun and from drought, as in tropical
and sub-tropical regions, or from deluging rains, as in the temperate
zones. Our interpretation of vegetation cults is supported particularly
by the conditions prevailing in the original home of totemism,
Australia. These cults here occur chiefly in the northern districts,
into which there were early Melanesian immigrations; towards the south,
they have gained but a relatively small foothold. The more northerly
regions, as we have seen, are the very ones in which plant totems also
are numerous, whereas they are lacking in the south. The cults of which
we have been speaking are called _Intichiuma ceremonies_--an expression
of Australian derivation. These ceremonies, moreover, involve the
magical use of churingas, the Australian fetishes.

The character of these vegetation festivals is always very much the
same. They include dances, in which, in essential distinction from
those of the initiation ceremonies, women are generally allowed to
participate; their central feature consists of specific magical acts
designed to effect an increase of the food supply. In Australia,
these acts, in part, take the form of ceremonies in which pieces of
artificial animals are strewn about. We speak of them as artificial, of
course, only from our own standpoint; to the Australian the material
that is scattered represents an actual living being. Thus, for example,
a heap of sand is moulded into the form of a large lizard, and, of
this, various parts are thrown into the air by those who participate in
the festival. The animal germs thus scattered are supposed to effect
an increase in the animals of the lizard totem. These vegetation
festivals, therefore, are also totem festivals, and their celebration
has the secondary significance of a cult dedicated to the totem. The
celebration connected with a fish totem is similar to the above,
though somewhat more complicated. A member of the clan, whose arms or
other parts of the body have been bored through with bone daggers,
descends into the water and allows his blood to mingle with it. The
totem germs that are to bring about an increase in fish are supposed to
emanate from the blood.

In the case of plant totems, the cults are of a simpler nature. The
plants themselves, or sometimes their seeds, which, moreover, also
serve directly as food, are strewn to the winds. The grass-seed totem,
for example, is particularly common in Australia. The seeds of the
Australian grasses are gathered in large quantities and constitute
an important part of the vegetable food. Thrown into the air, they
are supposed to bring about an increased supply of these grasses.
Externally regarded, this magical ceremony, primitive as it is,
completely represents an act of sowing. It would be incorrect, however,
as yet to speak of it as such, in the sense of the later tiller of the
soil; the significance of the ceremony is purely magical. An age which
merely gathers wild seeds and fruits does not prepare the soil in the
way that sowing presupposes. Nevertheless, the magical cult involves
an act which later forms an important part of agricultural tasks.
Indeed, it is not at all improbable that these magical ceremonies,
which in any event already involve the recognition that the strewing
of seed conditions the increase of plants, have elsewhere constituted
a preparatory step to the development of agriculture. In general it
may be said that the ceremony probably originated in connection with
plant totems, where the idea of such an increase is very especially
apt to suggest itself; doubtless it was only later connected, through
a process of external association, with animal totems. In harmony with
such a view is the fact that Intichiuma festivals are chiefly prevalent
in the regions of plant totemism.

The vegetation cults which preceded the rise of agriculture were
finally superseded by _true cults of the soil_. The latter presuppose
the preparation of the soil by the efforts of man. This is clear from
the fact that they occur more regularly, and at definite seasons of
the year; moreover, they are of a more complex character, serving in
part a number of other purposes. Typical of the transition are the
vegetation festivals of the natives of Central America. These festivals
are unique in that they embody elements of celestial mythology; thus
they constitute important transitional stages between the demon cults
of the totemic era and deity cults. The relation which the seeds are
supposed to bear to the sprouts of the various grains is now no longer
merely of a magical nature. The hoe-culture, to which the American
Indian has attained, has taught him the dependence of the growth of
plants upon the act of sowing. But here also there can be no cult
until there is community labour. The original hoe-culture carried on
by the individual about his hut no more tends to originate a cult than
does the erection of the hut, the weaving of baskets, or the other
tasks set by the needs of daily life. Individuals, however, frequently
till the soil even prior to the rise of systematic agriculture, as
occurs in certain regions of Melanesia, among the prairie peoples of
North America, and elsewhere. Besides leading to more advanced ideas
concerning the processes of germination and growth, these beginnings
of agriculture, which still form part of the household duties of
individuals, serve to engender what proves to be a permanent and basal
factor in all further development--namely, _provision for the future_.
However primitive may be the hoe-culture which the individual carries
on about his hut, it is not concerned exclusively with the immediate
present, as is the mere gathering of food, but it aims to satisfy a
future need. True, even in this case, the beginnings may be traced back
to the preceding age. Even such ceremonies as the Intichiuma festivals,
in which the totems are strewn about in order magically to influence
their growth and increase, are already thoroughly inspired by a regard
for the future. Perhaps all human action concerned with the distant
future was at first magical in aim.

The establishment of a cult, however, is due not merely to the
foresight which provides for a future harvest by the tilling of the
soil; it is conditioned also by a second factor--namely, _community
labour_. Just as entrance into manhood gives rise to initiation
cults only when it becomes of tribal importance, precisely so is the
development of cults of the soil dependent upon the association of
members of a tribe or a mark in common labour. Moreover, initiation
into manhood early came to be of common concern because of the
community life of age-associates and of the need for military training
created by tribal warfare; the same is true, though at a later stage
and, of course, for essentially different reasons, of the tilling of
the soil. The most important factor in the latter case is the fact that
because the natural conditions are common to all, all are obliged to
select the same time both for the sowing and later for the harvest.
This is of little moment so long as the population is sparse and the
property of one individual is separated from that of the others by
wide stretches of uncultivated land. The more closely the members of
the mark live together, however, the more do they share in common
labour. Whenever a migrating tribe takes possession of a new territory,
moreover, there is a further decisive consideration, namely, the fact
that at the outset the soil is common property. In this case, not
merely the natural conditions, but also the very ground on which the
work of the field is performed, is identical for all the members of a
mark. Added to this objective factor there more and more comes to be
one of a subjective nature. In common labour, the individual determines
his activities by reference to a common end; moreover, he regulates
these activities, as to rhythm, tempo, and the accompanying expressive
movements, so as to conform to the group in which he finds himself.
Since, moreover, the activity of sowing and the subsequent growth of
the crop preserve the magical character acquired in an earlier period,
the work itself comes to be a cult activity. Just as initiation rites
are not merely a declaration of manhood but a cult, designed magically
to equip the novice with manly power and fortitude, so the tilling of
the soil becomes a cult act through whose inherent magical power the
prosperity of the crop is supposed to be secured. There are two factors
which are of prime importance for the beginning of agricultural cults,
and which give to their further development its peculiar stamp. In
the first place, the labour whose performance in common engenders the
cults of the soil is always connected with _hoe-culture_, the initial
stage of agriculture. It is only because they work with the hoe that
the members of the mark come into such close relations that they easily
fuse into a cult community. When the plough, which is drawn by an
animal, comes into use, the individuals are again separated. For the
field which is tilled is larger, and, furthermore, the activity of the
ploughman is confined to the guidance of his animals and implements,
so that he personally is no longer directly concerned with the soil as
in the case of hoe-culture. Moreover, since hoe-culture demands a very
much greater expenditure of human energy, it arouses stronger emotions.
The plough trains to reflection and brooding; the hoe stirs violent
emotions. Furthermore, it is only when hoe-culture becomes common
labour on a common field that the sexes are brought together. The
early hoe-culture carried on about the hut of the individual generally
devolves upon the woman alone, who thus merely continues the duty of
food-getting which rested with her, as the gatherer of food, under
still more primitive economic conditions. With the appearance of more
intensive hoe-culture the labour is divided. Man cuts up and loosens
the soil with his hoe; woman follows after, strewing the seed between
the clods. With the invention of the plough, agriculture finally
becomes the exclusive concern of man. The furrowing and loosening of
the soil is now done by means of an implement, and man, freed from this
labour, assumes the duty of strewing the seed.

This twofold community of labour, that on the part of the holders of
common property and that of the two sexes, undoubtedly underlies the
peculiar character which the cults of the soil continue to preserve
long after the period of their origin. On the one hand, the work of the
field itself assumes the character of a cult act; combined with it, on
the other hand, there come to be additional ceremonies. That which
brings the men and women together and converts the labour into a cult
act is primarily the dance. The fertilization and growth of plants are
regarded as processes resembling the procreation of man. When the cult
members give themselves up to ecstatic and orgiastic dances, therefore,
they believe that they are magically influencing the sprouting and
growth of the seeds. According to their belief, sprouting and growth
are due to the demons of the soil. These demons the orgiastic cult
arouses to heightened activity, just as the labourers and dancers
mutually excite one another to increased efforts. In this ecstasy of
the cult, man feels himself one with external nature. His own activity
and the processes of nature become for him one and the same magical
potency. In addition to the terrestrial demons of growth, there are the
celestial demons, who send fructifying rains from the clouds to the
soil. Particularly in regions such as New Mexico and Arizona, where a
successful harvest depends in large measure upon the alternation of
rains with the withering heat of the sun, these vegetation festivals
are combined with elements of celestial cults. The latter, of course,
are also essentially demon cults, yet they everywhere exhibit distinct
traces of a transition into deity cults. Particularly typical are the
cults of the Zuni and Hopi, described in detail by various American
scholars. The direction of these cult festivals is vested in a body
of rain-priests, in conjunction with other associations of priests,
named for the most part after animals, and with secret societies. In
the vegetation ceremonies of the Hopi, the members of the rain-group,
naked and with faces masked to represent clouds, parade through a
neighbouring village and thence to the festival place. In their
procession through the village, the women throw water over them from
the windows of the houses. This is a magical ceremony intended to
secure the blessings of rain upon the crops. The investigations of W.
Mannhardt concerning the field cults of ancient and more recent times
have shown that survivals of such conceptions are still present in the
sowing and harvest usages of modern Europe. Mannhardt's collection of
customs deals particularly with East Prussia and Lithuania. In these
localities it is customary for the maid-servants to return from the
harvest earlier than the men, and to drench the latter with water as
they enter the house. Though this custom has become a mere form of
play, it nevertheless still vividly recalls the very serious magical
ceremonies of earlier vegetation cults. But over and above this change
from the serious to the playful, of which there are beginnings even in
the festival celebrations of early cultural peoples, there is still
another important difference between the earliest vegetation cults and
their later recrudescences. The former are connected particularly with
_sowing_, the latter primarily with the _harvest_. This again reflects
the difference between hoe-culture and plough-culture. Hoe-culture
unites the members of the mark in the activity of sowing, whereas
labour with the plough separates them and imposes the work exclusively
on the men. Harvesting the grain, on the other hand, long continues
to remain a task in which individuals work in groups, women and men
together. Moreover, as the magical beliefs associated with the activity
of sowing gradually disappear, their place is taken by joy over the
assured harvest. This also factors towards changing the time of the
main festival from the beginning to the end of the season.

Since both earth and heaven must co-operate if the sowing is to
be propitious and the harvest bountiful, vegetation festivals are
intermediate between demon cults and celestial cults. In respect
to origin, they belong to the former; in the degree in which more
adequate conceptions of nature are attained, they give rise to the
latter. In many cases, moreover, elements of ancestor cult still
exercise an influence towards bringing about this transition. The
cloud that bestows rain and blessing is regarded as dependent upon
a controlling will. Back of the clouds, therefore, according to the
ideas of the Zuni and other Pueblo tribes, dwell the ancestors. The
prayer of the priests to the clouds is also a prayer to the ancestors
for protection and aid. The procession of the rain-priesthood through
the village is a representation of the ancestors who are hidden
behind the mask of clouds, and is supposed to exercise a magical
influence. These cult festivals also include invocations to the sun,
whose assistance is likewise necessary to the prosperity of the crop.
Thus, in the ceremonial customs of the Navajos, who occupy the same
territory, the yellow sand that covers the festival place represents
the coloured expanse of the rainbow, the sun, and the moon. All the
heavenly forces are to co-operate in bringing about the ripening of
the harvest. In this wise it is possible to trace an advance, stage
by stage, from the cults of terrestrial demons, who dwell within the
growing grain itself, to celestial cults. The fact that the aid of
the heavens is indispensable draws the attention upwards. If, now,
there are other causes such as give rise to the idea of a celestial
migration of the souls of departed ancestors, the cloud demons become
merged with ancestor spirits, and there are combined with them the
supra-terrestrial powers that are conceived as inherent in the other
celestial phenomena.

It is due to this synthesis of vegetation cults with celestial cults
that these festivals, which are the most highly developed of any in the
totemic age, continue to become more and more complex. They gradually
incorporate other cults in so far as these are not associated with
specific, undeferable circumstances, as are the death cults. Among the
Zuni and Navajos, the most important ceremony thus incorporated into
these festivals is the initiation of youths into manhood and their
subsequent reception into the community of men. There are analogous
ceremonies for the women. In this complex of cult elements, the
emphasis more and more falls on the celestial phenomena, of which the
more important force themselves upon the observation and therefore
determine the time at which these festivals are held. Instead of at
seedtime and harvest, which vary somewhat with weather conditions,
the two main festivals are held at fixed dates corresponding to the
summer and winter solstices. Thus, the cults become independent of
variable circumstances. All the more are they able to assimilate
other cults. Among the Zuni, for example, there is a ceremony which,
though analogous to the declaration of manhood, is not held at the
time when the youths reach manhood or the maidens arrive at the age
of puberty, but occurs much earlier, and signifies reception into the
cult community. This first consecration, which might be compared to
our baptism, does not take place immediately after birth, but when the
child is four or five years of age. Following upon this consecration,
in the course of the same festival, comes the celebration of the
adulthood of fully matured youths and maidens, set for the fourteenth
or fifteenth year of life. In this ceremony the youths and maidens are
beaten with consecrated rods. The present generation, which has no
knowledge concerning the origin of this practice, generally regards
these blows as a test of hardihood and courage. But the fact that
specially consecrated rods are used by the priests shows unmistakably
that their original purpose was to exercise a magical influence upon
those who were being initiated. Indeed, the fact that many adults crowd
in to receive some of the blows, in the belief that these possess
a protective influence, proves that the original meaning of the
ceremony has maintained itself to a certain extent even down to the
present. In addition to these features of the cult-celebration, which
are connected in general with the tribal or mark community as such,
there are other ceremonies that are designed for the satisfaction of
the wants of individuals. Sick persons drag themselves painfully to
the festival, or are brought to it by their relatives, in search of
healing. In America, the desire for magical healing has very commonly
given rise to so-called sweat-lodges, which are located near the
festival places. These lodges serve a twofold purpose. The primary aim
of the sweat cure is to expel sickness demons. But healthy persons also
subject themselves to the treatment. In this case the sole purpose of
the sweating is obviously that of lustration. Just as we ourselves
occasionally experience relief from the flow of perspiration, so also
may the one who has passed through the ceremony of the sweat-lodge feel
himself reborn, as it were. This would tend to strengthen the naturally
suggested association between this ceremony and lustration by water.
The ceremony, therefore, serves the same purpose as the other forms
of lustration. The individual wishes either to purify himself from a
guilt which he has incurred, or, if there is no particular element of
guilt, to protect himself against future impurities. The custom thus
acquires the significance of a sanctification ceremony, similar to
baptism or to the bath of the Brahman. Because of the combination of
these various cult motives and cult forms, the cult association which
unites in the performance of the vegetation festivals comes to be the
representative of the cult, as well as of the belief, of the tribal
community in general. This likewise prepares the way for the transition
from totemic to deity cults, as is indicated, among other things, by
the sacrificial activities of these cult festivals. Sacrifice itself,
as has already been mentioned, probably originated as sacrifice to the
dead. Its further development occurs primarily in connection with the
higher forms of vegetation cults. The Zuni and Navajos erect altars for
their festivals. These they adorn with gaily coloured cloths and with
the gorgeous plumage of birds. On them they place the plants and grains
which the cult is designed to prosper. This is the typical form of the
vegetable sacrifice as it passes on from these early practices into all
higher cults. The sacrifice consists in offering the particular plants
and grains whose increase is desired. At the outset, its character is
exclusively magical; it is not a gift to the deity. Just as rain-magic
is supposed to result from drenching the rain-association with water,
so this offering of grains is held to have a magic effect upon the
prosperity of the same sorts of grains. There is no indication or
suggestion that the sacrifice represents an offering to the gods. This
idea arises only later, when the magical sacrifice of grains, as well
as that of animals, is connected with a further conception whose origin
is apparently also to be found in sacrifice to the dead. The dead
are presented with gifts, which they carry along into a world beyond.
Similarly, the magical sacrifice connected with vegetation festivals
and their associated cults more and more ceases to be regarded as
purely magical in nature and comes to be an offering to the deity whose
favour is thereby sought.

Coincident with these changes in sacrificial usages, the cult
community which develops in the course of the transitional stages
of cult--the best representatives are the semi-cultural peoples of
America--undergoes a more thorough organization. Separate associations
are formed within the wider circle of cult membership. These severally
assume the various functions involved in the cult; as a rule, they
are under the guidance of priests. Even apart from their connection
with these cult festivals, the priests serve as magic-priests and
magic-doctors, and it is they who preserve the traditions of the
general cult ceremonies as well as of the means requisite on the part
of the individual for the exercise of this twofold profession. This
represents the typical figure of the _medicine-man_. He is to be found
even in primitive culture, but his function more and more changes
from that of the ordinary magician into that of the priest. As such,
he attains to a position of authority that is publicly acknowledged
and protected. Associated with him is a restricted group of those
cult members who are most familiar with the secrets of the cult, and
are his immediate assistants in the festal ceremonies. It is these
individuals that compose the _secret societies_. These societies
occur even among the tribes of the northern parts of America, and
have their analogues particularly on the semi-cultural level which
forms the threshold of the totemic age. Presumably they derive from
the more primitive institution of men's clubs, within which the male
members of a clan are united into age-groups. Membership in secret
societies also continues to be limited to men, more especially to
such as have reached a mature age. As tribal organization developed,
and particularly as family bonds became firmer, age associations were
dissolved. The association which originally included all men gave way
to more restricted societies. Besides this numerical limitation, there
was naturally also a qualitative restriction. In the first place, those
who thus deliberately segregated themselves from the total body were
the privileged members of the tribal community, or at least such as
laid claim to special prerogatives; these associations, furthermore,
were formed for certain more specialized purposes connected with the
particular needs of their members. The first of these considerations
accounts for the respect, occasionally mingled with fear or reverence,
which was accorded to these societies, a respect which was heightened
by the secrecy in which they shrouded themselves. The fact that
certain customs and traditions were surrounded with secrecy caused
every such association to be organized into various ranks, graded
according to the extent with which the individuals were familiar with
the secret doctrines. This type of organization occurs as early as
the associations of medicine-men among the Africans and the American
Indians; later, it is to be found in connection with the Eleusynian
and Orphic mysteries; it is represented also by the Christian and
Buddhistic orders, and by their various secular counterparts, such as
the Rosicrucians and the Freemasons. Not infrequently these societies,
in contradiction to their secrecy, have special emblems indicative of
membership and of rank. Among the American Indians, this purpose is
generally served by special drawings on the body; in other places, by
specific tattooings as well as by the wearing of distinctive dress.
The second restriction of membership on the part of the secret society
is connected with the limited purpose which the society serves. The
men's club includes all the interests of the clan or tribal community;
the secret society is held together by a specific aim or by a limited
circle of related tasks. Here also it is universally true that these
tasks are connected with _cult_, and are thus of a religious nature.
Even the Greek phratries underwent a change of purpose analogous to
that which occurred in the transition from the age-group to the secret
society, for, after losing their earlier political significance, they
continued to exist as cultural associations.

The men's group belongs exclusively to the totemic age. Secret
societies, however, are organizations which, together with the cults
that they maintain, belong to a stage transitional between totemic and
deity cults. The emblems worn by the cult members are for the most part
totemic; totemic also are the cult usages, and likewise, particularly
among the American Indians, the name which the group adopts. The
feathers of birds and the hides of other totem animals--the same as
those which also adorn the festival altars--constitute a chief part of
the dress. In addition to the general tribal festival in which they
co-operate, these societies also maintain their special cults. It is
particularly in these latter cults that ancient totemic survivals are
in evidence. A remarkable example of such a totem group is the snake
society of the Hopi Indians, who dwell, as do the Zuni and Navajos,
in the regions of New Mexico. The totem animal of this society is
the rattlesnake. In the snake festival, a procession is formed in
which every member participates; each carries a rattlesnake in his
mouth, holding it in his teeth directly back of its head. It is firmly
believed that no snake will kill a member of the society which holds
it sacred. Of course, as observers of the festival have noticed, an
ingenious expedient is employed to avert the danger. Each snake-bearer
is followed by an associate who diverts the attention of the snake by
continually tickling its tail with a small stick. If a snake-bearer is
bitten, as rarely occurs, his companion always sucks out the wound,
by which act, as is well known, the snake-bite is rendered relatively


The most prominent of the artistic activities of the totemic age
is _formative art_. In this field, the lowest stages of totemic
development show little advance beyond the achievements of primitive
man. True, even Australia possesses cave drawings which, perhaps have
some sort of cult significance. As yet, however, we have not succeeded
in interpreting these drawings. With this exception, the formative art
of the totemic period is limited to carvings upon weapons or other
implements--obviously thought, just as in primitive times, to possess
magical potencies--and to the painting of the face on the occasion of
cult festivals.

In the regions of Oceania, particularly the Polynesian Islands, we find
a far richer development of that form of pictorial art which aims at
the adornment of the body, or, as we ought rather to say with reference
to the beginnings of this artistic practice, at the exercise on the
part of the body of a magical influence upon external things. Polynesia
is the chief centre of _artistic tattooing_. Throughout these regions
this practice has universally taken the form of prick tattooing. By
means of separate, close-lying prick points filled with colour, various
symmetrical designs are formed. This tattooing is the only art whose
highest perfection is reached at the beginning of culture. As soon as
clothing appears, the decoration of the body itself gives way to that
of dress. On particular occasions, as, for example, in connection with
certain cult practices of the American Indians, custom may continue
to demand entire nakedness. Under these circumstances, there is a
sort of retrogressive development in which the painting necessitated
by the festivals takes the place of tattooing. This occurs even among
the Australians. Moreover, even after clothing has appeared, it long
remains a favourite custom to tattoo certain exposed parts of the skin,
particularly the face and the arms and hands. Even to-day, indeed, the
arms are sometimes tattooed. The fact that tattooing is now practised
almost exclusively by criminals and prostitutes, and, occasionally,
by sailors, finds its explanation in a circumstance which was also of
influence at the time when tattooing was in its first flower, namely,
in the interruption of occupational activity by long periods of leisure.

There is an additional factor which obviously favours the development
of the art of tattooing, particularly in the territory of the
Polynesian Islands. I refer to the combination of totemism with
celestial mythology, which is peculiar to these peoples, and to
the consequent recedence of totemism. Particularly illuminative as
regards this point is the tattooing of the Maoris. The mythology of
this people gives an important place to the sun, and their bodily
decorations frequently include pictures of this celestial body, in
the form of spiral ornamentations. Some two years ago travelling
investigators brought back copies of the tattooing of other islanders,
particularly those of the Marquesas group. These tattoo-patterns
contain many significant elements of a celestial mythology; those
of to-day, however, in so far as the custom has not been entirely
effaced by the Europeans, consist almost entirely of simple geometrical
ornamentations. The tattooings of early times frequently included
also representations of animals. Plants were less common, as might
be expected from the fact that it was only later that they acquired
importance for totemic cults. At the same time, it is evident that a
sort of reversal took place as regards the pictorial representation of
objects. This is even more striking in the tattooing of the American
Indians, a tattooing restricted to certain parts of the body. In the
preceding chapter the fact has already been noted that, among the
primitive peoples of the pretotemic age, as, for example, the Semangs
and Senoi of Malacca, the multiplication of simple parallel lines,
triangles, arcs, etc., gives rise to plant-like and animal-like forms.
Doubtless the primitive artist himself discovers such figures in his
drawings and then sometimes consciously sets about to imitate more
closely the actual forms of the natural objects. At the stage of
development now under discussion, we find, conversely, that animal
forms, particularly, are retranslated into geometrical objects in
that they become, as we would to-day express it, more and more
conventionalized. Since only the simplest outlines of the objects
are retained, it may eventually become a matter of doubt whether
these really are schematic representations of natural objects, and
whether they are not, even from the very beginning, geometrical
ornamentations. Nevertheless the fact that there are continuous
transitions from the developed animal form to the geometrical ornament,
as occurs particularly in America, is incontrovertible proof that such
a conventionalization took place, though in many cases, doubtless,
very slowly. This process of conventionalization, however, may be more
clearly traced in connection with a different art, one that is related
to tattooing but whose development is not limited, as is that of the
latter, and destined from the very outset to become obsolete. I refer
to _ceramics_, the art of decorating the vessels which were at first
intended for the preservation, and later for the preparation, of food.

Even though the art of making pottery is not to be found in primitive
culture proper, it nevertheless dates back to a very early age. It is
not impossible that this age coincides approximately with the beginning
of the totemic period. At any rate, it was totemic cult which, from
earliest times on, furnished the motives for the decoration or--as is
here also doubtless generally true of the early beginnings--for the
magical protection of the vessels, or for the imparting of magical
potencies to their contents. Doubtless the clay vessel was originally
modelled partly after the natural objects that were used for storing
food, and partly after the woven basket. The latter, in turn, may, in
its beginnings, have been copied from the bird's nest. When it was
discovered, probably accidentally, that clay is hardened by fire, the
clay vessel came to be used not merely for the preservation of food
but also for its preparation by means of fire. Or, perhaps it would
be truer to say that the attempt to accomplish this latter purpose
with the unhardened clay vessel led to the art of baking clay. Now,
even before the art of making pottery was known, implements, weapons,
women's combs, and even the body itself were marked with simple and
regular linear drawings to which a magical significance was attached.
These geometrical forms, which arose semi-accidentally, were, even from
very early times, apperceived as the outlines of animal or plant forms,
and it was under the influence of these ideas that they attained a
further development. Precisely the same process was repeated in the
case of ceramics, only, as it were, upon a broader scale, challenging a
richer play of imagination. It is precisely here, however, particularly
in the ceramics of the American Indians, that we can trace the
ascending and the descending developments of primitive linear drawings,
first into completely developed animal designs with meagre suggestions
of attempts at plant ornamentation, and then regressively, through a
continued conventionalization, into purely geometrical figures. At the
same time, it was ceramics, especially, that developed a combination
of these two designs, the systematic arrangement of which marks
the perfection of this art. Thus arose representations of natural
objects framed in by geometrical ornamentations. In this respect
also, tattooing furnished a preparation, even though imperfectly, for
ceramics. In inner significance, moreover, the latter was a direct
outgrowth of the former. By tattooing, man originally guarded his own
person with protective magic; in ceramics, this magic was brought into
connection with man's utensils, with the food necessary for his life,
and with its preparation. In ceramics, therefore, just as in tattooing,
the animals represented were at first primarily _totem animals_. Among
them we find particularly snakes, fish, and birds, and, in America, the
alligator. Especially characteristic of the totemic age is the fact
that the decorations scarcely ever include the representation of the
_human figure_. It is by this mark that the art products, even of the
earliest age of Greece, may be distinguished at first glance from those
of totemic culture. In the former case, the human figure is introduced,
either along with that of the animal or even alone; in the latter case,
only animal representations occur. Strange to say, it is in only _one_
respect that the ceramics, more particularly of the American Indians,
copy man--the vessel as a whole represents a head or a skull. Doubtless
this is connected with the obnoxious custom of head-hunting. Just as
the Indian adorns the roof of his hut with the heads of his conquered
foes, so he perpetuates the memory of his feats of war in his ceramic
objects. No portrayal of activities in which human beings participate,
is to be found in the totemic age.

Connected with this, no doubt, is the lack of any real _sculpture_,
with the exception of crude idols representing animal or human forms.
These idols, on the whole, are of the nature of fetishes, and as such
may, of course, be regarded as the precursors of the divine images of
a later period. As there is no sculpture, so also is there, strictly
speaking, no _architecture_. In this respect, again, there is a wide
difference between this age and the succeeding one. In its higher
forms, architecture presupposes gods who are worshipped in a temple.
In the totemic period, however, there are no temples. True, the
Australian preserves his magic wands and pieces of wood, the churingas,
in caves or huts, but the latter differ in no wise from other huts. In
the totemic age, therefore, man alone has a dwelling-place. Of such
structures there are, in general, _two_ types, the _conical_ and the
_spherical_. The conical hut apparently had its origin in the tent.
The rounded or beehive hut, as it has been called in Africa, may
originally have been copied from a natural cave built in the sand. The
two forms, moreover, are not always mutually exclusive. In winter,
for example, the Esquimo of Behring Strait lives in a round hut made
of snow; in summer, he pitches a tent. In Melanesia, Polynesia, and
other regions, the erection of dwelling-places on the seashore or
on the shores of large rivers led to the _pole-hut_, a modification
which came to resemble the houses of later times. This hut, which is
generally occupied jointly by several families, is erected on poles
that are firmly driven into the ground and reach far up into the air.
Such a pole-hut, even at this early age, develops the typical form
of a commodious dwelling. One of the factors here operative is the
institution of men's clubs, which is prevalent in these regions: the
necessity that many individuals live together leads to the erection
of buildings of considerable size. In this connection, we note a
characteristic difference between the beginnings of architectonic
art and that of the other arts. The latter, whether in the case of
tattooing, ceramics, or the fetishistic precursors of sculpture,
always originate in mythological and, primarily, in magical motives;
the sole impetus to architecture is furnished by the immediate needs
of practical life. Thus, then, it is not to religious impulses but to
the social conditions which require that many individuals shall live
together, that we must trace a more perfected technique of building
than that of primitive times.

Much more nearly parallel to the development of the other forms of
art is that of the _musical arts_, meaning by this all those arts
which consist in the direct activity of man himself. The musical
arts include the dance, poetry, and music, as well as the various
combinations into which these enter with one another. Since it is
the third of these arts, music, that manifests a particular tendency
to combine with and to supplement the other two, all three may be
comprehended under its name. This will also serve to suggest the fact
that, just as the formative arts are closely related in that they give
objective embodiment to the creations of the imagination, so also are
the musical arts allied by virtue of their reliance on subjective
expression. Of all these various arts, the _dance_ preserves the
closest connection with the more primitive age. In the cult dance of
the totemic period, however, the dance receives an extraordinarily
rich development, reaching a stage of perfection comparable to that
to which formative art attains in the external adornment of the
body--that is, in tattooing. The dance and tattooing, indeed, are
closely related, since nowhere else is the _personal body_ so directly
the object and the means of artistic activity. To the dances of the
primitive period, however, the totemic dance adds _one_ external
feature--the _mask_--whose origin is directly due to totem belief.
Even the Australians, of course, are not familiar with the mask-dance.
They sometimes paint the face or mark it with single lines, and this
may be regarded as the precursor of the mask; the mask itself however
appears only in the later development of totemism, and continues far
into the succeeding age. Moreover, as regards its distribution, there
are considerable differences. It plays its most important rôle in
American and Polynesian regions, a less prominent one in Africa. In
America, the mask-dance and the elevation of masks into cult objects,
to which the mask-dance occasionally gives rise, extend from the
Esquimos of the north far down to the south. Koch-Grünberg has given
a clear picture of the mask-dances and the mask-cult of the natives
of the Brazilian forests. Here the masks are not a secondary means of
magic, as it were--much less an occasional object of adornment. Every
mask is a sort of sacred object. When the youth attains to manhood, he
receives a mask, which is sacred to him throughout his entire life.
After the great cult festivals, which are celebrated with mask-dances,
the masks are carefully preserved. In the mask there is supposed to
reside the demon who is represented by it, and the fear of the demon is
transferred to the mask. The dancing of this period consists primarily
of the animal dance, which is a rhythmic imitation, often wonderfully
skilful, of the movements of an animal. The mask also, therefore,
always represents, in a more or less altered or grotesquely exaggerated
form, an animal's head, or a being intermediate between animal and
man, thus vividly calling to mind certain totemic legends whose heroes
are sometimes animals and sometimes human beings. On the more advanced
stages of totemic culture, there are also masks representing objects
of external nature. Mention has already been made of the cloud masks
used in the vegetation festivals of the Hopi and Zuni. The rain-priests
of these tribes, with these masks on their heads and with pictures of
zigzag lightning on their garments, are the living representatives of
storm demons. Thus, the mask imparts to its wearer the character of
the demon represented by it. The characteristics of face-masks, such
as enormous beards and teeth, huge eyes, noses, etc., cause them,
particularly, to be the living embodiments of the fear of demons, and
thus to be themselves regarded as demoniacal beings. Whatever may be
their more specific nature, whether, for example, they represent
demons of sickness or of fertility, they always present the same
fear-inspiring features. A certain diversity of expression is much more
likely to come as a result of the external character of the dance in
which the masks are used. This may give rise to expressions portraying
surprise and astonishment, or the more lively emotions of fear,
terror, or exalted joy. In the latter case, we must bear in mind that
representations of grinning laughter differ in but a few characteristic
marks from those of violent weeping.

Corresponding to these differences in the character of the masks
that are worn, are _two_ main forms of the dance, particularly of
the cult dance. The first of these is the _ceremonial dance_, which
moves in slow and solemn rhythm. This is the dance that generally
inaugurates the great cult festivals of the semi-cultural peoples
of totemism or that accompanies certain of the chief features of
the festival--such, for example, as the entrance and procession of
the cloud-masked ancestral spirits in the vegetation festivals of
New Mexico. Contrasting with the ceremonial dance are the _ecstatic
dances_, which for the most part form the climax of the festival.
Only the men are allowed to take part in the ceremonial dances, and
the same is generally true also of the ecstatic dances. The women,
if not altogether excluded from the ceremonies, are either silent
witnesses or accompany the dance with songs or screams. It is only in
the more extreme form of the ecstatic-orgiastic dance that both sexes
participate. The mixed dances probably arose in connection with the
vegetation festivals, as a result of the relation which was thought to
exist between the sexual emotions and the creative forces of nature.
It was doubtless because of this late origin that the Greeks long
continued to regard the dances of the Dionysian festivals, which were
borrowed from Oriental cults and executed by women alone or by women
and men together, as in part a degeneration of good custom. In the
drama, whose origin was the mimetic dance, the rôle of women was taken
by men.

Closely connected with the dance is _music_, the preparatory stage of
which is constituted by the participation of the voice in the rhythm
of the external movements of the body. These articulatory movements,
which form a part of the mimicking activity of the face, supplement the
dynamic rhythm of the dance with the melodic rise and fall of tones.
The emotion which finds its outlet in the dance itself, then seeks a
further enhancement through objective means. These means also involve
the activity of the bodily organs; noises are produced by clapping the
hands, by stamping on the ground, or by the rhythmic clash of sticks.
In the latter case, the transition from instruments of noise to those
of tone is easily made. The earliest forms of tone instruments are of
two sorts, according as they copy the production of sound by external
means, on the one hand, or by the vocal organs, in the accompanying
tones, on the other. Thus, the two original forms of musical
instruments are _instruments of concussion_ and _wind instruments_. In
origin, these are directly connected with the dance. They are natural
means of intensification created directly by the emotion, though later
modified by systematic invention. The later development of musical art
continues to remain in close relation to the two main forms of the
dance, the solemn ceremonial and the ecstatic dance, between which
there come to be numerous transitions. From the most primitive to the
highest stages of music, we continually find two sorts of musical
expression, the _sustained_ and the _animated_. These correspond to the
contrasting feelings of rest and excitement, which are experienced even
by animals, and which man therefore doubtless carried with him from his
natural state into his cultural life. With the progress of culture,
these feelings constantly become more richly differentiated.

The totemic age may be said to include only the first few advances
beyond the simple emotions already expressed in the dance.
Nevertheless, there are ethnological differences that register in a
very characteristic way those specific musical talents of the various
races which are obscured on higher levels of culture because of the
increasing complexity of international relations. Thus, Africa is
apparently the chief centre, if not the original home, of instruments
of concussion and of the great variety of stringed instruments that
develop from them. America, on the other hand, is the region in which
wind instruments, in particular their original form, the flute, have
attained their chief development. The flute of the American Indians is
not, of course, like our own; it is blown, not with the lips, but with
the mouth. It therefore resembles a shawm or a clarinet. As regards
production of tone, however, it is a flute, for the tone is produced
by the extension of one lip over the other in a manner similar to that
of the flute-pipes of our organs. That which distinguishes the sound
of the flute and of its shorter form, the fife, from that of stringed
instruments is primarily the greater intensity and the longer duration
of the tone. Corresponding to the difference in musical instruments
is that of the noise instruments which characterize the two regions.
Africa possesses the drum. This it employs not only for purposes of
accompaniment in cult ceremonies, but also as a means of signalling,
since it renders distant communication possible by use of the so-called
drum-language. In America, we find the rattle. Though this, of course,
is not entirely lacking in Africa, it nevertheless occurs primarily
within the cultural realm of the North American Indians. Here it
is employed as an instrument of noise and magic, similarly to the
bull-roarer of the Australians. As between the rattle and the drum, the
difference is again one of the longer duration of sound in the case of
the American instrument.

The tones produced by these early musical instruments, however, even
those of the stringed instruments and their vocal accompaniment, by
no means, of course, form harmonic music. On the contrary, harmony
is an achievement of the succeeding age; it is here foreshadowed in
only imperfect beginnings. Such beginnings, however, may everywhere be
discerned in the records that we have of the melodies of the Soudan
negroes and the American races. Nevertheless, most of the records that
are as yet available are still of doubtful value. The auditor is too
prone to find in them his own musical experiences. For reliable data
we must wait until, following the beginnings that have already been
made, a greater number of such natural songs will have been objectively
recorded by the aid of the phonograph. As yet we can only say that,
if we may judge from their musical instruments, the Africans surpass
all other natural peoples in musical talent. Their melodies ordinarily
move within the range of about an octave, whereas those of the North
American Indians seldom pass beyond a sixth. The fact of this small
tonal compass will itself indicate that the melody of all natural
peoples tends to very constant rhythms and intervals. The latter,
moreover, show some similarity to those with which we are familiar. The
chief characteristic of these songs, however, is their tendency toward
repetition. One and the same motive frequently recurs with tiresome
monotony. The melodies thus reflect certain universal characteristics
of primitive poetry as they appear in the songs of the Veddahs and of
other pretotemic tribes.

Nevertheless, the forms of _poetry_ exhibit an important advance over
those of the more primitive peoples just mentioned. Particularly
in the case of the _song_, we find that the simple expression of
the moods directly aroused by nature is supplemented by a further
important feature. This feature is closely bound up with that more
lively bodily and mental activity of totemic culture which is reflected
likewise in its use of implements and weapons. Karl Bücher was the
first to point out that common labour gives rise to common songs,
whose rhythm and melody are determined by the labour. The increasing
diversity of the work results in a wider range of content and also
in a richer differentiation of forms. Such _work-songs_ are to be
found throughout the entire totemic era, whereas, of course, they are
lacking in the preceding age, in which common labour scarcely exists.
Contemporaneously with the work-song, the _cult-song_ makes its
appearance. The latter is essentially conditioned by the development
of totemic ceremonies. As these become more numerous, the cult-song
likewise gradually grows richer and more manifold, in close reciprocal
relations with the dance and music. In the case of the cult-song, as
well as of the work-song, the above-mentioned repetition of motives
comes to exercise an important influence on the accompanying activity.
Though different causes are operative in the two cases, these causes
nevertheless ultimately spring from a _single_ source--namely, the
heightening of emotions. In the cult-song, man aims to bring his
petitions and, as we may say for the earlier age, the magic which his
words exercise, as forcibly as possible to the notice of the demons
or, at a later period, of the gods whom he addresses. For this reason
the same wish is repeated again and again. The most primitive form of
cult-song generally consists of but a single wish repeated in rhythmic
form. In the work-song, on the other hand, it is the constantly
recurring rhythm of the work that leads directly to the repetition of
the accompanying rhythmic and melodic motives. When one and the same
external task becomes associated time and again with these accompanying
songs, the two mutually reinforce each other. The song is a stimulus
to the work, and the work heightens the emotion expressed in the song.
Both results vary with the degree in which the song is adapted to
the work and thus itself becomes a poetic representation of it. Here
again neither plan nor purpose originally played the least part; the
development was determined by the rhythmic and melodic motives immanent
in the work.

Several brief illustrations may serve to give us a clear picture of
what has been said. The first is a cult-song of American origin. Again
we turn to the cult usages of one of the tribes of New Mexico, the Sia.
The motif of the song, which is rain-magic, furnishes the material
for very many of the ceremonies of these regions. The song of the
rain-priests is as follows:--

  All ye fluttering clouds,
  All ye clouds, cherish the fields,
  All ye lightnings and thunders, rainbows and
  Come and labour for us.

This song is repeated again and again without change of motif--it is a
conjuration in the form of a song.

The snake society of the Hopi, to which we have already referred, has
a similar song, which it sings with musical accompaniment. It runs as

  Oh, snake society of the North, come and labour for us,
  Snake society of the South, of the West, snake society of the
      Zenith and of the Nadir,
  Come hither and labour for us.

The fact that the snake societies of the Zenith and Nadir are invoked
makes it clear that this song is not, as it were, an appeal addressed
to other societies of human beings. There are, of course, none such
at the Zenith or the Nadir. The song is obviously directed to a demon
society conceived as similar to human cult associations. It petitions
for assistance in the preparation of the field and for a successful

The repetitions in such cases as these are always due to the fact
that the songs are conjurations. Not so with the work-song. This is
generally the expression of a greater diversity of motives, as is shown
by the following lines taken from a song of the Maoris of New Zealand.
The song is one which they sing while transporting trunks of trees to
the coast:--

  Give more room,
  Joyous folk, give room for the totara,
  Joyous folk,
  Give me the maro.
  Slide on, slide on!
  Slip along, slip along!
  Joyous folk! etc.

'Totara' and 'maro' are the names of trees that they have felled. In
its rhythm and its repetitions, the song gives us a direct portrayal of
the work itself.

These song-forms are still entirely the product of external motives
and never arise under the independent and immediate influence of
subjective moods. Far superior to them is another field of literary
composition, the _narrative_. The totemic age, particularly, has
produced a great variety of forms of narrative. Predominant among these
is the _märchen-myth_, a narrative which resembles the fairy-tale and
which, as a rule, continues during this period to be of the nature
of a credited myth. It is a prose narrative circulated by word of
mouth, in which manner it sometimes traverses wide regions. With
occasional changes or in connection with different mythical ideas it
may survive many generations. So far as these general characteristics
are concerned, the märchen, indeed, is the most permanent of all forms
of literary composition. It extends from the most primitive levels
of culture down to the present. In the form of the märchen-myth,
however, it is especially characteristic of the totemic age. We now
possess numerous collections of such tales from the most diverse
regions of totemic as well as of later civilizations. An Englishwoman,
Mrs. Parker, has brought together a number of Australian tales, and
these have been augmented in more recent times, particularly through
the labours of the German missionary Strehlow. Strehlow has a great
advantage over most of the other Australian investigators in being
familiar with the languages of the tribes among whom he lives. Valuable
material regarding America and Africa has been gathered particularly
by American and English travellers; data, furthermore, are not lacking
concerning the natural and cultural peoples of other parts of the
earth. Moreover, comparative research has for some time past studied
the märchen with the primary purpose of determining to what localities
the materials of the märchen and the fable have spread, and thus,
in turn, of learning the early cultural relations of peoples. This
investigation of the märchen, however, has, for the most part, suffered
from a false preconception. The criterion by which we judge present-day
tales of this sort was applied to märchen-fiction in general. The
märchen-myths of primitive peoples, therefore, were regarded either
as creations of individuals and as never having been credited, or, at
best, as retrogressive forms of higher types of myth--particularly
of nature myths--adapted to the needs of childlike comprehension.
A closer investigation of the märchen-myths of relatively primitive
peoples has rendered this theory absolutely untenable. True,
retrogressive forms occasionally occur in this as well as in most other
sorts of myth and of literary composition. Nevertheless, there is no
longer any room for doubt that, on the one hand, the earliest products
of narrative composition were all of the nature of the märchen, and
that, on the other hand, most primitive märchen-fictions were _credited
myths_. An attempt to arrive at the sources of the most common motifs
of the märchen of different peoples and ages will reveal the fact that
the majority of them must undoubtedly be traced to the totemic age.
Such was the environment, certainly, in which the earliest narrative
had its setting, particularly in so far as it was believed to report
truths of history.

The early myth narrative was of the general character of the märchen
primarily in that it was not, as a rule, restricted to a specific time
or place. This also differentiates the folk märchen of to-day from the
saga. An occasional exception is offered by the anthropogenic legends
of peoples of nature, although these also are in other respects of the
nature of the märchen. A second essential characteristic of the märchen
is the fact that magical agencies play a rôle in the determination of
events. This is true even of present-day folk märchen, and is due to
the circumstance that the primitive märchen arose in an age which was
still entirely under the dominance of magical beliefs. These beliefs,
which influenced all phases of the activity of primitive man, also
caused the magical märchen to be credited either in their entirety or
at least in great part. All the narratives of this age, however, bear
the characteristics of the märchen, as these have just been indicated,
or, at any rate, it is at most only occasionally, in the primitive
legend, that they approximate to the saga. It follows, therefore, that
the development of the myth in general begins with the märchen-myth.
Here also the development proceeds from below upwards, and not the

But even though the beginnings of the märchen-myth doubtless date
back to primitive man, the flower of the development is undeniably
to be found in the totemic age. For it is to this age that all those
characteristics point that are still to be found, as survivals of the
totemic period, in present-day märchen and children's fairy-tales.
Of such characteristics, we might mention primarily the magical
causality which the action involves--a point to which we have already
referred--and also the rôle assigned to the _animal_, which is
portrayed either as the helper and benefactor of man or, at the least,
as like him in nature. The latter resemblance appears particularly in
the fact that marriages are frequently represented as taking place
between man and animals; furthermore, transformations of men into
animals are said to occur, and retransformations of the latter into
men. In these totemic märchen we very seldom find man to the exclusion
of animals; just as little, moreover, do animals appear alone. Both
the animal fable and the märchen which deals exclusively with human
beings, are products of a later development and belong to a period in
which the märchen is no longer credited. Even more truly, however, do
these primitive märchen lack the moral lessons which are taught by the
stories of later times, particularly by the fable. Nevertheless, those
fable märchen which are generally called 'explicative' because they
explain the traits of certain animals, still generally bear the marks
of the totemic age, even though they apparently belong to one of its
somewhat later periods. An example of this is the tale of the American
Indians of the North-west, according to which the crow became black
through being burned by the sun while stealing celestial fire; or the
tale of the Bantus, which explains that the rabbit acquired the cleft
in his lip as the result of a blow once dealt him by the man in the

The most primitive märchen lacks all such intellectualistic motives. It
recounts an event without any discernible purpose or without bringing
the action to any natural conclusion. The following Australian märchen
may serve as an illustration: 'Several women go out into the field
with their children to gather grass seed. There they meet a magpie. It
offers to watch the children while the women are gathering the seeds.
They leave the children with the magpie. When they return, however,
the children have disappeared. The magpie has hidden them in a hollow
tree. The women hear the children crying, but do not know where they
are, and return home without them. The magpie has disappeared.' Such a
narrative is strikingly similar, in its lack of aim, to the songs of
primitive peoples. Markedly superior is the märchen-fiction found among
other natural peoples of totemic culture. These tales gradually develop
a closer connection between the events. It is now that the märchen hero
makes his appearance, and it is with him, particularly, that the events
are associated. This hero is not of course, similar to the one of the
later hero saga, who gains distinction by his strength, cleverness, and
other qualities. He is a magic-hero, in control of magical forces. The
latter are frequently represented as communicated to him by an animal
which he meets, or by an old woman; more rarely, he is said to receive
them from a male magician. A further characteristic of the childhood
period of the märchen-fiction is the fact that the hero himself is
almost always a child. A youth sets forth on adventure, meets with
magical experiences, returns home, and generally benefits his tribe
through certain possessions that he has acquired on his journey. Here,
again, animals play a supporting rôle. Rich collections of such märchen
have been gathered, particularly in America. One of the tales of the
Pawnee tribe of prairie Indians runs as follows: 'A young man did not
join his companions in their sports, but went alone into the forest.
One day he returned with a buffalo cow which had become his wife and
had borne him a buffalo calf. But the very moment that the wife and
calf entered the hut of the man they were transformed into human
beings. Nevertheless, a cloud of magic hung over the man. If the child
were to fall to the floor, it would be changed back into a buffalo
calf. Now, this misfortune actually came to pass, and the mother was
also again changed into a buffalo cow. Sadly the young man then went
with them into the forest, where he himself became a buffalo and for a
time lived quietly with the buffalo herd. Suddenly he again returned
home, transformed into a man. But he had learned from the buffaloes
how one must set about to lure them forth in order to hunt them. This
secret he imparted to his fellow-tribesmen, and since that time the
tribe has enjoyed plenty of buffalo meat.' This is a buffalo legend
which tells of a sort of compact between the tribe and the buffaloes.
That the legend, moreover, is not a mere märchen in our sense of
the term, has been strikingly shown by Dorsey, to whom we owe the
collection of Pawnee tales from which this story is taken. The tale is
still recounted by the Pawnees when they wish the buffalo to appear for
the hunt. Thus, it is a magical märchen, not only in that it deals with
magical events but also in that its narration is supposed to exercise
magical powers. This naturally presupposes that it is credited.

To trace the further development of the totemic märchen-myth is to
find the gradual emergence of characteristic changes. The relation
between man and the animal is slowly altered. This is most clearly
apparent in connection with the transformation of human beings into
animals. This change is no longer held to be one in which man, because
of the magical powers which he acquires, is the gainer, and not the
loser. The transformation now more and more comes to be regarded as a
degradation. The man who has changed into an animal is portrayed by
the märchen as denounced and persecuted by his fellow-tribesmen. He
is compelled to withdraw into solitude or to live exclusively with
the animal herd, because he is no longer regarded by his fellows as
an equal. Later, near the end of the totemic period, the change is
conceived, not as degradation but as the result of an evil magic from
which an innocent person suffers, and, eventually, as a punishment
which overtakes a person because of some misdeed or other. Of these
notions, that of malevolent magic again apparently antedates that
of punishment. When the latter appears, the relation which was
characteristic of totemism at its height becomes practically reversed.
Quite naturally, therefore, the idea that transformation into an animal
is a punishment arises long after the close of the totemic age. Indeed,
it is to be found far into the period of ideas of requital, which are
a relatively late product of deity cult, and whose development is
largely influenced by philosophical reflection. Thus considered, the
doctrine of metempsychosis developed by the Brahmans of India and by
the Pythagorean sect of the Occident is the last metamorphosis of a
very ancient totemic animal tale. These changes, however, have had
practically no influence on the development of the märchen itself. This
is shown by the fact that the folk märchen of to-day have universally
retained the idea that the transformation of men into animals is the
result of malevolent magic. The latter, indeed, is the form in which
these survivals of a distant totemic past are even to-day most easily
comprehensible to the child mind.

Thus, the animal märchen is an important product of totemic culture,
directly embodying the views that dominate the life of this age. In
addition to such tales, however, and, in part, in combination with
them, there are several other forms of the märchen-myth, consisting
chiefly of ideas concerning nature and, to some extent, of magical
ideas sustained by the human emotions of fear and of hope. _Two_ sorts
of märchen, especially, should here be mentioned, _celestial tales_
and _tales of fortune_, both of which owe their development to totemic
culture. The celestial märchen, however, disappears comparatively
early, mainly, no doubt, because it is displaced or assimilated by the
celestial mythology of the post-totemic age. The märchen of fortune, on
the other hand, remains as a permanent form of märchen-fiction, and all
later narrative composition has been influenced by it.

The celestial märchen affords a direct record of the impression made by
celestial phenomena on the consciousness of an age whose ideas were as
yet circumscribed by the environment. By the environment, however, must
as yet be understood the entire visible world--sun, moon, and stars,
as well as hills and valleys, animals and men. The distant, moreover,
was always likened to that which was near at hand and immediately
accessible. Animals and men were supposed to inhabit the clouds and
the heavenly bodies, precisely as they do the earth, and the relations
which they were there held to sustain to one another are identical with
those described in the animal tale. When the new moon appears, a wolf
is devouring the moon; in an eclipse of the sun, the sun is swallowed
up by a black monster; and when, in the evening, the sun disappears
behind a dark cloud, it likewise is overpowered by a monster, and the
red glow of the sunset is the blood which it sheds. _Three_ themes in
particular are dominant in the most primitive celestial tales: the
ascension of man into the heavens, his descent from heaven, and the
devourment of the great heavenly bodies, in particular of the sun, at
sunset. One of the earliest of these conceptions is the journey to
heaven. This is indicated by the very fact that the means for this
journey are always derived directly from nature, or consist of the
weapons and implements of primitive culture. There is a conception
current in Australia and Oceania that beings have climbed to heaven
by means of high trees, or have allowed themselves to be raised up by
the branch of a tree that had been bent down to the earth. Where the
bow and arrow exist, as in Melanesia and America, the arrow-ladder is
frequently employed for the celestial journey. A hunter shoots an arrow
into the heavens, where it remains fixed; he then sends a second arrow
which catches into the notch of the first, then a third, a fourth,
etc., until the ladder reaches to the earth. The downward journey is
not so difficult. This is generally accomplished by means of a basket
or a rope sustained by cords; it is thus that the celestial inhabitant
is enabled to descend to the earth. Many märchen relate that the sun
and the moon were originally human beings who journeyed to the heavens.
Here they are thought to remain, or occasionally, perhaps, to return to
the earth while other human beings take their place.

Besides the märchen telling of the interrelations of human and
celestial beings, there are also a number of other sorts. Of them we
may here single out, as a particularly characteristic type, those which
deal with _devourment_. Obviously, as has already been noticed, it is
the setting of the sun that very frequently constitutes the central
theme of these tales. These märchen of devourment, however, differ
from those that deal with celestial journeys in that they clearly
exemplify narratives in which only _one_ of the elements consists of
a celestial phenomenon; in addition to it, there are regularly also
other elements borrowed from the terrestrial environment. Indeed, the
latter may of itself originate märchen, independently of the influence
of celestial phenomena. We must distinguish at the outset, therefore,
between those märchen of devourment that contain celestial elements
and others in which these elements are apparently lacking. A familiar
example of märchen of devourment is the Biblical legend of Jonah. In
its traditional rendering, this is clearly of a relatively late origin,
though it is probably based on much older tales. Many of the tales
of devourment, which are common to all parts of the earth, centre
about a hero, who is generally a courageous youth seeking adventure.
The hero is devoured by a monster; he kindles a fire in the belly of
the monster, and, by burning up its entrails, rescues himself. The
fact that fire figures so prominently in these tales makes it highly
probable that they took shape under the influence of observations of
the setting sun. Other tales make no mention of fire, but relate that
the belly of the monster is extremely hot, and that the heat singes
the hair of the one who has been swallowed. In an old illustrated
Bible which was recently discovered, Jonah is pictured as having a
luxuriant growth of hair at the moment when he is being swallowed; in
a second picture, when he comes forth from the belly of the whale,
he is entirely bald. But even though this reference to fire and to
heat indicates an influence on the part of the sunset, this type
of celestial märchen is none the less entirely different from that
which deals with journeys to heaven and the return to earth. In the
latter, the heaven is itself the scene of action upon which men and
animals play their rôles. In the märchen of devourment, the celestial
phenomenon imparts certain characteristics to the terrestrial action
that is being described, but the latter continues to preserve its
terrestrial nature. The narrator of the märchen or legend, therefore,
may be wholly unconscious of any reference to the heavens. The
psychological process of assimilation causes elements of a celestial
phenomenon to be fused into an action of the terrestrial environment
and to communicate to the latter certain characteristics without,
however, thereby changing the setting of the action. The shark and the
alligator are animals capable of devouring men, though this occurs
less frequently in reality than in story. Yet because thoughts of this
sort arouse strong emotions, they may of themselves very well come to
form themes of märchen of devourment. This has frequently been the
case. It seems to have happened, for example, in the Jonah legend. The
above-mentioned picture in which the prophet is represented as hairless
after having been in the belly of the fish, may very well have its
source in some other märchen of devourment. In thus combining numerous
elements of different origins, the märchen is truly representative of
myth development. It shows clearly that the main theme of the myth
is usually taken from man's terrestrial environment. True, celestial
elements may enter into its composition and may sometimes give to the
mythological conception its characteristic features. Even in such
cases, however, a consideration of the tale as a whole will show that
the celestial elements are completely absorbed by the terrestrial
theme; their very existence may be completely unknown to the narrators
of the tale. In a similar manner, celestial elements have probably
been involved in the formation of other widely current märchen. Thus,
the märchen theme underlying the legends of the Babylonian Sargon,
the Israelitic Moses, and the Egyptian Osiris, as well as other tales
in which a child, secreted in a chest, is borne away by the waves
and lands on a distant shore, is generally regarded as having been
suggested by the temporary disappearance and reappearance of the sun in
a cloudy sky. In this case, however, the supposition is doubtless much
more uncertain than in the case of the märchen of devourment. The theme
relating to fire in the belly of the monster may be regarded as fairly
unambiguous evidence of the influence of celestial phenomena, precisely
because it is related only externally and apparently accidentally to
the action. It should further be said that the märchen of the floating
chest, at least in its connection with the personalities of the saga
and of history, does not appear until the post-totemic age. It is
probably an old märchen-theme which was assimilated by these legends of
origin because the origin of a hero or a god was unknown and demanded
explanation. Once appropriated, it underwent a number of changes in

Thus, the celestial märchen transcends the ideas characteristic of the
totemic age. No less do the tales of _fortune_ or _adventure_ generally
mark the transition from the supremacy of the animal to the dominance
of man. These tales, however, exhibit but a gradual and continuous
development. In the earliest märchen-myths, of which several examples
have already been mentioned, the narrative describes an event with
entire objectivity, without any apparent colouring derived from the
emotional attitude of the narrator. Later, however, even the totemic
animal märchen more and more betrays a love of the adventurous and of
shifting fortunes. This change varies with the degree in which _man_
steps into the centre of action, and animals, though not entirely
disappearing, receive a place, similarly to monsters and other
fantastic beings, only in so far as they affect the destinies of the
hero of the tale. The main theme of the narrative then consists of the
adventures of the hero, who is represented as experiencing many changes
of fortune, always, however, with a happy ending. But even at this
stage of development the hero is a boy; at a somewhat later period, a
young girl sometimes assumes the rôle, or a youth wins a maiden after
numerous adventures. At this point, the tale of fortune ceases to be
a true märchen-myth. Just as the dance changes from a cult ceremony
into a direct expression of lively emotions of pleasure, themselves
heightened by the joy in the rhythm of the bodily movements, so also
does the märchen develop into a narrative that ministers to the mere
delight in fluctuations of life-events and in their happy outcome.

Thus, the beginnings of the tale of fortune go back to early totemic
culture, though its more perfect development is to be found only among
the semi-cultural peoples of the totemic era. The hero of the märchen
then gradually passes over into the hero of the saga and of the epic.
Instead of the boy who sets forth upon magical adventures, we find the
youth who has matured into manhood and whose mighty deeds fill the
world with his fame. The preliminary steps to this transition are taken
when the märchen hero, particularly in the tale of fortune, acquires
a more and more _personal_ character. Thus, even at a very early age,
we find that two types of hero appear side by side--the strong and
the clever. These types, portrayed by the märchen, survive also in
the heroes of the epic. Moreover, in addition to the strong and the
clever, the Achilles and the Ulysses, the märchen introduces also the
malevolent, quarrelsome, and despicable hero, the Thersites.




The expression 'the age of heroes and gods' may meet with objection
no less than may 'totemic age.' The latter has an air of strangeness,
because the conceptions of totem and totemism, borrowed from modern
ethnology, have as yet remained unfamiliar to historians, and
especially to the historians of civilization. The former expression
may be objected to on the ground that the conceptions 'heroes' and
'gods' are altogether too familiar to be extended beyond their specific
meaning and applied to an entire age. The word 'hero' suggests to
us perhaps the Homeric Achilles, or Siegfried of the Niebelungen
saga--those mighty, victorious warriors of epic song who, as we
have already seen, gradually evolved out of the heroes of primitive
märchen. It is self-evident, however, that, when applied to a great
and important period of culture, the expression 'hero' must not be
limited to the narrow meaning which it possesses in hero-lore. True,
we must not go so far as does Carlyle when, in his "Heroes and Hero
Worship," he begins the race of heroes with Odin of the Northmen and
ends it with Shakespeare and Goethe, thus extending the heroic age
from prehistoric times down to the present. Nevertheless, if we would
do justice to the significance of the conception 'heroic' as applied
to an important period of human development, we must be permitted to
include under the broader conception 'heroic age,' not merely the
heroic hero but also the hero who has factored in the spiritual realm,
as the founder of cities or states, or the creator of religions. These
latter heroes were gradually evolved, in the course of political and
religious development, out of the ancient epic heroes; in them, the
heroic age continues its existence after the heroes of the powerful
and crafty types have disappeared. In this broader significance of
the word, a hero is any powerful individuality whatsoever, and the
general characteristic of this new age, therefore, is the predominance
of the _individual personality_. Externally, this expresses itself
primarily in the fact that the age regards even all past events as
the deeds of individual persons. Bound up with this is a progressive
individualization of human personalities, and a constant refinement of
the crude distinctions that characterize the tale of adventure and the
older hero-lore.

The gods of this age are likewise patterned entirely after powerful
human personalities. They are anthropomorphic in every respect--human
beings of a higher order, whose qualities, though found only among
men, are magnified to infinitude. Just as the hero is a man endowed
with more than ordinary human capacities, so the god is a hero exalted
above the measure of earthly heroes. This itself implies that the
hero necessarily precedes the god, just as man antedates the hero.
Any fairly detailed account of this period, therefore, must deal with
the hero before considering the god. The god is created after the
image of the hero, and not, as traditional mythology still believes,
the hero after the image of the god. It would, indeed, be a strange
procedure for man first to create the ideal conception of his god and
only subsequently to transform this into human outlines, and thus
produce the hero. In the advance from man to the anthropomorphic
god, the hero would surely already have been encountered. This, of
course, does not imply that gods may not occasionally be transformed
into heroes; it simply means that in the development as a whole the
hero must have preceded the god. The relation here is precisely the
same as that found everywhere else in connection with the development
and degeneration of mythological conceptions. The fact of sequence,
however, must not be interpreted to mean that we can point to a time
in which there were heroes but no gods. Hero and god belong together.
Both reflect an effort to exalt human personality into the superhuman.
In this process, no fixed line may be drawn separating the hero, whose
activity still falls within the human sphere, from the god, who is
exalted above it. In fact, the differences between hero and god are
by no means merely quantitative, measurable in terms of the elevation
above the plane of human characteristics; the differentiating marks are
essentially _qualitative_. The hero remains human in all his thought
and action. The god, on the other hand, possesses not merely human
capacities raised to their highest power, but also characteristics
which are lacking in man and therefore also in the hero. Especially
noteworthy among the latter is the ability through his own power to
perform magical acts, and thus to interfere at will in the course of
nature as well as in human life. True, the hero of saga and poetry
also employs magical agencies. The means of magic which he controls,
however, have been bestowed upon him by some strange demoniacal being,
either by one of those demons which, in the form of a man, an animal,
or a fantastic monster, are recognized even by the early mythical
tales as magical beings, or by a god, who, as such, combines the
highest qualities of the hero with those of the demon. The conception
of an anthropomorphic god, therefore, results from a fusion of hero
with demon. Of these, the hero is a new creation, originating in the
mental life of this later age. He was long foreshadowed, however, first
by the animal ancestor (especially in so far as the latter brought
blessings and good fortune), and then by the subsequent cult of human
ancestors. But the figure of the hero is not completely developed until
the human personality enters into the very forefront of mythological
thought; then, through regular transitions, the value placed on
personal characteristics is enhanced until the ideal of the hero is
reached. Doubtless the hero may still incidentally be associated with
the ancestor, yet personality as such has now come so to dominate the
interest of the age that in comparison with it the genealogical feature
is but secondary.

Not so with the demon-idea. Though it has come down from very remote
times and has assumed many forms as a result of varying cultural
conditions, the demon has always remained a magic being, arousing now
hope, now fear and terror. This was its nature up to the very time
when the ideal of the hero arose. This new idea it then appropriated,
just as it did, in earlier times, the ideas of a soul that survives
the deceased, of the totem animal, of the ancestor, and of other
mythological figures. The very nature of the demon has always been
constituted by such incorporated elements. From this point of view, the
god also is only a new form of demon. In its earlier forms, however,
as spirit-demon, animal-demon, and, finally, even as ancestor-demon,
the demon was an impersonal product of the emotions, and possessed
characteristics which underwent constant transformations. When it
became a hero, it for the first time rose to the level of a personal
being. Through the enhancement of the qualities of the hero it was
then elevated into the sphere of the superhuman. Thus it came to
constitute a human ideal far transcending the hero. This accounts
for the uniqueness of the god-conception, and for the fact that,
though the god assumes the essential characteristics of the demon,
the two are nevertheless more widely distinct than were any of the
earlier forms of demon conceptions from those that anteceded them. The
rise of the god-idea, therefore, ushers in a new epoch of religious
development. Just because of the contrast between personal god and
impersonal demon, this epoch may be designated as that of the _origin
of religion_, in the narrower and proper sense of the word. The various
forms of pure demon-belief are preparatory to religion; religion
itself begins with the belief in gods. The relation which the belief
in demons sustains to the belief in gods is another evidence that hero
and god must be grouped together, for there can be no clearly marked
temporal difference in the origin of these two ideals of personality.
Just as soon as the figure of the human hero arises, it assimilates
the demon-conception, which was already long in existence and which
continually underwent changes as a result of the various ideas with
which it came into contact. Alongside of the being that arose from
this fusion, however, there continued also the hero in his purity, as
well as the demon, whose various forms were at most crowded into the
background by the appearance of the gods. To however great an extent,
therefore, the age of heroes and gods may introduce a completely new
spiritual movement that proves fundamental to all future culture and
religion, it nevertheless also includes all the elements of previous
development. These elements, moreover, are not merely present in forms
that have been altered and in part completely changed by the processes
of assimilation; side by side with such forms, there are always also
the original elements, which may be traced back to the earliest
beginnings of mythological thought. The dominant factor determining
the character of this new age, however, is the _hero_. The ideal of
human personality which the hero engenders in the folk consciousness
conditions all further development, and especially the origin of the
god. For this reason the 'age of heroes and gods' might also, and more
briefly, be called the _heroic age_.

As the direct incarnation of the idea of personality, it is the hero
about whom the new development of myth and religion centres. Similarly,
the hero also stands in closest relation to the transformations that
occur in all other departments of human life. Enormous changes in
economic conditions and in the forms of life dependent upon them,
new social institutions, with their reactions upon custom and law,
transformations and creations in all branches of art--all give
expression to the new development upon which this age has entered.
Here also, just as at the beginning of the anteceding age, there are
numerous reciprocal relations between these various factors. The hero
and the god cannot be conceived apart from the _State_, whose founding
marks the beginning of this period. Custom and law are just as much
results of the new political society as they are themselves essential
factors in its creation. Neither the State nor the worship of gods
protected by it could survive apart from the great changes in economic
life that took place at the beginning of this period, and that were
further established and perfected in the course of time. Thus, here
also each element reinforces every other; all the factors of life are
in constant interaction. At the beginning of the totemic period, as
we have seen, it was the new creations of mythological thought that
constituted the centre from which radiated all the other elements of
culture. At the beginning of the age of heroes and gods it is the
creative power of the _religious_ consciousness whose activities most
accurately mirror the various spiritual achievements of the period.


The heroic era is so comprehensive and comprises so large a part of
human history that any attempt to arrive at even the barest outlines
of its external culture makes it clear that this culture is even less
unitary than is that of the preceding period. The differentiation of
phenomena naturally increases with advancing development. Even the
various forms of totemic culture manifest wide differences in detail;
indeed, when taken as a whole, they represent distinct stages. When
we come to the heroic age, however, whose beginning is practically
coincident with the beginnings of history in the usual sense of the
term, and which includes within itself a large part of the succeeding
course of events, the multiplicity and diversity of the forms of
culture are incomparably greater. Every nation has its particular
heroes, even though there are also certain general hero-types which
everywhere recur. Even more does each nation have its gods. Heroes
and gods are ideals created in the image of men, and therefore they
always reflect--if possible, in a heightened degree--the characteristic
differences of peoples. Nevertheless, amid all these differences of
times and peoples, there are certain constant features that distinguish
the heroic period both from the preceding age and from the era that
follows. Most important of all these features is the establishment of
the _State_. It was a long step from totemic tribal organization to
political institutions. In the surge and press of the folk migrations
which occurred at the beginning of the heroic period, traces of the
preceding tribal organization were still everywhere present. Tribes did
not change suddenly into States. Nevertheless, along with the emergence
of the heroic age and its concomitant phenomena, there was a noticeable
tendency towards the formation of a political order. This development
pursued different courses, depending on the character of the nations or
of their heroes and gods. It is primarily the resultant differences in
political organization which, when considered in connection with the
parallel changes in mythological and religious development, clearly
show that in this period, just as in the totemic age, all other aspects
of culture were closely dependent upon mythological and religious
ideas. 'Totemism' connotes not merely a complex of mythological beliefs
in which a certain stage of culture had its setting, but also a unique
form of tribal organization, which, in spite of many differences of
detail, remained constant in its general features. Similarly, political
society, in the original form in which it long survived, was closely
bound up with the heroic age, even though the increasing differences
between national cultures led, from the very outset, to a greater
diversity of forms than were to be found in the case of totemism.
In spite of these differences, however, the factor fundamental to
political society remained the same. The formation of States was always
conditioned by individual _rulership_. This itself is indicative of
the character of the age as a whole: its typical expression is to be
found in the personalities of heroes and of gods. Again it was the
migrations and wars of peoples that brought about the dissolution of
the old tribal organization and the creation of political society.
But these migrations and wars were on an incomparably broader scale
and had more intimate interconnections than had previously been the
case. This gave them a correspondingly greater significance, both
intensively and extensively. As a matter of comparison, we may refer
to the migrations of the Malayan race during the totemic age. It would
be difficult to conceive of more extensive migrations. But they
took place gradually, in separate waves, and left no traces, for the
most part, beyond changes in the physical characteristics and in the
languages of peoples. These migrations, which frequently involved long
voyages across the sea, were carried on by but small numbers of people,
who set out from restricted groups. It cannot be doubted that these
migrations exercised an influence on the character and the culture of
the resulting mixed races. They were never able, however, completely
to transform the culture as a whole. Even when these tribal migrations
occurred in oft-repeated waves, they never resulted in more than such
imperfect beginnings of a political organization as we find among
the Polynesians or, in other parts of the earth, among many of the
semi-cultural peoples of America and Africa.

Quite different are the _folk migrations_ that occur at the very
dawn of the history of the great cultural peoples. The difference
between tribal and racial migrations is an important one. When a race
migrates, it retains its peculiar characteristics, its traditions, its
heroes, and its gods, and transplants these into the new territory.
True, these various elements do not remain unchanged. They inevitably
become fused with the culture of the original inhabitants, and it is
from these fusions, when they are at all deep-going, that new peoples
arise. None of the great cultural nations that mark the beginning of
this age of heroes and gods, from the Babylonians down to the Greeks,
the Romans, and the Germans, is homogeneous. Indeed, recent Babylonian
investigations have shown that the Semitic immigration into Babylon
was preceded by that of other peoples who were probably of different
origin--namely, the Sumerians. We know of the latter only through
linguistic traces in Babylonian inscriptions, of which, however, the
religious parts, especially, show that the Sumerians exercised a great
influence upon later civilization. Similarly, the settlement of the
Greeks, Romans, and Germans in the territory which they eventually
occupied, followed upon great earlier migrations to these regions. The
people that finally formed the Greek race left the mountain country
of Thrace and Thessaly in prehistoric times; wandering towards the
sea, they fused with the original inhabitants of the regions into
which they entered. In view of these migrations of early history, the
theory of the desirability of racial purity, which has recently been so
ardently championed in many quarters, is scarcely tenable. Political
organization, on the one hand, and mythology and religion, on the
other, represent important creations which for the most part sprang
into existence only in the wake of migration and of the resultant
fusion of peoples of different races.

Though political organization has been mentioned as the first important
feature distinguishing the heroic age from the preceding era, there
is a second and not less significant differentia. This relates to the
material conditions of life. Two things are of outstanding importance
for the new culture. The first of these consists in what we ordinarily
call agriculture--that is, the tilling of the soil by the aid of the
_plough_, or, as it is therefore more properly called in contrast to
the earlier hoe-culture, plough-culture. In addition, there is the
_breeding of domestic animals_, particularly of food-supplying cattle,
and, later, of sheep and goats.

It is even to-day widely believed that, of the various modes of
procuring food, hunting came first. The hunter is thought to have
been seized, one fine day, with an impulse to domesticate animals
instead of hunting them. He tamed the wild creatures, and thus turned
from a hunter into a nomad. In the course of time, the nomad is then
supposed to have tired of his wandering life and to have settled
down in permanent habitations. Instead of obtaining milk by herding
his cattle, he hitched the ox to the plough, after having (with that
wisdom and foresight which such theories always attribute to primitive
man) invented the plough. This theory is an impossible fiction from
beginning to end. It is just as intrinsically improbable as is the
above-mentioned hypothesis that in prehistoric times the Australians
invented totemic tribal organization and exogamy for the purpose of
preventing the marriage of relatives. We have seen, on the contrary,
that the prohibition of such marriages was a consequence of exogamy,
and that the latter, in turn, was not a deliberate invention but the
natural result of certain conditions inherent in the culture of the
age. All these institutions were originally due to influences whose
outcome could not possibly have been foreseen. The same is true of the
subject under discussion. In the first place, the assumed order of
succession of the three stages of life is contradicted by facts. It is
hardly correct to speak of a hunting life which is not supplemented
by a certain amount of agriculture in the form of hoe-culture--an
industry which, as a rule, is carried on by the woman in the immediate
vicinity of the hut. This primitive agriculture existed even at a very
early age. We find it widely prevalent among the American aborigines,
who possessed no domesticated animal whatever except the dog, and the
dog, as was above observed, was never tamed at all, but domesticated
itself at the very dawn of prehistoric times. The supposition that the
nomadic life followed upon that of the hunter is impossible, in the
second place, because the animals that are hunted are not identical
with those that form the care of the nomad. Cattle were never objects
of the chase; the closely related buffalo, on the other hand, was never
domesticated, but has remained exclusively a game animal down to the
present day. Game animals have never been domesticated and utilized
for the purpose of supplying milk and drawing the plough. No doubt the
domestic animals of the nomad at one time existed in a wild state. Wild
cattle, of course, preceded tame cattle. But the latter did not develop
from the former by the indirect way of the hunted animal. Nor does
agriculture at all presuppose a nomadic life. There are vast stretches
of the Old World, as, for instance, all of China, Indo-China, and
Indonesia, where the production of milk was never engaged in but where
agriculture in the form of plough-culture has existed, in part, since
early times. Agriculture, however, involves the raising of cattle,
particularly of oxen. These male cattle are castrated, usually when
very young. They are thus made tractable, so that they may be hitched
to the plough and used for agricultural purposes more easily than is
possible in the case of bulls, which are never completely manageable.
What, then, were the motives which led to the raising of cattle, an
occupation which, in many places at least, is carried on solely in
the interests of agriculture? What motives led to the castration of
male cattle, a practice which everywhere obviously serves agricultural

The traditional mode of explanation would lead us to suppose that man
foresaw the effects of castration, that he knew beforehand that if the
bull were subjected to this operation he would become an animal fitted
to draw the plough. The impossibility of this supposition is evident.
Such an effect could be learned only from experience, prior to which,
therefore, it could not have been known. The problem relating to the
cultivation of the soil by means of the plough, therefore, divides into
two questions: How may we account for the ox? How for the plough? These
questions are closely related, and yet they lead us back to divergent
explanations. For in all probability the plough was originally drawn
by man. Moreover, the plough was not the first implement to be thus
drawn; it was anteceded by the _wagon_. Even on the early Babylonian
and Assyrian monuments there were figures of a wagon bearing either
an image of a god or else the king or chief priest, both of whom were
probably regarded as uniting in _one person_ the function of their
offices with that of representative of the deity. Thus, the question
as to the origin of the plough carries us back directly to that of the
origin of the wagon. Now, the earliest wagon had but two wheels; the
four-wheeled wagon came as a later discovery or as an improvement.
The two-wheeled wagon, however, presupposes the wheel. But how did
the wheel come to be recognized as a useful object of locomotion? The
first traces of a wheel or of wheel-like objects are to be found in
the latter part of the stone age. A number of such objects have been
discovered in Europe; in their centre is a hole, and there are spokes
that radiate to the circumference. The fact that these wheels are
of small size indicates that they may have been worn about the neck
as amulets. But even in early culture the wheel was also put to an
entirely different use. Widely prevalent over the earth and probably
connected with ancient sun worship, is the custom of kindling a fire
to celebrate the festival of the summer solstice. In ancient Mexico,
tradition tells us, this fire was started by turning a notched disk
of wood about a stake until the heat thus generated gave rise to
fire--the same method of producing fire by friction that is still in
use among primitive peoples. This fiery wheel was then rolled down
a hill as an image of the sun, and later, when the custom had lost
its original magical significance, as a symbol of the sun moving in
the heavens. According to the report of W. Mannhardt, a remarkably
similar custom existed in East Prussia not so very long ago. Perhaps
the wheel that was worn about the neck as an amulet or article of
adornment likewise had some connection with the idea that the sun
was a celestial wheel rolling across the heavens. After the early
sun cults had once created the rolling wheel in imitation of the sun
and its movements, it was but a short step to the idea of securing
regular, continuous movements by means of which some sort of work
might be performed. An early application of this idea is to be found
in the practice of spinning with distaff and whorl. This invention
was credited even by the ancients to prehistoric times. Doubtless its
origin belongs to the beginnings of the heroic age. This same early
period, however, probably also used the wheel for transporting heavy
articles. This was the original purpose of the one-wheeled barrow. It
alone enabled the ancient Babylonians and Egyptians to overcome the
difficulties of transporting by human agencies the mighty blocks of
stone required for their temples and pyramids. From this it was not a
far advance to the two-wheeled wagon. The barrow was pulled or pushed
by men. The wagon, in contrast to the barrow, was apparently from the
beginning an aristocratic mode of transit, never used by the common
people. The two-wheeled wagon was in the first instance a vehicle of
the gods. Later it served as the vehicle of the ruler, the terrestrial
counterpart of the deity. Finally, the nobleman employed it in war,
in going forth to battle. A vivid portrayal of battles in which such
two-wheeled wagons played a part is presented in the Iliad. True, the
wagon is here also, as a rule, only a means for carrying the hero to
the scene of combat. The fighting itself is seldom done from it. Upon
its arrival at the appointed place, the warrior dismounts, to try
his strength, shield against shield, with his opponent. The general
populace, however, always goes on foot.

This sketch gives us the main outlines of the history of the wagon.
But how did the animal, first the ox and later the horse, come to be
hitched to the wagon? Originally, the wagon bearing the image of the
god was very probably drawn by men, as was likewise, in imitation of
this, the chariot of the king. But the breeding of animals soon changed
matters. Oxen were used for the purpose of drawing wagons much earlier
than were horses. The horse did not appear until late in the history
of civilization. There are no Egyptian pictures of horses that date
back farther than the fifteenth dynasty, whereas those of cattle occur
considerably earlier. In Oriental civilization, furthermore, the ass
antedates the horse. In harmony with ancient custom, the ass even
to-day continues, in the Orient, to be a favourite beast of burden as
well as a riding animal. The horse seems to make its first appearance
in history along with the Indo-Germanic tribes, who were probably
indebted for it to the Turanian peoples of the Asiatic steppes. As a
result of its superior speed, it then superseded its rivals in all the
civilized countries of the ancient world. The Assyrian king went forth
to the chase and the Homeric hero proceeded to battle in a chariot
drawn by steeds. It was only later that the Greeks used the horse for
saddle purposes, and not merely to draw the chariot. When this took
place, equestrian combat came into favour among the aristocracy.

This development, however, was preceded not only by the taming of
cattle but probably also by the use of the ox for drawing the wagon.
How the latter came about may, of course, only be conjectured. The
bull has remained unmanageable even to the present day; the attempt to
hitch him to a wagon, therefore, must always have failed. The cow was
not forced into this service--at least, not in those places where milk
was valued. On the other hand, the castrated male animal is thoroughly
suited to the task of drawing the wagon. It is stronger than the cow,
and also more tractable. It is inconceivable, however, that castration
was originally performed with the purpose of engendering these
characteristics. Before there could be such a purpose, the results must
already have been known--that is, the operation must already have been
performed for other purposes. Eduard Hahn has offered a suggestion
with reference to our problem. He has called attention to the ancient
Asiatic cults of the Phrygian Cybele and the Syrio-Phœnician Astarte.
These cults are similar to the vegetation festivals which, as was
mentioned in the preceding chapter, may be found among the Pueblo
peoples of America. Similar orgiastic phenomena recur wherever peoples
are primarily concerned with agriculture and are anxious for the
welfare of the grain. The beginnings of vegetation cults, found in the
earlier period of hoe-culture, were succeeded by more developed deity
cults, connected with plough-culture. The ecstatic motives associated
with the tilling of the soil then extended their influence beyond the
limits of vegetation cults proper and became universal elements of the
deity cults. The powers shared by the numerous demoniacal beings of
the more primitive cults were now centralized in a _single_ goddess
mother. The life-giving activity of the deity in connection with human
procreation came to be of focal interest. The exaggerated development
of cult ecstasy caused the orgy to become a form of self-mortification.
The cult associates, especially the priests, lacerated and emasculated
themselves in the fury of religious excitement. By becoming a permanent
custom, this gave rise to a group of eunuchs consecrated to the
service of the deity. These were doubtless the earliest eunuchs of
history. In the guardians of Turkish harems and in the singers of
the Sistine Chapel, survivals of these unrestrained cults of the past
still exist. Now, when the group of emasculated priests paced beside
the chariot of the goddess, they might easily have hit upon the idea
of hitching a castrated animal to the wagon. But, however plausible
this hypothesis may appear, in that it avoids the impossible assumption
of an invention, it nevertheless leaves one question unanswered. Even
though the castration of the priest may be understood as the result of
the well-known effects of extreme religious excitement, the castration
of the bull is not yet accounted for. Are we to suppose that the priest
merely aimed to render the animal similar to himself? Neither ecstasy
nor reflection could account for such a purpose. But there is another
factor which has always been significant for cult, and which attained
to increased importance precisely in the worship of the deity. I refer
to _sacrifice_. In its highest stages, sacrifice assumes new forms, in
that man offers either himself or parts of his own body, his blood, his
hair, or a finger. A late survival of such sacrifices is to be found
in a custom that is still prevalent in Catholic countries. Here it
frequently occurs that a sick man lays a wax replica of the diseased
part of his body upon the altar of the saint. This idea of sacrificing
parts of one's own body is also exemplified in the self-emasculation
practised by the Russian sect of Skopzi even in our own Christian age.
Such sacrifice, moreover, may receive a wider application, so as to
include, among the sacrificial objects, parts of the animal. Now at one
time the kidneys with their connected organs were regarded as vehicles
of the soul, and, as such, were sacrificed to the gods. The castration
of the bull, therefore, may originally well have been regarded as the
sacrifice of the most readily accessible of the favourite vehicles
of the soul. Thus, it may have been in the case of the animal whose
generative organs had been sacrificed to the deity that man first
observed the change of characteristics which fitted the animal to be
hitched to the chariot of the deity, and finally, through an extension
of its sphere of usefulness, to draw the plough across the fields.
This hypothesis, which presupposes the joint influence of orgiastic
vegetation cults and ancient sacrificial usages, is, of course, not
susceptible of positive demonstration. Nevertheless, to one concerned
with the transition from ancient field cults to the agriculture
of later times, the combination of conditions just indicated may
reasonably be regarded as affording the basis of an hypothesis that is
psychologically not improbable.

Whether the raising of the milch cow was coincident with the taming
of the ox for the purposes of agriculture, and whether it came about
as the result of a similar transformation of motives, it is hardly
possible to determine. Though such changes are of more importance
for the development of culture than are many of the campaigns and
ancient folk wars of which history has preserved a record, no positive
clue as to their origin has anywhere survived. All that we know with
certainty is that the taming of the ox to draw the plough and the
raising of the milch cow are not necessarily bound up with one another.
For plough-culture and the milk industry are by no means always to
be found together. In spite of his highly developed agriculture, the
Chinaman loathes milk, whereas the Hindoo regards it as a valuable
gift of civilization, prizing it not only because of the butter which
he secures from it but especially as a food and as a sacrifice to the
gods. The Israelites received the promise that Canaan was to be a land
"that floweth with milk and honey." The latter expression suggests the
cultural conditions of two widely different periods. Milk represents
the most valuable product of later culture, while even primitive man
regarded the honey which he gathered from the hives of wild bees as his
most precious article of food.

Whatever may be the relation of the two factors in the domestication
of cattle, whether the taming of the ox preceded the raising of cows
or vice versa, the production of milk, at any rate, represents the
more difficult and slower task. The taming of the ox is essentially an
act that affects only the particular animal in question; even to-day
it must be repeated in the case of every male calf; the inheritance
of acquired characteristics is here not operative. The cow, just as
all female mammals in their natural condition, produces very little
milk except during the period of suckling, and then only so much as is
necessary for the support of her young. Only through efforts continued
throughout generations and as a result of the inheritance of acquired
characteristics could she be brought to that tremendous over-production
of her secretion of which she has become capable. In this case,
therefore, there must from the very outset have been a systematic
striving toward the desired goal. It is not absolutely essential to
assume a change of motives such as occurred in the taming of the ox;
from the very beginning there may have been an attempt to make personal
use of the milk which Nature intended for the calf. Nevertheless, it is
not impossible that religious motives here also played a part. This is
made all the more probable by the fact that the cow, no less than the
bull and the ox, was worshipped by many peoples even in the earliest
period of deity cults. Such worship is particularly noteworthy,
inasmuch as cattle were never favourite totem animals as was, for
instance, the buffalo among the hunting peoples of the American
prairies. Even though the general idea of animal cult was carried over
from the totemic period to the beginnings of the agrarian deity cults,
this animal cult was essentially changed, and it became associated with
different objects. The latter are now no longer connected with the old
totem beliefs that sprang, in part, from primitive animism; they are
determined entirely by the conditions of a later culture, one of whose
essential elements is the domestication of cattle. The two fundamental
constituents of this later culture, agriculture and the milk industry,
are not everywhere equally prized. Hence there is a difference as
regards the relative importance of the male and the female member of
the species in the cult worship that is accorded to the most valued
domestic animal of the new economic era. In the Opis-worship of the
Egyptians, as well as in the Persian cult of Mithra, the bull was
regarded as an incarnation of the supreme deity. In many sections of
Northern Europe it is even to-day customary, at harvest-time, to bedeck
an ox with ribbons and wreaths of flowers and to lead him in a festal
procession. On the other hand, we find that the Vedas and the Avesta,
in harmony with the high value which the ancient Indian and Iranian
peoples place on milk, extol the cow as the most sacred of animals. In
the first stages of the domestication of cattle, it was possible to
gain only a small supply of milk, since its over-production could be
developed but slowly; just for this reason, however, milk was all the
more valuable. This may probably also throw light on the high value
which was long placed on butter as a sacrificial gift. The attempt to
secure this valuable product for sacrificial purposes may then itself
in turn have reacted upon the milk industry. Thus, the two great
advances in material culture that attend the heroic age--the tilling of
the soil with the plough and the systematic endeavour to secure milk
and its products--seem to be, in part, directly due to, and, in part,
closely bound up with, motives of cult. External culture and inner
religious impulses have always attested themselves to be elements of a
totality all of whose parts are interrelated.

Of the new forms of industry which thus arose, the cultivation of the
soil by means of the plough led to a further important change. This
change was just as much an effect of the new conditions of life as it
was an expression of the altered spirit of the times. The guidance
of the plough is a task which prevents the field work from being any
longer done in common, as it was at the height of hoe-culture and
during the time of the origin of the great vegetation festivals of
totemism. The individual must guide his own plough. The appearance of
plough-culture _individualizes labour_. Just as the individual comes
to the fore in political development and is extolled in legend as
the founder of cities and States, so also is it the individual who
cultivates the land. This individualistic tendency also gradually makes
itself felt in the raising of domestic animals. Plough-culture gives
rise to _private property_ as regards both the soil and its products.

Here again, however, the new social order influences economic life, and
both together produce further changes in external culture. Individual
activity receives emphasis not alone in the cultivation of the soil
but also in _warfare_. Primitive man was not at all familiar with
war. He slew his enemy from an ambush, attacking him but seldom in
open combat. In the totemic age, when actual weapons of war first
made their appearance, tribal war was a strife of many against many.
As yet the individual combatants were not sharply differentiated from
one another. The masses clashed with each other in unregulated strife,
without definite leadership or fixed system. Only with the dawn of
the political era do we find regulated single combat. Such combat
then becomes the decisive factor in warfare. Consider the Homeric
description of the battles before the walls of Troy. The battle is
decided by champions (_promachoi_). These alight from their chariots
of war and fight, man against man. The masses stand in the background,
hurling lances or stones. Their actions, however, have little
importance. They flee as soon as their champion falls. The result of
the battle thus depends upon individuals and not upon the masses. The
weapons also conform to these altered conditions. In earlier times,
practically none but long-distance weapons were used--the sling, the
hurled spear, or the bow and arrow, weapons similar to those employed
in the chase. Single combat necessitated weapons of close range--the
axe, held fast in the hand, the lance, used as a thrusting weapon,
and the sword. Instead of the long shield, covering almost the entire
body--shields such as even the Australians and also the earliest
Greeks carried--a small round shield was demanded by reason of the
use of swords in fighting. Of the various weapons found at the zenith
of the heroic age, therefore, the sword is the most characteristic.
It is also the most typical creation of this period. It obviously
originated through a gradual shortening of the lance, thus becoming
a weapon specifically adapted for individual combat at close range.
Thus, the tendency toward the assertion of individual personality made
itself felt in warfare and in weapons, just as it did in the State, in
agriculture, and in the cult of personal gods.

Similar fundamental factors underlie the last great cultural change.
This we have already touched upon in our discussion of agriculture,
namely, the _rise of private property_. Following inevitably upon the
appearance of private property are distinctions in wealth; these lead
to differences in social position. In the totemic age, the contrasting
conditions of rich and poor are, on the whole, not in particular
evidence; even towards the decline of the period, indeed, they are
only beginning to arise. Every man is the equal of the other. Only
the chiefs and a small number of the older men have a superior rank.
This rank, moreover, is not due to property but to the services which
ability and experience enable them to render, or to the reverence
which custom metes out to them. It is not until the heroic age that
a propertied class becomes differentiated from a class owning little
or nothing. This change is due in an important measure to the folk
migrations that inaugurate the beginning of the new age. The propertied
class derives from the victorious conquerors; the original inhabitants
are without property. In the warfare connected with these migrations,
slaves are captured; these are employed particularly in the cultivation
of the soil. Thus, the more aristocratic are exalted by their greater
possessions above those who have less property. As free individuals,
however, both of these classes are superior to the slaves, who,
similarly to the animals used in agriculture, are themselves regarded
as the possession of the free and the rich.

Bound up with these social distinctions is the _division of labour_
which now arises. The landowner no longer himself manufactures the
tools which he needs or the weapons with which he goes to war. A class
of artisans is formed, consisting partly of those who have little
property, and partly of slaves. This differentiation of labour leads
to _two_ phenomena which long continue to influence the development of
culture. I refer to _trade_ and _colonization_. The former consists
in the transmission of the products of labour; the latter, in the
migration of a part of the people itself into distant places, where the
same conditions that led to the founding of the mother State result in
daughter States. In the totemic age, there were no colonies. Extensive
as were the wanderings of the Papuans, the Malays, the Polynesians,
and of some of the American and African tribes, these peoples never
established colonies; moreover, the group which settled in distant
places always lost its connection with the mother group. True, new
living conditions were sought and found, and, through mixture with the
native populations, new races were produced. Nevertheless, it was not
until the political age that those parts of a particular people which
settled down in foreign lands continued to retain a consciousness of
connection with the mother race.

Of the two above-mentioned elements of the newer culture, commerce
naturally preceded colonization. Of all civilized peoples, the
Semitic race was the first to open up great channels of trade.
Phœnician commerce dates back to the earliest records of history.
Even the Mycenian graves of Greece contain gold jewelry of Phœnician
workmanship. Spacially, the trade relations of the ancient Phœnicians
extended over the whole of the known Occident. It is characteristic
of the Semitic race, however, that they rarely undertook actual
colonization. Trade and all that is connected with it, the industrial
ardour necessary to supply the objects of trade and to exchange them
for grain and other natural products, has always been their chosen
sphere. The Indo-Germanic races, on the other hand, have naturally
inclined to colonization from early times on. In the foremost rank
were the Greeks, with their colonies in Thrace, Asia Minor, Southern
Italy, and Sicily. These colonial groups, moreover, always retained
their connection with the mother people. Thus, the earliest culture of
the Greeks was that of the colonies in Asia Minor. Later, the colonies
of southern Italy exercised a strong reaction on the mother country
in science and art. It was not until relatively late that the highest
cultural development of the mother country followed upon that of these
outposts of Greek culture.


The fundamental characteristics of totemic society appear to be
purely a product of nature. This is especially true of totemic tribal
organization. Its simple regularity and the constant recurrence
of essentially the same characteristics are the natural result of
original conditions of life that were universally prevalent. A
horde split up into two halves. In the simplest cases, such as we
have noticed in our account of the Australians, tribal organization
remained limited to this dual division. The condition that brought
about this organization arose as soon as a horde that spoke the same
language spread out over a fairly broad territory. The same process
of division might then repeat itself in the case of each of the
two halves. This gave rise to a clan organization of four or eight
divisions, as found among most of the Australian tribes, and frequently
also in Melanesia. Such an organization was developed also by the
original inhabitants of North America, although the totemic basis here
degenerated and became essentially an external form. Totemic tribal
organization is unquestionably a phenomenon that arises with immanent
necessity; indeed, one might almost say that its appearance involves
no co-operation on the part of man himself. The division takes place
of itself; it is a result of the natural conditions underlying the
propagation and growth of society.

From the very beginning of the heroic age on, the development of
political society gave rise to phenomena that were fundamentally
different from those of earlier times. The irreconcilability of this
fact with the view, still held by historians and philosophers, that
the State represents the earliest form of an ordered community life,
is evident. Such theories were possible only when the whole of totemic
culture was as yet a _terra incognita_. Totemic tribal organization
cannot possibly be interpreted as an incomplete and undeveloped form
of the State. Rather is it true that totemic and political societies
are completely different in kind. Essentially different characteristics
and conditions of origin demarcate them from one another, even
though there are certain hybrid forms, representing primarily a
partial survival of older tribal customs within the newly established
political society. Now, in so far as mental history always involves
a regular order of development, one would, of course, be justified
in maintaining that human society also necessarily eventuates in the
State--that is, in a political society. Indeed, this may perhaps be
the meaning of Aristotle's statement that man is a "political animal."
This statement may be interpreted to refer to a _predisposition_ rather
than to an inherited characteristic. Nevertheless, Aristotle's view
that the State gradually developed out of the family and the village
community is in contradiction with the actual facts. To read back a
tendency toward political development into the very beginnings of
human society, moreover, results in a failure to give proper emphasis
to those essential differences which distinguish the great periods of
this development--differences which at the crucial points assume the
form of antitheses. Furthermore, we must not overlook the fact that
there are peoples who have even as yet not progressed beyond totemic
tribal organization and who will very possibly never advance to the
formation of a State, particularly in case this depends upon their
own initiative. On the other hand, it is doubtless to be assumed that
those peoples who later acquired a political organization at one time
possessed a totemic tribal structure. The higher stage of political
organization, however, obviously differs fundamentally from that
which preceded it. The older motives have been superseded by such as
are connected with the great folk migrations and tribal fusions, and
with the changes consequent upon them. True, when the time was ripe,
these migrations and fusions of peoples came to pass with the same
necessity as did the original division of the primitive horde into
two halves. Nevertheless, a new set of conditions became operative.
These, of course, arose in a regular course of development out of the
most primitive modes of life, and yet they were not directly derived
from them. The creative power characteristic of all mental activity
here manifested itself, not in the performance of miracles, but in a
constant engenderment of new motives out of the interaction of existing
motives with changing external conditions of life. In consequence
of this constant change of motives and of existing conditions, even
totemic culture made numerous attempts in the direction of political
organization. Such steps were taken particularly by the semi-cultural
peoples of America, who possess a relatively high civilization. It is
precisely in the case of these peoples that it is instructive to notice
the contrast between this political tendency and the original tribal

The difference between the two fundamental forms of society, the
totemic and the political, is most strikingly evident in the case of
their most external characteristic--namely, in the _numbers_ according
to which society as a whole, as well as in its parts, is organized
and divided. These numbers are the expression of inner motives; hence
they form a basis from which we may draw conclusions concerning the
latter. In the case of totemic tribal organization, these motives are
apparently very simple; natural expansion over a broader territory
leads to separation into groups, and this of itself gives rise to the
customary division into two, four, and eight parts. How different
and more complicated from its very beginnings is the organization of
political society! Here also the development proceeds according to
law, and yet there is not a constant recurrence of the same motive as
is in the case of totemic tribal organization. On the contrary, we
find a continuous fluctation between contradictory phenomena, and the
frequent appearance of new motives. Early, and still partly legendary,
tradition tells us of an organization of society on the basis of the
number _twelve_. This mode of organization seems to have emanated
from the Babylonians. They were the people who first attempted to
govern human affairs in accordance with celestial phenomena. These
they observed, not in the unsystematic, imaginative, mythological
manner of the natural peoples of Polynesia and America, but with the
aid of astronomical instruments. True, the science of the Babylonians
was also still based on mythological foundations. These mythological
features, however, were combined with the idea of an all-embracing,
divine rule of law. The endeavour to find this law and order in the
starry sky, the greatest and most sublime sight that the human eye
may behold, resulted in observations that were scientific and exact.
Thus, the union of the two ideas led with a sort of inner necessity
to the acceptance of the number twelve as a norm. The application of
this norm to human relations was a direct result of the belief that
it was of divine origin. The Babylonian calendar, whose fundamental
principles, in spite of numerous reforms, have retained their authority
even down to the present, was the first to emphasize the principle of
bringing the courses of the sun and moon into an ordered numerical
relation for the purpose of reckoning time. Taking as their point of
departure the position of the sun at the vernal equinox, and following
the movements of the moon until the sun returned to the same position,
the Babylonians found that twelve revolutions of the moon were
equivalent to one of the sun. While this observation is in reality,
of course, only approximately true, to the first astronomers it might
have appeared sufficiently exact to be regarded as the law of a divine
world order. Thus, the year came to be divided into twelve months;
and, since the moon presents four phases in each month, first quarter,
full moon, last quarter, and new moon--an observation which long
antedates astronomical calculation--the month was at once divided into
four parts. Since the month has approximately twenty-eight days, the
result was a _week_, comprising _seven days_. This number, therefore,
was not, as has sometimes been erroneously assumed, derived from the
seven planets. Rather is it true, conversely, that the number of the
planets was, with a certain arbitrariness, first fixed at seven after
this number, as well as twelve, had come to be regarded as _sacred_,
because of its relation to the movements of the sun and moon. These
numbers were believed to be written by the gods themselves in flaming
letters on the sky. To the Babylonian, the sky furnished a revelation
of the laws that should govern terrestrial life. The number twelve,
especially, was adopted as the basis of the organization of human
society. Of this oldest form of division, however, only meagre and
occasional survivals have remained. We may refer to the legendary
twelve tribes of pre-exilic Israel--later a source of much difficulty
to Talmudic scholars, inasmuch as these tribes are not to be found in
history--and also to the twelve gods of Greece, the twelve Apostles,
etc. But the number twelve has not merely left its traces in legend;
it has also inscribed itself in the records of history. Thus, the
Athenian population originally comprised twelve divisions, there being
four clans (_phyles_), each of which was composed of three _phratries_.
Similarly, the colonial territory of the Greeks in Asia Minor is said
to have included twelve Ionic cities. Moreover, even in later times,
the Amphictyonic League, which undertook the protection of the Delphic
oracle, consisted of twelve amphictyons, though this, it is true, was
also connected with the division of time, each of the twelve tribal
groups being entrusted with the guardianship of the shrine for one
month in the year. With few unimportant exceptions, however, the number
twelve, which was at one time probably very widely regnant, has lost
its influence. Its place in the organization of society as well as
in the regulation of other aspects of human life has been taken by a
numerical system that still dominates our entire culture--the _decimal_
system. Even prior to the age of Columbus, the decimal system made its
appearance in certain more civilized parts of the Western world where
the duodecimal system was never known. That the former originated
independently in different places, is rendered all the more likely by
the fact that even primitive man used his ten fingers as an aid in
counting, in spite of the fact that he had not as yet formed words for
numbers greater than three or four. But, however natural this method
of counting may be, its application to the organization of the group
and the division of peoples nevertheless represents a _deliberately
adopted_ plan. If possible, this is even more true here than in the
case of the duodecimal system. We are now face to face with the wide
difference that separates political society from totemic tribal
organization. In developing on the principle of dual division, the
latter resembles a natural process which runs its own course apart from
any operation of conscious intention, even though directly influenced,
of course, by the general conditions of human life. The organization
of society according to the number ten, on the other hand, can be
interpreted only as an intentional act. Hence history not infrequently
brings this form of organization into direct association with the names
of individual lawgivers, with Clisthenes of Athens or Servius Tullius
of Rome. No doubt, a basis for this new order had been prepared by the
general conditions of a society which had progressed beyond the totemic
stage. Its systematic introduction, however, and the series of decimal
subdivisions that ensued, are only conceivable as a legislative act
emanating from a personal will. In the formation of social groups, no
less than in the classification and enumeration of external objects
of nature, there may at times have been some vacillation of choice
between the duodecimal and the decimal systems. In its application
to human society, however, the decimal system finally prevailed.
Indeed, the simple means of counting afforded by our ten fingers
supplanted the system suggested by the firmament in every field of
use, except in connection with celestial phenomena themselves and with
the reckoning of time, which was directly based on the observation
of these phenomena. That the victory of the decimal principle was
due merely to the practical necessity of choosing the principle that
was simplest and most convenient, is shown by the fact that ten was
never a sacred number, as was twelve. It has a purely terrestrial and
human origin. In the field of the practical necessities of life, man
was victorious over the gods. Perhaps, therefore, the organization
of society on the decimal principle reflects also the triumph of the
secular State over theocracy. The decimal principle likewise exercised
a certain influence upon the division of time, and it is surely not
accidental that such influence coincides with epochs that are strongly
characterized by a secularization of human interests. As early as
the sixth century B.C., the great political organizer of Athens,
Clisthenes, made an attempt to divide the year into ten months instead
of twelve. The attempt miscarried, just as did the analogous one on
the part of the first French Republic to introduce a week of ten days.
As a matter of fact, objective measurements of time are derived from
the heavens and not from man. On the other hand, our measurement of
terrestrial spaces and our grouping of populations depend entirely upon
ourselves, and therefore naturally conform to human characteristics.
In these cases, it is the decimal system that is used. In view of the
fact that the number ten was deliberately adopted, this number has been
thought to represent an idea that emanated from a single source. Since
the organization effected by Clisthenes and that of Servius Tullius in
Rome fall approximately within the same century, it has been believed
that in these cases, especially, we may assume this fundamental idea
of division to have been borrowed. The very extensive distribution
of the decimal system, however, militates against the probability of
this supposition. Thus, the Book of Exodus no longer speaks of the
legendary twelve tribes of Israel but tells of only _ten_ tribes. We
likewise hear of groups of one hundred, and of more extensive groups
consisting of one thousand. These divisions also recur among the
Germanic peoples, and in the far-distant realm of the Peruvian Incas.
Among the latter, however, there are also distinct traces of a totemic
tribal organization that antedated the invasion of the Incas. This was
the foundation upon which the Inca kings and their officials finally
reared an organization consisting of groups of ten, one hundred, and
one thousand--indeed, the latter were even brought together to form
groups of ten thousand. In certain cases, such systems may perhaps
have been introduced from without or may, in part, have been acquired
through imitation. Nevertheless, the supposition that they all
emanated from a single region is doubtless just as improbable as is the
view that the decimal system in general had but a single origin. This
new grouping of the population is closely bound up with the conditions
of political society. It is dependent upon _two_ motives, which, though
not universally operative at first, became so the very moment that
political society took its rise. The first motive is of a subjective
nature. It consists in an increased facility in the use of the decimal
mode of counting, as a result of which larger groups, consisting of
multiples of ten, are formed: besides the single group of ten, it
must have become possible to conceive of groups of one hundred, one
thousand, and, in rare cases, even of one hundred thousand. The other
motive is objective in character. There are changes in the external
conditions of life such as to demand more comprehensive and at the same
time more highly organized divisions than prevailed in the natural
tribal organization of the preceding age. In two distinct directions
does the decimal system prove readily applicable. One is in the
distribution of landed property. With the appearance of plough-culture,
land gradually came to be largely converted into personal property.
It was all the more necessary, therefore, for the individual to
unite with others for the sake of protection and aid. Thus arose the
mark-community. This naturally centred about that part of the territory
which, because it was not put under the plough but was reserved
for common use as well as common care, temporarily remained common
property--namely, the pasture and woodland. Thus, the _mark-community_
was inevitable: it resulted from the new method of cultivating the
soil, which brought with it a combination of personal property with
common ownership. The size of the community was, of course, determined
by the relation which these two forms of ownership sustained to each
other, being dependent upon the fact that the amount of common property
had to correspond with the number of individual owners who shared its
use. The right proportion of these two sorts of property could be
determined only by experience and reflection. Once ascertained, it was
but natural to adopt this proportion more generally, in connection with
more extensive groups of people. Here the decimal organization into
groups of tens and hundreds, to which subjective influences naturally
tended, promised to be convenient also from the standpoint of objective

Independently of other factors the mark-community might have permitted
certain diversities in size. The groups were rendered uniform, however,
through the influence of another organization, whose divisions, on
the one hand, were necessarily identical with the mark-communities
but, on the other hand, possessed by their very nature a strong
inherent tendency toward regularity of size. I refer to the _military
organization_, which was created by the political society in the
interest of self-protection. In the early part of the heroic period,
the individual champion was doubtless of such pre-eminent importance
that the masses formed but a somewhat unorganized background. Homer
presents such a picture, though his account is perhaps not so much
a faithful representation of actual conditions as the result of the
individualizing tendency of poetic narrative. But just as the masses
very soon gain greater prominence in political life, so also do they
in warfare. This encourages tactical organization. At this stage
of political and military development, therefore, companies of one
hundred, and soon afterwards groups of one thousand, are formed, and
are organized as the chief divisions of the army. That these groups be
always of approximately equal size is required by military tactics;
that the group of one hundred is the tactical unit of which the other
divisions are composed, is due to the circumstance that such a group
is not too large to permit of being directed by a single leader; that
the number is an even one hundred results solely from the tendency
toward decimal enumeration. Since the political society is composed of
individuals who are, as a rule, both mark-associates and companions
in war, the two groups coalesce. The distribution of property and
territorial and military organization are the determining factors in
political society.

Political society thus acquires a new basis. The conditions determining
its character are very different from those that underlie totemic
tribal organization. Quite naturally, therefore, the tribal system
disappears with the rise of the State; it is at best but fragments
of it that survive in names, cult-alliances, or in bits of custom.
On the other hand, the new organization exercises an influence upon
all the relations of life. In part, it effects changes in existing
institutions; in part, it creates new institutions, which unite to
give the political age its characteristic stamp. We have spoken of
the peaceful arts of agriculture, which provide for the maintenance
of society, and of the military organization, reared upon agriculture
to assure safety and protection from without. There are primarily
_three_ additional features that characterize political society,
especially at its inception. The first of these is a _reorganization
of the family_. The other two are genuinely new creations, if we
except certain sporadic beginnings that occur in the transitional
culture. They consist, on the one hand, in the _differentiation of
classes and of occupations_--both of which arise in one and the same
course of development--and, on the other, in the _foundation of
cities_. Doubtless this order of sequence also approximately indicates
the successive steps in the establishment of the new political
organization. The reorganization of the family inaugurates this
development; it is terminated by the founding of cities, for cities are
the centres from which the management of the State is conducted and
which mediate intercourse between the separate regions; following upon
the former and preceding the latter, is the differentiation of classes
and of occupations--a result of property conditions and of military


Wherever primitive man has been protected against foreign influences,
as we have seen, he apparently always lives in monogamy. This mode
of marriage is continued in the totemic age, and is the fundamental
mode from which all others are deviations. These deviations we found
to be the two forms of polygamy--polyandry and polygyny. In the
presence of these various marriage practices, firmly established
family bonds are impossible. Striking evidence of the recedence of
the family as compared with the social bond, is offered by the men's
club, that widely prevalent institution of the totemic age. True, the
individual member of the men's club may have his own wife who lives
in her particular hut, but there is no common life of husband and
wife such as is essential for a true family. In certain cases, of
course, marriage conditions approximate somewhat more closely to a
true family life, yet the development is hindered by the overshadowing
polygyny. But the beginning of the political age marks the rise of a
new form of monogamy. The _enlarged monogamous family_, the so-called
ancient or joint family, makes its appearance. The joint family,
which is characteristic of the heroic era, takes the place of the
clan. Though the latter also survives for a time, it more and more
loses its importance and finally disappears altogether. Now the clan,
as well as the joint family, is composed of individuals of the same
ancestry--that is, of blood relations, in the wider sense--even though,
in exceptional cases, it also includes members of other clans or even
tribal strangers. The recedence of the clan in favour of the joint
family must therefore be regarded as a process in which a limited
number of closer blood relatives separate from the clan and gradually
attain the dominant influence within society. Such a development
presupposes first of all a sharper demarcation of the individual
family. Hence the joint family directly impresses one as being an
extension of the individual family. As a rule, for example, a joint
family includes _three_ generations: father, son, and grandchild.
This series of generations terminates with the third, because the
oldest male member retains the authority over the joint family only
so long as there is no generation younger than grandchildren. Though
a great-grandfather is honoured as the oldest member of the family,
the authority over the joint family passes down to the son who has
become a grandfather. Moreover, nature allows such cases as this but
rarely. The life-span of three generations is approximately a century;
and the average life of man is such that it happens but seldom that
those who are living at any one time will outspan a century. Thus,
the fact that the ancient family comprised three generations may
be due to the natural limit of life, which does not seem to have
changed essentially since the beginnings of civilization. The family
organization under discussion, therefore, is characterized, in the
first place, by monogamy; secondly, by the dominance of the man within
the single family; and thirdly, by the inclusion of three generations
under the authority of the oldest member of the family. This third
characteristic has frequently caused the typical joint family to be
called the '_patriarchal_ family.' Since it was true even of the clan
that the older men exercised the decisive influence, the clan may
be regarded as preparing the way for a patriarchal order. Such clan
alliances, for example, as the Germanic kinship groups, in which the
fact of the blood relationship of the members receives particularly
strong emphasis, form a sort of transition between the clan and
the joint family. In the joint family, it is no longer the older
generation as such that is dominant, but the _oldest individual_.
This change, as a result of which authority becomes vested in an
individual, is paralleled by that which leads to individual rulership
within the State. Thus, totemic tribal organization is doubly exposed
to disintegration, from below and from above. On the one hand, the
patriarchal joint family undermines the leadership of the clan-elders.
On the other hand, the clans, together with the tribes whose divisions
they form, are shorn of their power; they become fused into one
group which, with the rise of political society, passes under the
rulership of a single chieftain. It is particularly important to
notice that, when the joint family emerges and clan organization is
consequently dissolved, one of the most important functions of the
more restricted clan alliances, so far as concerns the inner life
of society, passes from the clan to the joint family. I refer to
_blood-revenge_. Not until it underwent many changes did retribution
come to be an affair of the State. Thus, the patriarchal family brings
to completion a twofold series of changes, whose gradual beginnings
may be discerned as early as the previous age. These are, in the first
place, the displacement of maternal descent by _paternal descent_,
and, secondly, the development of _chieftainship_. The latter at once
concludes and annuls totemic tribal organization. The motives to the
former show how untrue to the real nature of the difference between
the two social institutions it is to speak of the contrast between
mother_-right_ and father_-right_, or even between maternal _rule_
and paternal _rule_, instead of referring to the transition as one
from maternal _descent_ to paternal _descent_. Mother-right is to be
found at most in a limited sense, as applying to certain rights of the
kinship community and, connected with these, at a later time, to the
inheritance of property; mother-_rule_ never occurs, or at most is an
abnormal and exceptional phenomenon having scarcely any connection
with maternal descent as such. The motives to maternal descent, as we
have seen, are totally unrelated to the question of dominance within
the family; they are the direct result of a separation of the sexes,
which manifests itself likewise in the men's clubs. Paternal descent,
on the other hand, is from the very outset based on paternal rule. In
the form of father-right, paternal rule prevails even in the case of
the primitive monogamous family. Its original source is the natural
physical superiority of man; later, it derives its main strength
from the fact--reflected also in the origin of chieftainship--that
the general affairs of peace, as well as of war with hostile tribes,
become subject to the authority of leaders. This latter factor comes
to reinforce the former at that stage of development, particularly,
which is characterized by the dissolution of totemic institutions and
the re-emergence of the monogamous family. It is this change, together
with the growing influence of chieftainship, that marks the beginning
of the political age. Thus, the restoration of the monogamous family
came as a result of political organization. The general course of
development was the same everywhere, though the particular steps
varied greatly. It was especially in connection with the rise of the
patriarchal joint family, which is intermediate between the kinship
group and the individual family, that obstructing influences sometimes
manifested themselves. In such cases, the course of development was at
once deflected directly towards the individual family. A patriarchal
family organization of a sharply defined character appeared very early
among many of the Semitic tribes, particularly among the Israelites.
Of the Indo-Germanic peoples, it was especially the Romans who long
preserved the patriarchal system; among the Greeks and the Germanic
peoples, it had already disappeared in early times in favour of the
single family. That which preserved the joint family was probably the
force of tradition, coupled with reverence of age; the single family
reflects a sense of freedom on the part of individuals. This brings out
clearly the essential difference between the original monogamy, which
was due to natural instinct and the simple conditions of primitive
life, and the monogamy that was reinstituted as a result of the new
tendencies of political society. In the former case, no progress was
made beyond the natural starting-point, namely, the single family;
in the latter case, the joint family mediated the transition between
the dissolution of clans and the establishment of political society.
Inasmuch as the acts of primitive man were largely determined by
instincts, the original monogamy is not to be interpreted as conformity
to a norm. The reason for the almost universal occurrence of monogamous
marriage is to be found in the uniformity of the conditions of life
and of the social impulses. The monogamy of the political age, on the
other hand, is confronted by all those conflicting tendencies which
had previously given rise to the various polygamous marriage-unions
of totemic society. _One_ of these modes of marriage especially,
namely, _polygyny_, finds favourable conditions of development in
the new political order. It receives fresh impetus as a result of
that very dominance of man which brought about the transition from
the maternal descent of earlier times to paternal descent. Polyandry
and group-marriage, on the other hand, have by this time disappeared,
either entirely or, at least, with rare exceptions. Moreover,
the character of polygyny has changed. This is apparent from the
distinction between _chief wife_ and _secondary wife_--a distinction
which has, indeed, an analogy in certain phenomena of the totemic
period, but which, as a result of the conditions of public life,
now rests upon an entirely different basis. The chief wife is taken
from one's own tribe; the secondary wife belongs to a strange tribe,
being, in many cases, a slave captured in war. Thus, these changes in
polygyny reflect the warlike character of the age, as well as a growing
tendency toward a return to monogamy. On the other hand, however, we
also discern certain tendencies of a retrogressive nature. These occur
particularly within Islamitic culture, whenever the difference between
chief and secondary wives is either annulled or is subordinated to
the will of the husband. Such deviations from the general trend of
development are usually attributed to the influence of personalities.
It is not impossible, however, that they are due in this case to the
fact that Islamism spread to peoples of totemic culture. But in other
departments of life also, remnants and traces of totemic culture have
passed down to the heroic era. A striking example appears in the case
of the Spartan State. The fact that the men lived in the city, engaged
in military drill and political affairs, while the women, together with
the slaves, cultivated the fields outside of the city, clearly betrays
the influence of the ancient institution of the men's club.


We have seen that the family assumes a new status within political
society. It comes to be a compact unit, contrasting markedly with the
groups composed of the same sex--in particular, the men's clubs--that
dominated the preceding period. The _differentiation of classes_ was
a no less potent factor in the development of political society. Its
beginnings, no doubt, go back to the declining period of totemic tribal
institutions, but only in the political age does it become an important
influence in social organization. This is due to _two_ conditions,
which are themselves the direct result of the folk migrations that
mark the beginning of the political age. The first of these conditions
consists in changes affecting property rights; the other, in the
subjection of the native populations by the more energetic immigrants.
The origin of property, as is well known, is even to-day generally
traced, from an abstract juristic point of view, to the occupancy of an
ownerless piece of land. This theory, however, is too abstract to be
generally true. Above all, it presupposes the existence of ownerless
land. But this is seldom to be found. Even when a migrating people
occupies new lands, it, as a rule, conquers a territory that was
previously in the possession of other tribes. If, therefore, we have in
mind the sort of property that was most significant for the development
of political culture, we should trace its origin to an _expropriation
of earlier owners_ rather than to an occupation of ownerless land.
Contradicting the abstract theory, moreover, is the fact that it is
not the individual who becomes the owner of property through such
occupation, but the _entire tribe_, the people that has immigrated and
has dispossessed the original inhabitants. Property, therefore, was
originally _common property_. True, even in early times, it was no
longer all of the land that was held in common ownership. Nevertheless,
the conditions of ownership that have emerged in the course of the
development of political society give unmistakable evidence of having
originated in common ownership. Even up to fairly recent times,
woodland and meadow have remained, either entirely or in part, common
property; usually there is also a special temple-property set apart
for purposes of cult. Everything goes to show that these cases are to
be regarded as remnants of a common property that was at one time more
comprehensive, and not as the result of joining pieces of property
that were at one time owned by individuals. The latter hypothesis is
contradicted by the whole direction of development of private property.
Interacting with changes in property rights are racial differences.
The conquering immigrant peoples subjugate the native races or
crowd them back. All the cultural peoples that possess a political
organization are the product of folk mixtures. The subjugation of an
original population may lead to varying results, depending on the
racial difference between the peoples involved. If this difference
is very great and the numerical relation makes the absorption of the
one by the other impossible, there develops a distinction of castes,
as in India, where the lower castes are clearly distinguishable from
the higher, even as to physical characteristics. The situation is
radically different where there is less divergence between the two
populations. In such cases, racial distinctions do not occur, or at
least only to a small extent; in their stead, we find differences with
respect to property and power. The conquering race becomes a privileged
class; those who are subjugated form a class of dependents who
possess fewer rights. There is no impassable barrier between the two
classes, however, as there is in the caste system. The more a fairly
unitary folk-type emerges from the racial fusions, and the more other
factors than descent come into prominence--such as common interest in
internal order and external defence, or a remarkable personal ability
on the part of individual leaders of the lower classes--the greater
the tendency, on the one hand, towards the abolition of traditional
differences, and, on the other, towards an increased recognition of
personal achievement as the basis of social standing. Such social
struggles as occurred in the history of Greece and Rome from their
early days on, are particularly illuminating as regards this point, for
they exhibit clearly the motives that were originally involved--motives
that later everywhere become more complicated.

From the very outset these motives exert a potent influence on property
relations. The occupied territory first becomes the common property
of the separate divisions of the immigrant tribe. The individual,
however, vies with his tribal associates for the possession of the
territory, and the new agricultural conditions connected with the
introduction of cattle and of the plough favour division of the land.
In addition to the superior ability of an immigrant race, it is its
superior civilization that assures to it the supremacy over the native
races. This superior civilization, however, involves a strong tendency
toward individual industry, and thus toward the differentiation
of personal property from common property. The success which the
individual owner enjoys in his labour develops in him a consciousness
of freedom, and this leads him to compete with his tribal associates
both in the acquisition of property and in the attainment of power
over the native population. Thus, the division of common property is
succeeded by an inequality of personal property--an inequality which,
from the very beginning, shows an unconquerable tendency to increase.
This tendency is fostered by the fact that political organization
makes it possible for individuals to exercise a certain control
over common affairs. Property considerations become more and more
decisive as regards class distinctions. In addition to descent from
privileged ancestors, it is property that gives the individual his
social position. An individual belonging to a people that at one time
formed a class without rights, may rise to the ranks of the privileged
classes, or, if the significance attached to birth continues to be
maintained, he, together with those like him, may at any rate attain
to an independent influence in public life. Property, however, not
only affords increased rights; it also entails greater obligations.
The wealthy possess a better military equipment, and are therefore
enlisted in the more efficient, but also the more dangerous, divisions
of the army. They are entrusted with leadership in war as well as
with authority in times of peace. Individual initiative makes itself
felt, and this, coupled with the opportunity for the exercise of such
initiative, causes political development to appear, from an external
point of view, as a series of separate voluntary acts on the part of
individual personal leaders. This, however, is not the real truth of
the situation so far as its inner motives are concerned. The heroic age
is the epoch in which the action of the masses, impulsive and under
the sway of environmental conditions, is more and more subjected to
the direction of individual leaders who have become clearly conscious
of the tendencies inherent in the social body. For this reason the
heroic age is pre-eminently the _era of personalities_. Just as the
personal god is dominant in mythology and religious cult, so the human
personality plays the leading rôle in the State, and particular,
outstanding individuals determine the conditions that regulate external

As personality comes into prominence, however, conflicts inevitably
arise between individuals who feel themselves called to be the vehicles
of this personal power. Political society was not only created by war,
but it also continues to remain a theatre where conflicts are fought
with changing fortunes. Together with the effort to abolish class
distinctions, moreover, there gradually comes a demand for equality
of rights. As a result, the influence of dominating personalities,
even though never eliminated, is more and more subject to changing
conditions. Thus regarded, the general course of events is indicated
by reference to _two_ phenomena: firstly, by the development of the
State and of the judicial system, and, secondly, by the transformations
which the character of the hero undergoes in the course of history. The
first of these phenomena will presently be discussed in some detail;
the second, which puts its stamp upon the particular periods of history
in question, consists in the gradual displacement of the warrior-hero
by the hero of peace. Even legend indicates that this is the sequence
of the qualities that are supremely prized in personality. Thus, in the
legend of the kings of Rome, the warlike Romulus, founder of the city,
is followed by Numa Pompilius, the organizer of religious cult, who is
succeeded in due time by the secular lawgiver, Servius Tullius. The
warrior-hero appears first; he suggests the origin of political society
in warfare. The founder of deity cults is his immediate successor. The
lawgiver, or the political hero in the true sense of the word, stands
at the zenith of the age. The warrior initiates, whereas the legislator
completes the organization of society. Then commences the age of
citizenship, which no longer entertains a hero-ideal as such but,
instead, prizes civic virtues. On this plane of culture, the general
demands of political life and of cult are augmented by the particular
duties which grow out of the position which the individual occupies
within society. The position itself is conditioned primarily by the
rise of _differences of vocation._


The above discussion will already have indicated the general
significance of the differentiation of vocations in the development of
political society. While the origin of classes is coincident with the
rise of the State, separate vocations appear only at its zenith. At
first there were no distinctions of vocation. The pursuits of war and
politics were common to all free men; and, while admitting of class
distinctions, they allowed no vocational differences. The priesthood
alone represented a class which followed a specific vocation, while
also engaging in other occupations, particularly in politics. The
earliest forms of specialized vocations were foreshadowed even in
the totemic age. In the heroic period, they merely adapt themselves
to the new social order resulting from the rise of a ruling class
and the consequent class distinctions. Under the influence of deity
cults, moreover, the social position of the priesthood changes, as
do also its vocational practices. The transformations in cult are an
important factor in elevating the class and the profession concerned
in its administration, securing for them a more or less important, and
in some cases a dominant, influence upon political life. In contrast
with this, all forms of human labour not connected with politics and
warfare are _degraded_. This results in occupational differences,
which are henceforth closely bound up with class distinctions. The
depreciation of which we speak, however, is not of sudden occurrence,
nor does it appear everywhere to the same extent. The conditions that
give rise to political society also involve a participation in the
pursuits of politics and warfare on the part of the freeman, who, as an
agriculturist, breeds his own domestic animals and guides his plough
over the fields. Due to these same conditions, moreover, agriculture
maintains a respected position even in later times, partly, no doubt,
as a result of the fact that the free farmer continues to enjoy the
privilege of participating in political and military affairs. Various
accessory vocations come to be sundered out from the tasks of the early
agriculturist, who, originally, himself manufactured the implements
required for his work and was thus the primitive artisan. Political
activity and the equally esteemed military vocation come more and more
to be given the place of highest honour. The occupation of the farmer
and that of the wealth-accumulating merchant, however, are also held
in high regard, doubtless because of the growing desire for property.
The independent task of the artisan, as well as art--the latter at
first scarcely distinguishable from artisanship--are either left to the
dependent population and slaves or, after class distinctions are well
developed, are given over to the lower class of citizens as occupations
of less esteem.

But in the case of vocational distinctions, just as in that of class
differentiation, the process of depreciation is succeeded by a tendency
toward _equalization_. This is due to a general shift in values.
The rhapsodist of Homeric times, though welcomed as a guest by the
superior classes, was not himself regarded by them as a companion
of equal rank. It is only gradually that the value placed on an art
becomes transferred to the artist himself. That this occurs is due
in an important measure to the fact that the arts of outstanding
significance--gymnastics, poetry, and music--are not practised merely
by a specific profession, but are also favourite occupations of
the warrior or the statesman in his hours of leisure. The respect
accorded the artist is gradually extended to such other arts as
already constitute vocational labour; as external culture becomes
more refined, even the artisan wins a growing esteem, through his
decoration of weapons, implements, and clothing. In the case of the
arts that require a particularly high degree of vocational training, it
is significant to note that, in spite of the high estimate placed on
his product, the artist himself is able to rise but slowly above the
plane of the mere artisan. Thus, the measure of esteem accorded to the
arts gradually diminishes, according as we pass from those that spring
up spontaneously, solely from inner impulse, to those that minister to
the satisfaction of needs. The immediate cause for this gradation of
values probably lies in the fact that political activity, which here
forms the mediating link, is itself of the nature of a free vocation,
requiring the exercise particularly of mental capacities. For this
reason, however, the regard in which the various occupations are held
tends to be equalized according as class distinctions disappear. The
latter, however, occurs in proportion as all citizens come to acquire
equal privileges in the exercise of political rights. To the majority,
indeed, political activity remains but a secondary vocation, being
overshadowed by the main occupation, which requires the greater amount
of attention. Because of its political character, however, it is the
secondary vocation that primarily determines the social position of the
individual. The fact that all citizens come to participate in political
activity, therefore, even though failing to equalize the esteem in
which the various occupations were held, nevertheless caused the
disappearance of the distinctions in personal status which occupational
differences originally involved.


The differentiation of classes and vocations is conditioned, in a large
measure, by a change in the spacial distribution of the population.
This change is a result of the rise of political society, and comes
to be the outstanding external characteristic of the State as soon
as the latter begins to assume definite form. I have in mind the
_foundation of cities_. In the totemic age, there were no cities,
but at most fair-sized groups of huts or houses, forming villages.
These village settlements were all equally independent; they differed
at most as regards spacial extent. But the city, in its _original_
form, always exercised control over a smaller or larger stretch of
territory, consisting either of separate farms or of villages with
the territory belonging to them. As the seat of political power, the
city was an infallible indication of the existence of the State. Hence
it is that those who discuss the original forms of political society
are not infrequently led to regard State and city as identical. Such
an identification, however, is not at all justifiable. Even in their
beginnings the Greek States and the Roman State were not mere city
States; all that may be said is that the political power was centred
in the city. This is true, also, of the original city as it existed in
the Orient and in the ancient civilizations of Mexico and Peru. The
same characteristic distinguishes the early city from the many later
sorts of cities that arose in response to the needs of intercourse and
trade. The original city was the abode of the political and military
leaders of the people who occupied the new territory and thus formed
a State. This appears most strikingly in the case of Sparta--the
State which preserved most fully the features of an earlier form of
social organization. One might almost be inclined to say that the
men's club developed by totemic tribal organization was here present
in the form of a city of men established within a political order.
But even in Athens and in the other Greek States the city was only
the seat of the political power, whereas the State embraced the
adjacent territory as well. The centre of the city, therefore, was
the castle. This constituted the military defence of the State, and
was the dwelling of the king or, in republican forms of government,
of the highest officials. Connected with the castle was the temple
of the guardian deity of the city. The immediate environment of the
temple was the meeting-place of those who inhabited the territory
protected by the castle and its temple. Here they assembled, partly
for trade and partly for deliberative or popular gatherings. The
economic and political intercourse which centred about the castle
fostered the growth of a larger city, inasmuch as numbers of the rural
inhabitants gradually settled down under the close protection of the
castle. Directly connected with this development was the separation
from agriculture of the occupations of art, handicraft, trade, and
eventually of political office. Because of their enormous extent, the
great Oriental realms included a number of city centres. Yet even
here the original conditions maintained themselves, inasmuch as _one_
of these cities continued to be not only the political seat of the
State but also the chief centre of cult. The guardian deity of the
leading city was likewise the guardian deity of the State, and, as
such, was supreme among the gods. Cult was thus patterned after the
political order. This influence of the city upon cult was reflected
in temple construction. The totemic age possessed no cities, and it
likewise lacked temples. Temples, therefore, are not only indicative
of deity cult, whose development is bound up with political society,
but they also signalize the existence of cities. The temple itself was
characterized by a very rich architecture. In Babylonia it was the
mighty tower, in Egypt the pair of obelisks at the entrance, which
proclaimed to the surrounding neighbourhood the dwelling-place of the
deity and the seat of political power. The two were identical, for it
was in the name of the guardian deity of the city that the State was
originally governed and that justice was meted out. In Oriental realms,
the ruler was the representative of the deity, and the priests were the
State officials, as well as the devotees of science and art. Tradition,
together with numerous usages preserved in custom and laws, testify
to the same original unification of religious and political authority
in Greece and Rome. Although the State here became secularized at
a comparatively early time, and art and science likewise freed
themselves from theocratic dominance, the idea of a guardian deity
of the city and State was long maintained. It was this that invested
the secularized legal system with a halo of sanctity. If the course
of development in Greece and Rome differed from that of the Oriental
realms, this may be due, in an important measure, to the fact that they
very early broke up into a considerable number of independent city
States. Herein, of course, is expressed the character of Indo-Germanic
peoples. Even in very ancient times they manifested a disposition to
allow free play to the assertion of the individual personality; this
differentiates them from the Semitic race, with its strong inclination
to hold fast to traditional norms. Hence it is that, while the cult
of the various Greek cities remained practically the same, the cities
themselves became distinct political communities. The status of the
Delphic priesthood, in whom this unity of cult very early found its
expression, was therefore naturally reduced to that of an advisory
council. In the individual States, the dominance of political interests
and the struggle for power, which was heightened by the personal
inter-relationships within the narrow circle of the city, deprived
the priesthood of all authority except over cult. True, in the case
of Rome, the original union of political order and religious cult was
firmer and more permanent, due to the fact that _one_ city early gained
the supremacy over the other Italian cities and States. And yet, hand
in hand with the extension of political dominance, went the adoption of
cults that were previously strange. This led to a number of competing
priest-associations, none of which could gain the leadership, since all
alike were but servants of the political power.

Thus, in spite of considerable diversity as to incidental conditions,
city and State were closely bound up with each other in the development
of political society. We find no city apart from a State, and it is
doubtful whether there was a State without a city as the seat and
centre of its political power. But this correlation obtained only
during the period of the genesis of States and of the attendant rise
of the _original_ city. Once States have come into existence, many
other conditions may lead to the establishment of a community which, as
regards extent and relative political independence, is of the nature
of a city. Such phenomena may be referred to as the _secondary_
foundation of cities; they are possible only on the basis of a
previously existing political society. An approximation to original
conditions occurs when a victorious State either establishes cities
in the conquered provinces, centralizing in them the power over the
respective territories, or transforms cities that already exist into
political centres. Occurrences of this sort were frequent during the
extension of Alexander's world-dominion and at the time of the Roman
Empire. The same fact may be observed at a later period, in connection
with the occupation of the Italian cities by the Goths and Lombards.
The German cities founded during the Middle Ages differ still more
widely from the original type. These cities first arose as market
centres, and then gradually acquired political privileges. Thus, the
process of the original foundation of cities was, as it were, reversed.
In the latter case, the castle came first and the market followed;
the mediæval city began as a market and reached its completion with
the building of a castle. In mediæval times, however, leadership was
not originally vested in the city but in rulers who occupied isolated
estates scattered here and there throughout the country. Yet these
secondary phenomena and their further development do not belong to our
present problem of the origin of political society.


The social regulations which we have thus far considered find their
consummation in the _legal system_. This possesses no content
independent of the various social institutions, but merely provides
certain norms of action with a social sanction. As a result, these
norms are protected against violation or are designated as regulations
which, whenever necessary, are defended against violators by the
use of external force. Thus, the legal system does not involve the
outright creation of a social order. It consists primarily in the
singling out, as definite prescriptions, of certain regulations
that have already arisen in the course of social life, and that are
for the most part already maintained by custom. The enforcement
of these regulations is expressly guaranteed by society, and means
are established whereby this pledge is to be redeemed. Thus, the
most important social institutions--the family, the classes, the
vocations, village settlements and cities, and also the relations of
property, intercourse, and contract, which these involve--were already
in existence before becoming constituent parts of a legal system.
Moreover, the advance beyond custom and the settlement of difficulties
case by case was not made suddenly or, much less, at the same time in
all regions, but came only very gradually. The formulation of laws did
not, as a rule, begin in connection with the political community and
then pass down to the more restricted groups, ending with the single
individual. On the contrary, law began by regulating the intercourse of
individuals; later, it acquired authority over family relations, which
had remained under the shelter of custom for a relatively long period;
last of all, it asserted itself also over the political order. That
is to say, the State, which is the social organization from which the
legal system took its rise, was the very last institution in connection
with which objective legal forms were developed. We may account for
this by reference to a factor which played an important rôle from the
very outset. After the legal system had once grown up out of custom
and had subjected many of the important fields of the latter to its
authority, it was able of itself to create regulations, which were
thus from the very beginning legal prescriptions. Such primarily legal
regulations arose in connection with conditions in which, frequently,
the fact that there be some law was of more importance than the precise
character of the law. But even in these cases the regulations were
always connected with the larger body of law that was rooted in custom.
This larger body of law was but supplemented by ordinances that were
called into being by temporal and cultural conditions.

The transition from custom to law reflects the joint influence of
_two_ factors, which, particularly at the outset, were themselves
closely connected. The first of these factors consists in the rise
of firmly established forms of rulership, which are indicative also
of the transition leading to _States_; the other is the _religious_
sanction which was attached to those regulations that were singled out
by the law from the broader field of custom. Both factors indicate
that the heroic age properly marks the origin of the legal system,
even though it be true that all such changes are gradual and that
occasional beginnings of the legal system, therefore, may be found at
an earlier period, in connection with the very ancient institution
of chieftainship. As regards the external social organization and
the religious life of the heroic age, these are characterized,
respectively, by the development of strict forms of rulership and by
the origin of a deity cult. Each of these social phenomena reinforces
the other. The kingdom of the gods was but the terrestrial State
projected into an ideal sphere. No less was the development of the
legal system dependent upon the union of the two factors. Neither the
external force of the political authority governing the individual nor
the inner constraint of religious duty sufficed in itself to establish
the tremendous power characteristic of the legal system from early
times on. It is true that, at a later period, the feeling that law
represents a religious duty gave way to the moral law of conscience.
The latter, however, itself owes its origin to the increasing influence
of the political authority which is at the basis of the legal system;
moreover, as an inner motive reinforcing the external compulsion of
the law, it continued to preserve a similarity to the religious source
from which it sprang. True, a significant change occurred. During the
early stages of legal development, the weight of emphasis fell on
the religious aspect of law, whereas it later more and more shifted
to the political side. At first, the entire body of law was regarded
as having been given directly by the deity, as was the case, for
example, with the Ten Commandments of Moses and with the Israelitic
Priests' Code, which clothes even the most external modes of life
in the garb of religious commands. Sometimes a twofold credit is
given for the introduction of the legal system, in that the one who
wields the power is regarded as administering justice both in his own
name and as commissioned by the gods. An illustration of this is the
Babylonian code of Hammurabi. It is, naturally, when the priests wield
the authority that the laws are most apt to be ascribed exclusively to
the gods. The tendency, on the other hand, to give the ruler a certain
amount of credit for legislative enactments, is greatest whenever the
ruler occupies also the position of chief priest. The direct impetus to
such a union of priesthood and political authority is to be found in
the rise of the legal system itself, for this resulted from a fusion
of religious and political motives. The idea that the earthly ruler
is the terrestrial representative of a world-governing deity, or, as
occurs in extreme cases, that he is the world-governing deity himself,
is, therefore, a conception that is closely bound up with the rise of
political society and that receives pregnant expression in the earliest
forms of the legal system. No trace of such a conception was associated
with the chiefs of the totemic period. Their position was entirely
distinct from that of the magicians, the shamans, and the medicine-men,
who were the original representatives of the priestly class that
later arose in the age of deity cults. But it is for this very reason
that the mandates of the totemic chief cannot be said as yet to have
constituted a legal system; they were commands which were given as
occasion demanded, and which were determined partly by the will of
the chief and partly by transmitted customs. Secular and religious
motives are to be found in similar combination elsewhere, even among
tribes that are usually regarded as peoples of nature, as, for example,
particularly those of Polynesia. In cases such as these, however,
there are present also the beginnings of a legal system, as well as
its correlates, the fundamentals of a political organization and of
a deity cult. Whether these are the remnants of a culture brought by
these migratory peoples from their original Asiatic home, or whether
they represent an independently achieved culture that has fallen into
decay, we need not here inquire.

That the development of the legal system is dependent upon the first
of these phenomena--that is, upon political organization--is directly
apparent from the fact that the administration of justice in general
presupposes two sources of authority. Here again the beginnings are to
be found in the totemic age. During this period, the administration
of justice was vested, in the first place, in a relatively restricted
group of the older and experienced men, such as exercised authority
over the older members of the horde even in pretotemic times. Judicial
powers were assumed, in the second place, by individual leaders in
the chase or in war. The authority of the latter, it is true, was
temporary, frequently shifting with changing circumstances; it was all
the more effective, however, for the very reason that it was centred
in single individuals. Now, the initial step in the formation of a
legal system--which, as already remarked, was at first concerned merely
with what we would call civil justice--was taken when the quarrels
of individuals came to be settled in the same way as were matters of
common concern to the clan or tribe--namely, by the decisions of the
two long-established authorities, the 'council of elders,' as they
later continued to be called among many civilized peoples, and the
individual leader or chieftain. Even in relatively primitive times,
fellow-tribesmen or clansmen who disagreed as to the ownership of an
object or perhaps as to whether or not some mutual agreement had been
kept, and who preferred a peaceful decision to settlement by combat,
were accustomed to seek the decision of the elders or of a man of
commanding respect. Thus, these initial stages of legal procedure
indicate that the earliest judge was an _arbitrator_; he was freely
selected by the disputants, though he constantly became more firmly
established in his position as a result both of his authority in
the general affairs of the tribe and of tradition. We next find the
_appointed_ judge, who owes his office to political authority, and who
decides particular controversies, not because he has been asked to do
so by the parties themselves but 'of right' and as commissioned by
the State; supported as he is by the political power, his decision has
compelling force. As soon as the State assumes the function of deciding
the controversies of individuals, the judge becomes an _official_.
Indeed, he is one of the first representatives of officialdom. For,
in the early stages of political organization, all matters other than
the quarrels of individuals are regulated by ancient customs, except
in so far as war and the preparation for war involve conditions that
necessarily place authority of an entirely different sort in the hands
of particular individuals. Thus, together with the offices of those
who, though only gradually, come to have charge of the maintenance of
the military organization even in times of peace, the office of the
judiciary represents one of the earliest of political creations. In
it, we find a parallel to the division of power between the ruler and
a separate council of experienced men, an arrangement that represents
a legacy from the period of tribal organization, but that only now
becomes firmly established. The individual judge and the college of
judges both occur so early that it is scarcely possible to say whether
either antedated the other. Affecting the development just described
are two other conditions, capable of bringing about a division of
judicial authority at an early time. One of these conditions is the
connection of the state with deity cult, as a result of which the
secular power is limited by the authority of the priesthood, whose
chief prerogative comes to be penal justice. The second factor in the
differentiation of judicial functions consists in the institution of
chieftainship, one of the two characteristic features of political
society. Chieftainship involves a tendency towards a delegation of
the supreme judicial authority to the ruler. This is particularly the
case during the first stages of political organization, which still
reflect the fact that the external political power of the chieftain
grew up out of the conditions attendant upon war. Even though the
secular judiciary, which originated in the council of elders, or, in
certain cases, the judicial office of the priest, also continues
to be maintained, the ruler nevertheless reserves for himself the
authority over the most important issues. Particularly in doubtful
cases, in which the ordinary judge has no traditional norms to guide
his decision, the 'king's court' intervenes in order, if necessary,
to secure a recognition of the claim of reasonableness. This is
especially apt to occur in connection with capital crimes. Hence it
is that, even after penal law has once become a matter of general
governmental control--which, as a rule, occurs only at a later stage of
legal development--the final decision in criminal cases usually rests
with the ruler. Generally, moreover, it is the ruler alone who has
sufficient power to put an end to the blood-revenge demanded by kinship
groups. Owing to the fact that, in his capacity of military leader,
the ruler possesses power over life and death during war with hostile
tribes, he comes to exercise the same authority in connection also with
the feuds of his fellow-tribesmen. Modern States have retained a last
remnant of this power in the monarch's right to pardon, an erratic
phenomenon of a culture that has long since disappeared.

Thus, the State, as such, possesses an external power which finds
its most direct expression--just as does the unity of the State--in
the exercise of judicial authority on the part of the ruler. In the
beginnings of legal development, however, law always possesses also
a _religious sanction_. True, the above-mentioned unification of
the offices of priest and judge or of the authority of priest and
ruler--the latter of which sometimes occurs in connection with the
former--may be the result of particular cultural conditions. This,
however, but indicates all the more forcibly how permanent has been
the religious sanction of law. Such a sanction is evidenced by the
words and symbolisms that accompany legal procedure even in the case
of secular judges and of the relations of individuals themselves. Not
without significance, for example, is the solemnity manifested in the
tones of those who are party to a barter, a contract, or an assignment
of property. Indeed, their words are usually accompanied by express
confirmations resembling the formulas of prayer and imprecation; the
gods are invoked as witnesses of the transaction or as avengers of
broken pledges. Because of the solemnity of the spoken word, speech was
displaced but slowly by writing. Long after the latter art had been
acquired, its use continued to be avoided, not only in the case of
legal formulas, such as the above, but occasionally even in connection
with more general legal declarations. In the Brahman schools of India,
for example, the rules of legal procedure, as well as the hymns and
prayers, were for centuries transmitted purely through memory; we are
told, moreover, that in ancient Sparta it was forbidden to put the laws
in writing. To an age, however, which is incapable of conceiving even a
legal transaction except as a perceptual act, the spoken word by itself
is inadequate to give the impression of reality. As an indication
that he has acquired a piece of land, the purchaser lifts a bit of
soil from the earth, or the vendor tosses a stalk of grain to him--a
ceremony which is imitated in the case of other objects of exchange and
which has led to the word 'stipulation' (from the Latin _stipulatio_,
throwing of a stalk). Another symbol of acquisition is the laying on of
the hand. Similar to it is the clasp of right hands as a sign of mutual
agreement. By this act the contracting parties pledge their freedom
in case they break the promise which they are giving. When the fact
that the two parties lived at some distance from each other rendered
the hand clasp impossible, the Germans were accustomed to exchange
gloves. One who challenged another to a duel likewise did so by the
use of a glove, even though his opponent was present. By throwing
his glove before his opponent the challenger gave expression to the
distance which separated him in feeling from his enemy. In this case,
the symbol has changed from a sign of agreement to the opposite. All
the symbols of which we have been speaking agree in having originally
been regarded, not as symbols, but as real acts possessing certain
magical potencies. When an individual, who is acquiring a piece of
land, picks up a bit of soil while speaking the appropriate words, he
intends to produce a magical effect upon the land, such that disaster
will come to any one who may seek to deprive him of it. He who offers
his hand in sealing a compact signifies that he is prepared to lose his
freedom in case he fails to keep his word. For this reason the shaking
of hands is sometimes supplemented by the extension of a staff--a
special use of the magical wand which occurs particularly when the
pledge is administered by a judge. In a second stage of development,
the act loses the status of reality, but it remains associated with
religious feelings. At a third stage, it becomes a mere matter of form,
though the solemnity with which it envelops the transaction adds to the
impressiveness of the latter and fixes it more firmly in memory.

Combined with the word, thus, is a gesture that faithfully reflects its
meaning. Moreover, other individuals are summoned to witness the legal
transaction. This is done, not so much that these persons may later
be able to give definite testimony, as that they, too, shall hear the
word and see the gesture, and so, in a sense, enhance the reality of
that which is transpiring. Besides this oldest form of witness, who is
not to testify regarding that which he has experienced, as occurs in
later times, but who is merely present on the occasion of the legal
transaction, there is the _compurgator_, who substantiates the oath
of the man involved. The latter fortifies his statements by invoking
the gods as witnesses. Now, the oath of the compurgator does not
relate to the testimony of his companion, but merely to the companion
himself; it is a pledge to share the punishment of the latter in case
he swears falsely. As in battle, so also in calling upon the terrible
powers whose vengeance is to fall upon the perjurer, companion stands
protectingly by the side of companion. Thus, the oath itself is a
ceremony both of cult and of magic. As a cult activity, the oath was
originally given at the place where the cult was administered--that
is, in the immediate presence of the gods; the method of procedure
was to raise the fingers and to point them directly to the gods, who
were regarded as witnesses of the act. The magical nature of the
oath appears in the fact that the latter involved the conjuration of
an object, which was to bring disaster upon him who took the oath in
case he swore falsely. Thus, the Germans swore by their battle-steeds
or their weapons, and, in so doing, they laid their hands upon these
objects; or, instead of the latter, they used an oath-staff--one of the
numerous metamorphoses of the magical wand--which was extended toward
him who received the oath, whether the opposing party or the judge.
This oath signified that the object by which the individual swore would
bring ruin upon him in case he committed perjury. The oath, therefore,
came to be a fixed and definitely prescribed means of judicial
procedure, though this occurred only after deity cult effected a union
of the two factors, cult and magic. Nevertheless, the beginnings of
this development are to be found as early as the totemic age, and
they approximate to the cult-oath particularly in those regions that
practise ancestor worship. The Bantu, for example, swears by the head
of his father or the cap of his mother, as well as by the colour of his
ox. In all these cases, the intention is that the perjurer shall suffer
the vengeance which the demon of the deceased or of the animal visits
upon him who swears falsely.

Closely related in its motives to the oath is another legal
institution, the _ordeal_. In the earliest form of the ordeal, the
strife of individuals was settled by a duel. Such an ordeal was very
similar to the sword-oath, at least among Indo-Germanic peoples. Just
as the man who swore by his weapons invoked death by their agency
in the indefinite future, so each of the participants in the duel
sought to bring these magical powers into immediate effect in the
case of his opponent. Not to him whose arm is the stronger, but to
him who has the stronger cause, will the gods grant victory through
the magic of his weapon. Like the oath, therefore, the ordeal was
originally a method of legal procedure in civil cases. Like the oath,
furthermore, it was, in its beginnings, a means whereby individuals
settled their controversies independently of a judge. It is at this
point that the punitive action of individuals gives way to public
legal procedure. Originally, crimes against life and property were
dealt with by individuals; the endeavour to secure the judgment of the
gods by means of the duel was doubtless one of the earliest steps by
which the penal process became a public procedure, and the punishment
itself, therefore, became raised above the plane of mere revenge. Blood
revenge involved an unexpected attack in the open or from ambush. To
renounce this custom in favour of the duel, therefore, was in harmony
with the character of the heroic age. For this was the period in which
the ideal of manly honour was rapidly gaining strength, and in which,
therefore, it was regarded as unworthy under any circumstances to take
the life of a defenceless man. The principle accepted as self-evident
in war, namely, that the person attacked have an opportunity to defend
himself, became, in a warlike age, a maxim applying also to times
of peace. Moreover, even though it be true of the ordeal as of the
oath that, at the outset, cult was secondary to magical conjuration,
nevertheless, the dominance of the latter varied with the degree in
which the State freed penal justice from the passion for revenge on
the part of individuals. The ordeal thus came to be more than merely a
combat between the accuser and the accused. The judge in charge of the
combat acquired the duty of determining guilt or innocence, and, as a
result, the ordeal assumed other forms. Only the one who was accused
was now involved. The ordeal changed from a magic combat into a _magic
test_, which came to be regarded as a direct revelation of the decision
of the deity. This led to the adoption of means of proof other than
combat. It was obviously cult that caused penal justice as such to be
taken out of the hands of private individuals. For this reason it was
particularly sacrilege that demanded a magical judgment independent of
the combat of individuals. In cases of sacrilege, the deity himself
tested the assertions of the one who endeavoured to free himself from
the charges of religious crime. The means for determining guilt or
innocence were fire and water--the same agencies that had long been
employed by religious cult for purposes of lustration. That the tests
by water and by fire used in connection with the witchcraft cases of
mediæval times still possessed a magical significance is unmistakable.
If the witch sank in the water--that is, if she was received by the
purifying element--she was guiltless. If the accused was not injured by
holding a glowing iron in his hand or by walking barefooted over coals,
this also was regarded as indicative of innocence. Apparently the
underlying conception was that the deity who gave to water and fire the
power of purifying a sinner from his guilt also communicated to them
the power of freeing the innocent from an accusation and of withholding
assistance from the guilty. Hence it is that while these modes of
divine judgment were not, indeed, as common as was purification by
means of water and fire, they nevertheless appeared again and again,
so far as their fundamental characteristics are concerned. They were
resorted to by the Germanic peoples, and were prevalent also in
Græco-Roman antiquity, and in India; trial by water was likewise a
custom in Babylonia, where it was prescribed by Hammurabi as a means by
which a suspected person might free himself. We have noticed how, in
the case of the ordeal and particularly of its earliest form, judicial
combat, the legal controversies of individuals concerning rights
relating to property, buying and selling and other agreements, came
to be considered from the standpoint of _punishment_. This process is
characteristic of the development of penal law in general.


As an institution protected by the State, the administration of penal
law everywhere grew up out of civil law. The judge who was appointed by
the State to arbitrate personal controversies developed into a criminal
judge. Still later these two judicial offices became distinct. This
separation began in connection with the most serious offences, such
as seemed to demand a separate tribunal. The determining feature, in
this instance, was, at the outset, not any qualitative characteristic
of the offence but its gravity. Now, at the time when deity cults
were at their zenith, the most serious crimes were held to be those
connected with religion, namely, temple sacrilege and blasphemy. Only
at a relatively late period were crimes against life and limb classed
along with those affecting religion; to these were added, shortly
afterwards, violations of property rights. That murder, though the
most frequent crime of early culture, should not be penalized by
political authority until so late a period, is directly due to the
fact that it has its origin in the strife of individuals. In such a
strife, each man personally assumes all consequences, even though
these consist in the loss of his life. Even to slay a man from ambush
is regarded as justifiable by primitive society if an individual is
avenging a crime from which he has suffered. As family and kinship
ties become stronger, the family or kin participates as a group in the
quarrels of its individual members, just as it does in war against
hostile tribes. A murder, whether or not it be an act of vengeance, is
avenged by a fellow-member of the victim, either upon the murderer or
upon some one of his kin, inasmuch as in this case also the group is
regarded as taking the part of the individual. This is the practice
of _blood-revenge_, a practice which antedates the heroic age but
which nevertheless continues to exercise a powerful influence upon it.
Blood-revenge is so closely bound up with totemic tribal organization
that it was probably never lacking wherever any such system arose.
Its status, however, was purely that of a custom, not that of a
legal requirement. It was custom alone, and not political authority,
that compelled one kinsman to avenge the death of another. It was
custom also that sought to do away with the disastrous results of a
continuous blood-feud by means of an arrangement that came to take
the place of blood-revenge. This substitute was the 'wergild,' which
was paid as an indemnity by the malefactor to the family of the one
who had been murdered, and which thus maintained precisely the same
relation to blood-revenge as did marriage by purchase to marriage by
capture. In the former case, however, the substitution of a peaceful
agreement for an act of violence gave the political authority its first
occasion to exercise its regulative power. This first manifestation of
power consisted in the fact that the political authority determined
the amount which must be paid in lieu of the blood-guilt. With the
institution of wergild the entire matter becomes one of civil law. Only
one further step is necessary, and the law of contract will indirectly
have established the penal authority of the State. This step is taken
when the State _compels_ the parties to enter into an agreement on
the basis of the wergild. The advance, however, was not made at a
single bound, but came only through the influence of a number of
intermediate factors. That which first demanded a legal determination
of the amount of expiation money was the necessity of estimating the
personal value of the one who had been murdered, according as the
individual was free-born or dependent, of a high or of a low class, an
able-bodied man or a woman. Such a gradation in terms of general social
status suggested the propriety of allowing temporary and less serious
injuries to life and limb to be compensated for on the basis of their
magnitude. But the estimation of damages in such cases again made civil
jurisdiction absolutely necessary.

Closely interconnected with this complex of social factors, and
imposing a check upon the impulse for vengeance that flames up in
blood-revenge, was a religious influence--the fear of contaminating
by a deed of violence a spot that was sanctified by the presence of
invisible gods. No violence of any kind was allowed within sacred
precincts, particularly in places set apart for sacrifice or for
other cult ceremonies; least of all was violence tolerated in the
temple, for the temple was regarded as the dwelling of a deity. Such
places, therefore, afforded protection to all who fled to them from
impending blood-revenge or other sources of danger. The sacred place
also stood under the protection of the community; any violation of
it brought down upon the offender the vengeance of the entire group,
for the latter regarded such sacrilege as a source of common danger.
Thus, the protection of the _sanctuary_ came to be a legal right
even at a time when retribution for the crime itself was left to the
vengeance of individuals. The right of protection afforded by the
temple, however, was sometimes held to exist also in the case of the
dwellings of persons of distinguished power and esteem, particularly
the dwellings of the chief and of the priest. Indeed, prior to the
existence of public temples, the latter were doubtless the only places
of refuge. In this form, the beginnings of a right of refuge date back
even into the totemic age. At that early time, however, the protection
was apparently due, not so much to directly religious factors, as
to the personal power of the individual who afforded the refuge, or
also, particularly in Polynesia, to the 'taboo' with which the upper
classes were privileged to guard their property. But, since the taboo
was probably itself of religious origin, and since the medicine-man,
and occasionally also the chief, could utilize demoniacal agencies as
well as his own external power, even the very earliest forms of refuge
were of the general nature of religious protection. In some cases, the
right of refuge eventually became extended so as to be connected not
only with the property set apart for the chief or the priest but also
with the homes of inferior men. This, however, was a relatively late
phenomenon. Its origin is traceable to the cult of household deities,
first of the ancestral spirits who guard domestic peace, and then of
the specific protective deities of the hearth by whom the ancestral
spirits were supplanted. As a rule, it was not the criminal but the
visiting stranger who sought the protection of the house. The right
to hospitality thus became also a religiously sanctioned right to
protection. The guest was no less secure against the host himself than
against all others. The right of protection afforded by the house,
therefore, should probably be interpreted as a transference of the
right of refuge inherent in sacred precincts. The protective right
of the chief was doubtless the beginning of what in its complete
development came to be household right in general.

The divine protection afforded by the sanctuary obviously offers but a
temporary refuge from the avenger. The fugitive again encounters the
dangers of blood-revenge as soon as he leaves the sacred precincts.
Nevertheless, the time that is thus made to elapse between the act
and its reprisal tempers the passion of the avenger, and affords an
opportunity for negotiations in which the hostile families or clans
may arrange that a ransom be paid in satisfaction of the crime that
was committed. Moreover, the chief or the temple priest under whose
protection the fugitive places himself, is given a direct opportunity
for mediating in the capacity of an arbitrating judge, and later, as
the political power gradually acquires greater strength, for taking the
measures of retribution into his own hands. Revenge, thus, is changed
into punishment, and custom is displaced by the norm of law, which
grows up out of repeated decisions in the adjudication of similar cases.

Sojourn in a place of refuge resembles imprisonment in that it limits
personal freedom. One might, therefore, be inclined to suppose that,
through a further development other than that described above, the
sanctuary led to a gradual moderation of punishment by introducing the
practice of _imprisonment_. Such a supposition, however, is not borne
out by the facts. At the time when the transition from the place of
refuge into the prison might have taken place, the idea of reducing
the death penalty to the deprivation of freedom was still remote. The
value which the heroic age placed on the life of the individual was
not sufficiently high to induce such a change, and the enforcement of
prison penalties would, under the existing conditions, have appeared
difficult and uncertain. Hence imprisonment was as yet entirely unknown
as a form of punishment. Though the State had suppressed blood-revenge,
it showed no less an inclination than did ancient custom to requite not
only murder but even milder crimes with death. Indeed, inasmuch as the
peaceful mode of settlement by ransom gradually disappeared, it might
be truer to say that the relentlessness of the State was even greater
than that of blood-revenge. The oldest penal codes were very strongly
inclined to impose death penalties. That the famous Draconian laws of
Athens became proverbial in this respect was due merely to the fact
that other ancient legal codes, though not infrequently more severe,
were still unknown. The law of King Hammurabi punished by death any
one who stole property belonging to the court or the temple, or even
to one of the king's captains; the innkeeper who charged her guests
extortionate prices was thrown into the water, and the temple maiden
who opened a wine-shop was burned to death. Whoever acquired possession
of stolen goods, or sheltered a runaway slave, was put to death, etc.
For every crime that was judged to be in any way serious, and for
whose expiation a money ransom was not adequate, the law knew only the
one penalty, death. The earliest law made no use of custody except in
connection with civil justice. The debtor was confined in the house of
the creditor. This simply enforced the pledge involved in the shaking
of hands at the time when the debt was contracted--an act by which the
debtor vowed to be responsible for his debt with his own person.

The confinement of the debtor was at first a matter that was left to
individuals, and its original sanction was custom; later, however,
it came under the supervision of the legal system of the State. This
suggested the adoption of confinement in connection with other crimes,
in which the death penalty appeared too severe a punishment and the
exaction of money one that was too light, as well, primarily, as too
dependent upon the wealth of the guilty individual. Contributory to
this change, was a practice which, similarly to confinement, was
also originally an arrangement between individuals, and was rooted
in custom. I refer to the holding of individuals as pledges, to the
hostage, who gave security with his own person for the promise of
another. The hostage is of the nature of a forfeit, guaranteeing
in advance the fulfilment of the obligation. For this reason the
holding of hostages came to be practised not merely in the case of
property contracts but in connection with every possible obligation
of a private or a public nature. This development was furthered by
the fact that hostages came to be held in times of war, and, as a
result, were given also upon the assumption of public duties. In
both cases, custody changed from a private arrangement into a public
concern. This change made it possible for a judge to impose the
penalty of imprisonment whenever the transgression did not appear
to warrant death. Imprisonment is a penalty that admits of no fewer
degrees than does a fine, and has the advantage of being independent
of the irrelevant circumstance of the wealth of the one who is
condemned. Moreover, the restriction of arbitrary deprivations of
freedom in favour of custody on the part of the political power,
makes it possible to hold a suspect whose case requires examination
before a judicial verdict can be given. Thus arises the practice of
confinement during investigation, an incidental form of legal procedure
which is influenced by, and in turn reacts upon, the penalty of
imprisonment. Such confinement makes it possible to execute the penalty
of imprisonment in the case of those whom investigation shows to be
guilty. But this is not its only important result. It also leads to
those barbarous methods which, particularly during the early stages of
this development, are connected with the infliction of the punishment
itself as well as with the preceding inquisitorial activities. The
public administration of justice is still affected by the passion for
vengeance which comes down from the earlier period of blood-revenge.
To this coarser sense of justice a merely quantitative gradation of
punishment is not satisfactory; the punishment must rather be made to
correspond qualitatively with the crime that has been committed. Hence
the many different modes of prison punishment--more numerous even than
the modes of inflicting the death penalty--and of the means of torture,
which are often conceived with devilish cunning. These means of torture
come to be used also in the inquisitional procedure; the endeavour
to force a confession causes them to become more severe, and this in
turn reacts upon the punishment itself. On the whole, the ultimate
tendency, of imprisonment was greatly to restrict the death penalty and
thus to contribute to more humane methods of punishment. Nevertheless,
it is impossible not to recognize that this result was preceded by
an increasing cruelty. The fact that the prisoner was under the
control of the punitive authority for a longer period of time led to a
multiplication of the means of punishment. How simple, and, one might
say, how relatively humane, was blood-revenge, satisfied as it was to
demand life for life, in comparison with the penal law of the Middle
Ages, with its methods of forcing confession by means of the rack and
of various forms of physical suffering and of death penalties!

The same is true of a further change inaugurated by the passing of
blood-revenge into punishment. This change likewise led to a decided
restriction of the death penalty, yet it also, no less than the forcing
of confession, brought upon penal justice the stigma of systematic
cruelty. The assumption of penal power on the part of the public
judiciary, in conjunction with the possession of unlimited control
over the person and life of the malefactor, led to the adoption of
a principle which long continued to dominate penal justice. This
principle was drastically expressed in the Priests' Code of the
Israelites, "Eye for eye, tooth for tooth." True, this _jus talionis_
was already foreshadowed in the custom of blood-revenge, and yet the
simple form which it here possessed, 'a life for a life,' made it a
principle of just retribution, and not a demand sharpened by hate
and cruelty. In the case of blood-revenge, moreover, the emotions of
revenge were moderated by virtue of the fact that considerations of
property played a rôle. Requital was sought for the loss which the
clan sustained through the death of one of its members. Hence the clan
might be satisfied with a money compensation, or, occasionally, with
the adoption either of a fellow-tribesman of the murderer or, indeed,
even of the murderer himself. In contrast with this, even the most
severe physical injuries, so long as they did not result in death,
were originally always left to the retaliation of the individual. This
retaliation was sought either in direct combat, or, in the heroic age
proper, in a duel conducted in accordance with regulations of custom.
All this is changed as soon as the State abolishes blood-revenge and
assumes jurisdiction over cases of murder. In the event of personal
injuries, the judge determines the sentence, particularly if the
individual is unable for any reason to secure retaliation--having been
rendered helpless, for example, through his injury, or being prevented
by the fact of class differences. Under such circumstances it is
but natural that the principle, 'a life for a life,' which has been
borrowed from the institution of blood-revenge and has been applied
to the punishment for murder, should be developed into a scale of
physical punishment representing the more general principle 'like for
like.' He who has destroyed the eye of another, must lose his own eye;
whoever has disabled another's arm, must have his arm cut off, etc.
Other injuries then came to be similarly punished, even those of a
moral character to which the principle "eye for eye, tooth for tooth"
is not directly applicable. The hand which has been implicated in an
act of sacrilege, such as the commission of perjury, is to be cut off;
the tongue which has slandered, must be torn out. Originally, the death
penalty was employed all too freely. Hence this substitution of a
physical punishment which spared the life of the offender was doubtless
in the direction of moderation. But, since this substitution gave rise
to cruelties that resulted in the infliction of various sorts of death
penalties, preceded and accompanied by tortures, its original effect
became reversed, just as in the case of imprisonment. Moreover, the two
forms of punishment--imprisonment and death--and the degree to which
these were carried to excess differed according to civilization and
race. The _jus talionis_ was the older principle of punishment. It is
more closely bound up with man's natural impulse for retaliation, and
therefore recurs even within humane civilizations, sometimes merely in
suggestions but sometimes in occasional relapses which are of a more
serious sort and are due to the passion for revenge. In fundamental
contrast with the Mosaic law, Christianity repudiated the requital of
like with like. Perhaps it was the fear of violating its own principle
that led it, in its later development, to seek in the cruelties of
severe prison penalties a substitute for the repressed impulse to
revenge which comes to expression in coarser conceptions of justice.
Nevertheless, this substitution was superior to the inflexible severity
of the _jus talionis_ in that it more effectively enabled milder
customs to influence the judicial conscience.

But there is still another respect in which the recedence of the
principle of retaliation gradually led to an advance beyond the legal
conceptions characteristic of the heroic age. The command for strict
retribution takes into consideration merely the _objective_ injury in
which a deed results; to it, it is immaterial whether a person destroys
another's eye accidentally or intentionally. The same injury that he
has caused must befall him. Whoever kills a man must, according to
the law of Hammurabi, himself suffer death; if he kills a woman, he
is to be punished by the death of his daughter. If a house collapses,
the builder who constructed it must suffer death. For a successful
operation, the physician receives a compensation; if the operation
fails, the hand that has performed it is cut off. The same law
determines both reward and punishment. Moreover, it includes within its
scope even intellectual and moral transgressions. The judge who commits
an error is to be dismissed from office in disgrace; the owner who
neglects his field is to be deprived of it.


The direct impetus to overcoming the defects that were inherent in
penal justice as a result of its having originated in the conflicts
of individuals, did not come from a clear recognition of differences
in the character of the crimes themselves, but primarily from the
fact of a gradual _division of judicial functions_. This is shown
particularly by the development of Græco-Roman as well as of Germanic
law. It is in the criminal court, which supersedes blood-revenge,
that public authority is most directly conscious of its power over
the individual. Hence the criminal court appears to be the highest
of the courts, and the one that most deeply affects the natural
rights of man. Its authority is vested solely in the ruler, or in a
particularly sacred tribunal. This is due, not so much to the specific
character of the crimes over which it has jurisdiction, as to the
respect which it receives because it assumes both the ancient duty of
blood-revenge and the function of exacting a requital for religious
guilt. Similarly, other offences also gradually pass from the sphere of
personally executed revenge or from that of the strife of individuals,
and become subject to the penal authority of the State. The division
of judicial authority, to which these tendencies lead, is promoted
by the differentiation of public power, as a result of which the
administration of justice is apportioned to various officials and
magistrates, as well as are the other tasks of the State. It is for
this reason that, if we consider their civilization as a whole, the
constitutional States of the Occidental world were led to differentiate
judicial functions much earlier than were the great despotic monarchies
of the Orient. These monarchies, as the code of Hammurabi shows,
possessed a highly developed husbandry and a correspondingly advanced
commercial and monetary system, whereas they centralized all judicial
functions in the ruler.

Thus, the State gains a twofold power, manifested, in the first place,
in the very establishment of a judicial order, and, secondly, in the
differentiation of the spheres of justice in which the authority of the
State over the individual is exercised. This finally prepares the way
for the last stage of development. The state itself becomes subject
to an established legal order which determines its various functions
and the duties of its members. There thus originates an officialdom,
organized on fixed principles and possessing carefully defined public
privileges. The people of the State, on the other hand, are divided
into definite classes on the basis of the duties demanded of them as
well as of the rights connected with these duties. These articulations
of political society, which determine the organization of the army,
the mode of taxation, and the right of participation in the government
of the State, develop, as we have already seen, out of totemic tribal
organization, as a result of the external conditions attendant upon
the migrations and wars connected with the rise of States. But they
also exhibit throughout the traces of statutes expressing the will
and recording the decisions of individual rulers, though even here,
of course, universal human motives are decisive. After the political
powers of the State have been divided and have been delegated to
particular officials and official colleges, and after political rights
have been apportioned to the various classes of society, the next step
consists in rendering the organization of the State secure by means of
a _Constitution_ regulating the entire political system. In the shaping
of the Constitution, it cannot be denied that individual legislators
or legislative assemblies played a significant rôle. Nevertheless, it
must be remembered that it is solely as respects the _form_ of State
organization that the final and most comprehensive legal creation
appears to be predominantly the result of the will acts of individuals.
The _content_ of the Constitution is in every respect a product of
history; it is determined by conditions which, in the last analysis,
depend upon the general culture of a nation and upon its relations with
other peoples. These conditions, however, are so complex that, though
every form of Constitution and all its modifications may be regarded
as absolutely involved in the causal nexus of historical life, the
endless diversity of particular conditions precludes Constitutions from
being classifiable according to any universal principle. Constitutions
can at most be classified on the basis of certain analogies. The
most influential attempt at a genetic classification of the various
historical forms of government was that of Aristotle. But his
classification, based on the number of rulers (one, a few, many, all)
and on the moral predicates of good and evil (monarchy and tyranny,
aristocracy and oligarchy, etc.), offers a purely logical schema which
corresponds but partially with facts. True, it not infrequently happens
that the rule of all--that is, democracy--gives way to the evil form of
individual rulership--namely, tyranny. An aristocracy, however, or even
a monarchy, may likewise develop into a tyranny. What the change is to
be, depends upon historical conditions. Nor are monarchy, aristocracy,
or the rule of the middle class forms of government that are ever
actually to be found in the purity which logical schematization
demands. Even in the Homeric State there was a council of elders and
an assembly of freemen--an agora--in addition to the king. Indeed, if
we go back still farther and inquire concerning those more primitive
peoples of nature who are merely on the point of passing from tribal
organization to a political Constitution, it might perhaps be nearer
the truth to assert that democracy, and not monarchy, was the form
of the early State. The fact is that the organization characteristic
of the State as a whole is the product of historical factors of an
exceedingly variable nature, and that it never adequately fits into any
logical system that is based on merely a few political features. Even
less may a logical schema of this sort be regarded as representing a
universal law of development.

Thus, the State is indeed the ultimate source of all the various
branches of the legal system. So far as the fundamental elements of its
own Constitution are concerned, however, it is really itself a product
of _custom_, if we take this term in its broadest sense, as signifying
an historically developed order of social life which has not yet come
under the control of political authority. The course of development is
the very opposite of that which rationalistic theories have taught,
ever since the time of the Sophists, concerning the origin of the
State. These theories maintain that the legal system originated in
connection with the State, and that it then acquired an application to
the separate departments of life. The reverse is true. It is with the
determination of the rights of individuals and with the settlement of
the controversies arising from these rights that the legal power of the
State takes its rise. It is strengthened and extended when the custom
of personal retribution comes to be superseded by penal law. Last of
all comes the systematic formulation of the political Constitution
itself. The latter, however, is never more than a _development_; it is
not a creation in the proper sense of the word. Even such States as
the United States of North America and the new German Empire were not
created by lawgivers, but were only organized by them in respect to
details. The State as such is always a product of history, and so it
must ever remain. Every legal system presupposes the power of a State.
Hence the latter can never itself originate in an act of legislation,
but can only transform itself into a legal order after it has once


At first glance it may seem presumptuous even to raise the question as
to how gods originated. Have they not always existed? one is inclined
to ask. As a matter of fact, this is the opinion of most historians,
particularly of historians of religion. They hold that the belief
in gods is underived. Degenerate forms may arise, the belief may at
times even disappear altogether or be displaced by a crude belief in
magic and demons, but it itself can in no wise have been developed
from anything else, for it was possessed by mankind from the very
beginning. Were it true that the belief in gods represents an original
possession of mankind, our question concerning the origin of gods would
be invalidated. The assumption, however, is disproved by the facts of
ethnology. There are peoples without gods. True, there are no peoples
without some sort of supersensuous beings. Nevertheless, to call all
such beings 'gods'--beings, for example, such as sickness-demons or the
demons which leave the corpse and threaten the living--would appear to
be a wholly unwarranted extension of the conception of deity. Unbiased
observation goes to show that there are no peoples without certain
conceptions that may be regarded as precursors of the later god-ideas.
Nevertheless, there can be no doubt that there are some peoples without
gods. The Veddahs of Ceylon, the so-called nature-Semangs and Senoi of
Malacca, the natives of Australia, and many other peoples of nature as
well, possess no gods, in our sense of the word. Because all of these
primitive peoples interpret certain natural phenomena--such as clouds,
winds, and stars--in an anthropomorphic fashion, it has been attempted
time and again to establish the presence of the god-idea of higher
religions. Such attempts, however, may be straightway characterized as
a play with superficial analogies in which no thought whatsoever is
taken of the real content of the god-conception.

Accepting the lead of ethnological facts, then, let us grant that
there are stages in the development of the myth in which real gods
are lacking. Even so, two opposing views are possible concerning
the relation of such 'prereligious' conditions to the origin of the
god-ideas essential to religion. Indeed, these views still actively
compete with each other in the science of religion. On the one hand,
it is maintained that the god-idea is original, and that belief in
demons, totemism, fetishism, and ancestor worship are secondary and
degenerate derivatives. On the other hand, the gods are regarded as
products of a mythological development, and, in so far, as analogous
to the State, which grew up in the course of political development
out of the primitive forms of tribal organization. Those who defend
the first of these views subscribe to a degeneration theory. If the
ancestors reverenced in cult are degenerated deities, and if the
same is true of demons and even of fetishes, then the main course of
religious development has obviously been downward and not upward.
The representatives of the second view, on the contrary, assume an
upward or progressive tendency. If demons, fetishes, and the animal or
human ancestors worshipped in cult antedate gods, the latter must have
developed from the former. Thus, the views concerning the origin of
gods may be classified as _theories of degeneration_ and _theories of

But the theories of degeneration themselves fall into two classes.
The one upholds an original monotheism, the basis of which is claimed
to be either an innate idea of God or a revelation made to all
mankind. Obviously this assumption is itself more nearly a belief
than a scientific hypothesis. As a belief, it may be accounted for
in terms of a certain religious need. This explains how it happens
that, in spite of the multiplication of contradictory facts, the
theory has been repeatedly urged in comparatively recent times. Only
a short time ago, even a distinguished ethnologist, Wilhelm Schmidt,
attempted to prove that such an original monotheism was without
doubt a dominant belief among the so-called Pygmies, who must, in
general, be classed with primitive peoples. The argument adduced in
support of this view, however, unquestionably lacks the critical
caution otherwise characteristic of this investigator. One cannot
escape the conviction that, in this case, personal religious needs
influenced the ethnological views, even though one may well doubt
whether the degeneration theory is a theory that is suited to satisfy
such needs.[1] The second class of theories adopts the view that the
basis of all religious development was not monotheism but primitive
polytheism. This polytheism is supposed to have originated, at a very
early age, in the impression made by the starry heavens, particularly
by the great heavenly bodies, the sun and the moon. Here for the first
time, it is maintained, man was confronted by a world far transcending
his own realm of sense perception; because of the multiplicity of the
motives that were operative, it was not the idea of one deity but
the belief in many deities that was evoked. In essential contrast
with the preceding view, this class of theories regards all further
development as upward. Monotheism is held to be a refined religious
product of earlier polytheistic conceptions. In so far, the hypothesis
represents a transition to developmental theories proper. It cannot be
counted among the latter, however, for it holds to the originality of
the god-idea, believing that this conception, which is essential to
all religion, was not itself the product of development, but formed
an original element of man's natural endowment. Moreover, the theory
attaches a disproportionate significance to the transition from many
gods to a single god. It is doubtful, to say the least, whether the
intrinsic value of the god-idea may be measured merely in terms of this
numerical standard. Furthermore, the fact is undeniable that philosophy
alone really exhibits an absolute monotheism. A pure monotheistic
belief probably never existed in the religion of any people, not even
in that of the Israelites, whose national deity, Jahve, was not at all
the sole god in the sense of a strict monotheism. When the Decalogue
says, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me," this does not deny
the existence of gods other than Jahve, but merely prohibits the
Israelites from worshipping any other deity. These other gods, however,
are the national gods of other peoples. Not only do these other tribal
gods exist alongside of Jahve, but the patriarchal sagas centre
about individuals that resemble now demonic and now divine beings.
The most remarkable of these figures is Jacob. In the account of his
personality there seem to be mingled legends of differing origin,
dating from a time probably far earlier than the developed Jahve cult.
The scene with his father-in-law, Laban, represents him as a sort of
crafty märchen-hero. He cheats Laban through his knowledge of magic,
gaining for himself the choicest of the young lambs by constructing
the watering troughs of half-peeled rods of wood--a striking example
of so-called imitative magic. On the other hand, Jacob is portrayed
as the hero who rolls from the well's mouth the stone which all the
servants of Laban could not move. And finally, when he wrestles with
Jahve by night on the bank of the stream and is not overcome until
the break of day, we are reminded either of a mighty Titan of divine
lineage, or possibly of the river demon who, according to ancient folk
belief, threatens to engulf every one who crosses the stream, be it
even a god. But what is true of the figures of the patriarchal sagas
applies also, in part, to Jahve himself. In the remarkable scene in
which Jahve visits Abraham near the terebinths of Mamre, he associates
with the patriarch as a _primus inter pares_. He allows Sarah to
bake him a cake and to wash his feet, and he then promises Abraham a
numerous posterity. He appears as a man among men, though, of course,
as one who is superior and who possesses magical power. Only gradually
does the god acquire the remoteness of the superhuman. Abraham is
later represented as falling down before him, and as scarcely daring
to approach him. Here also, however, the god still appears on earth.
Finally, when he speaks to Moses from the burning bush, only his voice
is perceptible. Thus, his sensuous form vanishes more and more, until
we come to the Jahve who uses the prophets as his mouthpiece and is
present to them only as a spiritual being. The purified Jahve cult,
therefore, was not an original folk-religion. It was the product
of priests and prophets, created by them out of a polytheism which
contained a rich profusion of demon conceptions, and which was never
entirely suppressed.

If an original monotheism is nowhere to be found, one might be tempted
to believe conversely, that _polytheism_ represents the starting-point
of all mythology. In fact, until very recently this was doubtless the
consensus of opinion among mythologists and historians of religion, and
the idea is still widely prevalent. For, if we hold in any way to the
view that the god-idea is underived, there is but one recourse, once
we abandon the idea of an original monotheism. The polytheistic theory
is, as a rule, connected with the further contention that god-ideas are
directly due to celestial phenomena. In substantiation of this view, it
is pointed out that, with the exception of the gods of the underworld,
the gods are usually supposed to dwell in the heavens. Accordingly, it
is particularly the great heavenly bodies, the sun and the moon, or
also the clouds and storms, to which--now to the one and now to the
other, according to their particular tendency--these theories trace
the origin of the gods. Celestial phenomena were present to man from
the beginning, and it is supposed that they aroused his reflection
from earliest times on. Those mythologists who champion the celestial
theory of the origin of religion, therefore, regard god-ideas as in
great measure the products of intellectual activity; these ideas are
supposed to represent a sort of primitive explanation of nature, though
an explanation, of course, which, in contrast to later science, is
fantastical, arbitrary, and under the control of emotion. During the
past century, moreover, this class of hypotheses has gradually placed
less emphasis on emotional as compared with rational factors. In the
first instance, it was the phenomena of storms, clouds, thunder, and
lightning that were thought to be the basis of deity belief; later,
the sun came to be regarded as the embodiment of the chief god; the
present tendency is to emphasize particularly the moon, whose changing
phases may easily give rise to various mythological ideas. Does not
the proverbial 'man in the moon' survive even to-day as a well-known
fragment of mythological conceptions of this sort? Similarly, the
crescent moon suggests a sword, a club, a boat, and many other things
which, though not conceived as gods, may at any rate be regarded as
their weapons or implements. The gods, we are told, then gradually
became distinguished from celestial objects and became independent
personal beings. The heroes of the hero saga are said to be degenerated
gods, as it were. When the myth attributes a divine parentage to the
hero, or allows him to enter the realm of the gods upon his death, this
is interpreted as indicative of a vague memory that the hero was once
himself a god. The lowest place in the scale of heroes is given to the
märchen-hero, though he also is supposed in the last analysis to have
originated as a celestial deity. The märchen itself is thus regarded
as the last stage in the decline of the myth, whose development is
held to have been initiated in the distant past by the celestial
myth. Accordingly, the most prevalent present-day tendency of nature
mythology is to assume an orderly development of a twofold sort. On
the one hand, the moon is regarded as having been the earliest object
of cult, followed by the sun and the stars. Later, it is supposed, a
distinction was made between gods and celestial objects, though the
former were still given many celestial attributes. On the other hand,
it is held that the gods were more and more anthropomorphized; their
celestial origin becoming gradually obscured, they were reduced to
heroes of various ranks, ranging from the heroic figures of the saga
to the heroes of children's märchen. These theories of an original
polytheism are rendered one-sided by the very fact that they are not
based upon any investigations whatsoever concerning the gods and myths
actually prevalent in folk-belief. They merely give an interpretation
of hypothetical conceptions which are supposed to be original, and it
is from these that the gods of actual belief are derived. Those who
proceed thus believe that the task of the psychologist of religion and
of the mythologist is completed with the demonstration that back of
every deity of myth there lurks a celestial phenomenon. It has been
maintained, for example, that every feature of the Biblical legend of
Paradise had its origin in ideas connected with the moon. Paradise
itself is the moon. The flaming sword of the angel who guards Paradise
is the crescent moon. Adam is either the half-moon or the familiar man
in the moon. Finally, Adam's rib, out of which Eve was created, is
again the crescent moon.

We need not raise the question whether such a mode of treatment ever
correctly interprets any actual mythological conception, or whether
it represents nothing other than the creation of the mythologist's
imagination. This much is clear, that it leaves out of consideration
precisely those mythological ideas and religious views that really
live in folk-belief. Doubtless we may assume that celestial
phenomena occasionally factored as assimilative elements in the
formation of mythological conceptions. But such conceptions cannot
possibly have been due exclusively to celestial factors, for the
very reason that, even where these are indubitably present, they are
inextricably interwoven with terrestrial elements derived from man's
immediate environment. Consider, for example, the figure of Helios in
Greek mythology. His very name so inevitably suggests the sun that
this connection remained unsevered throughout later development.
Nevertheless, the Greeks no more identified the god Helios with the sun
than they did Zeus himself with thunder and lightning. On the contrary,
these celestial phenomena were all only attributes of deities. The god
stands in the background, and, in the idea which man forms of him, the
image of human heroes plays no less a part than do the impressions
made by the shining heavenly bodies. These various interpretations
of nature mythology, therefore, overlook an important psychological
factor which is operative even in elemental experiences, but which
attains increasing significance in proportion as the psychical
processes become more complicated, and especially, therefore, in the
formation of mythological conceptions. I refer to the _assimilative
fusion of psychical elements of differing origins_. No external object
is perceived precisely as it is immediately given in reality. In the
experience of it, there are fused numerous elements whose source is
within ourselves; these partly reinforce and partly suppress the
given elements, thus producing what we call the 'perception' or the
'apprehension' of the object. The process of assimilation is greatly
influenced by the emotions that may be present. To the frightened
person, thunder and lightning suggest a god who hurls the lightning.
Such a person believes that he really sees this god. Either the
surrounding portions of the sky assume, in his imagination, the form
of an immense anthropomorphic being, or the thunder and lightning lead
his gaze to the canopy of clouds, hidden back of which he thinks that
he discovers, at least in vague outline, the thundering Zeus. To gain
some appreciation of the tremendous potency of assimilative processes,
one need but recall certain situations of ordinary life, such as are
experienced even apart from the influence of fear or ecstasy. Consider,
for example, the vivid impression that may be aroused by theatrical
scenery, which in reality consists of little more than suggestive
outlines. A particularly striking illustration is offered also by the
familiar puzzle pictures. In a picture of the foliage of a tree there
are sketched the outlines of a human face or of the head of a cat. An
uninitiated observer sees at first only the foliage. Not until his
attention has been directed to it does he suddenly discover the head.
Once, however, he has seen the latter, he cannot suppress it, try
as he may. Here again it is sometimes but a few indistinct outlines
that evoke the picture. The truth is that to a very great extent the
observer reads the head into the drawing through the activity of his
imagination. Now, it is but natural that such an assimilation should be
immeasurably enhanced under the influence of the emotions which excite
the mythological imagination. As is well known, Apollo, as well as
Helios, was represented by the image of the sun. This image, however,
was even less adequate to embody the idea of the Greek in the former
case than it was in the latter. The Greek was able, however, to imagine
the radiant sun as an attribute of the deity or as a manifestation of
his activity. He could see in the sun the shield or chariot of the god;
in the sun's rays, his missiles. Here again, however, he had in mind
the indefinite outlines of a powerful anthropomorphic god, who could
become independent of the natural phenomenon according as his name was
free from connection with it.

Thus, even those nature gods who might appear to be purely celestial
deities, as, for example, Helios, or the lightning-hurling Zeus, are
the products of a psychological assimilation of perceptual elements,
the most important of which have their ultimate source in terrestrial
life. Hence it is that, wherever the nature myth has reached its
complete development, the gods appear in _human form_. It is only
in an age still influenced by totemic ideas that zoömorphism occurs
alongside of anthropomorphism, or in combination with it. Of such
figures, the one which maintained itself longest--as is shown by the
history of ancient Egypt--was that of a human body with the head of
an animal. After this connection of an incipient deity cult with the
ideas of the preceding age had disappeared, the only remaining trace of
totemism was the fact that an animal was represented as accompanying
the deity. Eventually the animal became a mere symbol used by art in
its pictorial representations of the god. Doubtless the lamb, as a
symbol of Christ, may be regarded as a late survival of a stage of
deity belief which was still semi-totemic, and under the influence of
the sacred animals of older cultural religions. The expression 'sacred
animals,' moreover, points to the fact that the worship and veneration
paid to the god influenced also the attitude taken toward the animal.
But however far this development of the god-idea may have advanced,
the essential elements of the conception nevertheless remained of
_terrestrial_ origin. In the mythological assimilation-complexes that
gave rise to gods, celestial phenomena furnished but a part of the
elements. At best, they were the exciting stimuli; in many cases,
it is doubtful whether they exercised any influence whatsoever upon
the origin of mythological conceptions. Whether, for example, the
crescent moon has actually any connection with the flaming sword of
the angel of Paradise, or whether it suggested the club of Hercules,
this and much else is possible, but is incapable of demonstration. Even
where this influence upon mythological conceptions is incontestable,
celestial phenomena are subordinate to terrestrial factors, and in most
cases they have left no trace in consciousness. Proof of the dominant
importance of the terrestrial environment is not far to seek. Even the
celestial gods are conceived as men or as anthropomorphic beings, and
it is usually the earth that is regarded as the scene of their activity.

The theories maintaining the originality of the god-idea have more
and more been displaced by the contrary view, namely, that the gods
developed out of lower forms of mythological thought. Here there
are _two_ distinct interpretations. The first and the older is the
_ancestor theory_. This represents a particular form of animism, for
the soul of the ancestor is thought to become a god. The worship of the
god, therefore, is held to have been originally a reverence paid to
the ancestor. The main evidence for this view is found in the ancestor
worship which is actually being practised, among many peoples, even at
the present time. Prior to the Jahve religion, such a cult is supposed
to have prevailed even among the Israelites. Do not the patriarchs
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob appear as the ancestors of the later tribes
of Israel? More significant still are the ancestor cults that have
prevailed in China and Japan since very ancient times. It should be
remembered, however, that these cults, wherever they occur, represent
but more or less prominent elements of more extensive mythological and
religious conceptions. Hence the ancestor theory, also, is an arbitrary
construction based on a presupposition which is in itself very
improbable, namely, that all mythology and religion must eventually be
traceable to a single source. The contention, for example, that a Zeus
or a Jahve was a human ancestor elevated into a deity is a completely
arbitrary supposition, lacking the confirmation of empirical facts.

Finally, there is another theory which, like the ancestor hypothesis,
seeks to derive gods, or at least the beings generally regarded as
gods, from more primitive mythological ideas. This theory, which was
developed by Hermann Usener, the most prominent student of the science
of religion among recent classical philologists, might perhaps be
referred to, in distinction from the soul and ancestor hypothesis,
as the _demon theory_ of the origin of gods. Usener agrees with the
rival hypothesis in assuming that the exalted celestial deities were
not the first of the higher beings who were feared or worshipped in
a cult, but that there were other more temporary gods. Though these
many temporary gods are described as demoniacal beings, they are
nevertheless regarded as gods of a primitive sort. Usener distinguishes
three stages in the development of gods. First, there was the 'god
of the moment.' Some phenomenon--such, for example, as a flash of
lightning or a clap of thunder--was felt to be divine. But, inasmuch
as the impression was vanishing, the mythological idea in question was
that of a 'god of the moment.' Then followed a second stage, in which a
demoniacal power was associated with a particular place. Following upon
these local gods came other gods, representing the guardian powers of
a tribe, a vocation, or some other social group. At the third stage of
development, the 'particular god' acquired a personal nature, and thus
finally became a god proper. The gods of this final stage are called by
Usener 'personal gods.'

Although this theory is doubtless in greater consonance with certain
general characteristics of myth development than is the ancestor
theory, we would urge, as one chief objection, the fact that its
god-concept unites mythological-religious elements of a very different
nature. In particular, the so-called 'god of a moment' is neither a
god, in the proper sense of the word, nor even a demon, but either a
particular impression arousing fear, or, on a higher plane, a single
manifestation of the activity of a demon or god. The Greeks referred
the flash of lightning to Zeus, the lightning-hurler. On a more
primitive level, the North American Indian sees in the lightning and
thunder the acts of a demon hidden in the clouds. In neither case are
the momentary phenomena identified with gods or demons themselves.
There is not a shadow of proof in the entire history of myth that
such acts or attributes as these, which were attributed to gods and
demons, ever existed as independent realities of even but a moment's
duration. The so-called 'particular gods,' on the other hand, are in
every respect demons and not gods. They are not personal in nature;
this also implies that they are not conceived as having a particular
form, for somehow the latter always leads to personalization. As a
matter of fact, these 'particular gods' are only objectified emotions
of fear and terror. Spirits, in the sense of magical agents of disease
conceived as invisible beings, or occasionally imaged in the form of
fantastic though ever-changing animal shapes, are not gods, but demons.
The same holds true of the multitude of nature demons that infest
field and forest and the vicinity of streams and gorges. Wherever myth
has given these spirits definite forms, they reveal no evidence of
traits such as would constitute them individual personalities. This,
of course, does not imply that there are no cases at all in which the
indeterminate traits ascribed to them are so combined as to result
in individual beings. When this occurs, however, we have already
transcended the stage of so-called 'particular gods.' Such beings as
the Greek Pan or the Germanic Hel must already be classed with gods
proper, even though they exhibit traits indicative of a demoniacal
past; for the narrowness of character which they manifest results
from the fact that they originated directly in a particular emotion.
Surely, therefore, the decisive emphasis in the case of deity ideas
in general must be placed on the attribute of personality. Gods are
personal beings, whose characters reflect the peculiarity of the people
who have created them. We see in the god Jahve of the Israelites the
clear-cut lines of the stern god who threatens the disobedient, but
who also rewards the faithful. More impressive still is the uniqueness
of personality in those cases in which a multiplicity of gods causes
the development of diverse and partly opposed characteristics in the
various gods. How individual are the gods of the Greeks with respect to
one another! Under the influence of poetry every god has here become a
clearly defined personality, whose individuality was fixed by formative
art. Thus, the error of the demon theory or, as it might also be
called, the three-stage theory, lies in the fact that it effaces the
essential distinctions between god and demon, retaining as the chief
characteristic of the multitude of resulting deity-conceptions only the
most external quality, that of _permanence_. For the 'god of a moment'
is characterized merely by his extreme transitoriness; the 'particular
god' is the 'god of a moment' become somewhat more enduring but not
yet possessed of sufficient stability to develop personal traits; the
true or personal god, finally, owes his distinctive attribute solely
to the permanence of his characteristics. Because of this confusion of
the concepts god and demon, there is lacking precisely that which is of
most importance for a psychological investigation--namely, an answer to
the question as to the _intrinsic_ marks that differentiate a god, in
the proper and only true sense of the word, from demons, ancestors, and
souls--in short, from all other creations of mythological thought.

Herewith we come to a question which will bring us closer to an
answer respecting the origin of gods. By what characteristic marks is
a mythological conception to be distinguished as that of an actual
god? The question might also be stated in a more concrete form. What
characteristics differentiate a god from a _demon_, who is not yet a
god because he lacks personality, and from a _hero_, who is regarded
by the age in which gods originate as somewhat approximating a god
but as nevertheless still a man? Or, briefly expressed, how does the
god differ from the demon and from the ideal man? The criteria thus
demanded are to be found in the traits that are universally ascribed
to gods wherever any complete deity mythology and a corresponding
religion have been developed. The god is always distinguished by three
characteristics. The first of these is that his _place of abode_ is
other than that of man. He may occasionally visit man on the earth,
but this occurs only rarely. So far as he himself is concerned, the
god lives in another world. In this sense, the idea of a 'beyond' is
closely bound up with that of gods. As a rule, the 'beyond' is the
heavenly world. But gods may dwell also in the regions of the air and
clouds between the heaven and the earth, on high mountains, on distant
islands, or, finally, under special circumstances, in the depths of the
earth. Secondly, the gods lead a _perfect_ life, free, on the whole,
from the evils and infirmities of earthly existence. A perfect life,
however, is always regarded as primarily a life without death and
without sickness. There then develops, though doubtless gradually, the
idea of something even more perfect than is involved in this merely
negative conception of immortal and painless existence. But at this
point ideas begin to differ, so that, in reality, the most universal
characteristics of the gods are that they know neither death nor
sickness. There are occasional exceptions, however, just as there are
with respect to the supra-mundane place of abode. The Greek as well as
the Germanic deity sagas represent the gods as possessing a particular
food and a particular drink, an idea connected with that of the
anthropomorphic nature of these gods. The Germanic gods, especially,
are described as capable of maintaining their perfect life only by
far exceeding the human measure of food and drink. This, however, is
but a subordinate feature. More important is the fact that if, by any
unfortunate circumstance, food and drink are lacking, the gods waste
away and meet the universal lot of human existence--death. But, even
apart from this connection, the Germanic sagas, or at any rate the
poetry inspired by them, tell of a decline of gods and of the rise
of a new divine hierarchy. It is not to be assumed, of course, that
this represents an original element in Germanic mythology. All records
of Germanic deity sagas, as we know, date from Christian times. Even
though the ancient skalds, as well as those historians who regarded
the saga as a bit of actual history, may have made every effort to
preserve for posterity the memory of this departed world, they could,
nevertheless, hardly have avoided mingling certain Christian ideas
with tradition. In view of the actual decline of the former gods, the
thought of a _Götterdämmerung_, in particular, must almost inevitably
have forced itself upon them. At any rate, inasmuch as this particular
conception represents the gods as subject to death, it contains an
element that is bound up with the anthropomorphic nature of the
divine beings, though this, of course, is irreconcilable with the
immortality originally conceded to them. We are thus brought to the
most important characteristic of gods, which is connected with this
very fact of their similarity to man. The god is a _personality_; he
has a specific personal character, which gives direction to his will
and leads him to send blessings or misfortunes to mortals. These purely
human characteristics, however, he possesses in an exalted and complete
measure. His will-acts, as well as the emotion from which they spring
and the insight by which they are guided, are superhuman in power.
But this power is not equivalent to omnipotence. This it cannot be by
very reason of the multiplicity of gods, each of whom has a particular
sphere of activity. Frequently, moreover, omnipotence is rendered
impossible by the idea--likewise carried over from the terrestrial to
the supermundane world--of a _destiny_, an impersonal power behind
the wills of gods no less than those of men. This is a conception
which deity beliefs inherit from the earlier demon beliefs. True,
polytheistic myth itself takes a step in the direction of transcending
this limitation when it here also transfers the conditions of the human
order to the divine world, and creates for the latter a monarch, a
supreme deity ruling over gods and men. But this very projection of
human relations into the divine realm prevents the chief deity from
being an unlimited ruler. On the one hand, he shares authority with a
deliberative assembly consisting of the remaining gods; on the other
hand, even behind him there lurk those demoniacal powers which, to a
certain extent, continued to assert themselves even after they had
been superseded by the gods. For here also it holds true that whatever
lives in folk-belief must retain a foundation in myth. The advent of
gods nowhere led to the complete banishment of demons. What occurred
was that, due to the power of the gods, certain of the demons likewise
developed into mighty forces of destiny, though continuing to remain

Thus, the god possesses three characteristics: a special
dwelling-place, immortality, and a superhuman, though at the same time
a human, personality. Leaving out of regard the tribute exacted even
of the gods by the last-mentioned of these characteristics, human
nature, we have before us the marks which distinguish the god both
from the demon and from the hero. The demon, however powerful he may
be, lacks the attribute of personality; the hero, as thoroughly human,
shares the universal lot of man as regards dwelling-place, length of
life, and liability to sickness and death. This places the god midway
between the demon and the hero, though, of course, by combining the
attributes of both, he is really exalted above them. The demon, in
the sense in which the Greeks employed this term, is a fundamental
element in the development of all mythologies. There can be no doubt,
moreover, that demons appeared far earlier than gods, if we exclude
from among the latter those indefinite and transitory personifications
of natural phenomena that have wrongly been classed with them--such
personifications as those of rocks, hills, clouds, stars, etc., which
were widely current even among peoples of nature. According to a belief
which has not entirely disappeared even among cultural peoples, the
soul leaves the corpse in the form of a demon; the wandering ghost is
a demon; demons dwell in the depths, in the neighbourhood of streams,
in solitary ravines, in forests and fields, upon and beneath the earth.
They are usually threatening, though sometimes beneficent, powers. In
every instance, however, they are absolutely impersonal embodiments
of the emotions of fear and hope, and it is these emotions, under
the assimilative influences of impressions of external nature, that
have given rise to them. Thus, demons are usually mundane beings, or,
at any rate, have their abode near the surface of the earth; with
few exceptions, the most distant realm which they occupy is that of
the clouds, particularly the dark rain and thunder clouds. True, the
heavenly bodies may manifest demoniacal powers, just as may also the
gods. As a rule, however, celestial phenomena are far from belonging
to the class of demons proper; they are too constant and too regular
in their changes and movements to be thus included. The activity of
demons relates exclusively to the welfare of man. Hence it is but
natural that demons should be primarily man's co-inhabitants on earth.
Usually invisible, they assume sensuously perceptible forms only in
the darkness of night, or, more especially, under the influence of
heightened emotions. Sometimes they are audible even when invisible.
Only in those narratives which tell of demoniacal beings that are not
immediately present do demons acquire fairly definite forms. Thus, even
soul beliefs--which the fear of the uncanny activity of the departed
soul transforms directly into a sort of demon belief--represent the
soul in the form of a bird, a snake, or of other specific 'soul
animals.' The demons of sickness lurking within the diseased body
are usually portrayed as fantastic animals, whose monstrous forms
reflect the terrible distress and the torturing pains of sickness.
These animals hinder respiration and bore into and lacerate the
intestines. Thus, they objectify both the pain of the sickness and the
fear aroused in the community by the behaviour of the sick person. No
less, however, can the impression of the desert, the dark forest, the
lonely ravine, or the terror of an approaching storm cause demons,
which are in first instance invisible, to assume definite shapes. Where
there is a more highly developed sense of nature, such as begins to
manifest itself in the heroic age, this objectification of impressions
occurs not only under the influence of strong excitement but also in
connection with the peaceful landscape. Here it gives rise to more
friendly beings, in the case of whom those characteristics, at least,
which made the original demon an object of terror, are moderated so
as to find expression in magic of a playful sort. This is the origin
of satyrs, sylphs and fauns, of gnomes, giants and dwarfs, elves,
fairies, etc., all of whom are debarred from personality by their very
multiplicity, while their generic character accurately reflects the
mood which led to their creation. The individualization of certain of
these beings is, in general, due to poetry. But even poetry does not
entirely succeed in freeing the demon from the generic character which
once for all represents its nature. Thus, it is the contrast between
genericalness and individual personality that differentiates the demon
from the god. Every gnome resembles every other, and all nymphs are
alike; hence these beings are generally referred to in the plural.
Their multiplicity is such that they are imaged in only indefinite
forms, except in cases where particularly strong emotions excite a
more lively imagination. Indeed, they may be present to consciousness
solely as a peculiar feeling associated with particular places or
occasions, such as is the case with the Lares, Manes, and Penates of
the Romans, and with the similar guardian spirits of the house and
the field common among many peoples. Some of these guardian spirits
are not very unlike the ancestors of cult. But this only indicates
that the ancestor worshipped in cult also approximates to the demon,
acquiring a more personal character only in occasional instances in
which memory has preserved with considerable faithfulness the traits of
a particularly illustrious ancestor. Here, then, we have the condition
underlying the origin of gods. Gods are universally the result of a
_union of demoniacal and heroic elements_. The god is at once demon
and hero; since, however, the demoniacal element in him magnifies his
heroic attributes into the superhuman, and since the personal character
which he borrows from the hero supersedes the indefinite and impersonal
nature of the demon, he is exalted above them both: the god himself is
neither hero nor demon, because he combines in himself the attributes
of both, in an ideally magnified form.

The resemblance of demons to gods is due primarily to the magic power
which they exert. The demons of sickness torture and destroy men; the
cloud demons bring rain and blessing to the fields, or plot ruin when
rain does not relieve the drought of the burning sun. By means of
magic incantations and ceremonies, these demons can be won over, or,
when angry, reconciled. Their own activity, therefore, is magical,
and, as regards the effects that it produces, superhuman. In their
fleeting and impersonal character, however, they are subhuman. Since
the dominant emotions that call them into being are fear and terror,
they are generally regarded as enemies not only of man but even of the
gods. The struggle between gods and nature-demons is a recurrent theme
in the cosmogonies of all cultural peoples. This hostility between
demons and gods is connected with the contrast in the feelings evoked
by darkness and radiant brightness. Hence the mighty nature-demons are,
as a rule, consigned to gloomy abysses, from which they rise to the sky
only occasionally, as, for example, in the case of thunder-clouds. The
abode of the gods, however, is in the bright celestial realms, and they
themselves are radiant beings upon whose activity the harmonious order
of nature and the happiness of mankind are dependent. In the strife
which the demons carry on with gods, they occasionally develop into
counter-gods, as occurred in the case of the Persian Ahriman and the
Jewish-Christian Satan. Yet it is significant of the almost insuperable
lack of personality characteristic of the demon, that even these
counter-gods of darkness and evil are wanting in _one trait_ which is
indispensable for a completely developed personality--namely, changes
in motives and the capacity to determine at will the nature of these
changes. Herein, again, is reflected the fact that the demon has but a
_single_ source--namely, fear.

Very different from the relation of the god to the demon is his
relation to the hero. The hero, to a greater extent even than the god,
is the complete opposite of the demon. For the hero is an idealized
man. He is subject to all human destinies, to sickness and death,
to afflictions of the soul, and to violent passions. Yet in all
these instances the experiences are of a more exalted nature than
in the case of ordinary human life. The life as well as the death
of the hero are of wide import; the effects of his deeds extend to
distant lands and ages. But it is just because the hero is the ideal
man himself that he possesses all the more markedly the attribute
which the demon lacks--namely, _personality_. This, of course, does
not prevent his character from exhibiting generic differences and
antitheses. But herein also the hero is only the idealized counterpart
of man, for, despite all its uniqueness and individuality, man's
character usually conforms to certain types. Thus, legend introduces
the strong, all-conquering hero, and, in contrast with him, the hero
who is resourceful and overcomes his enemies through subtle cunning.
It tells of the aged man, superior in wisdom and experience, and also
of him who, in the unbroken strength of youth and with stormy passion,
overthrows all opponents. It further portrays the hero who plots evil,
but who is nevertheless characterized by a sharply defined personality.

When we survey these various heroic figures in both their generic and
their individual aspects and compare them with the god-personalities,
we are struck by the fact that the god was not created directly in
the image of a man, but rather in that of the hero, man idealized. It
is the hero who gives to the gods those very characteristics which
the demon lacks from the outset. Of these, the most important are
personality, self-consciousness, and a will controlled by diverse
and frequently conflicting motives. This multiplicity of motives
has a close connection with the multiplicity of gods. Polytheism is
not an accidental feature which may or may not accompany the belief
in gods; it is a necessary transitional stage in the development of
the god-idea. Folk-belief, which never frees itself entirely from
mythology, always retains a plurality of divine beings. Hence true
monotheism represents a philosophical development of the god-idea.
Though this development was not without influence on the theological
speculation which was dominated by traditional doctrines, it was never
able to uproot the polytheistic tendency involved in the god-idea
from the very beginning. There are two sources from which this
tendency springs. Of these, one is external and, therefore, though
of great importance for the beginnings of religious development, is
transitory. It consists in the influence exerted by the multiplicity
of natural phenomena, through the nature myth, upon the number of
gods. More important and of more permanent significance is the second
or _internal_ motive, namely, the fact that the psychical needs that
come to expression in the demand for gods are numerous. There cannot
be a single god-ideal any more than a single type of hero. On the
contrary, as heroes exhibit the diversity of human effort on an exalted
plane, so, in turn, does the realm of gods represent, on a still
higher level, the world of heroes. This advance beyond the hero-ideal
becomes possible to the mythological imagination only because the
very endeavour to exalt the hero above the human itself brought the
hero-idea, at the very time of its origin, into connection with the
demon-idea. For the demon is a superhuman being, magic-working and
unpredictable, affecting in mysterious ways the course of nature and of
human destiny. But it lacks the familiar human traits which make the
hero an object not only of fear but also of admiration and love. Thus,
the fusion of hero and demon results in the final and the greatest of
mythological creations, the conception which represents the birth of
religion in the proper and ultimately only true sense of the word. I
refer to _the rise of gods_.

The god-idea, accordingly, is the product of _two_ component factors.
One of these, the demoniacal, has had a long history, extending back
to the beginnings of mythological thought; the other, the heroic,
begins to assert itself the very moment that the figure of the hero
appears. This implies that god-ideas are neither of sudden origin
nor unchangeable, but that they undergo a gradual development. The
direction of development is determined by the relation which its two
component factors sustain to each other. The earliest god-ideas are
predominantly demoniacal in nature--personal characteristics are few,
while magical features are all the more pronounced. Then the heroic
element comes to the fore, until it finally acquires such dominance
that even the magical power of the god appears to be a result of his
heroic might, rather than a survival of the demoniacal nature which
was his from the very beginning. In connection with this change, it
is significant to note that, as the god loses his original demoniacal
character, he comes to be attended by subservient beings who remain,
in every respect, demons. On the one hand, these beings execute the
divine commands; on the other hand, however--as an echo, one might say,
of the age of demons which precedes that of gods--they are superior
even to the gods in that they possess magical powers. These beings
must be regarded as survivals of the age of demons. Between them and
the gods proper there are intermediate beings, just as there are
between heroes and gods, those of the latter sort being exemplified
particularly by such heroes as have been exalted into deities. Inasmuch
as all the intermediate forms that arise in the course of this
transition continue in existence even up to the culmination of the
development, the gods constantly become more numerous. Side by side
with the gods, demons maintain their sway. At times, they contend with
the gods; in other instances, they are subservient to them; again,
as in the earliest periods of mythological thought, they are without
any knowledge whatsoever of the existence of gods. The hero also is
invariably associated with the god. With the decline of the heroic age,
therefore, the realm of gods also disappears. Though the religious
developments that ensue have their origin in deity beliefs, they
nevertheless discard the original nucleus of these beliefs--namely, the
gods themselves--or, at any rate, they retain gods only in a greatly
altered form.

That gods belong essentially to the heroic age appears also in the fact
that the divine realm mirrors in detail the relations of political
society developed subsequently to the beginning of the heroic age.
The world of gods likewise forms a divine _State_. It is at most at
an early period that the tribal gods of various peoples betray the
influence of the ancient tribal organization that preceded the State.
In the supremacy of a single god, however, the idea of rulership, which
is basal to the State, is transferred also to the divine realm. This is
true whether the ruling deity exercises command over a subservient host
of demons and subordinate gods, or whether he has at his side a number
of independent gods, who represent, in part, an advisory council, such
as is found associated with the earthly ruler, and, in part, since the
different gods possess diverse powers, a sort of celestial officialdom.
Finally, the multiplicity of independent States is mirrored in the
multiplicity of the independent realms ruled over by the gods. The
differentiation, in this latter case, corresponds with the main
directions of human interest. The development is influenced, moreover,
by those natural phenomena that have long factored in the capacity of
assimilative elements. Over against the bright celestial gods are the
subterranean gods who dwell in the gloomy depths. For the inhabitants
of the sea-coast and of islands, furthermore, there is a ruler of the
sea. The importance of the god of the sea, however, is subordinate to
that of the rulers of the celestial and the nether worlds, so that
those over whom he holds sway never develop into clearly defined
personalities, but always retain more of a demoniacal character. All
the more important, therefore, are the contrasts between the celestial
and the nether worlds, as the two realms which include the real destiny
of man. At death, man must enter the nether world; to rise from the
gloom of this realm of the dead to the heaven and immortality of the
celestial gods becomes his longing. Thus, deity beliefs enter into
reciprocal relations with soul conceptions. The further stages of
this development carry us far beyond the heroic age, and reflect the
influence of a diversity of motives. The discussion of this point will
occupy our attention in later pages.

[1] Concerning this alleged monotheism among primitive peoples, cf.
supra, pp.78 f.


If the gods be described as personalities, each one of whom possesses
a more or less definite individuality, it is at once evident that
the conception of an animated natural phenomenon--the idea, for
example, that the setting sun is a being which a dark cloud-demon is
devouring--cannot in and of itself as yet be called a god-idea. Just as
the character of a man may be known only from the manner in which he
reacts towards the objects of his experience, so also is the nature
of a god revealed only in his life and activity, and in the motives
that determine his conduct. The character of the god is expressed, not
in any single mythological picture, but in the _myth_ or mythological
tale, in which the god figures as a personal agent. It is significant
to note, however, that the form of myth in which god-ideas come to
development is not the deity saga, in the proper sense of the term, but
the _hero saga_, which becomes a combined hero and deity saga as soon
as both gods and heroes are represented as participating in the action.
The deity saga proper, which deals exclusively with the deeds of gods
and demons, is, as we shall see below, only of secondary and of later
origin. It is not to such deity sagas, therefore, that we must turn if
we would learn the original nature of gods. This circumstance in itself
offers external evidence of the fact that gods did not precede heroes,
but, conversely, that heroes preceded gods. Or, at least, to be more
accurate, the idea of the divine personality was developed in constant
reciprocity with that of the hero personality, in such wise, however,
that with reference to details the hero paved the way for the god, and
not conversely.

But how did the idea of hero arise? Was it a free and completely
new creation of this age, based merely on actual observations of
individuals who were paragons of human ability? Or did it have
precursors in the totemic era? As a matter of fact, this second
question must be answered unqualifiedly in the affirmative. The hero
was not unknown in the preceding age. At that time, however, he was
not a hero in the specific sense which the word first acquired in
the heroic age; on the contrary, he was a _märchen_-hero, if we may
use the word 'hero' in connection with the concepts of this earlier
period. On the threshold of the heroic age, the märchen-hero changes
into the hero proper. The former represents the central theme of the
earlier form of myth narrative, the märchen-myth, as does the hero
that of the more developed form, the saga. The marks that distinguish
the märchen-hero, as he still survives in children's tales, from the
hero of saga, are important ones and are fraught with significance
for the development of myth as a whole. The märchen-hero is usually a
_child_. In the form in which he gradually approximates to the hero
proper, he is more especially, as a rule, a boy who goes forth into
the world and meets with adventures. In these adventures, he is aided
by various powers of magic, which he either himself possesses or which
are imparted to him by friendly magical beings. Opposed to him are
hostile, demoniacal beings, who seek his destruction. It is in their
overthrow that the action usually consists. Thus, fortune comes to this
hero, in great part, from without, and magic plays the decisive rôle
in his destiny; his own cunning and skill may be co-operating factors,
but they rarely determine the outcome. Not so the hero of the saga.
This hero is not a boy, but a _man_. The favourite theme of the saga is
particularly the young man in the bloom of life. In his acts, moreover,
this hero is dependent, for the most part, upon himself. True, he, as
well as the märchen-hero, is familiar with magic and miracle, but it is
primarily by his own power that he overcomes the hostile forces that
oppose him. A suggestive illustration of this is Hercules, that figure
of Greek saga who is pre-eminently the typical hero among the most
diverse peoples and in widely different ages. Hercules is an entirely
self-dependent hero. He indeed performs marvellous deeds, but these are
never more than extreme instances of what an ordinary man might do were
his strength multiplied a hundred or a thousand fold. Hercules is not
a magician, but a being of transcendent power and strength. As such,
he is able even to carry the weight of the sky on his shoulders; as
such, he can overcome monsters, such as the Nemean lion and the Lernæan
hydra, or bring Cerberus, the most terrible of these monsters, from
the nether world. These are deeds which surpass every measure of human
power, but which nevertheless still lie in the general plane of human
actions. Thus, just as the magic-working boy was superseded by the man
of might, so also does the true magical hero disappear from mythology.
The saga, then, differs from the märchen-myth in the character of its
hero. The Hercules saga itself, however, is an illustration of the
fact that the former may have no connection whatsoever with historical
events, any more than has the latter. Moreover, the earliest sagas,
particularly, not infrequently still remind one of the märchen in that
they are obviously a composite of several narratives. Of this fact
also, the saga of Hercules offers a conspicuous example. The deeds of
the hero appear to have but an accidental connection with one another.
True, later sagas represent these deeds as adventures which the hero
undertook at the command of King Eurystheus of Mycene. But even here
we obviously have only a loose sort of framework which was at some
later period imposed upon the original tales in order to bind the cycle
together as a whole. It is not improbable that these various sagas of a
hero who vanquished monsters, rendered lands habitable, and performed
other deeds, originated independently of one another. Not only may
their places of origin have been different, but their narratives may
have had their settings in different localities. Possibly, therefore,
it was not until later that the sagas were combined to portray the
character of a single individual, who thus became exalted into the
national hero. But, though the hero saga resembles the märchen in the
fact that it grows by the agglutination of diverse legendary materials,
it differs from it in the possession of a characteristic which is
typical of this stage of development. That which binds together the
separate elements of the hero saga is a unitary thought, generally
associated with great cultural changes or with historical events.

There is a further differentia of the saga as compared with the
märchen. Wherever magic enters into the saga to affect the course of
events, the chief vehicle of magical powers is not the hero himself--at
most, he has been equipped by others with magical powers and
implements. Such demoniacal powers as the saga may introduce into its
narrative are usually vested in accessory persons. This fact is closely
connected with the self-dependent character of the hero-personality,
who may, it is true, employ magic in so far as he has received such
power from external sources, but who himself possesses none but human
attributes. The saga of the Argonauts, for example, is so replete
with magic as not to be surpassed in this respect even by the magical
märchen. Moreover, the various elements incorporated in the saga are
all pure märchen motives--the golden fleece, the talking ship, the
closing cliffs, as well as the sorceress Medea and the whole wonderland
of Colchis. Those who man the Argo, however, are not magicians, but
heroes in the strictly human sense of the word. The same fact stands
out even more strikingly in the case of the saga of Odysseus, at any
rate in the form in which the Homeric epic presents it. We may here
discern an entire cycle of tales, whose separate elements are also to
be found elsewhere, some of them in wide distribution. But in the midst
of this märchen-world stands the absolutely human hero, contrasting
with whom the fabulous events of the narrative run their course as a
fantastic show. The hero overcomes all obstacles that block the course
of his journey by his own never-failing shrewdness and resourcefulness.
Herein again the märchen-myth gives evidence of being preparatory to
the hero saga. At the time when the hero ideal arose, the old märchen
ideas were as yet everywhere current. Together with the belief in
demons and magic, they, also, found their way into the heroic age.
For a long time they continued to be favourite secondary themes,
introduced in portraying the destiny of heroes. Nevertheless märchen
ideas became subordinate to the delineation of heroic figures, whose
surpassing strength was described, very largely, in terms of victory
over demoniacal powers. Thus, in the course of the development, the
heroic elements gradually increased; the märchen ideas, on the other
hand, disappeared, except when some poet intentionally selected them
for the enrichment of his tale, as was obviously done by the author of
the Odyssey.

The disappearance of the elements derived from the märchen-myth,
however, must in part be attributed to another factor. This factor,
which is closely bound up with the entire culture of the heroic age,
consists in the increasing influence of _historical recollections_.
Particularly illuminative, as regards this point, are the Greek and
Germanic sagas. The sagas of Hercules and the Argonauts, which, from
this point of view, belong to a relatively early stage, are purely
mythical creations. So far as one can see, no actual events are
referred to by them. The Trojan saga, on the other hand, clearly
exhibits the traces of historical recollections; its historical
setting, moreover, seems to cause the events that transpire within it
to approximate more nearly to the character of real life. Even here,
indeed, ancient magical motives still cast their fantastic shadows
over the narrative. Occasionally, however, the miracle appears in a
rationalized form. The magician of the märchen gives place to the seer
who predicts the future. What the miracle effected is now accomplished
by the overpowering might and the baffling cunning of the strong and
wily hero. In this change, the external accessories may sometimes
remain the same, so that it is only the inner motives that become
different. Thus, it is not impossible that the wooden horse which
was said to have been invented by Odysseus and to have brought into
Troy the secreted warriors of the besieging hosts, was at one time,
in märchen or in saga, an actual magical horse, or a help-bringing
deity who had assumed this form. In this case, the poet may possibly
be presenting a rationalistic reinterpretation of an older magical
motive, with the aim of exalting the craftiness of his hero. In the
account of Achilles' youth, on the other hand, and in the story of
Helen which the poet takes as his starting-point, the märchen-idea of
the saga obviously affects the action itself, though it is significant
to note that these purely mythical features do not belong to the plot
so much as to its antecedent history. In so far as the heroes directly
affect the course of action, they are portrayed as purely human. The
same is true of the German _Niebelungen_ saga. Just as Achilles, a
mythical hero not at all unlike the märchen-hero, was taken over into
the historical saga, so also was Siegfried. But here again the märchen
motives, such as the fight with the dragon, Siegfried's invulnerability
through bathing in its blood, the helmet of invisibility, and others,
belong to the past history of the hero, and are mentioned only
incidentally in the narrative itself. By referring these specifically
märchen miracles to the past, the saga seems to say, as it were, that
its heroes were at one time märchen-heroes.

In this course of development from the purely mythical to the
historical, the saga may approach no more closely to historical reality
than does the purely mythical tale. But while this may be the case, it
is nevertheless true that the saga more and more approximates to that
which is _historically possible_. Moreover, it is not those sagas which
centre about an historical hero that are particularly apt to be free
from elements of the original märchen. Very often the reverse is true.
An original märchen-hero may become the central figure of an historical
saga, and, conversely, the account of an historical personality may
become so thoroughly interwoven with märchen-like tales of all sorts
that history entirely disappears. A striking antithesis of this sort
occurs in Germanic mythology. Compare the _Dietrich_ saga with the
later development of the _Niebelungen_ saga in the form rendered
familiar by the _Niebelungenlied_. Siegfried of the _Niebelungen_ saga
originates purely as a märchen-hero; Dietrich of Bern is an historical
personage. But, while the _Niebelungenlied_ incorporates a considerable
number of historical elements--though, of course, in an unhistorical
combination--the Dietrich of the saga retains little more than the name
of the actual king of the Goths. There are two different conditions
that give rise to sagas. In the first place, historical events that
live in folk-memory assimilate materials of ancient märchen and sagas,
and thus lead to a connected hero saga. Secondly, an impressive
historical personality stimulates the transference of older myths as
well as the creation of others, though these, when woven into a whole,
resemble a märchen-cycle rather than a hero saga proper.

An important intermediate phenomenon of the sort just mentioned,
is not infrequently to be found in a specific form of myth whose
general nature is that of the hero saga, even though it is usually
distinguished from the latter because of the character of its heroes.
I refer to the _religious legend_. Some of these legends, such as the
Buddha, the Mithra, and the Osiris legends, border upon the deity
saga. Nevertheless, the religious legend, as exemplified also in the
mythological versions of the life of Jesus, represents an offshoot of
the hero saga, springing up at those times when the religious impulses
are dominant. That it is a hero saga is evidenced particularly by
the fact that it recounts the life and deeds of a personality who is
throughout exalted above human stature, but who, nevertheless, attains
to divinity only through his striving, his suffering, and his final
victory. In so far, the religious hero very closely resembles the
older class of heroes. Nevertheless, instead of the hero of the heroic
period, pre-eminent for his external qualities, we have the religious
hero, who is exalted by his inner worth into a redeeming god. But it
is only because these divine redeemers fought and conquered as men--a
thing that would be impossible to gods proper who are exalted from the
beginning in supermundane glory--that they constitute heroes of saga,
in spite of the fact that they fought with other weapons and in other
ways than the heroes of the heroic age. And, therefore, none of these
redeemer personalities, whether they have an historical background,
as have Jesus and Buddha, or originate entirely in the realm of the
mythological imagination, as in the case of Osiris and Mithra, belong
to the realm of the saga once they are finally elevated into deities.
Even Buddha's return in the endless sequence of ages is not to be
regarded as an exception to this rule, for the hope of salvation here
merely keeps projecting into the future the traditional Buddha legend.
The redeeming activity of the one who is exalted into a god is to be
repeated in essentially the same manner as the saga reports it to have
occurred in the past.

Contrasting with the redemption legend is the _saint legend_. The
former portrays the fortunes and final victory of a god in the making;
the latter tells of the awakening of a human being to a pure religious
life, of his temptations and sufferings, and his final triumph. Thus,
it has a resemblance to the redeemer legend, and yet it differs from
it in that its hero remains human even when he ascends into heaven to
receive the victor's crown; the lot that thus befalls him is identical
with that of all the devout, except that he is more favoured. This
leads to further differences. The hero of the redemption legend is
conscious of his mission from the very beginning; in the case of
the saint, conversion to a new faith not infrequently forms the
starting-point of the legend. Common to the two forms, however, is
the fact that suffering precedes the final triumph. The traits that
we have mentioned constitute the essential difference between these
forms of the legend and the hero saga proper. The latter, also, is not
without the element of suffering; the Greek saga has developed the
specific type of a suffering hero in the figure of Hercules, as has
the German saga in that of Balder. In the case of religious legends,
however, the strife-motives of the saga are transferred to the inner
life; similarly, the suffering of the saint, and especially that of
the redeemer, is not merely physical but also mental. Indeed, the
original form of the Buddha legend, which is freest from mythological
accretions, is an illustration of the fact that this suffering may
be caused exclusively by the evils of the world to be redeemed. The
suffering due to a most intense sympathy is so intimate a part of the
very nature of the redeeming god-man, that it is precisely this which
constitutes the most essential difference between the religious legend
and the ordinary hero saga, whose interest is centred upon the actions
and motives of external life. And yet the external martyrdom of the
redeemer intensifies this difference in a twofold way. In the first
place, it directly enhances the impression of the inner suffering;
secondly, it gives heightened expression both to the evil which evokes
the sympathy of the redeemer, and to the nobility of this sympathy
itself. In all of these characteristics, however, the redemption
legend belongs to the following era rather than to hero saga and the
heroic age.

The saint legend exhibits a number of essential differences. It is
frequently only through a miracle of conversion, due to external
powers, that the saint _becomes_ holy; moreover, it is not, as a rule,
through miracles of his own performance that he manifests himself as
a saint in the course of his later life and sufferings. The miracles
that transpire come as divine dispensations from without, whether
they effect his conversion or surround him, particularly at the close
of his life's journey, with the halo of sanctity. Thus, to whatever
extent the saint may come, in later cult, to supersede the protective
undergods and demons of early times, he nevertheless remains human. It
is for this very reason, however, that magic and miracle gain a large
place in his life. The latter is all the more possible by virtue of
the fact that the mythological imagination is not bound by any fixed
tradition, and need, therefore, set itself no limits whatsoever either
in the number of saints or in the nature of their deeds. Moreover,
the legend is almost totally lacking in those factual elements which
the hero saga acquires, in its later development, as a result of the
historical events that are woven into it. This is not the case with
the legend. Here it is at most the name of an historical personality
that is retained, while everything else clearly bears the marks of
imagination and of myth creation. Hence the saint legend is not to
be counted among the factors that underlie the development from the
purely mythical tale to the saga, whose content, though not real, is at
any rate possible. On the contrary, the tendency of the saint legend
is retrogressive, namely, toward a return to the märchen stage of
myth. This is all the more true, not merely because elements that are
generally characteristic of märchen are disseminated from legend to
legend, but also because the saint legend appropriates widely current
märchen conceptions. Märchen of very diverse origins found their way
into the Christian, as well as the Buddhistic, legends; moreover,
occasional Buddhistic legends, with the clear marks of an Oriental
origin upon them, were changed into Christian legends. Thus, the saint
legend combines two characteristics. As compared with the hero saga,
its motives are internalized; moreover, it represents a decided relapse
into the pure märchen form of myth. Though apparently contradictory,
these characteristics are really closely related, inasmuch as the
internalization of motives itself removes any barriers imposed by
historical recollection upon the free play of the mythological


In view of the relationship of heroes and gods, not only with respect
to origin but also as regards the fact that they both embody personal
ideals, it would appear but natural, having treated of the hero saga,
that we inquire at this time concerning the corresponding deity saga. A
search for the latter, however, will at once reveal a surprising fact.
There is no deity saga at all, in the sense in which we have a hero
saga that has become a favourite field of epic and dramatic poetry.
The reason for this lack is not difficult to see. There can be no real
deity saga because, in so far as gods possess characteristics which
differentiate them from men, and therefore also from heroes, they have
no history. Immortal, unchangeable, unassailable by death or sickness,
how could experiences such as befall the hero also be the lot of gods?
If we examine the narratives that approach somewhat to the deity saga,
we will find that they consist, not of a connected account of the
experiences of the gods, but of isolated incidents that again centre
about human life, and particularly about the beneficent or pernicious
intervention of the gods in the destinies of heroes. We may recall the
participation of the Greek gods in the Trojan war, or the interest of
Jahve, in Israelitic saga, in the fortunes of Abraham, Jacob, etc.
These are isolated occurrences, and not history; or, rather, we are
given the history of heroes, in which the gods are at times moved to
intervene. In so far, therefore, as there are approximations to deity
saga, these, in their entirety, are woven into hero saga; apart from
the latter, the former but report particular actions, which may,
doubtless, throw light on the personal character of the god, but which
of themselves do not constitute a connected history. Greek mythology
offers a clear illustration of this in the so-called Homeric hymns.
These hymns must not be ascribed to Homer or merely to singers of
Homeric times. They are of later composition, and are designed for
use in cult. Their value consists precisely in the fact that they
portray the god by reference to the various directions of his activity,
thus throwing light partly on the nature of the god and partly, and
especially, on his beneficent rulership of the human world. It is this
last fact that gives these poems the character of religious hymns.

Nevertheless, there is _one_ class of myths in which the gods
themselves actually appear to undergo experiences. I refer to those
sagas and poems which are concerned with the birth of the gods,
and with the origin of their rulership over the world and over the
world-order which they have created, namely, to the _cosmogonic_ and
_theogonic_ myths. These myths relate solely to a world of demons and
gods, and they deal, as a rule, with an age prior to the existence of
man, or with one in which the creation of man is but a single episode.
Again, however, one might almost say that the exception proves the
rule. For upon close examination it will be found that the gods who
figure in these cosmogonies are not those with whose traits the hero
saga, and the hymnology connected with it, have made us familiar.
The gods whom the cosmogonic myths portray differ from those who
protect and direct human life. They are not real gods, even though
they bear this name, but are powerful demons. Except in name, the
Zeus of Hesiodic theogony has scarcely anything in common with the
Zeus of the Homeric hierarchy of gods. This fact does not reflect any
peculiarity of the poet, as it were, but is due to the nature of the
subject-matter itself. Even though theogonic myths were not elaborated
into poetic form until a relatively late period, they are nevertheless
of a primitive nature. Analogues to them had existed among primitive
peoples long before the rise of the hero saga, hence at an age when
the preconditions of god-ideas proper were still entirely lacking.
The cosmogonic gods of the Greeks and Germans, as well as those of
the ancient Babylonians, are of the nature of purely demoniacal
beings. They lack the chief attribute of a god, namely, personality.
Moreover, the myths themselves--if we disregard their form, which was
the product of later literary composition--are not at all superior to
the cosmogonies of the Polynesians and of many of the native tribes
of North America. Obviously, therefore, it betokens a confusion of
god-ideas proper with these cosmogonic beings, when it is maintained,
as sometimes occurs, that the mythology of these primitive peoples,
especially that of the Polynesians, is of a particularly advanced
character. This should not be claimed for it, but neither may this be
said of the Hesiodic theogony or the Babylonian creation myths. It
is true that these myths are superior to the earlier forms of demon
belief, for they at least develop a connected view of the origin of
things. Primitive myth accepts the world as given. The origin of the
world-order as a whole still lies beyond its field of inquiry. Though
it occasionally relates how animals came into being, its imagination is
essentially concerned with the origin of man, whom it regards as having
sprung from stones or plants, or as having crept up out of caves. Even
when this stage is transcended and an actual cosmogony arises, the
latter nevertheless remains limited to the circle of demon conceptions,
which are essentially the same in the myths of civilized peoples as in
those of so-called peoples of nature. According to a cosmogonic myth of
the Polynesians, for example, heaven and earth were originally a pair
of mighty gods united in embrace. The sons who were born to these gods
strove to free themselves and their parents from this embrace. Placing
himself on the floor of mother earth, therefore, and extending his feet
toward the heavens, one of these sons pushed father heaven upward, so
that ever since that time heaven and earth have been separated. This
mistreatment aroused another of the divine sons, the god of the winds.
Thus a strife arose, whose outcome was a peaceful condition of things.
This is a cosmogonic myth whose essential elements belong to the same
circle of ideas as the cosmogony of the Greeks. In the latter also,
Uranus and Gæa are said to have held each other in an embrace, as the
result of which there came the race of the Titans. One might regard
this as a case of transference were the idea not obviously a grotesque
development of a märchen-motive found even at a more primitive period.
According to the latter, heaven and earth were originally in contact,
and were first separated by a human being of prehistoric times--an idea
undoubtedly suggested by the roofing-over of the hut. The Babylonian
myth gives a different version of the same conception. It ascribes the
separation of heaven and earth to the powerful god Marduk, who cleaves
in two the original mother Thiamat. From one part, came the sea; from
the other, the celestial ocean. As in many other nature myths, heaven
is here conceived as a great sea which forms the continuation, at the
borders of the earth, of the terrestrial sea. This then suggests the
further idea that the crescent moon is a boat moving over the celestial

In all of these myths the gods are given the characteristics of mighty
demons. They appear as the direct descendants of the ancient cloud,
water, and weather demons, merely magnified into giant stature in
correspondence with their enormous theatre of action. Thus, as regards
content, these cosmogonic myths are märchen of a very primitive type,
far inferior to the developed märchen-myths, whose heroes have already
acquired traits of a more personal sort. In form, however, cosmogonic
myths strive towards the gigantic, and thus lie far above the level of
the märchen-myth. Though the complete lack of ethical traits renders
the gods of cosmogonic myths inferior in sublimity to gods proper,
they nevertheless rival the latter in powerful achievement. Indeed,
however much cosmogony may fail to give its gods the characteristics
requisite for true gods, it does inevitably serve to enhance the divine
attribute of power. A further similarity of cosmogonic and theogonic
myths to the most primitive märchen-myths appears in the fact that
they seem directly to borrow certain elements from widely disseminated
märchen-motives. I mention only the story of Kronos. Kronos, according
to the myth, devours his children. But his wife, Rhea, withholds
the last of these--namely, Zeus--giving him instead a stone wrapped
in linen; hereupon Kronos gives forth, together with the stone, all
the children that he had previously devoured. This is a märchen of
devourment, similar or derivative forms of which are common. For
example, Sikulume, a South African märchen-hero, delays pursuing giants
by throwing behind him a large stone which he has besmeared with fat;
the giants devour the stone and thus lose trace of the fugitive.

But there is also other evidence that cosmogonic myths are of the
nature of märchen, magnified into the immense and superhuman. In
almost all such myths, particularly in the more advanced forms, as
found among cultural peoples, an important place is occupied by _two_
conceptions. The first of these conceptions is that the creation of
the world was preceded by _chaos_. This chaos is conceived either as a
terrifying abyss, as in Germanic and particularly in Greek mythology,
or as a world-sea encompassing the earth, as in the Babylonian history
of creation. In both cases we find ideas of terrible demons. Sometimes
these demons are said to remain on the earth, as beings of a very
ancient time anteceding the creation--examples are Night and Darkness,
described in Greek mythology as the children of Chaos. Other myths
represent the demons as having been overcome by the world-creating god.
Thus there is a Babylonian saga that tells of an original being which
enveloped the earth in the form of a snake, but whose body was used
by the god in forming the heavens. As a second essential element of
cosmogonies we find accounts of _battles of the gods_, in which hostile
demons are vanquished and a kingdom of order and peace is established.
These demons are thought of as powerful monsters. They induce a live
consciousness of the terrors of chaos, not only by their size and
strength but often also by their grotesque, half-animal, half-human
forms, by their many heads or hundreds of arms. Obviously these
Titans, giants, Cyclopes, and other terrible beings of cosmogony are
the direct descendants of the weather demons who anteceded the gods.
Does not the idea of a world-catastrophe that prepares the way for the
rulership of the gods at once bring to mind the image of a terrible
thunderstorm? As the storm is followed by the calm of nature, so chaos
is succeeded by the peaceful rulership of the gods. Inasmuch, however,
as the gods are the conquerors of the storm demons, they themselves
inevitably revert into demoniacal beings. It is only after the victory
has been won that they are again regarded as inhabiting a divine world
conceived in analogy with the human State, and that they are vested
with control over the order and security of the world.

All this goes to show that cosmogonic myths, in the poetic forms
in which cosmogonies have come down to us, are relatively late
mythological products. True, they represent the gods themselves as
demoniacal beings. Nevertheless, this does not imply that god-ideas
did not exist at the time of their composition; it indicates merely
that the enormous diversity of factors involved in the creation
of the world inevitably caused the gods to lose the attributes of
personal beings. The cosmogonies of cultural peoples, however, differ
from the otherwise similar stories of those semi-cultural peoples
whose mythology consists exclusively of such cosmogonic märchen. In
the latter case, real god-ideas are lacking. The gods have remained
essentially demons. In the higher forms of this semi-culture, where
political development has had an influence on the world of gods, as
was once the case among the peoples of Mexico and Peru, divine beings
may approximate to real gods. In cosmogonic myths themselves, however,
this never occurs. Thus, these myths invariably constitute a stage
intermediate between the mythology of demons and that of gods; they may
originate, however--and this is what probably happens in the majority
of cases--through a relapse of gods into demons. An illustration of
the latter is the Hesiodic cosmogony. The weather-myth which the poet
has elaborated obviously incorporated ancient märchen-myths that do
not differ essentially from the original märchen as to content, but
only as respects their grotesque and gigantic outlines. Compared with
the gods of the hero saga, therefore, the cosmogonic myths of cultural
peoples are of relatively late origin; to discuss the latter first, as
is still done in our accounts of the mythology of the Greeks, Germans,
etc., may easily lead to misconceptions. Of course, the creation of
the world came first, but it is not at all true that the myth of the
world's creation anteceded all others. On the contrary, the latter is
a late and sometimes, perhaps, the last product of the mythological
imagination. This is particularly apt to be the case where, as so
clearly appears in the Biblical account of the creation, there is
involved a specific _religious_ impulse that is seeking to glorify
the world-creating god. This religious impulse imposes upon the older
mythical material a new character. Hence we find that, of the two
elements universally characteristic of the cosmogonic myth, it is only
the idea of chaos that is retained, while the account of struggles with
the monsters of earliest times disappears. Nevertheless, though the
creating god has lost his demoniacal character, he has not yet attained
a fully developed personality;--this is precluded by the enormity of
the world, which transcends all human measure. He himself is in every
respect an unlimited personal will, and is, therefore, really just as
much a _superpersonal_ being as the battling gods of other cosmogonies
are subpersonal. That such a cosmogony, unique in this respect, may be
original, is, of course, impossible. Indeed, the dominant conviction
of Oriental antiquarians to-day is that the Biblical account of the
creation rests on older and more primitive ideas derived from the
Babylonian cosmogony, whose main outlines we have described above. This
may doubtless be true, and yet no compelling proof of the contention
can be adduced, for it is precisely those features in which both
accounts are identical--namely, chaos, the original darkness, and the
separating and ordering activity of the god--that are common property
to almost all cosmogonies. The Biblical account of the creation,
however, may not be classed with myths. It is a religious production
of priests who were dominated by the thought that the national god
rules over the people of Israel and over the world. Hence alone could
it substitute a creation out of _nothing_ for the ordering of a chaos,
though the latter feature also persists in the Biblical account. The
substitution, of course, dates from a later time than the myth, and
represents a glorification of divine omnipotence which is entirely
impossible to the latter.

A sort of offshoot of cosmogonic myths, though in striking antithesis
to them, is the _flood saga_. This still retains, in their entirety,
the characteristics of the original märchen-myth. It belongs to a
variety of widely prevalent myths which, like the creation myths,
appear to some extent to have originated independently in various
parts of the earth, but also to have spread widely from one region
to another. Evidence indicative of the independent origin of many of
these sagas is to be found in the fact that, in many tropical regions,
accounts of a flood, or so-called deluge sagas (_Sintflutsagen_), are
represented by sagas of conflagration (_Sintbrandsagen_), according to
which the world was destroyed, not by a general deluge, but by fire. In
neither word has the prefix _Sint_ any connection with _Sünde_ (sin),
with which popular etymology commonly connects it. _Sint_ (old high
German _sin_) is a word that has disappeared from modern German and
means 'universal.' A _Sintflut_, thus, is a _universal_, in distinction
from a merely local, flood. In so far, the sagas of universal flood
and conflagration already approximate to the myths relating to the
destruction of the world. Now, the Biblical story of the flood has
so many elements in common with that of the Babylonians that we
are compelled to assume a borrowing, and hence a transference, of
material. The rescue of a single man and his household, the taking of
animals into the ship, its landing upon the summit of a mountain, the
dispatching of birds in quest of land--of these elements, some might
possibly have originated independently in different parts of the earth.
The rescue of individuals, for example, is included in almost all
flood and conflagration legends, the direct source of the idea being
the connection between the antediluvian and postdiluvian worlds. Of the
combination of all of these elements into a whole, however, we may say
without hesitation that it could not have arisen twice independently.
The universal motive of the flood saga and that which led to its origin
in numerous localities, without any influence on the part of foreign
ideas, is obviously the rain as it pours down from the heavens. For
this reason flood sagas are particularly common wherever rain causes
devastating and catastrophic floods, whereas they are lacking in such
regions as the Egyptian delta, where there are periodic inundations
by the sea, as well as in the Arabian peninsula and in the rainless
portions of Africa. As a rule, therefore, they are both rain sagas and
flood sagas. They naturally suggest, further, the idea of a boatman
who rescues himself in a boat and lands upon a mountain. According to
an American flood myth which has preserved more faithfully than that
of western Asia the character of the märchen, the mountain upon which
the boatman lands rises with the flood and settles again as the flood

The flood sagas of cultural peoples, however, combine these very
ancient märchen elements with a projection of the cosmogonic myth
into a later event of human history. The flood deluging the earth is
a return to chaos; indeed, often, as in the sagas of western Asia,
chaos itself is represented as a mighty abyss of water. This is then
connected with the idea of a punishment in which the god destroys
what he has created, preserving from the universal destruction only
the righteous man who has proved worthy of such salvation. Thus,
the universal flood (_Sintflut_) actually develops into a sin flood
(_Sündflut_). This change, of course, represents an elaboration on
the part of priests, who projected the religious-ethical feature
of a divine judgment into what was doubtless originally a purely
mythological saga, just as they transformed the creation myth into a
hymn to the omnipotence of the deity. But this prepares the way for
a further step. The counterpart of these cosmological conceptions
is projected not merely into a past which marks the beginning of
the present race of men, but also into the future. Over against the
transitory world-catastrophe of the universal flood, there looms the
final catastrophe of the actual destruction of the world, and over
against a preliminary judgment of the past, the final judgment, at
which this life ends and that of the yonder world begins.

Thus, we come to the _myths of world destruction_, as they are
transmitted in the apocalyptic writings of later Israelitic literature
and in the Apocalypse of John, who betrays the influence of the earlier
writers. At this point we leave the realm of myth proper. The latter
is always concerned with events of the past or, in extreme cases, with
those of the immediate present. No doubt, the desires of men may reach
out indefinitely into the future. Myth narrative, however, in the
narrower sense of the term, takes no account of that which lies beyond
the present. In general, moreover, its scene of action is the existing
world, however much this may be embellished by the imagination. Myth
reaches its remotest limit in cosmogonies. Even here, however, no
absolute limit is attained, for the world-creation is represented as
having been preceded by chaos. The idea of a creation out of nothing,
which dislodges the idea of an original chaos, arises from religious
needs and is not mythological in character. Similarly, the apocalyptic
myth of world-destruction has passed beyond the stage of the myth
proper. It is a mythological conception, which, though combining
elements of the cosmogonic myth with fragments of märchen and sagas,
is, in the main, the expression of a religious need for a world beyond.
These myths, therefore, are not original myth creations, as are the
cosmogonic myths, at least in part. They are the product of religious
reflection, and, as such, they are dominated primarily by the desire
to strengthen the righteous in his hopes and to terrify his adversary.
Thus, the history of the cosmogonic myth here repeats itself in a
peculiarly inverted form. With the exception of occasional survivals,
the religious hymn, which is the ripest development of the cosmogonic
myth, excludes the struggles of demons and wild monsters of the deep;
the myth of the destruction of the world, on the other hand, constantly
seeks, by its fantastic imagery, to magnify fears and punishments, as
well as blessed hopes. As a result, all these accounts clearly bear
the traces of a laborious invention seeking to surpass itself and thus
to atone for the lack of original mythological imagination. We may
call to mind the monster which the Book of Daniel describes as coming
forth from the sea, provided with enormous iron teeth, and bearing
on its head ten horns, among which an eleventh horn appears, which
possesses eyes, and a mouth that speaks blasphemous words. Such things
may be invented by the intellect, but they are impossible as natural
creations of the mythological imagination. The motives underlying
such exaggerations beyond the mythologically possible are to be found
in factors which, though extending far back into the beginnings of
mythology, nevertheless attain their development primarily in this age
of gods and heroes. These factors are the _ideas of the beyond_.


Closely connected with the cosmogonic myth are the ideas of a world
beyond into which man may enter at the close of the present life.
Before such ideas could arise, there must have been some general
world-conception into which they could be fitted. The ideas of
a beyond, therefore, are but constituent elements of cosmogonic
conceptions; indeed, they are confined to relatively advanced forms of
the latter. This is indicated by the fact that the earlier mythological
creations contain no clearly defined notions of a beyond. Where there
is no definite world-view, such conceptions, of course, are impossible.
Thus, the two ideas mutually reinforce each other. The cosmogonic myth
gives a large setting to the ideas of a beyond; the latter, in turn,
contribute to the details of the world picture which the cosmogonic
myth has created. At any rate, when poetry and philosophy, in their
endeavour to construct a coherent cosmogony, began to appropriate
celestial myths, ideas of a life after death and of a world beyond were
already in existence. Some of these ideas, indeed, date back to an
early period.

It is an extremely, significant fact that, wherever we can trade their
development at all, these ideas of a beyond follow the same definite
and orderly course. The direction of this development is determined not
only by the cosmogonic myth but also by the ideas regarding the soul.
The formation of ideas of a beyond is impossible without a world-view
transcending the limits of earthly existence; the latter, however,
results from the need of ascribing to the soul a continuance after
death. This need, of course, is not an original one, but is essentially
conditioned by the age of gods. Among primitive peoples, the beginnings
of a belief in a life after death are to be found chiefly in connection
with the fear of the demon of the dead, who may bring sickness and
death to the living. But just as the fear is of short duration, so
also is the survival after death limited to a brief period. On a
somewhat more advanced stage, as perhaps among the Soudan peoples, most
of the Melanesian tribes, and the forest-dwelling Indians of South
America, it is especially the prominent men, the tribal chiefs, who,
just as they survive longest in memory, are also supposed to enjoy a
longer after-life. This conception, however, remains indefinite and
of a demoniacal character, just as does that of the soul. In all of
these conceptions, therefore, the disembodied soul is represented
as remaining within this world. It continues its existence in the
environment; as yet there is no yonder-world in the strict sense of
the word. It is important, moreover, to distinguish the early ideas
of a beyond from the above-mentioned celestial märchen which narrate
how certain human beings ascended into heaven. The latter are purely
märchen of adventure, in which sun, moon, stars, and clouds, as well
as the terrestrial monsters, dwarfs, gnomes, etc., are conceived of
as belonging to the visible world. Indeed, these celestial travellers
are not infrequently represented as returning unharmed to their
terrestrial home. Thus, these tales generally lack the idea which,
from the outset, is essential to the conception of a yonder-world--the
idea, namely, of _the sojourn of the soul at definite places_, whether
these be thought of as on, under, or above the earth. Here again, it
is characteristic that at first this region is located approximately
midway between this world and the one beyond. The belief takes the
form of a _spirit-village_, a conception prevalent especially among
the tribes of American Indians. Inaccessible to living beings and in
some secret part of the earth, there is supposed to be a village. In
this village the spirits of the dead are thought to assemble, and
to continue their existence in precisely the same manner as before
death, hunting and fighting just as they did in their earthly life.
The spirit-village itself is described as exactly like an ordinary
village. Characteristic of the totemic setting which all of these
ideas still possess, is the fact that among many of the Indians of the
prairies there is thought to be not only a spirit-village but also a
buffalo-village, where the dead buffaloes congregate, and into which,
according to the märchen, an adventurous youth may occasionally stray.
Sometimes, moreover, these tales give more specific accounts of the way
in which such villages are rendered inaccessible. A river spanned by an
almost impassable bridge, or a dense, impenetrable forest, separates
the spirit-village from the habitations of the living. Ravines and
mountain caves may either themselves serve as the dwelling-places
of the spirits or form the approaches to them. In addition to these
conceptions, there are also others, which have, in part, found a place,
even in later mythology. The dead are, represented as dwelling, not in
some accessible part of the earth, but on remote islands. Such ideas
are common in Polynesia, and also in other island and coast regions.
Even in Homer we come upon the picture of a distant island. It is
here that Menelaus found rescue on his return from Troy. The island
is described as a place of happiness, where only the privileged among
mortals are granted a blessed future.

A second and, on the whole, an obviously later form of ideas of a
beyond, are the _myths of the nether world_. These for the first time
tell of a beyond which is by its very nature inaccessible to human
beings, or which is visited by only a few divinely privileged heroes,
such as Hercules, Odysseus, and Æneas. As a third and last form of
ideas of a beyond, we may mention those of a _heaven_, where dwell the
dead, in the presence of the gods. As a rule, however, this heavenly
beyond does not lead to the disappearance of the nether world. Rather
are the two worlds set over against each other, as the result of the
enhancement of an antithesis which arose even in connection with
the realms of the nether world. The heaven becomes the abode of the
blessed, of the devout and righteous, the favoured of the gods; the
underworld continues, at the outset, to be the lot of the majority
of human beings. The growing desire to participate in the joys of
blessedness, then causes the privilege which was at first enjoyed
only by a minority to become more universal, and the underworld is
transformed into the abode of the guilty and the condemned. Finally,
heaven becomes possible even for the latter, through the agency, more
particularly, of magical purification and religious ecstasy.

Of the various ideas of the beyond that successively arise in this
development, those regarding the underworld are the most common and the
most permanent. This is probably due in no small measure to the custom
of _burying the corpse_. Here the entrance into the underworld is, to
a certain extent, directly acted out before the eyes of the observers,
even though the mythological imagination may later create quite a
different picture of the event. The custom of burial, however, cannot
have been the exclusive source of these ideas, nor perhaps even the
most important one. In the Homeric world, the corpse was not buried,
but burned. And yet it is to Homer that we owe one of the clearest
of the older descriptions of the underworld, and it can scarcely be
doubted that the main outlines of this picture were derived from
popular conceptions. As a matter of fact, there is another factor,
purely psychological in character, which is here obviously of greater
force than are tribal customs. This is the fear of death, and the
terror of that which awaits man after death. This fear creates the idea
of a ghostly and terrible region of the dead, cold as the corpse itself
and dark as the world must appear to its closed eyes. But that which
is thought of as dark and cold is the interior of the earth, for such
are the characteristics of mountain caves that harbour uncanny animals.
The underworld, also, is stocked with creations of fear, particularly
with subterranean animals, such as toads, salamanders, and snakes of
monstrous and fantastic forms. Many of the terrible beings which later
myths represent as living on the earth probably originated as monsters
of the underworld. Examples of this are the Furies, the Keres, and the
Harpies of the Greeks. It was only as the result of a later influence,
not operative at the time of the original conceptions of Hades, that
myth permitted these beings to wander about the upper world. This
change was due to the pangs of conscience, which transforms the ghosts
of the underworld into frightful, avenging beings, and then, as a
result of the misery visited even upon the living because of the crimes
which they have committed, transfers them to the mundane world. Here
they pursue particularly the one who has committed sacrilege against
the gods, and also him whose sin is regarded as especially grievous,
such as the parricide or matricide. Thus, with the internalization of
the fear impulse, the demoniacal forms which the latter creates are
brought forth from the subterranean darkness and are made to mingle
with the living. Similarly, the joyous and hope-inspiring ideas of a
beyond are projected still farther upward, and are elevated beyond
the regions of this earth into heavenly spaces that seem even more
inaccessible than the underworld. Prior to the age, however, which
regards the heaven as the abode of the blessed, many peoples--possibly
all who advanced to this notion of two worlds--entertained a different
conception. This conception represents, perhaps, the surviving
influence of the earlier ideas of spirit-islands. For the underworld
was itself regarded as including, besides places of horror, brighter
regions, into which, either through the direct favour of the gods or in
accordance with a judgment pronounced upon the dead, the souls of the
pure and righteous are received. As a result of the division which thus
occurred, and of the antithesis in which these images of the beyond
came to stand, pain and torment were added to the impressions of horror
and hopelessness which the original conceptions of the underworld
aroused. The contrasts that developed, however, did not prevent the
underworld from being regarded as including both the region of pain
and that of bliss. This seems to have been the prevalent notion among
Semitic as well as Indo-Germanic peoples. The Walhalla of the Germans
was also originally thought to be located in the underworld, and it is
possible that it was not transferred to the heavens until the advent of
Christianity. For, indeed, we are not familiar with Germanic mythology
except as it took form within the period in which Christianity had
already become widespread among the German tribes.

An important change in the ideas of the beyond now took place. The
separation of the abodes of spirits gradually led to a distinction
between the deities who were regarded as the rulers of the two regions.
Originally, so long as only the fear of death found expression in the
unvarying gloom of the underworld, these deities were but vaguely
defined. The conceptions formed of them seem to have reflected the
ideas of rulership derived from real life, just as was true in the
case of the supermundane gods. Indeed, the origin of the more definite
conception that the underworld is a separate region ruled by its
own gods, must probably be traced to the influence of the ideas of
celestial gods. But there is a still more primitive feature of myths
of the beyond, one that goes back to their very beginnings, and that
long survives in saga and märchen. This is the preference shown by
myths of the nether world for _female_ beings, whether as subordinate
personifications of fear or as deities. Not only is the ideal of beauty
and grace thought of as a female deity, an Aphrodite perhaps, but
the psychological law of the intensification of contrasts causes also
the fearful and terrifying sorts of deities to assume the feminine
form. Such a gruesome and terrible goddess is exemplified by the Norse
Hel, or, widely remote from her in time and space, by the Babylonian
Ereksigal. In the Greek underworld also, it is Persephone who rules,
and not Pluto, her consort. The latter seems to have been introduced
merely in order that the underworld might have a counterpart to
the celestial pair of rulers, Zeus and Hera. If the fear-inspiring
attributes are not so pronounced in the Greek Persephone, this is due
to the fact that in this case agricultural myths have combined with the
underworld myths. To this combination we must later recur, inasmuch
as it is of great significance for cult. The dominant place given
to the female deity in the underworld myth, again brings the nether
world into a noteworthy contrast with the supermundane realm of gods.
In the latter, male gods, as the direct embodiments of a superhuman
hero-ideal, are always predominant.

It is not alone the inner forces of fear and horror that cause the
realm of the dead to be thought of as located in the interior of the
earth. There is operative also an external influence imparted by
Nature herself, namely, the perception of the setting sun. Wherever
particular attention is called to some one entrance to the underworld,
or where a distant region of the earth is regarded as the abode of the
dead, this is located in the west, in the direction of the setting
sun. We have here a striking example of that form of mythological
association and assimilation in which the phenomena of external nature,
and particularly those of the heavens, exert an influence upon myth
development. It would, of course, be incorrect to assert that the
setting sun alone suggested the idea of an underworld. We must rather
say that this phenomenon was obviously a subordinate and secondary
factor. Its influence was not clearly and consciously apprehended even
as affecting the location of the underworld, though this location was
determined solely by it. Because of its connection with approaching
night, the setting sun came to be associated with all those feelings
that caused the underworld to be regarded as a realm of shadows and of
terrifying darkness. It was the combination of all these factors, and
not any single one of them--least of all, a relatively secondary one,
such as the sunset--that created and so long maintained the potency of
this most permanent of all the ideas of a beyond.

Mention should also be made of the influence exerted, even at an early
time, by soul-ideas. At the beginning of the heroic age, it was almost
universally believed that after death _all_ human beings lead a dull,
monotonous life under the earth, or, as Homer portrayed it, heightening
the uniformity, that all lapse into an unconscious existence. Obviously
these ideas were determined, in part, by the phenomena of sleep and
dreams. Just as death seemed a protracted sleep, so did the dream
come to foreshadow the life after death. The characteristics of
dream images, therefore, came to be attributed to the souls of the
underworld. The latter, it was thought, are visible, but, like shadows,
they elude the hand that grasps them and move about fleetly from place
to place. This shadow-existence is a fate that is common to all. It
is only exceptionally flagrant transgressions against the gods that
call forth punishments which not merely overtake the guilty in this
world but may also continue in the next. Such figures, therefore, as
are described in connection with Odysseus' journey to Hades--Sisyphus,
who must unceasingly roll uphill a stone that is constantly rolling
back, and Tantalus, who languishes with hopeless desire for the fruits
suspended above his head--are not as yet to be regarded as expressing
ideas of retribution, even though they may be anticipatory of them.
Perhaps, also, it is not without significance that these accounts
are probably later accretions, of which the Homeric poems contain a
considerable number, particularly the Odyssey, which is so rich in
märchen elements.

Gradually, however, that which at first occurs only in occasional
instances becomes more universal; the distinction in destinies comes to
be regarded as applying generally. The earlier and exceptional cases of
entrance into a world of the blessed or of particular punishments in
Hades were connected with the favour or anger of the gods. Similarly,
that which finally makes the distinction a universal one is religious
cult. The object of cult is to propitiate the gods; their favour is to
be won through petitions and magical acts. The gods are to grant not
merely a happy lot in this world but also the assurance of permanent
happiness in the next. Before this striving the shadows of the
underworld give way. Though the underworld continues, on the whole, to
remain a place of sorrow, it nevertheless comes to include a number of
brighter regions in which the righteous may enjoy such happiness as
they experienced in this world, without suffering its distresses and
evil. It was this that early led to the formation of cult associations.
Even during the transition of totemic tribal organization into States
and deity cults, such religious associations sprang up out of the
older totemic groups. During this period, the conditions of descent
and of tribal segregation still imposed limitations upon the religious
associations. These limitations, however, were transcended on the stage
of deity cults, as appears primarily in the case of the Greek mysteries
and of other secret cults of the Græco-Roman period, such as the
mysteries of Mithra, Attis, Osiris, and Serapis. No doubt, the extreme
forms of the cults prevalent in an age thoroughly conscious of a deep
need for salvation were bound up with the specific cultural conditions
of that age. And yet these cults but bring out in particularly sharp
relief certain traits which, though they are not clearly apparent until
later, are quite universally characteristic of the deity-worship of
the heroic era. These cults arise only when the early heroic ideal,
embodying certain external characteristics, has disappeared, having
given way more and more to inner ideals, connected with religion
and morality. This, however, occurs at the very time when minds are
beginning to be more deeply troubled by the terrors of the underworld,
and when, in contrast with this, the imagination creates glowing
pictures of the future, for whose realization it turns to the gods.
Thus arises the idea of a special region of the underworld, allotted
to those cult-associates who have been particularly meritorious in
the performance of religious duties. These will enter into Elysium, a
vale of joy and splendour which, though a part of the underworld, is
nevertheless remote from the regions of sorrow. Here the blessed will
abide after death. This Elysium is no longer a distant island intended
as a refuge for occasional individuals, but belongs to the established
order of the underworld itself. In the sixth book of the Æneid,
Virgil has sketched, with poetic embellishments, a graphic picture of
this abode of the blessed as it was conceived, in his day, under the
confluence of ancient mythical traditions and new religious impulses--a
portrayal which forms perhaps the most valuable part of the whole poem.
For, in it, the poet presents a living picture of what was believed and
was striven for by many of his contemporaries.

In closest connection with this separation of realms in the underworld,
is the introduction of judgeship. It devolves upon the judge of the
underworld to determine whether the soul is to be admitted to the vale
of joy or is to be banished into Orcus. It is significant that, in
his picture of the underworld, Virgil entrusts this judgeship to the
same Rhadamanthus with whom we are familiar from the Odyssey as the
ruler of the distant island of the blessed. Obviously the poet himself
recognized that these later conceptions developed from the earlier idea
that salvation comes as a result of divine favour. After the separation
of the region of the blessed from that of the outcasts, a further
division is made; the two regions of the underworld are partitioned
into subregions according to degrees of terror and torment, on the one
hand, and of joy and blessedness, on the other. Gradations of terror
are first instituted, those of blessedness following only later and in
an incomplete form. The subjective factor, which precludes differences
in degree when joy is at the maximum, is in constant rivalry with the
objective consideration that the merits of the righteous may differ,
and, therefore, also their worthiness to enjoy the presence of the
deity. In contrast with this, is the much stronger influence exerted
by the factor of punishment. The shadowy existence of souls in Homer's
Hades is not regarded as a penalty, but merely as the inevitable
result of departure from the circle of the living. Only when the hope
of Elysium has become just as universal as the fear of Hades, does
the latter become a place of punishment, and the former a region of
rewards. Just as language itself is very much richer in words denoting
forms of suffering than in those for joy, so also does the mythological
imagination exhibit much greater fertility in the portrayal of the
pains of the underworld than in the glorification of the Elysian
fields. All the horrors that human cruelty can invent are carried
over from the judicial administration of this world into that of the
beyond. Gradations in the magnitude of punishments are reflected in the
location of the regions appointed for them. The deepest region of the
underworld is the most terrible. Above this, is the place where those
sojourn who may enter Elysium at some future time, after successfully
completing a period of probation.

The contrast which first appears in the form of a separation of the
realms of torment and blessedness, of punishment and reward, is then
carried to a further stage, again by the aid of ideas of a spacial
gradation. No longer are all mortals compelled to enter the underworld;
this not only loses its terrors for the blessed, but the righteous and
beloved of the gods are not required to descend into it at all. Their
souls ascend to heaven--a lot reserved in olden times exclusively for
heroes who were exalted into gods. With this, the separation becomes
complete: the souls of the righteous rise to the bright realms of
heaven, those of the godless are cast into the depths. Among both the
Semitic and the Indo-Germanic peoples, the antithesis of heaven and
hell was established at a relatively late period. Its first clear
development is probably to be found among the ancient Iranians, in
connection with the early cosmogonic myths. Here the battle which the
creation-myths of other cultural peoples represent as being fought
between gods and demons is portrayed as the struggle of _two_ divine
beings. One of these is thought to rule over the regions of light above
the earth and the other over the subterranean darkness. True, this
contrast is also brought out in the battles described by other peoples
as between gods and demons, and this surely has been a factor leading
to the incorporation of the Iranian myth into the ideas of the beyond
elsewhere entertained. The distinctive feature of Iranian cosmogony
and that which gave its dualism an unusual influence upon religion
and cult is the fact that the original cosmic war was restricted
to a single hostile pair of gods, Ormuzd (Ahuramazda) and Ahriman
(Angramainju). Here also, however, Ahriman is the leader of a host of
demons--a clear indication that the myth is based on the universal
conception of a battle with demons. This similarity was doubtless
all the more favourable to the influence of the Iranian dualism upon
other religions, inasmuch as the separation of ideas of the beyond
had obviously already quite generally taken place independently of
such influence, having resulted from universal motives of cult. The
fact, however, that the battle was not waged, as in other mythologies,
between gods and demons, but between two divine personalities, led to
a further essential change. The battle no longer takes place on the
earth, as did that of Zeus and the Titans, but between a god of light,
enthroned on high, and a dark god of the underworld. This spacial
antithesis was probably connected by the ancient Iranians with that of
the two ideas of the soul, the corporeal soul, fettered to earth, and
the spiritual soul, the psyche, soaring on high. Herein may possibly
lie the explanation of a curious custom which markedly distinguished
the Iranians from other Indo-Germanic peoples. The former neither
buried nor burned their dead, but exposed them on high scaffolds, as
food for the birds. It almost seems as though the 'platform-disposal,'
commonly practised in totemic times and mentioned above (p. 216),
had here been taken over into later culture; the only change would
appear to be that, in place of the low mound of earth upon which the
corpse was left to decompose, there is substituted a high scaffolding,
doubtless designed to facilitate the ascent of the soul to heaven.
Furthermore, many passages in the older Avesta point out that the
exposure of the corpse destroys the corporeal soul, rendering the
spiritual soul all the freer to ascend to heaven. This is the same
antithesis between corporeal soul and psyche that long continues to
assert itself in later conceptions. Indeed, it also occurs, interwoven
with specifically Christian conceptions, in many passages of the
Epistles of the Apostle Paul, where the corporeal soul survives in the
idea of the sinfulness of the flesh, and where, in the mortification of
the flesh, we still have a faint echo of the Iranian customs connected
with the dead.

Thus, the ideas of a twofold beyond and of a twofold soul mutually
reinforce each other. Henceforth the heavenly realm is the abode of
the pure and blessed spirits; the underworld, that of the wicked,
who retain their sensuous natures even in the beyond, and who must,
therefore, suffer physical pain and torment in a heightened degree. The
thought of a spacial gradation corresponding with degrees of merit,
though first developed in connection with the pains and punishments
of the underworld, then comes to be applied also to the heavenly
world. In this case, however, the power of the imagination seems
scarcely adequate to the task of sufficiently magnifying the degrees of
blessedness. Hence the imagination is forced; it becomes subservient
to reflection, which engenders an accumulation of apocalyptic imagery
that completely defies envisagement. In Jewish literature, one of the
earliest examples of such apocalyptic accounts of the beyond is to be
found in the Book of Enoch. The idea of a journey to the underworld,
developed in ancient history, here apparently suggested a journey to
heaven; as a result, the celestial realm was divided into various
regions, graded according to height, as were those of the underworld
according to depth, and leading to places of greater blessedness, as
did those of the latter to increasing torment. We here have one of
those dream-journeys to which dream association readily gives rise in
the expectant and excited consciousness of the sleeper. Indeed, it is
not improbable that the narrative is based on actual dream images. Had
not the appearance of the dead in dreams already led to the belief in a
shadow-soul, which now journeys to this distant world? The division of
the celestial realms, in these mythical works, fluctuates between the
numbers three and seven--the two numbers held sacred _par excellence_.
In the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul tells of a
dream-vision in which, years before, he was caught up to the 'third
heaven' of paradise.

Under the influence of expiatory rites, which were zealously
practised even by the ancient mystery cults, these two worlds, the
subterranean hell and the celestial paradise, were supplemented by
a _third_ region. This development was also apparently of Iranian
origin. The region was held to be a place of purification, where the
soul of the sinner might be prepared, through transitory punishments
and primarily through lustrations, for entrance into the heavenly
realm. Purgatorial lustration, after the pattern of terrestrial cult
ceremonies, was believed to be effected by means of fire, this being
regarded as the most potent lustrical agency, and as combining the
function of punishment with that of purification. Dante's "Divine
Comedy" presents a faithful portrayal of these conceptions as they were
finally developed by the religious imagination of mediæval Christianity
out of a mass of ideas which go back, in their beginnings, to a very
ancient past, but which continually grew through immanent psychological
necessity. Dante's account of the world beyond incorporates a further
element. It tells of a _guide_, by whom those exceptional individuals
who are privileged to visit these realms are led, and by whom the
various souls are assigned to their future dwelling-places. The first
of the visitors to Hades, Hercules, was accompanied by deities, by
Athena and Hermes. Later it was one of the departed who served as
guide. Thus, Virgil was conducted by his father, and Dante, in turn,
was led by Virgil, though into the realms of blessedness, closed
to the heathen poet, he was guided by the transfigured spirit of
Beatrice. The rôle of general conductor of souls to the realms of
the underworld, however, came to be given to Hermes, the psychopomp.
Such is the capacity in which this deity appears in the Odyssey,
in an exceedingly charming combination of later with very ancient
soul-conceptions. After Odysseus has slain the suitors, Hermes, with
staff in hand, leads the way to the underworld, followed by the souls
of the suitors in the form of twittering birds.

These external changes in the ideas of the beyond, leading to the
separation of the two realms, heaven and hell, and finally to the
conception of purgatory, an intermediate realm, are dependent also
on the gradual development of the _idea of retribution_. This is not
a primitive idea. It arises only in the course of the heroic age, as
supplementary to the very ancient experiences associated with the fear
of death and to the notions concerning the breath and shadow souls.
Moreover, it is especially important to notice that at the outset
the idea was not ethical in character, but _purely religious_--a
striking proof that morality and religion were originally distinct.
The transference of the idea from religion to morals represents the
final stage of the development, and occurred long after other-world
mythology had reached its zenith. The first traces of the retributive
idea are to be found in connection with those unusual dispensations of
favour by which a hero who has won the favour of the gods is either
taken up into their midst or is granted admittance to some other region
of blessedness; the conception may, however, also take the form of
punishments attached to certain particular offences directed against
the gods. These latter exceptions already form a prelude to the more
general application of the retributive idea in later times. But, even
at this stage, the idea did not at once include _all_ men within its
scope, but found expression only in the desire to gain some exceptional
escape from future suffering or some peculiar claim to eternal joy
in the future. True, the natural impulse toward association, and the
hope that united conjurations would force their way to the ears of
the gods more surely than individual prayers could do, early led to
cult alliances, whose object it was to minister to these other-worldly
hopes. None of these alliances, however, was concerned with obtaining
salvation for all; on the contrary, all of them sought to limit this
salvation to a few, in the belief that by such limitation their aim
would be more certain of realization. These cults, therefore, were
shrouded in secrecy. This had a twofold purpose. On the one hand, it
increased the assurance of the members in the success of their magical
incantations--a natural result of the fact that these rites were
unavailable to the masses; on the other hand, it augmented the magical
power of the incantations, inasmuch as, according to an associative
reaction widely prevalent in the field of magical ideas, the mysterious
potency of magic led to a belief in the magical effect of secrecy.
The influence of these ideas had manifested itself in much earlier
times, giving rise, on the transitional stage between totemism and the
deity cults, to the very numerous secret societies of cultural and
semi-cultural peoples. At this period, these societies were probably
always the outgrowth of the associations of medicine-men, but later
they sometimes included larger circles of tribal members. As is
evident particularly in the case of the North American Indians, such
societies frequently constituted restricted religious groups within
the clans--groups which appear to have taken the place of the earlier
totemic associations. In harmony with this, and, perhaps, under the
influence of the age-groups in the men's clubs, there was originally a
gradation of the members, based on the degree of their sanctification
and on the extent of their participation in the mystic ceremonies. In
peculiar contradiction to the secrecy of such associations, membership
in one of its classes was betrayed, during the festivals of the cult
groups, by the most striking external signs possible, such as by the
painting of the body or by other forms of decoration. Moreover, on the
earlier stages of culture, the interest of all these secret societies
was still centred mainly on things connected with this world, such as
prosperity of crops, protection from sickness, and success in the
chase. Nevertheless, there was also manifest a concern regarding a
future life, especially wherever a pronounced ancestor worship or an
incipient deity cult had been developed.

It is the idea of the beyond, however, that gradually crowds out all
secondary motives and that gives to the mystery cults proper their
characteristic stamp, bringing them into sharp contrast with the
dominant ideas of the early heroic age. In the earlier period, the
idea of the beyond had been enveloped in hopeless gloom; now, it fills
the mystic with premonitions of eternal happiness. In striving for
this experience, the mystic wishes for a bliss that is not granted to
the majority of mortals. Once more all the magic arts of the past are
called into play in order that the initiate may secure entrance into
the portals of the yonder world; it is thither that he is transported
in the ecstasy induced by these magical means. No longer is admiration
bestowed upon the heroes of the mythical past, upon a Hercules and a
Theseus, as it was in ancient times. The change came about slowly,
and yet at the great turning-point of human history, marked by the
Hellenistic age, it spread throughout the entire cultural world.
Radiating far beyond the Eleusinian and Orphic mysteries, which
these hopes of a yonder-world raised to new life, the same idea was
appropriated by the cults of Osiris, Serapis, Attis, and Mithra. The
_idea of redemption_, born of the longing to exchange this world, with
its sufferings and wants, for a world of happiness in the beyond, took
possession of the age. It is the negation of the heroic age, of the
heroes which it prized, and of the gods which it revered. Along with
this world, these cults of the beyond repudiate also the previously
existent values of this world. The ideals of power and of property
fade. Succeeding the hero ideal, as its abrogation and at the same time
its consummation, is the ideal of humanity.

At first it is only _religious_ ideals that manifest this shift in
values. The enjoyment of the present gives way to hopes for the
future, the portrayal of which welds religious feelings into a
power that proves supreme over all other impulses. It is for this
very reason that the future, which the mystic already enjoys in
anticipation, comes to be exclusively the reward of the _devout_. It
is not vouchsafed to the moral man who stands outside the pale of
these religious associations, for his activity centres about this
world. At a much earlier period, however, these ideas became combined
with ethical motives of retribution. If, accordingly, the two motives
again become entirely distinct at this decisive turning-point of
religious development, this only signifies that, in themselves, they
are of different origin, and not that from early times forward there
were no forces making for their union. These forces, however, were
not so much internal as external in character. They did not spring
from the religious experiences themselves, nor, least of all, from
the ideas of the beyond. Their source is to be found primarily in
a transference of the relations of the earthly State to the divine
State, as a result of which the ruler of the latter was exalted to
the position of lawgiver in the kingdom of men no less than in that
of the gods. Proofs of this transference are to be found in the most
ancient customs and legal enactments of all regions. Either the ethical
and religious commandments are, both alike, supposed to be the very
utterances of the deity, as in the case of the Mosaic decalogue, or, as
is illustrated by the Babylonian code of Hammurabi, an earthly ruler
expressly promulgates his law in the name of the deity, even though
this law is essentially restricted to legal and ethical norms. Thus it
came about that every ethical transgression acquired also a religious
significance. The ethical norm was not, at the outset, religious
in sanction, as is usually believed; it acquired this character
only through the medium of the world-ruling divine personality.
Nevertheless, the union of the ethical and the religious gradually
caused the idea of retribution, which originally had no ethical
significance whatsoever, to force its way into the conceptions of the
beyond. It was essentially in this way that ethical transgressions came
to be also religious offences, whereas, on the other hand, the rewards
of the other-world continued to be restricted to the devout, or were
granted to the moral man only on condition that he be devout as well as

In conclusion, we must consider an offshoot of other-world ideas--the
belief in the _transmigration of souls_. This belief is ultimately
grounded in the more general ideas of soul-belief, even though its
developed form appears only as a product of philosophical speculation,
and has, therefore, found only a limited acceptance. In its motives,
the belief most closely resembles the conception of purgatory, in so
far as the latter involves the notion that the occupation of animal
bodies is a means, partly of transitory punishment, and partly of
purification. The idea of lustration, however, is not involved in that
of metempsychosis. In its place, there is a new and unique element.
It consists in the thought, expressed in Plato's "Republic," that it
is proper that man should retain after death the character manifested
during life, and that he should therefore assume the form of the animal
which exhibits this character. There is thus manifested the idea of
a relationship between man and the animal. In the distant past this
idea gave rise to the animal totem; in this last form of the animal
myth, it leads to the conception of the transmigration of souls. Thus,
a complete inversion of values has here taken place. The significance
of the totem as an ancestral animal and as an object of cult caused
it to be regarded as superior to man. The animal myth, on the other
hand, represents transformation into an animal as degrading, even as
a severe punishment. It is precisely this difference which makes it
probable that the idea of transmigration was not a free creation of
Hindoo philosophers--for it was they who apparently first developed it,
and from whom it passed over to the Pythagorean school and thence to
Plato--but that it, also, was connected with the general development of
totemic conceptions. Of course, it is not possible to trace a direct
transition of the totem animal into the animal which receives the soul
of a human being who is expiating sins that he has committed. It is
not probable, moreover, that such a transition occurred. Doubtless,
however, the idea of transmigration is connected with the fact that,
beginning with the totemic age and extending far down into the period
of deity beliefs, the value placed on animals underwent a change. For
the Australian, the animal is an object of cult, and the totem animal
is frequently also regarded as the incarnation of an ancestor or of
some magical being of antiquity; the American Indian calls the animals
his elder brothers; Hercules, the hero of the heroic age, is honoured
because, among other things, he was instrumental in exterminating wild
animals. This change, moreover, is reflected in animal myths even more
than in these general evaluations. Indeed, transformation into animals
is a dominant characteristic of these myths. Tracing the conception of
this magical process, however, we find, step by step, a progressive
degradation of the animal. In Australian legends, animal and man are
either absolute equals or the animal is the superior, being endowed
with special magical powers. In American märchen-myths also, we still
frequently find the same conception, although transformation into an
animal is here sometimes regarded as a disgrace. Finally, in many
African myths, and, particularly, in those of the cultural peoples
of the ancient world, such a transformation is regarded either as a
serious injury resulting from evil magic or as a punishment for some
crime. We may well suppose, therefore, that the Brahmans, who first
incorporated this idea into the religious conceptions of retribution,
were influenced by the ideas current in popular belief, which, on their
part, represented the last development of earlier totem conceptions.
These ideas may also have been reinforced by the belief (not even yet
entirely extinct) in soul animals, into which the psyche disappears
at the moment of death. Whether the Brahmans had as yet come to the
notion that transformation into an animal is a simpler and more natural
way of conceiving the future of the soul than ideas of a supermundane
and a subterranean beyond, need not concern us. In any event, it is
noteworthy that, after science had closed the path to heaven as well as
that to Hades, Lessing and, in a broader sense, taking into account
nature as a whole, Goethe himself, regarded metempsychosis as the most
probable hypothesis concerning the way in which the desire for an
endless survival of the soul will be satisfied.


Psychologically, myth and cult are closely interrelated. The _myth_
is a species of _idea_. It consists of ideas of an imaginary and an
essentially supersensuous world that constitutes a background for the
phenomena of sensuous reality. This supersensuous world is created
by the imagination exclusively from sensuous materials. It finds
portrayal throughout the various stages of myth development, first
in the märchen-myth, then in the heroic saga, and finally in the
deity saga. In the latter, there are interwoven ideas of the origin
and destruction of things, and of the life of the soul after death.
_Cult_, on the other hand, comprises only _actions_. These relate to
the demons or the gods whose lives and deeds are depicted by mythology,
at first only in fragmentary sketches, but later, especially in the
deity saga, after the pattern of human life. Now, inasmuch as action
is always the result of feeling and emotion, it is these subjective
elements of consciousness that are dominant in cult, whereas cognition
plays its rôle in connection with myth. This contrast is important
because of its close bearing on the development of myth as well as
on that of religion, and on the essential differentiæ of the two.
Not every myth has a religious content. In fact, the majority of the
myths prevalent, or once prevalent, in the world, have absolutely no
connection with religion, if we give to the latter any sharply defined
meaning at all. At the setting of the sun, a flaming hero is swallowed
by a dusky demon--this conception of nature mythology may possibly be
incorporated in religious conceptions, but, in itself, it possesses no
religious significance whatsoever, any more than does the idea that the
clouds are demons who send rain to the fields, or that a cord wound
about a tree may magically transfer a sickness to it. These are all
mythological ideas, yet to call them religious would obviously leave
one with a most vague conception of religion. Similarly, moreover, not
every cult relating to things beyond immediate reality is a religious
cult. Winding a cord about a tree, for example, might constitute
part of a magic cult which aims at certain beneficent or pernicious
results through the aid of demons of some sort. There is no ground,
however, for identifying these cult activities with deity cult. From
the very beginning, of course, every cult is magical. But there are
important differences with respect to the objects upon which the
magic is exercised. The same is true with respect to the significance
of the cult action within the circle of possible magic actions and
of the derivatives which gradually displace the latter. In view of
this, it is undeniable that, in _deity cult_, the cult activity,
in part, assumes new forms, and, in part, and primarily, gains a
new content. Prior to the belief in gods, there were numerous demon
cults, as well, particularly, as single, fragmentary cult practices
presupposing demoniacal powers. Moreover, these demon cults and the
various activities to which they gave rise, passed down into the very
heart of deity cult. The question therefore arises, What marks shall
determine whether a deity cult is _religious_ in character? These
marks, of course, may be ascertained only by reference to that which
the general consensus of opinion unites in calling religious from
the standpoint of the forms of religious belief prevalent to-day.
From this point of view, a religious significance may be conceded to
a deity conception if, in the first place, it possesses by its very
nature--that is, objectively--an _ideal_ worth, and, since the ideal
transcends reality, a _supersensuous_ character; in the second place,
it must satisfy the subjective need of man for an ideal purpose of
life. To one outside of the particular cult community, the value of
this ideal may be but slight; to the community, however, at the time
when it is engaged in the cult practices, the ideal is of highest
worth. As the embodiments of the ideals just mentioned, the gods are
always pictured by the mythological imagination in human form, since it
is only his own characteristics that man can conceive as magnified into
the highest values in so absolute a sense. Where the deity does not
reach this stage, or where, at the very least, he does not possess this
ideal value during the progress of the cult activities, the cult is not
religious in nature, but prereligious or subreligious. Thus, while myth
and cult date back to the beginnings of human development, they acquire
a religious character only at a specific time, which comes earlier in
the case of cult than in that of the myth. The gods are created by the
religious emotion which finds expression in cult, and myth gives them
the character of ideal personalities, after the pattern of the heroic
figures of actual life. The entire life of man, with all its changes of
destiny, is placed in their hands. Their cult, therefore, is no longer
associated merely with special circumstances or various recurrent
events, as were primitive magic and the conjuration of demons, but
is concerned with the whole of life, which is now subordinated to a
divine legal order fashioned after the political government. Thus, the
god is soon succeeded by the _divine State_, and by the cult festivals
dedicated to the latter. As an idealized counterpart of the human
institution peculiarly characteristic of the heroic era, religious cult
appears, from this point of view also, as the most distinctive creation
of the age of heroes and gods.

If a conception proves to be too narrow to cover all the phenomena
which fall within its sphere, it is legitimate, of course, to broaden
it, to a certain extent, to suit our needs. Nevertheless, once we
admit that not every mythological conception or magical practice is
religious in character, we can no longer doubt that there was never
a more significant change in the development of these phenomena than
occurred in the case of the myths and cults directly connected with the
heroic age. Primarily, therefore, it was the cults of the Babylonians,
Egyptians, Israelites, and also those of the Greeks, Romans, Aryans,
and Germans, that were religious in the full sense of the word. In the
Old World, the Semitic and Indo-Germanic peoples must be regarded,
to say the least, as the most important representatives of religious
ideals; in the New World, prior to the coming of the Europeans, this
distinction belongs to the cultural peoples of the Andes, the Mexicans
and the Peruvians. Though the religion of these latter races, no less
than the other phases of their culture, was of a cruder sort than that
of the former peoples, it frequently throws a remarkable light upon
the initial stages of many forms of cult. Of course, there is never
a sharp separation of periods; intermediate stages are always to be
found. The latter result, particularly, from two conditions. On the one
hand, a deity cult may be inaugurated by the introduction of elements
of a celestial mythology into the still dominant magical cults. In this
case, it is important to note, deity myth is usually far in advance
of deity cult. This is exemplified in Polynesia, where we find a rich
theogony alongside of cults that have not advanced essentially beyond
the stage of totemic magic beliefs. On the other hand, however, a
people whose civilization is still, on the whole, totemic, may be
influenced by the deity cults of neighbouring cultural peoples, and, as
a result, fusions of various sorts may occur. Of this, also, the New
World affords instructive examples, namely, the Pueblo peoples of New
Mexico and Arizona, who were influenced by Mexican culture.

In the soul-life of the individual, _action_, together with the
feelings and emotions fundamental to it, have the primacy over
ideation. The same psychological fact universally accounts for the
superior importance of deity cult over deity myth. It is action that
constantly influences ideas, changing and strengthening them, and
thus arousing new emotions which stimulate to further activities.
Thus, the elevation of the gods into ideal beings must be ascribed,
in great part, to religious cult, for it came about as a result of
the influence which the emotions associated with cult exercised upon
the ideas of the gods. Even less than the mythological thought from
which it develops does religious reflection consist simply of ideas.
The mythical tales and legends into which ideas are woven excite
primarily the feelings and emotions. These it is that cause the
exaltation of the religious consciousness, giving rise to action,
which, in turn, enhances the emotions. If anywhere, therefore, it is in
the psychology of religion that intellectualism is doomed to failure.
The intellectualist is unable to explain even the fact of cult, to say
nothing of those effects upon religion by virtue of which cult becomes
religion's creative force. While, therefore, there are cults--namely,
those of magic and demons--which, for specific reasons, we may call
prereligious, there is no religion without some form of cult, even
though, in the course of religious development, the external phases of
cult may diminish in significance. In so far, cult is to be regarded as
_moulding_, rather than as permanently expressing religious emotions;
and it is not merely an effect, but also a source of religious ideas.
It is in cult that deity ideas first attain their full significance. By
giving expression to his desires in prayer and sacrifice, man enjoys a
foretaste of their satisfaction, and this, in reaction, enhances not
only the desires but also the mythological conceptions fundamental to
them. It is precisely this relationship of myth to cult that extends
far back into the totemic age and that causes the dominant magic cults
of this period to be displaced by deity cults as soon as gods have
arisen through a synthesis of heroes and demons. This accounts for the
fact that, in the beginnings of religion, the worship of gods always
contained elements that derived from the age of demons. But even
the demon cults frequently exhibit one feature, particularly, that
remains characteristic also of religion: in the cult the individual
feels himself one with the object of worship. This is clearly shown
in the case of primitive vegetation festivals. Those who execute the
orgiastic cult dances regard themselves as one with the spirits of
vegetation, whom they wish to assist, by their actions, in increasing
the productive forces of nature. Such vegetation festivals have already
been described in our account of totemic cults. Inasmuch, however, as
they represent not only the highest of the totemic cults but even
partake, in part, of the character of deity cults, it was necessary to
refer to them again at this point. Vegetation festivals still prevail
in richly developed forms among some of the tribes of North and Central
America. It is clear that they represent primarily a transitional
stage, for, in addition to totemic ideas, demon and ancestor beliefs
are everywhere mingled with elements of a celestial mythology. Spirits
of ancestors are thought to be seated behind the clouds, urging the
rain demons to activity. Above them, however, are celestial deities,
whose abode is in the heavens, and to whom is attributed the supreme
control over destiny.

Even these relatively primitive vegetation cults manifest still
another trait, which later comes more and more to characterize all
cult, namely, the _union of many cult motives_. The great vegetation
festivals of Central America attract not only those in health but also
the sick. The latter are in search of healing. Hence there come to
be special cults alongside of those that serve more universal needs.
Moreover, the initiation of youths into manhood is also celebrated
during these great festivals. Finally, the individual seeks to
expiate some sin which he has committed in the past. Thus, numerous
supplementary and subsidiary cults cluster about the great cult
festivals. This was true even of the cults that reach far back into
the age of magic and demon beliefs, when gods still played a secondary
rôle, and conditions remained the same up to the time of the highest
forms of deity cult. Furthermore, the incentive, or impelling motive,
which originally brought cult members together for these comprehensive
festivals seems everywhere to have been the same. The aim in view
was to secure the prosperity of the crops, for, on the threshold of
this higher civilization, these formed man's chief food-supply. The
prominence of this motive in the earliest deity cults, moreover,
indicates that the latter were genuine products of the general culture
of this period. The roving hunter and nomad were giving place to the
settled tiller of the soil, who utilized the animal for the services of
man, and thus engaged more systematically in the breeding of domestic
animals, though also perfecting, in addition to the arts of peace,
the agencies of war. The motives that gradually elevated vegetation
cults to a higher plane consisted in every case of those that at the
outset found expression in the subsidiary cults. The concern for
the _spiritual welfare_ of mankind finally supplanted materialistic
purposes. This is clearly shown by the history of the Greek mystery
cults. These, however, were obviously influenced, particularly at a
later time, by the similar cults of the Egyptians, as well as by the
Babylonians and other peoples of western Asia. Among all these peoples,
the chief cults were vegetation cults, and, as such, they occurred
at stated seasons. In the Orient, particularly, the festivals were
held at the solstices. Surviving remnants of seedtime and harvest
festivals--which were solstice festivals and were prevalent throughout
the entire Oriental world--allow us to conclude, even with respect
to many regions in which a complete historical tradition is lacking,
that agricultural festivals probably represent the earliest deity
cults. Hence it is that these remnants still contain so many elements
characteristic of demon beliefs.

It is the contrast of spring, of newly awakened Nature and its
sprouting and growing crops, with winter and its dying vegetation,
that first finds expression in the deity myths which inspire the
vegetation festivals. The more permanent significance of these cults,
however, is due to the fact that the gods of vegetation gain an
increasing sphere of influence. The reason for this is obviously to
be found in the fact that subsidiary motives come to be incorporated
into the main cults of the earliest cultural peoples. _One_ factor
is of particular importance. Though inconspicuous in the earliest of
these cults, it becomes increasingly prominent as the cults become
more highly developed. I refer to _hopes of a beyond_. Of course, many
phases of the cult remain hidden to us. Due to the combinations already
mentioned and to the incorporation, in this case, of magical and
mystical elements, these cults acquired a secret nature in proportion
as they concerned themselves with the riddle of the beyond. The more
carefully the individual cult member guarded the secrets of the group,
the richer the blessings that he might hope to receive. Nevertheless,
the general psychological motives underlying this development enable
us to supplement the historical tradition. In this way it is possible
to gain a fairly positive knowledge of the process by which, with
an apparently almost universal uniformity, vegetation cults came to
combine with soul cults. The ideas of changing seasons, of summer
and winter, of the budding and the withering of grain, are naturally
associated with those of life and death. Winter and bleak nature
resemble death; and, just as lifeless nature is again resuscitated
in the spring, so also will the soul awaken to a bright and joyous
existence in the future. The connection is so obvious that poetry and
even myth itself everywhere refer to it. Hence also it could not have
been overlooked by the mythologists. Generally, however, this has
been regarded as an ingenious allegory by means of which man sought
to gain a vivid realization of the resurrection of the soul. In fact,
such allegorical reinterpretations occur in later cult legend itself.
Particularly characteristic of this is the legend of the Eleusinian
mysteries. Persephone, the daughter of Demeter, goddess of the crops,
is stolen by Pluto, ruler of the underworld, and the goddess-mother
wanders about on the earth seeking her child. Resentfully she withdraws
from the heavens and avoids the assemblages of the gods. During this
period of mourning, however, she devotes all of her care to mankind.
She protects not only the vegetation but also the germinating human
life, the child. Thus she becomes a benefactress upon earth. The gods,
however, mourn her absence, and Zeus makes a compact with the lord of
the underworld. Persephone is to remain in the underworld with her
husband, Pluto, during only one-half of the year; during the other
half she is to return to her mother. Appeased, Demeter herself returns
to the heavens. The allegorical significance of this legend cannot
fail to be recognized, nor the fact that it was probably only as a
result of a poetical elaboration of the mythological material that
this allegorical character was acquired. The same is true of all other
similar cult legends, from the descent into hell of the Babylonian
Ishtar down to the legends of Dionysos and Osiris, and other vegetation
legends of the Hellenistic period. In the form in which these have come
down to us, they are all products of priestly invention, replete with a
conscious symbolism such as cannot be ascribed to the original mythical
material upon which they were based. Nevertheless, it is customary not
only to regard all of this original content as allegorical, but also to
surpass even the traditional legend itself, if possible, in allegorical
interpretation. In the legend of Demeter, for example, Demeter is
supposed to be the mother earth, and Persephone the seed that is
thrown into the earth to grow up and blossom. Analogously, he who
participates in the cult hopes that, while his soul, similarly, is at
first buried in the earth with his body, it will later ascend to heaven
as did Demeter. Back of the myth, therefore, there is supposed to be a
symbolical allegory, and to this is attributed the original union of
the soul cult with the vegetation festival. When, then, the former lost
its influence, the symbolism it thought to have remained as the chief
content of the mystery. No original cult, however, shows the least sign
of connection with such subtle allegories. On the other hand, there
are many indications that the vegetation cults developed into these
higher forms of soul cults in an entirely different way. Soul cults
of a lower order had, of course, long been prevalent. But these were
absolutely distinct from any vegetation myths that may have existed.
They pictured souls as demons, against whom it was necessary to be on
one's guard, or, at a later stage, as beings whom one might conciliate
and win over as helpful spirits. Now, the cults of Demeter practised in
Eleusis had as their aim, not only an increased productiveness of the
soil, but also success in the interests and activities of this world.
Since they related to happiness in general, it was but natural that, as
soon as the ideas of a beyond reached a point of development at which
the yonder-world became the focus of desires and hopes, the cults also
should necessarily concern themselves with happiness in a life after
death. Thus, interest in the beyond came to be one of the further cult
motives that linked themselves to the dominant vegetation cults. The
latter, however, held the primacy, as is still clearly apparent by
reference to the vegetation festivals of the semi-cultural peoples of
America. It is only natural that this should have been the case. When
agriculture was in its beginnings, the most pressing need of life was
that of daily bread. For the tiller of the soil, moreover, the changes
of seasons marked by seedtime and harvest, represent sharply defined
periods, suitable above all others for the festivals to which tribal
associates assemble from near and far. The later allegories connected
with these cults had nothing to do with their transition into soul
cults, but, as their whole character indicates, were creations of the
priestly imagination. As a result of the reaction of cult activities
upon the emotions, however, concern for the future happiness of the
soul finally came more and more to overshadow the desires connected
with this world. Thus, the cults of Demeter eventually passed over,
in all essentials, into cults of the beyond. The same is true of the
Dionysos cults of the Greeks, of the Egyptian worship of Isis and
Osiris, of the Persian Mithra cult, and of many other mystery cults
of Oriental origin. All of these express the same passion for a
future bliss that shall begin at the close of earthly life and endure

The character of these cults is shaped, in a decisive measure, by other
influences, whose source is to be found in the hopes of a beyond. Even
in the vegetation festivals of the semi-cultural peoples of America,
with their elements of totemism and ancestor worship, an important
place is occupied by _ecstatic_ features--by the orgiastic dance, and
by the ecstasy that results from sexual excitement and from narcotic
poisons, such as tobacco. Conjurations, prayer, sacrifice, and other
cult ceremonies aid in stirring the emotions. Doubtless it was due to
these ecstatic elements that the cult of Dionysos gained supremacy over
the older cults of Demeter in the Greek mysteries, and that Dionysos
himself was eventually given a place in the Demeter cult. For is he
not the god of wine, the most potent of all the means for creating
a condition of bliss that elevates above all earthly cares? In the
mystery cults, however, the central feature of the cult activity was
the vision experienced in the ecstasy. The mysterious equipment of the
place, the preliminary ascetic practices, the liturgic conjurations
and sacrifices, the wine, which originally took the place of the
blood sacrifice, and, among the Hindoos, the soma, which was itself
deified--all of these served to transport consciousness to another
world, so that the cult became increasingly concerned with the world
beyond, and finally devoted itself exclusively to this interest. As a
result of this change, the hopes centring about the beyond forced their
way overpoweringly into cult, whereas the cult, in turn, reacted in an
important measure to enhance these hopes.

Over against the tendency toward unification inherent in vegetation
cults and in the other-world cults which sprang from them, the
increasing diversity of needs and interests now introduces influences
toward a progressive differentiation of cults. Separate deity cults
come to be fostered by the various social groups and classes, just as
had occurred in the case of the totem cults of the preceding age, which
differed according as they were practised by the tribe, the sex, or the
individual. The desire for protection against dangers and for security
in undertakings gives rise to guardian gods no less than it did to
guardian demons. Since, however, this more general desire branches
out into a considerable number of special desires, advancing culture
results in a progressive differentiation of cults. The foundation
of cities and the separation into classes and occupations lead to
special cults for each of these divisions of society. The personal
characteristics of the gods and the purposes of the cult come to be
affected, each by the other. Each specific cult chooses from among the
members of the pantheon that god who best suits its purpose, and it
then modifies his character according to its needs. The characteristics
of the gods thus undergo a change of significance analogous to that of
the forms of speech and custom. This change, however, is due mainly to
cult, and to the fact that the human beings who practise the cult have
need of protection and aid. The influence of saga and poetry is only
secondary, being, at best, mediated through cult.

In addition to the increasing diversity of human interests, and
interplaying with it in various ways, are two further factors that
tend toward the differentiation of cult. In the first place, divine
personality as such awakens man to the necessity of establishing
a cult. As a personal being who transcends human stature, the god
calls for adoration by his very nature, even apart from the special
motives which are involved in the specific deity cults and which, in
the further course of development, give to the latter their dominant
tone. Pure deity cults, thus, are the highest forms of cult, and give
best expression to ideal needs. Outstanding examples of this are the
Jahve cult of the Israelites, and the cults of Christ and Buddha. The
latter, in particular, show the great assimilative power of cults
that centre about an objective ideal, in contrast with those that are
subjective in nature, springing entirely from human desires and hopes,
and especially with that most subjective of all cults, the cult of the
beyond. Moreover, this idealizing impulse may also create new cults,
by deifying heroes who were originally conceived as human. Besides the
ancient hero cults, the most prominent examples of such cults are again
those of Christ and of Buddha. For there can be no doubt that Christ
and Buddha alike existed as human beings and that originally they were
also regarded as such. The fact that their heroic character consists
entirely in the spiritual qualities of their personalities does not
preclude them from consideration in this connection. These qualities
proved all the more effective in bringing about the exaltation of
the human into the divine. Thus, they enable us to understand how it
was possible for the cult of the original deities to be crowded into
the background by that of those who later came to be gods. This is
emphatically brought out in the Buddha legends, many of which represent
the ancient Hindoo gods of the Veda as the servants of the divine

In addition to the fact that divine personalities call forth homage
by their very nature, the multiplication of cults results also from
the fusion of the gods of various peoples. This is the most external
factor, and yet it is by no means the least potent one. It not
infrequently happens that cults gain their supreme importance only in
the territory into which they have been transplanted. Dionysos, for
example, was a god introduced from elsewhere into Greece. Through his
connection with the mystery cults, however, he later came to surpass
all other Greek gods in religious significance. The original cults
of the native Italian deities, with their numerous elements carried
over from the age of demoniacal and ancestral spirits, were but few
in number. Through the assimilation of Greek deities, however, and
later, at the time of the empire, of Oriental gods, differing widely
in character, Rome acquired a multiplicity of cults to which history
doubtless affords no parallel. Yet we must not overlook the fact that
in certain other cases--such, for example, as the Babylonian-Assyrian
and the Egyptian cults--the fusions may perhaps have become more
complete at an early period, and thus have precluded the juxtaposition
of the many separate cults that existed in the Rome of the Empire.


This multiplicity of cults, increasing with the advance of civilization
both as regards the ends that are desired and the gods who are
worshipped, is by no means paralleled by the number of _cult agencies_.
The only possible exception might be in the case of the means which
the cults of the beyond employed for arousing ecstasy. Even here the
difference lies not so much in the means themselves as in the extent
to which they were used. Moreover, the secrecy surrounding these cults
is itself an external indication of the fact that they differed from
the cults concerned with the things of this world, for the latter
generally sought publicity. And yet there was no form of cult in which
ecstatic features were altogether lacking; such features are inherent,
to a certain extent, in cult practices as such and, in so far, are
absolutely universal. Differences in the specific purposes of the cults
and in the deities to whom the acts were dedicated did indeed cause
certain variations. These, however, we may here neglect, inasmuch
as they do not affect the essential nature of cult itself. From
early times on, there were certain activities that were universally
characteristic of deity cults, and their fundamental purposes remained
the same, namely, to gain the favour of the deity and thereby to
obtain the fulfilment of personal wishes. As regards this motive, the
_three_ cult agencies--_prayer, sacrifice_, and _sanctification_--are
absolutely at one. In this order of sequence, moreover, these agencies
represent a progressive intensification of the religious activity of

In the records of ancient civilized peoples we meet with a great number
of _prayers_, representing all the forms developed by this simplest
and most common of the means of cult. The most primitive form of
prayer is _conjuration_. Conjuration passed over from demon cult into
the beginnings of deity cult, and is intermediate between a means of
magic and a petition. This also indicates the direction of the further
development of the prayer. Conjuration is succeeded by the _prayer
of petition_, whose essential differentia consists in the fact that,
however earnestly the suppliant may strive for the fulfilment of his
desires, he nevertheless ultimately commits them to the will of the
deity. The development of the prayer of petition out of conjuration
becomes possible only because gods possess a characteristic which
demons lack--namely, personality. Once this personality attains to its
ideal sublimity, the exercise of magical power over the deity ceases
to be possible, or is so only under the presupposition that the will
of the deity is in itself favourably inclined toward the suppliant.
The idea underlying conjuration nevertheless continues for a time to
remain a supplementary factor in the prayer of petition; even where
no clearly conscious trace of it appears, it survives in the depth of
emotion that reinforces the petition. That conjuration blends with
petition is particularly evident in the case of _one_ characteristic,
whose origin must be traced to magical conjuration. I refer to the
fact that the _words of the petition_ are _repeated_ in the same or in
a slightly changed form, and that, at a later stage of development,
there is a constant recurrence of the same content, even though this
is variously expressed. This is a derivative characteristic of the
prayer of petition. Originally, it was thought that repetition brought
about an intensification of the magical effect, particularly in the
case of word-magic. We are already familiar with conjurations of
this sort as elements of totemic cults. With but few changes, they
recur in the older songs of the Avesta and Veda, as well as in some
of the Biblical Psalms. In these cases, however, the repetitions are
somewhat more extensive, for there is a more detailed statement of
that which is desired. And yet the Biblical Psalms, particularly, are
an illustration of the fact that, with submission to the will of the
deity, the petition becomes less urgent in tone. Even when the petition
is repeated the expression more and more assumes a somewhat altered
form. It is probably this enhancement through repetition--itself, in
turn, due to the dynamic character of the emotions of desire--that
accounts for the so-called 'parallelism of members,' characteristic
especially of Hebrew poetry. The view, once entertained, that this
is a sort of substitute for the rhythm arising from emphasis and
sentence arrangement is doubtless incorrect, for recent investigations
demonstrate the ingenious rhythm of Hebrew poetry. We would not, of
course, deny that the repetition of the thought in a changed form
intensifies the rhythmic expression. The real basis of the repetition,
however, lies not in this fact but in the motive underlying petition.
This is clear, above all, from the fact that repetition is most
pronounced particularly in those psalms and prophetic songs which are
of the nature of a prayer of petition and of the praises closely
connected with it. Later, repetition was also employed in other
forms of religious expression. In the case of the hymn of praise,
particularly, the tendency to repetition is augmented, by virtue of the
enthusiastic exaltation of the divine personality whom the hymn extols.

Besides the prayer of petition we find the _prayer of thanksgiving_.
Petition and thanksgiving are properly correlative, the one expressing
a wish to the deity and the other acknowledging its fulfilment. Not
infrequently, therefore, they are combined, particularly in the more
advanced forms of the prayer cult, into a single prayer of thanksgiving
and petition. He who prays returns thanks for the blessings which
he has received and adds a request for further divine aid. This
combination occurs very frequently in the Psalms, but it is to be
found also in other hymnodies. The extent to which the request for
further favours is subordinated to the thanksgiving for past aid, is
a measure of the humility involved, and represents a fair criterion
of the maturity of the religious feeling underlying the prayer.
Nevertheless, it may also be noticed that he who prays always aims
first to gain the divine favour through his thanksgiving, in the hope
that the gods may thereby be rendered more disposed to grant his
request. Typical examples of this are to be found, not only in the
Biblical Psalms, but also in the ancient Babylonian texts which recent
discoveries have brought to light. That the prayer of thanksgiving is
a higher form of prayer than is petition, is shown by the very fact
that it occurs in deity cult alone. More clearly even than petition
does thanksgiving presuppose a personal being, capable of appreciating
the feeling of gratitude. It is at most in the fact that the prayer
of thanksgiving still seeks to obligate the deity to future favours,
that demon-conjuration has left its traces upon it. And yet deity cult
is characterized precisely by the fact that the compulsion of magical
conjuration has entirely disappeared in favour of the free volition
of the deity. That prayer is regarded as imposing an obligation upon
the god no less than upon man, is extremely well brought out in the
conception that the relation of the two is that of a contract, or of
a covenant sealed in the cult. This idea, reinforced by the national
significance of the deity, is fundamental in the Jahve cult of the

_Praise_, or, as it is called in its poetic forms, the _hymn_, is
an even more pronounced feature of deity cult than is the prayer of
thanksgiving. The hymn is not usually classified as a form of prayer
because, when externally regarded, it may entirely lack the motive of
petition, and it is from the latter that the prayer has derived its
name. In view, however, of the continuity of the development of the
cult forms which find expression in speech, we cannot escape including
also the song of praise. Indeed, it generally adduces the blessings
conferred by the god as an evidence of his glory; not infrequently,
moreover, it concludes with a hope for the future favour of the deity.
Artistically perfect examples of such prayers are the compositions
known as the Homeric Hymns, which, of course, belong to a much later
age than the Homeric epics. They are pæans in praise of Demeter,
Apollo, Dionysos, and Hermes, in which the laudation of the beneficent
activity of these deities takes the form of a recital of some incident
in their lives, followed by a prospective glance at the favour which
they may be expected to bestow in the future.

In these cases, the song of praise clearly represents a development of
the prayer of thanksgiving. The final and most mature form of prayer,
however, the _penitential prayer_, or, as it is usually called, the
_penitential psalm_, may in a certain sense be called a subform of the
petitional prayer. In it, either external need or the consciousness
of personal guilt leads the individual to call upon the gods for
mercy and for forgiveness of the committed sin. Typical examples are
again available in the Hebraic and Babylonian psalms. These psalms
contain, in the first instance, prayers of cult, which were offered
on the occasion of national disasters and needs, such as crop failure
or drought, or, as in the case particularly of the Israelites, were
repeated at stated times in penitence for the sins of the community.
Such being the motives, the most universal form of prayer, that of
petition, may here also be discerned in the background. Not only is
the penitential psalm in and for itself a particular form of petition,
containing as it does a plea for the forgiveness of committed sins, but
it is frequently combined with a direct prayer for the favour of the
deity and for renewed manifestations of grace through a fortunate turn
of destiny. In spite of this egoistic strain, however, which, just as
in the case of the song of praise, is seldom absent, the penitential
prayer is, religiously speaking, the highest form of prayer, and may be
found only at an advanced stage of deity cult. Above all other forms
of prayer, its emphasis falls on the inner life; where it comes to
expression in its purity, it seeks not external goods, but only peace
of conscience. Moreover, more than anywhere else, we find in it a
resignation to the will of the deity. This resignation, in turn, draws
its strength from the belief that human destiny is in the absolute
control of the gods, everything experienced by the individual or by
the cult community being interpreted as a divine punishment or reward.
Thus, the penitential prayer is closely bound up, on the one hand,
with the idea of a divine providence and, on the other, with ideas of
retribution. Neither the idea of providence nor that of retribution is
to be found in early deity cult; both are products of the subsequent
religious development. Moreover, the issue is not changed by raising
the question whether the retribution is regarded as occurring here or
in the beyond. As a matter of fact, the retributive idea is far from
being implicated with other-world hopes. The conviction that punishment
will overtake the guilty man even in this world, because of the direct
connection between present fortune and misfortune and the worship of
the gods, is itself the immediate source of the idea of a divine power
ever controlling the destinies of mankind.

In addition to prayer, however, and usually bound up with it, there
is a second important form of cult practice, namely, _sacrifice_. The
usual conception of sacrifice is altogether too narrow--just as is
the case with prayer. Hence the origin and significance of sacrifice
have been misunderstood. In view of one of its prominent features in
the more highly developed cults, sacrifice is usually regarded as a
gift to the deity, and the various meanings that a gift may have are
then simply held to apply to sacrifice itself. Accordingly, the purpose
of sacrifice is limited either to disposing the god favourably toward
the sacrificing individual or community, or to obtaining forgiveness
for committed sins. In the Priests' Code of the Israelites, this
second form of sacrifice--the trespass or sin-offering--also served
the former purpose, thus acquiring the significance of an act of
reconciliation which at the same time blotted out any transgressions
of the past. The sin-offering, on the other hand, was concerned with
purification from a single, definite sin for which the forgiveness of
the deity had to be obtained. The peace-offering, therefore, was a
cult that was celebrated in common and on a specific day, whereas the
sin-offering was brought only on special occasions, when an individual
or a restricted group felt the burdens of conscience because of a
committed sin. Corresponding to the different purposes indicated by
the words 'reconciliation' and 'forgiveness' was the manner in which
the sacrifice was brought. The peace-offering was taken to definitely
established centres of cult, primarily to the temple at Jerusalem.
Those bringing the sacrifice shared its enjoyment with the deity in the
sacrificial meal, which was an expression of the covenant concluded
with the deity for the future. The sin-offering was made whenever
occasion demanded, and the sacrifice was designed for the deity alone.
After the removal of the portion reserved for the priesthood, the
remainder was burned--those making the sacrifice could enjoy none
of it. If we regard both kinds of sacrifice as forms of gift, the
peace-offering would correspond more closely to an actual gift with
a certain tinge of bribery, though this conception is rendered less
crude by the fact that the sacrifice represents also a covenant which
receives expression in the sacrificial meal. The sin-offering, on the
other hand, is more of the nature of a penalty, similar to that which a
judge imposes in satisfaction of a crime.

It must be granted that there is a stage in the development of
sacrificial cult in which the gift motive is dominant. Nevertheless,
even here there are concomitant phenomena which clearly indicate
that the sacrifice cannot originally have had the significance of a
gift. On the contrary, there has been, in part, a change in meaning
and, in part, an arbitrary reinterpretation of phenomena. The Jewish
peace-offering was not a true gift. This is evidenced by the fact
alone that one of its chief features was the sacrificial feast,
which involved the idea of the deity's participation in the meal. In
connection with this idea of communion with the deity, the offering of
parts of the consumed sacrifice was manifestly only a secondary motive.
Nor was the renunciation required of the sacrificer in connection with
the Jewish sin-offering a feature which had anything in common with a
gift. It was similar rather to punishment. Moreover, all resemblance
whatsoever to a gift disappears when we call to mind the earliest forms
of sacrifice, as well as the objects that were offered. One of the
oldest sacrifices, found even within totemic culture, was that offered
to the dead. In its broadest sense, this comprehends everything that
was given over to the deceased, or that was burned with him, in case
cremation was practised. Such objects originally included some of the
belongings of the deceased, particularly his weapons and personal
decorations. After despotic forms of government arose, the death of a
chief or of a person of influence demanded also the sacrifice of his
animals, slaves, and wives. We are already familiar with the change of
motives that here occurred. At first, the aim was to keep the deceased
from approaching the living; later, it was to equip him with whatever
might be of service in his future life. The sacrifice then became an
offering to the demon of the deceased, designed to win his aid for
the living. Finally, it was devoted to the gods, whose favour was
sought both for the deceased and for the survivors. A survey of the
development as a whole shows that the gift motive was at first entirely
lacking, and that even later it was of relatively little importance.
The idea of magic was predominant. The aim was to bring the power of
magic to bear upon the deceased and his demon, and finally upon the
gods. The demon was to be kept at a distance, just as in the case of
burial and of the binding of the corpse, and the gods were to be won
over to a friendly attitude. This appears even more clearly when we
consider the objects that were sacrificed. In this respect, there was
an important change, first mediated, probably, by the cult of the dead,
and thence carried over to sacrifice in general. The sacrificer offered
such parts of his own body as were held to be the specific vehicles
of the soul. Homer tells us that Achilles deposited the two locks of
hair, which he had once promised to his native river god, upon the
dead body of Patroclus. The use as a sacrifice to the dead of a gift
dedicated to a god, clearly indicates that the two forms of sacrifice
possessed an identical significance. The deceased takes with him into
the underworld part of the person of the sacrificer. Similarly, it
was believed that the psychical powers of the deity are, on the one
hand, strengthened through the soul which he receives in sacrifice,
and are, on the other hand, inclined toward the one who brings the
offering. In animal sacrifice, the blood was poured out beside the
sacrificial stone for the enjoyment of the god. Of the inner parts of
the bloody sacrifice, it was again those that were in ancient times
regarded as the chief vehicles of the soul, the kidneys with the
surrounding fat, that were particularly set aside for the god. Closely
connected with this is the sacrifice which, through self-mutilation,
the priests and temple servants offered in the case of ecstatic cults
(pp. 294 f.). In all of these instances the ideas of magic and of gift
intermingle. The soul-vehicles which are offered are also gifts to the
deity, intended for his enjoyment. In partaking of them, however, a
magical influence is released by means of which the will of the deity
is controlled, or, in the view of a more advanced age, is favourably
inclined toward the sacrificer. The same idea prevails when public
sacrifice demands a human being, instead of an animal, as a vicarious
offering for the sacrificing community. Indeed, human sacrifice also
has its prototype in the sacrifice to the dead, though the sacrificial
idea is in this case kept in the background, inasmuch as the dominant
purpose is to equip the deceased with that which he requires for
his further life. Human sacrifice proper, therefore, is at most
connected with faint survivals of this older practice. In contrast
with the latter custom, the individual sacrificed to the deity serves
as a _substitute_ for the community. In this form, however, human
sacrifice does not antedate animal sacrifice, as has been believed,
but follows upon it. Still later, of course, it was again displaced
by the latter, as is graphically portrayed in the Biblical legend of
Abraham and Isaac. The priority of animal sacrifice is attested, first
of all, by its incomparably wider distribution. Human sacrifice, and
traditions indicative of it, appear to be altogether restricted to
the great agricultural festivals and solstice-cults in which the one
who is sacrificed serves, on the one hand, as a substitute for the
sacrificing community which offers itself to the deity in his person,
and, on the other hand, as the representative of the god himself.
Convincing proof of this is furnished by the traditions regarding the
seasonal cults of the ancient Mexicans, as these have been reported by
K. Th. Preusz. Prior to the sacred festival at which an individual was
offered in sacrifice, he was himself reverenced as a god. The twofold
significance of the human sacrifice becomes perfectly intelligible in
the light of the above-mentioned fusion of the ideas of gift and of
magic. Dedication to the deity and union with him merge so completely
that they become a single conception. Even the blood poured out upon
the sacrificial altar was not merely an offering, but, as a vehicle of
the soul, was supposed to transfer to the deity who received it the
desires of the offerer. What was true of the blood was quite naturally
pre-eminently true when the object of sacrifice was the person
himself. In this case, all the organs were offered, and, therefore,
the entire soul. This is the most extreme form of the sacrificial idea,
and occurs only in the sacrificial cult of fairly large political and
religious communities. As is characteristic of legend, the 'Abraham
and Isaac' story individualizes the ancient tradition, construing
the latter as an account of a test of obedience to the god--an
interpretation very obviously to be regarded as an invention of later
priestly wisdom. On the other hand, the Roman Saturnalia, the Persian
festival of Sacæa, and other agricultural cults of the ancient world,
exhibit traces of the sacrifice of a human being who represents the
deity himself. Along with these we might probably mention also the
Babylonian festival of Tammuz and the Jewish feast of Purim. Finally,
the Christian conception of the sacrificial death of Jesus combines
the same ideas, though their religious significance is transformed and
reinforced by the thought of redemption, which has displaced the older
protective and fortune-bringing magic. The sacrificial community has
here become the whole of mankind, and the one who by his death brings
about a reconciliation with the deity is himself the god. For this
reason dogma insists--with a logic that is perhaps unconscious and
mystical in nature, yet all the more compelling--on the unity of the
divine personality with that of the redeemer who died the sacrificial
death. This fusion of sacrificial conceptions thus gave rise to the
most impressive and effective story that the human mind ever conceived.

Herewith we reach the culminating point in the development of the
idea of a gift offered to the deity, and here also the sacrificial
object attains its highest _worth_. That the sacrificer, however, is
little concerned with the value of the objects which he brings, is
obvious from the fact that these are frequently without any objective
value whatsoever. Such, for example, are the small pictures offered
in Chinese ancestor cult, and also the miniature representations of
desired objects which are placed on votive altars--instances in which,
of the two ideas combined in sacrifice, that of the gift again entirely
vanishes, leaving as the sole motive the more primitive idea of magic,
which never completely disappears. Wherever sacrifice is dominated
by the idea of a gift offered to the deity, the sacrificer, in turn,
seeks to gain certain ends in return for the value of his gifts. The
scale of values may be either quantitative or qualitative, or both
combined. Even in the case of the bloody sacrifice both criteria are,
as a rule, involved. At the great festivals of Athens and other Greek
cities, one hundred steers were sacrificed to the gods, the greater
part of the sacrifice, of course, serving as food for the people. In
Israel, the rich man sacrificed his bullock, the poor man, his young
goat. It was the conception of value that caused especially the fruits
of the field, as well as the products of the cattle industry, milk and
butter, to become objects of sacrifice. Later, sacrificial offerings
were also made in terms of jewels and money. These were brought to the
temple for the decoration of the house of the god and for the support
of the cult or the relief of the poor. This development was influenced
by another change, connected with the transition from the earlier
bloody sacrifice to the bloodless sacrifice. Prior to the influence of
the sacrificial customs, the bloody sacrifice involved the loss of the
sacrificial animals. These were either entirely burned and thus given
to the gods, or their flesh was consumed by the cult members at the
sacrificial feast, the god receiving only those parts that were prized
as the vehicles of the soul. Now, bloodless sacrifice belongs to a
higher stage both of culture and of cult. In general, it presupposes an
advanced agricultural and cattle industry, as well as the existence of
more extensive cult-needs whose satisfaction the sacrifice is designed
to secure. Thus, the two conditions mutually reinforce each other. The
products of agriculture cannot be directly offered to the deity as
can the burnt offering, which ascends to heaven in the smoke. On the
other hand, the cult cannot dispense with certain means, and these are
obtained by utilizing in its interests the economic foresight which
has been acquired by the agriculturist and the cattle-raiser in the
course of their work. In place of the direct products of husbandry,
the succeeding age more and more substitutes costly jewels and money.
Thus, the development which began with the burnt offering concludes
with the money offering. This later offering is no longer made directly
to the deity, or, at most, this occurs in the accompanying prayer; the
offerer bestows his gifts upon the temple, the priests, or the poor.
By so doing he hopes to win the divine favour indirectly, through the
merit which such gifts possess or through the cult activities which are
purchased by means of them.

The earliest forms of sacrifice are thus more and more displaced by
cult agencies which, to a certain extent, themselves approximate to
purification ceremonies. This transformation, however, cannot suppress
the original sacrificial purpose, which was solely that of exercising a
direct magical influence upon the deity. We now meet with phenomena in
which this purpose asserts itself all the more potently, because of the
above development--phenomena from which the idea of a gift possessing
objective value is entirely absent. We refer particularly to votive
and consecration gifts. These very names, indeed, are evidence of the
confusion which a one-sided emphasis of the gift-idea has introduced
into the interpretation of sacrifice. For votive and consecration gifts
generally consist of artificial objects which are ordinarily devoid of
any artistic or other value. They are deposited on the altars of the
gods, or, in the Catholic cult, on those of the saints, either to make
known a wish, as does the 'gift of consecration,' or, less frequently,
to render thanks for the fulfilment of a desire, as in the case of the
'votive offering.' Although these offerings, even in their beginnings,
are inseparable from a fairly developed deity cult--since they
presuppose altars upon which they are placed, and, therefore, temples
consecrated to the gods--it is practically the amulet alone that may
be said to rival them in extent of distribution. They occur in ancient
Egypt, as well as in Greece and Rome. They were known also to Germanic
antiquity, from whence they probably found their way into the Catholic
cults of Mary and the saints. The consecration gift corresponds to the
prayer of petition, the votive offering to the prayer of thanksgiving;
these prayers, accordingly, are spoken when the object is placed upon
the altar. The gift of consecration is the earlier and more common,
just as the prayer of petition precedes that of thanksgiving. The
peculiarity of this cult, however, consists in the fact that the
object offered as a sacrifice is an artificially fashioned image,
usually reduced in size, of the object in connection with which aid
is sought. This obviously gives it a certain relationship with the
fetish, on the one hand, and with the amulet, on the other. As a matter
of fact, the so-called 'consecration gifts' are not in the least
real gifts. The sick man presents a figure of the diseased part of
his body, fashioned of clay, bronze, or wax, and the peasant who has
suffered a loss of cattle brings a representation of the animal. In
themselves, these objects are valueless; nor can they be of service to
the deity to whom they are brought, as was doubtless believed by the
sacrificers to be true in the case of the animal that was slaughtered,
as well as of the blood, and doubtless also of the fruits which were
offered. The significance of such a gift of consecration lies solely
in its subjective value, just as does that of the primitive amulet,
which is likewise an article without any objective worth. To believe,
however, that this value consists in the fact that the consecration
gift symbolizes the submissive reverence of the offerer would be to
read back a later stage of religious thought into an age to which
such symbols are entirely foreign. Moreover, the purposes of this
sacrifice make such an interpretation impossible. The vast majority of
consecration sacrifices have another similarity to amulets, in addition
to that just mentioned; those who bring them seek healing from disease.
Hence, in ancient times, such offerings were brought chiefly to the
temple of Æsculapius. Just as the amulet, in its most common forms,
is designed as a protection against dreaded sicknesses, so also does
the consecration gift aim at relief from actual suffering. The amulet,
however, may be traced far back into the period of demon-cult, and its
characteristic types, therefore, are patterned on the more prevalent
expressions of demon-belief, such as cord magic. The consecration
gift, on the other hand, is associated with deity cult, and takes the
form of sacrifice. Moreover, it reverts to the most primitive kind of
sacrifice, to the purely magical offering. The leg of wax offered by
the lame is simply a means of magic. Since it possesses no objective
value, it is worthless as a gift, and, as a means of magic, it is
again of the most primitive sort. The sacrificial object is regarded
as having a soul, quite in the sense of early animism. Through its
immanent psychical power it is to exercise magical coercion over the
soul of the god or the saint. Its potency is precisely the same as that
which the soul of the sacrificial animal or human being is supposed to
possess. The only difference is that the external characteristics of
animistically conceived objects ordinarily force into the background
the idea that the sacrifice magically becomes identical with the deity
who receives it, whereas this conception comes out with especial
clearness when the offering consists of an animal or of a human being.
This is strikingly shown by the above-mentioned sacrificial festivals,
in which, prior to being offered as a sacrifice, the individual was
himself reverenced as the god to whom he was to be offered. True,
the fact that the human individual, as well as the animal, possesses
a value for those who bring the sacrifice, also introduces the idea
of a gift; added to this, moreover, in the case of human sacrifice,
is the further thought that the sacrifice is a substitution for the
sacrificial community.

Thus, the idea of a magical effect upon the deity is combined with
that of a gift designed to gain his favour. This appears also in
connection with the sacrifice of the _first-fruits of the harvest_ or,
with what is only a transference from the fruits of the field to the
animal used in its cultivation, that of the first-born of the cattle.
From the standpoint of the gift theory, such an offering is regarded
as a particularly valuable gift. But this greater value is again
exclusively of a subjective nature. Objectively speaking, the mere
fact that it is the first of the fruits or the first-born of the cattle
that is offered, does not give the sacrifice any additional value.
Very probably the decisive factor is the preference which man gives
the gods in the enjoyment of the fruits of the field. It certainly
cannot be denied that this motive is operative, particularly in later
development. That it was the original notion, however, is improbable.
Obviously, this offering is closely related to the custom, common
even to-day, of leaving the last sheaf in the harvest-field. This
custom, which W. Mannhardt was able to trace from ancient times down to
rural festivals that are still prevalent, is also of the nature of a
sacrifice. On such occasions, an egg, a piece of bread, or the picture
of a human being or of an animal, is sometimes tied to the first or to
the last sheaf of the harvest and left upon the field. Such acts are
obviously due to the need of attributing to the garnered grain life and
a soul, as well as the ability to influence by its soul the vegetation
demons of the field, and, in later times, the gods who protect the
cultivated soil. The custom could scarcely have originated except
for the presence, from the very outset, of the idea of a psychical
power resident in the sprouting seed. Later, the idea of a gift here
also forced the magical motive into the background. Indeed, it may
well be that this caused the sacrificial usages which originally, as
it appears, marked the end of the harvest, to be put forward to its

It is only ideas of magic, furthermore, that can account for the
practice of _divination_. Connected with sacrifice are various
phenomena that are accidental in nature and unforeseeable on the part
of the sacrificer. These phenomena are such as to be sometimes regarded
as indications of the acceptance or the rejection of the sacrifice
on the part of the deity, while at other times they are interpreted
from a different point of view, as general prophetic signs. In the
case of the burnt offering, for example, the direct ascent of the
smoke to the heavens was regarded as a sign that the deity graciously
accepted the offering. Similarly, the examination of entrails, common
among Oriental as well as Occidental peoples, originally, doubtless,
had the purpose of discovering whether the animal possessed a nature
pleasing to the gods. Later, however, it became one of a large class
of general prophetic signs (_prodigia_), such as the flight of
birds, lightning, clouds, and other incalculable phenomena of nature
by which the future was predicted, particularly in respect to the
success or failure of enterprises about to be undertaken. Because of
the general relationship of magic and divination, the sacrificial
cult borders upon the _oracle_. In the oracle, man wishes to read the
future; in the sacrifice, he wishes to influence it by his action.
This of itself implies that sacrifice occupies the higher plane.
The belief in prophetic signs passed over from demon cult to deity
worship with relatively little change, except that it became connected
with particular gods or priesthoods and was therefore more strictly
regulated. The hopes of a beyond, which were involved in the ecstatic
practices of the orgiastic cults, opened up a new field to prophecy,
and supplied divination with additional methods--the dream and the
vision. Though connected in various ways with sacrificial cult, these
phenomena are far from containing the wealth of religious motives
involved in the former. Nor do they develop any common cult. This is
due particularly to the fact that ecstatic visions are dependent upon a
certain psychological predisposition, a fact which also enables us to
understand the influence exercised by the individual seer and prophet
upon religion and cult.

A third, and the highest, form of cult practice consists in
_sanctification ceremonies_. Just as sacrifice is bound up with
the various forms of prayer--conjuration, petition, thanksgiving,
and penitence--so, in turn, is the sanctification ceremony closely
connected with both sacrifice and prayer. On the one hand, it is
reinforced by accompanying prayers; on the other, it results directly
from sacrifice, particularly whenever the latter takes the form of a
cult practice that brings mankind into association with the deity.
In this event, the ceremony of sanctification represents an activity
supplementary to sacrifice. The impulse to sanctification gains the
dominance over the sacrificial idea as soon as the desires relating to
the personal worth of the sacrificer himself gain ascendancy over the
external motives which at first prevailed. This subjective interest,
of course, appears only after the religious life has become relatively
mature; at the outset, moreover, it is still everywhere combined with
sacrificial practices that centre about external possessions. Once it
has finally freed itself, and has become purely a sacrifice designed to
enhance personal worth, it becomes a _means of sanctification_. When
sacrifice has reached this highest stage, however, the idea of a gift
presented to the deity by the sacrificer completely disappears--in so
far, there is a resemblance to the very earliest sacrifices, which were
of a purely magical nature and were in no sense intended as gifts. If,
therefore, the sacrifice of self-sanctification retains any connection
at all with the conception of a gift, the sacrificer must not only
be said to offer himself to the deity but the deity must likewise be
regarded as giving himself to the sacrificer.

Nevertheless, the origins of sanctification ceremonies and of sacrifice
are essentially diverse. At the outset, moreover, these cult practices
adopt different paths, meeting only at the height of their development.
True, the sanctification ceremony is rooted in magic belief, just as
is sacrifice. In primitive sacrifice, however, the magic is directed
externally; in the case of sanctification, on the other hand, the
object of the magic is the human being himself who performs the cult
action or who permits it to be performed upon him. Even in the earliest
stages of these practices, therefore, the sanctification ceremony
occupies the higher level; hence, also, this ceremony is subsequent in
origin to sacrifice. And yet practices presaging sanctification may be
found in much more primitive cults, in the _purification ceremonies_,
whose beginnings may be traced far back into the totemic age. We have
already mentioned the fact that water and fire were used as means of
magical purification even in the period of demon-belief (pp. 201 ff).
So long as they retain this significance, they may both be classed
as agencies of counter-magic. Their function is to counteract the
evil spells that result from contact with a corpse or with some other
object that is regarded as taboo. Purification by fire has the same
significance. Because of the more elaborate preparations which it
requires, however, such purification tends, from the very beginning,
to take the form of a public cult celebration. As a result, it passes
over directly from the field of counter-magic into that of magic
proper--a reversal common in the field of magical usage. At this point,
purification becomes sanctification. For, the original purpose of the
means which the latter employs is always that of affording protection
against _future_ attacks on the part of the demoniacal powers that
threaten man from without, or, in a later and a religiously purified
interpretation, against personal transgressions resulting from man's
inner nature. Herewith the development reaches the stage of the
sanctification ceremony proper. The belief that sanctification is
necessary for the individual can arise only in connection with deity
beliefs, for it is bound up with ideas of retribution. The latter, in
turn, depend upon the feeling of the personal guilt of the individual
no less than upon the belief in the existence of personal gods who
avenge the sins that are committed. Precisely the same change that
takes place in the development of purification by fire transpires also
in the case of water, the second and more common means of lustration.
Here this transition is most clearly evident in connection with
_baptism_. True, even Christian baptism still partly retains the
idea of lustration. For, though the newborn child who is baptized is
not himself conscious of any wrongdoing, he is nevertheless tainted,
according to the doctrine of inherited guilt, by the original sin from
which he must be cleansed. Baptism thus incorporates the meaning both
of purification and of sanctification. The latter conception, however,
asserts its dominance. And yet the Anabaptists, though insisting that
man is unworthy of the sacred act unless he submits to it of his
own free will, have also wished to preserve, along with the idea of
sanctification, the idea of purification, which is both more original
and, for sense perception, more real. Moreover, baptism also occurs
with this twofold meaning outside the pale of Christianity, not only
among the Hebrews, to whom the Christian religion is indebted for
the cult, but even elsewhere, particularly among Semitic and African
peoples. Sometimes it occurs alongside of another very common custom,
that of _circumcision_; sometimes, as in Christendom, it is found
where the latter is lacking; in still other regions, circumcision is
practised, whereas there is no real baptism aside from the ordinary
rites of lustration. This diversity itself testifies to the essential
difference between the two cult practices--for that circumcision also
must be classed as such there cannot be any doubt. Circumcision,
however, is not a means either of purification or of sanctification,
but is of the nature of a _sacrifice_. Along with the offering of hair
in the cult of the dead and with the pouring out of blood in connection
with deity worship, it belongs to that form of sacrifice in which
the sacrificial object gains its unique value by virtue of its being
the vehicle of the soul. Thus, the object of sacrifice, in the case
of circumcision, may perhaps be interpreted as a substitute for such
internal organs as the kidneys or testicles, which are particularly
prized as vehicles of the soul but which can either not be offered at
all, on the part of the living, or whose sacrifice involves serious

Originally, sanctification and lustration not only employed the same
means but also followed identical methods. The need frequently came to
be felt, however, of an external distinction between these two cult
practices. Ablution thus came to be regarded as the proper method of
actual purification, whereas _sprinkling_ was adopted in connection
with sanctification. This also indicates the antithetical positions
which the two hold with respect to magic and counter-magic. Lustration
aims to remove moral, or, in the last analysis, demoniacal impurity;
sanctification furnishes him who seeks its blessings with water
possessed of magical powers. For this reason purification water fell
into disuse with the disappearance of belief in demoniacal impurity.
On the other hand, it was believed that sanctification water must
remain as available as possible to him who stands in need of its
virtues. Just as baptism is a cult agency whose purpose is intermediate
between purification and sanctification, so also does the priest
who conducts it lay emphasis, now on the one, and now on the other
of these phases. When sprinkling comes to be employed as a means of
sanctification, the magical significance of the act leads to a further
change. Ordinary water, such as is generally used in lustration,
no longer suffices--the water itself needs sanctification if it is
to serve the purpose for which it is designed. Even in the ancient
mystery cults, therefore, one of the chief elements in the ceremonies
of sanctification consisted in sprinkling the members with water from
sacred springs. The Jordan festival of the Greek Catholic Church still
employs water from the river after which it is named, or ordinary water
that has magically been converted into Jordan water. The relation of
the burning of incense to lustration by fire is the same as that of
sprinkling to lustration by water. And yet, in the case of incense,
the idea of sanctification has almost entirely suppressed the earlier
aim of purification. The purpose of sanctification finds its specific
expression in the belief that the smoke cannot have a sanctifying
effect without the addition of certain other elements. Balsamic
substances were therefore used. First and foremost among these, even
in ancient times, was incense resin, whose exciting and narcotic odour
enhances the magical effect. The herbs and resins that were thrown
into the flames, however, were also generally regarded as sacrificial
gifts to the gods, whose delight in the ascending odours would, it was
thought, render them favourably disposed toward the offerer.

Thus, sanctification ceremony and sacrifice become merged. The highest
form of sanctification, moreover, originates in sacrifice itself. It
appears as soon as the idea of intercourse with the deity becomes
elevated to that of communion with him. This occurs especially in
the _sacrificial feast_. When the sacrificial food is sanctified by
virtue of the fact that the deity partakes of it, this sanctification
is imparted to those human individuals who receive a share of the
sacrifice. In proportion as the worth of the sacrifice increases,
so does also the degree of sanctification. The latter reaches its
culmination in _human sacrifice_, where the person sacrificed is the
representative both of the sacrificial community and of the deity
himself. Sanctification here becomes deification for every participant
in the sacrifice. Following the disappearance of human sacrifice,
this idea was maintained in connection with the sacred animal that
was substituted for man, and finally, after bloody sacrifice was
entirely abandoned, in connection with the bread which constituted
the sacrificial food. In the most diverse cults of the Old and of
the New World, this bread was moulded into the form, sometimes of
a human being and sometimes of an animal. In this case again, the
sacrificial cult of Christianity unites the various elements. When
taken as a whole, the different interpretations that have been given
to sacrifice in the Christian world include conceptions representing
all the various stages of development. The bread and wine of the
sacrament perpetuate the memory of the most exalted human sacrifice
known to religious tradition, since, in this case, the idea of the
unity of the sacrificial person with the deity continues to survive in
the cult of the redeeming deity. In this sacrificial meal, moreover,
elements of related sacrificial cults survive--the idea of the paschal
lamb, borrowed from the Jewish Passover, and the substitution of wine,
as in the Dionysian mysteries, for the blood of the sacrificed god.
To the Christian, moreover, this sacrificial sanctification has had
_three_ distinct meanings, though these, of course, have frequently
been intermingled. There have been magical, mystical, and symbolical
interpretations--a series of stages through which all sanctification
ceremonies pass. To the uncritical mind, he who receives the bread of
the sacrament partakes of the actual body of Christ. Following upon
this stage of miracle and magic, is the idea that the cult act effects
a mystical union with the Redeemer, a union that is not corporeal
but spiritual. At the third stage, the cult action finally becomes
the symbol of a religious exaltation of spirit. This exaltation is
regarded as possible in itself without the external manifestation;
nevertheless, it is reinforced by the latter, in accordance with the
general relationship that obtains between inner needs and external
actions. Moreover, in each of these three cases, participation
in the common sacrificial meal is evidence of membership in the
religious society--a feature common to all firmly organized religious
associations. Such membership must be attested by participation in the
cult celebrations. Of the ceremonies in which expression is given to
one's religious affiliations, the sacrificial meal has been regarded,
from early times on, as the most important. The end of the development
thus returns to its beginning. The meal, enjoyed in common at fixed
times, differentiates cultural man from the man of nature. Among all
meals in which a relatively large community unites, however, the
sacrificial feast is probably the earliest, just as the cult festival
is the earliest festival celebration.


A survey of the various phases of human interest will show that they
are all present from the very beginning in the mental organization
of man. Moreover, they are throughout so interconnected that an
advance in one field of interest will lead to progress in general.
Nevertheless, we are unable to escape the further observation that,
in the life of the individual, certain capacities develop earlier
than others. Precisely the same is true of the life of humanity. The
phenomena in which the character of ages and peoples receives its chief
expression differ in each of the periods through which the development
of mankind passes. The secondary phenomena, in each case, either occur
only in their beginnings or, where we are dealing with later stages
of culture, are being perfected along lines already established. In
this relative sense, we may doubtless say of the three eras following
that of primitive man, that totemism is the age of the _satisfaction
of wants_, the heroic age, that of _art_, and the succeeding period
of the development to humanity, that of _science_. Of course, there
were many art productions, some of them admirable, even in the totemic
age--we need mention only the artistic cult dances, or the high
perfection to which the semi-cultural peoples of the period attained
in the decoration of the body and of weapons. It must be admitted
also that the heroic age already laid imperishable foundations for
science. Nevertheless, the main achievements of the totemic age relate
exclusively to the satisfaction of the external needs of life. The
modes of procuring and preparing food, and the forms of clothing,
adornment, implements, and weapons--all originated in the totemic
age, and, however great may have been the advances made by succeeding
eras along these several lines, the beginnings had nevertheless been
made. A manner of dress suitable to the climate had been developed.
The preparation of food by means of fire, the manufacture of the
fundamental and permanent implements and weapons--the hammer, the axe,
the saw, the chisel, the knife--and, finally, the differentiation
between weapons of close and of long range, had all been introduced.
Moreover--and this is perhaps most significant of all--art itself was
governed absolutely by the motive of satisfying needs. Articles of
adornment, tattooing, the dance, song, and music, were first of all
means of magic, and as such they served the most urgent needs, such
as man by himself was unable to satisfy. These needs were protection
against sickness and success in the chase and in war. Only gradually,
through a most remarkable heterogeny of ends, were many of these
agencies of magic transformed into _pure means of adornment_. Such
transformations, of course, occurred also in the heroic age. But by
this time the necessities of life had in part changed and, of the new
interests, those connected with cult and with political organization
gained an increasing importance. Æsthetic value came to be more and
more appreciated as an independent feature of objects. As a result,
articles were produced of a nature such as to minister both to the
needs of life and to æsthetic enjoyment. But, again, this occurs
pre-eminently within the field of spiritual needs, particularly in
connection with deity cult, on the one hand, and in the glorification
of human heroes, on the other. The construction of the temple, the
plastic reproduction of the human form and its idealization into
the divine image, and, finally, the forms of literature--the epic,
the hymn, and the beginnings of the religious drama, with their
accompanying music--all of these spring from the spiritual needs of
this age, among which needs cult is the foremost. With these various
activities, art begins an independent development, gaining a value
of its own, and conquering fields that had previously been untouched
by æsthetic influences. This conquest of new fields by the higher
forms of art is indicative also of an increasing appreciation of the
æsthetic, and, along with this, of a spiritualization of life as a
whole, such as results, in a particular measure, from art, and only
partly, and at a much later period, from science. The first subjects
of this art are heroes and gods--that is, those figures which the
imagination creates at the threshold of the heroic age, under the
influence of the new conditions of life. Gradually art then concerns
itself with the human personality and with the objects of man's
environment. In correspondence with a change which transpired in the
totemic age, in which means of magic were transformed into articles
of adornment, the objects of nature and culture are now more and
more stripped of their mythological significance and elevated into
pure objects of æsthetic appreciation. Thus, the heroic age includes
the two most important epochs in the entire history of art. These
are the origin of a true religious art, and the attainment of an
æsthetic independence which allows art to extend its influence to all
departments of human life. Religious art made its appearance with the
beginning of the heroic age; æsthetic independence represents a later
achievement. This explains why the totemic age seems to us a vanished
world, no less with regard to its art than in other respects. It can
arouse our æsthetic interest only if we attribute the final product
of this period--namely, decoration freed from its original magical
significance--to the motives that really underlie artistic activity.
The art with which we are still familiar and whose motives we can all
still appreciate, begins only with the heroic age. The tattooing of
the man of nature and the amulet about his neck are to us adornments
of low æsthetic value. A Greek temple, however, may even to-day
arouse the mood of worship, and the battles of the Homeric heroes and
the tragedy of a Prometheus overtaken by the wrath of the gods may
still impress us as real. However remote the age may be which these
products of art represent, the general spirit which animated it has not
vanished. The greatest turning-point in the spiritual history of man
consists in the stupendous achievement which inaugurates the heroic
age. I refer to the creation of the ideal man, the hero, and of the
god in whom heroic characteristics are magnified into the superhuman
and demoniacal. Here lies the beginning of a real history of art;
everything earlier is prehistoric, however important it may be for
a psychological understanding of art--an importance greater than is
generally supposed, since it is only these earliest phenomena that can
disclose the conditions underlying the first manifestations of the
artistic imagination. Since we may assume that the facts of the history
of art are generally familiar, it may here suffice to consider these
originating factors and their relation to the general character of the
heroic age.

The first and most striking characteristic of the new era is the
development of _architecture_. This is a new art, not to be found in
the preceding age, or at most only in very meagre beginnings. The
gabled and the conical hut, as well as the tent and the wind-break from
which they developed, are not artistic creations, but are products of
the most urgent needs of life. The impulse to erect a building for
any higher purpose than this, manifested itself first of all when,
here and there, the need of the living was attributed also to the
dead. For the shelter of the dead, soul and ancestor cults demanded
the erection of more permanent structures. Hence there appeared the
burial chamber, built of solid stone. Its walls, designed to afford
protection from without, were likewise constructed of stone, and
constantly became more massive. This stimulated a sense of the sublime
and eternal, which reacted on the construction of the monuments and
gave them a character far transcending the need that called them into
being. The development of the gigantic Egyptian pyramids out of the
simple walled tomb, the mastaba, tells us this significant story in
pictures that impress the imagination more vividly than words. But the
cult of the dead, which this history records, was itself intimately
connected with deity cult. The preservation of the mummy involved
every possible protection of the corpse from the destructive agencies
of time. This fact reveals a concern relating to incalculable ages,
and thus gives evidence of an idea of a beyond into which the deceased
is supposed to enter. Besides the house of the dead, therefore, there
is the house belonging to the deity, and this is even more directly
and universally characteristic of the age. This edifice, into which
man may enter and come into the presence of the deity, stimulates the
incomparably deeper impulse to build a structure worthy of the deity
for whom it is erected. Thus, then, we have the _temple_, designed
at the outset for the protection of the sacrificial altar, which had
originally been erected in the open, upon consecrated ground. Since it
is located at the seat of government, at the place where the citizens
assemble for the conduct of political affairs and for purposes of
trade, the temple is indicative also of the city and of the State.
Secular interests likewise begin to assert themselves. Hence there
appears a second mark of the city, the _castle_, which is the seat of
the ruler and of the governing power, and is generally also the final
defence, when hostile attacks threaten the city and State. Closely
connected with the castle, in all regions in which the ruler lays
claim to being a terrestrial deity--as he did, for example, in the
ancient realms of the Orient--is the _royal palace_. In harmony with
the twofold position of the ruler, his dwelling is architecturally
intermediate between the castle and the temple. Thus, it is the temple,
the castle, and the palace, whose development not only awakens the
æsthetic sense for architectural forms, but also gives impetus to the
other arts, especially to sculpture and to ornamentation. The latter
had previously found material for its expression in the utensils of
daily use. Enriched through its connection with architectural forms,
it now recurs to the miniature work of utensils and implements, where
it more and more serves a purely æsthetic need. Of the works of
architecture belonging to the early part of this period, it is the
temple which proves the greatest æsthetic stimulus. This is due not
only to its more exalted purpose, but also to the impetus derived from
the fact of the multiplicity of gods. The castle represents the unity
of the State. Hence the State contains but one such structure, erected,
whenever possible, upon a hill overlooking the city. The temple,
from early times on, is the exclusive possession of a single deity.
The idea of harbouring several deities in a single structure could
arise only later, as a result of special cult conditions and of the
increasing size of the sacred edifices. Even then, however, the need
for unity in the cult generally caused each temple to be dedicated to
a specific deity, the chief god of the temple. Hand in hand with this
went a striving for richness and diversity in architecture. The temple,
therefore, expresses in a pre-eminent degree not only the character of
the religious cult, but also the mental individuality of the people to
whom the gods and their cult owe their origin.

Closely connected with temple construction is _sculpture_, for, in it,
the importance which the human personality receives in this age finds
its most direct expression. Sculpture, moreover, clearly exhibits
the gradual advance from the generic to the individual, from a value
originally placed on man as such to absorption in the particular
characteristics of the individual. The early, 'generic' figure is
generally a representation of the divine personality who has inspired
the artist to create an image for the sacred shrine. Art does not aim
at the outset to copy man himself; it transfers his characteristics to
the deity, and only thus, and after laborious efforts, does it attain
its mastery over the human form. True, the gods are conceived as
human from the very beginning. So long, however, as the sacrificial
stone and the altar stand in the open field, this humanization leads
but to inartistic images, similar to fetishes. While these images
indicate the presence of the gods at the sacred places, they are not
intended as likenesses of the deities themselves. In their external
appearance, therefore, the fetishes of early deity cult still impress
one as survivals of the totemic age, even though the gods are no
longer represented after the fashion of demons, namely, as subhuman,
possessing animal or grotesque human forms. The conditions obtaining in
life generally were repeated in the realm of art. For the transference
of purely human characteristics to the image took place in the case
of the hero--or, what amounts to the same thing in the great Oriental
civilizations of antiquity, in that of the ruler--earlier than in
the case of the deity. The ruler is glorified by means of drawings
which represent processions of the hunt and of war, and which are
executed on the walls of his palaces. Similarly, the religious impulse
expresses itself in the erection of an anthropomorphic image of the
deity. This image is placed either in the temple, which is regarded
as the dwelling-place of the deity, or in some commanding part of the
city which reverences the god as its protector. Here, however, we come
upon a noteworthy proof of the fusion of the hero with the demon as
described above. From Babylonian and Egyptian monuments we learn that
the ruler and his retinue were already represented in human form at a
period when deity cult still retained hybrid forms of men and animals,
sometimes of the nature of animal demons with human faces, or again
as human figures with animal heads. Thus, art strikingly confirms
the view that the gods arose from a fusion of the hero personality
with the demon. When these external characteristics, due to the past
history of gods and their connection with demon beliefs, came to be
superseded, the divine image at first reproduced only the typical
features of man. In addition to overtowering size, external marks,
such as dress, weapons, and sacred animals, were the only evidences
of deity. The first step in the transition from the generic figure
to the gradual individualization of personality occurs in connection
with the facial expression. It is surprising to note the uniformity
with which, in all the civilizations of the Old World, the images
of the gods, as well as those of the heroes and rulers, acquire an
expression of kindliness and gentleness. This trait, however, is
again of a generic nature. The stiff, expressionless form has indeed
disappeared, but the expression that supervenes is uniform. Though we
have referred to this transition as universal, this is true at most
as regards the fact that, on the one hand, the expression of complete
indifference gives way to one manifesting emotion, and that, on the
other, this emotion, though pronounced, again exhibits uniformity.
In the quality of this feeling, differences in the character of
peoples may come to light, just as they do in myth and religion, with
which sculpture in its first stages is closely connected. In the two
great cultural regions of the New World, Mexico and Peru, there is a
similar transition. The cults of these peoples, however, emphasize
the fear-inspiring character of the gods. Hence, in their art, the
terrifying grimace of the earliest divine images becomes moderated
into an expression of gloomy, melancholy seriousness--a change such as
the art of the Old World approximates only in occasional productions
that fall rather within the province of the demoniacal, such as the
image of the Egyptian sphinx or the gorgon's head of the Greeks. Thus,
the transition from features that are entirely expressionless to such
as are generic, and then to those that characterize the individual
personality, occurs in connection with a change in the quality of the
emotions. To illustrate the relative uniformity of this development
we might likewise refer to the early Renaissance. Here again it was
necessary to seek a path to the concrete wealth of personality that
had been lost. Art reached this goal by way of the pathetic expression
of humble submission. As soon as plastic art departs from the typical
form, we find not only that a change occurs in the expressions of the
face, but also that the entire body becomes more lifelike. Along with
this, the themes of plastic art pass from the gods, rulers, and heroes
to the lower levels of everyday life. Even here art at first continues
to be fascinated by the great and conspicuous, though it later gains
more and more interest in the _significant_. This striving for reality
in its wealth of individual phenomena is characteristic not only of
sculpture, however, but also of painting. Disregarding the bodily
form in favour of the portrait, painting first acquires new means of
characterization in colour and shading; then, passing from man to his
natural environment, it wins from nature the secrets of perspective,
and thus gains a far greater mastery over the depths of space than was
possible to sculpture. _Landscape painting_, moreover, unlocks for art
that rich world of emotions and moods which man may create from the
impressions of nature, and which attain to purity of expression in
proportion as man himself disappears from the artistic reproduction of
his environment. Thus, the final product of pictorial art, together
with such paintings as those of still life and the interior, all of
which are psychologically related inasmuch as they express moods,
represent the most subjective stage of art, for they dispense with the
subject himself whose emotions they portray. All the more, therefore,
are these emotions read into nature, whose processes and activities now
constitute the content of personal experience. Once it attains to this
development, however, landscape art is already far beyond the borders
of the heroic age. Indeed, the Renaissance itself advanced no farther
than to the threshold of this most subjective form of pictorial art.
This art represents the hero--however broad a conception of him we may
form--as in all respects a human individual. Thus, art again returns to
the being whose ideal enhancement originally gave rise to the hero.

The changes which the forms of æsthetic expression undergo within the
field of formative art, are paralleled, on the whole, by those of the
_musical_ arts. By this term, as above remarked, we wish to designate
all those arts which depend from the outset upon the _external_
factors of tone and rhythm ultimately employed most freely in music
(cf. p. 262). In the preceding age, only _one_ of these arts, the
_dance_, really reached any considerable development. Of the two
elements of the musical arts, rhythm was as yet predominant. The dance
received but little melodic support from the voice; noise instruments
had the ascendancy over musical instruments. The further development
of these arts leads to continued progress, particularly with respect
to the melodic forms of expression. These begin with the language of
speech, and gradually pass on to the pure clang formations produced
solely by manufactured instruments. Corresponding with this external
change is an inner change of motives, influenced, of course, by the
varying materials which enter into the creations of the musical arts.
From the very beginning, the character of this material is involved in
constant change, as is also language, which is the basis of all these
arts, and whose rhythmical-melodic forms cannot be arrested at any
moment of its living development. The attempt to render permanent some
of the movements of this flowing process, by means of literary records
or definite symbols, is but an inadequate substitute for the enduring
power with which the mute creations of sculpture and of architecture
withstand the destructive influences of time. Just because of this
plasticity of their working material, however, the musical arts are
enabled all the more faithfully to portray the thoughts and feelings
that move the artist and his age. Particularly where these thoughts and
feelings are directly reproduced in language, the work, even though
coming down from a long-departed past, has an incomparably greater
power to transport us to its world than is ever possible to plastic
art. How much more vividly do we not experience the life of the Homeric
heroes while reading the Iliad than when viewing the Mycenian art of
that period!

Of all the products of the verbal arts, it is the epic that most
faithfully mirrors the character of the heroic age as a whole. The
human hero here stands in the forefront of action. His battles and
fortunes and a laudatory description of his qualities constitute the
main themes of the poem. In the background, appears the world of gods.
It receives no attention apart from its relation to the action. The
gods, it is true, take a hand in the destinies of the heroes--they
quarrel about them, or, when the need is greatest, descend to the earth
and, though unrecognized, assist them in battles. As for the rest,
however, their life lies outside the sphere of the epic narrative;
it appears to be an even and undisturbed course of existence into
which change enters only in so far as there is a participation in the
affairs of the terrestrial world. Such is the epic at the zenith of
its development and as it receives expression in the Homeric poems.
Though such poetry be traced back to its beginnings, the gods will not
be found to play any greater rôle, as we should be led to expect were
the theory of many mythologists true that the hero saga developed out
of the deity saga and, correspondingly, the heroic epic out of the
deity epic. In confirmation of our assertion, we might point to the
Russian and Servian romances, and also to