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Title: Introduction to the History of Religions
       Handbooks on the History of Religions, Volume IV

Author: Crawford Howell Toy

Editor: Morris Jastrow

Release Date: January 18, 2009 [EBook #27829]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


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Transcriber's Note:
Footnote links in the INDEX shown as n. x are linked to the same footnotes with reindexed footnote numbers.



Late Professor of Semitic Languages in the
University of Pennsylvania

Volume IV

Oxford University Press




Late Professor in Harvard University

Third Impression



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

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

My thanks are due to the publishers for the care they have taken in the printing of the volume, and to their proofreaders, particularly to the chief proofreader, for not a few helpful suggestions.

C. H. T.

Cambridge, Massachusetts



(The Arabic figures in the chapter summaries refer to paragraphs)
Science and religion coeval, 1; Man's sense of dependence on mysterious Powers, 2; Early man's feeling toward them of a mixed nature, 3; mainly selfish, 4; Prominence of fear, 6 Conception of natural law, 7; Sense of an extrahuman Something, 9; Universality of religion, 10; Its development parallel to that of social organization, 12; Unitary character of human life, 14; External religion, 15; Internal religion, 16.  
Nature of the Soul. Universal belief in an interior something, 18; its basis, 19; from observation of breath, 21; of shadow, 22 of blood, 23 Its form a sublimated double of the corporeal man, 24; or of an animal, 25; The seat of the soul, 26; Localization of qualities, 27; Consequences of the soul's leaving the body, 29 The hidden soul, 31.  
Origin of the Soul. Not investigated by savages, 32; Creation of man, 33; Theories of birth, 34 Divine origin of the soul, 36; Mysteriousness of death, 38.  
Polypsychism. Early views of the number and functions of souls, 39 Civilized views, 43.
Future of the Soul. Belief in its death, 46; This belief transient, 51-53; Dwellingplace of the surviving soul in human beings, beasts, plants, or inanimate objects, -59; or near its earthly abode, 60-63; or in some remote place in earth, sea, or sky, 66-66 or in an underground world, 67-69; Occupations of the dead, 70; Retribution in the Underworld, 71 Nonmoral distinctions, 72-75; Moral retribution, savage, 76-78; Civilized, 79-80; Local separation of the good from the bad, 81 Reward and punishment, Hindu, 82 Egyptian, 83; Greek, 84 Jewish and Christian, 85, 86 Purgatory, 87 Resurrection, 88-90.  
Powers of the Separated Soul. Prayers for the dead, 95, 96.  
Genesis of Spirits. Functions of spirits (souls of nonhuman objects), 97-100.  
Predominance of ceremonies in early religious life, 101, 102 They are communal, 103; and sacred, 104.  
Emotional and Dramatic Ceremonies. Religious dances and plays, 106-108; Connected with the worship of gods, 109; Are means of religious culture, 110; Processions, 111; Circumambulation, 112; Magical potency, 113.  
Decorative and Curative Ceremonies. Decoration of the body, 114-118; of houses, 119; of official dress, 120; Symbolism in decoration, 121.  
Economic Ceremonies. Propitiation of hunted animals, 122-125; Taboos, 126; Rules about eating, 127-128; Magical means of procuring food, 129-131; Use of blood, 132; to fertilize soil, 133; Sacrifice of first-born animals, including children, 134; Raising and housing crops, 135; Rain, 136; Survivals in civilized times, 137.  
Apotropaic Ceremonies. Early methods, 138-139; Expulsion of spirits, 140-141; Transference of evil, 142, 143; Expulsion by sacrifice, 144; The massing of such observances, 145.  
Ceremonies of Puberty and Initiation. Training of the young, 146; Tests of endurance, 147; Seclusion of girls, 148; Rearrangement of taboos, 149; Supernatural machinery, 150; Mutilation of the body, 151, 152; Circumcision of males, its wide diffusion, 153; not a test of endurance, 154; nor hygienic, 155; nor to get rid of magical dangers, 156; nor to increase procreative power, 157; not religious in origin: not a form of phallic worship, 158; nor a sacrifice, 159, 160; nor a provision for reincarnation, 161; Circumcision of females, 162; Object of circumcision probably increase of sensual enjoyment, 163, 164; The symbolical interpretation, 165-168; Ceremonies of initiation to secure union with the clan, 169; Feigned resurrection of the initiate, 170; The lonely vision, 171; Instruction of youth, 172, 173; Initiation into secret societies, 174.  
Marriage Ceremonies. Simple forms, 176-178; The bride hiding, 179; Prenuptial defloration, 180; Introduction of a supernatural element, 181; View that all marriage-ceremonies are essentially religious, 182.  
Ceremonies at Birth. Parental care, 184; The couvade, 185; Child regarded as a reincarnation, 186; Ablutions and naming, 187; Child regarded as child of God, 188.  
Burial Ceremonies. Natural grief, 189; Propitiation of the dead by offerings at grave, 190; Ban of silence, 191; The dead regarded as powerful, 192; Social value of these ceremonies, 193.  
xiCeremonies of Purification and Consecration. Occasions of purification, 194-196; Methods: by water, sand, etc., 197-199; by sacrifice, 200; Purification of a whole community, 201; Consecration of private and official persons, 202, 203; Fasting, 204; its origin, 205-207; its religious effects, 208; Result of massing these ceremonies, 209.  
Ceremonies Connected With Seasons and Periods. Calendars, 210, 211; Lunar festivals, 212-214; Solar festivals, 215; Solstitial and stellar festivals, 216; Importance of agricultural festivals, 217; Joyous, 218; Licentious, 219; Offering of first fruits, 220; Sadness, 221; The eating of sacred food, 222; Long periods, 223; Social value of these ceremonies, 224.  
Savage treatment of superhuman Powers discriminating, 225-228; Charms and fetish objects, 229, 230; Life-force (mana), 231-233; not an object of worship, but enters into alliance with religion, 234, 235; Nature of sacredness, 236, 237; Luck, 238; The various objects of worship, 239, 240.  
Animals. Their social relations with men, 241, 242; Transformation and transmigration, 243; Two attitudes of men toward animals, 244-248; What animals are revered, 249, 250; Regarded as incarnations of gods or of spirits, 251; Those sacred to gods generally represent old beast-cults, 252, 253; Survivals of reverence for animals, 254; Beasts as creators, 255, 256; Worship rarely offered them, 257, 258; Coalescence of beast-cults with other religious observances, 259; Whether animals ever became anthropomorphic deities, 260; Historical significance of beast-cults, 261.  
Plants. Their economic rôle, 262-264; Held to possess souls, 265; Their relations with men friendly and unfriendly, 266, 267; Sacred trees, 268, 269; Deification of soma, 270; Whether corn-spirits have been deified, 271; Sacred trees by shrines, 272; Their connection with totem posts, 273; Blood-kinship between men and trees, 274, 275; The cosmic tree, 276; Divinatory function of trees, 277; Relation of tree-spirits to gods, 278-285.  
Stones and Mountains. Stones alive and sacred, 286-288; have magical powers, 289, 290; Relation between divine stones and gods, 291-295; Magna Mater, 291; Massebas, 293; Bethels, 294; Stones cast on graves, and boundary stones, 296; Stones as altars: natural forms, 297; artificial forms, 298; High pillars by temples, 299; Images of gods, 300, 301; Folk-stories and myths connected with stones, 302; Sacred mountains, 303-305.  
xii Waters. Why waters are regarded as sacred, 306-308; Ritual use of water, 309; Water-spirits, 310, 311; Water-gods, 312-314; Rain-giving gods, 315; Water-myths, 316; Gods of ocean, 317.  
Fire. Its sacredness, 318, 319; Persian fire-cult, 320; Ritual use of fire, 321-323; Its symbolic significance, 334; Light as sacred, 325.  
Winds. Their relation to gods, 327.  
Heavenly Bodies. Anthropomorphized, 328; Cosmogonic myths connected with them, 329, 330; Sex of sun and moon, 331; Whether they ever became gods, 332, 333; Thunder and lightning not worshiped, 334.  
Worship of Human Beings. Their worship widespread, with distinction between the living and the dead, 335.  
The Cult of the Living. Worship to be distinguished from reverence, 336; Worship of the living by savages, 337; by civilised peoples, 338; in Egypt, 339, 340; in Babylonia, 341; but there probably not Semitic, 342; not by Hebrews and Arabs, 343, 344; in China, 345; in Japan, 346; Whether by Greeks and Romans, 347; Not in India and Persia, 348; Cults of the living rarely important, 349.  
The Cult of the Dead. Of historical persons: noncivilized, 351; civilized: in Egypt, 352; in Greece and Rome, 353; in China, 354; of the Calif Ali, 355; Greek and Roman worship of mythical ancestors, 356, 357; Dedivinization of gods, 358; Euhemerism, 359; Worship of the dead kin, 360, 361; Ghosts friendly and unfriendly, 362; Savage customs: mourning, 363; funeral feasts, 364; fear and kindly feeling, 365, 366; Definite cult of ghosts: savage, 367-370; civilised, 371-373; Greek and Roman state cults, 374; Chinese, 375; Divine functions of the venerated dead, 376-378; Ethical power of ancestor-worship, 379-383.  
Cults of Generative Powers. Nature's productivity, 384-386; Not all customs connected with generation are religious, 387; Cult of generative organs, 388-406; widespread, 388; Nonreligious usages, 389, 390; Phallic cults hardly to be found among the lowest peoples, 391, 392; Well developed in West Africa, 393; in modern India, 394; in Japan, 395; Most definite in some ancient civilized religions, 396; In Egypt, 397; Whether in Semitic communities, 398; Hierapolis, 399; Babylonia and Palestine, 400; Extensively practiced in Asia Minor, Ionia, and Greece, 401; Priapos, 402, 403; The Roman Mutunus Tutunus, 404; Phalli as amulets, 405; The female organ, 406; Androgynous deities, 407-418; Supposed Semitic figures: Ishtar, 408; Ashtart, 409; Tanit, 410; The Cyprian goddess, 411, 412; The Phrygian Agdistis, 413; Hermaphroditos, 415, 416; Androgynous deities not religiously important, 417; Origin of the conception, 418; Animals associated with phallic deities, 419; Christian phallic cults, 420.  
The contrasted rôles of the two, 421.  
Totemism. Social protective clan customs, 422; Control of marriage by exogamic organization, 423-428; Theories of the origin of exogamy (scarcity of women, primitive promiscuity, absence of sexual attraction between persons brought up together, patriarch's jealousy, horror of incest, migration of young men) and criticism of them, 429-435; Diffusion and function of exogamy, 436-440; Definition of totemism, 441; Customs and beliefs associated with it, 442: exogamy, 443; names and badges, 444-448; descent from the totem, 449-451; refusal to kill or eat it, 452-459; magical ceremonies for increasing supply of food, 460, 461; Stricter definition of totemism, 462-465; Geographical distribution of totemic usages, 466-513; Australia, 468-473; Torres Straits Islands, 474, 475; British New Guinea, 476; Melanesia, 477-483; Micronesia and Polynesia, 484, 485; Indonesia, 486; India, 487; North America, 488-506; Africa, 507-513; Supposed traces in civilized peoples, 514-519; The permanent element in totemism, 520, 521; Conditions favorable and unfavorable to totemistic organization, 522; economic, 523-528; individualistic institutions (secret societies, guardian spirits), 529-537; political, 538; religious, 539, 540; The lines of progress to which totemism succumbs, 541.  
Theories of the Origin of Totemism, 542-559:  
Individualistic Theories. Confusion between names and things, 544; Animal or plant held to be the incarnation of a dead man, 545; Body of an animal as magical apparatus, 546; Animals as places of deposit of souls, 547; An object that influences a mother at conception, of which the child may not eat, 548; Animals and plants as incarnations of the souls of the dead, 549; Criticism, 550-552.  
Theories Based on Clan Action. A clan chooses an animal or plant as friend, 553, 554; The totem a clan badge, 555-557; Coöperation of groups to supply particular foods, 558; The totem a god incarnate in every member of a clan, 559; Summing-up on origin of totemism, 560-562; Social function of totemism, 563; Whether it produced the domestication of animals and plants, 564-569; Its relation to religion, 570-580; The totem as helper, 570-575; Whether a totem is ever worshiped, 576; or ever becomes a god, 577-580.  
Taboo. Its relation to ethics, 581-584; It has to do with dangerous objects and acts, 585, 586; Classes of taboo things, 587: those connected with the conception of life (parents and children), 588, 589; with death, 590, 591; with women and the relation between the sexes, xiv 592-594; with great personages, 595-597; with industrial pursuits, 589-600; with other important social events (expulsion of spirits, sacred seasons, war, etc.), 601-604; with the moon: fear of celest phenomena, 605; observation of lunations, 606; new moon and full moon, 607; Whether the Hebrew sabbath was originally a full-moon day, 608, 609; The seven-day week, 610; Prohibitions connected with lucky and unlucky days, 611-613; Punishment of violation of taboo, 614, 615; Removal of taboos, 616, 617; Taboo and magic, 618, 619; Modification of taboo by civil law, 620; Despotism of taboo, 621; Duration of taboo periods, 622; Diffusion of taboo customs, 623, 624; Traces in ancient civilized communities, 625; Indications of former general prevalence, 626, 627; Causes of disappearance, 628, 629; Rôle of taboo in the history of religion, 630-634.  
How gods differ from other supernatural beings, 635, 636; Early mythical founders of culture, 637-643.  
Clan Gods (including divinized men). In lower tribes, 644-647; In civilized nations, 648-651; One class of Greek "heroes," 652, 653; Historical importance of clan gods, 654.  
Departmental Gods. In half-civilised communities, 658-662; In Maya, Mexican, and Peruvian religions, 663-665; Among Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, 666-670; Supposed Semitic instances, 671; Tutelary deities of individuals, cities, and nations, 672, 673; Classes of departmental gods, 674: Creators, 675-679; Gods of the other world, 680-682: Good and bad Powers, 683-694; Conflict and adjustment, 684-688; Ethical dualism, 689; Man's attitude toward demons, 690-694; Gods of abstractions, 695-697: Semitic, 698-700; Egyptian, 701; Roman and Greek, 702; Aryan, 703; Absorption of specialized deities by great gods, 704-706.  
Nature Gods. Their characteristics, 707, 708; Cult of the sun, 709-713; of the moon, 714; of stars, 715-718.  
The Great Gods. Their genesis, 719, 720; Divine dynasties, 721-723; The supremacy of a particular god determined by social conditions, 724; Origin of composite figures, 725.  
Illustrations of the growth of gods, 725 ff.:  
Egyptians. Horus, 726; Ra, 727; Osiris, 728; Hathor, Neith, Isis, 729.  
Hindu. Varuna, 730; Indra, 731; Soma, 732; Vishnu and Çiva, 733; Dyaus and Prithivi, 734; Ushas (and Çaktism), 734; Yama, 735, 736.  
xv Persian. Ahura Mazda and Angro Mainyu, 737, 738; Mithra and Anahita, 739; Character of the Zoroastrian reform, 740-745.  
Chinese. Feeble theistic development, 746; Confucianism and Taoism, 747-749.  
Japanese. No great god, 750.  
Nature of Semitic theistic constructions, 751-755.  
Babylonian and Assyrian. Ea, 756; Enlil (Bel), 757; Marduk, 758; Ashur, 759; Female deities, 760; Bau, 761; Ishtar, 762, 763.  
Phoenician and Arabian. Melkart, Eshmun, Dusares, Al-Lât, Al-Uzza, 764.  
Hebrew. Yahweh, 765; The titles Ilu (El), Elohim, 766.  
Greek. The pantheon, 767; Zeus, 768, 769; Apollo, 770; Poseidon, 771; Hermes, 772; Pan, 773, 774; Ares, 775; Dionysus, 776-778; Hades, 779, 780; Female deities, 781: Hera, 782, 783; Demeter, 784; Maiden goddesses, 785: the Kore, 786; Hestia, 787; Artemis, 788, 789; Hekate, 790; Athene, 791, 792; Aphrodite, 793, 794; Breadth of the Greek theistic scheme, 795.  
Roman. Nature gods, 796, 797; Jupiter, 798; Janus, 799; Mars, 800; Saturn, 801; Deities of obscure origin, 802; Female deities, 803; Juno, 804; Vesta, 805; Diana, 806; Minerva, 807; Venus, 808, 809.  
Characteristics of the great ancient national religions, 810-818.  
Their historical value, 819, 820; Duration of the mythopœic age, 821; Period of origination of myths, 832; Similarity of myths throughout the world, 823-826; Classes of myths, 827:  
Cosmogonic. Creation of the world, 838-831; of man, 832, 833; Man originally not mortal, 834; Macrobiotes, 835; Primeval paradise, 835; Final destruction of the world, etc., 836-838.  
Ethnogonic, 839-841.  
Sociogonic, 842: Arts and ceremonies, 843-845; Relation between myth and ritual, 846; Social reforms, 847; Sacred places, 848.  
Astronomical, procellar, vegetation: astrological, 849, 850; Storm myths, 851; Certain heroes, 852, 853; Decay and revival of vegetation, 854, 855; Literary mythical histories, 856; Antagonism between light and darkness, 857, 858.  
Mingling of myth and legend, 859, 860; Original nature of a god given in popular observances, 861; Interpretation of myths, 862; Ancient, 863; Recent, 864-879; Influence of myths on dogmas and ceremonies, 880; Fairy lore, 881.  
Difference between their functions, 882.  
Magic. Science of magic, 883-885; Its methods, 886, 887; Relation between magic and religion, 888-890; Magic a social product, 891; Magicians, 893-894; Families, 895; Women, 895, 896; Tribes, 897; Power of the magician, 898; His methods, 899, 900; Attitude of civilised religions toward magic, 901, 902; Its persistent hold on men, 903; Its historical rôle, 904.  
Divination. Its nature and organization, 905, 906; Prophetic ecstasy, 907; Relations between magician, diviner, and priest, 908.  
  Divinatory signs, 909, 910; Signs without human initiation: omens, 911, 912; Prodigies, 913: Astrology, 914, 915; Words and acts of men, 916; Parts of the human body, 917; Signs arranged for by men: lots, 918; Haruspication, etc., 919, 920; Oneiromancy, 921-923; Ordeals, 924-926; Oracles and necromancy, 927; Development of the office of diviner, 928-932; Sibyls and Sibylline books, 933-940; Religious and ethical influence of divination, 941, 942.  
Groups into which the great religions fall, 943, 944.  
Polytheism. Differences between the polytheistic schemes of various peoples: Egyptian, Semitic, Indo-European, Mexican, Peruvian, 945-950; Extent of anthropomorphization of gods measured by richness of mythology: in savage and half-civilized communities, 952-954; Gradations of anthropomorphization in civilized peoples, 955-964; Religious rôle of polytheism, 965, 966; Dissatisfaction with its discordances, and demand for simplification of the conception of the divine government of the world, 967.  
Dualism. Belief of lower tribes in two mutually antagonistic sets of Powers, 968-972; Of the great ancient religions it is only Zoroastrianism that has constructed a dualistic system, 973-976; Whether a strictly dualistic scheme has ever existed, 977; Manichæism, 978; Problems raised by dualism, 979.  
Monotheism. The general movement toward it, 980, 981; Two theories of its origin: that it is the natural primitive form of religion, that it is the result of a primitive divine revelation, 982; The facts in the case: it is not now found in low tribes, 983-985; it is not visible in the popular cults of the great nations of antiquity, 986; But tendency toward a unitary conception of the divine government of the world, 987; Disposition to ascribe absoluteness to some one deity in xvii Egypt, Babylonia, Assyria, India, 988-991; Chinese headship of Heaven, 992; Peruvian cult of the sun, 993; Hebrew monolatry, 994, 995; Demand for unity by Greek poets and philosophers, 996-1001; Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, 1002; Cults of Isis and Mithra—Modern reforms: Brahma-Samaj, Parsi, Babist, Shinto, 1003.  
Pantheistic and Nontheistic Systems. Pantheism is a revolt against the separation of God and the world, 1004; Perplexing ethical and religious questions make it unacceptable to the mass of men, 1005; Nontheistic systems attempt to secure unity by taking the world to be self-sufficient, or by regarding the gods as otiose, 1006; The Sankhya philosophy dispenses with extrahuman Powers, but recognizes the soul—Buddhism ignores both, 1007; Greek materialism, 1008. General Survey of the Theistic Development, 1009 ff. Intervention of gods fixed by appeal to natural law, 1010; Persistence of belief in miracles, 1011; Constitution of the deity constructed by philosophy, 1012; His moral character determined by that of his worshipers, 1013.  
The external history of religion a history of social growth, 1014-1016.  
External Worship. Establishment of relations with Powers, 1017, 1018; by processes, 1019-1021; by gifts, 1022, 1023; by messengers, 1024, 1025; Blood is placatory as a gift of food, 1026; Human sacrifice, 1027-1031; Dances and processions, 1032; Preponderant importance of ordinary sacrifices—the various kinds, 1033-1035; Elaboration of the sacrificial ritual, 1036.  
Theories of the Origin of Sacrifice. Their formulation late, 1037; Bloody and unbloody offerings equal in expiatory virtue, 1038; Two groups of theories of origin, 1039: the offering as gift, 1040, 1041; as effecting union between deity and worshiper, 1042: by sharing the flesh of a sacred animal (Smith and Frazer), 1043-1047; Self-sacrifice of a god, 1048; Union through a sanctified victim (Hubert and Mauss), 1049, 1050; Union with the Infinite effected by all religious acts (Tiele), 1051, 1052; Persistence of these conceptions of sacrifice 1053, 1054.  
Ritual. Its growth in elaborateness along with the growth of social forms, 1055-1061.  
Priests. Regulation of the life, physical and moral, of priests and priestesses, 1062-1065; Origin of religious prostitution; secular and religious explanations, 1066; Organization and influence of the priesthood: Egyptian, 1067; Babylonian and Assyrian, 1068; Palestinian,xviii 1069; Hindu, 1070; Persian, 1071; Greek, 1073; Roman, 1073; Chinese, 1074; Peruvian and Mexican, 1075; Influence for good and for evil, 1076-1079; No priesthood in Islam or in Judaism after 70 A.D., 1080; Its function in some Christian churches, 1080.  
Worship. Early places of worship, 1081-1082; Development of temples, 1083-1086; Forms of worship: offerings, hymns, music, 1087, 1088; Festivals, 1089; Vows, blessings, curses, 1090; Idols: their formal development, 1091, 1092; Conception of their personality, 1093; Religious function of idolatry, 1094.  
Churches. Individualism called forth voluntary associations, 1095; Savage secret societies, 1096; Greek mysteries, 1097-1099; Whether the Semites produced mysteries, 1100; Rise of the idea of the church in the Græco-Roman world, 1101: Philosophy produced no church, 1102-1105; True churches produced by Buddhism and Jainism, 1106, 1107; not by Judaism and Mazdaism, 1108, 1109; Development of the Christian idea of the church, 1110-1112; A church called forth by the cult of Mithra, 1113; not by that of Isis or that of Sarapis, 1114; The Manichæan church, 1115; As to Islam and certain associations that have arisen within it (Mahdism, Drusism, etc.), 1116; Ecclesiastical power of the Peruvian Inca, 1117; Hindu and Persian movements, 1118-1120.  
Monachism. Its dualistic root, 1121; India its birthplace, 1122; Trace in Egypt (the Sarapeum), 1123; Therapeutae, 1124; Essenes, 1125; Christian monachism, 1126; Religious influence of monachism, 1127.  
Sacred Books. Their origin and collection, 1128; Canons: Buddhist, 1129; Jewish, 1130; Christian, 1131; Mazdean, 1132; Islamic, 1133; Religious influence of sacred books, 1134-1136; General influence of churches, 1137-1140.  
Universal Religions. Actual diffusion the test of universality, 1141; As to Buddhism, 1142; Judaism, 1143; Christianity, 1144; Zoroastrianism, 1145; Islam, 1146; So tested no existing religion is universal, 1147.  
Classification of Religions. Their resemblances and differences, 1148; Points in common, 1149; Proposed systems of classification, and objections to them: according to grade of general culture, 1150; division into national religions and those founded each by a single person, 1151; religions of redemption, 1151; Religious unity, savage and civilized, 1152; Disadvantages of tabulated classifications of religions, 1153.  


Spheres of religion, science and constructive ethics distinct, but tend to coalesce, 1154.  
The Scientific Element. When science clashes with religion, 1155: Phases in the relation between the two: when there is no knowledge of natural law—a crude conception of unity—no place for the miraculous, 1156; Rise of highly personalized deities who stand outside the world: age of miracles, 1157; Recognition of the domination of natural law—separation between science and religion, 1158; Higher conception of the unity of God and the world, 1159; Scientific theories held to be not a part of the content of religion, 1160.  
The Ethical Element. Religion adopts current ethical customs and codes, 1161; Both good, 1162; and bad, 1163; Mutual influence of religion and ethics, 1164, 1165; Religion infuses nobility and tenderness into ethics, 1166; Religious personalities; martyr, saint, 1167, 1169; Evil influence of religion on ethics, 1169; Contribution of religion to the sense of obligation to do right, 1170; Answers of religion to questions concerning the existence of moral evil, 1171; concerning man's moral capacity, 1172; concerning the essential goodness or badness of the world, 1173.  





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

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

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

4. Instead of complete friendliness and unfriendliness in early tribes we find more commonly between the two a middle ground of self-regarding equipoise. The savage, the half-civilized man, and the peasant often deal with superhuman Powers in a purely selfish commercial spirit, courting or neglecting them as they seem likely 3to be useful or not. The Central Australian (who may be credited with a dim sense of the superhuman) conducts his ceremonies, intended to insure a supply of food, apparently without the slightest emotion of any sort except the desire for gain.4 The Italian peasant, who has vowed a wax candle to a saint in return for a favor to be shown, does not scruple to cheat the saint, after the latter has performed his part of the agreement, by offering tallow instead of wax, if he thinks he can do so with impunity. A recusant deity is sometimes neglected or even kicked by way of punishment or to force him to give the desired aid, and a god or a saint is valued and sought after in proportion to his supposed ability to be useful.

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

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

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

8. The history of religion, which is a part of the history of thought, necessarily shows, as is observed above, a constant enlargement of the domain of natural law, and a consequent contraction of the direct action of the supernatural, though this does not always or generally lessen the conviction that the Supernatural Power, acting through natural law, controls all things. In this process, also, the conception of the attitude of the Supernatural Power is more or less definitely fixed; a formulation of signs is accomplished, whereby it is known whether the deity, at particular moments, is pleased or 5displeased, and whether a given deity is generally friendly or hostile. This method of determining the attitude of the deity continued into late stages of social life, and still exists even in professedly Christian communities.8

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

10. As far as our present knowledge goes, religion appears to be universal among men. There is no community of which we can say with certainty that it is without religion. There are some doubtful cases—for example, certain Australian tribes reported on by Spencer and Gillen, among whom it is difficult to discover any definite religious feeling: they offer no sacrifices or petitions, and appear to recognize no personal relations with any supernatural Power, beyond the belief that the spirits of the dead are active in their 6midst, causing sickness, death, and birth; nor is there any sign that they have lost earlier more definite beliefs.11 Yet they have solemn ceremonies in which human blood plays a great part, and these may have reference to the intervention of supernatural beings, the term "supernatural" being taken as expressing any mysterious fact lying outside of the common course of things. A mysterious being called Twan is spoken of in initiation ceremonies, chiefly, it seems, to frighten or train the boys. Is there an indication that the tribal leaders have risen above the popular belief in such a being? Experience shows that it is difficult for civilized men to get at the religious ideas of savages; and it is possible, in spite of the careful investigations thus far made, that the last word on Central Australian beliefs has not yet been spoken. A similar reserve must be exercised in regard to reports of certain other tribes, whose ceremonies and institutions have appeared to some European and American observers to be without a religious element.12

11. There is at present no satisfactory historical evidence (whatever psychological ground there may be, or whatever deduction from the theory of evolution may seem necessary) of the existence of a subreligious stage of human life—a stage in which there is only a vague sense of some extrahuman power affecting man's interests, without definition of the power, and without attempt to enter into social relations with it.13

12. True, in the great mass of existing savage humanity we find social and religious customs so definite that we are forced to suppose a long preceding period of development. It has even been 7held that traces of religious conceptions are discernible in the first surviving records of "prehistoric" man, the contemporary of the cave bear—a period separated from the earliest clear historical records by many millenniums;14 but, though the existence of such conceptions is by no means improbable, the alleged traces are too dim to build a theory on. The supposition of a continuous religious development from the earliest times is in accord with all that we know of human history, but, until more facts come to light, it will be prudent to reserve opinion as to the character of prehistoric religion.15

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

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

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

16. The internal history of religion is the history of individual religious emotional experience (a phenomenon that hardly appears at all in the records of early life), and becomes especially interesting only in periods of advanced culture. It is true that this experience9 is based on the whole reflective life of man, whose beginnings go back to the earliest times. Aspirations and ideals, connected especially with man's religious life, spring from the long line of experiences with which men have always been struggling. The central fact of the higher religious experience is communion and union with the deity, and the roots of this conception are found in all the religious ideas and usages that have been formulated and practiced in human history. The study of such ideas and practices is thus important for the understanding of the later more refined spiritual life, as in turn this latter throws light on its crude predecessors. It is no disparagement to the higher forms of thought that they have grown from feeble beginnings, and it does not detract from the historical value of primitive life that we must decline to credit it with depth and refinement. Every phase and every stadium of human experience has its value, and the higher stages must be estimated by what they are in themselves. In the history of religion the outward and the inward elements have stood side by side in a unitary experience. But, though the deeper feeling is necessarily more or less closely connected with the external history, it is an independent fact requiring a separate treatment, and will be only occasionally referred to in the present volume.




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

1. Nature of the Soul

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

19. For the basis of a universal fact of human experience we naturally seek a universal or essential element of human thought. In this case we must assume a natural or instinctive conviction of the existence of an internal life or being—a consciousness (at first 11doubtless dim and vague) of something diverse and separate from the visible physical being, a sense of mental activity in thought, feeling, and will.

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

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

22. Another accompaniment of the body that attracted the attention of early men was the shadow, for which the science of that day, unacquainted with optical laws, could account only on the supposition that it was a double of the man, another self, a something belonging in the same general category with the breath-soul, though usually distinguished from it.22 The shadow was 12regarded as a sort of independent objective being, which might be seized and destroyed, for example, by a crocodile, as the man passed along a river bank; yet, as it was the man, its destruction involved the man's death.23 The soul, regarded as a shadow, could not cast a shadow. Similarly one's reflection in water was regarded as a double of him.24

23. Blood was known by observation in very early times to be intimately connected with life, acquired the mystery and sacredness that attached to life, and has played a great part in religious ceremonies.25 As soul is life, a close relation between blood and soul appears in the thought of lower and higher peoples, though the relation is not always the same as that described above. The blood is sometimes said to be the soul,26 sometimes the soul is supposed to be in the blood as it is in the hair or any other part of the body. Blood could not be regarded as the soul in the same sense in which the breath, for example, was the soul—if the breath departed the man's life departed, but one could lose much blood without injury to vital power. It is not to be expected that the relation between the two should be precisely defined in the early stages of society. If Homer at one time speaks of the soul passing away through a wound and at another time of the blood so passing (death being the result),27 this variation must not be pressed into a statement of the exact identity of blood and soul. By the Californian Maidu the soul is spoken of as a 'heart', apparently by reason of the connection of the heart with the blood and the life.28 There is to be recognized, then, a vague identification of 'soul' and 'blood'; but in 13common usage the two terms are somewhat differently employed—'soul' is the vital entity, the man's personality, 'blood' is the representative of life, especially on its social side (kinsmen are of "one blood," but not of "one soul")29 and in offerings to the deity. Early man seems, in fact, to have distinguished between life and soul.30

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

25. While the soul of the living man was most commonly conceived of as a sublimated replica of the ordinary body, it was also 14supposed in some cases to take the form of some animal—an opinion that may have arisen as regards any particular animal from its appearance at a time when the soul was supposed to be absent from the body,32 and is to be referred ultimately to the belief in the identity of nature of animals and man. The souls of the dead also were sometimes supposed to take the shape of animals, or to take up their abode in animals33 or in trees (as in Egypt): such animals (tigers, for example) were commonly dangerous, and this theory of incarnation is an expression of the widely diffused belief in the dangerous character of the souls of the dead. In later, cultivated times the bird became a favorite symbol of the soul—perhaps from its swift and easy flight through the air.34

26. Savage science, though it generally identified the soul with the breath, and regarded it as a separate interior form, seems not to have attempted to define its precise locus, posture, and extension within the body—the early man was content to regard it as a vague homunculus. The whole body was looked on as the seat of life, and was sometimes eaten in order to acquire its qualities, especially the quality of courage.35 Life was supposed to reside in the bones as the solid part of the body, and these were preserved 15as the basis of a future life.36 But even in early stages of culture we find a tendency to specialize—courage, for example, was assigned particularly to the head and the heart, which were accounted the most desirable parts of a dead enemy.37 These organs were selected probably on account of their prominence—the heart also because it was the receptacle of the blood. The soul was located by the Indians of Guiana in the pupil of the eye.38

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

28. It is not clear how early the brain was supposed to be connected with the mind. Alcmæon of Crotona (5th cent. b.c.), who, according to Diogenes Laertius, wrote chiefly on medical subjects, is credited with the view that the brain was the constructor of thought.42 Plato suggests that the brain may be the seat of perception and then of memory and reflection, and calls the head the most divine part of man.43 Cicero reports that some persons looked on some part of the cerebrum as the chief seat of the mind.44 16In the Semitic languages the first occurrence of a term for 'brain' is in the Arabic.45 Some American tribes are said to regard the brain as the seat of the mind.46 The scientific Greek view appears to have been connected with medical research, but the process by which it was reached has not been recorded. The Arabic conception of the brain was probably borrowed from the Greeks.

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

30. The obvious difference in serious results between sleep and other cessations of the ordinary consciousness and activity led among some tribes to the supposition of a special dream-soul that could leave the body without injury to the man. It was believed by certain Greenlanders48 that a man going on a journey might leave his soul behind. It was a not uncommon opinion that souls might be taken out for a while, with friendly intent, to guard them during a period of danger (so in Celebes when a family moves into a new house). In Greenland, according to Cranz, a damaged soul might be repaired. Or the soul might be removed with evil intent by magic art—the result would be sickness or swoon; it was then incumbent on the sufferer or his friends to discover the hostile magician and counteract his work by stronger magic, or force him 17to restore the soul.49 On the other hand, the soul of a dead man might be so recalled that the man would live again, the usual agency being a god, a magician, or a prophet.

31. It has been and is a widespread opinion in low tribes that the life of a person is bound up with that of an animal or plant, or with the preservation of something closely connected with the person. This opinion springs from the conviction of the intimate vital relation between men and their surroundings. From the combination of these beliefs with the view referred to above50 that a man's soul might dwell in a beast or a plant, the idea of the hidden soul, common in folk-lore, may have arisen51—the idea that one might conceal his soul in some unsuspected place and then would be free from fear of death so long as his soul remained undisturbed.52 These folk-tales are products of the popular imagination based on materials such as those described above. From the early point of view there was no reason why the vital soul, an independent entity, should not lead a locally separate life.

2. Origin of the Soul

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

33. It was, however, thought necessary to account for the appearance of man (a clan or tribe) on earth, and his creation was generally ascribed to a supernatural being. Every tribe has its 18history of man's creation—the variety in the anthropogonic myths is endless, the diversities depending on the differences of general culture and of surroundings; but the essential point is the same in all; some god or other supernatural Power fashioned human creatures of different sex, whether with well-considered aim or by caprice is not said.

34. The first pair is thus accounted for in a simple and generally satisfactory manner. But the fact of the perpetuation of the tribe or the race appears to have offered serious difficulties to the savage mind. Some tribes are reported to be ignorant of the natural cause of birth. Some Melanesian women believe that the origin or beginning of a child is a plant (coconut or other), and that the child will be the nunu (something like an echo) of that thing or of a dead person (this is not the transition of a soul—the child takes the place of the dead person). In Mota there is a similar belief.53 The Central Australians, it is said, think that the birth of a child is due to the entrance of a spirit into the body of a woman54—every child is thus the reincarnation of some ancient person (an "ancestor"), and the particular person is identified by the sacred object (stone or tree, or other object) near which the woman is when she first becomes aware of the child within her; every such object (and there are many of them near any village) represents some spirit whose name is known to the old men of the tribe, and this name is given the child.55

35. Similar theories of birth are found among the Eskimo56 and the Khonds,57 in Melanesia,58 in West Africa,59 and elsewhere.60 Such 19views thus appear to have been widely diffused, and are in fact a natural product of early biological science. They embody the earliest known form of the doctrine of reincarnation, which is so important in the Buddhistic dogma.61 With it must be connected the fact that among many peoples (savage, half-civilized, and civilized) birth was intimately connected with supernatural beings, whence the origin of numerous usages: the precautions taken to guard the woman before delivery, the lustrations after the birth, the couvade, the dread of menstrual and seminal discharges, and further, customs relating to the arrival of boys and girls at the age of puberty.

36. At a later stage of culture the creation of the soul was distinguished from that of the body, and was generally regarded as a special act of the deity: the Hebrews conceived that the body was fashioned out of dust, and that the breath of life was breathed into it by God, so that man became a "living soul"62; Plato at one time63 thought that the soul of the world was created by God, out of certain elements, before the body, and was made prior to it in origin and excellence so that it should be its ruler, and that afterwards he placed separate souls in the various separate bodies; the immortal gods, says Cicero, have placed souls (animos) in human bodies, and the human soul has been plucked (decerptus) from the divine mind.64

37. In the early Christian centuries the question of how the soul came into the body was an intensely practical one—it was closely connected with the question of man's inherent sinfulness and his capacity for redemption. Tertullian's theory of the natural propagation of souls (traducianism), which involved the inheritance of a sinful nature, was succeeded on the one hand by the theory of preëxistence (adopted by Origen from Plato), and on the other hand by the view that every soul was an immediate creation of 20God (creationism, held by Jerome and others), these both assuming the natural goodness or untainted character of the soul at the birth of the human being.

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

3. Polypsychism

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

2140. In general, as to place and function during the man's life, the following classes of souls are distinguished: the vital soul, or the principle of life, whose departure leaves the man insensible or dead (Malagasy aina, Karen kalah, Eẃe 'ghost-soul'); the dream-soul, which wanders while the man is asleep (probably a universal conception in early stages of culture); the shadow-soul, which accompanies him by day (also, probably, universal); the reflection-soul (similar to the preceding); the beast-soul, or bush-soul, incarnate in a beast (among the Congoans, the Eẃe, the Tshi, the Khonds), with which may be compared the Egyptian view that revenant souls and Underworld shadows may assume the form of animals, and the Hindu metempsychosis. A particular responsible moral soul is also reported (among the Karens),70 but it is doubtful whether this is native; and still more doubtful are the Karen 'reason' (tsō) and the Khond beatified soul.71

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

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

2243. In the higher ancient religions there are only more or less obscure indications of an earlier polypsychic system. The Egyptian distinction between soul (bai), shadow (haibet), and double (ka) appears to involve such a system; but the Egyptologists of the present day are not agreed as to the precise interpretation of these terms.73 The Semitic terms nafs and ruḥ (commonly rendered 'soul' and 'spirit' respectively) are of similar origin, both meaning 'wind,' 'breath'; in the literature they are sometimes used in the same sense, sometimes differentiated. The 'soul' is the seat of life, appetite, feeling, thought—when it leaves the body the man swoons or dies; it alone is used as a synonym of personality (a 'soul' often means simply a 'person'). 'Spirit,' while it sometimes signifies the whole nature, is also employed (like English 'spirit') to express the tone of mind, especially courage, vigor. But, so far as the conception of an interior being is concerned, the two terms are substantially identical in the Semitic languages as known to us.74 And though, as is noted above, 'spirit' is not used for the human personality, it alone is the term in Hebrew for a class of subordinate supernatural beings standing in close relations with the deity.75 Greek literature seems to know only one personal soul (psyche, with which pneuma is often identical in meaning); a quality of nature (as in Semitic ruḥ) is sometimes expressed by pneuma ('spirit').76 The thymos appears in Homer to be merely a function of the psyche,77 in any case it does not represent a separate personality alongside of the psyche, and the same thing is true of the daimon. Similarly, in Latin, animus and 23anima are substantially synonyms78animus sometimes expressing tone of mind—and spiritus is equivalent to ruḥ and pneuma; the individual genius, with its feminine representative the juno, is a complicated and obscure figure, but it cannot be regarded as a separate soul.79

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

4. Future of the Soul

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

46. Death of the soul. The general belief has always been that the soul survived the man's death.81 There are, however, exceptions; the continued existence of the soul was not an absolutely established article in the savage creed. According to the reports of travelers, it would seem that among some tribes there was disbelief or doubt on this point. A West African native expressed his belief 24in the form of the general proposition, "The dead must die"; that is, apparently, the dead man must submit to the universal law to which the living are subject.82 In another African community some held and others denied that a spirit could be killed, and one man was certain that spirits lived long, but was not certain whether they ever died.83 Differences of opinion in regard to the fact of immortality are said to exist in Banks Islands.84 The Eskimos are reported as holding that the soul may be destroyed, and then, however, repaired.85

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

48. Complete extinction of the soul and the personality, in the case of certain persons, is found among the Fijians: in the long and difficult way to the Underworld, bachelors (as a rule), untattooed women, false boasters, and those men who failed to overcome in combat the "slayer of souls" (the god Sama) are killed and eaten.87 Something like this is reported of the Hervey Islands,88 New Zealand,89 the Hawaiians,90 and other tribes. Among the wild tribes of India, the Khonds and the Oraons, or Dhangars, hold to annihilation of the soul in certain cases.91 Miss Kingsley reports a specially interesting view in Congo to the effect that souls die when the family dies out.92 The ground of this sense of the solidarity of the living 25and the dead is not clear; the most obvious explanation is that the latter get their sustenance from the offerings of the former, and perhaps from their prayers; such prayers, according to W. Ellis,93 are made in Polynesia. This belief appears also in some advanced peoples: so the Egyptians,94 and apparently the Hindus.95

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

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

51. In the popular faith of the Semitic, Egyptian, Chinese, and Indo-European peoples there is no sign of an extinction of the personality after earthly death. The Babylonian dead all go to the vast and gloomy Underworld (Aralu), where their food is dust, and whence there is no return.98 The Old-Hebrew 'soul' (nephesh) continues to exist in Sheol. True, its life is a colorless one, without achievement, without hope, and without religious worship; yet it 26has the marks of personality.99 The fortunes of the spirit (ruḥ), when it denotes not merely a quality of character but an entity, are identical with those of the 'soul.'100 In India, belief in life after death has always been held by the masses, and philosophic systems conceive of absorption, not of extinction proper. Zoroastrianism had, and has, a well-developed doctrine of immortality, and the Egyptian conception of the future was equally elaborate. In China the cult of ancestors does not admit belief in annihilation.101 No theory of annihilation is found in connection with the Greek and Latin 'soul' and 'spirit' (psyche, pneuma; animus, anima, spiritus); the thymos is not a separate entity, but only an expression of the 'soul';102 and the Greek daimon and the Latin genius are too vague to come into consideration in this connection.103

52. Omitting the purely philosophical views of the nature and destiny of the soul (absorption into the Supreme God, or the Universal Force, is to be distinguished from annihilation), and the belief of certain Christian sects in the future annihilation of the wicked (based probably on a misunderstanding of certain Biblical passages104), it may be said that the rôle of the theory of extinction of the soul in the general development of religion has been an insignificant one. Beginning among the lowest tribes as an expression of belief in the universality of mortality, it assumed a punitive character in the higher savage creed, and was gradually abandoned by the religions of civilized peoples.

53. The belief in the continued existence of the soul, on the other hand, has maintained itself from the earliest known times to 27the present. The inquiry into the grounds of this survival belongs to the history of the doctrine of immortality, and will not be pursued here in detail.105 Doubtless it has been the increasing sense of the dignity of human nature, the conviction of the close connection of human life with the divine, and the demand for a compensation for the sufferings of the present (together with the instinctive desire for continued existence) that has led men to retain faith in the continued life of the soul. Modern beliefs in ghosts and in spiritualistic phenomena testify to the persistence of this article of faith.

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

55. 1. One of the earliest (and also one of the most persistent) views of the future of souls is that they are reborn or reincarnated as human beings, or as beasts or plants or inanimate things. It was not unnatural that, when a new human being came into the world, it should be regarded as the reproduction of a former human being, especially if the physiological conditions of birth were not understood;108 the basis of the belief may have been the general similarity between human forms, and, in some cases, the special similarity between the infant or the adult and some deceased person. 28An extension of the sphere of reincarnation would also naturally arise from the recognized kinship between man and other things, animate or inanimate.

56. Examples of these views are found in many parts of the world. Tylor109 and Marillier110 have collected instances of such beliefs among savage tribes in the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Oceania, as well as in higher religions (Brahmanism, Buddhism, Plato, Mani, the Jewish Kabbala, Swedenborg).111 Other instances of belief in rebirth in human beings or in animals are found among the ancient Germans,112 the people of Calabar,113 the Torres Straits islanders,114 the Central Australians,115 and the Yorubans.116

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

58. The higher forms of the theory introduced a moral element into the process of reincarnation—the soul ascends or descends in the scale of being according to the moral character or illumination of its life on earth.119 Thus it is given a practical bearing on everyday life—a result that is in accordance with all religious history, 29in which we find that religious faith always appropriates and utilizes the ethical ideas of its time.

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

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

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

62. It is also true that the mysterious is often dreadful; even now in civilized lands there is a general fear of a 'ghost.' Precautions are taken by savages to drive or keep the soul away: the 30doors of houses are closed, and noises are made. On the other hand, ghosts, as members of the family or the clan, are often regarded as friendly.125 Even during a man's lifetime his soul may be a sort of guide and protector—may attain, in fact, the rank of a deity;126 and after death it may become, as ancestor, the object of a regular cult.

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

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

65. Possibly in some cases it is the traditional original home of the tribe;129 more often, it would seem, some local or astronomical fact has given the suggestion of the place; one Egyptian view was that the western desert (a wide mysterious region) was the abode of the departed; it was a widespread belief that the dead went to where the sun disappeared beneath the horizon.130 Tribes living near the sea or a river often place the other world beyond the sea or the river,131 and a ferryman is sometimes imagined who sets souls 31over the water.132 Mountains also are regarded as abodes of the dead.133 It is not unnatural that the abodes of departed souls should be placed in the sky, whose height and brightness, with its crowd of luminous bodies, made it an object of wonder and awe, and caused it to be regarded as the dwelling place of the happy gods, with whom deserving men would naturally be. Sometimes the expanse of the upper air was regarded as the home of souls (as in Samoa), sometimes a heavenly body—the sun (in India), or the moon (in the Bowditch Islands), or the stars.134 The schemes being vague, several of these conceptions may exist side by side at the same place and time.

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

67. 4. A more decided separation between the living and the dead is made in the conception of the underground world as the abode of the latter. It was, however, only at a late period that this conception was carried far enough to make the separation effective. Among the Central Australians there were folk-stories of early men who traveled under the ground, but this is represented as merely an extraordinary way of getting from one place to another on the surface of the earth. Some North American tribes tell of an underground world inhabited by the ants and by beings similar to man, but those who live up on the earth are seen there only by accident, as when some hero dares the descent.135 The conception of a real subterranean or submarine hades is found, however, 32among many savage and barbarous peoples, as the Samoans, the inhabitants of New Guinea, the Zulus, the Navahos, the Eskimo, the Kafirs of the Hindu Kush, and others.136

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

69. A lower region offered a wide land for the departed, with the possibility of organization of its denizens. Ghosts gradually lost their importance as a factor in everyday life; sights and sounds that had been referred to wandering souls came to be explained by natural laws. Wider geographical knowledge made it difficult to assign the ghosts a mundane home, and led to their relegation to the sub-mundane region. Further, the establishment of great nations familiarized men with the idea that every large community should have its own domain. The gods were gradually massed, first in the sky, the ocean, and hades, and then in heaven. For the dead the first organization (if that term may be allowed) was in hades; the separation into heaven and hell came later. A specific divine head of the Underworld is found in Egypt, Babylonia and Assyria, India, 33Greece, Rome, but not in Israel. Such a definite system of government could exist only when something approaching a pantheon had been established; the Babylonians, for example, whose pantheon was vague, had also a vague god of hades.

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

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

3472. The earliest grounds of distinction are ritualistic and social; these occur among the higher savages and survive in some civilized peoples. The Fijians assign punishment in the other world to bachelors, men unaccompanied by their wives and children, cowards, and untattooed women.143 Where circumcision was a tribal mark, the uncircumcised, as having no social status, were consigned to inferior places in hades: so among the Hebrews.144 The omission of proper funeral ceremonies was held in like manner to entail deprivation of privilege in hades: the shade had an undesirable place below, as among the Babylonians and the Hebrews,145 or was unable to enter the abode of the dead, and wandered forlorn on the earth or on the border of the Underworld, as was the Greek belief.146 Exposure of the corpse to beasts and birds, making funeral ceremonies impossible, was regarded as a terrible misfortune for the dead.147

73. Such of these beliefs as relate to violations of ritual appear to spring from the view that the tribal customs are sacred, and from the consequent distinction between tribesmen and foreigners. All persons without the tribal mark were shut out from the privileges of the tribe, were outlaws in this world and the next; and those whose bodies were not properly disposed of lost the support of the tribal deities or of the subterranean Powers.148 It was also held that the body retained the form in which it went down to hades;149 hence the widespread dread of mutilation, as among the Chinese still. On the other hand the brave were rewarded.150

74. Sometimes earthly rank determines future conditions—a natural corollary to what is stated above (§72 f.). A distinction is made between nobles and common people in the Bowditch Islands.151 The members of the Fijian Areoi Society are held to enjoy special privileges in the other world.152 The belief in the Marquesas Islands is that the sky is for high gods and nobles.153 According to John Smith, 35in savage Virginia only nobles and priests were supposed to survive after death.154 The North American Mandans (of Dakota), according to one view, assign to the brave in the hereafter the delightful villages of the gods.155 When souls are supposed to enter into animals different animals are assigned to nobles and common men.156 Kings and nobles retain their superiority of position and are sometimes attended by their slaves and officers.157

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

76. The advance to the conception of moral retribution hereafter could take place only in communities in which earthly life was organized on a moral basis. The beginning of the movement is seen in certain savage tribes. Savages have their codes, which generally recognize some ethical virtues among the tribal obligations. 36Stealing, lying, failure in hospitality, cowardice, violation of marital rights—in general, all the acts that affect injuriously the communal life—are, as a rule, condemned by the common sense of the lowest peoples, and the moral character of the gods reflects that of their worshipers. By reason of the sense of solidarity the faults of individuals affect not only themselves but also their communities, and the gods care for communities as well as for individuals. Whenever, then, there is an inquest in the other world, these faults, it is likely, will be punished. On account of the paucity of our information, it is not possible to make a general statement on this point, but examples of future moral control occur in many savage creeds.161 In such systems the nature of the life beyond the grave is variously conceived: sometimes as cheerless and gloomy (as in Finland), sometimes as pleasant (as in Samoa, New Guinea, New Caledonia, Bowditch Islands, some North American tribes, Brazil).162

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

78. In the published reports of savage beliefs there is not always mention of a formal examination of the character of the dead, and probably nothing of the sort was imagined by the lowest tribes. It appears, however, in such relatively advanced peoples as the Fijians166 and the Khonds.167

3779. Moral retribution proper is found only in great civilized nations and not in all of them; the early Semites appear to have retained the old conception of punishment for ritual faults or failures, and for offenses against the national welfare. For the Hebrews the proof is found in the Old Testament passim; in the Babylonian and Assyrian literature, as far as published, there is one sign of departure from the scheme sketched in the Descent of Ishtar: Hammurabi (ca. 2000 B.C.) invokes the curses of the gods on any one who shall destroy the tablet of his penal code, and wishes that such a one may be deprived of pure water after death. In regard to the South Arabians, the pre-Mohammedan North Arabians, and the Aramæans, we have no information; and for the Phœnicians there is only the suggestion involved in the curse invoked on those who violate a tomb, and in the funeral ceremonies.168 But the same general religious ideas prevailed throughout the ancient Semitic area, and we may probably assume that the Hebrew conception was the universal one.

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

3881. This ethical constitution of the life hereafter led to the local separation of the good from the bad. Such a separation was imagined by comparatively undeveloped peoples whose ethical principle was chiefly ritualistic, as, for example, the Fijians, the American Indians, and by civilized peoples in their early stages, the Vedic Hindus170 (Yama's abode in the sky, and a pit) and the Greeks (the Homeric Elysian Fields, and Tartarus).171

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

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

3984. As regards the early Greek eschatological scheme, it is suggested by S. Reinach174 that the descriptions of punishments in Tartarus (as in the cases of Tantalus and others) arose from misunderstood representations of the condition of the dead in the other world, they being represented either as engaged in the occupations of this life, or as they were at the moment of death. The great punishments, in fact, are assigned only to heroic mythical offenders, but there seems to be no reason why the idea of retribution should not be supposed to enter into such descriptions. Separation of the good from the bad on ethical grounds appears in Greece in the time of Plato. In various passages he describes the savage places (Tartarus and others) to which criminals go after death, and the happy abodes of the virtuous.175 These abodes were not with the gods; the occasional translations to heaven (Heracles, Ganymede) are exceptional honors paid to heroes and favorites.

85. The Jewish conception of a punitive future belongs to the Greek period of Jewish history, and was probably developed on Hebrew lines under Greek and Egyptian influence. A combination of the Old Testament view of future retribution on earth with the conception of torture in the other world is given in Enoch.176 In some circles Sheol was placed in the West and divided into two regions, one of happiness, the other of punishment,177 or the good dwell with the angels in heaven, the bad in hell.178 By others the abodes of the dead were placed in the heavenly regions: of the seven heavens, the second was assigned to the bad and the third to the good.179 With all the variation of locality, the separation of the bad from the good is made permanent, and this distinction is maintained in the New Testament, which throughout assigns the wicked to hell (Gehenna or Tartarus), while the righteous dwell sometimes on the renovated earth, sometimes in the heavenly regions.180

4086. The Jewish and Christian books mentioned above content themselves with the general statement that the punishment of the wicked will be torture by fire and cold. Succeeding Christian books elaborated the picture of torture with great ingenuity; the Apocalypse of Peter, following and expanding the description of Plato and Enoch, has an elaborate barbarous apparatus of punishment, and this scheme, continued through a series of works,181 has its culmination in Dante's Inferno, where, however, the ethical element is pronounced, though colored by the poet's likes and dislikes.

87. Purgatory. The wicked dead were not always left hopeless in their place of punishment. Kindly human feeling (shown in early stages by pious care for the well-being of the dead) and the analogy of earthly procedures, civil and religious, led to the view that, after the expiation of faults by suffering, the evildoer might be freed from his prison and gain a place of happiness. Pardon and purification were effected on earth by punishments (scourging, imprisonment, etc.) or by ritual processes (ablution, fastings, etc.)—why not in the other life? In some systems of transmigration the man, forced after death to assume a lower form, may rise by good conduct to a higher form. In Plato's imaginative construction of the Underworld182 those who have lived neither well nor ill are purified in the Acherusian lake and then receive rewards according to their deserts; and those who have committed great but not unpardonable crimes may come to the lake (after having suffered the pains of Tartarus) and be freed from trouble if they obtain pardon from those they have wronged. But as here, so hereafter, certain offenses were regarded as unpardonable. The purgatorial conception passed into patristic and Roman and Eastern Christianity and Talmudic and Medieval Judaism.183

88. Resurrection. The doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, which has been fully developed only by the Persians and the Jews (and from them taken by Christianity and Islam), appears to have 41grown from simple beginnings. It is the expression of the conviction that the perfect man is made up of soul and body, and its full form is found only in periods of high ethical culture. But in very early times the belief in the intimate connection between body and soul appears in the care taken among certain peoples to preserve the bones or the whole body of the deceased as a possible future abode for the soul;184 and, on the other hand, as the soul, it was held, might return to the body and be dangerous to the living, means were sometimes employed to frighten it off. It seems to have been believed in some cases that the destruction of the body involved the destruction of the soul (New Zealand). An actual entrance of a departed soul into a human body is involved in some early forms of the doctrine of reincarnation,185 but this is not the restoration of the dead man's own body. It was held in Egypt (and not improbably elsewhere) that the soul after death might desire to take possession of its own body, and provision was made for such an emergency; but this belief seems not to have had serious results for religious life. A temporary reunion of soul and body appears in the figure of the vampire, which, however, is a part of a popular belief and religiously not important. But these passing beliefs indicate a general tendency, and may have paved the way for the more definite conception of bodily restoration.

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

4290. The birthplace of this latter doctrine appears to have been the region in which Mazdaism arose, the country south of the Caspian Sea. Windischmann infers from Herodotus, iii, 62, that it appears as a Mazdean belief as early as the sixth century B.C.187 This is doubtful, but it is reported as a current belief by Theopompus.188 Its starting-point was doubtless the theory of reincarnation, which, we may suppose, the Iranian Aryans shared with their Indian brethren. Precisely what determined the Iranian movement toward this specific form of reincarnation we have no means of knowing. It may be due to the same genius for simple organization that led the Zoroastrians to discard the mass of the old gods and elevate Ahura Mazda to the chief place in the pantheon; their genius for practical social religious organization may have induced them to select human reincarnation as the most natural and the most effective morally, and to discard other forms as unworthy.189 The dead man's own body would then be the natural dwelling place of his soul; but a refined body (as in 1 Cor. xv) might be regarded as better suited to the finer life of the future. Whatever the cause, they adopted this conception, and probably through their influence it passed to, or was formulated by, the Jews, among whom it appears in the second century B.C. (in the Book of Daniel).190 In Daniel and 2 Maccabees resurrection is confined to the Jews; in Enoch it is sometimes similarly confined, sometimes apparently universal.191 In the New Testament also the same diversity of statement appears; resurrection seems to be confined to believers in some 43passages192 and to be universal in others.193 In the former case it is regarded as a reward of piety and as a consequence of the intimate relation between the man and God or Christ; unbelievers then remain in hades, where they are punished. But universal resurrection was probably thought of as involved in the grandiose conceptions of a final judgment and a final moral restoration.194

5. Powers of the Soul

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

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

93. The practical question for the early man is the determination of the relation of departed souls to earthly life. Among savage tribes their attitude is sometimes friendly, sometimes unfriendly, 44more often the latter.195 To fear the unknown is a human instinct. Shades are looked on as aliens, and aliens are generally enemies. In particular, ghosts are conceived of as sometimes wandering about in search of food or warmth, or as cherishing enmity toward persons who had wronged them in their earthly life. They are supposed to be capable of inflicting disease or pain, and precautions are taken against them. Cases are reported of persons who killed themselves in order that, as ghosts, they might wreak vengeance on enemies.196 On the other hand, to the members of its own family the departed soul is sometimes held to be friendly, or not unfriendly, but among savages it is not thought of as a potent and valuable friend.

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

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

4596. A trace of such care for the deceased may be found in the Brahmanic ceremonies intended to secure complete immortality to fathers.200 In Egypt, in the later times, there was an arrangement for securing for the deceased immunity from punishment for moral offenses: a sacred beetle of stone, inscribed with a charm beginning "O my heart, rise not up against me as a witness," laid on the breast of the mummy, silences the heart in the presence of Osiris, and the man, even though guilty, goes free. Forms of charms were prepared by the priests, and the name of any one who could pay was inserted in blanks left for this purpose.201 This sort of corrupting procedure was reproduced in some periods of Christianity. In the early Church a custom existed of receiving baptism on behalf of such as died unbaptized;202 here, apparently, a magical efficacy was ascribed to the act. The first mention of prayer for the dead occurs in a history of the Maccabean wars, where a sin-offering, accompanied by prayer, effects reconciliation for certain soldiers who died in a state of sin (idol symbols were found on their persons).203 Prayer for the dead has been largely developed in Christianity and Islam.204

6. Genesis of Spirits

97. As early science identified life with the soul, it logically attributed a soul to everything that was regarded as living. This category seems to have embraced all the objects of the world—human beings, beasts, plants, weapons, rocks, waters, heavenly bodies. Savages rarely formulate their ideas on such a subject, but the belief in the future existence of nonhuman as well as human things is fairly established by the widespread practice of slaying animals at the tomb and burying with the dead the objects they are supposed to need in the other world. This custom exists among many tribes at 46the present day, and the contents of ancient tombs prove its existence in former times. The dead are provided with clothing, implements of labor, weapons, ornaments, food, and as these objects remain in their mundane form by or in the grave, it is held that their souls pass with the souls of their possessors into the world beyond. Further, the belief in transformation from human to nonhuman forms and vice versa involves the supposition of life in all such things. That the heavenly bodies, similarly, are supposed to be animated by souls appears from the fact that they are regarded as manlike in form, thought, and manner of life: the sun is frequently represented as a venerable man who traverses the sky—the moon being his wife, and the stars their children; and sun and moon sometimes figure as totems. This general conception has been expanded and modified in a great variety of ways among different peoples, but the belief in the anthropomorphic nature of the astral bodies has been an element of all religions except the highest.

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

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


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




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

102. In the earliest stages known to us these procedures are already elaborate and distinct; they are generally conducted by the tribal leaders (old men, chiefs, magicians), by whom they are handed down from generation to generation.208 Their precise origin is lost in the depths of antiquity. Doubtless they arose from social needs, and their precise forms were suggested by crude observation and 49reasoning. Reflection on processes of nature, guided sometimes by fortunate or unfortunate accidents, may have led to the establishment of methods of procedure for gaining social and individual ends; and, as at this formative period the whole life of the community was permeated by religious conceptions, the procedures either were originally religious or speedily took on a religious coloring.

103. Two characteristics belong to early ceremonies: they are communal, and they are generally sacred mysteries. Whatever be the origin of the tribal and clan institutions of society, these are practically universal in the world as it is now known. Even in the few cases where men live in the comparative isolation of individual family groups (as the Eskimo, Fuegians, and others are said to do209), there is a communal feeling that is shown in the identity of customs and ideas among the isolated groups. In early man there is little individuality of thought or of religious experience,210 and there is no observable difference between public and private religious worship. Ceremonies, like language, are the product of social thought, and are themselves essentially social. When a man performs an individual religious act (as when he recognizes an omen in an animal or bird, or chooses a guardian animal or spirit, or wards off a sickness or a noxious influence), he is aware that his act is in accordance with general usage, that it has the approval of the community, and that its potency rests on the authority of the community. It is true that such communal character belongs, in some degree, to all religious life—no person's religion is wholly independent of the thought of his community; but in the lower strata the acceptance of the common customs is unreflective and complete. When definite individualism sets in, ceremonies begin to lose their old significance, though they may be retained as mere forms or with a new interpretation.

50104. That the ceremonial observances are usually sacred is obvious from all the descriptions we have of them. Their power is not always attributed to the action of external personal, supernatural agencies (though such agencies may have been assumed originally); in many cases, it is held to reside in themselves.211 They are sacred in the sense that they are mysterious, acting in a way that is beyond human comprehension and with a power that is beyond human control.212 They are efficacious only when performed by persons designated or recognized by the community. Here there is undoubtedly a dim sense of law and unity in the world, based on an interpretation of experiences. This is a mode of thought that runs through the whole history of religion—only, in the earliest stages of human life, it is superficial and narrow. The earlier ceremonial customs contain the germs and the essential features of the later more refined procedures.

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

Emotional and Dramatic Ceremonies

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

Words and melodies are simple and rude; they are the productions of individual singers, often, of course, made from a stock 51of material common to all members of the clan or the tribe. In Australia songs are thought to be obtained by bards during sleep from the souls of the dead (sometimes from Bunjil), or the bard is possessed by the soul of a beast; chants are employed in magical ceremonies, and there are lullabies and other children's songs.214 The Muscogee "Song of the Sabbea" is very sacred.215 In West Africa minstrels recite song-stories, every story being attached to an object (bone, feather, etc.).216 Songs are chanted at festivals in Guiana (and at night men tell endless stories).217

107. The movements of the dance are sometimes in imitation of those of animals,218 sometimes spontaneous, and sometimes from our point of view indecent. The indecency and obscenity originated and has continued in a period when no moral element entered into such performances—they simply follow animal instincts and impulses, are controlled by them, and appear usually not to affect the customs relating to marriage and chastity (so in the Areoi festivities of Tahiti, and among the Central Australians219).

108. In accordance with the law by which religion appropriates social customs, the dance is devoted to religious purposes and acquires a sacred character.220 It is a common ceremony as a preparation for war: the warriors of the tribe jump about with violent gesticulations and shouts, brandishing weapons and mimicking the acts of attacking and slaying enemies.221 Here, doubtless, the object is partly to excite the men to fury and thus prepare them for combat, but there is also the conviction that the ceremony itself has a sacred potency.222 A similar occult power is attached to dancing 52in Timorlaut, where, when a ship is at sea, the girls sing and dance on the beach daily to bring the men back.223 There are dances in commemoration of the dead224—apparently a combination of affection and homage, with the general purpose of conciliating the departed and procuring their aid; the belief being, apparently, that the dead see these demonstrations and are pleased with them. A Ghost Dance formerly performed in California had for its object bringing back the dead.225

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

110. Thus combined with other ceremonies, dances become important means of religious culture. In Greece dances were connected with many cults, among others with the Dionysiac ceremonies, out of which grew the Greek drama. Among the Hebrews the ancient ceremonial dance appears as late as the time of David,229 though it was then, perhaps, falling into desuetude, since his wife, Michal, is disgusted at his procedures. The violent movement of the dance excites not only warlike rage but also religious ecstasy, and has been used abundantly for this purpose by magicians, prophets, and 53mystics; the performer is regarded as a vehicle of divine revelation, all abnormal excitement being ascribed to possession by a spirit.230

111. With dances may be classed processions, in which usually a god is invoked or praised. In Ashantiland, in time of war, when the men are with the army, processions of women, wives of the warriors, march through the streets, invoking the gods on behalf of the absent men.231 Often the performers bear a sacred object, as a stone (sometimes inclosed in a box232), a boat, or an image; in early times such objects not only represent the gods but actually embody them, or are themselves superhuman Powers.

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

113. Sacred dances and processions are natural human expressions of emotions that have been adopted by religious sentiment, and are often supposed to have potency in themselves. They tend to disappear with the progress of general refinement and of ethical conceptions of life and of deity. They continue, however, far into the civilized period, in which we find dramatic representations (as 54the Eleusinian rites and the medieval Mystery Plays), processions of priests bearing or conducting sacred objects, processions of devotees with music, and pilgrimages to shrines. Such ceremonies, while they are regarded by educated persons simply as expressions of reverence and accompaniments of prayer, are still believed by many to have an innate or magic potency, insuring prosperity to the participants.

Decorative and Curative Ceremonies

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

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

116. These latter, made according to tribal custom and law, become tribal marks (tattoo), and are then essential to one's standing in the community. This custom is general in Polynesia and in 55parts of North America.238 The use of oil and other unguents early established itself as a custom of savage society. They were probably useful in a variety of ways. For the hair they made up for the absence of comb and brush; in combat they enabled the warrior to slip from the grasp of his enemy; they defended the naked body from rain, and from soiling and injury produced by contact with the earth and hard bodies; and in sickness they were regarded as curative.239 Oil was abundantly used as an article of food.

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

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

56119. Decoration has been and is largely employed in structures and dress connected with religious life. Posts and beams of houses, totem posts and masts of vessels are covered with figures in which artistic feeling is discernible;245 and in late periods all the resources of art are devoted to the form and adornments of temples, altars, and images. The designs are taken from familiar objects, mostly from plants and animals. The ultimate motive is love of ornament, which, while it finds abundant expression in ordinary social life, has its greatest development in religion—a natural result of the fact that in a large part of human history religion has been the chief organizing factor of society.

120. The tendency has been to make the dress of ministers of religion ornate.246 This tendency has arisen partly from love of ornament, and partly, doubtless, it is the transference of court customs to religious ceremonial.247

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

57Economic Ceremonies

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

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

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

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

58126. Precautions are taken to guard against antagonistic extrahuman influences; there are taboos and rules of purification in preparation for hunting. In New Guinea hunters are required to abstain from certain sorts of food and to perform purificatory ceremonies.253 Among the Nandi some men are forbidden to hunt, make traps, or dig pits for game;254 these men, it would seem, are supposed to be, for ceremonial reasons, antipathetic to the animals to be hunted, as, on the other hand, there are men who attract game.255 The taboos of food and other things imposed are doubtless intended to guard against malefic spirits or mana. The particular rules are determined by local conditions.

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

128. In Central Australia, where every clan is charged with the duty of procuring a particular food (its totem) for the tribe, the custom is that when the product of hunting or gathering is brought in to be thrown into the tribal store, the principal men of the hunting group begin by eating a little of the food, after which the food is 59licit for the rest of the tribe but illicit for the hunters.258 This custom has been held to have a sacramental significance; it has been suggested that the food is sanctified by the touch of the elders and thus made lawful for the tribe, or that, as naturally sacred, it secures, when eaten, union between the eater and a superhuman Power. But there is no hint of such a conception in the Australian ceremony or elsewhere. The procedure is obligatory and solemn—to omit it would be, in the feeling of the people, to imperil the life of the tribe; but all such usages are sanctified by time. We should rather seek for the origin of the custom in some simple early idea. It is not unusual, in parts of Australia and in other lands, that a man, though he may not eat his totem, may kill it for others; the eating in this case is the important thing—there is magical power in it—and the economic obligation to provide food overbears the sense of reverence for the totem. The only obscure point in the ceremony under consideration is the obligation on the killer or gatherer to taste the food before he gives it to his fellows. This may be a survival of the rule, known to exist among some tribes, that in a hunting party he who kills an animal has the first right to it. The Australian hunter cannot eat his totem, but he may hold to his traditional right; the result will be the custom as it now exists. With our present knowledge no quite satisfactory explanation of the origin of this particular rule can be given.

129. The employment of magical means for procuring food appears in the performance of ceremonial dances, in the use of charms, the imitation of animals, and other procedures. In California the supply of acorns and animals is supposed to be increased by dances.259 The New Guinea Koita give their hunting dogs decoctions of sago and other food into which are put pieces of odoriferous bark;260 these charms are said to have been got from the Papuans, the lowest race of the region. A Pawnee folk-story (which doubtless reflects a current idea) tells how a boy by his songs (that is, magic 60songs or charms) brought the buffalo within reach of his people.261 Among the Melanesians of New Guinea the hunting expert plays a great rôle—his presence is necessary for the success of an expedition.262 He fixes the date of the hunt, prepares himself by a series of abstinences,263 and at the appointed time assembles the men, recites spells addressed to ancestors, and passing along the lines of the hunters imitates the movements of the animal sought.264

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

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

132. The employment of blood (considered as the locus of life) may indicate more definitely a sense of the unity of life-force; the human blood is, perhaps, supposed to stimulate life in the kindred animal group, and so to produce a large supply of individuals. In 61the published accounts there is no hint that the blood is supposed to have atoning power. There is no sense of wrongdoing or unworthiness on the part of the performers, or of any relation to a deity. The theology of Central Australia is still obscure—the general religious situation in that region has much that is enigmatical.

133. A more advanced ritual occurs among certain agricultural tribes, among whom is found a more elaborate use of blood and a definite recognition of superhuman beings. In these communities it is regarded as necessary to profitable tilling to fertilize the soil with the blood of a slain victim, sometimes human (as among the Khonds of Orissa, the Pawnees, and others267), sometimes bestial (as in Southern India268); parts of the victim's flesh are buried, or blood is sprinkled on the seed, and homage is paid to a sacred stone or some similar object.

134. In more civilized agricultural communities these ceremonies persist in attenuated form. There is a sacrifice of first-born animals to a deity and an offering of the first fruits of the field; and as children, no less than crops, are the gift of the gods, whose bounty must be recognized, it is not surprising to find that, along with the first fruits of the field, first-born children are sometimes sacrificed to the deity. Such a custom is reported as existing or having existed in New South Wales, Florida, East Africa, heathen Russia, the Fiji Islands, and Northern India.269 A trace of the custom among the early Hebrews is, probably, to be recognized in the provision of the Old Testament code that the first-born children are to be redeemed by an animal sacrifice.270

135. In the course of time many ceremonies grew up in connection with the procuring and housing of crops and other supplies. In Australia the men of the clan charged with assuring any sort of food were unarmed and fasted during their ceremony.271 Among the Kondyan plowing and sowing are solemn seasons, an auspicious 62day is chosen, and there are religious songs and choruses.272 For the Hos of Northeastern India the harvest home is a great festival, held with sacrifice and prayer (though also with great license of manners).273 A dim conception of law underlies all these procedures. The law is sometimes natural, as in imitative processes, sometimes religious, as when blood is employed or the agency of religious official persons is called in.

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

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

Apotropaic Ceremonies

138. The savage and half-civilized belief (a belief that has survived to some extent in civilized communities) is that the ills that afflict or threaten a community (such as epidemics and shortage of crops) are due not to natural causes but to supernatural agencies. 63But man, it is held, may control the hostile supernatural agents—they are subject to fear and other emotions, and though powerful are not omnipotent; they may be expelled or otherwise got rid of—violence may be used against them, or the aid of stronger supernatural Powers may be called in. In pursuance of these ends ceremonies have been devised in many parts of the world; though differing in details they are alike in principle; the question is how man may become the master of the demons. The ceremonies are sometimes performed on the occasion of particular afflictions, sometimes are massed at stated seasons, as at the beginning of the year or in connection with some agricultural festival.

139. Man's defensive attitude toward the supernatural world appears in many usages connected with ordinary life. Fear of the hostility of ghosts has led surviving friends to take precautions against their return—their own houses are closed to them and they are driven away with blows.277 They are too near akin to be trusted, and they are believed to be able and willing to do harm.278 At the other extreme of life, when the child comes into the world, mother and child must be guarded against hostile demonic influences.279 When a demon is known to have entered into a human being, producing sickness or madness, exorcism must be resorted to; magicians, prophets, and saints are able by ceremonies or by prayer to expel the intruder and restore the afflicted to health. Ritual taint (which is supernatural), incurred, for example, by touching a dead body, is removed by sprinkling with sacred water.280

140. But the term "apotropaic" is generally used of expulsive ceremonies in which a whole community takes part. In the simplest forms of procedure the hostile spirits are driven out of the village by shouts and blows; crowds of men rush through the streets, searching houses, expelling spirits at every possible point of ingress, and finally forcing them outside the limits of the community. Examples of such a custom are found in the Pacific 64Islands, Australia, Japan, Indonesia, West Africa, Cambodia, India, North America (Eskimo), South America (Peru),281 and there are survivals in modern Europe. In China this wholesale expulsion is still practiced in a very elaborate form.282 Among the Ainu, it is said, on the occasion of any accident the "spirit of accidents" (a useful generalization) is driven away by the community.283 In these cases the spirits are thought of as being in a sort corporeal, sensitive to blows, and also as afraid of noise. There is sometimes a combination of natural and supernatural conceptions: while the violent expulsive process is going on the household utensils are vigorously washed by the women; washing, known to cleanse from mere physical dirt, here also takes on, from its association with the men's ceremony of expulsion, a supernatural potency—it removes the injurious mana of the hostile spirits.

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

142. The particular method of expulsion or transference is immaterial.285 The troublesome evil may be carted or boated away according to local convenience, or it may depart in the person of an animal. Leprous taint is transferred to a bird, which, having been dipped in the blood of a sacred animal, is allowed to fly away carrying the taint off from the community.286 Even moral evils (sin) may thus be got rid of. In the great Hebrew annual ceremony of atonement not only the ritual impurity of the sanctuary and 65the altar, but also the sin of the nation, is laid on a goat and sent away to the wilderness demon, Azazel.287

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

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

66145. Apotropaic ceremonies appear to have been performed originally at various times during the year as occasions arose; the increasing pressure of occupations,292 the necessity of consulting people's convenience, and the demand for order and precision led here (as in other cases) to the massing of the observances. When so massed they begin to lose their original significance, to yield to the knowledge of natural law, to be reinterpreted from time to time, and finally to become mere social events or to be dropped altogether. Apotropaism has hardly survived at all in the higher religions.293 In popular customs it appears in the reliance placed on horseshoes and other objects as means of keeping witches and similar demonic things out of houses.294

Ceremonies of Puberty and Initiation

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

147. Among the details of the initiation of boys, tests of endurance occupy a prominent place. In various ways the capacity of the lad to endure physical pain or to face apparent dangers is 67tested,295 and in some cases one who fails to stand such tests is refused admission into the clan and forever after occupies an inferior and despised position. Such persons are sometimes treated as women; they are required to wear women's dress and to do menial work.296

148. The seclusion of girls on arriving at the age of puberty, with imposition of various taboos (of food, etc.), is a widespread custom. The mysterious change in the girl is supposed to be produced by some supernatural and dangerous Power, and she is therefore to be shielded from contact with all injurious things. The details of the procedure depend on local ideas, but the principle is the same everywhere. The object is the preparation of the girl for civic life, and the ceremony inevitably becomes connected with tribal cults of the supernatural Powers.297

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

150. When the ceremony of initiation is elaborate and secret, it becomes mysterious to boys, is looked forward to by them with apprehension, and appeals to their imagination. Supernatural terrors are provided by the leaders—noises are heard (made by the bull-roarer or some similar device), and the report is circulated that the 68initiate is in danger of death at the hands of a supernatural being. These methods testify to the importance attached by early societies to the introduction of the young into social and political life, and they furnish an early example of the employment of the supernatural for the government of the masses. The old men do not believe in their supernatural machinery, and the boys, after initiation, are let into the secret.

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

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

153. Circumcision of males.303 The most widely diffused of such customs of initiation is the gashing or the complete removal of the 69prepuce. It existed in ancient times among the Egyptians, the Canaanites, and the Hebrews (for the Arabs, the Syrians, and the Babylonians and Assyrians we have no information), not, so far as the records go, among the Greeks, Romans, and Hindus. At the present time it is found among all Moslems and most Jewish communities, throughout Africa, Australia, Polynesia and Melanesia, and, it is said, in Eastern Mexico. It is hardly possible to say what its original distribution was, and whether or not there was a single center of distribution. As to its origin many theories have been advanced. Its character as initiatory is not an explanation—all customs of initiation need to have their origins explained. It may be said at the outset that a usage prevalent in low tribes and clearly beginning under savage conditions of life must, probably, have sprung from some simple physical need, not from advanced scientific or religious conceptions. We may briefly examine the principal explanations of its origin that have been offered.

154. It cannot be regarded as a test of endurance, for it involves no great suffering, and neither it nor the severer operation of subincision304 (practiced in Australia) is ever spoken of as an official test.

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

156. Somewhat more to the point is Crawley's view that the object of the removal of the prepuce is to get rid of the dangerous emanation from the physical secretion therewith connected.306 Such an object would issue from savage ideas of magic, the secretions of the human body (as urine and dung) being often supposed to contain the power resident in all life. But this view, though 70conceivably correct, is without support from known facts. There is no trace of fear of the secretion in question, and the belief in power, when such a belief appears, attaches rather to the oblated prepuce (which is sometimes preserved as a sort of charm, or hidden, or swallowed by the boy or by some other person) than to the secretion. Nor does this theory account for the custom of subincision.

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

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

159. The view that circumcision is of the nature of a sacrifice or dedication to a deity, particularly to a deity of fertility, appears 71to be derived from late usages in times when more refined ideas have been attached to early customs. The Phrygian practice of excision was regarded, probably, as a sacrifice. But elsewhere, in Egypt, Babylonia, Syria, and Canaan, where the worship of gods and goddesses of fertility was prominent, we do not find circumcision connected therewith. In the writings of the Old Testament prophets it is treated as a symbol of moral purification. Among the lower peoples there is no trace of the conception of it as a sacrifice. It is not circumcision that makes the phallus sacred—it is sacred in itself, and all procedures of savage veneration for the prepuce assume its inherent potency.

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

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

162. Circumcision and other operations performed on females. Circumcision of girls is practiced by many African savage tribes (Nandi, Masai, Mandingos, and others), by Malays and Arabs, Gallas and Abessinians and others. Introcision appears to be confined to Australia. Infibulation is practiced in Northeastern Africa and by the Mohammedan Malays.312 The effect, and doubtless the 72purpose, of the first and second of these operations is to facilitate coition; the object of the third is to prevent coition until the proper time for it arrives. They are all connected more or less with initiation or with arrival at the age of puberty, and they are, naturally, sometimes associated with other ceremonies.

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

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

73165. In the course of time, however, all such customs tend to become sanctified and to take on new meanings. When the importance of circumcision was generally felt, it was natural that it should be performed at puberty and at initiation.315 It would thus come to be regarded as an introduction to the tribal life—not as preparation, but as a custom established by unwritten law. Its origination would be put far back in the past and sometimes ascribed to supernatural personages—the Central Australians refer it to the mythical ancestors, the later Jews to the command of the national deity issued to the legendary or mythical ancestor Abram.316 Under certain circumstances it might become a tribal mark; the Hebrews thus distinguished themselves from their neighbors the Philistines, and "uncircumcised" was a term of reproach.317

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

167. In the higher religions circumcision is generally viewed as an act of physical purification or as a symbol of moral purification. The former view, perhaps, prevailed in Egypt, though on this point the records appear to be silent.318 The latter view is that of the Old Testament prophets and the New Testament.319 It has 74now ceased to have any effective religious significance, and is retained in some communities merely as a national social tradition or as an ancient divine ordinance.

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

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

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

171. In certain half-civilized tribes a higher type of initiatory ceremonies is found. The youth must perform a lonely vigil, going 75into the forest or some other solitary place, and there wait for the vision or revelation of a supernatural protector.323 This procedure is connected with the advance of individualism, the old totemic or other relation being superseded by an individual relation to a guardian spirit. The development of this higher religious conception will be discussed below.324

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

173. From this brief statement of initiation ceremonies it appears that they rest substantially on social ideas and necessities. Religion enters into them, as is pointed out above, when a superhuman being is represented as the patron of the clan and the protector of its ceremonies, or when the moral teaching is referred to such a being, or when the initiate seeks a supernatural patron with whom to enter into relations, or when, as in some North Australian tribes, the 76supernatural being is believed to be angry at the omission of the ceremonies. This last case might recall the displeasure of the Greek gods when sacrifices to them were withheld or diminished; but more probably it involves simply the belief that all important ceremonies and affairs are under the control of the being in question, who demands obedience to him as lord.

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

Marriage Ceremonies

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

77176. In the lowest known tribes the ceremony of marriage is simple: the woman is given to the man by the constituted authorities—that is, the relatives of the parties and the elders of the clan or tribe—and by that act the two become husband and wife. At this stage of social growth the stress is laid on preparation for marriage in the ceremonies of puberty and initiation. The members of the tribe being thus prepared for union, marriage is merely the assignment of a given woman to a given man. The wife is selected according to established custom; that is, in accordance with customary law, which in most cases defines precisely from what group of the tribe the woman proper to a given man shall be taken.

177. Though the origin of this law goes back to a remote antiquity and is involved in obscurity, it seems to have been originally simply a matter of social agreement. It came to be, however, connected with systems of totemism and taboo, and thus to have acquired a certain religious character; and, as being important for the tribal life, it would come under the control of the tribal god when there is such a god. A similar remark may be made in regard to exogamy. Why marriage between members of the same tribe, clan, or phratry should be prohibited is not clear.330 The rule arose, doubtless, from some social feature of ancient society, and only later was involved in the general religious atmosphere.331

178. Gradually greater freedom of choice was allowed men and women, and the ceremonies of marriage became more elaborate. Certain of these seem intended to secure the complete union of husband and wife; such, for example, are the customs of eating together, of the inoculation of each party with the blood of the other or with some bodily part of the other, and the giving of 78presents by each to the other. All these rest on the conception that union between two persons is effected by each taking something that belongs to the other; each thus acquires something of the other's personality. This is a scientific biological idea; and though it had its origin doubtless in some very crude notion of life, it has maintained itself in one form or another up to the present time.

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

180. The defloration of the woman before marriage is rather a preparation for marriage than a marriage ceremony; or it may represent the social right of the elders of the tribe and the relatives of the bride to the possession of her, perhaps symbolizing her entrance into a family.333 The hypothesis that such a custom points to primitive promiscuity is ably combated by Westermarck, and is involved in great difficulties; it is, however, maintained by Messrs. Spencer and Gillen in their two works on Australian tribes, whose customs seem to them to be inexplicable except on the supposition 79of primitive promiscuity, in spite of Westermarck's arguments; and in support of this view the sexual license granted in many tribes to unmarried girls may be adduced. However this may be, the custom in question appears to be civil and not religious. The same thing is true of the ceremonies in which bridegroom and bride are hailed as king and queen—a very natural form of merrymaking.334 The purchase of wives is probably a simple commercial act.

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

182. Mr. Crawley336 holds that all marriage ceremonies are essentially religious, as involving the conception of something strange and dangerous in the contact of men and women; they are intended, he thinks, to neutralize dangers by reversing taboos and by assimilating the two persons each to the other, the dangers in question being not merely distinctly sexual but those of contact in general. Though he carries his application of the principle of taboo too far, he has collected a large number of examples which illustrate the separation between the sexes in early society, and the taboos which hold in their social intercourse. The separation of the sexes in early times seems to have resulted largely from the difference in their occupations and the consequent isolation of each from the other. Possibly one result of this isolation was that each saw something strange and wonderful in the other; but it must be remembered that the taboo laws were made by men and are therefore directed particularly against women. The belief in the sacredness of life would act more particularly on the ideas concerning birth.

80183. Among many half-civilized peoples and generally in Christian communities marriage is regarded both as a religious ceremony and as a civil contract, and is controlled in the one case by the religious authorities, in the other case by the civil authorities. In Mohammedan communities marriage is simply a civil contract, but religious ceremonies are often connected with it.337

Ceremonies at Birth

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

185. Thus the curious custom of the couvade,340 in which the husband, and not the wife, goes to bed on the birth of the child, may be an effort on the man's part to share in the labor of the occasion, since he has to take care of the child; or it may be primarily an economical procedure—the woman must go out to work and the man must therefore stay at home to take care of the house and the child. But probably something more than this is involved—there seems to be fear of supernatural danger. It is not necessary to suppose that the man takes the woman's place in order to attract to himself the malevolent spirits that figure on such occasions; but the belief in the intimate vital connection between father and child may induce the desire to guard the former against injury. Similar precautions are taken in regard to the mother;341 some of these have 81a natural basis in her physical condition which necessitates a certain carefulness. Where such customs connected with birth prevail, departure from them is thought to be dangerous or fatal; but such a feeling exists in regard to all social customs.

186. The belief that the newborn child is the reincarnation of an ancestor is scientific rather than religious. In Central Australia every child is held to be the reincarnation of a spirit ancestor; a similar idea is found in North America, in Western Africa, and in Orissa.342 In searching for the cause of birth it is not unnatural that it should be ascribed to a preëxistent being who desires to enter again into human life.343

187. The ablutions or sprinklings of water practiced in some places appear to be merely the expression of welcome into the community.344 The choice of a name for the child is frequently connected with religious ideas. Among many tribes the custom is to seek for some hint from the child itself, as by repeating a number of names and observing which of them the child seems to recognize or accept. The help of a deity is sometimes invoked, as in Borneo, where a pig is killed and its spirit thus sent as messenger to a particular god, who is asked to approve.345 In Samoa a tutelary spirit is sometimes chosen for the infant;346 during childhood the child bears the name of a god, who seems to be regarded as its protector. The identification of person and name, common among savages, is also scientific rather than religious. At the entrance into a secret society the novitiate may receive a new name.347 The adoption of a child's name by the father (teknonymy) may be simply the expression of paternal pride, or possibly it is 82the expression of the father's protection or of his identification with the child. The adoption of a secret name that involves the man's personality and is therefore to be withheld from enemies belongs to adult life.

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

Burial Ceremonies348

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

190. The belief that the dead person is powerful expresses itself in the care with which the grave is guarded, it being held that injury to the grave is an injury to the dead, and likely, therefore, to excite his anger. Further, savage science as a rule does not recognize natural causes of death. It regards death as murder, and there is accordingly search for the murderer, often by protracted ceremonies with the aid of a magician. The well-being of the dead man is provided for by placing food and drink, utensils and weapons in his grave, that he may have the means of enjoyment in the other world.350 To assure him proper service his wives and slaves are sometimes slain, that their souls may accompany his; 83but this custom is not found among the lowest tribes—it belongs to a relatively advanced conception of the other life.351 In many cases blood is sprinkled on the ground near the grave of the corpse, as in Borneo (the blood of a fowl);352 the blood may be meant to be food for the dead, or its supernatural power may be supposed to guard against injury from him to the living.

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

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

193. In general, early burial ceremonies appear to be designed to assure the comfort of the deceased in the other world with a view to securing his friendship and aid for the members of his 84family and clan in this life. As he is of the nature of a divine person, the ceremonies in question are naturally religious. Socially they are effective in binding the members of a community together—a large sense of solidarity is produced by the communal recognition of kinship with the dead. Special stress is laid on this conception in China.358

Ceremonies of Purification and Consecration359

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

195. The occasions for purification are numerous, including all contacts or possibilities of contact with dangerous (sacred) things, and thus often coinciding with taboo conceptions.360 All acts connected with procreation and birth; contact with a corpse, or with a sacred person or thing, or with an object belonging to a sacred person; return from a journey (in the course of which the traveler may have been exposed to some injurious supernatural influence)361—such things as these call for cleansing. Inanimate objects also, especially such as are connected with religious worship (altars, vessels, and instruments), require purification; these are thought of originally as having souls, and as incurring defilement by the transmission of neighboring impurities. A moral conception may 85seem to be involved in the requirement of purification after the committal of a murder; certainly, in the more advanced stages of society, the feeling in this case is moral, but it is doubtful whether in earlier stages anything more is involved than the recognition of ritual defilement by contact with blood; homicide, as a social crime, is dealt with by the civil law, and is generally excluded from the benefits of acts of ritual atonement,362 and so also all violations of tribal law.

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

197. The various methods of purification may be included under a few heads, the principal of which are: the application of water (bathing, sprinkling); the application of sand, dung, bark, and similar things; exposure to fire; incantation and sacrifice; and fasting. In all these cases the virtue lies either in a sacred thing or act that has the quality of dissipating the mysterious defilement present, or in the removal or avoidance of the defiling thing; it is frequently required that the application of the cleansing substance be made by a sacred person, whose character adds potency to the act. The use of water for ceremonial purification has been, and is, practiced all over the world, alike by savages and by civilized peoples:365 the newborn child, ritually impure by reason of the 86mystery of birth, is bathed or sprinkled; before the performance of a sacred act the officiator must bathe;366 numerous ablutions are prescribed in the Old Testament; similar usages obtained among the Egyptians, the Hindus and the Persians, the Greeks and the Romans, the Chinese and the Japanese, the Mexicans and the Peruvians, and other peoples.

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

199. Where water cannot be had, usage in Islam and in some forms of Christianity permits the substitution of sand or dust—both thought to have cleansing power. Similar power is ascribed to urine and dung of domestic animals.369 Such usages may originate in a belief in the physical cleansing efficacy of those substances (the Toda women employ dried buffalo's dung in household cleaning), or they may be supposed to derive their efficacy from the sacredness of the animals. The Todas also make much use of a 87certain bark for purification.370 The origin of these customs is obscure; they go back to times and conditions for a knowledge of which data are lacking—possibly to the early conception of the sacredness of all natural objects.371 It is less difficult to explain the belief in the purifying power of fire. Its splendor and utility caused it to be regarded as a god in India and Persia, and if it was also destructive, it often consumed hurtful things. It was sacred, and might, therefore, be a remover of impurity. Its employment for this purpose is, however, not frequent;372 it is oftener used to consume corpses and other unclean things.

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

201. Ancient examples of the purification of a whole community are the Hebrew ceremony on the annual day of atonement376 (which is called in the text a purification), and the Roman Lupercalia.377 88An elaborate festival of this sort was observed every year by the Creeks;378 it lasted eight days, included various cathartic observances, and ended in a physical and moral reconstruction of the nation. Among the Todas a similar ceremony for the purification of a village exists.379

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

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

89204. No purificatory and consecrative usage has been more widespread than fasting.385 It is found throughout religious history in the lowest tribes and in the most highly civilized peoples, has been practiced in a great variety of circumstances, and has been invested with a special sanctity and efficacy. It has been regarded as necessary before partaking of sacred food, before the performance of a sacred ceremony, after a death, in the presence of a great occurrence (as an eclipse or a thunderstorm, regarded as supernatural), as a part of the training of magicians, as a preparation for the search after a guardian spirit, as a part of ceremonies in honor of gods, as an act of abstinence in connection with a calamity (or in general as a self-denial proper to sinful man and pleasing to the deity as an act of humility), and, finally, as a retirement from fleshly conditions in preparation for spiritual exercises.

205. A great number of explanations of the origin of the custom have been proposed, and it is obvious that the particular usages come from somewhat different conceptions. Apparently, however, all these usages of purification by fasting go back to the idea that the body, which is identified with the human personality, is in its ordinary state nonsacred386 and therefore unfit for the performance of a sacred act, and that it is rendered especially unfit by contact with a ritually unclean thing. Ordinary food, nourishing the body and becoming a part of it, thus maintains it in its nonsacred character. This point of view appears in the practice of administering a purge as a means of ceremonial purification; the Nandi, for example, give a purge to a girl before her circumcision, and in some cases to any one who has touched a taboo object.387

206. The essence of fasting is the avoiding of defiling food; this conception may be traced in all instances of the practice, though it may be in some cases reënforced by other considerations, and is sometimes spiritualized. The efficacy of sacred food would be 90destroyed if it came in contact with common food, or it might itself become destructive.388 A sacred ceremony demands a sacred performer, one who has not taken a defiling substance into his being. Death diffuses defilement, and makes the food in the house of the deceased dangerous.

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

208. Once established, the custom has maintained itself in the higher religions391 in connection with more or less definite spiritual aims and with other exercises, particularly prayer. The dominant feeling is then self-denial, at the bottom of which the conviction appears to be that the deity demands complete subordination in the worshiper and is displeased when he asserts himself. This conviction, which is a fundamental element in all religious thought, pertains properly only to inward experience, but naturally tends to annex nonspiritual acts of self-abnegation like fasting. As a moral discipline, a training in the government of self and a preparation for enduring times of real privation, fasting is regarded by many persons as valuable. Its power to isolate the man from the world and thus minister to religious communion differs in different persons. The Islamic fast of Ramadan is said to produce irritability and lead to quarrels. In general, fasting tends to induce a nonnatural condition of body and mind, favorable to ecstatic experiences, and favorable or not, as the case may be, to a genuine religious life.392

91209. As with other religious observances, so with purificatory ceremonies the tendency is to mass and organize them—they are made to occur at regular times and under fixed conditions, as in the Christian Lent, the Moslem Ramadan, and the Creek Busk. Such arrangements give orderliness to outward religious life, but are likely to diminish or destroy spontaneity in observances. Ceremonies of this sort have great vitality—they are handed on from age to age, the later religion adopting and modifying and reinterpreting the forms of the earlier. In such cases the lower conceptions survive in the minds of the masses, and are moralized by the more spiritual natures, and their influence on society is therefore of a mixed character.

Ceremonies connected with Seasons and Periods

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

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

92212. When, from observation of climatic conditions and lunar changes, a general division of the year came to be made into spring, summer, autumn, and winter, or several similar seasons (sometimes with intermediate points), festivals gradually arranged themselves in the various periods. The terms designating the four seasons are, however, somewhat indefinite in regard to position in the year and duration, varying in these points in different places, and it is better, in considering agricultural ceremonies, to make a general division into times of planting and times of harvesting. It is not certain whether lunar or agricultural festivals came first in the development of public religious life, but as (omitting the lowest tribes) the former are found where there is no well-organized agricultural system, we may begin with them.

213. The new moon, as marking the beginning of the month, and other phases of the moon are frequently accompanied by observances of a more or less definitely religious character, with great variety of detail in different places. The Nandi395 have two seasons (the wet and the dry) and twelve months named from meteorological phenomena, and each day in the month receives a name from the attendant phase of the moon. The great ceremonies are conducted in the period of the waxing of the moon, and its waning is an occasion of mourning. The new moon is greeted with a prayer that it may bring blessing. A similar custom exists among the Masai.396 On the other hand the Todas, though the times of their festivals are all regulated by the moon, appear to have no lunar ceremony;397 if there was ever any such ceremony, it has been absorbed by the buffalo cult. The South American Arawaks have six ceremonies in the year that seem to be fixed by the appearance of the new moon.398 The Hebrew first day of the (lunar) month was observed with special religious ceremonies.399 The full moon, the last phase of growth, is less prominent; where it marks a festival day it is generally in connection with an agricultural event, as among 93the non-Aryan Bhils of India400 and in the later Hebrew calendar;401 in both these cases the observance occurs only once in the year.

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

215. Solar festivals, as such, are less prominent than the lunar in religious ritual. Though the sun was a great god widely worshiped, it was little used in the construction of early calendars. Primitive astronomy knew hardly anything of solstices and equinoxes, and where these are noted in the more advanced rituals, they 94appear to be attachments to observances founded on other considerations—so the Roman Saturnalia, celebrated near the winter solstice, and apparently the plebeian festival of the summer solstice attached to the worship of Fortuna; and the same thing is probably true of the Semitic and Greek festivals that occurred near the equinoxes and solstices.407

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

217. Socially the agricultural festivals are the most important of the early festival ceremonies;413 they unite the people in public observances, thus furthering the communal life, and they satisfy the popular demand for amusement. Doubtless under any social conditions gatherings for merrymaking would have arisen, but, by reason of the constitution of early society, they necessarily assume a religious character. Whether for planting or for reaping, the local god must be considered; it is he whose aid must be invoked for 95coming crops, and he must be thanked for successful seasons. The festivals occur at various times in the year among various peoples, but the tone of merriment is the predominant one—it is only in a few cases that a touch of seriousness or sadness is found. Early festal calendars are largely agricultural. In Greece, Rome, and Peru there was a succession of festivals, connected with planting and reaping, running substantially through the year; other ceremonies, of course, stood side by side with them, but these were relatively few.

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

219. Popular festivities easily pass into license; examples are the Roman Saturnalia and the Hindu Holi417; the harvest festival of the Hos of Northeastern India is a debauch,418 and with it is connected the expulsion of evil spirits—an example of the coalescence of festivals. A peculiar feature in certain of these ceremonies is the exchange of places between masters and servants; this abandonment of ordinary social distinctions is an expression of the desire for freedom from all restraints, and is found in carnivals generally (in the Saturnalia and elsewhere).419

96220. Ceremonies of a serious character occur in connection with the eating of the first fruits of the year. In developed cults (as in the Hebrew) the deity is recognized as the giver by the presentation of a portion of the new crop.420 In very early cults there are other procedures, the origin and significance of which are not always clear. So far as the ceremonial eating, a preliminary to general use, is concerned, this may be understood as a recognition, more or less distinct, of some supernatural Power to whom (or to which) the supply of food is due. The obscurest form of such recognition is found among the Australian Arunta.421 The Nandi practice is clearer—the god is invoked to bless the grain.422 In the Creek Puskita (Busk) there is perhaps a worship of the sun as the source of fertility.423 Probably the element of recognition of extrahuman power (the object being to secure its favor) is to be found in all first-fruits ceremonies. A natural result of this recognition is that it is unlawful (that is, dangerous) to partake of the new food till it has been properly offered to the deity. The ceremonial features (such as the choice of the persons to make the offering) are simply the carrying over of general social arrangements into religious observances—the ministrant is the father of the family, or the chief of the tribe, or the priest or other elected person, according to the particular local customs.

221. The sadness or gloom that sometimes attaches to these ceremonies has been variously explained, and is due doubtless to various orders of ideas; it comes probably from the coalescence of other cults with the agricultural cults proper. The remembrance of ancestors is not unnatural at such a time, and sorrow may be expressed for their death; such is perhaps the case in the Nandi usage mentioned above—the women sorrowfully take home baskets of elusine grain, and the bits that drop in the house are left to the souls of the deceased. Sorrow appears also in other agricultural seasons, as in the Roman Vestalia (in June) and the Greek Thesmophoria (in the autumn), in which cases more likely it is connected with the fear of evil influences.424 So the great tribal 97purification of the Creeks, at the beginning of a new year, naturally coincides with the gathering of the new crop.

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

223. In addition to the astral and agricultural festivals above described there has been the observance of long periods to which a religious significance was sometimes attached. The Egyptian Sothis period426 (of 1461 years), the Greek period of eight years (oktaeteris), and the Mexican period of fifty-two years were calendary—attempts to harmonize the lunar and solar years; in Mexico the new cycle introduced a new religious era—a great ceremony was held in which domestic fires were rekindled from the sacred fires. The Hebrew jubilee period (of fifty years), apparently a late development from the sabbatical year, was intended, among other things, to maintain the division of landed property among the people—all alienated land was to return finally to its original owner—participation in the blessings bestowed by the national deity being conditioned on having a share in the land, of which he was held to be the proprietor; the proposed arrangement turned out, however, owing to changed social conditions, to be impracticable.

224. It thus appears that ceremonies of various sorts have played a very important part in religious life. They have been the most popularly effective presentation of religious ideas, and they have preserved for us religious conceptions that without them would have remained unknown. Their social character has insured their persistence427—ceremonies of to-day contain features that go back to the earliest known stratum of organized religious life. While the 98motives that underlie them (desire to propitiate supernatural Powers, demand for an objective presentation of ideas, and love of amusement) are the same throughout the world, their forms reflect the various climatic, economic, and general cultural conditions of clans, tribes, and nations. They acquire consistency with the organization of society; they tend to become more and more elaborate, just as in other points social intercourse tends to produce formal definiteness; they grow decrepit and have to be artificially strengthened and revived; they lose their original meanings and must be constantly reinterpreted to bring them into accord with new ideas, social, moral, and religious. Their history, in a word, is the history of the development of human ideas, and it sets forth the religious unity of the race. The selections given above are only a small part of the known material, a full treatment of which would require a separate volume.




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

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

227. But while he excludes nothing from his list of possible powers, he is vitally interested only in those objects with which he comes into contact, and he learns their powers by his own experience or through the wisdom inherited from his forefathers. His procedure is strictly scientific; he adopts only what observation has shown him and others to be true. Different tribes are interested in different things—some are indifferent to one thing, others to another, according to the topographical and economic milieu. The savage is not without discrimination. He is quite100 capable of distinguishing between the living and the dead. Not all stones are held by him to be alive in any important sense, and not all beasts to be powerful. He is a practical thinker and deals with each phenomenon as it presents itself, and particularly as it shows itself to be connected with his interests. He is constantly on the alert to distinguish between the profitable and the unprofitable, the helpful and the injurious. He himself is the center of his whole scientific and religious system, and the categories into which he divides all things are determined by his own sense of self-interest.428

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

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

230. Fetish objects in West Africa are believed to be inhabited by spirits.429 The Australian sacred object called churinga—a thing 101of mysterious potency—is believed to be the abode of the soul of an ancestor endowed with extraordinary power. Many such fetish objects are found all over the world.

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

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

233. How widely the conception exists is uncertain; further research may discover it in regions where up to now it has not 102been recognized. Scarcely a trace of it exists in the higher ancient religions. The Latin genius, the indwelling power of the man, bears a resemblance to it. The Old Testament "spirit of God" is said to "come on" a man or to be "poured out on" him, as if it were a physical thing—it gives courage and strength to the warrior and knowledge to the worshiper;435 the power or energy is here (in the earlier Hebrew writings) identified with the spirit or animus of the deity, which appears to be thought of as physical.

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

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

236. Things and persons endowed with peculiar power, whether as seats of mana or as abodes of spirits, are set apart by themselves, 103are regarded with feelings of awe, and thus become "sacred." In process of time the accumulated experience of generations builds up a mass of sacred objects which become a part of the religious possessions of the community. The quality of sacredness is sometimes attached to objects and customs when these are regarded as necessary to the well-being of the community, or highly convenient. A house, for example, represents the life of the family, and is therefore a thing to be revered; and in many tribes the walls, which guard the house against intrusion, and the door and the threshold, which offer entrance into it, are considered sacred; the hearth especially, the social center of the dwelling, becomes a sacred place.

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

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


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

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


241. Of all nonhuman natural objects it would seem to have been the animal that most deeply impressed early man.439 All objects were potentially divine for him, and all received worship, but none 105entered so intimately into his life as animals. He was doubtless struck, perhaps awed, by the brightness of the heavenly bodies, but they were far off, intangible; mountains were grand and mighty, but motionless; stones lay in his path, but did not approach him; rivers ran, but in an unchanging way, rarely displaying emotion; plants grew, and furnished food, but showed little sign of intelligence. Animals, on the other hand, dwelt with him in his home, met him at every turn, and did things that seemed to him to exhibit qualities identical with his own, not only physical but also mental—they showed swiftness, courage, ferocity, and also skill and cunning. In certain regards they appeared to be his superiors, and thus became standards of power and objects of reverence.

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

243. From identity of nature comes the possibility of transformation and transmigration.444 An Australian of the Kangaroo clan explained that he might be called either kangaroo or man—it was all the same, man-kangaroo or kangaroo-man, and the Australian legends constantly assume change from human to animal and from animal to human.445 The same belief appears in Africa and North America, and may be assumed to be universal among savages. It survives in the Greek transformation stories and in the werwolf and swan maiden of the European popular creed. It is the basis of a part of the theory of the transmigration of souls.446

106244. The relations of early man with animals are partly friendly, partly hostile. A friendly attitude is induced by admiration of their powers and desire for their aid. Such an attitude is presupposed in the myths of intermarriage between beasts and men. It is perhaps visible also in the custom of giving or assuming names of animals as personal names of men, though this custom may arise from the opinion that animals are the best expressions of certain qualities, or from some conception underlying totemistic organization; the general history of savage proper names has not yet been written. Beast tales, likewise, bear witness to man's opinion of the cleverness or folly of his nonhuman brethren, and perhaps originally to nothing more. The distinctest expression of friendliness is seen in certain religious customs spoken of below.

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

246. The two attitudes, of friendliness and of hostility, coexist throughout the savage period, and, in softened form, even in half-civilized life. They represent two points of view, both of which issue from man's social needs. Early man is logical, but he comprehends the necessity of not pushing logic too far—he is capable of holding at the same time two mutually contradictory views, and of acting on each as may suit his convenience; he makes his dogma yield to the facts of life (a saving principle not confined to savages, 107but acted on to a greater or less extent by all societies). He slays sacred animals for divinatory and other religious purposes, for food, or in self-defense; he fears their anger, but his fear is overcome by hunger; he offers profuse apologies, explains that he acts without ill will and that the bones of the animal will be preserved and honored, or he declares that it is not he but some one else that is the slayer—but he does not hesitate to kill.448

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

248. Man's social contact with the lower animals is doubtless as old as man himself, but there are no records of his earliest life, and it is not possible to say exactly when and how his religious relations with them began. His attitude toward them; as is remarked above, was a mixed one; in general, however, it may be assumed that constant intercourse with them revealed their great qualities and impressed on him the necessity of securing their good will. This was especially true of those of them that stood nearest to him and were of greatest importance for his safety and convenience. These, invested with mystery by reason of their power and their strangeness, were held in great respect as quasi-gods, were approached with caution, and thus acquired the character of sacredness. Gradually, as human society was better and better organized, as conceptions of government became clearer, and as the natures of the various animals were more closely studied, means were devised of guarding against their anger and securing their friendship and aid. Our earliest information of savage life reveals in every tribe an inchoate pantheon of beasts. All the essential apparatus of public religion is present in these communities in embryonic form—later 108movements have had for their object merely to clarify ideas and refine procedures.

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

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

251. Often animals are looked on as the abodes or incarnations of gods or spirits: so various birds, fishes, and beasts in Polynesia (in Samoa every man has a tutelary deity, which appears in the form of an animal451), Siberia, Mexico, and elsewhere. In other cases they are revered as incarnations of deceased men.452 Where a species of animal is supposed to represent a god, this view is probably to be regarded not as a generalization from an individualistic to a specific conception (a process too refined for savages), but as an attempt to carry over to the animal world the idea of descent 109from a common ancestor combined with the idea of a special creator for every family of animals.453

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

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

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

255. It is in keeping with early ideas that savages often, perhaps generally, ascribe the creation or construction of the world (so far as they know it) to animals. The creation (whether by beasts or 110by other beings) is not conceived of as produced out of nothing; there is always preëxisting material, the origin of which is not explained; primitive thought seems not to have considered the possibility of a situation in which nothing existed. The "creation" conceived of is the arrangement of existing material into the forms familiar to man—every tribe accounting thus for its own environment. The origin of the land, of mountains, defiles, lakes, rivers, trees, rocks, sun, moon, and stars, wind and rain, human beings and lower animals, and sometimes of social organizations and ceremonies, is explained in some way natural to the thought of the time and place. Not all these details occur in the cosmogony of every tribe or clan, but the purpose of every cosmogony is to account for everything in the origin of which the people are interested.

256. The creator in the cosmogonies known to us is not always an animal—he is sometimes a man, sometimes a god; it is possible, however, that human and divine creators are the successors of original animal creators. In Central Australia the production of certain natural features of the country and the establishment of certain customs are ascribed to ancestors, mythical beings of the remote past, creatures both animal and human, or rather, either animal or human—possibly animals moving toward the anthropomorphic stage.457 However this may be, there are instances in which the creator is an animal pure and simple, though, of course, endowed with extraordinary powers. The beast to which the demiurgic function is assigned is selected, it would seem, on the ground of some peculiar skill or other power it is supposed to possess; naturally the reason for the choice is not always apparent. For the Ainu the demiurge is the water wagtail;458 for the Navahos and in California,459 the coyote or prairie wolf; among the Lenni-Lenâpé, the wolf.460 Various animals—as elephants, boars, turtles, 111snakes—are supposed to bear the world on their backs. The grounds of such opinions, resting on remote social conditions, are obscure.

257. Though, in early stadia of culture, animals are universally revered as in a sort divine, there are few recorded instances of actual worship offered them.461 Whether the Bushmen and the Hottentots worship the mantis (the Bushman god Cagn) as animal is not quite clear.462 The bear, when it is ceremonially slain, is treated by the Ainu as divine—it is approached with food and prayer, but only for the specific purpose of asking that it will speak well of them to its divine kin and will return to earth to be slain. The Zuñi cult of the turtle and the Californian worship of the bird called panes463 present similar features. The non-Aryan Santhals of Bengal are said to offer divine worship to the tiger.464 Such worship appears to be paid to the snake by the Naga tribes and the Gonds of India, and by the Hopi of North America.465

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

112259. The sacredness of animals, and the fact that they are regarded as embodying the souls of things and human beings, have led to a coalescence of their cults with other religious observances. They are abundantly employed in magical procedures and in sacrifices; they are often identified with spirits of vegetation, any locally revered animal being chosen for this purpose; they are brought into connection with astral objects and their forms are fancifully seen in sun, moon, and constellations; they play a great rôle in apotropaic and purificatory ceremonies; and they appear in myths of all sorts,466 especially in the histories of gods.

260. But, though they are in many cases regarded as tutelary beings, it is doubtful whether they ever develop into anthropomorphic deities.467 The creation of such deities followed a different line468 and dispensed with the lower quasi-divine forms. Such manlike attributes as beasts were supposed to have were taken up into the distincter and nobler conceptions of tribal gods to whom beasts were more and more subordinated. The latter were allegorized and spiritualized, and came to serve merely as material for poetry.

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


262. The cult of plants has been as widespread as that of animals, and, if its rôle in the history of religion has been less important than that of the latter, this is because plants show less definite signs of life than animals and enter less intimately than they into the social 113interests of man. But, like all other things, they are regarded by early man as living, as possessing a nature similar to that of man, and as having power to work good or ill. Trees are represented as thinking, speaking, entering into marriage relations, and in general doing whatever intelligent beings can do. Through thousands of years in the period before the dawn of written history man was brought into constant contact with the vegetable world, and learned by experience to distinguish between plants that were beneficial and those that were harmful. His observation created an embryonic science of medicine, and his imagination an embryonic religious cult.

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

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

265. Plants as living things were supposed to possess souls.470 Probably the soul was conceived of at first as simply the vital principle, and the power of the plant was thought of as similar 114to the power of an animal or any other living thing. In the course of time this soul, the active principle, was distinguished from the vital principle, was isolated and regarded as an independent being dwelling in the plant. To it all the powers of the latter were ascribed, and it became a friend or an enemy, an object of worship or of dread.471

266. This difference of attitude on man's part toward different plants probably showed itself at an early period. Those that were found to be noxious he would avoid; the useful he would enter into relations with, though on this point for very early times there is in the nature of the case little information.472 Unfriendly or demonic spirits of plants are recognized by savage man in certain forests whose awe-inspiring gloom, disease-breeding vapors, and wild beasts repel and frighten him. Demons identified with plants or dwelling in them are of the same nature as animal demons, and have been dealt with in the same way as these.473

267. The progress of society brought men into association with useful plants, such as medicinal and edible herbs, and fruit-bearing and shade-giving trees; these, conceived of as inhabited by anthropomorphic spirits, fulfilled all the functions that attach to friendly animals. They became guardians and allies, totems and ancestors.474 Several of the Central Australian totems are plants, and form part of the mythical ancestral population constructed by the imagination or ethnographic science of the people.475 In Samoa a plant is often the incarnation of a spirit friendly to a particular family476—a conception that is not improbably a development from an earlier view that a certain plant had a special relation to a certain clan.477 115In general, a plant important in a given region (as, for example, the tobacco plant in North America) is likely to be invested with a sacred character.

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

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

270. Vegetable spirits in some cases have developed into real gods. A notable example of such growth is furnished by the history of the intoxicating soma plant, which in the Rig-Veda is represented not only as the inspiring drink of the gods but as itself a deity, doing things that are elsewhere ascribed to Indra, Pushan, and other 116well-established deities.483 The spirit, coming to be regarded as an anthropomorphic person, under peculiar circumstances assumes the character of a god. A similar development appears in the Iranian haoma, and the cultic identity of soma and haoma shows that the deification of the plant took place in the early Aryan period.484

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

272. A sacred tree often stood by a shrine; that is, probably, the shrine was put in the spot made sacred by a tree, and a ritual connection between the two was thus established. Later, when a shrine for any reason (in consequence of a theophany, for example) was built where there was no tree, its place was supplied by a wooden post, which inherited the cultic value of a sacred tree. In the Canaanite cult, which was adopted by the Hebrews, the sacred post (called "ashera") stood by the side of every shrine, and was 117denounced by the prophets as an accompaniment of foreign (that is, non-Yahwistic) worship.487 The transition from tree to post is illustrated, perhaps, by the conventionalized form of trees frequent on Babylonian seal cylinders.488 How far the sacred post was an object of worship by the people we have no means of knowing; but by the more intelligent, doubtless, it came to be regarded simply as a symbol, a sign of the presence of a deity, and was, in so far, in the same category with images.489

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

274. It was natural in early times, when most men lived in forests, which supplied all their needs, that trees should be looked on as intimately connected with human life. A tree might be regarded as in itself an independent personality, having, of course, a body and a soul, but not as dependent on an isolated spirit. A group of men might think itself descended from a tree—a conception that may have been widespread, though there is little direct evidence of its existence.491 Indirect evidence of such a view is found in the custom of marrying girls to trees,492 and in the belief in "trees of life," which are sometimes connected with individual men in such a way that when the tree or a part of it is destroyed the man dies, as in the case of Meleager whose life depended on the preservation of a piece of wood,493 the representative, probably, of a tree, and the priest 118of Nemi whose life was bound up in the "golden bough"494; sometimes the tree has a magical power of conferring life on whoever eats of its fruit, as in the case of the tree of Eden.495

275. These stories involve the conception of blood-kinship between man and tree. Closely related to the "tree of life" is the "tree of knowledge"—life is knowledge and knowledge is life. In the original form of the story in Genesis there was only one tree—the tree of the knowledge of good and evil496—whose fruit, if eaten, made one the equal of the gods;497 that is, the tree (in the original form of the conception, in remote times) was allied in nature (that is, in blood) to gods and to men, so that whoever partook of its substance shared its attribute of knowledge in sharing its life, and the command not to eat of it was due apparently to Yahweh's unwillingness that man should equal the gods in knowledge. The serpent-god, who belongs to the inner divine circle, but for some unexplained reason is hostile to the god of the garden,498 reveals the secret.

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

119277. The divinatory function of trees follows as a matter of course from their divine nature (whether this was regarded as innate or as due to an indwelling spirit). Their counsel was supposed to be expressed by the rustling of their leaves,501 or in some way that was interpreted by priests or priestesses (as at Dodona and elsewhere) or by diviners (so, perhaps, the Canaanite "terebinth of the diviners").502 The predictions of the Cumæan sibyl were said to be written on leaves that were whirled away by the wind and had to be gathered and interpreted. To what method of divination this points is not clear—possibly to supposed indications in the markings of the leaves; it may, however, be merely an imaginative statement of the difficulty of discovering the sibyl's meaning.503

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

279. Thus the divine tree with its nameless spirit stands in a class apart from that of the gods proper. A particular tree, it is true, may be connected with a particular god, but such a connection is generally, if not always, to be traced (as in the parallel case of animals506) to an accidental collocation of cults. When a deity has become the numen of a tribe, his worship will naturally coalesce 120with the veneration felt by the tribe for some tree, which will then be conceived of as sacred to the god. Such, doubtless, was the history of the oak of Dodona, sacred to Zeus; when Zeus was established as deity of the place, the revered tree had to be brought into relation with him, and this relation could only be one of subordination—the tree became the medium by which the god communicated his will. There was then no need of the spirit of the tree, which accordingly soon passed away; the tree had lost its spiritual divine independence. The god who is said to have appeared to Moses in a burning bush, and is described as dwelling in the bush, is a local deity, the numen loci later identified with Yahweh, or called an angel.507 That a tree is sacred to a god means only that it has a claim to respect based on its being the property or instrument of a god.

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

281. It appears to be the aloofness of trees that prevents their becoming gods; they are revered and worshiped, but without becoming personalities. Babylonian seal engravings and wall pictures often represent a tree before which men or higher beings stand in adoration; according to Maspero511 there was actual worship of trees in Egypt, and similar cults are found among the wild tribes of India.512 Adoration, however, does not necessarily imply a god; 121the Buddhist's worship under the bo-tree is not directed to any being; it is only the recognition of something that he thinks worthy of reverence.513

282. The cult of the corn-spirit is referred to above,514 and doubt is there expressed as to whether such a spirit has grown into a true god. The question is confessedly a difficult one on account of the absence of full data for the period involved. The chief ground for the doubt as to the development in question lies in what we know of early gods. The term 'Adon,' as is remarked above, is the Phœnician title of the local deity. The origin of such deities is involved in the obscurity of the remote past, but they are, each in his community, universal powers; their functions embrace all that their communities desire, and they represent each the total life of a people. It is the general rule that any popular custom may be introduced into the cult of the local god; of such sort of procedure there are many examples. In the case under consideration the god may have become the hero of a ceremony with which he had originally nothing to do, as the Hebrews when they entered Canaan connected Canaanite festivals with their national god, Yahweh, and later a cult of the wilderness deity Azazel515 was adopted and modified by the Yahwist leaders. Various cults attached themselves to the worship of Zeus, Apollo, Dionysos, and other Greek deities.516

283. A similar explanation may be given of the ceremonies of death and resurrection connected with Attis and Osiris. Of Attis we have only late accounts, and do not know his early history. Osiris is an old underground deity (later the judge of the Underworld), with functions that included more than the vivification of vegetation, and the absorption of the corn-spirit into his cult would be natural. The collocation of a male with a female deity, common to the three cults, may be merely the elaboration of the myth in accordance with human social usage (the dead deity is mourned by his consort).517 The descent of Ishtar has been 122interpreted of the weakening of the sun's heat in winter; but as she is obviously a deity of fertility and, in her descent, disappears entirely from among men, while the sun does not disappear entirely, she rather, in this story, represents or is connected with the decay and rebirth of vegetation.

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

285. Trees have been widely credited with the power of bestowing blessings of all sorts. But, like animals, they rarely receive formal worship;518 the reason for this is similar to that suggested above519 in the case of animals. The coalescence, spoken of above, of tree ceremonies with cults of fully developed gods is not uncommon, and trees figure largely in mythical divine histories.

Stones and Mountains

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

287. The basis of the special belief in their sacredness was, probably, the mystery of their forms and qualities, their hardness, brilliancy, solidity. They seem to have been accepted, in the earliest known stages of human life, as ultimate facts. When 123explanations of their presence were sought, they were supposed to have been deposited by ancestors or other beings, sometimes as depositories of their souls.521 Meteorites, having fallen from the sky, needed no other explanation. Popular science (that is, popular imagination), perhaps from fancied resemblances to the human form, assumed of some stones that they were human beings turned to stone, and stories grew up to account for the metamorphoses. In many different ways, according to differences of physical surroundings and of social conceptions, men accounted for such of these objects as interested them particularly.

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

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

290. Magical stones were, doubtless, believed to possess souls. In accordance with the general law such stones and others were regarded later as the abodes of independent movable spirits.525 124When the power of a fetish seems to be exhausted, and a new object is chosen and by appropriate ceremonies a spirit is induced to take up its abode in it, there seems to be no theory as to whether the incoming spirit is the old one or a new one, or, if it be a new one, what becomes of the old one, about which little or no interest is felt.526 The pneumatology is vague; the general view is that the air is full of spirits, whose movements may be controlled by magical means: spirits, that is, are subject to laws, and these laws are known to properly trained men.

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

292. Similar interpretations may be given of other stones identified or connected with deities, as that of Zeus at Seleucia,530 that of Aphrodite at Paphos,531 that of Jupiter Lapis,532 and the black 125stone that represented the Syrian Elagabalos at Emesa.533 The remark of Pausanias, after he has described the thirty sacred stones of Pheræ, that the early Greeks paid divine honors to unhewn stones, doubtless expresses the traditions and beliefs of his time;534 and it is probable that in antiquity there were many divine stones, and that these were frequently in later times identified with local gods. In many cases, however, there was no identification, only a collocation and subordination: the stone became the symbol of the deity, or a sacred object associated with the deity.535

293. This seems to be the later conception of the character of the sacred stones mentioned in the Old Testament, as the one that Jacob is said to have set up as a masseba and anointed.536 The Canaanite massebas, adopted as cultic objects by the Israelites,537 were stone pillars standing by shrines and regarded as a normal if not a necessary element of worship; originally divine in themselves (as may be inferred from the general history of such objects), they came to be regarded as mere accessories; there is no indication in the Old Testament that they were looked on as gods, though they may have been so regarded by the people538—their presence at the Canaanite shrines, as a part of foreign, non-Yahwistic worship, sufficiently explains the denunciation of them by the prophets.539

294. In the story of Jacob he is said to have given the name Bethel to the place where he anointed the stone. It does not appear that he so called the stone itself; Bethel (in Hebrew, "house of God"540) seems to have been an old sacred place, and terms compounded with 'beth' in Hebrew are names of shrines. The relation between this name and the Semitic word whence, 126probably, comes Greek baitulos541 (Latin baetulus) is not clear; this last is the designation of a sacred stone held to have fallen from heaven (meteoric). Such an one is called by Philo of Byblos "empsuchos," 'endowed with life or with soul.'542 Pliny describes the baetulus as a species of ceraunia (thunderstone).543 The Greek word is now commonly derived from betel ('bethel')—a derivation possible so far as the form of the word is concerned.544 According to this view the stone is the abode of a deity—a conception common in early religion. Such an object would be revered, and would ultimately be brought into connection with a local god.545 If Hebrew bethel was originally a stone considered as the abode of a deity, then in the Old Testament the earlier form of the conception has been effaced by the later thought—the word 'bethel' has become the name of a place, a shrine, the dwelling place of God.546

295. The origin of the black stone of the Kaaba at Mecca is unknown—it was doubtless either a meteorite or in some way connected with a sacred place; it was, and is, regarded as in itself sacred, but whether it represented originally a deity, and if so what deity, is not known.547

296. The belief in the sacred character of stones may account, at least in part, for the custom of casting stones on the grave of a chieftain (as in Northern Arabia), though this may be merely intended to preserve the grave. So also the stones thrown at the foot of a Hermes pillar may have been meant as a waymark, yet with the feeling that the stone heap had a sacred character of its 127own.548 The stone circles at Stonehenge and Avebury may have had a religious significance, but their function is not clear. Boundary stones seem to have had at first simply a political function, but were naturally dedicated to the deities who were guardians of tribal boundaries (Roman Terminus, various Babylonian gods, etc.).

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

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

128299. The significance of the high pillars, of stone or of metal, that stood at the entrance of certain Semitic temples, is not clear. Examples are: in Tyre, the temple of the local Baal (Melkart);553 Solomon's temple of Yahweh in Jerusalem, and the temple planned by Ezekiel in imitation of that of Solomon;554 compare the temple of the Carthaginian Tanit-Artemis, a form of Ashtart, the votive stela from the temple of Aphrodite in Idalium (in Cyprus), and similar figures on Cyprian coins.555 Of the various explanations offered of these pillars that which regards them as phallic symbols may be set aside as lacking proof.556 It is not probable that they were merely decorative; the details of ancient temples, as a rule, were connected with worship. It has been suggested that they were fire altars,557 in support of which view may be cited the figures on Cyprian coins (mentioned above), and the fact that sailors sacrificed at Gades at a place where there were two high pillars;558 but such a custom does not prove that the sacrifices were offered on the pillars, and these latter are generally too high to serve such a purpose; they are too high also to be convenient candelabra.559 It seems more probable that they were developments from sacred stones (such as the Canaanite massebas), which originally represented the deity, came to be conventional attachments to temples, and then were treated in accordance with architectural principles. They would be placed in pairs, one pillar on each side of the temple door, for the sake of symmetry, and dignity would be sought by giving them a considerable height.560 They might also be utilized, when they were not too high, as stands for lamps or cressets, but this would be a secondary use. The obelisks that stood in front of Egyptian temples, likewise, were probably sacred monuments reared in honor of deities.561

129300. Images of gods and other extrahuman beings arise through the natural human impulse to represent familiar objects of thought. Very rude tribes have stone or wood carvings of spirits and gods, good and bad. These images are generally in human shape, because all Powers are thought of as anthropomorphic. Sometimes, as Réville suggests, a root, or branch of a tree, bearing some resemblance to the human face or figure, may have led to the making of an image; but the general natural artistic tendency is sufficient to account for the fact.562

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

302. Stones and rocks, like other natural objects, are starting-points for folk-stories and myths. All over the world they lie on the ground or rise in the shape of hills, and, being mysterious, require explanation. The explanations given, and handed down from generation to generation, are always connected with superhuman or with extraordinary persons, ancestors, heroes, spirits. To each stone or rock a story is attached, a creation of the fancy suggested by the surroundings and by the popular traditions; and each story forms an episode in the history of the hero or spirit. The stones and rocks thus come to constitute a book chronicling the history of the tribe and the deeds of its great men—a book quite 130legible to the man who has been taught the stories. These grow with every generation, receiving such additions as fancy and reflection dictate, and gradually taking on literary form. In the territory of the Australian Arunta every stone is connected with some incident in the careers of the mythical ancestors, and the stories taken together form the legendary history of the origin of customs.564 In Samoa and New Guinea many stones are pointed out as having been set in place by local heroes. In North America innumerable rocks and stones are connected with the mythical ancestors and creators of the tribes.

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

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

305. Mythological fancy has made them the abodes and places of assembly of gods and glorified saints, usually in the north. The 131mythical Ekur was the dwelling place of Babylonian deities.568 In India various peaks in the Himalayas, inaccessible to men, were assigned to groups of deities, and the mythical world-mountain Meru was the special abode of great gods, who there lived lives of delight.569 On the highest peak of the Thessalian Olympus Zeus sat, surrounded by the inferior gods; here he held councils and announced his decrees.570 The two conceptions of the home of the gods—on mountains and in the sky—existed for a time side by side, having in common the feature of remoteness and secrecy; gradually the earthly abode was ignored, and the gods were assigned to the more dignified heavenly home.


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

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

308. As in the case of animals, plants, and stones, so here: the earliest conception of water masses is that they are divine in themselves (every one, of course, having its own soul), and are potent for bodily help or harm, and for divination. The waters of the 132Nile, the Ganges, the Jordan, were held to heal the diseased and purify the unclean; and a similar power is now ascribed to the water of the well Zamzam in the Kaaba at Mecca. Hannibal swore, among other things, by the waters,572 and the oath by the river Styx was the most binding of oaths, having power to control even the gods; the thing by which an oath is taken is always originally divine. In the Hebrew ordeal of jealousy the sacred water decides whether the accused woman is guilty or not.573 The sea is treated as a living thing, whose anger may be appeased by gifts; it is a monster, a dragon.574 The Spartan Cleomenes, about to start on a voyage, sacrifices a bull to the sea.575 Offerings to the sea are made in the Maldive Islands.576

309. Water is abundantly employed in religious ritual as a means of purification from ceremonial defilement, and in services of initiation. A bathing-place often stood by a shrine (as in pre-Islamic Arabia and in Islam now), and immersions came to play a prominent part in highly developed systems (Jewish, Christian, Mithraic). The purification was generally symbolic, but in some forms of Christian belief the water of baptism is held to have regenerating power577—a survival of the ancient conception of the divinity of water.

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

311. While wells and streams of a domestic character (such as are freely used by human beings) are generally friendly, they have their unfriendly side. The spirits that dwell in them are sometimes 133regarded as being hostile to man. They drag the incautious wanderer into their depths, and then nothing can save him from drowning. Fear of these malignant beings sometimes prevents attempts to rescue a drowning person; such attempts are held to bring down the vengeance of the water-demon on the would-be rescuer.578

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

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

314. Deities of streams and springs do not play an important part in worship or in mythology; their physical functions are not definite enough, and their activities are naturally merged in or subsumed under those of the greater or more definite local gods. If, for example, the Canaanite Baals are gods or lords of underground irrigation,581 this is because they, as divine lords of the particular regions, control all phenomena; they are, in fact, also gods of rain and thunderstorms, harvests and war. So rain-gods in general are to be regarded as local deities, among whose functions that of bestowing rain was regarded as specially important. In the lowest systems the rain-giver may be a sacred stone, dipped in a stream,582 or a royal or priestly magician who is held responsible and is punished 134if the expected result is not attained.583 In such cases the procedure is often one of imitative magic.584

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

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

135317. In the more elaborate pantheons the local deities of streams and springs tend to disappear, and gods of ocean appear: in Babylonia, Ea; in Greece, Okeanos and Poseidon; in Rome, Neptune; and along with these are numerous subordinate figures—attendants on the great gods, and intrusted with various particular duties.


318. There was, doubtless, a time when man had not learned to produce fire, and there may now be tribes unacquainted with its domestic uses. But such ignorance, if it exists, is rare; savages generally know how to make fire, and to use it for warmth and for the preparation of food. When men began to reflect on the origin of things, fire seemed to them so wonderful that they supposed it must have been discovered or invented, and the knowledge of it bestowed on men by higher beings, gods or demigods; such benefactors are Hastsezini (of the Navahos), Lightning (of the Pawnees), the Beaver and the Eagle (of the Thompson River Indians of British Columbia), Maui (of the Maoris), Agni, Prometheus.590

319. Though, like other mysterious things, it has been regarded generally (perhaps universally) as sacred, there is no clear proof that it has been worshiped as divine. What may have been the case in remote ages we cannot tell, but, according to the information we possess, it has been, and is, merely revered as in itself mysterious or sacred,591 or as the abode or production of a spirit or a deity. Possibly in the early stages of culture known to us there is a fusion of the element with the indwelling or controlling god or spirit.592 The divine patrons of fire are found in all parts of the world, varying 136in form and function according to the degrees of advancement of the various communities, from the beast-gods of the Redmen to the departmental deities of the Maoris, Babylonians, Mexicans, and others, and to the more complicated gods of Hindus, Greeks, and Romans.593

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

321. The relation of fire to the gods, and especially its use in sacrifice, have led to a number of religious ceremonies in which it plays a principal part.595 Certain fires must be kindled by specially appointed sacred persons: among the Todas of Southern India, when a new dairy is visited or an old dairy is reconsecrated;596 among 137the Lacandones of Central America, on the occasion of the renewal of the incense-bowls;597 in the Peruvian temple at the feast of Raymi, when the flame was intrusted to the care of the Virgins of the Sun, and was to be kept up during the year;598 in the temples of Hestia and Vesta; throughout Greece, when the fires had been polluted by the presence of the Persians, it was ordered that they should be put out and rekindled from the sacred fire at Delphi.599

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

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

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

325. Light is sometimes regarded as an independent thing, and as sacred.602


326. Traces of an early cult of the physical wind may be found, perhaps, in certain customs that survive in modern communities; as, for example, in the offering of food to the wind that it may be placated and do no harm.603 The belief of sailors that wind may be called up by whistling rests on a process of imitative magic that may be connected with an early cult. Wind is said to be regarded as a divine being in some American tribes.604 But generally it is the spirit or god of a wind (and usually of a definite wind) that is 138invoked. Examples of wind-gods are found in all parts of the world.605 A wind may be the vehicle or the messenger of a deity.606

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

Heavenly Bodies

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

329. In half-civilized peoples elaborate cosmogonies arise, in which the sky is introduced along with sun, moon, and stars. The most noteworthy of these representations of the origin of the sky is one that occurs in almost identical forms in Egypt and New Zealand, among the Masai of Central East Africa, and elsewhere: two beings lie in marriage embrace—one is lifted up and stretches from horizon to horizon as the sky, the other remains as the earth.610 The sun is commonly male but sometimes female,611 and 139there is also diversity of views as to the sex of the moon. The stars are often called the children of the sun and moon.

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

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

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

333. The view that the sky and the earth are the original progenitors of things appears among many peoples, low and high (notably among the Chinese); the two are sometimes taken for 140granted, but it is probable that there were always stories accounting for their origin. The sky is sometimes female, usually in the older myths (Maori, Egyptian), sometimes male (Greek, Roman).617

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

Worship of Human Beings622

335. We might naturally suppose that human beings, as well as animals, plants, and inanimate things, would be objects of religious reverence to undeveloped communities; men, it might seem, would be thought worthier objects of worship than beasts, plants, and stones. In fact, the cult of human beings has been and is widespread, but in this cult the savage mind makes a sharp distinction between the living and the dead. Living men are tangible and intelligible, affected with human frailties, and therefore offer less food for the imagination than beasts; the souls of dead men are remote, intangible, mysterious, and it is they that have most inspired religious emotion. The history of these cults is in some 141points obscure; though many facts have been collected, the data are not full and exact enough to furnish a complete explanation of the details of usage, diffusion, origin, and development.

The Cult of the Living

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

337. Many cases, in fact, are reported in which living men are worshiped as gods; but such reports are often open to doubt and need confirmation. Travelers and other observers are not always in position to state the facts precisely; particularly they do not always distinguish between awe and religious worship, and the statements of savages on this point are often vague. Frazer has collected a considerable number of examples of alleged worship of living men.623 One of these, that of the dairyman (palol) of the Todas of Southern India, is not supported by the latest observer, who says that the palol is highly respected but not worshiped.624 An apparently clear case of worship is the Panjab god Nikkal Sen, said to be General Nicholson;625 and it is not improbable that 142in other cases mentioned by Frazer (Marquesas Islands, Raiatea, Samoa, Fiji) actual deification takes place.

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

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

340. The official honorific character of divine titles appears as early as the fifteenth century, when Queen Hatshepsut is officially 143declared to be the daughter of Amon. By such an official procedure Alexander, though not akin to any Egyptian royal house, was declared to be the son of Amon; Ptolemy Philadelphus became the son of the sun-god, and his wife Arsinoë was made a goddess by a solemn ceremony. Possibly the recognition of the divine title, in educated Egyptian circles, as a conventional form began at a relatively early time—the easy way in which a man was made a god may have been felt in such circles to be incompatible with real divinity. Nevertheless the cult of the divinized king was practiced seriously. In some cases the living monarch had his temple and retinue of priests, and divine honors were paid him.627

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

342. It may be doubted whether the Babylonian usage can properly be called Semitic. As such a custom is found nowhere 144else in the Semitic area, and as the early Babylonian Semites borrowed much from the non-Semitic Sumerians (they borrowed their system of writing and some literary material), it is conceivable that they adopted this practice from them. There is, to be sure, no proof, except from the inscriptions, that the practice was Sumerian; but, as it is found in some Asiatic non-Semitic lands,630 there is the possibility that it existed among the Sumerians, of whose history, however, we unfortunately know little. It is to be noted that the cessation of the practice appears to be synchronous with the establishment of the first great Semitic dynasty at Babylon.

343. No ascription of divinity to men is found among the Hebrews. The Elohim-beings (called "sons of God" in the English translation of the Bible) are gods. The code forbids men to curse God (not "judges")631—judges are not called "gods." There is nothing going to show that the old Hebrew kings were looked on as divine. Frazer's hypothesis that the king was identified with the God Adonis632 is not supported by the statements of the Old Testament; the title 'my lord' (adoni) given him is simply the ordinary expression of respect and courtesy. He is "the anointed of Yahweh," as many ancient official persons (kings and priests) were inducted into office by the pouring of oil on their heads, but, as a mouthpiece and representative of the deity, he is inferior to the prophet; at best, flattery, such as that of the woman of Tekoa, might liken him to an angel.633 The epithet el gibbor (English Bible, "mighty God"), applied to a Jewish prince, must probably be rendered 'mighty hero.'634 The title 'gods' has been supposed to be given to men (judges) a couple of times in the Psalter,635 but the reference there seems to be to Greek deities regarded as acting as judges.

145344. The ascription of divinity to human beings is lacking in Arabia also and among Semitic Moslems generally. The Ismailic and Babist dogmas of the incarnation of God in certain men are of Aryan (Indian) origin.

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

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

347. Among the Greeks and the Romans the belief in the divinity of living men and women was of a vague character. In Homer the epithet dios when applied to human beings (individuals or peoples) means little more, if any more, than 'of exalted character' (except in the case of mythical heroes, like Achilles, who were of actual divine parentage). At a later time such divinization was sometimes treated jestingly. If Plutarch may be accepted as authority,638 Alexander did not take his own godhead seriously, did not believe in it, but allowed it merely for its effect on others. 146It was little more than a farce when the Syrian-Greek Antiochus II, for services rendered to a city, was called "Theos" by the grateful citizens;639 it was the baldest flattery when Herod's oration640 was greeted by a tumultuous assembly as the "voice of a god." Augustus, though he allowed temples and altars to be consecrated to him in the provinces, did not permit it in Rome, being, apparently, ashamed of such procedures.641 The most infamous of the early emperors, Caligula, received divine honors in his lifetime by his own decree.642 Apart from these particular cases, however, the general conception of the possibility of a man's being divine had a notable effect on the religious development in the Roman Empire.643 The custom, for example, of burning incense before the Emperor's statue (which faithful Christians refused to do), while it strengthened the idea of the presence of the divine in human life, doubtless debased it.

348. Deification of living men is not found in the great national religions of India and Persia. Mazdaism, like Hebraism, kept the human distinctly apart from the divine: Ahura Mazda is virtually absolute, and Zoroaster and the succeeding prophets, including the savior Çaoshyanç, are men chosen and appointed by him.644 Vedism developed the nature-gods, and in Brahmanism the goal of the worshiper was union with the divine, but not independent divinity; the muni by ascetic observances might attain a power equal or superior to that of the gods and feared by them,645 but he remained (like the old magician) a powerful man and did not receive divine worship.646 In recent times the followers of the Brahma-Samaj leader Sen are said to have worshiped him as a god647—apparently an isolated phenomenon, the origin of which is not clear. Buddha was 147purely human to himself and his contemporaries. The ascription of divinity to the Tibetan Grand Lamas is a product of the transformation of Buddhism under the influence of a crude non-Aryan population that retained the old conception of the essential identity of nature of men and gods.

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

The Cult of the Dead

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

351. Historical persons. In simple communities commanding personalities that have impressed the imagination of the people by proofs of power and by conferring benefits on communities may not unnaturally receive divine honors after death. Lyall reports a case of this sort in recent times: the French officer Raymond in Hyderabad is said to have been worshiped as a god.648 Other cases are reported as occuring in Samoa and in India.649 Rivers mentions traditions among the Todas of Southern India which, he thinks, may vouch for the worship of gods who were originally men, but implicit reliance cannot be placed on such traditions.650 Two apparently definite instances of deification are given by Ellis,651 both of cruel kings (one dethroned in 1818), to whom temples with complete rituals are dedicated; but the deification in one of these cases (and probably in the other) was a deliberate act of political leaders, 148and not a product of spontaneous popular feeling. Two other local gods mentioned by Ellis were, according to the tradition, two men who began the trade that made Whydah the chief port of the west coast of Africa; but here also the tradition is not perfectly trustworthy.

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

353. Examples of the occasional divinization of deceased men in the Hellenic world are given below.653 In Rome the custom arose at a comparatively late period, and it was the work not of spontaneous Roman thought but of political philosophy.654 The deification of the Roman emperors after death had its ground in the reconstruction of Roman life undertaken by Augustus. He recognized a principle of unification in the resuscitation of the old national religion, in which the people believed, whether he himself did or not. Religion in Rome was largely an affair of the state; the leaders of the public religion were great state officials. Augustus was made pontifex maximus, and it was only one step farther to elevate the chief magistrate to the rank of a god. The good sense of the time generally forbade the bestowment of this honor during the imperator's lifetime, but an apotheosis was in accord with the veneration paid to the manes and with the exalted position of the 149Emperor as absolute lord of the Western world.655 Popular feeling appears to have accepted this divinization without question and in sincerity; educated circles accepted it as an act of political policy. The elevation of Julius Cæsar and Augustus to the rank of gods established the rule, and deceased emperors received divine honors up to the triumph of Christianity.656

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

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

356. Mythical ancestors. Mythical ancestors are usually eponymous; the tendency in all ancient peoples was to refer their names and origins to single persons. Such an eponym was the product of imagination, a genealogical myth (Hellen, Ion, Dorus, Jacob, Israel), and was revered, but was not always the object of a religious cult; such cults do not appear among the Semites658 or in the native Roman rites. Nor does the custom seem to have originated in the earliest periods; it was rather a creation of quasi-scientific reflection, the demand for definite historical organization, and it appears first in relatively late literary monuments.659

357. Still later arose the worship of these ancestral founders. In Greece shrines were erected by various cities to their supposed founders, and where, as in Athens, the tribes had their eponyms, these received divine worship, though they never attained equal 150rank with the gods proper. From Greece this cult was brought into Italy. It was probably under Greek influence, and at a relatively late time, that Romulus was created, made the immediate founder of Rome, and took his place among the objects of worship;660 on the other hand, Æneas (a Greek importation), though he was accepted as original founder, never received divine worship, doubtless because Romulus (nearer in name to the city Roma) already held the position of divine patron. The cult of eponyms tended naturally to coalesce with that of divine 'heroes'661—the two figures were alike in character, differing mainly in function, and eponyms were styled 'heroes.'662

358. The inverse process, the reduction of divine beings to simple human proportions, has gone on in early cults and in early attempts at historical construction to a not inconsiderable degree. Thus, to take a relatively late example, by Saxo Grammaticus and in the Heimskringla (both of the thirteenth century) the god Odin is made into a human king and the history of his exploits is given in detail.663 It is, however, especially in the treatment of the old divine heroes, originally true gods, that the process of dedivinization appears. These figures, because of their local character and for other reasons, entered into peculiarly close relations with human societies, of which they thus tended to become constituent parts, and the same feeling that gave the gods human shapes converted the heroes into mere men, who are generally reconstructers of society. Examples of this sort of anthropomorphizing are found in myths all over the world: the Babylonian Gilgamesh; the "mighty men" of Genesis vi, 4, originally demigods, the progeny of human mothers and of the Elohim-beings (the Benë Elohim, 'sons of the gods,' members, that is, of the divine circle); Heracles and Hercules; the Scandinavian (apparently general Teutonic) Valkyrs, Nornas, and Swan-maidens.664

151359. The Sicilian Euhemeros (of the latter part of the fourth century B.C.), after extensive travels to great places of worship, formulated the theory that all the gods were deified men. Some grounds for his theory he doubtless had, for, according to ancient opinion, gods might and did die, and their places of burial were sometimes pointed out (the grave of Zeus, for instance, in Crete). How far this view had been held before the time of Euhemeros is uncertain, but he gave it vogue, and it is called, after him, Euhemerism.665 In recent times it has been revived in part by Herbert Spencer and Allen, who derive all gods from ghosts.666 Similar to it is the rationalizing of myths, which has met with favor at various times.

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

361. Such usages must be very ancient, for they are found in the lowest tribes, and appear to be based on the earliest known conceptions of the nature of departed souls.668 These latter are held 152to have all the ordinary affections of the living, but to be endowed with extraordinary powers: they have their likes and dislikes, their kindliness, jealousy, anger, revengefulness, all on the lower moral grade of undeveloped life; they are, in many regards, not subject to the ordinary limitations of the living—they are invisible, move swiftly from place to place through obstacles impervious to the living, enter their bodies, produce sickness and death, aid or destroy crops. On the other hand, they need food and other necessities of ordinary life, and for these things are dependent on the living. Hence the desirableness of securing their good will by showing them respect and supplying their needs, or else of somehow getting rid of them.

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

363. Though the accessible evidence does not enable us to determine with certainty the motives of all savage customs connected with the dead, there are some distinctions that may be made with fair probability. To supply the dead with food and cooking-utensils may very well be, as is remarked above, the impulse of affection, and even where slaves and wives are slain that their ghosts may minister to the ghost of the master and husband, this may not go beyond pious solicitude for the comfort of the deceased. But the mourning-usages common with savages are too violent to be merely the expression of love; the loud cries and the wounding of 153the person are meant more probably to assure the deceased of the high regard in which he is held;670 in some cases, as among the Central Australians, men gash themselves so severely as to come near producing death.671 These excessive demonstrations are softened as general culture increases, and finally dwindle to an apparatus of hired mourners. A similar explanation holds of the restriction of food, the seclusion of the widow or the widower, and the rule against mentioning the name of the deceased: abstinence and silence are marks of respect.

364. Funeral feasts also testify respect:672 they appear to be extensions of the practice of providing food for the dead, feasts in which the mourners, from motives of thriftiness, take part; the ghost consumes only the invisible soul of the food, and it is proper that what is left should furnish refreshment for the living.673 The funeral festivities are sometimes protracted, and become occasions of enjoyment to the circle of kinsfolk, in some cases at a ruinous expense to the family of the deceased, as is true now sometimes of Irish and other wakes. The honor of the family is involved, and this fact, together with the natural desire for pleasure, has contributed to the development of the custom in savage as well as in civilized life. In general the solemnity of the various ceremonies and other usages testifies to a profound conviction of the necessity of keeping on good terms with the dead.674

365. The reports of savage customs show a certain number of cases in which the benevolent and the malevolent activities of the dead are equally prominent: so, for example, among the Australian Kurnai,675 the New Zealanders,676 the Melanesian peoples,677 the 154Vezimbas of Madagascar,678 the Zulus,679 the Eẃe-speaking tribes on the west coast of Africa.680 It is probable that the list might be greatly extended by exact observation. When we find two peoples, dwelling near together and of the same grade of general culture, credited the one with fear, the other with friendly feeling toward the dead, it seems likely that different sets of usages have met the eyes of the observers; a certain amount of accident must color such reports.

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

367. Friendly relations with the dead do not in themselves necessarily involve worship, but a more or less definite cult of ghosts is found in various parts of the world. They are, or were, regarded as tutelary spirits in Tasmania, Ashanti, and Dahomi (where shrines are dedicated to them), and by the Zuñi Indians; prayers are addressed to them in Samoa and the Hawaiian Islands (where there is a definite family worship), in Yoruba, by the Banyas and the Zulus, by the Ossetes, the Veddahs of Ceylon, and the North American Dakotas; offerings are made to them—sometimes to influential persons, chiefs, and others, as in the Gilbert Islands, in parts of Melanesia, in Borneo, and by the Cakchiquels of Central America—sometimes to all the dead, as in the Solomon Islands, 155the New Hebrides, Fiji, Torres Straits, and by the Zulus, the Veddahs of Ceylon, the Kolarians of Bengal, and the Ossetes.682

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

369. Besides forms of actual worship there are several usages that involve religious veneration of the dead. Graves are regarded as asylums by the Kafirs (graves of chiefs)683 and in Tonga.684 The Bedawin of Arabia held (in pre-Islamic times), and still hold, graves sacred;685 they sometimes become shrines, and oaths are sworn by them. The custom of swearing by the dead is widespread. In their character of powerful spirits they are agents in processes of magic and divination. Parts of dead bodies are used as charms. The skull especially is revered as an oracle.686

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

371. The worship of the dead in the great civilized communities, though more elaborate and refined than the savage cult, is in 156substance identical with it. The Egyptians provided the departed soul with food and honored the dead man with laudatory notices of his earthly life; the royal ancestor of a king, it was believed, might act as mediator between him and the gods.688 The Babylonians, while they lamented the departure of men to the gloomy existence in the Underworld, recognized the quasi-divine power of the dead and addressed prayer to them.689 The Hebrews offered food to the dead, had funeral feasts, and consulted ghosts who were regarded as divine.690 The Hindu "fathers," though kept distinct from the gods, were yet conceived of as possessing godlike powers and were worshiped as gods.691 The Persian "forefathers" (fravashis), particularly the manes of eminent pious men, were held to be bestowers of all the blessings of life; offerings were made and prayers addressed to them.692

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

373. Among the dead thus honored is to be included one class of heroes. A Greek "hero" was sometimes an eminent man, 157sometimes such a man divinized, sometimes an old god reduced to human dimensions, reckoned in some cases to belong to the circle of the gods proper.696 Such personages might be worshiped as gods, with the sacrifices appropriate to the gods, or as departed men, with the sacrifices that custom fixed for the dead. The hero-cult included many men of note recently deceased, like Brasidas and those that fell at Marathon.697

374. The cults just mentioned dealt with the departed as friendly souls, the protectors of the family, the clan, or the state. The state cult of the dead was elaborate and solemn. The Greek citizen was surrounded by a host of the eminent dead who kept him in touch with the past and offered him ideals of life.698 Another attitude toward the dead is indicated by the great apotropaic spring festival, the Anthesteria of Athens, the object of which was to rid the city of the ghosts that then wandered about.699 This double attitude is precisely that of the savage tribes referred to above. The same difference of feeling appears in the Roman cults: the manes are the friendly or doubtful souls of dead ancestors; the Parentalia is a festival in honor of the dead kin; in the Lemuria, on the other hand, the father of the family performs a ceremony at midnight intended to rid the house of ghosts.700

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

158376. The venerated dead stood apart, as a rule, from the nature-spirits and the gods, but these different classes sometimes coalesced, as has been remarked above, in popular usage. The powers and functions of the dead were not essentially different from those of the divinities proper, particularly in the simpler stages of society. They were able to bestow all the blessings and to inflict all the misfortunes of life. In process of time the advance of knowledge relegated them to a subordinate place, but they long retained a considerable importance as friends of families and states, as disseminators of disease, and as predictors of human fortunes.

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

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

379. The ethical power of the cults so far discussed resides in the human association to which they give rise and the sanctions they supply to conduct. Of these two effects the former is the more important. The moral character of a ghost or spirit or deity never rises above that of its circle of worshipers: its approval or disapproval is the echo of current usage, and has special efficiency only in the accompanying power of reward or punishment; it appeals 159to the hopes and fears of men. This police function is doubtless valuable in restraining from crime and inciting to good conduct, but it has no regenerative power. The enlargement of human association, on the other hand, increases sympathy and coöperation among men, and paves the way to the cultivation of the mutual respect and regard which is the basis of social virtue.

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

381. The part played in religious history by the worship of the dead is so important that some writers have derived all religion from it.705 This view is now generally rejected for the reason that it does not accord with known facts; it is only by forced (though often ingenious) interpretations that a plausible case is made out for it. To reply in detail to the arguments advanced in its favor would be to go over the whole ground of the origin of religious observances; the answer is furnished by setting forth the nature of the various cults, as is attempted in this and following chapters. If, for example, there is reason to believe that savages have always regarded the lower animals as powerful beings, there is no need, in accounting 160for the veneration given them, to resort to the roundabout way of assuming a misinterpretation of names of men derived from beasts.

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

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

Cults of Generative Powers

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

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

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


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

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

389. Here again it must be noted that not all usages connected with the organs of generation were religious of origin. It 162is pointed out above712 that the origin of circumcision and excision is to be sought in another direction. Ithyphallic images are sometimes merely attempts at realism in art; a nude figure (as in modern art) must be represented in its full proportions. Such seems to be the nature of certain images among the Western Bantu,713 and this may have been the case with the images of the Egyptian Khem and Osiris and similar deities. In general this sort of representation in savage and ancient civilized communities is often either simple realism or indecency. Folk-stories abound in details that sound indecent to modern ears, but were for the authors often merely copies of current usages.

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

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

392. It seems not to exist now among the lowest peoples. There are no definite traces of it in the tribes of Oceania, Central Africa, Central Asia, and America. The silence of explorers on this point cannot indeed be taken as proof positive of its 163nonexistence; yet the absence of distinct mention of it in a great number of carefully prepared works leads us to infer that it does not play an important part in the religious systems therein described.714 It seems to require, for its establishment, a fairly well-developed social and political organization. Some of the tribes named above have departmental deities, mostly of a simple sort, but apparently it has not occurred to them to isolate this particular function, which they probably regarded as a familiar part of the order of things and not needing special mention. The gift of children was in the hands of the local god, a generally recognized part of his duty as patron of the tribe, and all sexual matters naturally might be referred to him. Also, as is remarked above, in certain tribes there was no knowledge of the connection between the birth of children and the union of the sexes,715 and such tribes would of course ascribe no creative power to the phallus.

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

394. In modern India the Çivaite phallicism is pronounced and important. The linga is treated as a divine power, and, as producer of fertility, is especially the object of devotion of women;717 though Çivaism has its rites of unbridled bestialism, the worship of 164the linga by women is often free from impurity; it is practically worship of a deity of fertility. The origin of the Indian cult is not clear. As it does not appear in the earliest literature, it has been supposed to have come into Aryan worship from non-Aryan tribes. Whatever its origin, it is now widely observed in Aryan India, and has been adopted by various outlying tribes.718

395. While it is, or was, well established in Japan, it apparently has had no marked influence on the religious thought of the people. Phallic forms abound719 in the land, in spite of repressive measures on the part of the government, but the cult partakes of the general looseness of the Shinto organization of supernatural Powers. It is said to have been adopted in some cases by Buddhists. It appears to have been combined with Shinto at a very early (half-civilized) time, for which, however, no records exist.

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

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

398. The evidence that has been adduced for a cult of the phallus among Semitic peoples is of a doubtful nature. No ithyphallic 165images or figures of gods have been found. Religious prostitution there was in all North Semitic lands,723 but this is a wholly different thing from a phallicistic cult. It is supposed, however, by not a few scholars that descriptions and representations of the phallus occur in so many places as to make some sort of cult of the object probable. In a passage of the Book of Isaiah, descriptive of a foreign cult practiced, probably, by some Jews, the phallus, it is held, is named.724 The passage is obscure. The nature and origin of the cult referred to are not clear; it is not elsewhere mentioned. The word (yad, usually 'hand') supposed to mean 'phallus' is not found in this sense elsewhere in the Old Testament or in later Hebrew literature. But, if the proposed rendering be adopted, the reference will be not to a cult of the phallus but to sexual intercourse, a figurative description of idolatry.

399. A distinct mention of phalli as connected with religious worship occurs in Pseudo-Lucian's description of the temple of a certain goddess at Hierapolis.725 He gives the name to enormously high structures standing in the propylæa of the temple, but mentions no details suggesting a phallic cult. Twice a year, he says, a man ascends one of them, on the top of which he stays seven days, praying, as some think, for a blessing on all Syria—a procedure suggesting that the pillar was simply a structure consecrated to the deity of the place (probably Atargatis, who is often called "the Syrian goddess")726. However, if there was a phallic cult there (the phallus being regarded as a symbol of the productive function of the deity), it is not certain that it was Semitic. Hierapolis had long been an important religious center in a region in which Asiatic and Greek worships were influential, and foreign elements might easily have become attached to the worship of a Semitic deity. The cult 166of the Asian Great Mother (whom the Greeks identified with their Leto) had orgiastic elements. Lucian's reference to a custom of emasculation suggests Asian features at Hierapolis.727

400. In Babylonia and Palestine stones, held by some to be phalli, have been found.728 While the shape of some of these objects and their occurrence at shrines may be supposed to lend support to this view, its correctness is open to doubt. There is no documentary evidence as to the character of the objects in question, and they may be explained otherwise than as phalli. But, if they are phalli, their presence does not prove a phallic cult—they may be votive objects, indicating that the phallus was regarded as in some sort sacred, not that it was worshiped. Decision of the question may be reserved till more material has been collected. There is no sufficient ground for regarding the stone posts that stood by Hebrew shrines as phallic symbols; they are naturally explained as sacred stones, originally embodying a deity, later attached to his shrines as traditional objects entitled to veneration.729

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

167402. The most interesting figure of this character is Priapos, an ithyphallic deity of uncertain origin; his special connection was with Lampsakos, and he may have been an Asian creation. From the variety of his functions (he was patron of gardens and viticulture, of sailors and fishermen, and in some places a god of war)731 it may be surmised that he was originally a local deity, charged with the care of all human interests, in an agricultural community the patron of fertility, and at some time, and under circumstances unknown to us, especially connected with sexual life. Whatever his origin, his cult spread over Greece, he was identified with certain Greek deities, licentious popular festivals naturally attached themselves to his worship, and his name became a synonym of sexual passion. In the later time the pictorial representations of him became grossly indecent; his cult was an outlet for popular and artistic license.732 On the other hand, in the higher thought he was made the representative of the production of universal animal life, and rose to the rank of a great god.733

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

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

168405. Phalli as amulets occur in all parts of the world; as symbols and perhaps as abodes of deities, they have been held potent to ward off all evils.736

406. The female organ (yoni, kteis) appears frequently in figures of female deities, ordinarily without special significance, religious or other, except as a sign of sex. In the rare cases in which it is the object of religious veneration (as in India) it is subordinated to the phallos737—there is little or no evidence for the existence of a yonistic cult proper.738 Female deities act as fully formed anthropomorphic Powers, embodiments of the productive energies of nature; they are generally treated as persons, without special reference to bodily parts. The most definite formulation of this conception appears in Çaktism, the worship of the female principle in nature as represented by various goddesses, often accompanied, naturally, by licentious rites.739

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

408. In Semitic lands no artistic representations of a bisexual deity are now known, but evidence is adduced to show that this conception existed in early times. It has been sought in two old Babylonian inscriptions published by the British Museum.740 The first of these (written in Sumerian) reads: "For [or, in honor of] the (divine) king of countries, the (divine) Nana [Ishtar], the lady Nana, Lugaltarsi, king of Kish, has constructed," etc. Barton takes 169the two titles "the divine Ishtar" (='king of countries,' masculine) and "the lady Ishtar" to refer to the same deity, in whose person would thus be united male and female beings. If, however, the king of countries and Ishtar be taken to be two different deities (as is possible), there is no bisexuality. The second inscription, which is bilingual, has the expressions "the mother-father Enlil," "the mother-father Ninlil" (Sumerian), rendered in Semitic "the father-mother Enlil," "the father-mother Ninlil." These expressions probably signify not that the two deities are bisexual, but that each of them fulfills the guarding and nourishing functions of a father and a mother.

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

409. Of a more definite character are expressions in two Phœnician inscriptions. In an inscription of Eshmunazzar II (probably early in the fourth century B.C.) the great goddess of Sidon is called "Ashtart Shem Baal."744 The word shem means 'name,' and, if it be so interpreted as to give the goddess the name of a male divinity, she may be understood to have partly male form. But such change 170of name is hardly probable, and this is not necessarily the natural force of the phrase. In Hebrew to "call one's name on a person or thing" is to assert ownership in it or close connection with it.745 In the West Semitic area some personal names signify simply 'name of such and such a deity,' as, for example, Shemuel (Samuel), 'name of El,' Shemzebul, 'name of (the god) Zebul,' denoting devotion or subordination to the deity in question. "Shem Baal" as a title of Ashtart may then indicate her close relation with the god, or, perhaps, if the expression be understood more broadly, her equality with him in power (the name of a deity involves his attributes)—he was the great god, but she, the expression would say, is not less mighty than he; or, less probably, baal may be taken not as proper name but as title, the sense then being that the goddess is the lord of the city.746 Another proposal is to read "Ashtart shamē Baal," 'Ashtart of the heaven [sky] of Baal.'747 There is a Phœnician Baal-shamem, 'lord of the sky,' but nowhere else is the sky described as the abode of a baal, and the transference of the local city-goddess to that region would be strange; nor in the expression 'Baal-shamem' is Baal a proper name—it is merely a title.

410. Another phrase, occurring in many Carthaginian inscriptions, makes mention of "Tanit face of Baal,"748 an expression that may point to a female body with male face. Its indefiniteness—it does not state the nature of the face (it may point to a beard)—makes it difficult to draw from it any conclusions as to the character of the deity named.749 But the probability is that it is identical 171in sense with the one mentioned above. Tanit was the great goddess of Carthage; she is called "Adon," 'lord,' and her equality with Baal is indicated by the statement that she had his face, the word 'face' being here equivalent to 'personality' and 'power.'750

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

412. Leaving aside a few other notices that add nothing to our knowledge of the point under consideration, we should naturally conclude, if we give any credit to the statements of Servius and Macrobius, that there was a report in their time of a bisexual deity in Cyprus. As regards Vergil's "deus," that may be merely a poetical expression of the eminence and potency of the goddess. But the assertions of her bisexual character are distinct, even if the "beard" be discarded. This latter may have come from a misunderstanding of some appearance on the face of the statue; or, 172as has been suggested, there may have been a false beard attached to it permanently or occasionally,755 and from this may have sprung the belief in the twofold nature of the deity. We are not told, however, that such a nature was ascribed to Aphrodite, or that a beard was attached to her statue; and, if this was done, it is difficult to suppose that a popular belief in the bisexuality of a deity could have arisen from such a procedure. Some better ground for the statements of Servius and Macrobius there seems to have been, though we do not know their authorities. In any case it may be concluded that the cult in question, if it existed, was late, popular, and without marked influence on the Semitic religious development. No figures or other traces of a bisexual deity have been discovered in Cyprus or elsewhere (unless the Carthaginian Tanit be an exception), and all that is otherwise known of the character and cult of the Babylonian Ishtar, the Phœnician Ashtart, and the Carthaginian Tanit (=Ashtart) is against the supposition of bisexuality. Ishtar, originally a deity of fertility, became, through social growth, a patron of war and statecraft; but there is no indication that an attempt was ever made to combine these two characters in one figure.

413. The Phrygian figure Agdistis, represented in the myths as androgynous756 (the myths being based on cults), is connected with the worship of the Great Mother, Kybele (the embodiment of the female productive power of nature), with whom is associated Attis (the embodiment of the male power).757 The myths identify Agdistis on the one hand with Kybele, on the other hand with Attis—he represents in his own person the combination of the two generative powers. But it is doubtful whether this was his significance in the actual worship, in which he hardly appears; he was 173probably a divine figure of the same character as Kybele and Attis, worked up by myth-makers and woven into the larger myth. His self-castration reflects the practice of the priests and other worshipers of Kybele.758 Thus culturally he is of little or no importance.

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

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

416. The name Hermaphroditos is said to occur for the first time in the fourth or third century B.C.762 This would indicate a gradual formulation of the idea, the result being the combination of two divine forms into a single form. Aphrodite would naturally be chosen for the female side, and the ithyphallic Hermes is 174appropriate for the male side—possibly the Hermes pillar with Aphrodite bust was the earliest form.763 The representations of Hermaphrodites show a male body with female bust; the name Aphroditos would rather suggest a female body with male additions. Other Greek bisexual figures are forms of Priapos and Eros.

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

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

418. The starting-point for the development of the hermaphrodite figure may perhaps be found in two facts, the interchange or change of sexual characters765 and the combination of two deities to express a broader idea than either of them represents. The assumption of female dress and sexual habits by males, and of male dress and habits by females, has prevailed over a great part of the world.766 The embodiment of this fact in a composite divine form would be not unnatural at a time when there was a disposition to give expression, in the person of gods, to all human experiences. Such definite embodiment is, however, rare in religious history, probably, as is suggested above, because it involves a large generalization and a more or less distinct symbolism. The first movement in this direction may have been naïvely sensuous; later, as is remarked above, the symbolic conception became predominant.

419. The association of certain animals with certain phallic deities (as the bull with Dionysos, the goat with Pan, the ass with Priapos) is a part of the general connection between gods and animals, the grounds of which are in many cases obscure.767 Pan's rural character may explain his relation to the goat; the bull, the ass, and 175many other animals regarded as sacred, may have been brought into ritual connection with gods by processes of subordination of divine beasts and through collocation of cults. There is no evidence to show that the animals connected with phallic gods were selected on account of their salacious dispositions or their sexual power.

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




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


422. The natural attraction of human beings for one another and the necessity of providing effective means of defense against enemies have led men to associate themselves together in clans and tribes. In such associations some form of organization arose as a matter of course; experience early showed that men could not live together except under the guidance and control of authoritative regulations. Such regulations dealt with fundamental facts of life, which in the beginnings of society are mostly physical. The points requiring regulation are: the relation of man to nonhuman things177 (animals, plants, and inanimate objects); the maintenance of rights of life and property; and the sexual relations between human beings, especially marriage as the basis of the family. The determination of what things may be eaten belongs more particularly under "taboo," and is considered below. Customs and rules designed to protect life and property have always coalesced with religious systems; they are mentioned in connection with the ethical element in religion.769 The other points—relations to nonhuman things and sexual relations—may be conveniently considered together here; but, as the second point belongs rather to sociology than to the history of religion, it will be sufficient, with an introductory word on marriage restrictions (under Exogamy), to give the facts in connection with the various totemic organizations.

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

424. Whether the clan or the phratry preceded in time it is hardly possible to determine—clans may have united to form a larger group, or an original group may have been divided into clans. But in the latter case this original group was practically a clan, so that the question of precedence in time is not important. Where clan exogamy exists without phratries it is possible that these also 178formerly existed and have been dropped in the interests of freedom—that is, they limited the choice of a wife to an extent that proved inconvenient.771

425. An almost universal feature of the marriage rules of low tribes is the classificatory system of relationship. According to this system, the community being divided into groups, terms of relationship indicate not kinship in blood but tribal status in respect of marriageability; thus, the same term is used for a child's real father and for every man who might legally have become the husband of his mother, and the same term for the real mother and for every woman whom the father might have married; the children of such possible fathers and mothers are the child's brothers and sisters; all possible spouses are called a man's "wives" or a woman's "husbands"; and similarly with all relationships.772

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

427. The effect of exogamous arrangements has been to prevent marriage between persons related in blood.774 In totemic organizations, when the totem is inherited, a division into two exogamous groups makes marriage of brother to sister impossible, since all the children of one mother are in the same group; and 179if there are four such groups and children are assigned to a group different from that of the father and that of the mother, marriage between parent and child is impossible. When the totem is not inherited (as is the case among the Australian Arunta) similar results are secured by a further subdivision.

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

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

180430. Objections may be raised to all these theories. It is doubtful whether a scarcity of women existed in early times; and supposing that there were not women enough in a clan for the men of the clan, this would not stand in the way of men's taking as wives their clan women.782 The assumption of primitive sexual promiscuity, likewise, cannot be said to be distinctly borne out by known facts.783 Morgan's theory, however, is not dependent on this assumption—it need only suppose repugnance to the marriage of blood relations. Such repugnance granted, the main objection to the theory rests on the difficulty of supposing savages capable of originating so thoughtful and elastic a scheme as the exogamous system. This is a point on which it is not possible to speak positively. The lowest tribes have produced languages of wonderfully intricate and delicate construction, and, supposing the process of constructing marriage regulations to have gone on during a very long period, modifications introduced from time to time, to meet conditions felt to be important, might conceivably result in such exogamous systems as are now found.

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

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

181433. The supposition that the young men of a clan or tribe go off to seek food, and thus found a new clan, has more in its favor. Being compelled to seek wives in their new surroundings, they might thus initiate a habit of outside marriage that would in time become general usage and therefore sacred. Secession from tribes does occur, and may have been frequent in prehistoric times, but concerning these times we have little or no information. It may be said that movements of this sort would furnish a more probable starting-point for savage customs than the ideas and schemes mentioned above.

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

435. Horror of marriage or of sexual intercourse in general, within the prohibited degrees or areas, is universal in low communities; violation of the tribal law on this point is severely punished, sometimes with death. Whence this feeling sprang is not clear.785 It cannot have arisen from respect for the purity of women or from a belief in the sanctity of the family—intercourse with girls before their marriage is freely allowed, and lending or exchange of wives is common. Magical dangers are supposed to follow on infringement of marriage rules, but, as such results come from violation of any tribal custom, this throws no light on the origin of the feeling of horror in question. Absence of sexual attraction between persons brought up together,786 though the absence of such feeling is said to have been observed in some of the lower animals, is not assured for savages; its existence in civilized communities 182is due to the acceptance of the established usage, which makes certain unions impossible, so that they are not considered, and the germ of such a public opinion may perhaps be assumed for early tribes. Probably the horror of incest is a derivation from economic and other situations and laws that arose naturally in early society—it is a habit hardened into an instinct.

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

437. In all such cases, however, the absence of records makes the history of the organizations uncertain—we do not know whether or not one of the elements, totemism or exogamy, formerly existed and has yielded to disintegrating influences. Thus local exogamy may have superseded clan exogamy in many places, the former representing the more settled habit of life, and the absence of the totemic constitution may indicate a process of decay of totemism. No general rule for the decision of the question can be laid down—every case must be judged for itself.788

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

183439. Exogamy served a good purpose in early stages of society, both by preventing marriages between blood relations and by inducing a sense of the sacredness of the marriage bond. Its long persistence shows that it was regarded by most tribes as necessary for the maintenance of the tribal life. Its restriction of individual freedom in the choice of wives was an evil, and was in time modified and finally thrown off; but it seems to have been the only means, discoverable by early society, by which clans and tribes could live peaceably side by side, and it paved the way for the establishment of the family proper.

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

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


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

443. (a) Exogamy. It is pointed out above790 that totemism and exogamy are mutually independent arrangements, differing in function and origin, each being found without the other. Yet in many cases, perhaps in the majority of cases, the two are found combined. Exogamy supposes a body of clans, and, given a group of totemic clans, it would naturally be attached to these, and so become an organic part of their social constitution. Where there is no totemism the question of union, of course, does not come up. Where totemism is not accompanied by exogamy it is sometimes probable that the union of the two once existed,791 or that exogamy is excluded by the peculiar form of the totemism.792 Exogamy may thus be regarded as a natural and frequent accompaniment of totemism, but it is not a universal and necessary element of the totemic constitution.

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

445. In some cases clans and tribes have distinctive crests or badges, generally totemic figures or parts of such figures. These are carved on beams of houses and on house poles, or cut or drawn on men's persons, and are used as signs manual, serving thus to indicate to strangers a man's clan connections. Such emblems are 185employed in the Torres Straits islands and British New Guinea,794 in the Aru Islands (southwest of New Guinea), and in North America among the Lenâpé (Delawares), the Pueblo tribes, the Tlingit, the Haidas, and the Kwakiutl.795

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

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

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

186449. (c) Descent from the totem. Details so far reported as to this belief are regrettably few and often indefinite, and it is not possible to give more than a provisional sketch of it.798 In Central Australia it is held that all the members of a clan come into being as spirit children, who are the creation of mythical half-human, half-animal beings of the olden time; the clan bears the name of the mythical ancestor (its totem), and its members regard themselves as identical in blood and nature with the totem.799 Similar beliefs are reported as existing in New South Wales and West Australia, and a definite conception of descent from the totem has been found in the Santa Cruz group in Southern Melanesia, in Fiji in Eastern Melanesia, and apparently in Tonga and Tikopia.800 In North America the belief is reported as existing among the Lenâpé (Delawares) and other Eastern tribes.801 In South America it appears among the Arawaks of Guiana,802 and perhaps elsewhere. For Africa there is little information on this point, and what we have is not always definite;803 one of the clearest expressions of descent is found in the title "grandfather" given to the chameleon by the Chameleon clan of the Herrero of German Southwest Africa, but a comparison with the similar title given by the Zulus to a sort of divine ancestor, and with the Herrero mythical stories of the origins of certain clans, suggests that the conception is vague.

450. In addition to the more direct statements there are traditions or myths that connect the origin of clans with animals or plants through the intermediation of gods or human beings, by marriage, or some other relation. The Bushbuck clan of the East African Baganda worship a lion-god, who is called an ancestor and is said to have turned into a lion at his death. Fluctuating opinions (some persons holding to direct descent from a nonhuman object, others to friendly relations between it and the ancestor) are 187reported in Sumatra, Borneo, and the Moluccas. The Hurons regarded the rattlesnake as a kinsman of their ancestor. The origin of the clan or family is referred to marriage with an animal by the Borneo Dyaks and various tribes on the African Gold Coast, and to marriage with a plant by some of the Upper Liluet;804 and the origin of the crests in Northwestern America is ascribed to adventures with crest animals.805 In the Trobriand group of islands (lying to the northeast of British New Guinea) the totems are said to have been brought by the first men; naturally it is not explained whence and how the men got them.806

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

452. (d) Refusal to kill or eat the totem. The usages in regard to killing or eating the totem are so diverse, and often so uncertain, 188that it is not possible to lay down a general rule of prohibition. An edible totem is only a peculiar sort of sacred animal or plant, and respect for such objects often leads to refusal to kill or eat them—an interdiction of this sort does not in itself show whether or not the object in question is a totem. But within totemic areas the usage varies in a remarkable manner, as, for example, in Australia. In the north there is complete prohibition, sometimes including the totems of a man's father, mother, and father's father. Among the central tribes a man kills his clan totem only for the benefit of other clans, and eats a little of it ceremonially. In the southeast the Dieri, it is said, kill and eat their totems freely, while other tribes, the Wotjoballuk and others, eat them only at a pinch.808 The northeastern tribes have many food taboos, which, however, relate not to the totemic clans but to the exogamous subclasses. A modified regard for the totem or crest (kobong) appears in West Australia, according to Sir George Grey's report809; it is not allowable to kill a family kobong while it is asleep, and it is always with reluctance that it is killed.

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

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

189455. In Polynesia family gods appear instead of totems, and the incarnations of gods (in animals and plants) are not eaten; such is the rule in Samoa and Tonga, and this was formerly the practice in Hawaii. The food restrictions in Borneo and Sumatra are not definitely totemic.

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

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

458. There is little evidence for totemic food restrictions in North America. The custom of apologizing to an animal on killing it, frequent elsewhere, is reported as existing among the Algonkin Ottawas and Menomini; but this is not necessarily totemic. The more advanced tribes of the East and South (Algonkin, Iroquois, Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasas, Cherokees, Natchez), the peoples of the Pacific Coast, and the agricultural tribes of the middle of the 190continent (Pueblos, Mandans, and others) appear to be free from restrictions as to eating. The Navahos are said to refrain from the flesh of fish, turkeys, swine, and bears, but the grounds of the interdiction are not clear.812 The distinctest evidence of totemistic clan food-taboos are found among the Siouan Caddos (of the southern Mississippi Valley) and the Omahas (of the Middle West). Both these groups are in part agricultural, and it does not appear how they have come to differ from their neighbors in this regard. Food restrictions are reported for the Northwest region.813

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

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

191461. Elsewhere the economic function attaches to other bodies than totemic clans, as in parts of Southeast Australia, and in West Australia (where the ceremonies are conducted by the exogamous classes). In New Guinea the totemic character of the performances appears to be doubtful. A single instance of clan action has been found among the East African Baganda—the women of the Grasshopper clan undertake to increase the supply of their totem; why this duty is assigned to the women is not clear—the custom appears to involve a relaxation of totemistic rules. The economic festivals and "dances" of the Siouan Mandans and Hidatsa are general tribal ceremonies. Among the Pueblo Indians such rites are the care of religious fraternities;815 the Zuñi Frog clan performs a ceremony to procure rain, but this duty is mainly committed to rain-priests. In Northwestern America the magical performances are not connected with totemic clans.

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

463. But, with all these differences, the fact remains that in totemism the human group stands in a peculiar relation to some 192nonhuman object.816 This general statement must, however, be defined in two particulars: the relation is an alliance for the benefit of both parties; and the nonhuman object is not regarded as a god and is not worshiped. The first of these particulars marks totemism off from that general regard that is paid by savages to animals, plants, certain heavenly bodies, and other physical things;817 the second particular distinguishes it from the cult of ghosts and gods proper. We may therefore define it as an alliance, offensive and defensive, between a human group and a nonhuman group or object that is not worshiped, the friendly relation existing between every member of the one group and every member of the other group.818

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

465. In view of the diverse physical surroundings of the tribes of the earth and their intellectual differences, it cannot be surprising 193that they have combined these elements of organization in various ways. In their efforts to secure food, good marriage relations, protection of property, and defense against enemies, they have from time to time adopted such measures as the circumstances made desirable and possible. There is evidence that in some instances clans have changed their social regulations, sometimes by a process of internal growth, sometimes by borrowing from without. It is not always possible to trace such movements, and it is impossible now to say what the earliest social constitution of men was. The probability is that the earliest state was an unformed one, without governmental or other institutions, and that totemism was one of the first attempts to introduce order into society. In accordance with what is said above, the term 'totemism' may be used to mean particularly a simple alliance between men and nonhuman things, and then more generally to mean such an alliance combined in whatever way, with one or more of the particular customs described in preceding paragraphs.819

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

467. The two great totemistic regions of the world are Australia and North America, and in each of these the variations of custom run through the gamut of possible differences. In each of them also the native population may include different stocks, though on 194this point there is uncertainty. Differences of climate and topographical situations there are, but these do not always account for the diversities of culture and custom.820

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

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

470. The special feature in North Australia (on the shores of the Gulf of Carpentaria) is the absolute prohibition of eating the totem. In regard to the performance of magical ceremonies for increase of the totem also there is the peculiarity that a clan is not bound to conduct such performances—it is optional with it to do 195so or not; it has magical power, but is not required by custom to exercise it. It is suggested by Spencer and Gillen that this variation from the usage of the Central region is to be attributed to the more regular rainfall on the coast, which insures a more regular supply of food and thus does away with the necessity for magic.822 Possibly, also, this climatic feature may account for the stricter rule of prohibition mentioned above; as the rule is sometimes relaxed when it is hard to get food, so, on the other hand, it may be strictly enforced when food is plentiful.

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

472. In certain tribes (the Wotjoballuk, the Yuin, the Kurnai, and others) there are sex-patrons, animals intimately related to all the males or all the females of the tribe; the belief is said to be that the life of any individual of the animal group is the life of a man or a woman, and neither sex group will kill its patron animal. So far as regards the conception of identity with the animal and reverence for it, the institution agrees with the usual totemic type; but since it is not connected with clans, some such designation for the animal as "patron" or "guardian" is to be preferred to "totem."824 Such animals, protectors of sexes, are of rare occurrence, having been certainly found so far only in 196Southeast Australia, and they occur in a body of tribes that show a disposition to discard the clan constitution. In this region individual men also sometimes have animal guardians, so that a general tendency toward individualism may be recognized. It is not unnatural to connect this tendency with the fertility of the south coast, which may weaken the clan organization. The organization by sex is a singular phenomenon, of the history of which there are no records. It is doubtless a special development of the widespread separation of the sexes, combined with an increasing recognition of the property rights and the social equality of women. At an early age boys were often kept apart from girls. Special taboos, of food and other things, were imposed on women. On the other hand, they were in some cases the owners of the tribal property, and were sometimes admitted to membership in secret societies. The organization of the sex would follow under peculiarly favorable conditions.825

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

474. Torres Straits Islands. These noteworthy variations in the totemism of the Australian continent appear to be connected in a general way with differences of climate and the degree of isolation of the clans and tribes. Similar variations appear in the Torres Straits islands and in British New Guinea. In the western islands of the Straits (the only part in which distinct totemism has been 197found) the social organization is to a certain extent independent of totemic relations: the clans are locally segregated, and marriage is mainly regulated by blood-kinship. On the other hand, an intimate relation between a man and his totem is recognized—the latter, as a rule, is not eaten by the related clansmen (there are exceptions), magical economic ceremonies are performed by certain clans, and there is clan exogamy. A possible survival of an early social arrangement is the existence of subsidiary totems.

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

476. New Guinea. In the eastern portion of British New Guinea the peculiarities of organization are826 that the people live in hamlets; that there is generally a combination of totems in a clan; and that special regard is paid to the father's totem. There is no report of belief in descent from the totem.827 The hamlets tend to become family groups, but clan exogamy is observed. The system of "linked totems" seems to be designed to secure superhuman aid from all departments of the nonhuman world: ordinarily there will be a bird, a fish, a snake, and a plant—the bird has come to be the most important of these. A man may kill his own totem but not his father's—a rule that has arisen perhaps from a displacement of matrilineal descent (according to which a man's totem is that of his mother) by descent through the father. So far as appears, there 198are no magical ceremonies for increase of the supply of food. In both New Guinea and the Straits the fact that old customs are disappearing under foreign influence increases the difficulty of determining whether certain usages are primitive or decadent.

477. Melanesia. The social organization in the vast mass of islands called Melanesia828 has not been fully investigated, but the existence of some general features has been established. Society is divided not into clans or tribes, but into exogamous classes, and the classificatory system of relationships is general. The rules governing marriage are less elaborate than in Australia, the method of initiation is simpler, and the political organization is more definite. In regard to other usages commonly associated with totemism the reported details are not numerous. There appears to be a movement away from Australian totemism, growing more pronounced as we go eastward, and culminating in Fiji, in which totemic features are very rare.

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

479. Some peculiarities appear in the Solomon Islands. While there is the usual regard for the sacred objects (called buto), so that these are not to be eaten (in some cases not to be touched or seen), the names of the classes are not always those of the sacred things, and there is difference of opinion among the natives as to whether the latter are ancestors or merely associated with an ancestor: a man (particularly a chief) may announce that after death he will be incarnate in a given thing, as, for example, a banana—this then becomes sacred. But in some cases830 the god of the class is regarded as the ancestor; instead of a number of sacred animals 199there is a theistic system with regular worship—a state of things quite distinct from totemism.831

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

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

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

200483. Thus in Melanesia, along with a large mass of sacred objects connected more or less intimately with social units (but not with clans proper), there are usages and ideas that are commonly found associated with clan totemism (belief in descent from a sacred thing and refusal to eat it when it is edible), but also other ideas and usages (omens from animals; superhuman determination, before a child's birth, of its character; creation of a new sacred thing by an individual man) that look away from clan organization to an individualistic form of society.834

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

485. In Polynesia the family is generally the social unit, and there is a fairly good political organization, with more or less developed pantheons. Gods are held to be incarnate in animals and trees, but there are also great gods divorced to some extent from phenomena. The theistic development is noteworthy in Hawaii, New Zealand, Samoa, Tahiti, and Tonga, and there are elaborate forms of worship with priests and temples. The existing organization is not totemic, but here, as elsewhere in similar cases, the question has been raised whether or not the gods have arisen from sacred 201(or, more definitely, totemic) animals and plants,837 and whether, in general, the existing organization was preceded by one approaching totemism.838

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

487. India. The non-Aryan peoples of India are divided into a large number of exogamous clans, each with its sacred object, which it is unlawful to injure or use.839 A departure from ordinary totemic usage appears in the fact that in many cases the sacred objects receive worship. The social constitution of these peoples seems to have undergone modifications, partly through adoption of agriculture (which has occurred generally), partly by direct Hindu religious influence; the history of the non-Aryans, however, is obscure in many points. The Aryans of India have exogamy but not totemism, and this is true in part of the Assamese. Totemism has not been observed in Burma840 and China, or in the Malay Peninsula.

488. North America. The North American native tribes, scattered over a large territory, with widely different climatic and topographical features, and themselves divided into half a dozen linguistic stocks, show great diversities of social organization. While exogamous groups (clans, phratries, and local groups) are found 202almost everywhere, there is little precise information about certain fundamental points of totemic systems, particularly customs of killing and eating the totem and belief in descent from it. With a general apparatus that often suggests an original totemism, the American social type differs considerably from the Australian, resembling in some respects the Melanesian and the Polynesian, but with peculiarities that difference it from these. Among the Eskimo and the Californians no definite signs of totemism have been discovered. Among the other peoples the Rocky Mountain range makes a line of demarcation—the tribes of the Pacific Coast differ in organization decidedly not only from their eastern neighbors but also from all other known savage and half-civilized peoples. There are points of similarity to these, but the general Pacific Coast type is unique.

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

490. The Cherokees, belonging to the southern division of the Iroquois stock (living formerly in Tennessee and North Carolina), killed the animals they respected, but with ceremonies. Their Green 203Corn dance, the object of which was to insure a good crop, was expiatory, and was accompanied by a general amnesty.842

491. Wyandot (Huron) myths843 account for their Snake and Hawk clans by stories of marriages between women and a snake or a hawk; here human beings are assumed to have existed before the genesis of the clan (a difference from the Australian scheme), but it is true that the clan is held to have descended in part from an animal.

492. In the great Algonkin stock844 the evidence for a distinct totemic organization is similarly indefinite. The Lenâpé (Delawares), who were agricultural and well advanced in manufacture, gave prominence to families rather than to clans, and the totem was a badge. The Ojibwas, hunters (dwelling by the Great Lakes and in the valley of the St. Lawrence),845 also used their sacred animal forms as badges; whether they ate such animals or claimed descent from them we are not informed. The friendly relation existing between the Otter and Beaver clans is explained by a story of a marriage between an Otter clansman and a Beaver woman. For the Potawatamies it was lawful to kill and eat the totem. The Ottawas (of Canada) and the combined Sauks and Foxes (of the Mississippi Valley) had traditions of descent from the totem. The Menomini (of the same region) would kill the totem, but always with an apology to it; their myths embody varying conceptions of the relation of eponymous animals to clans: sometimes the origin of a clan is referred to the action of a supernatural being who changed a bear, for example, into a man, or to adventures of animals; sometimes eponymous birds (eagle and hawk) are described as being spirits or deities. Such introduction of supernatural beings involves a deviation from the conception of the eponymous animal as independent creator of a clan.846

204493. For the tribes bordering on the Gulf of Mexico no signs have been preserved of an organization based on the relation between clans and eponymous animals, plants, and other objects. The great Maskoki stock (including Creeks, Seminoles, Choctaws, Chickasas, and some other less important tribes) had a well-formed political system, and their religion was represented by the Chief Magician or Priest (Medicine Man). They performed magical ceremonies for increase of food, but these were tribal, and the Creek annual fast (puskita, busk) had high religious and ethical significance.847

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

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

496. Customs in the Siouan stock vary. In the Dakota tribe there is no known evidence of totemism. The Omahas (of the 205Missouri Valley), who are partly agriculturalists, partly hunters, refrain from eating or using eponymous objects, certain clans are credited with magical power over such objects, and there are traces, in ceremonies and myths, of the descent of clans, each from its eponym. This combination of more definite totemistic conceptions is not found in any other member of the Siouan stock. The Osages had a tradition or myth of their descent from animals, but their civil organization was nontotemic—they were divided into two groups, termed respectively the Peace Side and the War Side, and the members of the former group took no animal life, though they ate flesh that they obtained from the War Side. The origin of this custom is uncertain—the two divisions of the tribe, the hunters and the tillers of the soil, exchanged products, but how this division of labor arose (whether from a union of two tribes or otherwise) is not clear. Among the Hidatsa, it is reported, there was a belief that spirit children might enter into a woman and be born into the world. The resemblance to the Central Australian belief is striking, but it does not appear that such entrance of spirit children was supposed to be the only mode of human birth. The Mandans (living on the Missouri River, in North Dakota) now have no totemic system; but little or nothing is known of their early history.849 In the Siouan tribes the figure of the individual animal guardian (the manitu or "medicine") plays a prominent rôle.

497. There are indications that the institutions of the Pueblo tribes (who are now wholly agricultural) have undergone modifications, perhaps under foreign (Spanish) influence. Hopi myths represent clans as descended from ancestors originally animal, and transformed into human shape by deities. But the elaborate sun-worship and the complicated solstice ceremonies are tribal.850 The Zuñi economic ceremonies appear to have passed from under clan control. Thus, the magical ceremony for procuring rain, properly the function of the Frog clan, is now in the hands of rain-priests; 206and the magical, dramatic performances for insuring a supply of food are conducted by nontotemic religious fraternities. The great Snake "dance" may have been originally a totemic ceremony intended to secure rain and corn.851

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

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

500. In the civil organization of the Carrier division of the Déné, the Salish, the Kwakiutl, and other tribes, three or four castes or groups are recognized: hereditary nobles; the middle class, whose position is based on property; and the common folk; and to these is to be added among some tribes the class of slaves. In the summer ceremonies the men are seated according to class and rank. The family pride of the nobles is great—every family has its traditions and pedigrees. In such a scheme the zoönymous clan plays an insignificant part. Classes and clans are mixed in the villages in which, for the most part, these people live, and trade is prominent in their life. The curious custom of the "potlatch"—a man invites his friends and neighbors to a gathering and makes them magnificent presents, his reputation being great in proportion to the extent of his gifts—appears to be a device for 207laying up property; the host in his turn receives presents from friends and neighbors.

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

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


503. Perhaps, however, we must assume or include another line of development. The crest may be regarded either as the non-artistic modification or degradation of an original true totem (due to diminished reverence for animals and other causes), or as an employment of sacred objects (for purposes of organization) that has not reached the proportions of totemism proper. Which of these views will seem the more probable will depend partly on the degree of importance assigned to certain traditions and folk-stories of the Northwestern tribes, partly on one's construction of the general history of totemistic observances. In so obscure a subject a definite theory can hardly be maintained. The large number of stories in which the beginnings of clan life are attributed to marriages between clansmen and eponymous animals, or to beneficent or other adventures with such animals, may appear to indicate that there was an underlying belief in the descent of clans from animals. On the other hand, in certain low tribes (in New Britain and the Solomon Islands and elsewhere) the feeling of kinship with animals is said to exist without the belief that they are ancestors, or the animal is regarded as the representative of a human ancestor rather than as itself the ancestor. This latter view may be a bit of euhemeristic rationalism.854

504. While guardian spirits (generally in animal form) are found abundantly in America and elsewhere,855 their rôle in the tribes of the Pacific Coast appears to be specially important, for there they largely take the place occupied in Central Australia by the clan totems. They are not wholly lacking, however, in Australia. Among the nontotemic Kurnai of Southeast Australia there are animal patrons of the sexes and of shamans and other individuals. In like manner the shamans of the Pacific Coast Haidas and Tlingit have their guardians, and sometimes secret societies are similarly provided; in the winter ceremonies of the Kwakiutl the youth is supposed to be possessed by the patron of the society to which he 209belongs. We thus have, apparently, similar and mutually independent developments in Australia and America out of the early relations of men with animals.

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

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

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

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

509. In the great Bantu family the usages vary greatly.857 One of the most interesting systems is that of the Bakuana (in the south). Here the eponymous animal approaches divinity—not only is it killed with regret, it is a thing to swear by, and has magical power; but independence of the totem appears in the fact that it may be changed; that is, it is a friend adopted by men at their 210convenience. It is in accord with this conception that the Bakuana (who are pastoral and agricultural) have clan gods. Beyond taboos on sacred objects there is nothing in the Bantu territory that clearly indicates a totemistic organization of society.

510. In the half-civilized and higher savage communities of the eastern and western parts of the continent totemism proper, if it has ever been predominant, has been expelled or depressed by higher forms of organization. It seems not to exist among the Masai, a vigorous people with an interesting theistic system. The neighboring Nandi, who have clan totems, lay stress rather on the family than on the clan in their marriage laws, and their taboos include more than their totems; their excessive regard for the hyena may be due simply to their fear of the animal.858

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

512. In West Africa also definite totemistic organization has not been found. Everywhere there is reverence for the eponymous sacred thing, and, when it is edible, refusal to eat it; but the taboos are sometimes, as in Siena (which is agricultural), more extensive than the list of sacred things. In Southern Nigeria at 211funerals (and sometimes on other occasions) the totem animal or plant is offered, in the form of soup, to the dead; the animal or plant in such cases is regarded, apparently, simply or mainly as acceptable food for ghosts—the offering is a part of ancestor-worship. In Congo families have sacred animals (as in Samoa) which they abstain from eating. Here and there occurs belief in the reincarnation of deceased human beings in animals. A negro fetish, becoming intimately associated with a clan, sometimes resembles a totem. The half-civilized Ashanti, Dahomi, and Yoruba have elaborate theistic systems, with monarchical governments that leave no place for a totemistic organization.860

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

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

212515. In fact certain ideas and customs that occur in connection with savage totemism are found abundantly among ancient Semites, Greeks and Romans, and in Celtic and Teutonic lands. They are such as the following: a tribe or clan bears an animal name, and regards itself as akin to the animal in question and as descended from it; this animal is sacred, not to be killed or eaten (except ceremonially), and, when it dies, is to be buried solemnly; sacred animals aid men by furnishing omens, or even by protecting from harm; they are sacrificed on critical occasions (sometimes once every year), and in some cases the killing of the sacrificial animal is treated as a crime; animal-gods are worshiped, and gods are thought to be incarnate in animals; men change into animals and animals into men; certain animals are sacred to certain deities; human worshipers dress in imitation of animal forms (by wearing skins of beasts and by other devices); a man's tribal mark is derived from the form of an animal; the death of the sacrificial animal comes to be regarded as the death of a god; the form of social organization in certain ancient communities is similar to that with which totemism is usually found associated.

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

517. It will be sufficient to mention a few examples of the beliefs and usages that appear to point to an original totemism.864 Names of clans and tribes derived from animals or plants are not uncommon: Hebrew Raḫel (Rachel, ewe), perhaps Kaleb (dog) and Yael (Jael, mountain goat);865 Greek Kunnadai (dog), and perhaps Myrmidon (ant); Roman Porcius (hog), Fabius (bean); Irish Coneely (seal); Teutonic clan-names like Wolfing and the like. Belief in a general kinship of men and animals existed among Semites, Greeks, and Romans. On the other hand, belief in the descent of a clan from an animal rarely appears: it is apparently 213not found in the Semitic area; the Ophiogeneis of Parium (in Asia Minor) are said to have regarded themselves as akin to snakes and to have traced their genos (family or clan) to a hero who was at first a snake;866 the Myrmidons, according to one tradition, were transformed ants, and some of the Irish Coneely clan are said to have been changed into seals. Transformations of men into animals are common in Greek mythology. Taboos of certain foods were observed abundantly in the ancient world: by Egyptians,867 Hebrews,868 Greeks,869 and Romans,870 and by Celts.871 Among the various omen-giving animals some may have been totems. Solemn annual sacrifices, followed by mourning for the victims, were performed in Egypt,872 and the slaying of the sacrificial animal was treated as murder in various Greek cities.873 Living animals were worshiped in Egypt, and everywhere in antiquity gods assumed animal forms, and certain animals were sacred to certain gods. Worshipers clothed themselves in the skins of sacrificed animals in Egypt, Cyprus, and Rome.874 Tribal marks and ensigns were sometimes derived from figures of animals.875 Finally, there are traces, in the early history of the ancient civilized peoples, of the form of social organization with which savage totemism is found associated.876

518. It is possible that such facts as these may point to a primitive totemistic stage of ancient civilized society. But it is to be noted that the usages in question almost all relate to the general sacredness of animals (or of plants), not to their specific character as totems. They occur in lower tribes in cases where totemism does not exist.877 Animal clan-names and tribe-names, belief in kinship 214with animals and plants and in descent from them, exogamy, transformations, refusal to eat certain animals except ceremonially, apologies for killing them, omens derived from them, worship of animal-gods, incarnations of gods in animals, animals sacred to gods, tribal marks derived from animals—all these are found in such diverse social combinations that it is impossible to infer merely from the occurrence of this or that custom the existence of the peculiar form of social organization to which the name 'totemism' proper is given above. The same remark holds of inferences from the general constitution of early society; a custom of matrilineal descent, for example, by no means carries totemism with it.

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

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


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

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

523. Economic conditions. Of savage and slightly civilized tribes some live by hunting or fishing, some are pastoral (nomadic or settled), some practice agriculture. Without undertaking to trace minutely the history of these economic practices it may be assumed that they are fixed in general by climatic and topographical conditions. Where food is plentiful, thought and life are likely to be216 freer. In general, savage peoples are constantly on the alert to discover supplies of food, and they show ingenuity in devising economic methods—when one resource fails they look for another. Hunters and fishers are dependent on wild animals for food, and stand in awe of them. The domestication of animals leads men to regard them simply as material for the maintenance of life—the mystery that once attached to them vanishes; they are considered not as man's equals or superiors but as his servants. The same result follows when they are used as aids in tilling the soil or in transportation. Agricultural peoples also have generally some knowledge of the arts of life and a somewhat settled civil and political organization, and these tend to separate them from the lower animals and to diminish or destroy their sense of kinship with them.

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

525. Thus, for example, the contrast between the social system of sterile Central Australia and that of certain tribes on the comparatively fertile southeast coast is marked; the Kurnai have practically no clan totemism. In the islands of Torres Straits and in New Guinea agriculture marks a dividing line between stricter and looser organizations based on regard for the totem. The agricultural Melanesian and Polynesian tribes, with great regard for animal patrons, lay stress on the family or on voluntary associations rather than on the clan. In Africa the partially civilized peoples, such as the Baganda and adjacent tribes in the east, and Yoruba, Dahomi, and Ashanti in the west, have fairly well-developed religious organizations, in which totems play a subordinate part. The customs of certain tribes in the south are especially worthy of note: the pastoral Herrero have a double system of clans, maternal and paternal, and their food restrictions are curiously minute, relating to parts of animals or to their color; the Bakuana, who are pastoral and217 agricultural, kill the clan eponymous animals, though unwillingly, and appear not to regard them as ancestors. The non-Aryan tribes of India have been so long in contact with Aryan civilization that in many cases, as it seems, their original customs have been obscured, but at present among such agricultural tribes as the Hos, the Santhals, and the Khonds of Bengal, and some others, totemic organizations are not prominent, and the Todas, with their buffalo-cult, show no signs of totemism.

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

527. The interesting social organization of the Northern Pacific Coast, on the other hand, appears to be independent of agriculture. The people live by hunting and fishing; families and villages are the important social units; instead of totems there are crests or badges; society in some tribes is marked by a division into classes218 differing in social rank. The history of all these tribes, however, is obscure: there have been modifications of organization through the influence of some tribes on others; the details of the various social schemes are not all accurately known. The settled village life and the half-commercial, half-aristocratic constitution of society must be referred to racial characteristics and other conditions with which we are not acquainted. As in the East, so here there is the suggestion of a movement away from a form of organization that resembles true totemism. The Northwest has a remarkable system of ceremonies, but in definiteness and elevation of religious conceptions it is greatly inferior to the East.

528. The fact that some of the least-advanced American tribes, particularly the Eskimo and the California tribes, show no signs of totemistic organization879 makes against the view that totemism was the initial form of human society, but its historical background is not known. In any case it does not invalidate what is said above of the rôle of agriculture in the modification of savage institutions. The lines of savage growth have been various—a general law of development cannot be laid down; the history of every community must be studied for itself, and its testimony must be given its appropriate value. In this way it will be possible to give a sketch of totemistic forms and suggestions, if not a history of totemism.

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

530. Secret societies. It is a common custom in the lower tribes to keep the sexes separate and to distinguish between the initiated 219and the uninitiated. There are often men's houses in which the young unmarried males are required to live.880 Women and boys are forbidden to be present at ceremonies of initiation when, as in some instances, the secrets of the tribe are involved. Thus there arise frequently secret associations of males, who conduct tribal affairs. But these associations are not voluntary—all initiated men belong to them perforce—and they are not divorced from totemic relations. The real voluntary society is of a quite different character. In general, in its most developed form, it ignores differences of age, sex, and clan. There are, however, diversities in the constitution of the various organizations that may be called voluntary;881 conditions of membership and functions vary.

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

220532. On the other hand, the North American voluntary societies are mainly concerned with the presentation of religious ideas by the dramatization of myths, and by demanding for membership some sort of religious experience. How far such societies existed in the Eastern tribes it is not possible to say. Among these tribes, as among the Skidi Pawnee, the Navahos, and other groups of the Middle West, the control of religion has largely passed into the hands of priests—an advance in religious organization. Where ceremonies are conducted by societies, membership in these is often conditioned on the adoption of a personal divine patron by every member.

533. This adoption of a guardian spirit by the individual is the most definite early divergence from the totemistic clan organization. An intermediate stage is represented by the sex-patrons of Southeast Australia,885 who embody a declaration of independence by the women. In this region, moreover, among the Kurnai, not only shamans but all other men have each his special "brother" and protector.886 Naturally, where the family, in distinction from the clan, is the social unit, family protectors arise. The Koryaks of Northeastern Asia have a guardian spirit for every family and also for every person.887 A curious feature of Dahomi religion is the importance that is attached to the family ghost as protector, the ghost, that is, of a former member of the family, ordinarily its head; he has a shrine, and becomes practically an inferior deity. Still more remarkable is the worship that the West African native, both on the Gold Coast and on the Slave Coast (communities with well-developed systems of royal government), offers to his own indwelling spirit;888 the man's birthday is sacred to the spirit and is commenced with a sacrifice.889 In Samoa a guardian spirit (conceived of as incarnate in some animal) is selected for a child at its birth.890 Some such custom is said to exist among the Eskimo of the Yukon district 221in Alaska; a guardian animal is selected by a boy when he arrives at the age of puberty, or it is selected for him in his early childhood by his parents.891

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

535. Among the Siouan Indians there are religious societies, each of which bears the name of some animal and has a ritual composed of chants and songs which, it is often claimed, have been received in a supernatural manner.893 The youth who aspires to become a member of one of these societies goes off alone to the forest, and there, fasting and meditating, waits for the vision of the sign. This comes usually in the form of an animal, and the youth enters the society whose distinguishing mark this animal is. First, however, he must travel until he meets the animal he saw, when he must slay it and preserve the whole or a part of it. This 222trophy is the sign of his vision and is the most sacred thing he can possess, marking as it does his personal relation to the supernatural being who has appeared to him.

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

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

538. Political conditions. Political organization, in unifying a community under the control of a central authority, tends to efface local self-governing groups. This process is visible in the increased power of Melanesian chiefs, in the royal governments of Polynesia and Western and Eastern Africa, and in the inchoate constitutional federations of Eastern North America. In all these cases the simple clan system is reduced to small proportions, and totemism loses its social significance. The way in which the functions of totemic 223groups are thus modified appears plainly in such governmental systems as that of the East African Baganda (in which heads of clans have become officers of the king's household)896 and the Iroquois Confederation (in which the tribes act through their representatives in a national Council or Parliament).

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

540. Cults of the totem and of individual guardian spirits are to be distinguished from certain other forms of worship with which they have points of connection. The West African fetish is the abode of a tutelary spirit, and finally is absorbed by local gods; it arises, however, from belief in the sacredness and power of inanimate things, and is without the sense of identity with the spirit that characterizes the North American relation. The family sacred symbols that are worshiped in some places898 are really family gods 224(whether or not they were originally totems), developed, probably, under Brahmanic influence. The worship of a tutelary spirit has sometimes coalesced with that of an ancestor, but this is doubtless due to the collocation of two distinct cults; at a certain stage an ancestor is naturally regarded as friend and protector. The general potency termed "mana" is not to be connected particularly with any one cult; it represents a conception that probably underlies all ancient forms of worship.

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

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

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

544. Individualistic theories. Among the earliest of theories were those that explained the totemic constitution as due to a confusion in the minds of savages between names and things. Individuals or families might be named after animals, plants, and other objects, and these, it was supposed, might come to be regarded as intimately associated with human persons, and might be looked on with affection or reverence and even worshiped.899 Or, more definitely, it was held that, the origin of such names being forgotten, reverence for the ancestors led to reverence for the things after which they were named and identification with them—a man whose ancestor was called "the Tiger" would think of himself as descended from a tiger and as being of the tiger stock.900 It is now 225generally recognized, however, that the origin of so widespread and influential a system of organization as totemism cannot be referred to a mere misunderstanding of nicknames; and whether such misunderstanding was general or natural in early times is open to doubt.

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

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

547. The belief that a man might deposit his soul in an animal or a plant or some other object is found in West Africa, North America, and probably elsewhere. As such objects would, as a 226rule, not be killed (and every individual of a group would be thus respected), it has been supposed that, when various persons deposited their souls in the same object, a totemic body would come into existence.903 This view would account for totemic reverence and for the sense of kinship, but the objection to it is that in most totemic organizations the belief in question has not been certified.

548. The "conceptional" theory refers the origin of totemism to the belief, found among certain peoples, that conception is produced by the entrance into the mother's womb of some object (animal, plant, or other) with which the child is identified.904 In Central Australia it is held that what passes into the woman is a spirit child which has a certain object for its totem; but in this case the previous existence of the totem is assumed. In certain islands (Mota and Motlav) of the Banks group, however, there exists, it is said, the belief that a child is the object from which the mother received some influence at conception or at some other period of pregnancy—the child resembles the object, and may not eat it if it is edible.905 The persons thus identified with a given object would, if united, constitute a group totemic in the respects that they believe themselves to be one with the object in question and refrain from eating it.906 The totemic object is selected, in the case of every child, by the fancy of the mother, and is, therefore, not inherited; totemic groups, thus, would be found distributed through the larger groups (phratries or tribes), and might also gradually coalesce and form local groups. If the belief in this origin of birth (identity of the child with some object) were found to be widespread, and generally effective as the ground of early social organization, it would furnish a satisfactory explanation of totemistic beginnings. But in point of fact it has so far been found, in full form, only in a small region in Melanesia, and its history in this 227region is not known; back of it may lie some other system of organization. And in this region clan totemism is lacking or faint. Further testimony is needed before it can be accepted as the solution of the problem of totemic origins.907

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

550. The relation of the individual patron and guardian to the clan totem has been variously defined. Such a patron, it is sometimes held (obtained by a dream or a vision), descends from the original possessor to his children (or, in a matrilineal system, to his sister's children), and thus becomes the patron (the totem) of a family or kin; and a larger group, formed by the union of several kins, may similarly have its protecting spirit. Cases in which descent is through the mother here make a difficulty—a 228man's guardian spirit would not then be inherited. Granting that the personal patron of a shaman or of an ordinary man may be inherited, such inheritance appears to be of rare occurrence, and there is no trustworthy evidence that it ever leads to the formation of a totemic clan.

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

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

553. Theories based on clan action. Here the starting-point is the clan, which is supposed to have come into existence somehow; it is not essential to determine precisely the method of its origination, though the question of method is sometimes included in the discussion of a theory. The clan finds itself confronted by various natural objects with which, it believes, it must form helpful relations; or some229 sort of relation is forced on it by the conditions of life. The question is how a human group came to enter into the totemic relation.

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

555. The totem is supposed by some to have been originally merely the mark or badge by which a human group distinguished itself from neighboring groups. In hunting expeditions and migrations such a mark would be necessary or, at any rate, useful.910 More generally, it was natural for a clan to have a name for itself, as it had names for its individual members and for other objects. It might take its name from an associated animal or plant or heavenly body or from a place. The badge and the name once adopted, other totemic features would follow. Such badges are common in Northwestern America, and are found elsewhere, and the term 'totem' has been explained by natives as meaning 'badge.' 230But this explanation is late, and the employment of the sacred object as badge is not widely diffused. When it gives a clan its name it is, of course, a distinguishing mark, but this does not show that such distinction was in all cases its original function. Nor would the badge come into use till the name had been fixed.

556. The view just mentioned does not attempt to explain how a particular name came to be attached to a clan. This lack is supplied by the theory that a clan was named by its neighbors after the kind of food on which it chiefly subsisted.911 The objection to this theory is that no group of men is known to confine itself to one article of food—savages eat whatever they can find—and moreover contiguous groups would feed on the same kinds of food. A view not open to this objection is that names of clans, also given from without, expressed fancied resemblances of the persons named to animals and other objects, or peculiarities of person or speech, or were derived from the place of abode.912

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

231558. "Coöperative" theories suppose that a number of groups united for economic purposes, to each being assigned the duty of increasing by magical means the supply of a particular sort of food or other necessity, and procuring a portion for the general store.916 Such coöperation, however, assumes too great a capacity of organization to be primitive. It is hardly found outside of Central Australia, in which region there are indications of a long period of social development.917

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

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

561. As there are communities in which it is probable or possible that totemism has never existed, so it is conceivable that it has been developed in different ways in different places. Considering the variety of circumstances in primitive life, it would not be strange if human groups found themselves impelled to take various 232paths in their attempts at effective organization. The starting-point being reverence for animals and other objects of nature, and belief in their kinship with men, one human group may have been led by some accidental experience to regard some nonhuman group or object as its ally. In another case a name, adopted by a group of its own accord or given it from without, may have induced such an alliance. Individuals may have imposed their guardian animals or plants on communities. A badge, chosen for convenience, may have been the beginning of a totemic organization. In these and other ways a group of men may have come to form intimate relations with a nonhuman group or other object.

562. This fundamental relation having been established (with aversion to eating or injuring the sacred object), various usages would attach themselves to it in accordance with general laws of social development. In many cases a rule of exogamy, for the better regulation of marriage, would be adopted. When tribes, consisting each of several clans, came into existence, a coöperative economic system would sometimes arise: magical methods of producing results, common in early stages of life, would be so organized that to every clan would be assigned the duty of producing a supply of some sort of food. Following the general tendency to genealogical construction, the belief in kinship with the sacred object would lead a clan to imagine an ancestor of the same kind, animal or animal-human or plant or rock, and myths explaining the origin would be devised. Various other usages and ideas would coalesce with those belonging to totemism proper: belief in the superhuman power of nonhuman things, including the conception of mana; the belief that every newborn child is the reincarnation of an ancestor; recognition of omens from the movements of such things; belief in the magical power of names; reverence for ancestors—a natural feeling, in itself independent of the totemic conception; totems regarded as creators; the employment of totemic animals as emissaries to the supernatural Powers. Thus the resultant social system would be a congeries of beliefs and usages, and in such a system, when it appears, the totemic element must be distinguished from its attachments, which must be referred each to its appropriate source.233

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

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

234565. On the other hand, it is said, semireligious reverence for animals preserves them from injury, they lose their fear of man, and those that are domesticable become tame and are appropriated and used by men; and sacred plants are retained from one year to another for ritual purposes, and their seeds produce a succession of crops. Totem animals are not eaten—a pastoral people does not eat its cattle, it keeps them for their milk. In a word, animals, it is held, are not tamed by man of set purpose, but grow tame when not molested, and those that are edible or capable of rendering service are gradually domesticated; and similarly, through religious use of plants, the possibility of cultivating certain plants becomes known.

566. This argument rests on the assumption of the universal mental incapacity of early men—a subject admittedly obscure. Certainly they appear to be quite lacking in knowledge and reflection in some regards; yet they sometimes show remarkable skill in hunting (so, for example, the African Pygmies), and they have created remarkable languages. But, if we leave the question of intellectual capacity aside, there are facts that seem to throw doubt on the totemic origin of domestication. In the first place, the conditions under which reverence for a totemic animal may make it tame do not appear to have existed in totemic society. For such taming it is necessary that the animal be perfectly safe within a considerable area. But this is not possible where a group of men is composed of various clans, a given animal being spared by one clan but freely hunted and killed by all the other clans921—a state of things that was presumably universal.

567. Further, it is difficult to discover any historical connection between the actual cases of domestication of animals and reverence for these as totems. It is unfortunate for the decision of this question that in the two principal totemic centers, Australia and North America, there are very few native domesticable animals—only one (a species of dog) in Australia, and two (dog and bison) in North America. The history of the dog in North America, however, 235is suggestive: it has been domesticated by totemic Redmen for hunting purposes and by nontotemic Eskimo for drawing sledges—that is, its economic use seems to be independent of totemic considerations. Other cases of divergence between employment of animals and their position as totems have been cited in Uganda, for example;922 but civilization is relatively far advanced in Uganda, and in such cases we cannot infer original conditions from existing customs.

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

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

570. Relation of totemism to religion. As the beginnings of totemism are obscure it is not possible to say exactly what a man's attitude toward his totem was in the earliest period. But, when the totemic relation became a definite feature of social organization, the feeling was that the totem was in the nature of a clansman, of the same blood as the human group, and entitled to all the respect and affection with which men regarded their clan-brethren. The sentiment, in this point of view, was sacred in the sense in which this term may be used of the feeling existing between persons of 236the same human group; it involved a certain sense of obligation toward fellow members—to respect their rights and to defend them against enemies was an imperative duty.

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

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

573. There is similar uncertainty in the case of the Queensland practice, when a man, on lying down at any time or rising in the morning, whispers the name of the animal after which he is called or the name of the animal belonging to his group-division, in the belief that it will give him success in his affairs;923 here the animal is not a clan totem, and the evidence does not show that it has come from such a totem—it may be a sacred animal that has somehow been brought into special connection with the man or 237with his group. Personal guardians that confer magical powers on a man do not here come into consideration.

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

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

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

577. The question whether a totem ever develops into a god is a part of the general question whether a sacred animal ever becomes a god.926 The complications of early ideas and customs and 238the paucity of data for the formative period of early religion make an answer to these questions difficult. As far as regards the evolution of the totem into a true divine figure the evidence is not decisive. The identification of heroes or gods with animals, their transformations into animals, and their incarnations in animal forms may, indeed, suggest such an evolution. Thus, in the island of Yam (between Australia and New Guinea) two brothers, Sigai and Maiau, have their shrines, in which they are represented by a shark figure and a crocodile figure respectively, and to them food is presented, songs are sung, dances are danced and prayers are offered. Other heroes, Kwoiam (a totem-bringer), Sida (an introducer of the arts of life), Yadzebub (a warrior), and some unnamed are revered in islands of Torres Straits.927 In the Rewa district in Fiji every village, it is said, has a deity, and these deities have the power of turning into animals, which are then not eaten—that is, it may be supposed, the god is a developed totem.928 In the Wakelbura tribe of Southeast Australia the totem animal is spoken of as "father," a title frequently given to clan gods. Household gods are considered to be incarnate in animals and other objects in some of the Caroline Islands, in Tonga and Tikopia, and in Samoa, and in these islands, except Samoa, the people are supposed to have descended from the animals in question. Similar ideas seem not to exist in the Americas or in Africa; in India the influence of Hindu cults has largely effaced or greatly modified non-Aryan usages so that their original form cannot generally be determined.929

578. The cases just mentioned are susceptible of other explanations than that of an evolution from totem to god. The history of the cult of heroes in Yam and other Torres Straits islands is obscure, but from known facts the indications are that the hero figures have arisen independently of the totem figures and have been, by a natural process, identified with these.930 The peculiarity 239of the Rewa deities is that they assume animal forms at will, and such animals, not being eaten, are held to be totems. Whether totems or not they are sacred and might easily be identified with gods who stood alongside of them; an obvious explanation of this identity would be that the god assumed the form of the animal.931 A similar explanation may be given of incarnations of gods in animals—a metamorphosis is a temporary incarnation. The Samoan Moso is incarnate in half a dozen different objects, and some deities are incarnate in men. As for the title "father," it belongs of course to the object from which a clan is supposed to be descended.

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

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


581. So far we have been considering the growth of the simpler religious ideas and the parallel development of a quasi-religious social organization. The ethical development is no less important than the religious and the political, with which it has always been closely connected. Ethical ideas and customs are in their origin independent of religion. Religion deals with the relation between human beings and supernatural Powers; ethics has to do with the relation between man and man.934

240582. Thus, the necessity for the protection of life and property (including wives and children) has produced certain rules of conduct, which are at first handed on orally and maintained by custom, and gradually are formulated in written codes. The protection of the tribal life is secured by the tribal leaders as representatives of society. The protection of individual interests is at first in the hands of the individuals concerned, but always under the sanction of society. The murderer, the thief, and the adulterer are dealt with by the person injured or by his clan or family, in accordance with generally recognized regulations. As social life becomes more elaborate, such regulations become more numerous and more discriminating; every new ethical rule springs from the necessity of providing for some new social situation. In all communities the tendency is toward taking the protection of interests out of the hands of the individual and committing it to the community; this course is held to be for the advantage of society.935

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

584. But while social life is the basis of ethical construction, the actual ethical constitution of men has been influenced by religion, in later times by the supplying of lofty ideals and sanctions, in early times by a magical determination of things injurious. It is this second category that is covered by the term 'taboo,' a 241Polynesian word said to mean 'what is prohibited.' Prohibitions arising from natural human relations constitute civil law; those arising from extrahuman or other magical influences constitute taboo.936

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

586. The objects affected by the conception of taboo are as various as the conditions of human life—they include things inanimate and animate, and events and experiences of all sorts. Sometimes the danger is supposed to be inherent in the object, sometimes the quality of dangerousness is imposed on it or infused into it by some authority; but in all cases there is present the force (mana) that, in savage theory, makes the external world a factor in human destinies.939 This force may be transmitted from one object to another (usually by contact940), and thus the taboo infection may spread indefinitely, a silent and terrible source of misfortune, sometimes to a single person, sometimes to a whole community. Ceremonies connected with taboo are designed to protect against this destructive influence.

242587. The principal taboo usages may be classed roughly under certain heads, which, however, will sometimes overlap one another.

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

589. Care for women during pregnancy and after the birth of a child might be induced by natural human kindliness. But certain usages in connection with birth indicate fear of superhuman dangers. In many regions (Central Asia, Africa, Oceania, China) the mother is taboo for a certain time, being regarded apparently as a source of danger to others, as well as being herself exposed to danger. The child also is surrounded by perils. Mother and child are protected by isolation, ablutions (baptism), amulets, conjurations, and by consecration to a deity.942 The intimate relation between father and child may make it necessary to impose taboos on the former—he is sometimes required to go to bed (the couvade, or man-childbed), to abstain from work and from certain foods held to be injurious, and to avoid touching weapons and other dangerous things; thus, through the identity of father and child, the latter is guarded against the hostile mana that may be lurking near. The seclusion of the mother sometimes varies in duration according to the sex of the child; in most cases, apparently, the period is longer for a male child;943 in the Jewish ritual the period for the maid-child is twice as great (eighty days) as that for the male;944 the difference 243in the points of view, perhaps, is that the evil influence may direct itself particularly against, or be more serious for, the male as socially the more important, or it may be more dangerous for the female as the weaker.945

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

591. The house in which a death occurs shares the evil power of the dead body, and sometimes must be destroyed, together with all its furniture, or abandoned or purified.947 Death diffuses its baleful influence through the atmosphere, making it unfavorable for ordinary work, which, accordingly, is often then suspended for a time.948 Seclusion is sometimes enjoined on widower or widow,949 and mention of the name of the deceased is forbidden—the identity of spouse or name with the dead effects the transmission of what is 244dangerous in him. In another direction the earthly dwelling of a dead person is protected—a curse is pronounced on one who violates it.950

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

593. Various restrictions are imposed on women at periods of sexual crisis. The girl on reaching the age of puberty is generally (though not always952) immured, sometimes for weeks or months, to shield her from noxious influences, human and nonhuman. During menstruation a woman is isolated, may not be looked on by the sun, must remain apart from her husband, and her food is strictly regulated.953 It is not infrequently the case that certain foods are permanently forbidden women, for what special reasons is not clear.954 The rule forbidding a wife to eat with her husband may have come originally from nonreligious social considerations (her subordination to the man, or the fact that she belonged to a social group different from his), but in that case it later acquired a religious character. Women have commonly been excluded in savage communities from solemn ceremonies (as those of the initiation of males) and from tribal councils;955 such rules may have originated in the natural differentiation of social functions of the sexes or in the 245desire of men to keep the control of tribal life in their own hands, but in many cases the presence of women was supposed to vitiate the proceedings supernaturally. In industrial enterprises, such as hunting and fishing, they are sometimes held to be a fatal influence.956 In family life a wife's mother was debarred from all social intercourse with her son-in-law.957

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

595. Taboos connected with great personages. The theory of mana includes the belief that special supernatural power resides in the persons of tribal leaders, such as magicians, chiefs, priests. It follows that danger attaches to their bodies (particularly to head, hair, and nails), to their names, and to their food and other belongings. These things must be avoided: their food must not be eaten by common folk; their houses and other property must not be used; their nail-cuttings must be buried so that danger may be averted from the community; their names must not be mentioned. They themselves, being peculiarly sensitive to malign influences, must be protected in the house and when they walk out; and it is 246in some cases not safe for the common man to look on the chief as he passes through the village.

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

597. A priest also may carry taboo infection on his person. In Ezekiel's scheme of ritual organization it is ordered that when the priest, having offered sacrifice, goes forth into the outer court where the people are, he shall put off the garments in which he ministered and lay them in a sacred place, and put on other garments, lest some one touching him should be made ritually unclean, that is taboo, forbidden to mingle with his fellows or to do his ordinary work for a certain time (generally till the evening).962 In many regions there have been and are numerous restrictions on priests, some of which are in their own interests (to preserve their ritual purity), some in the interests of others (to guard them against the infection of taboo).963 Other quasi-official or devoted persons (as, for example, the Hebrew Nazirite964) were subject to restrictions of 247food. Strangers, who in a primitive period were frequently put to death, in a more humane period were subjected to purifying processes in order to remove the taboo infection that might cling to them.965

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

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

600. The property of private persons was protected: the common man might impose a taboo on his land, crops, house, and garments, and these were then safe from depredation. It was true, however, in New Zealand as elsewhere, that the potency of the imposed taboo depended on the influence of him who imposed it; chiefs, as uniting in their persons civil and religious authority, were 248the most powerful persons in the community, and taboos ordered by them were the most effective. In Melanesia taboo is largely employed for the protection of private property—curses are pronounced against trespassers, and the authority of the tabooer is reënforced by that of the local spirit or ghost (tindalo);972 here taboo has become definitely an element of civil law, in which it tends to be absorbed.

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

602. Among religious ceremonies the expulsion of evil spirits was naturally attended with danger, and work was prohibited. Such was the custom in Athens at the Anthesteria and on the sixth day of the Thargelia, and in Rome at the Lemuria.973 Among existing tribes there are numerous examples of this sort of restriction: it is found in West Africa974 and in Indonesia (Kar Nicobar, Bali975); in Assam it takes the form of a taboo (genna) for laying to rest the ghosts of all who have died within the year976 (an All Souls ceremony).

603. In general, sacred seasons, times of great communal ceremonies, demand the avoidance of ordinary pursuits, which, it is feared, may imperil the success of the ceremonies by necessitating contact with things infected or nonsacred. The earlier Hebrew usage recognized such seasons (new moon, sabbath, and perhaps others); the later usage increased the number of tabooed 249days as the ritual was expanded and organised.977 For Greece we have the Plynteria, on the principal day of which work was suspended;978 in Rome the feriae were such days, regular or occasional.979 The inbringing of first fruits was a peculiarly solemn occasion, when gratitude to the deity mingled with fear of hostile influences; so among the Hebrews980 and at Athens981 and in Tonga.982 Polynesian restrictions on the occasion of ceremonies are given by Ellis.983 All such days of abstinence from ordinary work tend to become holidays, times of popular amusement, and a taboo element may be suspected in such festivals as those of the later Hindu period.984 Naturally, also, days of restriction become sacred to deities.

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

250605. Taboos connected with the moon. Unusual celestial phenomena, such as eclipses, meteors, and comets, have always excited terror, being referred to some hostile supernatural agency, and have called forth special placative and restrictive ceremonies. They are accounted for in savage lore by various myths.987 But the permanently important taboos have been those that are associated with the phases of the moon. These periodical transformations, unexplained and mysterious, seemed to early man to have vital relation with all earthly life—the waxing and waning of the moon was held to determine, through the sympathy existing between all things, the growth and decay of plants, animals, and men.988 Hence arose the widely diffused belief that all important undertakings should be begun while the moon was increasing, and innumerable regulations for the conduct of affairs were established, not a few of them surviving in civilized popular belief and practice to the present day.

606. Sometimes the changes in the moon are minutely observed. The Nandi describe every day of the month by the appearance of the moon or by its relation to occupations.989 Natural observation in some cases divided the lunar month into four parts: the Buddhist uposatha days are the four days in the lunar month when the moon is full or new or halfway between the two;990 in Hawaii the 3d-6th, 14th-15th, 24th-25th, 27th-28th days of every month were taboo periods;991 the Babylonians had five such periods in certain months (four periods with one period intercalated). But, though the quartering of the lunation may seem to us the most natural division of the month, in actual practice it is rather the exception.992 The simplest division, indeed, is that into two parts, determined by new moon and full moon (Cambodia, Siam; cf. the Mexican period of thirteen days). The division into three periods 251of ten days each (Egypt, Greece, Annam, Japan) ignores lunar phases and seeks a convenient and symmetrical arrangement. With this decimal system is perhaps connected the division of the month into six periods of five days each (Yoruba, Java, Sumatra, and perhaps Babylonia). The Romans had a somewhat irregular official division of the first half of the month into three parts (Kalends, Nones, Ides) corresponding in a general way to lunar phases, and also commercial periods of eight days (nundinae), perhaps of similar origin. A seven-day division is found in Ashantiland (and perhaps in Peru), and in Java there is reported a division of a year into thirty periods of seven days each.

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

608. The Hebrew sabbath. Taboo days are days of abstinence from work, set apart as seasons of rest.994 Such was the original form of the Hebrew sabbath—it is described in the earlier Old Testament notices simply as a day on which ordinary work was unlawful.995 The history of its precise origin and development is, however, by no means clear. Theories that derive it from the cult 252of some particular deity or regard it as primarily a day for placating a supernatural Power996 may be set aside. It may be assumed that it is an early institution somehow connected with the moon, and a definite indication of origin appears to be furnished by the fact that in a Babylonian inscription the term shabattu997 is used for the full moon. The identification of Hebrew sabbath with full moon is favored by the collocation of new moon and sabbath in early Old Testament documents998 as days on which trading was unlawful. These, obviously, were the two chief taboo days of the month; the fact that new moon stands first is doubtless due to its position in the month.

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

253610. In the various experimental divisions of the month, as we have seen, a week of seven days has been approached independently in several places (Babylonia, Hawaii, Java, Ashantiland). The basis of this division is doubtless the quartering of the lunation, and it has been reënforced, probably, by considerations of convenience—seven is an intermediate number, six days of work and one of abstinence and rest (holiday) commends itself as a practical arrangement. It appears among the Hebrews as early as the eighth century B.C.;1003 it may have been derived from or suggested by Babylonian usage, or it may have been an ancient Hebrew custom—data on this point are lacking. In any case the Jewish genius for religious organization seized on the seven-day scheme and wove it into the system of worship. A more important step taken by the Jews was the ignoring of lunar phases (except, of course, new moon as the beginning of the month) and reckoning the week and the seventh day (the sabbath) in a continuous line. We have noted cases in which lunar phases were ignored, but this Jewish arrangement appears to be unique, and its simplicity and convenience have commended it to the world.

611. Lucky and unlucky days. The malefic influences emanating from various objects and resident in the air attached themselves to certain days, and out of the vast mass of experiences in every community there grew up systems of days when things might or might not be done with safety and advantage. There were the great occasions, economic and astronomical, referred to above, and there were particular occurrences, such as a death or a defeat, that stamped a day as unlucky. There are many such beliefs, the origin of which is lost in a remote antiquity. The ancient civilized nations had their codes of luck. Egypt had a long list of unlucky days.1004 In Babylonia onerous restrictions were imposed on kings, seers, and physicians on certain days (the 7th, 14th, 19th, 21st, 28th) of the sixth and eighth months1005 (and perhaps of other months). 254A brief list of days favorable and unfavorable to work is given by Hesiod.1006 The Roman dies nefasti, properly 'irreligious days,' were inauspicious, unlucky.1007 Similar lists of lucky and unlucky days are found among existing tribes,1008 and the popular luck codes in Christian communities are numerous and elaborate.1009 These have done, and still do, great harm by substituting irrational for rational rules of conduct.

612. In many of the cases cited above and in many totemistic regulations there are prohibitions of particular sorts of food. Such prohibitions, very numerous, are found in all grades of civilization.1010 They have arisen from various causes—climatic conditions, hygienic beliefs, religious conceptions (as, for example, the recognition of the sacred character of certain animals, and the connection of certain foods with supernatural beings and ceremonies1011), sometimes, perhaps, from accidental experiences; the history of most of the particular usages escapes us. The fundamental principle involved is the identity of the food with him who eats it—when it is charged with supernatural power (by its own sacredness, or by its connection with a sacred person, or by ecclesiastical decree) it becomes malefic to an unauthorized person who partakes of it.

613. A peculiar form of prohibition of foods appears when a society is divided into groups that are kept apart from one another by social and religious traditions that have hardened into civic rules. In such cases the diet of every group may be regulated by law, and it may become dangerous and abhorrent for a superior to eat what has been touched by an inferior. The best example of this 255sort of organization is the Hindu system of castes, which has a marked and unhappy effect on the life of the people.1012 All such arbitrary social divisions yield gradually to the influence of education and civic freedom, and this appears to be the tendency in India at the present day.

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

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

256616. Removal of taboo. In general, magical ceremonies may be employed to counteract the injurious influence resident in a thing or an act, or to destroy the evil consequences resulting from a violation of the taboo law. For this purpose sprinkling with water, bathing in water, and the employment of charms are held to be effective. Thus in the old Hebrew code the taboo resting on a house supposed to be infected with the plague is removed by sprinkling the house with water and the blood of a slain bird, and setting free a second bird alive, which is supposed to carry the plague-power off with it.1015 A woman is tabooed forty days at the birth of a male child, and eighty days at the birth of a female child; the taboo is removed by a holocaust and a sin-offering.1016

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

618. Taboo and magic. Reference is made above to magical procedures in connection with taboo customs. Taboo and magic have a common basis in the conception of an occult force (which may conveniently be called mana) resident in all things, but they contemplate different sides of this force, and their social developments are very different. Taboo recognizes the inherent malefic manifestations of the force (known by supposed experience), and avoids them; magic uses the mana energy to effect results impossible for unaided human power. In taboo man feels himself to be under the dominance of an occult law, and his virtue is blind obedience; in magic he feels himself to be the master of a great energy, and what he needs is knowledge. Taboo has originated a mass of irrational rules for the guidance of everyday life; magic 257has grown into a quasi-science, with an organized body of adepts, touching religion on one side and real science on another side.

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

620. Contamination of customs has always been the rule in human communities, early and late, savage and civilized. We have seen how there has often been a coalescence between taboo regulations proper and ordinary civil law. To state the case more fully, these have been fused into a unity of social life with individual initiative, magical notions, arbitrary enactments. The actual social constitution even of slightly developed tribes is composite, the outcome of long experience and experiment in which all the lines of social feeling and thought have gradually drawn together and been compacted into a more or less unitary mass. While these lines have influenced each the others, it is possible, to a considerable 258extent, to distinguish the sphere of each. Thus we can, in many cases, see where ordinary civil law comes in to adopt, modify, or set aside taboo rules, and so we can generally recognize the line of demarcation between definite taboo and the conception of association of ideas. In some cases the explanations offered of taboo customs are afterthoughts—imagined hypotheses to account for things already in existence.1021

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

622. The duration of certain taboo periods among various peoples in various ages has varied greatly. Taboos relating to foods, chiefs, and the intercourse of the sexes are usually permanent everyday customs; those that relate to economic procedures are in force for the time demanded by each industry. In Hawaii the catching of certain species of fish was forbidden for half the year, and the Borneo harvest taboo (carrying prohibition of other work) lasts sometimes for weeks. There is mention in a Maori legend of a taboo of three years.1023 According to the later Hebrew law, in 259every seventh year all agricultural operations ceased.1024 A portent may demand a long period of restriction, as in the case of the Roman nine-day ceremony (novendiales feriae).1025 As has been remarked above, economic taboos are often dictated by convenience—they are prudential rules to which a supernatural sanction has been attached.

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

624. Though there is no proof of the existence of all-pervading taboo systems among the peoples of Asia and America, there are notices of taboo regulations in particular cases in these regions. At the birth of a child the Hindu father was subject to certain restrictions along with the mother, and his taboo was removed by bathing.1030 Among the Sioux Indians on the death of a child the father is taboo for a period of six months or a year.1031 In West African Calabar there are taboos (called ibet) on individuals, connected with spirits, the guardians of children.1032 In Assam economic and other taboos are elaborate and well organized.1033 Such observances, 260in connection with death, are found among the Kafirs1034 and the Eskimo.1035

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

626. In various places, outside of the Polynesian area, we find terms that bear a more or less close resemblance in signification to taboo.1038 Melanesian tambu is that which has a sacred character.1039 The Borneo terms (lali, pemate, mali, penti) are mentioned just above, and there is the pomali of Timor (in the Malayan Archipelago). The Malagasy fady is defined as 'dangerous, prohibited.'1040 In Gabun (West Africa) orunda is said to mean 'prohibited to human beings.'1041 The Hebrew tamē is used of things dangerous, not to be touched, ritually defiling,1042 and this sense sometimes 261attaches to the term qadosh (rendered in the English version by 'holy'), which involves the presence of a supernatural (and therefore dangerous) quality.1043

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

628. The disappearance of the taboo system in civilized nations is to be referred to the general advance in intelligence and morality. Usually this movement is a gradual and silent one, marked by a quiet dropping of usages as they come to be held unnecessary or oppressive. Sometimes a bold individual rebels against the established custom and successfully introduces a new era: thus 262in Yoruba, under an old custom, when a king died his eldest son was obliged to commit suicide; this custom was set at defiance by a certain Adelu in 1860, and has not since been observed.1046 All the influences that tend to broaden thought go to displace taboo. The growth of clans into tribes, the promotion of voluntary organizations, secret societies, which displace the old totemistic groups, the growth of agriculture and of commercial relations—all things, in a word, that tend to make the individual prominent and to further family life lead naturally to the abrogation of oppressive taboos.

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

630. Rôle of taboo in the history of religion. The relation of taboo to morality and religion and to the general organization of society appears from the facts stated above. It has created neither the sense of obligation nor the determination of what is right or wrong in conduct. The sense of obligation is coeval with human society—man, at the moment when he became man, was already potentially a moral being (and a religious being as well).1048 His experience of life induced rules of conduct, and these, with the concurrence of some hardly definable instincts, became imperative for 263him—the conception involved in the word 'ought' gradually took shape. The practical content of the conception was determined by all sorts of experience; the decisive consideration was whether or not a given thing was advantageous. The belief arose that certain disadvantageous things were to be referred to extrahuman influences, and such things were of course to be avoided—this belief produced the taboo system.

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

632. Taboo is in essence religious, not moral. In so far as it supplies a supernatural sanction for moral conduct proper and maintains rational social relations (as when a man's wife and other property are made taboo to all but himself), it is often beneficent. On the other hand, it is antimoral when it elevates to the rank of duties actions that have no basis in human relations or are in any way antagonistic to a healthy human instinct of right. This it has often done, and there has accordingly resulted a conflict between it and morality—a conflict that has formed no small part of the ethical history of the race, its echoes remaining to the present day. In all religions it has been hard to bring about an intelligent harmony between the moral and the ritual. Taboo was not originally irrational—it sprang from the belief (rational for the early time) in the presence of the supernatural in certain objects, and this belief was held to be supported by early experience, according to which it seemed that violations of taboo were followed by sickness 264or death or other misfortunes. It came to be thought irrational with the progress of knowledge and reflection.

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

634. Taboo, then, is a concomitant of man's moral life that has sometimes opposed, sometimes coalesced with natural morality. Like all widely extending institutions it has tended in part to weld men together; like all irrational restrictions it has tended also to hold men apart. Like all positive law it has fostered the sense of moral obligation, but like all arbitrary law it has weakened the power of intelligent and moral obedience. It has been not the guardian of morality, but a temporary form (useful in a primitive stage of society) in which a part of the moral law expressed itself. The real moral force of society has been sympathetic social intercourse, which, under the guidance of an implicit moral ideal, has been constantly employed in trying to spiritualize or to reject those enactments of taboo that have been proved by experience, observation, and reflection to be injurious.1051




635. The climax of the organization of external religion appears in the conception of gods proper; this conception is always associated with more or less well-developed institutions. Early religious life expresses itself in ceremonies; the god is the embodiment of man's ideal of the extrahuman power that rules the world. It is not always easy to distinguish the true gods from the other supernatural beings with which early man's world is peopled.1052 As far as concerns power, the ghosts and the spirits appear to do all that the gods are credited with doing; the sphere of ghostly action is practically unlimited, and the spirit that dwells in a spring, in a river, or in a mountain, is as mighty in his sphere as Indra or Apollo in his sphere; the difference between them and gods is a difference of intellectual and moral culture and of the degree of naturalization in a human society—a god might be defined as a superhuman Being fashioned by the thought of a civilized people (the term 'civilized' admitting, however, of many gradations). Still, gods proper may be distinguished from other Powers by certain characteristics of person and function. Ghosts are shadowy doubles of human beings, sometimes nameless, wandering about without definite purpose except to procure food for themselves, uncertain of temper, friendly or unfriendly according to caprice or other circumstances, able to help or to harm, and requiring men to be constantly on the alert so as not in an unguarded moment to offend them. Souls of recently deceased ancestors, more highly organized ghosts, conceived of also as attenuated bodies, have powers not essentially different from those of the simpler ghosts, but are differentiated from these in function by their intimate relations with 266the family or clan to which they belong, and by their more definite human nature; they are as a rule permanently friendly, are capable of definite sympathetic social intercourse with living men, and are sometimes controllers and patrons, hardly to be distinguished from local or departmental gods. Spirits are ethereal beings residing in, or closely connected with, certain objects (trees, rivers, springs, stones, mountains, etc.), sometimes permanently attached to these objects, sometimes detached; roaming about, sometimes kindly, more generally inimical, authors of disease and death, to be feared and to be guarded against, but sometimes in function (though not in origin) identical with ancestral ghosts. Totems, in their developed form, are revered, but rarely if ever worshiped. The term 'animal-gods' may mean either living animals regarded as divine, or animals believed to be the forms assumed by gods; in the latter case they may be taken to be real gods of an inferior type.

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

636. The god appears to have been at the outset a well-formed anthropomorphic being. His genesis is different from that of the ghost, spirit, ancestor, or totem. These, except the spirit, are all given by experience: totems are familiar objects plainly visible to the eye; ghosts and ancestors are known through dreams and appearances by day, and by tradition; and the conception of the spirit is closely allied to that of the ghost, though it is in part a scientific inference rather than a fact of experience. In distinction from these a god is a larger product of imagination, springing from the necessity of accounting for the existence of things in a relatively refined 267way. The creator is a beast only in low tribes, and in process of time, if the tribe continues to grow in culture, is absorbed in the cult of a true god. It is rarely, if ever, that a beast, whether a totem or only a sacred thing, becomes a god proper.

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

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

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

Early mythical founders of culture. Before proceeding to a consideration of true gods, a class of beings must be mentioned that appears to stand on the borderland between divine animals, spirits, and gods. There are various sorts of beings that appear sometimes in animal form, sometimes in human form, their function being the arranging of the affairs of the world, the origination of institutions, and sometimes a definite creation of various things. The title "founders" or "transformers" or "culture-heroes" has been given 268them. They arise, just as the true gods do, from the necessity of accounting for the beginnings of things,1055 and, from a comparison of the ideas of various tribes, a certain growth in the conception may be recognized.

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

This growth of the trickster into the real culture-hero may be referred to a progress in thought and refinement.1059 Among the Northern Maidu of California there is a sharp distinction between the two characters: the coyote is tricky and mischievous in the bad sense, with no desire to do anything profitable to men; the benevolent and useful work of the world is ascribed to a personage called "the creator," who is always dignified and regardful of the interests of man.1060 This sort of distinction, intended to account for the presence of both good and evil elements of life, is found in inchoate form among other low peoples (as, for example, the Masai and the Australians1061), but reaches its full proportions only in the great civilized religions.

269639. In this class of vaguely conceived creators or transformers we may place the Central Australian Arunta ancestors, who embodied the idea of the identity of beasts and human beings, and are the originators of all the arts and institutions of the tribes; they established the totemic groups and the ceremonies, and, in the developed myth, perpetuate their existence by entering the bodies of women and being born as human beings.1062 The relative antiquity of this conception of the origin of things is uncertain; in one point of view it is crude, but in another it is an elaborate and well-considered attempt to explain the world. These Arunta ancestors, notwithstanding their half-bestial forms, are represented as acting in all regards like human beings, and as having planned a complete system of tribal organization, but no religious worship is offered them—they figure only in sociogonic myths and in the determination of the totemic status of newborn children. Among the Navahos we find a combination of beast and man in the work of creation.1063 In their elaborate cosmogonic myth the first actors are Coyote, First Man, and First Woman, and there is discord between Coyote and his human coworkers. Here again the object seems to be to account for the diverse elements of the tribal life.

640. Many such personages, originators or introducers of the arts of life and the distribution of territory, are described in the folk-tales and myths of the North American tribes. The conception, it may be concluded, existed all over the world, though for many communities the details have not yet been brought to light.1064 A noteworthy personage of this class is the Melanesian Qat (especially prominent in the Banks Islands), a being credited with almost plenary power, the creator or arranger of seasons, the introducer of night, therefore an important cultural power, yet mischievous, the hero of numerous folk-stories; he does not appear in animal form but lives an ordinary family life. He is not worshiped—he is regarded rather as the explanation of phenomena, a genuine 270product of early cosmogonic science. He appears to be the nearest approach in Melanesia to a real creator (with the exception perhaps of a somewhat uncertain female being called Koevasi); but alongside of him stand a number of spirits and ancestral ghosts who play an important part in the organization of society.1065 For the Koryaks of Northeastern Siberia the "Big Grandfather" is an arranger of all things out of preëxisting material;1066 the Chukchee, on the other hand, regard as creator a benevolent being residing in the zenith. Vague stories of simitar arrangers are found among the East African Nandi, and the South African Zulus.1067

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

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

271643. The god, in the true sense of the word, is the highest generalization of the constructive religious imagination. In his simplest and earliest form he appears as a venerable supernatural man, wise according to the wisdom of his place and time—such is the natural conception of the lower tribes. His position is described by the titles "the old one," "the father," "the grandfather";1070 he is a superhuman headman or chief, caring for his people, giving them what they need, sharing their ethical ideas and enforcing their ethical rules. He is an all-sufficient local ruler or overseer, his functions touching the whole life of his people and of no other people. In the progress of myth-making (that is, in the construction of early scientific theology) such gods are not infrequently represented as men who have gone up to the sky; this is a natural way of accounting for their superterrestrial abode. Savage conceptions of the origin and history of such figures are usually vague, and their theologies fluctuating and self-contradictory; but there are two points as to which opinion is firm: the god is like men in everything except power, and his functions are universal. He represents not a monotheistic creed (which takes the whole world as the domain of God), but a narrow tribal acceptance of the sufficiency of the local divine patron.1071

Clan Gods

644. The character just described is that of the earliest known gods; it is embodied in certain figures found in various parts of the world. Such divine figures belong to the simplest form of social organization, the clan; it is in the clan that they are shaped, and they reflect the conceptions, political and ethical, of the clan. In Southeast Australia the personages called Daramulun, Baiame, Bunjil, correspond to this description: they are supernatural old men who have always existed; they are taken for granted without inquiry into their origin; they direct the affairs of the tribe in a 272general way in accordance with the moral ideas of the place and time.1072 The Australians have other beings with vaguely expressed characters and functions, but our information regarding these is so meager that it is not possible to form a distinct judgment of their character. Similar figures are the Klamath Indian "Old Man"1073 and the Zulu Unkulunkulu, an old man, the father of the people, only dimly understood by the natives who have been questioned on this point; they are uncertain whether he is dead or alive, but in any case he is revered as a great personage.1074

645. Other such deities are reported in South Africa, as the Qamata of the Xosa, Morimo of the Bakuana, and farther north Molungu.1075 On the West Coast also, in Ashanti, Dahomi, and Yoruba, a number of deities exist which were in all probability originally local.1076 Such appears to be the character of certain gods of the non-Aryan tribes of India, as the Kolarian Sunthals and Koles.1077 Perhaps also the god Vetala was originally such a local deity with the savage characteristics proper to the time and place, though later he was half Brahmanized and became a fiend.1078 Among the Todas every clan has its god, who was the creator and instructor of the people. The large number of gods now recognized by the various Toda communities are essentially the same in character and function, and the existing system has doubtless been formed by the coalition of the clans.1079 In North America the Navahos have a number of local deities, the yei (Zuñi, yeyi), some of which are called by terms that mean 'venerable.'1080 The Koryak guardians of occupations and houses may be of the nature of such objects of worship in the clans,1081 and so also the Patagonian family-gods. Cf. the Greek κουροτρόφος. In Japan the early system of supernatural beings has been obscured by the great religions of 273the later time—Shinto in its developed form, and Buddhism—but the indications are that the general term kami, a designation of all supernatural things, included local deities.1082

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

647. Among the simple clan gods divinized men should be included. In many parts of the world, as is remarked above, chiefs and other great personages are regarded as divine; this attribution of divinity is a part of that general early conception according to which there was an element of power in all things, naturally embodied in a special way in important men. This sort of divinization is particularly prominent in Melanesia and parts of Polynesia; it exists also in Japan and in West Africa. As a rule it is only the recently dead that are thus regarded as divine objects of worship, and the cult would thus be substantially a part of the worship of ancestors; but such divinized men frequently 274bore a peculiarly intimate relation to the clan or community and became specific protectors.1087 So far as their origin is concerned, this class of divine patrons differs essentially from the old clan god, whose genesis probably belongs to a remote antiquity and is based on the general consciousness of some powerful influence in nature.1088

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

649. A similar religious constitution obtained among the old Semitic peoples. This is obvious in the case of the Canaanites (including the Phœnicians), where every clan or community had its divine lord (the Baal), who was a universal deity sufficient for all the needs of the living, though particularly connected with the dominant interests of his people.1090 Such, probably, was the original form of the Hebrew Yahweh (Jehovah); in his Sinaitic home he was naturally connected with the phenomena of desert and mountain, and in Canaan, whither the Israelites brought his cult, he was after a while recognized as the giver of crops also, and gradually became a universal god in the larger sense of the term.1091 The Phœnician Baals—such as the Tyrian Melkart, 'the king of the city'—are obviously local deities.1092 The same thing is true of the various gods that appear in pre-Mohammedan Arabia; the 275deity of any particular clan or tribe was known to the people as "the god" (Arabic Allah, that is, al-Ilahu), and the title "Allah," adopted by Mohammed as the name of the supreme and only god, thus in so far fitted in with the usage of the people.1093

650. In Babylonia also a very large part of the divine names found in the inscriptions must be understood to refer ultimately to local deities, each supreme in his own territory; the later theologians (probably priests) endeavored to organize these into a sort of pantheon, but never succeeded in differentiating the various deities distinctly. In general it may be said that all these old Semitic gods had one and the same character; each in his place was supreme, and it is difficult to find any difference in real character and function among the great gods, as Ea, Bel, Marduk, Sin, Shamash, Ishtar, Nabu, Ashur, Eshmun, and others.1094

651. The same remark will probably hold good of the popular worship of the old Greeks. When Pausanias traveled through Greece he found everywhere local cults which bore evidence of primitiveness, and obviously pertained to the clan gods of the various regions. In many cases these had been identified with old animal-gods or had been interwoven into the general later scheme and had been merged with the great gods of the developed pantheon.1095 The functions ascribed to various deities in the Veda suggest a similar origin for them. When we find that many of them are credited with the same larger or smaller acts of creation, protection, or blessing, we may suspect that they were originally clan gods that have been incorporated in the great theologic system, and that "henotheism" is mainly a survival from this earlier scheme or an extension of it.1096 Similar local gods appear in Peru1097 and Mexico.1098

276652. One class of Greek "heroes" may be considered as belonging in the category of clan gods.1099 When the hero appears to be originally a god his worship is identical in character with that offered to local deities; so in the case of Achilles and many others.1100 Such an one is often a divine patron of a definite (usually small) territory, has his sacred shrine with its ministers, and his specific sacrificial cult. A trace of this type may perhaps be recognized in Hesiod's "halfgods,"1101 the heroes of the Trojan war and others, whom he places just after the age of bronze and just before his modern age of iron; their origin is thus made relatively late, as was natural if they descended culturally from old gods.

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

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


Departmental Gods

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

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

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

658. A somewhat low and vague form of specialization of function is found in Melanesia, where certain beings appear as patrons 278of work.1104 These are said by Codrington to be ghosts, yet to be prayed to just as if they were gods; and in fact, being men with indefinitely great powers, they can hardly be distinguished from such deities as Daramulun and Unkulunkulu, except in the fact that their function is specific. In Australia the published reports do not describe departmental gods proper, with the possible exception of an undefined being in the North. A more developed scheme exists in Polynesia. In New Zealand there were deities of food-planting and of forests.1105 The highest point of Polynesian civilization seems to have been reached in the Hawaiian Islands, where, besides several great gods, there were deities of the sky, the sea, winds, and lightning, of agriculture, and of various occupations and professions, such as fishing, and even robbing.1106

659. The Sea Dyaks have a god of rice-farming and one of war.1107 In the Malay Peninsula there is a confused mingling of supernatural beings of various sorts, with a great development of magic; the determination of the functions of the better-developed gods is rendered difficult by the fact that the Malays have been much affected by Hindu influence.1108 Such influence is possibly to be recognized also in the systems of the Dravidian and Kolarian tribes, though in them there seems to be a native non-Aryan element. The Khonds have gods of rain, fruit, hunting, and boundaries. Among all these tribes the chief deity is the sun-god, by whose side stands the earth-god; these may well be primitive, though their present form may be due to Hindu influence.1109

660. The Masai of Eastern Africa have two chief gods—one black, said to be good; the other red, said to be bad.1110 The only trace of a recognition of cosmic powers appears in their myth that 279the sky and the earth were once united in one embrace;1111 but it is not clear that they recognize a god of the sky and one of the earth. Among the Bantu, who are largely, though not wholly, pastoral, there appears to be no trace of an apportionment of natural phenomena among supernatural beings.1112 On the West Coast of Africa there is a somewhat elaborate scheme of departmental deities. The sky is the chief god, but in Dahomi and Ashanti there are gods of lightning, fire, the ocean, the rainbow, war, markets, silk, cotton, and poison trees, smallpox, sensual desire, discord, and wisdom; in Dahomi there is a tutelary god of the royal family. The Yorubans have a similar system, embracing gods of the Niger, nightmare, wealth, gardens, and divination.1113 This more elaborate system corresponds to their more highly developed scheme of social organization.

661. The tribes of Northeastern Asia are less developed religiously. The Koryaks are said to have benevolent and malevolent deities, but appear not to have made much progress in the recognition of the distinct departments of nature.1114 The Ainu have a large number of specific deities: the goddess of fire, whose title is "Grandmother"; gods of the kitchen, of doors, of springs, and of gardens.1115 As the Ainu culture resembles that of Northeastern Asia in several respects, it is possible that in the latter region there exists a more highly specialized scheme than has yet been reported. In Central Asia also it seems that no great progress has been made in this direction by native thought. The statement of Herodotus1116 that the Thracians in time of thunderstorms used to shoot arrows at the sky and threaten the god, may point to a recognition of a god of the sky or of storm. In the greater part of Central Asia the conception of local spirits has prevailed and still prevails (Shamanism), a phase of religion that stands below that of the division of nature into departments. In certain districts of Mongolia, in which 280the theistic system is complicated, departmental deities are now found, but the obvious dependence of this region on Buddhism (Lamaism) and other outside cults makes it doubtful whether or how far this scheme of gods is of native origin.1117

662. In North America the Algonkin and Maskoki nations and the Skidi Pawnee have deities of the sky, the heavenly bodies, the winds, and fire.1118 In the western part of the continent the theistic systems are less developed, but the details of the cults have not yet been fully collected; so far as appears, a departmental organization has not been made. In Brazil there is a trace of such a conception among the Tupis; but the South American tribes remain at a low level of theistic development.1119

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

664. The Aztec religion is that which the Spaniards on their arrival found to be the dominant one in Mexico. It was the religion of a conquering race, formed in part by a coalition of tribes and a combination of cults. From the records (none of which are contemporaneous) it appears that there was a very considerable specialization of function in the Aztec deities. These were probably local gods with universal functions gradually differentiated. Huitzilopochtli, apparently a patron of vegetation (with three annual festivals corresponding to agricultural seasons), became especially the god of war, in accordance with the character of the Aztecs. Another side of social life was embodied in the conception of 281Tezcatlipoca, who represented law and justice, but naturally became also a god of war. In sharp contrast with these stands Quetzalcoatl, a milder god, apparently a representative of general culture and good life. But he is commonly held to be of foreign origin. If a foreigner, he was nevertheless adopted by the Aztecs and embodied one side of their life, particularly, perhaps, the protests against the human sacrifices, which were so prominent a feature in the cults of the other two deities. There were further a god of rain, a goddess of harvest, and a goddess of sensual pleasure, besides a great number of minor specialized deities. With this specialization of function, however, there was no corresponding development of character in the gods, no pantheon proper. The myths which have been preserved relate to the origin of social customs and to the birth of gods. They appear to have been developed only a step beyond the myths of the Redmen.1121

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

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

282667. The Greeks had such divine patrons of the corncrib, beans, plowshare, cattle, city walls, banquets, potters, physicians, athletic contests, and even one hero known as the "frightener of horses" and a deity called the "flycatcher."1124

668. The Romans carried out this specialization in even greater detail. Almost every object and every event of the communal life had its patron deity: the house, the hearth, the field, the boundary stone, sowing and reaping, the wall, breath, marriage, education, death; the Lares were the special protectors of the house or of the field, and all patrons of the home were summed up under the general designations dii penates and dii familiares. Most of these beings have proper names, but even where there are no such names, as in the case of the dii penates, there can be little doubt that they were looked on as personal individualized beings.1125 The tendency was, as time went on, to add to the number of these specialized patrons, as appears from the Roman indigitamenta1126 lists of such divine beings redacted by the priests, who were disposed, naturally, to make the objects of worship as numerous as possible; but herein they doubtless responded to a popular impulse.

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

670. It was quite natural for the practical Roman mind to place everything of importance under the care of a divine being—a 283procedure which is simply carrying out in greater detail modes of thought which we have seen to be common in many of the lower tribes. Augustine thinks this specialization amusing, ridiculous, and difficult to understand. He brings up the whole question of origin when he asks why it was necessary to have two goddesses for the waves of the sea—one, Venilia, representing the wave as advancing to the shore; the other, Salacia, representing the wave as receding.1127 This seems, to be sure, an unnecessary specialization; but, considered in connection with the whole Roman system, it is not less intelligible than the multiplication of deities attending upon the birth and education of a child, on the processes of farming, and on the fortunes of war. Since human life is guided by the gods, thought the Romans, there is no act that may not have its god; this system is the objectivation of the conception of divine special providence.1128

671. To certain Semitic deities highly specialized functions have been supposed to belong; but the known facts hardly warrant this supposition. In the names Baal-Marqod, Baal-Marpe, Baal-Gad, the second element may be the name of a place; that is, the Baal may be a local deity (as the Baals elsewhere are). The title Baal-berit1129 has been interpreted as meaning "lord of a covenant"—that is, a deity presiding over treaties; but the expression is not clear. Baalzebub is in the Old Testament the god of the Philistine city Ekron, where he had a famous oracle;1130 it is highly improbable that the name means "lord of flies" (which would rather be Baal-zebubim), but the sense is obscure. The New Testament Baal [Beel]-zebul1131 (the only correct form) has been variously explained. The second element, zebul, occurs in the Old Testament as a name of the heavenly abode of the deity,1132 and the title has been regarded as the Semitic rendering of a Greek or Roman title of a god of heaven (Zeus Ouranios; cf. Caelestis, epithet of Jupiter); as foreign 284deities were called "demons" by the later Jews, the chief of these deities, it is held, might well be taken to be the "prince of demons." However this may be, Beelzebul cannot be ranked among the deities with highly specialized functions.1133

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

285673. In the great religions of antiquity every city and every state had its special divine protector. The Persian fravashis are the guardians of individual human beings. The later Jews held that there was a guardian angel for every nation and for every person.1141 All such conceptions embody the human sense of dependence on divine aid and the demand for specific divine protectors standing near to man and sustaining special relations with individuals. In some forms of Christianity the function of protection is assigned to patron saints.

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

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

676. But the natural progress of thought involved the advance to the conception of anthropomorphic creators. A transitional stage is presented by the Australian Arunta, in whose mythical system the authors of tribal institutions and the makers of heavenly bodies are the half-animal, half-human ancestors; this seems to be an attempt at a transformation of the old scheme of creation by animals—unwilling to abandon the earlier conception, these tribes have satisfied themselves by the theory that the ancestors and creators, though animals in nature, must at the same time have been human.1143 We may compare with these the Melanesian and Samoan supernatural beings who are incarnate in animal forms and are at the same time originators of civilization.1144 These zoömorphic beings are not necessarily totems, as in Australia; outside of the Arunta it does not appear that totems as such are ever regarded 286as creators1145—they are ancestors, but at that point their function appears to cease.

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

678. In Polynesia there is a better-defined cosmogonic anthropomorphism. The Hawaiian creators Kane and Tangaloa appear to be fully formed deities.1148 The Maoris have the divine figures Heaven and Earth, whose children are the producers of all things in the world. But Maui, who seems to be a general Polynesian figure, is rather a culture-hero than a god, though his achievements were of a very serious sort. The Tapa of the Borneo Land Dyaks,1149 and the Boora Pennu of the Khonds1150 may be regarded as real gods. On the West Coast of Africa the Yorubans, the most advanced of the coast tribes, with a well-developed pantheon, have deities who may be called creators; such are Obatala, who, according to one account, made the first human pair out of clay, and Ifa, the restorer of the world after the flood.1151 In North America the 287New England Kiehtan and the Virginian Oki have creative functions.1152 The Navahos ascribe the creation of certain animals to a god Bekotsidi, whose character and rôle, however, are vague.1153 The Brazilian Tupan and Jurupari appear to be divine creators.1154 For a good many tribes in all parts of the world the published reports give no precise information regarding the beginning of things, but it seems probable that fuller acquaintance with them would reveal conceptions similar to those described above.

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

680. Gods of the other world. The class of departmental gods includes those who have charge of the other world. As soon as the abode of men after death is definitely fixed, it is natural that a deity presiding over this other world should arise. Among the lower tribes this sort of god is not frequent.1156 One of the clearest cases of such organization occurs in Fiji.1157 Here, in addition to other deities who deal with the dead on their entrance into 288this farther world, the great deity Ndengei has his abode, and one of his functions is to pass on the merits of those who present themselves from the world of living men. He is, however, in part an otiose deity and can hardly be said to rule over this otherworldly realm. Similar undeveloped deities are found among the Maoris and the Finns.1158

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

682. An ethical god of the other world appears not to have been created by the Semites. The Babylonian Underworld goddess or god has nothing to do with moral character, and among the Hebrews, so far as the statements in the Old Testament go, no special deity was assigned to the other world; whether such an Underworld deity once existed and was lost by the Hebrews, or has been expurged by the later editors of the Old Testament books, must remain uncertain;1160 in the late pre-Christian period the 289national god, Yahweh, was regarded as controlling the Underworld as well as Heaven and Earth.1161 The Greek Aïdes or Ploutōn and the Roman Pluto also are not ethical gods in the higher sense, as indeed no early deity of any people has such a moral character. At a later period ethical distinctions were introduced into the administration of the other world.

By reason of paucity of data it is difficult to determine the precise characters of various Celtic, Slavic, and Germanic deities whose names appear in the records. They are gods of clans and of departments of nature; none of them can properly be reckoned among the great gods.1162

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

684. In a somewhat higher form of culture these two classes of Powers may be unified respectively into, or replaced by, two gods, one helpful, the other harmful. Such appears to be the scheme of the Masai, who have their black god and red god.1163 A Californian cosmogonic myth describes a nonmoral conflict of work between the good "Creator" and the malicious Coyote.1164 290A real unification appears, however, to be rare; it supposes in fact a degree of reflection and organization that we should not expect to find among lower peoples. The story, for example, that has been told of a well-developed dualistic system of the Iroquois is based on a misconception.1165 Dualism proper is not recognizable among the savages of America, Polynesia, Asia, or Africa.1166 In the Old Testament prior to the sixth century B.C. the spirits, good and bad, which are not essentially different from those we find among the lower tribes, are massed under the control of Yahweh, and do his bidding without moral reflection; when he sends a lying spirit into the mouth of Ahab's prophets1167 this spirit goes without malice merely to perform the will of the supreme god. This massing of all spirit Powers under the control of one god is a step toward unity and clearness in the conception of the government of the world.

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

686. The adjustment of the rival forces and the establishment of a system of physical order is referred to the great gods. Such a picture of the original state of things is contained in the elaborate Babylonian cosmologies that have come down to us; in these the dragon of disorder (Tiamat) is completely conquered by the god Bel-Marduk, who represents the Babylonian civilization of the time in which the cosmology arose. Of the same nature is the Egyptian myth of the contest between Horus (the light) and Set (the dark), in which, however, the victory of Horus is not described 291as being absolute1168—a representation suggested, possibly, by the recognition of the persistence of the good and bad elements of the world; compare the cosmologies of the Maidu and the Khonds mentioned above (§684). In the Greek and Teutonic myths in which the Giants are the enemies of the great gods a more humane and settled government of the world is introduced by Zeus and Wodan. Traces of this construction of the universe are to be found also among the Maoris, the Hawaiians, and other peoples of a like grade.1169

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

688. The deeper conception of a conflict between the moral good and the moral evil in life belongs to the latest period in religious history. Here the determining fact is the control of the world by the high gods, who have their adversaries, but in general prove victors. At the foundation of this scheme of the world lies the conception of order, which is particularly defined in the Vedic arta and the Avestan asha1170—the regulation of the world in accordance with human interests, in which the ethical element becomes more and more prominent as human society is more and more formed on an ethical basis.

292689. Ethical dualism is most fully embodied in the Persian conception of two gods, good and bad, with the understanding that the good god, Ahura Mazda, exercises a certain restraint on the bad god, Angro Mainyu, who is finally to be crushed.1171 This optimistic point of view, which has no doubt existed in germinal shape among all peoples, appears also in the modified dualism of the Old Testament and the late Jewish and Christian schemes. The Old Testament Satan is originally a divine being, one of the "sons of the Elohim" (that is, he belongs to the Elohim, or divine, class); his function is that of inspector of human conduct, prosecutor-general, with a natural tendency to disparage men and demand their punishment. As a member of Yahweh's court and council he makes regular reports to his divine lord and pleads cases before the divine court.1172 In this character he is suspicious and mischievous but not immoral; but a little later a trace of malice appears in him,1173 and in the uncanonical Jewish book of the Wisdom of Solomon and in the New Testament he advances to the position of the head of the kingdom of moral evil, so that he is called also "the god of the present age"1174—that is, he is the controller of the existing unregenerate element in human society, and is to be displaced when the ideal age shall be established.

690. Man's attitude toward demons. Demons1175 (the term being taken to include all early malefic superhuman beings, whether ghosts or spirits) are feared and guarded against, but rarely receive worship. As they are the authors of all physical ills that cannot be explained on natural grounds, measures, usually magical, are taken to thwart their purposes—to prevent their intervention or to overcome and banish the evil begun by them. As they are not credited with moral principle, hostility to them rests not on ethical feeling but merely on fear of suffering.1176 If they are placated, it is in cases in which they approach the character of gods and in so far cease to be demons in our sense of the word. They serve a useful purpose 293in that, taking on their shoulders all the ills of life, they leave the clan gods free from the suspicion of unfriendliness to men.1177 On the other hand, the belief in them has created a pseudo-science of relief from suffering and a great host of pseudo-doctors who for a long time exercised a large control over society and bound men in fetters of ignorance.

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

692. In like manner the organization of demons has not kept pace with that of gods. In most regions they have remained a mob, every individual pursuing his way independently. It is only in 294advanced cults that they form a community with a head. In China and Persia the sharp division of supernatural forces into two classes was the outcome of great religious reformations that followed the usual savage chaos of the hordes of demons. The Jewish demonology (probably influenced by the Persian) chose for the head of its kingdom of evil an old god (the Satan) or the similar figure Azazel.1180

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

295694. Thus, it cannot be said that a demon has ever developed into a god. The malefic Powers of savages have generally been absorbed by higher beings or have otherwise disappeared. Some gods, such as the Hebrew Satan and certain Greek deities, have been degraded to the demonic class. In some cases, particularly in the Zoroastrian system, a being who is the consolidation of all malign supernatural activities has been credited with all-but divine power and authority.1185 But the two classes remain distinct—the true "god" is a friendly member of a human society, and when he is angry may be placated; the true "demon" is essentially hostile to men and must be thwarted and expelled.1186

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

696. We have already considered the tendency in human communities to particularize the divine objects of worship and to personalize external objects; everywhere, it would appear, there is a disposition to assign a particular divine control to every fact that is specially connected with human interests. We have to note, further, the tendency to concretize, as, for example, in many cases in which evil, physical or moral, is regarded as a concrete thing that may be removed bodily from the community.1187 This sort of 296conception we may suppose to be connected with early psychological theory, according to which anything that affects man is credited with manlike form and power. The facility with which the abstract and the concrete may be identified is illustrated by such modern terms as deity, majesty, highness, state, government, direction, counsel; in these expressions the abstract quality or act is incarnated in certain persons, and so we may imagine that at a certain stage of society any quality or act might be isolated and regarded as a personal thing. A series of victories, for example, might suggest the conception of 'victory' as a thing present in these events, and the tendency to personalize would then create the divine figure Victory. Historically a personalization may have arisen, in some cases, through the isolation of an epithet of a deity (so, for example, Fides may have come from Dius Fidius),1188 but in such cases the psychological basis of the personalization is the same as that just stated. From these, as is remarked above, must be distinguished poetical and philosophical abstractions.

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

698. Semitic. The material for the Semitic religions on this point is scanty.1189 The Arabic divine names supposed by Nöldeke to represent abstractions are Manāt (fate), Sa'd (fortune), Ruḍā (favor), Wadd (love), Manāf (height), 'Auḍ (time). Whether these are all abstract terms is doubtful. Wadd means also 'lover,' divine friend or patron. Sa'd occurs as adjective 'fortunate,' is the appellation of certain stars, and the god Sa'd is identified by an Arab poet with a certain rock1190—the rock is doubtless an old local divinity. 297Ruḍā is found apparently only as a divine name (in Palmyrene and Safa inscriptions and as a god of an Arabian tribe)—the form may be concrete, in the sense of 'favoring,' divine patron. As "time" (dahr, zaman) often occurs in Arabic poetry in the sense of 'fate,' the god 'Auḍ may be an embodiment of this conception.1191 Manāf, if understood, as is possible, in the sense 'high place,' is not abstract but concrete, though in that case the original reference of the term is not clear.

699. Manāt is one of the three great goddesses of Mecca, the others being Al-Lât ('the goddess') and Al-Uzza ('the mighty one'); as these two names are concrete, there is a certain presumption that Manāt likewise is concrete. The original meaning of the word is obscure. It does not occur as a common noun, but from the same stem come terms meaning 'doom, death,'1192 and, if it be allied to these, it would be an expression for 'fate' (like 'Auḍ). However, the stem is used in the sense 'number, determine, assign,' and Manāt may be the divine determiner of human destinies. From this same stem comes the Biblical Meni, and apparently the Assyrian Manu.1193 The ordinary North Semitic conception of the source of human destinies is that they are determined by the gods and written on tablets or in a book,1194 and the same conception may have existed in the South Semitic area.1195 The other deity mentioned in Isaiah lxv, 11, is Gad; the word means in Arabic and Hebrew 'fortune, good fortune,' and occurs as the name of a deity in Phœnician and Aramaic inscriptions, but the data are not sufficient to fix its original sense. It is the name of a Hebrew tribe, which 298is perhaps so called from the tribal god, and the name of a tribal god is probably concrete.1196

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

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

702. Roman and Greek. The most fully developed form of this conception is found in the Roman cult.1198 The civic genius of the Romans led them to give prominence to the maintenance of public and private rights; thus among their deities appear public safety or salvation (Salus Publica), public faith or fidelity to engagements (Fides), civic harmony (Concordia), connubial purity (Pudicitia), filial devotion (Pietas), the boundary of property (Terminus), victory (Victoria), liberty (Libertas). There are further the gods Youth (Juventus and Juventas) and Desire1199 (Cupido), perhaps as things fundamental in human life.1200 Fortune (Fortuna) is the mass of evidence determining life by the will of the gods, with which the utterances of the gods (Fata) are identical, and the embodiment of the determining agencies is the Parcæ. Several of these deities 299have their correspondents in the Greek theistic system:1201 Eros (desire); Tuche (that which is allotted one by the gods or by the course of events); Moira (Aisa), the unification of all the powers that determine man's destiny. The god Kronos was by some improperly identified with "time" (χρόνος).1202

703. Aryan. Among the Aryans of India the god Kama (desire) appears to be identical with Cupido. Some other abstractions, such as Piety and Infinity, are akin to Mazdean conceptions.1203 Brahma, originally 'magical formula,' then 'prayer,' and later 'pious thought,' becomes finally Brahma, the all-embracing god. Ṛta (arta), 'order,' at first, perhaps, the proper order of the sacrificial ritual, becomes finally 'moral order or righteousness' and 'cosmic order.' This conception is still more prominent in the Avesta,1204 in which Asha (Order) is one of the Amesha-spentas, only inferior to the supreme god; the other companions of Ahura Mazda have similar titles and may equally be regarded as the personalization of abstract ideas.1205 In the same category may be included the Mazdean conceptions Endless Time (Zrvan Akarana) and Endless Space (Thwasha), which appear to be treated in the Avesta as personal deities.1206 The organizers of the Mazdean faith, 300having discarded almost all the old gods, invested the supreme god with certain moral qualities, and these, by a natural process of thought, were concretized (Ahura Mazda is sometimes included in the list of Amesha-spentas). Thus arose a sort of pantheon, an echo of the old polytheism; but the history of the process of formulation is obscure.1207

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

705. A general relation may be recognized between the intellectual character of a people and the extent to which it creates abstract gods. The Semitic peoples, among whom the development 301of such gods is the feeblest, are characterized by objectiveness of thought, indisposition to philosophical or psychological analysis, and a maintenance of local political and religious organization; it is natural that they should construct concrete deities exclusively or almost exclusively. Egypt also was objective, and carried its demand for visible objects of worship to the point of incarnating its gods in living animals; such living gods tend to banish pale abstractions, and such conceptions played an insignificant part in Egyptian religion. In India, with its genius for philosophical refinement, we might expect to find this latter class of gods; but Indian thought speedily passed into the large pantheistic and other generalizations that absorbed the lesser abstractions. Greece appears to have had the combination of philosophy and practicalness that favors the production of a certain sort of abstract gods, and a considerable number of these it did produce;1210 but here also philosophy, in the form of large theories of the constitution and life of man, got the upper hand and repressed the other development. The Romans had no pretensions to philosophic or æsthetic thought, but they had a keen sense of the value of family and civic life, and great skill in using religion for social purposes. It is they among whom specialized deities, including abstractions, had the greatest significance for the life of the people—family and State.

706. With the growth of general culture all specialized divinities tend to disappear, absorbed by the great gods and displaced by better knowledge of the laws governing the bodily and mental growth of men.1211 The divinities of abstractions, so far as they were really alive, had the effect of making great civic and religious ideas familiar to the people. Later (as in modern life) such ideas were cherished as the outcome of reflection on domestic and national relations—in the earlier period they were invested with sacredness and with personal power to inspire and guide. Exactly what their ethical influence on the masses was it is hardly possible 302to determine; but it may be regarded as probable that they helped to keep alive certain fundamental conceptions at a time when reflection on life was still immature.

Nature Gods

707. The term "nature gods" may be taken as designating those deities that are distinguished on the one hand from natural objects regarded as divine and worshiped, and on the other hand from the great gods, who, whatever their origin, have been quite dissociated from natural objects; in distinction from these classes nature gods are independent deities who yet show traces of their origin in the cult of natural objects.1212

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


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

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

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

304712. The Egyptians, with their more advanced civilization, finally carried sun-worship to a very high point of perfection. The hymns to Ra, the sun-god, reached the verge of monotheism and are ethically high, yet traces of the physical side of the sun appear throughout.1220 The same thing is true of the old Semitic sun-cult. The Babylonian and Assyrian Shamash is in certain respects an independent deity with universal attributes, but retains also some of the physical characteristics of the sun.1221 In Africa, outside of Egypt, the only trace of an independent sun-god appears to be in Dahomi, where, however, he is not prominent; why such a god should not be found in the neighboring countries of Ashanti and Yoruba is not clear; climatic conditions would affect all these countries alike.1222

713. In the Veda the sun-god Savitar has a very distinguished position as ethical deity, but earlier than he the similar figure Surya represents more nearly the physical sun, and this is true perhaps also of Mitra.1223 With the latter it is natural to compare the Avestan Mithra; he is held by some to have been originally a god of light, but he seems also to have characteristics of the sun in the Avesta,1224 and in late Persian the word mihr ('sun') indicates that he was at any rate finally identified with the sun. It is noteworthy that a distinct sun-worship is reported among certain non-Aryan tribes of India, particularly the Khonds;1225 this cult may be compared with that of the Natchez mentioned above,1226 though the Khonds are less socially advanced than these American tribes.

714. The cultic history of the moon is similar to that of the sun, but in general far less important. In addition to its charm as illuminer of the night, it has been prominent as a measurer of time—lunar calendars appear among many tribes and nations, uncivilized (Maoris, Hawaiians, Dahomi, Ashanti and Yorubans, Nandi, Congo tribes, Bantu, Todas, and others) and civilized (the early Babylonians, Assyrians, Hebrews, Greeks, Romans, 305perhaps the early Egyptians, and now all Mohammedan peoples). Naturally it has been associated with the sun in myths, standing to it in the relation of brother or sister, husband or wife. Among existing noncivilized peoples it sometimes receives worship as a god1227 or as connected with a god.1228 In these cases it retains to a great extent its character as an object of nature. So the Greek Selenē and the Roman Luna, standing alongside of the lunar gods proper, probably indicate an early imperfect deification of the moon.

715. Though the stars were generally regarded, both among savages and in ancient civilized communities, as animated (possessed of souls), and in a sort divine,1229 instances of the deification proper of particular stellar bodies are rare. In Egypt they were reverenced, but apparently not worshiped.1230 The Babylonian astronomers and astrologers began early to connect the planets with the great gods (Jupiter with Marduk, Venus with Ishtar, etc.), and stars, like other heavenly bodies, were held by them to be divine, but a specific divinization of a star or planet does not appear in the known literature.1231 The same thing is true of China, where, it may be supposed, reverence for the stars was included in the general high position assigned to Heaven.1232 In the Aryan Hindu cults stars were revered, and by the non-Aryan Gonds were worshiped, but there is no star-god proper.1233

716. In the Old Testament and the Apocrypha there are passages in which stars and planets are referred to in a way that indicates some sort of a conception of them as divine: they are said to have fought against Israel's enemies, and in the later literature they are (perhaps by a poetical figure of speech) identified 306with foreign deities or with angels.1234 But there is no sign of Israelite worship offered them till the seventh century B.C., when, on the irruption of Assyrian cults, incense is said to have been burned in the Jerusalem temple to the mazzalot (probably the signs of the zodiac) and to all the host of heaven (the stars);1235 and there is still no creation of a star-god.1236 The early Hebrews may have practiced some sort of star-worship; there are traces of such a cult among their neighbors the Arabs.

717. The Arab personal name Abd ath-thuraiya, 'servant (worshiper) of the Pleiades,' testifies to a real cult,1237 though how far it involves a conception of the constellation as a true individual deity it may be difficult to say. It has been supposed that the pre-Islamic Arabs worshiped the planet Venus under the name Al-Uzza,1238 but this is not certain. It is true that they worshiped the morning star, and that ancient non-Arab writers identified the planet with Al-Uzza because it was with this goddess that the Roman goddess Venus was generally identified by foreigners. But Al-Uzza was an old Arabian local deity who gradually assumed great power and influence, and it is certain that she could not have been originally a star. It must, therefore, be considered doubtful whether the Arabs had a true star-god.

718. A well-defined instance of such a god is the Avestan Tistrya.1239 His origin as an object of nature appears plainly in his functions—he is especially a rain-god, and, as such, a source of all blessings. Alongside of him stand three less well defined stellar Powers. The Greeks and Romans adopted from Chaldean astronomy the nominal identification of the planets with certain gods (their own divine names being substituted for the Babylonian); 307this did not necessarily carry with it stellar worship,1240 but at a late period there was a cult of the constellations.1241

To some savage and half-civilized peoples the rainbow has appeared to be a living thing, capable of acting on man's life, sometimes friendly, sometimes unfriendly.1242 It figures largely in myths, but is not treated as a god.

The Great Gods

719. Along with the deities described above there is a class of higher gods with well-defined personalities, standing quite outside physical nature and man, with definite characters, and humanized in the higher sense. In contrast with the bizarre or barbarous anthropomorphic forms of the earlier deities these have the shape of refined humanity, capable of taking part in the life of the best men; they are the embodiment of a reflective conception of the relations between men and the great world. Inchoate divine forms of this sort may be recognized among certain half-civilized communities, but in their full form they are found only among civilized peoples, being indeed the product of civilization; and among such peoples they exist in varying degrees of approach to completeness.

720. The process of growth from the clan deities and the nature gods up to these higher forms may be traced with some definiteness in the great civilized nations of antiquity. We can see that there has been a scientific movement of separation of gods from phenomena. There is the distinct recognition not only of the difference between man and physical nature, but also of the difference between phenomena and the powers that control them.1243 At the same time there is an increasing belief in the predominance of reason in the government of the world, and along with this a larger conception of the greatness of the world and finally of its unity. Artistic feeling coöperates in the change of the character of divine 308beings—the necessity of giving symmetry and clearness to their persons, whereby they more and more assume the form of the highest human ideals. Necessarily the ethical element advances hand in hand with the intellectual and artistic; it becomes more and more difficult to conceive of gods as controlled by motives lower than those recognized by the best men.

721. This general progress of thought is in some cases embodied in the conception of a succession of dynasties—one set of gods is overthrown or succeeded by another set; the most extreme form of the overthrow appears in the conception of the death of a whole community of gods, but this occurs not in the form of natural development, but only when one stadium or phase of religion is overmastered and expelled by another.

722. In Babylonia the earliest pair of deities, Lakhmu and Lakhamu, vague forms, were succeeded by a second pair, Anshar and Kishar, somewhat less vague, and these in their turn yielded to the more definite group represented by Ea, Bel, and Marduk—deities who became the embodiments of the highest Babylonian culture; in Assyria Ashur and Ishtar occupied a similar position. In the long religious history of the Hindus many of the gods prominent in the Veda disappear or sink into subordinate positions, and deities at first unimportant become supreme. The Greek succession of dynasties resembles the Babylonian. The ancient Heaven and Earth are followed by Kronos,1244 and he is dethroned by Zeus, who represents governmental order and a higher ethical scheme of society. The Romans appear to have borrowed their chronology of the gods from the Greeks: the combination of Saturnus with Ops (who belongs rather with Consus), the identification of these two respectively with Kronos and Rhea, and the dynastic succession Cælus,1245 Saturnus, Jupiter, seem not to be earlier than the Hellenizing period in Rome.

723. These changes, when original, may have been due partly to the shifting of political power—the gods of a particular dominant 309region may have come into prominence and reigned for a time, giving place then to deities of some other region which had secured the hegemony; the history of the earliest gods lies far back in a dim region without historical records and therefore is not to be reconstructed definitely now. But such light as we get from literary records of later times rather suggests that the dynastic changes are the product of changes in the conception of the world, and these are as a rule in the direction of sounder and more humane thought.

724. There is a general similarity between the great deities that have been created by the various civilized peoples, since civilization has been practically the same everywhere. But the gods differ among themselves according to the special characters, needs, and endowments of the various peoples, so that no deity can be profitably studied without a knowledge of the physical and mental conditions of the community in which he arose. But everywhere we find that any one god may become practically supreme. Here again the political element sometimes comes in—a dominant city or state will impose its special god on a large district. There is also the natural tendency among men to concentrate on an individual figure. As legendary material has always gathered around particular men, so the great attributes of divinity gather about the person of a particular god who, for whatever reason, is the most prominent divine figure in a given community. Such a god becomes for the moment supreme, to the exclusion of other deities who under different circumstances might have had similar claims to precedence; and under favorable conditions a deity thus raised to the highest position may maintain himself and end by becoming the sole deity of his people and of the world. In any case such a divine figure becomes an ideal, and thus influences more or less the life of his worshipers.

725. In Oriental polytheistic systems the desire to secure completeness in the representation of divine activity shows itself in the combination of two or more forms into a unity of action. On the lower level we have the composite figures of Egypt and Babylonia, congeries of bodies, heads, and limbs, human and nonhuman—the result partly of the survival of ancient (sometimes outgrown) forms or the fusion of local deities, partly of the imaginative collocation310 of attributes. Many compound names may be explained in this way; in some cases they seem to arise from accidental local relations of cults.

As illustrations of lines of growth in divine figures we may take brief biographies of some of the greater gods. It is in comparatively few cases that the development of a god's character can be satisfactorily traced. There are no records of beginnings—we can only make what may be judged to be probable inferences from names, cults, and functions. The difficulty of the subject is increased by the fact that mythologians and theologians have obscured early conceptions by new combinations and interpretations, often employing familiar divine figures simply as vehicles of late philosophical ideas or some other sort of local dogmas.

726. Egypt.1246 The cult of the sun in Egypt issued in the creation of a group of solar divinities, the most important of whom are Horus (Har or Hor) and Ra (or Rê).

Horus appears to have been the great god of united Egypt in the earliest times about which we have information. The kings of the predynastic and early dynastic periods are called "worshipers of Horus," a title that was adopted by succeeding monarchs, who had each his "Horus name."1247 He was also the special patron of some small communities—a fact that has been variously interpreted as indicating that the god's movement was from local to general patron,1248 or that it was in the opposite direction1249; the former of these hypotheses is favored by what appears elsewhere in such changes in the positions of deities. As Horus is always connected with light he may have been originally a local sun-god; it is possible, however, that he was a clan god with general functions, who was brought into association with the sun by the natural progress of thought. In any case he became a great sun-god, but yielded 311his position of eminence to Ra. The myth of his conflict with Set, the representative of darkness, is probably a priestly dualistic construction, resting, perhaps, on a political situation (the struggle between the North and the South of the Egyptian territory).1250

727. The general development of Ra is plain, though details are lacking. It may be inferred from his name (which means 'sun') that he was originally the physical sun. Traces of his early crudeness appear in the stories of his destruction of mankind, and of the way in which Isis, by a trick, got from him his true name and, with it, his power.1251 With the growth of his native land (Lower Egypt) he became the great lord of the sun, and finally universal lord;1252 his supremacy was doubtless due in part to the political importance of On (Heliopolis), the seat of his chief shrine. What other circumstances contributed to his victory over Horus are not recorded; in general it may be supposed that political changes occasioned the recedence of the latter.

The primacy of Ra is illustrated by the fact that Amon was identified with him. Amon, originally the local god of Thebes,1253 became great in the South as Ra became great in the North, rising with the growth of the Theban kingdom. His hold on the people, and particularly (as was natural) on the priests, is shown in a noteworthy way by the episode of Amenhotep IV's attempt to supplant him by establishing a substantially monotheistic cult of the sun-god Aton; the attempt was successful only during the king's life—after his death Amon, under the vigorous leadership of the Theban priests, resumed his old position and maintained it until the first break-up of the national Egyptian government. But it was Amon-Ra that became supreme from the fourteenth century onward. The combination of the names was made possible by the social and political union of the two divisions of the land, and it was Ra who gave special glory to Amon.1254

312728. A different line of growth appears in the history of Osiris—he owed his eminence mainly to his connection with the dead. Where his cult arose is not known; he was a very old god, possibly prominent in the predynastic period;1255 at a later time the importance of Abydos, the chief seat of his worship, may have added to his reputation. But the ceremonies of his cult and the myths that grew up about his name indicate that he was originally a deity of vegetation, the patron of the underground productive forces of the earth, and so, naturally, he became the lord of the Underworld,1256 and eventually (as ethical conceptions of life became more definite in Egypt) the embodiment of future justice, the determiner of the moral character and the everlasting fate of men. Why he and not some other underground god became Underworld judge the data do not make clear. His association with the death and revivification of plants gave a peculiarly human character to his mythical biography and a dramatic and picturesque tone to his cult.1257 Of all ancient lords of the Otherworld it is Osiris that shows the most continuous progress and reaches the highest ethical plane—a fact that must be referred to the intense interest of the Egyptians in the future.1258

729. The three most prominent female deities of the Egyptian pantheon, Hathor of Dendera, Neith (Nit, Neit) of Sais, and Isis of Buto, exhibit one and the same type of character, and each is occasionally identified with one of the others. Hathor was widely worshiped, but was not otherwise especially noteworthy. The famous inscription said to have stood in the temple of Neith at Sais ("What is and what shall be and what has been am I—my veil no one has lifted"1259) seems not to be immediately connected with 313any important religious movement, though it is in keeping with the liberal and mystical tendency of the later time. The third goddess, Isis, had a more remarkable history. Her beginnings are obscure, and she appears in the inscriptions later than the other two. She may have been a local deity,1260 brought into association with Osiris (as his sister or his wife) through the collocation of their cults, and thus sharing his popularity; or she may have been a late theological creation.1261 Whatever her origin, as early as the sixteenth century B.C. she appears as a great magician (poisoning and healing Ra by magic arts),1262 then (along with Osiris) as civilizer, and finally as model wife and mother, and as serene and beneficent mistress of the land. It was, apparently, in this last character that she became the gathering-point for the higher religious and ethical ideas of the time, and the central figure in a religious scheme that was widely adopted in and out of Egypt and seemed to be a formidable rival of Christianity.1263

730. India. It is in India that we find the most varied and most sweeping development in the functions and positions of deities—a result due in part to the long-continued movement of philosophic thought, partly to changes in the popular religious point of view occasioned by modifications of the social life.1264

The etymology of the name Varuna is doubtful, but the representation of him in the Rig-Veda points to the sky as his original form—he is a clear example of a sky-god who becomes universal. Of his earliest history we have no information—in the most ancient records he is already fully formed. In the Rig-Veda he embraces the whole of life—he is absolute ruler and moral governor, he punishes sin and forgives the penitent. In conjunction with Mitra he is the lord of order.1265 Mitra, originally the physical sun, is naturally associated with Varuna, but in the Rig-Veda occupies a generally subordinate position, though he appears sometimes to have the 314attributes of his associate; the two together embody a lofty ethical conception. In accordance with the Hindu fondness for metaphysical abstractions and generalizations the nature god Varuna in the course of time yielded the primacy to Prajapati, 'lord of beings,'1266 who in his turn gave way to the impersonal Brahma. In the popular cults as well as in philosophical systems Varuna sank (or perhaps returned) to the position of patron of phenomena of nature—there was no longer need of him.

731. A god of somewhat uncertain moral character is Indra, who as a nature god is closely connected with the violent phenomena of the air (rain, thunder, and lightning). In this relation he is often terrible, often beneficent, but with low tastes that it is difficult to explain. His fondness for soma, without which he attempts nothing, is perhaps a priestly touch, a glorification of the drink that played so important a part in the ritual; or he may herein be an expression of popular tastes. The sensuous character of the heaven of which he (as air-god) is lord arose doubtless in response to early conceptions of happiness;1267 it is not unlike the paradise of Mohammed, which is to be regarded not as immoral, but only as the embodiment of the existing conception of happy family life. Yet Indra also became a universal god, the controller of all things, and it was perhaps due to his multiform human character as warrior and rain-giver1268 (in his victorious conflict with the cloud-dragon), and as representative of bodily enjoyment, that he became the favorite god of the people. It is not hard to understand why Agni, fire, should be associated with him and share his popularity to some extent; but the importance of fire in the sacrifice gave Agni a peculiar prominence in the ritual.

732. The most curious case of transformation and exaltation is found in the history of Soma, at first a plant whose juice was intoxicating, then a means of ecstatic excitement, a gift to the gods, 315the drink of the gods, and finally itself a god invested with the greatest attributes. This divinization of a drink was no doubt mainly priestly—it is a striking illustration of the power of the association of ideas, and belongs in the same general category with the deification of abstractions spoken of above.1269

733. An example of a god leaping from an inferior position to the highest place in the pantheon is afforded by Vishnu, a nature god of some sort, described in the early documents as traversing the universe in three strides. Relatively insignificant in the earlier period and in the Upanishads, he appears in the epic, and afterwards, as the greatest of the gods, and, in the form of his avatar Krishna, becomes the head of a religion which has often been compared with Christianity in the purity of its moral conceptions. By his side in this later time stands his rival Çiva, the chief figure in a sect or system which shared with Vishnuism the devotion of the later Hindus. The rise of these two gods is to be referred probably to the dissatisfaction in the later times with the phenomenal character which still clung, in popular feeling, to the older deities. Varuna, once supreme, sank after a while to the position of a god of rain, and Indra, Agni, and Soma were frankly naturalistic, while the impersonal Brahma was too vague to meet popular demands. What the later generation wanted was a god personal and divorced from physical phenomena, supreme, ethically high, but invested with warm humanity. These conditions were fulfilled by Vishnu and Çiva, and particularly by Krishna; that is, the later thought constructed these new deities in accordance with the demand of the higher and the lower religious feeling of the time: the two sides of the human demand, the genial and the terrible, are embodied, the first in Vishnu, the second in Çiva.

734. The primeval pair, Heaven and Earth, though represented as the parents of many gods and worshiped with sacrifices, play no great part in the Hindu religious system. Dyaus, the Sky, never attained the proportions of the formally identical Zeus and Jupiter. His attributes are distinctly those of the physical sky. The higher rôle is assigned to Varuna, who is the sky conceived 316of as a divine Power divorced from merely physical characteristics;1270 the mass of phenomena connected with the sky (thunder, lightning, and such like) are isolated and referred to various deities. Prithivi, the Earth, in like manner, retains her physical attributes, and does not become the nourishing mother of all things.1271

With a partial exception in the case of Ushas1272 (Dawn) the early Hindu pantheon contains no great female figure; there are female counterparts of male deities, but no such transcendent personages as Isis, Athene, and Demeter. Whether this fact is to be explained from early Hindu views of the social position of women, or from some other idea, is uncertain. In certain modern religious cults, however, the worship of the female principle (Çakti) is popular and influential. It is probable that in early times every tribe or district had its female divine representative of fertility, an embryonic mother-goddess. If the Aryan Hindus had such a figure, she failed to grow into a great divinity. But the worship of such deities came into Aryan India at a relatively recent date, apparently from non-Aryan sources, and has been incorporated in Hindu systems. Various forms of Çakti have been brought into relation with various gods, the most important being those that have become attached to the worship of Çiva.1273 To him is assigned as wife the frightful figure called Durga or Kali (and known by other names), a blood-loving monster with an unspeakably licentious cult. Other Çakti deities are more humane, and there is reason to suppose that the ground of the devotion shown to Kali, especially by women, is in many cases simply reverence for the female principle in life, or more particularly for motherhood.1274

735. The original character of the Hindu lord of the Otherworld, Yama, is obscured by the variety of the descriptions of 317him in the documents. In the Rig-Veda he appears both as god and (as it seems) as man. He is the son of the solar deity Vivashant (Vivashat); he is named in enumerations of gods, and Agni is his friend and his priest; he receives worship, and is besought to come to the sacrifice.1275 On the other hand, he is never called "god," but only "king";1276 he is spoken of as the "only mortal," and is said to have chosen death; he is associated in heaven with the "fathers."1277 The modern interpretations of his origin have followed these two sets of data. By some writers he has been identified with the sun (particularly the setting sun), and with the moon.1278 But these identifications are set aside for the Veda by the fact that in lists of gods he is distinguished from sun and moon.1279 By others he is regarded as the mythical first man, the first ancestor, with residence in the sky, deified as original ancestors sometimes were, and, as the first to die and enter the world beyond, made the king of that world.

Though Yama is not the sun in the Veda, it is possible that he was so regarded in the period preceding the Vedic theological construction, and in support of this view it may be said that the sun setting, descending into the depths, is a natural symbol of the close of man's life,1280 and rising, represents the man's life in the beyond—thus the sun would be identified with man, and not unnaturally with the first man, the first to die. In support of the other view may be cited the great rôle ascribed by many peoples to the first man: in savage lore he is often the creator or arranger of the world,1281 and he is sometimes, like Yama, the son of the sun.1282 318Such an one, entering the other world, might become its lord, and in process of time be divinized and made the son of the creator sun.1283 The Hindu figure is often compared to the Avestan first man, Yima; but Yima, so far as appears, was never divinized, and is not religiously of great importance. Nor do the late Jewish legends and theosophical speculations bear on the point under consideration: in Paradise, it is said, Adam was waited on by angels, the angels were commanded by God to pay him homage (so also in the Koran), and he is described as being the light of the world; and Philo and others conceived of a first or heavenly man (Adam Kadmon), free from ordinary human weakness, and identical with the Logos or the Messiah—therefore a judge in the largest sense of the word.1284 But, while these conceptions testify to the strong appeal made to the imagination by the figure of the mythical first man, they throw little light on the original form of Yama—the early constructions do not include the judge of the other world, and the later ones are too late to explain so early a figure as the Vedic king of that world.

736. In the Rig-Veda Yama is specifically the overlord of the blessed dead—the pious who were thought worthy to dwell in heaven with the gods and to share to some extent their divinity; with the wicked he seems to have nothing to do. The general history of the conception of the future life suggests that in the earliest Indo-Iranian period there was a hades to which all the dead went.1285 If there was a divine head of this hades (originally an underground deity, like Osiris, Allatu, and Ploutos) he would accompany the pious fathers when, in the later Hindu theologic construction, they were transported to heaven; and if the first ancestor occupied a distinguished place among the dead,1286 he might be fused with the divine head into a sort of unity, and the 319result might be such a complex figure as Yama appears to be. However this may be, the Vedic Yama underwent a development in accordance with the changes in the religious ideas of the people, becoming at last an ethical judge of the dead.1287

737. Persia. The Mazdean theistic system presents special difficulties.1288 The nature of its divine world is remarkable, almost unique, and the literature that has come down to us was edited at a comparatively late period, probably not before the middle of the third century of our era, so that it is not always easy to distinguish the earlier and the later elements of thought. It is generally regarded as certain that the two branches of the Aryan race, the Indian and the Persian, once dwelt together and formed one community, having the same general religious system: the material of spirits is substantially the same in the two and they have certain important names in common—to the Indian Asura, Soma, Mitra, the Persian Ahura, Haoma, Mithra correspond in form exactly. But in the way in which this material was modified and organized the two communities differ widely.

738. The peculiarity of the Persian system is that it practically disregards all the old gods except Mithra and Anahita, substituting for them beings designated by names of qualities, and organizes all extrahuman Powers in two classes—one under the Good Spirit (Spenta Mainyu), the other under the Bad Spirit (Angro Mainyu). The former is attended by six great beings, Immortal Spirits (Amesha-spentas): Good Mind, Best Order or Law, Holy Harmony or Wisdom, Piety, Well-being, Immortality.1289 In the Gathas, which are commonly held to be the most ancient Zoroastrian documents, these attendants of the supreme god are often nothing but qualities, but on the other hand are often personified and worshiped. The rival of the Good Spirit is surrounded similarly by lying spirits (drujas), among whom one, Aeshma, holds a prominent place. The two divine chiefs stand side by side in the earliest 320literature almost as coequal powers; but it is explained that the wicked one is to be destroyed with all his followers.

739. In some of the early hymns (Yaçnas) Mithra is closely attached to Ahura Mazda—the two are called "the lofty and imperishable ones." The goddess Anahita, first mentioned in an inscription of Artaxerxes II, and described only in the late Fifth Yasht, appears to have been originally a deity of water. It was, doubtless, her popularity that led to her official recognition by Artaxerxes; possibly her formal recognition by the Mazdean leaders was a slow process, since she does not appear in the older Avesta. In the Yasht she receives worship (being in the form of a beautiful young woman) as the dispenser of all blessings that come from pure water; she is said to have been created by Ahura Mazda, and is wholly subordinated to him. Besides these two a great number of lesser gods are mentioned; the latter, apparently the old local gods and spirits here subordinated to the supreme god, are unimportant in the official cult. The souls of the departed also become objects of worship.

740. It thus appears that Zoroastrianism was a reform of the old polytheism. The movement closely resembles the struggle of the Hebrew prophets against the worship of the Canaanite Baals and other foreign gods. In both cases there is evidence going to show that popular cults continued after the leaders of the reform had thrown off the offensive elements of the old system: the Hebrew people continued to worship foreign gods long after the great prophets had pronounced against them; and the official recognition of Ahura Mazda in the Achæmenian inscriptions1290 by no means proves that lower forms of worship were not practiced in Persia by the people.1291

741. If we ask for the grounds of this recoil from the old gods, we must doubtless hold that ethical feeling was a powerful motive in the reform, though economic and other considerations were, doubtless, not without influence.


Since Ahura Mazda is ethically good and his worship ethically pure, there is clearly in its origin hostility to low modes of worship and to materialistic ideas. Possibly also we have here a struggle of a clan for the recognition of its own god, as among the Israelites the Yahweh party represented exclusive devotion to the old national god. If there was such a clan or party in Persia, it is obvious that it produced men of high intelligence and great moral and organizing power, and all that we know of the religious history leads us to suppose that the establishment of the supremacy of Ahura Mazda was the result of a long development.

742. As to the provenance of the Mazdean supreme lord, not a few scholars of the present day hold that he was identical with the Indian Varuna. It is in favor of this identification that the qualities of the two deities are the same, and there is also the noteworthy fact that Ahura Mazda is coupled with Mithra as Varuna is coupled with Mitra; according to this view the Mazdean deity was originally the god of the sky, by whose side naturally stands the sun. In a case like this, involving a general agreement between two systems of thought, there are two possible explanations of the relation between them: it may be supposed that one borrowed from the other (in the present case the borrowing would be on the part of the Persians); or the explanation may be that the two communities developed original material along the same general lines, though with local differences. In the absence of historical data it is perhaps impossible to say which of these explanations is to be preferred. There is, however, no little difficulty in the supposition that one community has actually borrowed its religious system from a neighbor; the general probability is that each followed its own line.

743. Nor is it probable that the rejection of the old divine names by the Persians was the result of hostility toward their Indian neighbors. It is doubtless a curious fact that the Indian name for 'evil spirit,' asura, is in Persian the name of a good spirit, Ahura, while the Indian diva, the general term for a god, is in Persian the designation of a wicked spirit, daeva. The Persian employment of daeva for 'evil spirit' may be explained as a protest not against322 Indian gods, but against the deities of their own land; so the Hebrew prophets or their editors apply opprobrious names, "no-god" and other terms, to deities regarded by them as inadequate. The abstractions of the Mazdean system have been referred to above. They seem to have been resorted to from a feeling of profound disgust at the worship of some class of people. Unfortunately we have not the historical data that might make the situation clear. In the Gathas the people of Ahura Mazda are suffering from the incursions of predatory tribes, and the greater part of the appeals to the deity are for protection for the herds against their enemies. We thus have a suggestion of a struggle, political and religious, between the more civilized Aryans and the savage Tataric tribes around them.

744. In the later period of Mazdeanism the old titles of supreme deity were succeeded (though not displaced) by the terms "Boundless Time" and "Boundless Space," the latter doubtless suggested by the vault of heaven. These generalizations, however, had little influence on the development of the theological side of the religion, which has continued to regard Ahura Mazda and Angro Mainyu as the two heads of the world and the determiners of human life. The rituals of the Mazdean and Hindu faiths were influenced by the ethical developments of the two, becoming simpler and more humane with the advance toward elevated conceptions of God and man.

745. In view of such facts as are known it may be surmised that the Mazdean system originated with an Aryan agricultural tribe or body of tribes dwelling near the Caspian Sea, in contact with hostile nomads. These Aryans, we may assume, had the ordinary early apparatus of spirits and nature deities (gods of the sun, water, etc.), but, at the same time, a disposition to concentrate worship on a single god (probably a sky-god), who became the chief tribal deity and was naturally regarded as the source of all things good, the Good Spirit; the phenomena of life led them (as it led some other early peoples) to conceive of a rival spirit, the author of things hostile to life. With economic conditions and intellectual characteristics very different from those of their Hindu brethren, they developed no capacity for organizing an elaborate pantheon—they323 were practically monolatrous, were content with an all-sufficient Good Spirit (the Bad Spirit being tolerated as an intellectual necessity), gradually subordinated to him such gods as the popular feeling retained, and relegated to the sphere of evil the host of inferior hurtful spirits or gods (daevas) whose existence they could not deny.1292 The religious leaders, representing and enforcing the tribal tendency of thought, in the course of time gave more and more definite shape to the cult; perhaps Zoroaster was a preëminent agent in this movement. Ethical purification, as a matter of course, went hand in hand with cultic organization. The old gods or spirits, associates of the supreme god, became embodiments of moral conceptions, and a ritual of physical and moral purity was worked out. Such may have been the general history of the official system; data for a detailed chronological history are lacking.1293

746. China. Chinese religion is characterized by a remarkable restraint in ecclesiastical development: simple religious customs, no native priestly order, few gods, almost no myths. The basis of the popular religion is the usual material, comprising ancestors, spirits (including tutelary spirits), a few departmental gods (of war, of the kitchen, etc.), some of which are said to be deified men. The system is thus nearly the same as that of the central Asiatic Mongolians.1294

747. The reflective movement (which must have begun long before the sixth century B.C., the period of Confucius and Lao-tsze) is marked by the attempt to perfect the social organization, regard being paid mainly to visible, practical relations. Stress is laid on the principle of order in family and state, which is held to reflect the order of the universe;1295 speculation is avoided, there is a minimum of religion. In the more developed religious system the two prominent features are, first, the dominant conception of the unity of 324the family and of the state led to the emphasizing of the worship of ancestors—a cult which, going back to a very early time, has been interwoven in China with the individual and communal life in a thoroughgoing way, with a constant infusion of moral ideas; and in the next place, the order of society and of the external world is represented by Heaven.1296

748. Originally, doubtless, Heaven was the physical sky (as among the Hindus and Persians and many other peoples), but at an early period came to be practically the supreme god. A sort of monotheistic cult has thus been established as the official religion. The emperor is the Son of Heaven and the High Priest of the nation, and in the great annual sacrifices performed by him the host of minor powers is practically ignored and worship is addressed to the controlling powers of the world. This official worship does not set aside the cult of the various spirits, whose existence is recognized by the minor officials as well as by the people. The cult of local spirits has grown to extraordinary dimensions. They fill the land, controlling the conditions of life and demanding constant regard; and the experts, who are supposed to know the laws governing the action of the spirits (for example, as to proper burial-places), wield enormous power, and make enormous charges of money. These spirits are treated as of subordinate importance in the official religion. The process by which China has reached this religious attitude must have extended over millenniums, and, as is stated above, the intellectual movement in the direction of simplicity and clearness has been attended by an advance in ethical purity.

749. The tendency of Chinese thought is illustrated by the two systems of philosophy which in the sixth century B.C. formulated the conception of a universal dominant order:1297 Confucius represents the extreme logical development of natural order in human life as a product of cosmic order—he is content absolutely to deal with 325the practical affairs of life and discourages attempts to inquire into the nature of gods or into the condition of men after death. Lao-tsze, on the other hand, similarly taking the Way (tao), or Universal Order, as the informing and controlling power of the world, appears to have laid the stress on the relation between it and the human soul—a conception that has affinities with the Stoic Logos. But it is Confucianism that has remained the creed of educated China. Taoism, beginning, apparently, as a spiritual system, did not appeal to the Chinese feeling, and speedily degenerated into a system of magical jugglery. Thus the Chinese, with the feeblest religious sense to be found in any great nation, have nevertheless reached the grandiose conception of the all-embracing and all-controlling supreme Heaven. In their case the governing consideration has been the moral organization of social life, and Nature has swallowed up all great partial deities.

750. Japan. Japan has produced no great god;1298 out of the mass of nature gods reported in the Kojiki not one becomes preëminent. There is recognition of Heaven and Earth as the beginning of things, and of the sun as a deity, but neither the sky-god nor the sun-goddess becomes a truly high god. Japanese theistic development appears to have been crippled at an early period by the intrusion of Chinese influences; the very name of the national religion, Shinto, 'the Way of the Gods,' is Chinese. The emperor was deified, and ancestor-worship became the principal popular cult;1299 but Confucianism and Buddhism overlaid the native worship at an early period. The later forms of Shinto have moved rather toward the rejection of the old deities than toward the creation of a great national god.

751. Semitic peoples. Among the various Semitic peoples there is so marked a unity of thought that, as Robertson Smith has pointed out,1300 we may speak of the Semitic religion, though there are 326noteworthy local differences. Generally we find among these communities, as elsewhere, a large number of local deities, scarcely distinguishable in their functions one from another.1301 A noteworthy illustration of the long continuance of these local cults is given in the attempt of the last king of Babylon, Nabonidus, to centralize the worship by bringing the statues of the local deities to Babylon; the result was a general popular protest. Similarly an attempt was made by King Josiah in the seventh century B.C. to centralize all Israelite worship in Jerusalem, but the history of the succeeding generations shows that the attempt was not successful. The local gods represent the clannic and tribal organization, to which the Semites appear to have clung with peculiar fondness.

752. Semitic religion shows an orderly advance through the medium of tribal and national feeling in conjunction with the regular moral and intellectual growth of the community. First one god and then another comes to the front as this or that city attains leadership, but these chief gods are substantially identical with one another in functions. The genealogical relations introduced by the priestly theologians throw no light on the original characters of the deities and are often ignored in the inscriptions. A natural division into gods of the sky and gods of the earth may be recognized, but in the high gods this distinction practically disappears.

753. Turning first to the Tigris-Euphrates region, we find certain nature gods that attained more or less definite universal character.1302 The physical sky becomes the god Anu, who, though certainly a great god, was never so prominent as certain other deities, and in Assyria yielded gradually to Ashur. Why the Semites, in marked contrast with the Indo-Europeans and the Chinese, have shown a relatively feeble recognition of the physical heaven we are not able to say; possibly the tribal feeling referred to above may have led 327to a centering of devotion on those deities that lay nearer to everyday life, or in the case of Babylonia it may be that the city with which Anu was particularly connected lost its early importance, and its deity in consequence yielded to others.1303 The sun is a more definite and more practically important object than the expanse of the sky, and the Semitic sun-god, Shamash, plays a great rôle from the earliest to the latest times. The great king Hammurabi (commonly placed near the year 2000 B.C.), in his noteworthy civil code, takes Shamash as his patron, as the inspirer of wisdom and the controller of human right; and from this time onward this deity is invoked by the kings in their inscriptions. The worship of the sun was established in Canaan at an early time (as the name of the town Bethshemesh, 'house of Shemesh,' shows), and under Assyrian influence was adopted by a large number of Israelites in the seventh century B.C.; the prophet Ezekiel represents prominent Israelites as standing in the court of the temple, turning their backs on the sacred house and worshiping the sun;1304 but as to the nature of the sun-god and his worship in these cases we have no information. Other nature deities that rose to eminence are the moon-god, Sin, and the storm-god, Ramman.

754. The other deities of the Babylonian and Assyrian pantheons seem not to be connected by their names with natural phenomena. They are attached to particular cities or districts, and each district or city, as it becomes a great religious center, raises its favorite god to a position of preëminence. Generally the choice of a special deity by a particular city lies back of historical documents, and the reason for such choice therefore cannot be definitely fixed. The attributes and functions of the resulting great gods, as has already been remarked, are substantially everywhere the same, and where one function becomes prominent, it is often possible to explain its prominence from the political or other conditions.

755. Moreover, as in all theological constructions that follow great political unifications, it was natural to extend the domain 328of a principal god to whatever department of life or of nature appealed especially to the theologian. When we find certain gods invested with solar functions it does not follow that they were originally sun-gods—such functions may be a necessary result of their preëminence. Out of the great mass of Babylonian and Assyrian deities we may select a few whose cults illustrate the method of development of the religious conceptions. As non-Semitic (Sumerian) religious and other ideas and words appear to have been adopted by the Semitic Babylonians, it is not always easy to distinguish between Semitic and non-Semitic conceptions in the cults as known to us.

756. Babylonia. The god Ea appears to have been originally the local deity of Eridu, a city which in early times stood on the Persian Gulf. This proximity to the sea may account for the fact that Ea was generally associated with water (in Babylonia, as elsewhere, there were many deities of waters). It is not certain that this was his original rôle, but it was, in any case, assigned him in the course of the theistic construction. It is not improbable that in the original form of the Babylonian epic it was Ea who sent the flood and saved one man—a natural representation for the god of Eridu; in later recensions of the poem it is first Bel and then Marduk who assumes the principal rôle. As Eridu was probably a prominent political center, Ea, as its chief god, naturally became the creator, the bestower of wisdom, the author of the arts of life, in general a universal god. As the political center shifted, the popular interest changed and Ea yielded more or less to other gods, continuing, however, throughout the whole Babylonian and Assyrian period to receive high consideration.

757. Enlil, the god of Nippur, had a similar career; originally local, he became supreme. A peculiar feature of his history is the fact that the title Bel, 'lord' (which is the Semitic equivalent of the non-Semitic Enlil), clung to him in a peculiar way and practically ousted the original name. This title was assigned to various gods (so in Canaan the title Baal), and its special appropriation by the god of Nippur must be referred to the preponderant importance of that city in the period before the rise of Babylon. In the329 Babylonian system he is lord of the lower world, that is, apparently, the divine king of the earth; his original domain, the district of Nippur, was extended to embrace the whole world—a sort of extension that was common in all ancient religions. His importance is evident from the fact that he was a member of the early triad, Anu, Bel, Ea, names that have been supposed to represent three divisions of the world into heaven, earth, and ocean. It seems probable, however, that this triadic grouping was the work of relatively late constructionists; it is more likely that the original prominence of these three deities was due to the fact that they represented the more important political communities.1305

758. A particularly good illustration of the dependence of a god's position on the political position of his region is furnished by the god Marduk, a name the meaning of which is uncertain. He is first clearly mentioned in the inscriptions of Hammurabi (ca. 2000 B.C.), but mentioned in such a way that his cult must go back to a much earlier time. From the devotion paid him by Hammurabi, and much later by Nebuchadrezzar II (sixth century B.C.), it is generally assumed that he was the local god of Babylon. He rose with the fortunes of this city, finally becoming supreme: he was regarded as creator, and invested with all the highest functions; in the later astronomical constructions he is represented as the arranger of the zodiacal system and all that was connected with it, but, as is pointed out above, this is no ground for regarding him as having been originally a sun-god. A glimpse into the method of theological reconstruction is afforded by the representation in the cosmogonic epic where he is invested with supreme power by the older gods—this investiture is with probability regarded by Assyriologists as representing the leadership attained by the city of Babylon (ca. 2000 B.C.), whose religious hegemony lasted throughout the existence of the Babylonian state.


759. Assyria. The Assyrian pantheon is in general identical with that of Babylon, but has certain features which are due to the peculiar character of the Assyrian civilization. The god Ashur, originally the local god of the city or district of Ashur, and then the chief god of Assyria, was naturally a war-god—Assyria was essentially a military nation, differing in this regard from Babylonia. He is, however, more than a mere god of war—he has all high attributes, and came to represent in Assyria that approach to monotheism which in Babylon was embodied in the later cult of Marduk.

760. Babylonian and Assyrian female deities are of two classes: those who are merely consorts of the male deities, and those who represent fertility. The first class we may pass over—the goddesses of this class are vague in character and functions and play no important part in the religious system; they appear to be artificial creations of the systematizers. The deities of the second class, however, are important. From a very early time the fertility of nature has been referred appropriately to female Powers, and in the Semitic pantheon a large number of such divinities occur. A deity of this sort naturally becomes a mother-goddess, with all the attributes that pertain to this character; in some cases a mother-goddess becomes supreme.

761. A very early female divinity is Bau, worshiped particularly at the city Lagash and by King Gudea. Her function as patron of productiveness is probably indicated in the spring festival held in her honor on New Year's Day, in which she is worshiped as the giver of the fruits of the earth. There are several local female deities that seem to be substantially identical in character with Bau. Innanna (or Ninni) in Uruk (Erech) was the mistress of the world and of war, and Nana is hardly to be distinguished from her.1306 In Agade Anunit has a similar rôle; in Lagash Nina was the determiner of fate, and the mother of the goddesses.

762. These names appear to be titles signifying 'mistress,' 'lady,' and this is probably the meaning of the name of the great 331goddess who finally ousted or absorbed her sisters, Ishtar.1307 In the earliest form in which Ishtar appears, in the old poetry, she is the deity of fertility; when she goes down to the Underworld all productiveness of plants and men ceases; and her primitive character at this time appears in the account of her marriages with animals, in which there is to be recognized the trace of the old zoölatrous period; but as patron of fertility she becomes in time a great goddess and takes on universal attributes—she is the mother of gods and men, universal protector and guide. Where war was the chief pursuit she became a goddess of war; in this character she appears in Babylonia as early as the time of Hammurabi, and later in Assyria. In the genealogical constructions she was brought into connection, as daughter, wife, or other relation, with any god that the particular conditions suggested. As the Assyrians grew morally she was endowed with all the highest virtues (so in the Penitential Psalms), and occupied so preëminent a position that under favorable circumstances she might perhaps have become the only god of the land.

763. If her name signified originally 'lord' or 'lady,' the occurrence of several Ishtars in Assyria (particularly Ishtar of Nineveh and Ishtar of Arbela) is easily understood; so in Canaan, as we learn from the Old Testament, there was a great number of local Ashtarts.1308 We can thus also explain the male deities Ashtar in Moab and Athtar in South Arabia.1309 None of these, however, attained the eminence of the Babylonian and Assyrian Ishtar; her 332supremacy in Mesopotamia was due doubtless in part to the political importance of the cities that adopted her. She had her rivals, as we have seen, in Marduk and Ashur and others; and that she was able to maintain herself is to be ascribed in some measure to the importance attached by her worshipers to the fertilizing power of nature.

764. The other Semitic peoples, with the exception of the Hebrews, offer little material for tracing the development of the great gods. For the Aramean region the records are sparse; Aramean deities appear to be of the same character as the Canaanite.1310 In Canaan (including Phœnicia) out of the vast number of local divinities, the Baals and Ashtarts, few attained to eminence, and it is doubtful whether any one of them deserves the title "great."1311 The divine patrons of cities were locally powerful; such were the Baal of Tyre, called Melkart ('the king of the city'), the Ashtart of Sidon, and Tanit of Carthage;1311 these owed their reputation to their official positions, and there is no other record of their development. The same thing is true of the Moabite Kemosh, the Ammonite Malkom (Milkom), and the Philistine Dagan (Dagon) and Baalzebub. None of these became ethically great or approached universality. The Phœnician Eshmun was known to the Greeks, and was identified by them with their Asklepios (Æsculapius), probably because among the various functions attaching to him as local deity healing was prominent; but of his theologic history little is known.1312 Several North Arabian deities, especially Dusares (Dhu ash-Shara) and the goddesses Al-Lât and Al-Uzza, were widely worshiped, their cults extending over the whole Nabatean region; but the communities to which they belonged never produced a great civilization or attained great political significance, and these deities always retained traces of their local 333nature.1313 The same remark is to be made of the South Arabian gods known to us; they were locally important, but we have little information concerning their characters.1314

765. The clearest example of the orderly advance of a deity to preëminence is afforded by the Hebrew Yahweh (Jehovah). Originally, it would seem, a local deity, the god of certain tribes on the northern boundary of Arabia,1315 he was adopted by the Hebrews under conditions which are not quite clear, and was developed by them in accordance with their peculiar genius. At first morally and intellectually crude, he became as early as the eighth century B.C. ethically high and practically omnipotent.1316 For many centuries he was regarded merely as the most powerful of the gods, superior to the deities of other nations, and it was only after the beginning of our era that the Hebrew thought discarded all other gods and made "Yahweh" synonymous with "God." In each period of their history the conception that the Hebrews had of him was in accord with the economic and intellectual features of the time.1317

766. A word may be added respecting the Semitic titles Ilu, or El, and Elohim, which have been supposed by some recent writers to prove the existence of an early monotheism, particularly in Southern Arabia. The terms mean simply 'god,' and were applied by early Semitic communities to any deity, particularly to the local god. In the Arabia of Mohammed's time a tribe would call its deity simply "the god," a sufficient designation of him for the 334place;1318 this designation, in Arabic al-ilahu, came to be pronounced "Allah," and this familar term, as is remarked above, was adopted by Mohammed and expanded (probably under the influence of some advanced Arabian circle of thinkers of his time) into the conception of the one only god, which he and others had derived from Christians and Jews. In certain parts of the Old Testament also "Elohim" stands for the national god, conceived of as all-sufficient. But these are late conceptions. There is no proof that in South Arabia or in Babylonia the term Ilu meant anything else than the local deity, though such a deity would naturally receive all the attributes that his worshipers demanded in their religious constructions. Most of the appellations of Semitic deities are epithets, and while this mode of conceiving of the gods militated against the development of them into distinct personalities and the construction of a pantheon, it was favorable, on the other hand, to isolation and to the tendency to elevate any favorite deity to a position of preëminence.

767. Greece. The Greeks, with their rich imagination and artistic feeling, filled the world with divine figures, well-defined types of Greek character, ideals of Greek thought. Greece alone has constructed a true pantheon, a community of gods all individualized, but all compacted into a family or a body of government. The question of their historical development involves great difficulties, partly because the wide diffusion of their cults in Hellas occasioned many local expansions of the original conceptions in the various regions, partly because most of the deities appear fully or almost fully formed in the earliest literary monuments, so that we are dependent on cultic procedures and passing allusions for a knowledge of their preliterary character. Without, then, attempting an investigation of the obscure prehistoric theogonic period, the general lines of growth of some of the principal divine personages may be followed (as far as the data permit) as examples of the way in which the great gods were gradually created.1319

335768. Zeus, originally doubtless a sky-god (not the sun), represents an old Indo-European divine conception, found substantially also among all the great peoples of antiquity, as well as in many half-civilized tribes. But nowhere has he attained so eminent a position as in Greece. The Hindu Dyaus (the 'shining one')1320 is not prominent in the Vedic mythology or in later times, and the Mazdean Ahura Mazda, if he was originally the sky, had dropped his physical characteristics and become only a spirit; the Latin Jupiter approaches Zeus most nearly in name and character. A sky-god is naturally conceived of as universal ruler,1321 but in any particular region he assumes the characteristics of the ruling human personages of the place and time. Zeus appears first as a barbarian chieftain with the ordinary qualities of such persons. Stories that have come down about him reflect a period of what now seems immorality, though it was the recognized morality of the time; he is deceitful and changeable and completely unregardful of any definite marriage laws. His cult in some places (for example, in Arcadia) had savage features. Whether he had originally in the Hellenic world a special home, and if so what it was, cannot now be determined.1322

769. In the historical period he appears as a chief god in many places in Greece, gradually absorbs the functions of other gods, and receives numerous titles derived from places and functions. He is the father of gods and men, but not the sole creator of the world. His gradual rise in moral character may be traced in the literature. In Homer he is a universalized Agamemnon, with very much the intellectual and moral qualities of Agamemnon; a process of growth 336in the conception of him in the Homeric poems is indicated by the incongruities in his portraiture—at one time he is a creature of impulse and passion, at another time a dignified and thoughtful ruler. In Pindar and the tragedians of the fifth century he has become the representative of justice and order in the world, and in later writers he comes to be more specifically the embodiment of everything that is good in the universe. He represents the Greek conception of civic authority, and thus the nearest approach to monotheism discoverable in the Greek mythological system; and as embodying the finer side of religious feeling he both punishes and forgives sin.

770. Next in importance to Zeus as representative of Greek religious thought stands Apollo. The meaning of the name and the original seat of the god are obscure; he appears to have been a Pan-Hellenic deity; he was definitely shaped by the whole mass of Hellenic thought. Originally, perhaps, the local deity of some hunting and pastoral region, and possessing the quasi-universal attributes of such deities, the wide diffusion of his cult (through conditions not known to us) brought him into relation with many sides of life. While he shares this many-sidedness with several other gods, the Greek genius of theographic organization assigned him special headship in certain distinctively Hellenic conceptions. Zeus embodied the theocratic idea, and Apollo the ideas of Pan-Hellenic civic unity, artistic feeling, and the more intimate ethical and religious experience. He became the patron of the Amphictyonic assembly and of literature and art, and, especially in connection with the Delphic oracle, the fosterer of ethical conceptions of ritual and of sin. How it came to pass that these particular departments were assigned him it is not possible to say. Such specialization was natural to the Greeks, but the determining conditions in particular cases have not been recorded, and can only be surmised. His growth kept pace with that of the Hellenic people—in the Iliad he is a partisan, and his words and deeds do not always command our respect, but in the later theological constructions he throws off his crudeness. His connection with the sun was a natural consequence of his rise to eminence; he is not a sun-god in the earliest literary remains.337

771. Poseidon, second only to Zeus in power, is also of obscure origin.1323 His specific marine character is certain, though as a great god he had many relations and functions.1324 Possibly he was originally the local deity of some marine region, and by reason of the importance of his native place, or simply through the intimate relationship between the Greek communities, and in accordance with the Greek spirit of organization, came to be generally recognized as the god of the ocean.1325 Though he was widely revered he remained largely a nature god—he never attained the majesty and moral supremacy of Zeus, never, indeed, represented specifically any refined moral or religious conception. Whether this ethical and religious meagerness was a consequence of the vagueness of the relation between the sea and human life, or of some other fact, is a point that can hardly be determined.

772. Hermes, to judge from his history, was the creation of some pastoral community, an ideal of rustic excellence: fleet of foot, a leader in popular amusements, skilled in simple music, eminent in an art much valued in early times—the art of stealing cattle. When he was taken into the circle of Greek theological thought his swiftness recommended him to the position of messenger of the gods,1326 and his function as psychopompos, the guide of souls to the other world, would then follow naturally; from this function it cannot, however, be inferred that he was originally a chthonic deity—a character that does not accord with the early portraitures of him. Like other gods he grew morally, but he never reached ethical distinction. Skill in theft was in early times often regarded as a virtue,1327 and in general he who got the better of his 338fellows was esteemed a master of good luck and prosperity; and a bestower of outward prosperity Hermes came to be.1328 His main quality was cleverness, in contrast with the intellectual power of Apollo.

773. On the other hand, another rustic figure, the Arcadian herd-god Pan,1329 never developed into a great Hellenic god. His worship was widely diffused; he appears often in artistic representations, and Pindar thought him worthy of a hymn (of which, unfortunately, only fragments survive), but in general he remained uncouth and half savage, a goatlike figure, the companion of satyrs, or (as the Homeric hymn depicts him) a merrymaker. He seems to have been an embodiment of the lower rustic pleasures, a local god, probably not a divinized goat.1330

774. His name, however, taken to mean 'all,' gave occasion to fanciful interpretations. He was so called, it was said, because he gave delight to all the Immortals;1331 or his person and his musical and other instruments were supposed to represent universal nature—his horns the rays of the sun and the horns of the moon, his spotted fawnskin the stars, his pipe of seven reeds the harmony of the heavens, his crook the year, which returns on itself, and so on.1332 The Stoics and the Orphic writers made him Universal God, the creator of the world.1333 In the popular cult, however, he remained the merry patron of herds. The most satisfactory explanation of his name is that which derives it from the stem pa, 'feed'—he is then "the goatherd."1334 The story told by Plutarch, of a voice heard crying on the coast of Epirus, "Great Pan is dead," arose from some misapprehension, but no 339precise explanation of its origin has been given.1335 Poets like Pindar and Vergil, disposed to preserve and dignify the old traditions, treat Pan respectfully and sympathetically, but such constructions are nonpopular.1336

775. Ares seems to be the creation of a war-loving tribe; in the Iliad he is a fierce warrior, armed cap-a-pie, delighting in battle and slaughter. Through the machinations of Hera and Athene he is overcome by human heroes, the poet's feeling being, possibly, contempt for the mere savage fighter; in fact, Ares in the Iliad is, from our point of view, hardly a respectable character—he violates his promise, and when wounded cries out like a hurt child. But as war-god he was widely revered in Greece; in Thebes especially he was honored as one of the great gods. Hesiod makes him the son of Zeus and Hera,1337 but he never attains moral or other dignity; in the popular cult he remained, probably, merely the patron of war. In the later artistic representations he is the ideal of warlike vigor and grace. In the Homeric hymn (which may be of Orphic origin) he is transformed into a lover of peace and a source of all pure and lofty aspirations—a violent procedure, induced by the poet's unwillingness that an Olympian should represent anything but what was morally good.

776. The process of development of a god's character is illustrated with special clearness by the history of Dionysus. It is generally agreed that he was of foreign origin, an importation from Thrace. The features of his earliest cult known to us are marked by bald savagery. His worshipers indulged in wild orgies, probably excited by intoxicating drinks, tore to pieces a goat (as in Thrace) or a bull (as in Crete) and ate the flesh raw;1338 and the evidence goes to show that they practiced human sacrifice. All these procedures have parallels in known savage cults. Omophagic orgies are described by Nilus (among the Saracens), 340and such customs are reported as existing or having existed in the Fiji Islands and elsewhere.1339 Among many tribes intoxication is a common preparation for the work of the shaman; and human sacrifice has been practiced in all parts of the world. There is nothing peculiar in the office of soothsayer that accompanied the Dionysiac cult; mantic persons and procedures have formed a prominent part of the constitution of the lower peoples everywhere.

777. Dionysus, in a word, was originally the local god of a savage community; the data are not sufficient to fix precisely his original place and the original conception of him. His mantic function does not necessarily show that he was a ghost. It is true that the dead were often consulted (and necromancy long survived among civilized peoples), but any spirit or god might take possession of a worshiper and make him the vehicle of revelation. Nor is the phallus-cult peculiar to Dionysus; this cult is widely diffused, and its origin is to be referred not specifically to the recognition of the general generative power of nature, but to the mystery of human life.1340 In his original home Dionysus seems to have represented everything that touched the life of his people. When, at a certain time, he passed into Hellas (carried, doubtless, by immigrants), he took on the character necessitated by his new surroundings—a process of transformation began. Exact chronological data are lacking, but as in the Iliad1341 he is the son of Zeus, he must have been adopted by the Greeks very early. In his new home he became the patron of the vine.1342 In a vine-growing region any prominent deity may become a wine-god;1343 but the special connection of Dionysus with wine in Greece suggests that in his earlier home he was somehow identified with intoxicating drinks. With vegetation in general also he may have been connected in Thrace—such a relation would be natural for 341a clan god—and in that case his Hellenic rôle as god of vegetation would follow as a matter of course; or, if he advanced from the vine to the whole of vegetable nature, the development is intelligible.

778. When and on what grounds he was accepted as one of the Olympians is not clear;1344 perhaps it was on account of the importance of vine culture, perhaps from the mysterious character of his cult, the enthusiasm of divine inspiration reflected in the frenzy of the worshipers, or from these causes combined; his later name, Bacchus, which seems to refer to cultic orgiastic shouting, would appear to indicate this element of the cult as a main source of his popularity. Once established as a great god he was credited with various functions. The Greek drama arose in connection with his worship, and at Eleusis the old element of seizure by the god was transformed by the higher thought of the time into the conception of ethical union with the deity. Thus the old savage god came to stand for man's highest aspirations.

779. As among other peoples, so among the Greeks the government of the Underworld was gradually organized, and a head thereof appointed.1345 Already in the Iliad and in Hesiod1346 the universe is divided into three parts under the rule of the Kronids Zeus, Poseidon, and Aïdes respectively; the earth, however, and Olympos, says Poseidon, are the common property of them all—there was no complete governmental separation between the Underworld and the Upperworld. The Greeks, with their joy in the present, gave comparatively little prominence to the future (being herein sharply contrasted with the Egyptians).

780. The title generally given to the underground chief, Hades (apparently 'the invisible one'), indicates the vagueness that attached to this deity.1347 In the Iliad he is a dark and dread divinity. The precise significance of his title Plouton1348 is uncertain; but under this name he is connected in the myths with processes of 342vegetation—it is Plouton who carries off Persephone, leaving the world in the deadness of winter. The figure of the underground deity appears to have taken shape from the combination of two mythological conceptions—the underground fructifying forces of nature, and the assemblage of the dead in a nether world or kingdom.1349 His only moral significance lay in his relation to oaths, wherein, perhaps, is an approach to the idea of a divine judge below the earth.1350

781. The female deities of the Greeks are no less elaborately worked out than the male gods, and, like these, are types of human character and representatives of human pursuits.1351

782. The great goddess Hera is in Homer attached especially to Argos, Sparta, and Mycenæ, but at a very early time was Pan-Hellenic. The meaning of her name and her origin are uncertain. There is no good ground for regarding her as having been originally a moon-goddess (Selene was the real moon-goddess). What is certain is that she had a special relation to women and particularly to childbirth; but such a function is so generally attributed to some goddess that we can only suppose that she rose to eminence through local conditions unknown to us. The most interesting point about her is that she came to be the representative of the respectable Greek matron, jealous of her wifely rights, holding herself aloof from love affairs, a home person, entitled to respect for the decency of her life, but without great womanly charm.

783. By a natural mythological law she was regarded as the consort of Zeus, and gradually acquired dignity without, however, ever coming to be a distinct embodiment of any form of intellectual or moral life. As Zeus embodied the conception of civil and political headship, so Hera appears to have embodied the idea of the wife as controller of the purely domestic affairs of the family, her business being the bringing up of children and the oversight of servants—duties that may have seemed at an early period not to require great moral and intellectual power.

343784. A distincter form is that of Demeter, who, whatever the meaning of her name,1352 certainly represents the fertile earth—a figure similar to hundreds of others in the world, and doubtless existing at various points in Greece under local names; she probably represents a unification of the different conceptions of the fertile earth, a process that went on in the natural way in Greek thought, and was formulated by the poets. Her historical connection with the great Asian earth-goddess, the Mother-Goddess, is uncertain. Demeter, however, never became the great earth-mother; she remained attached to the soil, except that in the Eleusinian mysteries she (probably as patron of fertility) was allegorized into a representation of those moral conceptions of the future that gradually arose in Greece.

785. The group of deities that may be called maiden goddesses is of peculiar interest. A maiden goddess is originally an independent deity who, for whatever reason, has not been brought by the myth-makers into marriage relations with a male deity. Generally such independence is a result of the fact that the goddess is the representative of fertility. She may, in accordance with early customs of human society, choose temporary consorts at will (as is the case with Ishtar); she may be in her sole person (like the Dea Mater) the productive power of the world; or she may remain a virgin, occupied only with the care of some department of life (so Athene and Artemis). Which of these characters she takes depends on early social conditions and on the nature of the local theistic organization. In Greece these goddesses assume various shapes.

786. There is first the primitive divine Power of vegetation, called simply the Kore, the Maiden, a figure ultimately identical with Demeter and in the later constructions represented as her daughter. She is not necessarily to be regarded as a development out of an original corn-spirit. Her title "maiden" may be compared with the Semitic title "mistress," mentioned above, and with the names expressing family relations, "sister," "mother"—only this particular designation defines her simply as an unmarried 344female divinity. The "corn-maiden" of modern European folk-lore may be the cultic degradation of an old deity.1353 The title Kore became almost a proper name, though the designation was not so definite as in the cases of Bel and Ishtar.1354

787. As the Kore is the representative of vegetable life, so Hestia stands in general for the indoor life, the family. She long retained this local character, but gradually assumed the position of the great goddess of the home center, the hearth,1355 and was connected with the household fires and festivals. She represents the more intimate social life of the family in contrast with Hera, who stands for the government of the household.

788. The development of the functions of Artemis is comparatively clear. The origin of the name is doubtful, but in the earliest records she is connected with the fertile earth, with vegetable and also with animal life.1356 This character indicates that she was at one time a local, all-sufficient deity, though it is hardly possible to determine her original seat. As a local goddess in the hunting area she was naturally connected with the chase, and as a female divinity she was the patroness of marriage and the protector of human birth. Her original nature as the maiden appears in the representation of her as a virgin which occurs in Homer.1357 There is no contradiction between this character and her function of presiding over marriage and birth if we consider her as a local goddess who from one point of view was regarded as a simple maiden, from another point of view as the protector of women.1358 Thus invested with the control of these important features of life she naturally became a general patroness, a guardian. Later she was connected with Apollo as his sister, exactly by what steps we do not know; 345and in the mythical constructions she was represented as the daughter of Zeus and Leto.1359

789. The Hellenic goddess Artemis is to be distinguished from the Ephesian deity to whom the Greeks gave the same name, though when the Greeks came into close contact with Asia Minor the two were identified. And in fact, though in historical origin the two deities are to be kept apart, they doubtless go back to the same conception. The Ephesian goddess was the Great Mother—she stood specifically for the idea of maternity which lies at the basis of the world; the Greek divinity, beginning as a local protectress, took on larger functions which gave her general resemblance to the universal mother.

790. The relation between Artemis and Hekate is an illustration of the process of coördination and harmonization that went on continually among the Greeks. Hekate does not appear in Homer, but in Hesiod she has the full form of a great deity—she exercises control over heaven, earth, and sea;1360 and at a later period she becomes similarly connected with the Underworld. This variety of functions can be explained only by the supposition that she also was a local deity, who, like all local deities, was regarded as universal.1361 As the meaning of her name is uncertain and her original region unknown, it can be only surmised that her cult spread gradually in Greece through the growing unification of the Hellenic states. Like Artemis she presided over human birth. The functions of the two goddesses being so nearly the same (they appear to represent similar conceptions arising at different centers), it was natural that in the later times they should be identified or closely associated.

346791. Athene is said in a late myth (not in the Iliad) to have been born from the head of Zeus, a representation that has led many recent scholars to regard her as the goddess of the thunderstorm, the lightning that cleaves the clouds, the divine warrior that slays the dragon. But ingenious and attractive as this interpretation is, to determine the origin of the goddess it is safer to go to the earlier forms of her cult. At a very early period she is connected with ordinary social occupations.1362 She is the patroness of the cultivation of the land; in Athens, where the olive was important, it was she who bestowed this tree on the city; here she is the maiden, the genius, the divine patron of vegetation. She presided over the domestic employments of women, spinning and weaving—that is, she is the goddess of household work.1363 As is the case with so many divine patrons of men's early simple employments, she grew with the community and became gradually a great goddess, and necessarily a patroness of cities. In her character of general patroness she became a goddess of war—a necessity for all ancient states. On the other hand, in a community (like Athens, for example) where intellectual insight was highly esteemed she would naturally become the representative of cleverness and wisdom.

792. The peculiar nature of the wisdom that is prized by men depends on time and place. In the earliest periods what Athene bestows is a high degree of common sense and skill in devising ways and means, such as Odysseus shows. In later times of larger cultivation she bestows wisdom in the higher sense, intellectual breadth. Exactly how it came to pass that the two figures Artemis and Athene developed on such different lines we are unable to say—the beginning of the divergence goes back to times of which we have no records; but, as gods represent the elements of human life, it was natural that a gradual differentiation should take place; the same general conception would be particularized in different ways in different places, just as divergent forms of the same original word 347acquire different significations in speech.1364 As for the later combination of these deities with heavenly bodies and many other things, these are to be regarded as the product of later poetical imagination and the tendency to universalize all great deities.

793. Aphrodite exhibits more clearly than any other deity the process or the direction of the Hellenization of a foreign god. Her titles Cypris, Paphia, Cytherea, as well as her connection with Adonis, point, as is generally held, to a Semitic origin1365; she seems to have been identical with the great Babylonian, Assyrian, and Syrian goddess Ishtar (Astarte)1366. Received into the Greek pantheon at a very early time (already in the Iliad she is one of the Olympians), she yet shows the main characteristics of the Semitic deity1367—she is especially the representative of fertility and sexual passion, and also has relation to war. The lines of development, however, were different in different communities. In Babylonia and Assyria Ishtar became a great universal national deity, charged particularly with the care of all the interests of the state, while in Syria and Canaan the corresponding figures (Attar, Ashtart) remained to a great extent local, and were especially prominent in festivals.

794. In Greece the conception of Aphrodite was worked out in a non-Semitic way in two directions. By poets and philosophers she was made the beneficent producer of all things, shedding her charm over animate and inanimate nature;1368 and the sentiment of love, for which she stood, was exalted into a pure affection, the basis of married life. The baser side of her cult, with its sexual license (Asiatic of origin), remained along with the higher conception of her,1369 but the latter was the special contribution that the Greeks made to her development.

348795. The theistic scheme of the old Greek polytheistic period is the broadest and finest that the ancient polytheism produced. It recognized a divine element in all sides of human life, from the lowest to the highest; it marked out the various directions of human feeling and effort, and in its final outcome it reached the conception of a unity in the divine government of the world, and gave expression to man's best aspirations for the present and for the future. True, it gave way at last to philosophy; but it had recognized those elements of thought on which philosophy was based. The Persian and Hebrew systems expressed more definitely the idea of a divine monocracy, and lent themselves easily to the formation of a religious society, a church, but they did not escape the limitations of mere national feeling. The Greeks founded no church—they formulated universal ethical and religious conceptions, and left the development to the individual. All the great ancient religions reached a high ethical plane and a practical monotheism, but the Greek was the richest of all in the recognition of the needs of humanity.

796. Rome. The Roman pantheon (if the Italian divine community can properly be called a pantheon) had not the fullness and fineness of the Greek—in accordance with the Roman genius it included only deities having special relations with the family and its work and with the state.1370 The rich Roman development of specific gods of the home is referred to above.1371 The old nature gods long retained their place, doubtless, in popular worship, but were gradually subordinated to and absorbed in the larger divine figures. And the great gods themselves began at an early time to be assimilated to Greek deities and to assume their functions and even their names.1372

797. The most important of the nature gods are Sol, Luna, and Tellus (primitive figures that soon gave way to deities divorced from 349the physical sun, moon, and earth), and the patrons of agricultural work, Consus and Ops, Liber and Libera, Silvanus and Faunus. The natural features represented by these deities did not disappear entirely from the greater deities, but were purified and elevated. Anna Perenna, for example, as representative of the round of years, remained by the side of Janus, but he embodied this conception in a larger civic way.

798. The greatest of the Roman gods, Juppiter1373 or Jupiter, is identical in name with Zeus, but differs from him in mythological development and in the final form of his character. As sky-god he was connected with atmospheric phenomena (rain and lightning) and so naturally with wine and other crops. But as chief god of the state he speedily rose above these connections, and as Optimus Maximus became the representative of all Roman virtues. Along with this native development he was in later times more or less identified with Zeus. By his side stood the national deity Quirinus, who remained a local patron and never rose to large proportions. Related to him are Sancus and Dius Fidius, who represented some primitive conceptions similar to those belonging to his early form, but they did not develop into great gods. These three were practically absorbed by him, but the history of this process is obscure.

799. Janus, the guardian of the entrance to the house (janua)—a function of prime importance in early times, had a prominent place in the cult. He was invoked at the beginning of the day, the month, and the year; in the Salian hymn he is called "god of gods" and "good creator"; he was served by the rex sacrorum, who was the first in priestly dignity. He may thus have been a chief god in the oldest Latin scheme.1374 Yet he seems never to have come to stand for anything intellectually or morally high except in late philosophical thought. Though the guardian of public as well 350as private houses, he was not the patron of the city. He remained in the cult a sort of family and clan god, and represented only the ideas of a primitive mode of life, the great rôle being assigned to the sky-god.1375

800. To judge from the old rituals Mars was in the earliest time of which there is any record a god of vegetation. The Arval Brothers, who were charged with the care of crops, addressed their petitions to him, and it was to him that the Roman husbandman prayed for a blessing on his labors.1376 What may have been his still earlier character we have no means of determining with certainty. The view that he was originally a god of the fructifying sunlight1377 seems to rest mainly on a precarious etymology, the derivation of his name from a stem mar meaning 'to shine'; but it does not appear that ancient peoples attributed the growth of crops to the sun.1378 Analogy would rather lead us to regard him as an old local deity, naturally connected with vegetation. However this may be, the importance of agriculture for the life of the community raised him to a position of eminence, his priestly college, the Salian (traditionally referred to Numa), was one of the greatest, he was connected with various departments of life, and for the warlike Romans he naturally became the patron of war. The cult of the old war-goddess Bellona maintained itself, but she never attained the highest rank; she is not the equal of Mars, with whom in the later constructions she was brought into connection. In the Hellenizing period he was identified with Ares.1379

801. The name Saturn is generally connected with the stem sa (sero, satum, sata), to sow, and he is accordingly regarded as an agricultural deity, the special patron of agricultural work. Whether or how he differed originally from Mars is not clear—perhaps in original differentiation of functions, he being attached to the work of sowing, Mars to vegetation in general; or perhaps 351they were two similar deities belonging originally to different regions, and differentiated when brought together in the same system. Information on this point is lacking. That Saturn was an ancient Latin god is probable from the fact that he was traditionally said to be an old king of Latium. Of his earliest cult in Rome little is known. The feast that bears his name, the Saturnalia (held on December 17 and some following days), was a time of popular festivity, when social distinctions were laid aside (slaves were on an equality with masters). Similar festivals are found elsewhere.1380 Midwinter, when the work of gathering in the harvest was over, was a natural time for festivities.1381 Saturn, or the figure from which he arose, may have presided over this season originally, or he may have been gradually connected with an old ceremony. The process of Hellenizing him began early. He was identified with Kronos, made the father of Jupiter and the head of a pre-Jovian divine dynasty, and, in accordance with the tendency to regard the former days as better than the present, the Saturnia regna became the golden age of the past.1382 Apart from this he seems to have had no ethical significance.

802. In the case of certain deities, as Volcanus, Neptunus, Mercurius, Sancus, a pronounced Roman development cannot be traced, partly because of the lack of full data, partly, in the case of Volcan, Neptune, and Mercury, because of an early and complete identification with the Greek gods Hephaistos, Poseidon, and Hermes.

803. The Roman female deities1383 are far less developed than the Greek—their functions are simple, their mythological interest small. The members of the group representing the productive power of the earth—Bona Dea, Dea Dia, Libera, Fauna, Ceres, Proserpina,1384 and others—were not worked up by the Romans into great personalities.

804. Juno, an independent deity, originally not the wife of Jupiter, is, in the developed cult, the special patron of the maternal 352side of the life of women, and, as such, is a great domestic power, the embodiment of a large part of family life. It was probably as great sky-goddess that she attained this position—the chief female deity is naturally the protector of women. The name came to designate the woman's personality as childbearer, and more generally her inner essence or self, as "genius" came to designate the male essence.1385 Whether this usage was simply an extension of the idea of 'protectress' to that of 'self,' an identification of woman with her specific function in the family, or rested on some older conception, is not clear. However this may be, she became a great goddess, in the later construction the wife of Jupiter, and was identified with Hera, to whom in fact she is nearly related in function and character. Though her name appears to contain the same stem (iu) as 'Jupiter,' and her epithet 'Lucina' the stem luc, 'to shine,' there is no proof that she was, in early times, regarded as a light-deity, or particularly as moon-goddess. She was sky-goddess, but not, for that reason, necessarily light-goddess.

805. The importance attached by the Romans to the family life is expressed in the cult of Vesta, the guardian of the hearth as the center of that life.1386 The Penates, however, the divine protectors of the household, were no less important in the family cult than she. The state also had its Vesta and its Penates. To this character of sacredness stamped on the life of the private family and the larger family, the state, ethical significance and influence must doubtless be ascribed.

806. Diana appears to have originated in the time when life was spent largely in forests, and trees were a special object of worship; she was in historical times connected with groves.1387 Her cult was widely diffused in Italy, and she became (perhaps because she embodied the common feature of the old life) the representative of Italian unity. As great female deity she was the helper of women in childbirth. Her name is based on the stem di, 'to shine,'1388 which 353appears in 'Jupiter' and 'Juno'; but she is not a sky-goddess—the "shining" in her case is that of trees and plants, the green color that gleams in the light, so that the grove is called lucus, the 'shining mass.'1389 Diana was soon identified with Artemis, and was endowed with her attributes.

807. Another Italian goddess, Minerva, stood, probably, in the earlier time for the simpler arts of a simple community—she was the patroness of manual work and of the healing art. The expression omnis Minervae homo, descriptive of a man capable in his line of work, almost reduces her to an abstract idea. The name (as the older form, Menerva, more clearly indicates) is based on the stem man (found in Latin mens), and appears to mean 'endowed with mind' (or, 'spirit'), though exactly what was the range of this conception in the earliest times is not clear.1390 Later her function was extended to embrace intellectual capacity, but it was not until her identification with Athene (not later than the third century B.C.) that she attained her full cultic significance.1391

808. Venus, though an old Italian deity (as her name and her ancient temples show), was so early Hellenized that her proper native development was cut short. The fact that she was in early times the patroness of gardens1392 suggests that she was originally a deity of the productive field; probably she belonged in the group of goddesses (Libera, Bona Dea, and others)1393 who presided over fertility. It would seem that every region in Italy had such a numen loci (naturally mainly agricultural). It is not clear to what particular spot Venus was originally attached,1394 or how she came to be revered over a wide region. Under ordinary Italian conditions she might have become a deity like Ceres. But in Sicily, at Mount Eryx, 354according to tradition, her cult came into contact with that of Aphrodite, whose qualities she soon assumed.1395

809. In the third century B.C. the cult of the Sicilian Venus (Venus Erycina) was brought to Rome by direction of the Sibylline Books, and from this time onward her advance to prominence was continuous. As a great goddess she became (like Ishtar and Aphrodite) in a warlike community the patron of war (Venus Victrix). When the Æneas myth was adopted in Rome she took the place of Aphrodite as mother of that hero (who became the founder of the Roman state), and was honored by Julius Cæsar and others as Venus Genetrix. The old Roman moral feeling appears in the dedication of a temple (114 B.C.) to Venus Verticordia as atonement for the unchastity of three Vestals.1396 In general the later functions and cult of Venus were reproductions or imitations of those of Aphrodite. Such a divine figure, it seems, the Romans would never have developed out of their own resources.

810. The general characteristics of the great ancient national religions are indicated in the preceding descriptions. In the sacrificial cult and the general apparatus of worship there is no important difference between them, but they differ notably among themselves in the construction of the divine world. The simplest theistic system is the Chinese, which regards the world as order controlled by Heaven. The western cults fall into two divisions, the Egypto-Semitic and the Indo-European. The Egyptian and the Semitic, though they differ in collateral points (divinization of kings, idea of the future life), agree in lacking a true pantheon. On the other hand, notwithstanding resemblances between the Hebrew and 355the Persian, the difference between the Semitic group and the Indo-European is well-defined. This difference may be indicated by pointing out certain peculiarities of the Semitic theistic system.

811. Features of Semitic theism. 1. Paucity of departmental gods and absence of highly specialized gods. Of this latter class, so prominent in Greece and Rome, there is no clear trace in Semitic cults.1397 Departmental deities are not found in Arabia, Canaan (including Israel and Phœnicia), and Syria. The Hebrew Yahweh obviously controls all departments of nature and life. The Phœnician Eshmun (a name of uncertain meaning) was identified by the Greeks with their Asklepios as god of healing, but no special function of this sort is attributed to him in Semitic records. As he was somehow connected with the Kabiri, the "great gods," it is probable that he was a local divinity credited with general powers.1398 There is more ground for recognizing real departmental gods in Babylonia and Assyria, though even there the evidence is not quite satisfactory. The great gods, Ea, Bel, Sin, Shamash, Marduk, Ishtar, Ashur, preside over all human interests. Nabu stands for agriculture as well as for wisdom, and Ea for wisdom as well as for the great deep. Nergal is not the only god of war. Perhaps the distinctest case of specialization is Ramman (Ninib, Adad), the storm-god1399: the "thunderbolts of Im [Ramman]" are mentioned in "The War of the Seven Evil Spirits"; yet Shamash stands with him against the storm-spirits. In general it appears that the recognition of special departments for gods is inchoate and feeble in Babylonia and Assyria. There is a separate deity for the Underworld, sometimes a goddess, sometimes a god, but they are vague figures.1400 The connection of certain gods with certain stars was a late construction, and seems to have had no significance for worship except a general deanthropomorphizing tendency.

356812. 2. There is no trace of a cult of heroes in the Semitic area. The Babylonian Etana, Gilgamesh, and Nimrod (an enigmatical figure), and the Old Testament Nephilim do not receive worship.1401 The dead were consulted, but there was no cult of the great ancestors.1402 The divinization of Babylonian kings, referred to above,1403 seems not to have carried worship with it.

813. 3. The Semitic material of malefic spirits, while in general the same as that found elsewhere in the world, has a couple of special features. In Babylonia there was a sort of pandemonium, a certain organization of demons,1404 with proper names for some classes; demons usually have not proper names, but may receive such names when they come into specially definite relations with men. The demon Lilit mentioned in the Old Testament,1405 is probably Babylonian. The two great Hebrew hostile beings, Satan and Azazĕl, are rather gods than demons.1406 They were both most highly developed under Persian influence, and in the Book of Enoch take on the character and rôle of Angro Mainyu. Their history exhibits, however, the disposition of the later Jews to organize the realm of supernatural evil; about the first century B.C. the serpent-god of Genesis iii was identified with Satan.1407

The Greek malefic beings, Ker, Harpy, Fury, Gorgon, Sphinx, and the like, appear to have been developed out of ghosts1408—whether or not this is true of the Babylonian demons the known material does not enable us to say. Organization of such beings was carried out fully by the Persians, but not by any other Indo-European people and not by the Chinese.

357814. 4. On abstract gods and phallic cults see the discussions of these points above.1409

815. 5. Semitic theistic myths differ from Indo-European in that they are almost wholly without the element of personal adventures of gods.1410 Since all known genuine Semitic myths seem to have their original home in Babylonia, and Babylonian mythical material bears marks of Sumerian influence, the question has been raised whether we have any genuinely Semitic mythical biographies of gods. However this question may be answered, it remains true that the Semites show little disposition to work out this line of thought.

816. Of the origin of these peculiarities of the Semitic theistic system, as of all such origins, it is impossible to give any satisfactory explanation. Geographical and climatic conditions have been appealed to: the Semitic area was small and isolated—the Semites were shut off by oceans, mountains, and rivers from the rest of the world, were disposed to migrate only within the limits of their area,1411 and long lived under the monotonous influence of the desert; thus, it is said, their conception of the world became objective and limited—they were clannish, practical, unanalytic, and unimaginative. But the origin of races is obscure, and the genius of every ancient people was formed and developed in remote ages under conditions not known to us. We can do little more than note the characteristics visible in historical times.

817. Paucity of myths and the other features mentioned above accord with the later rôle of Semitic, especially Hebrew, theism—the tendency to conceive of the deity as on the one hand aloof and transcendent, and on the other hand standing in close social relations with man as his lord and protector. This proved to be socially the most effective idea of God, and has been adopted by all the great nations of the western world.

818. The contributions of the Indo-European religions to the religious thought of the world are indicated in the preceding 358sketches. What is to be learned from the Chinese the future must show. The general history of civilization leads us to expect a gradual combination and fusion of all lines of religious development, in which every system will contribute its best, and the lower elements will be discarded.1412




819. Myths represent the savage and half-civilized science of origins, the imaginary construction of the world. From the earliest times men have shown curiosity respecting the origin of the things that lie about them. In the presence of plains and mountains, trees and rivers, sun, moon, and stars, beasts and human beings, they have felt the necessity of accounting for the beginning of all these objects.1413 This attempt at giving a natural history of the world is in itself a scientific procedure, but in the earlier periods of humanity it naturally attached itself to the hypothesis of superhuman Powers—the production of this variety of mysterious things appeared to demand capacity above that of man. The science and the fancy of early man combined to produce a great mass of theories and stories which to their inventors seemed to be a satisfactory account of the origin of all things.1414

820. Myths thus furnish an important contribution to the history of early opinion, scientific and religious; in the absence of written records they often offer our only means of information concerning early thought. They describe the origin not only of the physical world but also of communities and social organizations and institutions. They have a noteworthy vitality, lasting from the beginning of human communal life into periods of advanced civilization; and, when adopted by great religious organizations and interwoven into their theories of salvation, they perpetuate to civilized times the 360ideas of the crude period in which they originated. In many cases they stand side by side, and in sharp contrast, with elevated moral conceptions of the deity, and then have to be harmonized, usually with a great expenditure of exegetical ingenuity, with the higher ideas of society.

821. The mythopœic age, in the widest sense of the term, embraces the whole period in which appeal is made, for the explanation of phenomena, to other than natural agencies; but it is generally understood to extend only up to the time when, though a general divine Power is invoked for creation, this is regarded as working solely through the laws of nature.1415 And within this period the myth-making impulse lasted longer in some directions than in others. In general, the mythical theories concerning the larger processes, as, for example, the creation of the world, received no addition after the establishment of a settled civilization; but after this time even well-advanced communities continued to invent mythical accounts of the origin of customs, institutions, genealogies, and similar facts. Throughout the whole myth-making period a progression may be recognized in the character of the myths: from the earlier animal and human creators we pass to the higher anthropomorphic forms, the great gods; there is increased literary excellence, a molding and a remolding of the old crude stories, with a combination of them into well-ordered histories; they are constantly modified by the growing acquaintance with the laws of nature and by the higher intellectual conceptions of the deity; and they are more and more infused with ethical significance.

822. An examination of myths all over the world shows that the most of them, especially those relating to creation and to the histories of the gods, originated at a period when men stood intellectually and morally on a very low plane.1416 The first myth-makers were savages, with all the well-known characteristics of savage life. Having next to no knowledge of natural law, and holding to a practical identity of nature among men, beasts, and physical 361things, they had no difficulty in imagining all sorts of transformations and creative procedures. No limit was conceived of for the power of beasts and men—there was no object in heaven or earth which, according to the current ideas, could not have been produced by some procedure which was similar to the procedures of ordinary life. The ethical character of the creators and of the introducers of general culture was that of the communities that imagined them; naturally the stories were full of ethical barbarities and violations of all the moral rules recognized at a later period; and, as is remarked above, these stories continued into civilized times, and had to be interpreted by various devices.

823. One of the most noteworthy facts in the history of mythology is the general similarity of the myths that are found all over the world. Allowing for continuous moral and intellectual progress and for local differences of surroundings, it may be said that the theories of the production of the earth and the heavenly bodies, of man and other objects, of customs and institutions, show substantially the same types everywhere. The question has been raised whether this virtual identity is to be explained by the supposition of independent origination at various points, or is to be attributed to a borrowing by one community from another. The question of the migration of myths is a part of the larger question of the migration of culture, and is attended with all the difficulties that attach to this latter. It is not possible at present to give an answer which shall embrace all the phenomena. Obviously any satisfactory solution of the problem must be preceded by a thorough examination of all particular myths, all social characteristics, and all geographical and migratory relations affecting the early communities; and on these points there is yet much to learn.

824. It is well known that customs and beliefs have sometimes passed from one tribe or nation to another, when there has been close social intercourse between the two. It is known also that early men were capable of long journeys by land and by water: the migration legends of various peoples are full of the details of such movements; in comparatively recent times there have been great migrations of large bodies of people, as, for example, from362 the Arabian desert to the north and northwest, and from the central Asiatic steppes westward and eastward; and the tribes of the Pacific Ocean appear to have traversed long distances in their canoes. And when we consider the great lapse of time, many thousands of years, that preceded the formation of the human society with which we are acquainted, it appears to be impossible to assign any limit to the possibility of tribal movements on the face of the earth. On the other hand, we do not know whether, or how far, such migrations issued in social fusion; and all the well-attested cases of borrowing of customs and ideas have sprung from long-continued social union.

825. Further, a distinction must be made between general resemblances and minute agreement or complete identity; there may be a similarity so great as to force on us the hypothesis of imitation, and there may be general similarities that may be ascribed to ordinary human thought working in different places under similar conditions. In fact, the conditions of existence have not varied very greatly over the globe. There are differences of climate and soil and surface-configuration, but everywhere there have been the sky with the heavenly bodies, the sequence of day and night, sunshine and rain, hunting and fishing, trees, rivers, beasts and birds, and the cultivable soil; and as man's problem was everywhere the same—namely, how to put himself into good relation with his surroundings—and as his intellectual equipment was everywhere substantially the same, it would not be surprising if he should fall on similar methods of thought and procedure independently in various parts of the world. It was natural to early man to think of the sun as a ball of fire which had somehow been thrown up into the sky, and of the moon as associated with the sun as sister or wife or husband, and of the stars as children of these two. For creative agents early man had to look to the beings about him, particularly to beasts, birds, and insects. The process of creation was simple—the story usually amounts merely to saying that such and such a beast or other being made this or that object; and there is very rarely, if ever, a conception of an absolute beginning; almost always a reconstruction of existing material is assumed.363

826. Both explanations of the resemblances in myths, it thus appears, are reasonable in themselves, and every case must be considered separately. That a community has borrowed one story does not prove borrowing in the case of any other story; and that a people has been a center of distribution of certain myths does not prove that it was the originator of all myths. These two propositions appear to be self-evident, but they have often been ignored in discussions of the provenance of mythical material.1417

827. The similarities in myths all over the world extend over the whole domain of religion. Myths may be divided into those which deal with the creation of the world and of man (cosmogonic), those which deal with the origins of tribes and nations (ethnogonic), those which refer to the origin of customs and institutions (sociogonic), and those which are based on the forms and movements of the heavenly bodies, clouds, winds, and so forth (solar, lunar, procellar, and so forth).

828. Cosmogonic myths.1418 Among early tribes the creators are very often familiar animals, such as the coyote, the raven, the hare (North America), the wagtail (among the Ainu), the grasshopper (among the Bushmen)—in general, whatever animals appear to the men of a particular tribe to show skill and power. Reference is made above to the reasons which led early men to pay such high regard to the lower animals.1419 But in more advanced savage communities the creative function is ascribed to a man, as among the Thompson River Indians and in Southeast Australia; in Central Australia the authors of creation or of the arrangement of things are beings who are indifferently men or animals, but are regarded as the ancestors of the tribes. In the higher religions the creators are nature gods and great gods, and finally the one God stands alone as creator.

829. The act of creation is commonly represented as a process. Mud is brought up from a pool, or an island is raised from the sea 364(the Maoris, the Redmen), and these are stretched out so as to meet the needs of men; or a dragon or a giant is cut to pieces and the various parts of the universe are made from the pieces (Babylonia, India, Scandinavia); or, in still later times, an unformed mass of water is conceived of as the original state out of which all things are fashioned (Babylonians, Hebrews, Hindus, Greeks); or the universe issues from an egg (the origin of the egg being left unexplained),1420 or the earth is represented as the mother of all things (California). Elaborate cosmogonies are found in New Zealand (the Maoris), in North America (the Pawnees, the Lenâpé, and so forth), in Australia, and elsewhere. An interesting example is the Californian Achomāwi cosmogony. In the beginning, according to this scheme, were only the sea and the sky, and from the sky came down the Creator; or a cloud, at first tiny, grew large, condensed, and became the Silver-Gray Fox, the Creator, and out of a fog, which in like manner was condensed, came the Coyote, and these two made the earth and man.1421

830. In all these cases the creation is out of already existing material1422 and the creator is really a culture-hero or transformer, a character that clings to deities in the most advanced religions, as the Egyptian, Babylonian, and Greek. The character of these early transformers and creators is that of the communities in which they originate. Morally they represent both the higher and the lower sides of life, and this is true in all periods—the Hindu Indra is as tricksy and unmoral as the North American Coyote, and the early form of Zeus resembles these and other savage figures.1423 The conceptions of the creator grew more and more ethically good, but the lower representations continued to exist side by side with the higher.1424

365831. It is not altogether strange that the two sorts of creative Powers should be early thought of as mutually antagonistic. The Maidu bad creator is constantly opposing and bringing to naught the work of his good rival, and their collision produces the actual state of things on the earth.1425 It is probably by way of explanation of the evil in the world that in this myth the bad Coyote finally overcomes his rival. The resemblance of this scheme to the Mazdean dualism, except in the outcome, is obvious. For a full account of these systems we must await further information; but at present there is no ground for holding that the similarity is due to borrowing.

832. In various early cosmogonies the representation is found of an earlier race or an early world that had been destroyed, sometimes by a flood (Babylonia, India, Greece, Polynesia, North America, South America), sometimes in other ways.1426 Flood stories probably arise from local inundations, and may therefore have been constructed independently in various regions. In some cases the general conditions favor the supposition of distribution from one point: it seems probable, for example, that the Babylonian flood story was adopted by the Canaanites and from them by the Hebrews (the supposition of common descent from an original Semitic myth is made improbable by the closeness of resemblance between the Babylonian and Hebrew forms); it may have passed to India, but the Hindu story may be accounted for from local conditions. But we know of no such intercourse between the Americas, Polynesia, and Western Asia, as would suggest a migration of the myth from the latter to the two former, though this is conceivable.

833. The origin of man is included in that of the world. He is made from clay or wooden figures or stones, or, as in Australia, out of a shapeless mass. The conception found in various parts of the world, that the present race of men was preceded by another, appears to be due sometimes to a real, though often confused, tradition of an earlier population, sometimes to a vague conception 366of the conflict and incompleteness in the world. Traditions of predecessors are found in various parts of the world. In North America—as, for example, among the Navahos—a part of the early history is the conflict with certain mighty and evil beings who made good life impossible—a semidualistic scheme.1427 This view comes from the general disposition to conceive of the past as the time of mightier agencies, good and bad, than now exist.

834. A not uncommon representation is that man was originally not mortal, or that it was a question whether or not he should be mortal (death being generally regarded by early man as an abnormal event, produced by supernatural agency). In such cases mortality is brought about by an accident or an error: among the Maoris by a mistake of the hero Maui;1428 among the Hebrews by the disobedience of the first man, or by his failure to eat of the tree of life; in South Africa by the accident that the messenger who was to announce immortality was outrun by one who announced mortality.1429

835. The belief that the earliest men were longer-lived and of larger stature than their successors is found among certain peoples.1430 Of the origin of this belief in ancient times we have no accounts. It may have been suggested by various objects supposed to be remains of men, or it may have been due simply to a tendency to conceive of the beginners of human society as superior beings (dedivinized gods). The Hebrew tradition ascribed great age to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses, on a generally descending scale; the longevity of the antediluvians is perhaps a speculative continuation of the series back of Abraham on an ascending scale, though special mythical traits here come in.

Connected with the general belief in the superiority of early conditions of life is the belief in a primitive earthly paradise; the history of this conception is not clear, but in some cases the paradise appears to have been the delightful abode of a deity, into 367which human beings were for various reasons admitted, or the primeval fair and happy earth.1431

836. The belief that the world or the existing order is to be destroyed appears to be connected with the conception of history as involving a cycle of ages, and the theory of ages may have arisen from the tradition or the knowledge of social and political revolutions, the rise of each new phase of civilization involving the destruction of its predecessor. Traditions of past cataclysms may have helped toward the formulation of an expectation of coming destruction. This expectation, generalized under the influence of belief in a final judgment of men by God, would lead to the announcement of a final destruction of the present world. This destruction, which ushers in a new age, is accomplished in various ways, sometimes by water, wind, or fire,1432 sometimes by supernatural enemies.1433 The Hindu and the Persian schemes of successive ages are relatively late theological constructions, but they are based on the older idea that present things must have an end.1434 The Navaho series of five worlds represents, apparently, nothing but traditions of social changes, interspersed with minor ætiologic myths.1435

837. Many other cosmogonic details, common to various peoples, might be added. Transformation from human to animal or mineral forms and the reverse are to be found, as we have seen, everywhere. The slaying of dragons by gods or heroes is often connected with creation, but belongs sometimes in the category of cultural or nature myths. Abnormal forms of birth and generation 368may be sometimes products of savage fancy, or they may be attempts to set forth the mysterious or the supernatural in certain beings, or they may be nature myths: in various mythologies a god or a hero is born from the side or the thigh or the head of the mother or the father; fecundation by other means than sexual union appears in North America, Egypt, Greece, and generally in savage tribes.1436 The representation of the primeval parents, Heaven and Earth, as having been originally united in a close embrace and then separated, Heaven being lifted up and Earth remaining below, is so remarkable that it might be doubted whether it arose independently in different places; yet, as it is found in New Zealand,1437 in Egypt,1438 in India,1439 among the Masai of Eastern Central Africa,1440 and as the supposition of borrowing for these widely separated communities would be difficult (except, perhaps, as between Egypt and the Masai land), it is simpler to regard the myth as a natural effort of early science.1441 It need hardly be added that with all the similarities in the various cosmogonic systems the diversities among different peoples are as numerous as the differences of surroundings and character.

838. Among most early communities the great figures of the past (creations of imagination) to whom are ascribed the introduction of the arts of life and the general betterment of society are regarded as demigods, descended from parents one of whom is divine and the other human; it is sometimes the father, sometimes the mother, that is divine.1442 This conception is a simple and natural explanation of the supposed extraordinary powers of the personages in question. A more refined conception represents man as receiving life from the breath of God,1443 whence easily comes the idea that man is the child of God and has in him a spark of divinity.

369839. Ethnogonic myths. Early science has to account not only for the origin of the world and the human race, but also for the origin of particular tribes and their surroundings. The area involved is the known world, which among savage peoples is small in extent but increases with knowledge, the general method of accounting for social division remaining, however, the same. As a rule, the center of the distribution of mankind is the territory of the particular tribe in which the myth originates. There is always the conviction, expressed or implied, that the tribe in question is the center of the world and the favorite of the creative Power;1444 it being established in its place, the rest of the world is divided among other tribes—a conception that survives among civilized peoples of antiquity.1445

840. The ethnogonic history generally takes the form of a genealogy—every tribe or other group is derived from a mythical ancestor, who among savages is frequently a beast, or half-beast half-human, or even in some cases a rock or a stone. Familiar examples are the genealogical systems of the Australians, the Maoris of New Zealand, the Samoans, the American Indians;1446 but the conception appears to be universal. There was indeed no other natural way of accounting for the origin of a tribe: as an existing family would reckon its beginning from the grandfather, so the tribe would come from some remote person, and so at a later time the nation, and then finally the human race. As there were no historical records of such beginning, the scientific imagination of early peoples constructed the first parents in various ways, often by personifying the tribe and transferring its name to the mythical ancestor. It is in this way that the genealogical lists of the post-Mohammedan Arabians arose; it is certain that they had no records of the past extending further than a few generations, and in some cases the origins of the names in genealogical 370lists may be fixed. The Greek method of naming ancestors is simple and obvious: the sons of Hellen are Dorus, Xuthus, Æolus; the sons of Xuthus are Achæus and Ion; and these are all descended from Deucalion. In like manner the Pelasgians are carried back to the ancestor Pelasgus, and the Peloponnesians to Pelops. The Roman Romulus, Remulus, Remus, are natural inventions based on the name of the city.

841. Genealogical elaboration was carried out more fully by the Hebrews than by any other ancient people. Not only were tribal names, Jacob, Israel, Judah, Joseph, Ephraim, and the rest, personified, but they were arranged in a well-shaped family system; and, the same method being applied to all the nations known to them, these were carried up to the three sons of Noah, and finally through Noah up to the first man, whose Hebrew name, Adam, means simply man.1447 The table of nations in Genesis x is a remarkable example of ethnographic organization. As it is based on geographical relations, it does not in all particulars accord with modern ethnological schemes, but it is a noteworthy attempt to embrace the whole world in a family picture. The view that the division of the earth among the various peoples revolved around the Israelite territory is expressed in the poem cited above,1448 which is of the seventh century B.C., and it may be inferred that this large genealogical unification was completed among the Israelites at a time when they felt the influence of the great Assyrian civilization, with which they seem to have come into somewhat intimate contact. Later examples are found in Vergil's Æneid and Milton's "History of Britain" (in which he adopts early attempts at genealogical construction).

842. Sociogonic myths. Most of the customs and institutions of early peoples go back to a time when there were no records, and their introduction was naturally referred, so soon as reflection thereon began, to gods and heroes of primeval time.

371843. The arts of life are commonly explained in this mythical way. The beginnings of agriculture are referred in Melanesia to the Little One or to Qat, in Mexico to the god or culture-hero Quetzalcoatl, in Peru to Viracocha or Pachacamac, or to Manco Capac and his wife. For the Algonkins Michabo, the Great Hare, was the teacher of fishing and of other pursuits.1449 The Babylonian god Ea was the instructor of his people in all the arts of civilization.1450 In the Old Testament Cainite (Kenite) genealogy the originators of pastoral life, of metal-working, and of music, are the ancient ancestors.1451 In the Book of Enoch the employment of metals, the use of writing, and in general all the early arts of civilization are ascribed to the fallen angels, whose children are represented in the Book of Genesis1452 as the culture-heroes of the olden time. The introduction of writing into Greece is ascribed by the Greeks to the mythical hero or demigod Cadmus.1453 Fire is in India the production of the god Agni1454 (who is simply fire elevated to the rank of a personal divinity); in the Greek myth it is stolen and given to men by the demigod Prometheus1455 against the will of the gods, who are jealous of human progress.1456 Among various savage tribes there are similar histories of the derivation of the use of fire from superhuman beings.1457

844. Early ceremonies, as we have seen,1458 are universally connected with religion, and their origin is ascribed to divine or semi-divine figures of the past. In Australia the initiation ceremonies, which take up a great part of the tribal life, are regarded as having been established by the mythical ancestors.1459 Among the 372Hebrews when circumcision, an early initiation ceremony,1460 became religiously important, its establishment was referred to the ancestor Abraham, who is said to have acted by direct command of God,1461 but in earlier documents there are hints of other origins for the rite.1462 The ritual dances of the North American Indians, which are very elaborate, are accompanied by explanations in which the origin of every detail is referred to some event or person in the supernatural past;1463 and similar explanations are given of the dances of Mexico.1464 In many cases the restrictions of food and other things are ascribed to the experiences of the ancestors or to the commands of deities: the Hebrew usage of not eating a certain sinew is connected with the story of the struggle between Jacob and a divine being.1465

845. Festivals also were treated in this manner as soon as men began to reflect on the origin of society. As one feature in the festival sacred to Mars (March 1) was the dancing of the priests who carried curious shields, it was narrated, to account for this, that the shield of Mars fell down from heaven;1466 and the goddess Maia, according to one conjecture, was invented to explain the name of the month of May.1467 A Greek explanation of the fact that children at a later period were not called by the mother's name was that in the contest between Poseidon and Athene for the control of the city of Athens the latter deity prevailed by the votes of the women, who were in the majority, and to appease the wrath of Poseidon this rule was then made by the men.1468 The Gileadite festival in which maidens lamented the death of the daughter of Jephthah1469 was doubtless an old rite in which the death of some divinity was bewailed. The Greek Boedromia was referred to the succor given by Theseus against the Amazons,1470 and in the 373celebration of the Eleusinian mysteries ætiological myths connected with Demeter, Kore, and Dionysos formed the central part of the proceedings.1471 In the Old Testament the spring festival (Passover) is connected with the departure of the people from Egypt, and the autumn festival (Tabernacles) with the sojourn in the wilderness; and by the later Jews the midsummer festival (the Feast of Weeks, Pentecost) was similarly brought into connection with the giving of the law on Mount Sinai.

846. Relation between myth and ritual. The question whether myth comes from ritual or ritual from myth has been much discussed. Obviously universal precedence cannot be allowed to either of the two. There are cases in which primary mythical beliefs determine the form of religious procedure: the belief, for example, that a god, as anthropomorphic divine patron, must be placated and provided with all the accessories of a potentate, leads to the offering of food and other gifts and to the establishment of abodes and attendants; the sense of his aloofness and of his powerful and dangerous qualities induces cautionary rules for approach to his presence; because he has manlike intellectual and emotional limitations his favor must be secured by prayers and praises; if he has a son, this latter may act as mediator between his father and a suppliant, or one god may mediate with others in behalf of men.1472 On the other hand, there are many examples of myths that arise as explanation of ritualistic details.1473 It is sometimes hard to say on which side the precedence in time lies. In general, it seems, it is from broader and fundamental mythical conceptions that ritual arises, while mythical narratives spring from particular ritualistic observances.

847. Important religious changes which have come to pass through natural changes of thought, usually by the movement 374toward greater refinement, are explained as having been introduced by some great reformer. The abrogation of human sacrifice was a reform of great moment: in Mexico it is ascribed to the god Quetzalcoatl,1474 and in the Old Testament to Abraham acting by command of God.1475 One of the Incas of Peru is said to have reached monotheistic views by a process of reasoning, and the post-Biblical Jewish myths ascribed the same achievement to Abraham.1476

848. As a rule sacred places were connected with stories of the presence of divine personages or mythical ancestors. In Samoa, the Hawaian group, and other Pacific Islands many stones are connected with stories of heroes, spirits, or gods.1477 In Central Australia every stone, rock, or tree has its myth of the half-bestial ancestors.1478 In Greece, as Pausanias relates, there was hardly a place that did not have its story of the origin of some sacred spot or thing due to a god.1479 In the earlier books of the Old Testament the sacred places, which were Arabian or Canaanite shrines adopted by the Hebrews, are generally connected with the presence of the patriarchs or other great men. The magical qualities of springs, pools, and other bodies of water are explained by stories in which a god or other divine person descends into them, or in some other way communicates power.1480

849. Myths of heavenly bodies, winds, and vegetation. As the sun, the moon, and other objects of nature were regarded as anthropomorphic persons and naturally came into relation with men, 375their imagined adventures have produced a great mass of stories in all parts of the world. These stories are partly attempts to account for phenomena and partly are simply products of fancy; the myth-maker is very often a mere story-teller. The sun, conceived of usually as an old man, is supposed to live in a house up in the sky, to have his wife and children, to receive visitors, and to interfere to some extent in human affairs. An eclipse was obviously to be regarded as the work of an enemy of the sun, usually a dragon (so in many low tribes, and in India). A great excess of heat on the earth might be explained by the supposition that the chariot of the sun had been driven too near the surface.1481 The waning of the moon was supposed to be due to her sorrow at the loss of her children, the stars, which were devoured by the sun. The moon might be a fair woman who becomes enamored of a human being. At a later time in the progress of astronomical knowledge the planets and certain of the stars were individualized—they became actors in human history or, still later, the abode of supernatural beings.1482

850. The beginnings of astrological theory are probably to be recognized at a very early period. The height of the sky above the earth, the persistence with which the stars seem to look down on men, the invariability of their courses, the mysteriousness of their origin would naturally lead to the belief that they had some control over human affairs. Meteors, regarded as falling stars, have always been objects of dread. The development of astrology has been due to the increase of astronomical knowledge and to the tendency to organize religion in its aspect of dependence on the supernatural Powers.1483

851. Winds have played a less prominent part in theistic history than the heavenly bodies, but have given rise to not a few myths 376in religions of different grades of culture and in different parts of the world.1484 In the Scandinavian myths the storm wind as a representative of the prevailing climatic condition has assumed special prominence. In the Iliad when a messenger is dispatched to the abode of the winds to secure their aid, these are found feasting like a human family.1485 Later, winds are, of course, subordinated to the great gods.

852. From time to time theories have arisen explaining many deities and heroes as representatives of the heavenly bodies, and many stories of gods and heroes as reflecting the phenomena of the sky or the air. Such theories have been carried so far sometimes as to explain everything in mythology as a solar or lunar or astral myth. These constructions leave much to the fancy, and it is not difficult to find in mythical narratives references to the movements of the sun or the moon or the stars or the winds. It is possible that such reference really exists in certain stories. It is probable also that simple myths representing such phenomena have been in later times elaborated and brought into connection with a more detailed astronomical knowledge. The same principles of interpretation should guide us here as are referred to above.

853. There are doubtless cases in which a hero or a god represents the sun or the moon, the correspondence between the adventures of the hero and the movements of the heavenly bodies being plain. The twelve labors of Heracles may represent the passage of the sun through the twelve signs of the zodiac; but if this be the case, it is certain that such construction was relatively late, and that the separate adventures must be referred to some more simple facts. If Heracles slays the Hydra, it is more natural to regard this as having represented originally some mundane phenomenon of nature or some simple conflict of the savage life. 377The same thing is probably true of the adventures of the Babylonian hero Gilgamesh, who is sometimes considered to be the original of Heracles. Nothing is easier than to expound the story of Samson in the Old Testament as a series of solar and other phenomena,1486 but the probability is that he embodies the vague recollections of early tribal adventures, and, notwithstanding his name (which means 'solar,' that is, devoted to the sun), there is no good ground for supposing that his history has been astronomically worked over. A similar remark applies to many discussions respecting various deities, Hindu (as Indra), Egyptian (as Osiris), Semitic (as Nergai, Marduk, Nabu), and Greek (as Apollo). In all such cases it is necessary to inquire first whether the explanation of the myth may not be found naturally in some ordinary human experience or some very simple natural phenomenon, and a line of demarcation must be drawn between original forms of the myth and later learned constructions.

854. Another source of mythical narration is the history of vegetation, which at the present time has largely supplanted the solar theory. The amazing spectacle of the decay and revival of vegetation, naturally referred to superhuman power, and the importance of plants for human life, have led to the construction of stories (sometimes founded on ritual) in which the adventures of the spirit of vegetation are recounted. Obviously there is a sound basis for this view. The earth was necessarily regarded as the mother from whom came the corn and wine that supported human life. The study of the relatively modern European ceremonies1487 has brought out the persistence of such an idea, and the similarity between the new ceremonies and the old may be said to have demonstrated the existence of an early cult of the divine Power controlling vegetation.

855. The Asian Magna Mater and the Greek Mother (Demeter) or Maiden (Kore, Persephone) are identical in function with the 378corn maiden of modern times, and the latter figure may be a degraded or socialized descendant of an early deity. When we add that ancient local deities all took account of the products of the soil, it will not seem improbable that a great mass of stories should have arisen describing the adventures of the Spirit of Vegetation.1488 The descent of a hero or a god into Hades may be explained as the passage of the sun from its summer warmth to its winter feebleness, or as the annual death and revival of vegetation. Which of these views shall be adopted will depend in any case on the particular coloring of the story, on the signification of the names involved, or on the ceremonies accompanying the worship. It is not now possible to frame a theory that shall embrace all possible phenomena.

856. Certain great myths have in the course of time taken on elaborate literary form, and in this form show traces of advanced thought on some fundamental questions. Such myths occur among half-civilized peoples. There is, for example, the great mythical cosmogony of the Maoris of New Zealand—a scheme seemingly so philosophic in form that it excites wonder as to how it could have arisen in such a place.1489 The story of the adventures of Maui, a general Polynesian figure, constitutes a Polynesian history of the rise of civilization. Among the North American Indians the mythological systems of the Algonkins, the Pawnees, and other tribes, include the origin of all forms of natural objects and all institutions of society. The histories of the Great Hare of the Lenâpé, the Thunder Bird of the West, and the various transformers or culture-heroes, are scarcely less elaborate than the New Zealand stories. The mythologies of the Finns also (given in the Kalevala) are noteworthy. Passing to higher forms, it is sufficient to note the suggestive story of Balder among the Scandinavians, and, in the ancient world, the Egyptian Osiris myth, the Great Dragon myth of the Babylonian cosmogony, the various forms of the story of a primeval paradise, and the ceremonies and ideas that have arisen in connection with the death of a god.

379857. The motif of the antagonism between light and darkness appears to be attached to or involved in certain myths, especially the great cosmogonies and stories in which solar deities figure prominently. The original unformed mass of matter is often, perhaps generally, conceived of as being in darkness, and its transformation is attended with the appearance of light1490—light is an essential element in the conditions that make earthly human life possible; in contrast with the Upperworld the Underworld is dark. The diffusion of light is a main function of the sun, and the high gods dwell in continual brightness.1491 Light is the symbol of right, security, and happiness. But it is doubtful whether the expression of the antithesis and conflict of light and darkness is the immediate object of the early portraitures of deities and the mythical narratives of creation and the future of the world. The Egyptian Ra has no conflict with darkness, and the struggle between Osiris (and Horus) and Set, while it may be and often is interpreted in this sense, is susceptible of other interpretations. The motif in the Babylonian cosmogony is the bringing of order out of disorder, in which work the creation of light is an incident. In ethically advanced religious systems, such as the Hindu and the Persian, the good Powers are connected with light and the wicked Powers with darkness, but a conflict between these adjuncts is not brought out clearly. No such conflict appears in Greek mythology. Where a supernatural being intervenes in defense of light (as when a god destroys a dragon-creature who attempts to swallow the sun), this is simply an explanation of a physical phenomenon, and not a conflict between light and darkness.

858. The theory, widely held, that a great body of early myths, including the conception of the characters and functions of many deities, represent the struggle between light and darkness, is, therefore, not sustained by the facts. Such a generalization is found in late philosophic systems, but it does not belong to early religious thought, which deals with concrete personal agents.1492 A conflict between two gods is often to be explained as the rivalry of two 380districts or of two forms of culture. Attacks on luminous bodies, or defenses of them, are common as ætiological myths, and an antagonism between light and darkness then naturally appears, as is observed above, as an accessory or incident, but not as an immediate object of mythical portraiture. The closeness of the relation between the light-and-darkness theory and the solar theory of myths is obvious.

859. Myth and legend. In the course of the formulation of myths they have naturally become mingled with legend. As they narrate the achievements of the great supernatural figures of the past, these achievements have often become blended in the twilight of tradition with actual (though embellished) experiences of the clan or tribe and of the great men therewith connected.1493 In such cases it is generally difficult to decide where legend ends and myth begins, and every story must be investigated separately, and its nature determined from what is known of the real history of the time and of the development of mythical ideas. Familiar examples of this combination of legend and myth appear in connection with the Homeric poems, certain Asian and Greek cults, and the early histories of Greece and Rome and Israel.1494 The elucidation of such narratives must be left to the technical investigator in the various historical periods. In general, it may be said, there is enough historical material to enable us to trace the development of tribes and nations with a fair degree of certainty; and the caution already expressed against excessive mythological interpretation is especially in place in such researches.1495

The material published under the general title of "folk-lore" consists of various elements—purely religious usages and ideas, mythical and legendary narratives, and fanciful stories. As the term, defined precisely, refers only to popular survivals from 381defunct religious systems, its material shows a constant process of modification from generation to generation by newer ideas. The mythical element, extricated from the general mass, must be treated in accordance with the general principles of the criticism of myths.1496

860. Mythical biographies. As gods and heroes are the actors in mythical constructions of society, the stories in such constructions generally assume the form of anecdotal biographies of these personages. Such sketches gather fresh material from generation to generation, are gradually worked up into literary shape, and, being brought into connection with historical traditions, assume historical form, and are then sometimes accepted in their homes and elsewhere as historical.1497 As they embody the ideas of the times in which they originate, they have, in so far, historical and psychological value. Charm of style has given some of these stories literary value, and they have been accepted as part of the literary treasure of the world. They are sometimes combinations or fusions of myth and legend, and these two elements are not always easily distinguishable the one from the other.1498

861. In questions that touch the original nature of a god the possible difference between earlier and later conceptions of him must, of course, be borne in mind. When a deity has been definitely shaped and has become a patron of a community, he may be identified by the people, or particularly by poets and priests, with any object or idea that is of special interest to the community. The baals of the agricultural Canaanites presided over irrigation, but were not specifically underground gods;1499 they were rather general divine patrons interested in all that interested the people. A solar deity, becoming the favorite god of an agricultural community, may be regarded as connected with vegetation; or a god of vegetation may be associated, in astronomical circles, with the sun. A divine figure is often composite, the product of the coalescence of several orders of ideas. In general it may be said that 382the simplest and least socially refined function of a god is likely to indicate his original character. We must go behind the conceptions of cultivated times to the hints given in popular observances and poetry.

862. Interpretation of myths. For savage and half-civilized communities, and for the masses in civilized times, the stories of the achievements and adventures of gods, heroes, and ancestors, accepted as history, have been and are sources of enjoyment and of intellectual impulse. Narrated by fathers to their families, and recited or sung by professional orators and poets to groups and crowds throughout the land,1500 they have been expanded and handed down from generation to generation, receiving from every generation the coloring of its experiences and ideas, and in the course of time have taken literary shape under the hands of men of genius, and have been committed to writing. For the early times they not only formed a body of historical literature, but also, since they described relations between men and gods, came to be somewhat vague yet real sacred scriptures of the people.1501 As such, being regarded simply as statements of facts, they needed no outside interpretation; and being molded by human experience, they carried with them such moral and religious instruction as grew naturally out of the situations described. A more highly cultivated age, dissatisfied with bald facts, desired to find in the stories the wisdom of the fathers, and the imagination of poets and philosophers was long occupied with discovering and expounding their deeper meanings till further research set aside such attempts as useless. The treatment of mythical material thus shows three stadia: the acceptance of myths as genuine history; esoteric explanations of their assumed profound teachings; and finally, return to their original character as primitive science, having their origin in crude conceptions of life. A brief sketch may show how the 383interpretation of myths has come to be regarded as an historical and sociological science.

863. Ancient interpretations of myths. When the progress of thought, especially in Greece, made it impossible to accept the current beliefs concerning gods and their doings, it was felt necessary to put some higher meaning into them—they were rationalized and spiritualized by a process of allegorization. This process seems to have begun in Greece as early as the sixth century B.C.1502 It was the philosophers who undertook to reinterpret the Homeric mythical material, and the extent to which this procedure had been carried in the time of Plato is indicated by the fact that he ridicules these modes of dealing with the poet.1503 But Homer maintained his place in literature, and the demand for a spiritualizing of his works increased rather than diminished. A science of allegory was created, Pergamus became one of its chief centers,1504 and the Alexandrian Jew Philo applied the method to the interpretation of the Pentateuch. It was speedily adopted in the Christian world, and has there maintained itself, though in diminishing extent, up to the present day.1505 As a serious interpretation of ancient myths, outside of the Old Testament, it is no longer employed. Myths are, indeed, important as reflecting early opinions, religious and other—good doctrinal matter may be extracted from them, but this must not be ascribed to the intention of their authors and reporters. In the Old Testament itself the Jewish editors have socialized the mythical material (weaving it into the history, as in Genesis), or have brought it under the work of the national deity.

864. Recent interpretations. In recently proposed interpretations we may note first certain attempts at a unification of some body of myths or of all known mythical material. These attempts, almost without exception, take the sky and the heavenly bodies as their basis.


At the end of the eighteenth century, when the theory of human unity had taken hold of the French revolutionists, C. F. Dupuis1506 undertook to explain all the cults of the world as having come from the worship of the universe—a conception broad enough to cover everything; but he practically reduces it to the worship of the heavenly bodies, particularly the sun, and derives all myths from stellar objects. His work is ingenious, learned, and suggestive, but in his day the facts of ancient mythology were insufficiently known.

865. In the next century the study of Sanskrit and Old Persian widened the field of knowledge, the science of Indo-European grammar was created, and on this followed attempts at the construction of an Indo-European mythology. The first definitely formulated unification was the theory of F. Max Müller,1507 which derived all Aryan (Indo-European) myths from phenomena of the sun and the dawn, largely, he held, through misunderstandings of the meaning of old descriptive terms (myths as a "disease of language"). It is conceivable that a word, originally used simply as descriptive of an actual fact, may have passed into a proper name and become personalized and the center of adventures; but the character of early man's thought, as we now know it, makes it impossible to regard such a view as a probable explanation of the mass of mythological material. Müller's services to the science of the history of religions were great, but his theory of the origin of myths has now been generally abandoned.1508

866. The great discoveries of literary material made in Egypt and Babylonia since the middle of the nineteenth century have aroused special interest in the religions of these countries. Leadership in ancient civilization is claimed by Egyptologists and Assyriologists, each party for its own land. It is, however, Babylonia that has given rise to the largest theories of the unity of myths—a fact due in part to its development of astronomy, in part, perhaps, to the resemblance between the Babylonian mythical material and 385that of the Old Testament. Dupuis1509 had observed that the ancient Chaldeans taught that the heavenly bodies controlled mundane destinies, and, according to Diodorus, that the planets were the interpreters of the will of the gods. This is substantially the point of view of E. Stucken,1510 who, in common with Dupuis (though, apparently, independently), holds to the unity of ancient religions and the astral origin of all myths. From Babylonia, he thinks, myths passed to all parts of the world, Egypt, Asia, Europe, Polynesia, and America—in such migrations, however, it was the motif that passed; the personages might vary in different lands.1511 Finally he traces all sagas of all peoples to the creation myth.1512 This supreme unification is reached by arguments so far-fetched as to deprive them of force.

Stucken's position was adopted and elaborated by H. Winckler, who was followed by A. Jeremias and some others.1513 Winckler attempts to show that a single religion existed in the ancient Oriental world (with a single system of myths), and that this was dominated by the conception that there was a correspondence between the heavenly world and the lower world in such wise that all earthly affairs were indicated by the movements of the heavenly bodies, whence arose the whole religious system of Western Asia and Greece.

867. What is true in this theory (to which the name of "Panbabylonianism" has been given) is that Semitic mythology is a unit, with Babylonia as its birthplace, and that certain elements are common to the Egyptian, Semitic, Greek, and other mythological systems. The substantial identity of Babylonian, Aramean (Syrian), and Canaanite myths is generally acknowledged:1514 the Old Testament dragon-myth (which occurs also in the New Testament Apocalypse) is found in full shape only in Babylonian material;1515 386the Syrian Adonis myth is at bottom the Babylonian story of Tammuz and Ishtar. The probability is that all early Semitic schemes of creation and prehistoric life are essentially one. Further, such conceptions as the origin of the world from an unshaped mass of matter and the origin of man from the earth are widely distributed over the earth.

868. Babylonia, then, is the chief mythopœic center for the Semitic region, but we are not warranted in extending its influence as myth-maker beyond this region. The myths of the Indo-European peoples have in general the stamp of independent creation. Loans there may be (as, for example, in the myths connected with Aphrodite and Heracles, and perhaps others), but these do not affect the character of the whole. The relation between the Semitic and the Egyptian mythologies is still under discussion.

869. The astral element of the theory, based on arbitrary parallelisms carried out without regard to historical conditions, is an unauthorized extension of the generally accepted fact that certain myths are astral. Winckler's assumption of an astral "system" that obtained throughout the Western world is supported only by unproved assertions of the sort just referred to.

870. Jensen's contention that all myths come from the Babylonian Gilgamesh story1516 exhibits the same general method as the theories of Stucken and Winckler (giving assertion in place of proof), differing from them only in the material of comparisons.

871. The fundamental vice of these theories (apart from the arbitrary character of the assertions made by their authors) is the failure to take into account the historical development of mythical conceptions, their beginnings in the rudest periods of human thought, and their gradual elaboration and distinct formulation in the great communities, in which process, along with the varieties of local conditions, certain fundamental resemblances remain throughout.1517

872. Besides these more prominent or more definitely formulated theories there has been in some quarters a disposition to 387insist too strongly on lines of mythical development connected with the plant world, particularly with the death and revival of vegetation. All that we know of the history of mythical material among existing savages and in the earliest forms of belief of civilized nations forbids the limitation of the origin of myths to any one department of nature or to any one part of the world. Myths, like gods, may be composite: of this nature, probably, are some cosmogonic histories,1518 and the stories of Gilgamesh, Heracles, Perseus, and many others. The lines of origin mentioned above have, naturally, in some cases, coalesced, and their combination into single coherent narratives has been spread over long periods of time. For this reason there is always need of detailed investigations of particular myths as a preparation for a general history of mythology.1519

873. Modern critical methods in the interpretation of myths. The treatment of myths has followed the general course of the development of thought in the world. In the old national religions they were incorporated in the substance of the religious beliefs. The reformers of thought either ignored them (so, for example, Confucius and Buddha), or denounced their absurdities (so Plato and others), or allegorized or rationalized them (so many Greek philosophers); the early Christian writers treated Old Testament myths as history, and ridiculed the myths of Greece and Rome. During the long period when the European peoples were assimilating the ideas of Christianity the study of myths remained in abeyance. After the classical revival there was a return to the allegorizing method, the fondness for which has not yet completely died out.1520

874. The extension of knowledge in the eighteenth century gave an impetus to the study of religion, the results of which for mythological investigation appear in the works of Dupuis and others.1521 These authors were necessarily ignorant of many 388important facts, but they have the merit of having collected much material, which they treated as something that had to be explained in accordance with the laws of human thought.

875. The turning-point in the development of mythological science was the rise of the modern critical study of history, begun by Voltaire and Gibbon and carried on by Niebuhr and others. A vigorous group of writers arose in Germany. Creuzer,1522 indeed, holding that the myths of the ancients must embody their best thought, and falling back on symbolism, cannot be said to have advanced his subject except by his collection of materials; there is some basis for his position if the ancient myths are taken in the sense given them by the later poets and philosophers, but the supposition of a primary symbolism in myths is set aside by an examination of the ideas of undeveloped races. Creuzer's theory was effectively combated by Voss.1523 Other writers of the time adopted exacter methods of inquiry,1524 and K. O. Müller,1525 particularly, laid the foundation for a scientific treatment of myths by distinguishing between their real and their ideal elements, between the actual phenomenon and the imaginative (the true mythical) explanation of it.

876. The next generation witnessed two retrograde movements in the interpretation of myths. F. Max Müller, dazzled by the wealth of Sanskrit mythological material, revived the solar theory, with a peculiar appendage;1526 the defects of his theory must not blind us to the great service he performed in arousing interest in the comparative study of myths and leading the way to a formulation of the conception of the general history of religion. On another side the vast accumulation of the religious ideas and usages of lower tribes led Herbert Spencer to his euhemeristic view.1527 Neither of these theories has seriously affected the growth of the science of mythology.

389877. A saner direction was given to investigation by the great biological and sociological studies made in the second half of the nineteenth century.1528 E. B. Tylor definitely stated the view that the origin of myths is to be found in all the ideas of early man. By a very large collection of facts1529 he showed that the same representations that are familiar in Egyptian, Semitic, Hindu, Greek, Roman, and other ancient myths occur also in the systems of half-civilized and savage communities; and he pointed out how such representations had their basis in the simple ideas of undeveloped men and how their survival is to be traced through all periods of history. This fruitful view has been illustrated and developed by later writers,1530 and much light has been thrown on the genesis and growth of myths by studies of existing popular customs in civilized communities.1531

878. Interest in the subject has now become general, and collections of material are being made all over the world.1532 At the same time it is recognized that every local mass of myths must be studied first by itself and then in connection with all other known material, and that great caution must be exercised in dealing with questions of origin, transmission, and survival. Archæological and geographical discoveries have widened the known area of human life on earth; it is seen that the history of man's development is more complicated than was formerly supposed.

879. We are still without a general survey of myths arranged in some orderly fashion.1533 The material for such a collection is scattered through a great number of publications, in which the mythical stories are not always treated critically. The most useful principle of tabulation, perhaps, would be an arrangement according to motifs, under which geographical or ethnological and 390geographical relations might be noted. At the present time it would be possible only to make a beginning in such a work, since the obtainable material is not all recorded, and the complicated character of many myths makes an arrangement by place and motif difficult. Still, even an incomplete digest would be of service to students of mythology and would pave the way for a more comprehensive work. The importance of the study of mythology for the general history of religions is becoming more and more manifest. This study, in its full form, includes, of course, psychological investigation as well as collections of statistics; but the psychology finds its material in the facts—we must first know what men believe, and then explain why they believe.

880. It must, however, be added that myths have influenced mainly the dogmas and ceremonies of religion—their part in more intimate or spiritual worship, the converse of the worshiper with the deity, has been comparatively slight. Religious ceremonies are ordinary social customs and forms transferred to dealings with supernatural Powers. Dogmas are quasi-philosophical expressions of conceptions concerning the nature of these Powers and their relations with men, and sometimes contain mythical material which is then introduced into worship; if, for example, a man is divinized and worship is paid him, the tone of the worship is affected by the divine character thus ascribed to him. But in general, as men, in worship proper, approach a deity to get some advantage from him, the appeal is to him directly without regard to ceremonies or minute dogmas. Savages, though in theory they may make a god to be an animal or a plant, come to him devoutly as a superior being who can grant their requests. In higher religions the deity addressed is for the moment an omnipotent friend standing apart from the stories told of him. Rival sects lose sight of their differences in the presence of needs that drive them to God for help. Prayer is a religious unifier—communion with the Deity is an individual experience in which all men stand on common ground, where ritual and dogmatic accessories tend to fade or to disappear.

881. Long after myths in their original forms have ceased to be believed they persist in the form of "fairy tales," which retain391 something of the old supernatural framework, but sink into mere stories for amusement.1534

But fairy tales are not the only form in which ancient myths persist. Myths have played their prominent part in the history of religion for the reason that they embody the conception of the tangible supernatural in a vivid and dramatic way. To this personalization and socialization of the supernatural men have continued to cling up to the present time; the mass of men demand not only the presence of the supernatural as protection and guidance, but also the realization of it in objective form. This objectiveness was useful and necessary in early times, and the demand for it remains in periods of advanced civilization. In the reigning religions of the world at the present day myths continue to hold their place and to exercise their influence,1535 the more that in the course of time they become fused with the constantly advancing ethical and spiritual thought of the communities in which they exist. The tendency appears to be to minimize, under the influence of general enlightenment, the crude supernatural parts of such combinations, to exalt the moral and spiritual, and to allegorize or rationalize the rest. But along with such process of rationalization the mythical form is maintained and continues to be a powerful element in the general structure of religious opinion and life.




882. The regulation of relations with the superhuman world has been attempted by means of friendly social intercourse with supernatural Powers, and by studying their methods of procedure with a view to applying these methods and thereby gaining beneficial results. Friendly social intercourse is practical religion in the higher sense of that term. The application and use of superhuman procedures takes two lines of action: the powers of superhuman agents may be appropriated and used independently of them, or the object may be simply to discover their will in order to be guided by it. The first of these lines is magic, the second is divination. While the two have in common the frank and independent employment of the supernatural for the bettering of human life, their conceptions and modes of procedure differ in certain respects, and they may be considered separately.


883. The perils and problems of savage life, more acute in certain directions than those that confront the civilized man, demand constant vigilance, careful investigation, and prompt action. So far as familiar and tangible enemies (beasts and men) are concerned, common sense has devised methods of defense, and ordinary prudence has suggested means of providing against excessive heat or cold and of procuring food. But there are dangers and 393ills that in the savage view cannot be referred to such sources, but must be held to be caused by intangible, invisible forces in the world, against which it is man's business to guard himself. He must learn what they are and how to thwart or use them as circumstances may require. They could be studied only in their deeds, and this study involves man in the investigation of the law of cause and effect. The only visible bond between phenomena is that of sequence, and on sequence the savage bases his science of causes—that which precedes is cause, that which follows is effect. The agencies he recognizes are spirits, gods, the force resident in things (mana), and human beings who are able to use this force.

884. But belief in such agencies would be useless to man unless he also believed that he could somehow determine their actions, and belief in the possibility of determining these appears to have come to him through his theory of natural law. The reasoning of savages on this point has not been recorded by them, but the character of their known procedures leads us to suppose that they have a sense of a law governing the actions of superhuman Powers. Being conscious that they themselves are governed by law, they may naturally in imagination transfer this order of things to the whole invisible world; spirits, gods, and the mana-power, it is assumed, work on lines similar to those followed by man, only with superhuman breadth and force. The task before the originators of society was to discover these modes of procedure in order to act in accordance with them. The discovery was made gradually by observation, and there grew up thus in process of time a science of supernatural procedure which is the basis of the practice of magic.

This science does not necessarily regard the superhuman power as purposely antagonistic to man. Rather its native attitude appears to have been conceived of as one of indifference (as nature is now regarded as careless of man); it was and is thought of as a force to be guarded against and utilized by available means, which, of course, were and are such as are proper to an undeveloped stage of social growth.394

885. Magic is a science of sequences, but only of sequences supposed not to be explicable from ordinary experience. When the savage puts his hand into the fire or receives a spear-thrust in his body he recognizes visible and familiar causes of pain, and accepts the situation as a fact of life, calling for no further explanation. But when the pain comes from no familiar tangible source he is driven to seek a different sort of source. A cause there must be, and this cause, though superhuman, must follow definite methods—it must have the will to act, and it must have knowledge and skill to carry out its designs. To discover its methods man must observe the processes of nature and imitate them, and must at the same time have in mind familiar human modes of action. The savage scientific explanation of mysterious facts is that superhuman Powers are intellectually akin to human beings; the question of motive in such Powers (except in the case of developed gods) seems not to be considered. The basis of magical procedure is imitation of nature and of man. This principle is supplemented by the conception of the unity of the world, a feeling at first vague, that all things have the same nature and are bound together in a cosmos; animals and men, trees, stones and waters, and fragments of all these are parts of one great whole, and each feels, so to speak, what is done to or by one of the others. This feeling, derived from observation and reflection, is not formulated, but is influential in the construction of the unconscious philosophy of the savage.

886. The methods of man's magical procedure follow these principles; they are as various as the sequences that savage man thinks he observes.1537 Many of them are suggested by natural phenomena. Since rain was observed to fall from the sky, it was held that in time of drought it might be obtained by casting water into the air and letting it fall, or by dipping a stone in water and letting it drip; in general, by any process in which water falls on the ground. The wind might be raised by ejecting air from the mouth (as by whistling). Or ordinary human actions might be imitated: a stick thrown or pointed toward an enemy, it was 395believed, would cause a spear to enter his body;1538 a hostile glance of the eye, indicating desire to inflict injury, might carry ill luck.1539 In such cases the fundamental conceptions are the sympathy that comes from unity and the activity of the pervasive mana. These conceptions are visible in procedures in which action on a part of the human body, or on an image or picture of it, was supposed to reach the body itself. The possession of a piece of the bone, skin, hair, or nail of a man might enable one who had knowledge of superhuman laws and processes to affect the man with sickness or even to cause his death. Contact of objects naturally suggests their unity, but the sympathy between them was not held to be dependent on contact; a man's bone remained a part of him, however far it might be separated from him. A dead body did not lose its virtues; the qualities of a dead warrior might be acquired by eating his flesh. The mysterious unity of things seems to have resided, in savage thought, in the omnipresent mana, a force independent of human limitations. Not that there was a definite theory on the subject, but something of this sort seems to be assumed in the ideas and usages of many low tribes.1540

On the other hand, a magical effect may be set aside by magic. A sick man, believing his sickness to be the work of a magician (the usual savage theory of the cause of bodily ills), sends for another magician to counteract the evil work; and a magician, failing to cure his patient, ascribes his failure to the machinations of a powerful rival. In all such cases the theory and the methods are the same; the magic that cures is not different in principle (though it may differ in details) from the magic that kills.

887. The facts observed by practicers of magic probably contributed to the collections of material that furnished the starting-point 396for the scientific study of physical phenomena. The interest in the facts arose at first simply from their relation to magical procedure—it was from them that certain laws of supernatural action were learned, and men thus got control of this action. Magic is essentially a directive or coercive procedure and differs in this respect from fully formed religion, which is essentially submissive and obedient.

888. It is true that coercion of divine beings appears in well-developed religions. A Babylonian goddess (Nana) was carried off by the Elamites to their land that she might there do duty as divine protector; restored to her proper home 1635 years later, she resumed her old functions.1541 The Egyptians are said by Plutarch to have slain their divine animals if these failed to avert or remove calamity.1542 Prometheus and certain Homeric heroes are victorious over gods. In some savage tribes divine kings are put to death if they fail to do what is expected of them. A god was sometimes chained or confined in his temple to prevent his voluntary or constrained departure. A recusant deity was sometimes taunted or insulted by his disappointed worshipers.1543 There is, however, a difference between the two sets of coercive acts. The force used by developed religion is physical, that employed in magic is psychological and logical. When a god is chained or carried off, it is only his body that is controlled—he is left to his own thoughts, or it is assumed that he will be friendly to his enforced locus. Magic brings the supernatural Power under the dominion of law against which his nature is powerless. Religion, even when it employs force, recognizes the protective function of the deity; magic is without such acknowledgment, without emotion or worship. While it has, on one side, a profounder conception of cosmic force than appears in early religion, it is, on the social side, vastly inferior to the latter, to which it has necessarily yielded in the course of human progress. Nevertheless, if religion in the broadest sense includes all means of bringing man into helpful relations with the supernatural world, then magic is a form of religion.

397889. The much-discussed question whether magic was the earliest form of religion is not susceptible of a definite answer for the reason that we have no account of man's earliest conceptions of his relations with the world of invisible forces. There is some reason to hold, as is remarked above,1544 that in the lowest stage of life known to us men were logically indifferent spectators of the world, but in general stood in awe of phenomena, so that fear was their prevailing feeling. It may be surmised that this feeling would engender a sense of antagonism to such superhuman Powers as came to be conceived of, on which would naturally follow a desire to get control of them. Yet it is impossible to say at what stage of social development the necessity would be felt of establishing friendly relations with the Powers. The two lines of effort may have begun and gone on side by side, the two springing from the same utilitarian impulse, but each independent of the other—a coexistence that actually appears in many tribes; finally the coercive effort tends to yield to the kindly influences of organized society. There is no ground for calling magic a "disease of religion." The presumption, from the general law of progress, is that, when there is a chronological difference, the socially lower precedes the socially higher. Religion and magic come to be mutually antagonistic, except in cases where religious authorities adopt magical procedures, giving them a theistic and socially useful coloring. Magic has been a natural, if not a necessary, step in the religious organization of society.1545

890. Since religion and magic have in common the purpose to establish relations with extrahuman Powers the dividing line between the two is in some cases not easily fixed—the same procedure may be held to belong in the one category or the other, according as it invokes or does not invoke the aid of a god in friendly and submissive fashion. We may thus be carried back to a time when a sharp distinction between the two did not exist, as there was a time when such a distinction is not visible between "gods" (friendly divine members of the human community) and "demons" (unfriendly outside beings), both classes being regarded simply as agents affecting human life. Even when some fairly good 398form of organization has been reached it is often hard to say to which class a particular figure belongs. The Hawaiian Pele (the "goddess" of the great and dangerous volcano) is often vindictive, and then differs little or not at all from a demon that sends sickness and death.1546 The Babylonians gave the same name (shedu) to a class of demons proper and to the divine or half-divine winged beings (to which, apparently, the Hebrew cherubs are allied) that guarded the entrances to temples, sacred gardens, and palaces.1547 The Navaho beings called yei and anaye seem to hover on the border line between the divine and the demonic classes.1548 The difference between the two seems to be merely that the one class (the gods) has been adopted (for reasons not originally ethical) into the human community, while the other has not received such adoption.1549 In such a case a given figure may easily pass from one class into the other. According to the Thompson River folk-lore the sun was once a cannibal but became beneficent.1550 The early Christians converted the Græco-Roman gods (daimonia) into "demons."1551 There being this fluid relation between supernatural beings, it is not strange that such a relation should exist between procedures intended to act on them.1552

891. Magic, as we have seen, is based on the observation of sequences, and before the development of reflection and the acquisition of a knowledge of natural law the disposition of human beings is to regard all sequences as exhibiting the relation of cause and effect. A typical example is that of the anchor driven ashore, a piece of which was broken off by a man who died soon after; the conclusion was that the anchor caused his death and therefore was divine, and accordingly it received religious worship.1553 In the course 399of ages thousands of such sequences must have been observed, and these, handed down from one generation to another, would shape themselves into a handbook of magic. They would, however, be constantly reëxamined and sifted under the guidance of wider experience and a better acquaintance with natural causes, and this process, carried on by experts, would give rise to the science of magic as we find it among lower tribes.

Magic, like religion, is a social product. The two, as is remarked above, may coexist in the same community. But when a State religion is established to which all citizens are expected to conform, the pursuit of magic assumes the aspect of departure from, and hostility to, the tribal or national cult. It is then under the ban, and can be carried on only in secret1554 (as is the case with prohibited religions also). Secrecy of practice is not of the essence of magic; among the Australian Arunta, for example, magical ceremonies constitute the publicly recognized business of the community acting through its accredited representatives; the partial exclusion of women and uninitiated boys from these ceremonies (and from political councils) is due mainly to the desire of the elders to keep the power in their own hands. The State religion may sometimes be forced by public opinion to adopt particular magical procedures.

892. It was natural that the specific study of sequences and laws should fall into the hands of special persons and classes of men. The human agent in the discovery of laws is the magician (sorcerer, shaman), who, since he was generally a physician also, sometimes received the name of "medicine man." As the office of chief arose for the direction of social culture and political affairs, so the office of magician arose naturally for the direction of supernatural relations. He may have been the earliest religious teacher and guide.1555 He knows the will and nature of the supernatural Powers and is therefore a necessity to men. He is specifically in charge of all that relates to the control of these Powers.

400893. In the course of time there arises a differentiation of functions, and, when religion becomes friendly, the office of priest is created. The priest, like the magician, understands the will of the gods, but his procedure is intended simply to propitiate them or to discover their will in particular cases.1556 He is a development out of the magician in so far as friendly religion is a development out of magical religion.1557 The prophet also, in the rôle in which he appears among the Greeks, is a development out of the old magician; he knows the will of the gods and is thus able to predict events. This is the character of the old Hebrew seer; the Hebrew prophet, originally a seer, assumed in the course of tim